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He Holds Me Forever - Teddy Bear Hugs from Above, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2021 6:00 am

He Holds Me Forever - Teddy Bear Hugs from Above, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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April 28, 2021 6:00 am

Near the end of His time on earth, Jesus told His disciples, I have a new commandment for you; from this point forward, I want you to love one another, as I have loved you. Which begs the question: How do we do the impossible? Theresa Ingram answers that question by sharing the practicalities of what it looks like to love like Jesus loved.

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Let's face it, we all have people in our lives that we don't get along with. Maybe it's a noisy neighbor, an annoying relative, a harsh co-worker, or a friend that you just butt heads with. Our natural instinct is to be hostile and bitter toward that person.

But God calls us to a radically different mindset. Today my wife Teresa shares how you can respond to that problem person in your life. Stay with me.

Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Pastor Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey and we're in the middle of Teresa Ingram's series, He Holds Me Forever. Last time she talked about the tender love God demonstrates toward us. In this program, Teresa explains why loving others is so important to the Lord. Even people we disagree with or