Gospel Fellowship Blog

Joining Christ In The Renewal Of All Things

Abide In His Love — February 14, 2019

Abide In His Love

The world today is filled with emotionless gestures,  dry hellos, in the moment compliments, and false love. The word love gets thrown around, minimizing its true meaning. We tend to get numb to emotions, we have a hard time of digesting what’s truth, and passively ignore the true love that surrounds us daily.

As we are constantly pursuing what truth is in this devious world, it can be so hard as believers to get lost in the midst and make it harder for us to daily grasp the grace of God. Every morning is a daily renewal of grace inputted in our spirits to keep going. Every struggle is just another way of God calling us to keep the faith. Every blessing is another way we are reminded of the truth that God loves us.

I have experienced love being used in lies, in deception, and in times of pain. These experiences have made it hard to understand the love that Christ has for me. Sometimes in my walk it’s so easy to not truly believe the love that I am showered in daily. My human mind can’t comprehend how can someone so holy love someone who has doubted Him, forgotten about Him, and put other things before Him, can love me so lavishly!

Here’s the truth though, although it’s  hard to grasp the love that God has for his children, it does not make it untrue. Just because we don’t believe, doesn’t mean its false. God loves you. Our unbelief does not phase god, he will love us regardless if we love him back or believe it. His love isn’t circumstantial. It’s always there. Always will be, to the believers and the unbelievers. The truth is, God doesn’t care if we believe we love him, he still loves us despite our frail faith.

That is amazing!

God loves us so much that he decided he would send his son Jesus Christ to this earth . Jesus, being God in the flesh left his throne to dwell with his children and give them the “option” to be reconciled back to God the father. Jesus died knowing that some would never believe he died for them. He abided to the cross to be the saving grace for us. He knew that there would be wanderers, atheists, slanders, and doubters of the most gruesome death to date. He knew that there would be skeptics of the greatest act of love, in which he displayed on the cross. (John 3:16)

How do I know this truth? I know this because I constantly see God loving and using reckless people in the bible. From the beginning when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, he still promised a savior (Genesis 3:15). When the Israelites during the exodus needed constant reminder of protection, like a baby not trusting a mother to feed him/her he still provided (Exodus 16). When he used a man like Paul to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to the nations. (1 Corinthians 15:9) Even in groaning and in rebellion God was not phased by their emotions or actions, he still had a saving plan. He still loved.

I see it personally now in this my journey with Christ. When I feel restless and insecure, God continues to prove to me time and time again that he’s got me and he loves me.

It is a daily act of faith for me to abide in the truth’s of God’s love. Not letting the hurt,  worry, and ideas on love of this world affect my view of God’s love for me. Here’s the most solid truth that I can give you in a world full of confusion.

God loves you. (John 3:16)

He thought you were worth it. (Ephesians 2:5)

He pursues you. (Jeremiah 17:10)

He cares. (1 Peter 5:7)

Abide in this truth. Remind yourself daily. Deny your puny human perception of love, and grasp real genuine love. Grasp God and continue to live and dwell in the truth of this love that is him.  Abide in his truth.

Written By: Micarme Noel

Fulfilling The Greatest Commandment — February 4, 2019

Fulfilling The Greatest Commandment

On December 6, 2014 Joshua Adonijah Gibson was born. My wife and I never got to see him take a breath. It was a devastating experience that put me in a haze. In an instant, I went from the living the dream to a nightmare that continued whether my eyes were open or closed. It was a very difficult time and while the duties of daily life continued, I struggled to keep up. During this period, one of my best friends demonstrated what it means to fulfill the greatest commandment.

Matthew 22:36-40 is a familiar passage for most Christians who have been in the faith for any significant length of time. If you’re like me and easily remember concepts and details but struggle to recall the specific location in the scriptures or you’re simply unfamiliar with this section, here is the scenario. Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem after ministering throughout Israel, just a few days shy of His crucifixion. He’s teaching in parables in the temple when the Pharisees and Sadducees question Him in hopes that He would give them a reason to condemn Him.

Eventually, they ask which commandment is the greatest. Jesus responds that the greatest commandment is to love God with everything. But this isn’t the end of His answer. He immediately gives the second greatest commandment, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. Why did he mention a second commandment that no one asked about? To put it simply, He gives the second commandment because it is required to fulfill the first.

When He commands us to love, is a conscious action (or set of actions) and not an emotion. This is made clear in Matthew 5:43-48 when we are commanded to love our enemies. You almost certainly don’t have positive feelings for someone who is classified as an enemy, but you are expected to love them nonetheless. To love is to hold the best interests of someone else in a regard that is equal to your own. This is what God does for us all the time. It’s why Jesus paid for our sins. It’s why He brings conviction to our hearts when we are out of line. It is why He will sometimes say “no” when we want him to say “yes”. It’s why He gives us beautiful experiences in relationships, or in nature and unexpected surprises that make us happy. He gives us what is best for us, even when we don’t realize that is the case. This isn’t something that we can do for God because He lacks nothing, He needs nothing from us and there is nothing that we could offer that He doesn’t provide. So, He lets us know that the way to love Him is to love each other.

In late July or early August of 2014, things were going quite well for my household. Work was good, I was spending time in the Bible and in prayer, our finances were in order and our eating and exercise habits had drastically improved which put us in great health. Then, we found out that Joshua was on the way! He wasn’t our first pregnancy, he was the third. The other two were lost to miscarriage in the first trimester, but we felt confident that this time would be different.

My excitement caused me to work more, eat even better, exercise more intensely, read more and refine our budget. I wanted to set a great example for the baby on the way. We thought we were in the clear once the first trimester was over and looked forward to his arrival.

Then, at 19 weeks there was a problem: cervical insufficiency. Essentially, her body was beginning labor too early which put Joshua’s life at risk. So, my wife spent about a week in the hospital. After a few days, she got very ill, very quickly. It became clear that her body could no longer hold Joshua and if we waited longer, she was in significant danger. He was delivered the next day, did not survive and we were crushed.

I needed to be there to help my wife through the ordeal, but I was broken as well. I gave everything I had to try to keep her afloat, but I was sinking. To make matters worse, I felt abandoned. Not by God, but by those closest to me, who said they loved me.

Thankfully, a friend, recognized my distress. Not because he went through something similar, but because he asked how I was doing and listened when I spoke. He hopped on a plane, flew down from Maryland and spent time with me. He was only here for around a day and a half and we didn’t talk about Joshua much. But I needed someone to be concerned enough to make sure that I was OK. I needed someone to sit with me as I did nothing, look me in the eye, give me a hug and ask, “are you OK, J?” It was the most loving thing that anyone could have done for me at the time. It stopped a bad slide for me and let me start moving in the right direction again.

This action by my friend is an example of the great commandment being fulfilled. He made a trip that wasn’t originally in his plans to see me because I needed help. It wasn’t so that he could gain or prove anything and it wasn’t because he just happened to stumble upon me while going to do something else. It was action taken with my well-being in mind. And by loving me, he loved the Lord in the way that He provided. A situation that is this big isn’t the only time that we can follow this example. We can invite someone who may be lonely to hang out. We can tell our friend who is about to make a bad relationship decision to reconsider. We can celebrate with each other when good things happen and mourn when losses occur. Keep your eyes open for an opportunity to genuinely love someone and know that when you do, you’ve loved your Lord as well.

By Jimmie Gibson

The Vine That Gives — January 21, 2019

The Vine That Gives

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” ‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Ever feel stuck? Some days with the LORD are plentiful , and some days without him feel empty. We go into seasons of joy, seasons of discontentment, weakness, sorrow, and feeling as if we are missing something.

I can trace back to the days where I felt empty and remember that.  I ran on the little useless fuel I had, and didn’t use the plentiful fuel the LORD has set aside for me.

As humans, it is so easy for us to foolishly attempt to rely on our own strength. Each and every time do we fail.

One of the most stressful times during my transition to Chicago was apartment hunting. Each and every morning I got myself up, rejecting to address God and the issue — searching through Zillow, Apartment Finders, Craigslist, and contacting the few people I knew in Chicago through emails in search for an apartment. I grew myself tired, and if only I had addressed this issue to my father in prayer, I would have been relieved.

I was stuck. My heart immediately surrendered to the conviction that was beating in my heart. God had revealed to me that I was going to move somewhere unfamiliar to me, a move I was elated about, but I forgot to address the messenger of my move with the details of it. It was as if I stole the big picture, and tried to handle details that I never owned.

I heard Holy Spirit whisper to me something that didn’t seem rational to my human mind. “STOP” . Stop? I had a little over a month to find a place to stay. What do you mean stop?

But I listened. It was hard, and took a lot of self control to not open up my laptop and continue my search.  During this listening moment I recalled the moment I felt the call to move, and the gracious ways God lead me up to this season of my life in Chicago. I remembered being rejected by hospitals for jobs and how he taught me patience at a job I really didn’t want to be at, but became a great source of income for my move. I remember changing my major, and how intentional He was in doing all that because if I didn’t I wouldn’t  have experienced my move to Chicago. All this to lead me to where I am today. There were so many seasons and lessons I remember Him teaching me all to prepare me for now. So if God wanted me to be in Chicago , guess what? He would have to find me an apartment, right?

And He did. A more perfect fit that I could have ever picked.

That season helped me bear fruits of faithfulness and self control. I abide in Him. It was so tough but I remembered John 15:4 so vividly during that week.

I challenge, those old and new to the faith: What are some issues, worries, and desires that we have yet to address to God?  What is holding you back from asking him?

God is waiting. He’s waiting for us to surrender, and ask for help. He watches us while we  struggle, and can’t wait to jump in to help us. Jesus, being the incarnate God came to this earth and said this “Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28. This is what he gives. Rest for a troubled soul, rest for a troubled world, rest for his troubled  children. Jesus says this after he makes a declaration that ““All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matthew 11:27.

This is good news. This means that because Jesus is God. It means that all that Jesus is, God is and that we can approach the God of this universe with our troubles.

Here’s the challenge. Abide in Him. Rest your cares upon Him, cast your worries to the true vine.  If you look up the definition of Abide you will find that it means “to live” or “to dwell”. Living and dwelling in the one who lived and dwelled physically with sinners like us, and who is living and dwelling with us spiritually today. He is the vine that gives.

Written by Micarme Noel

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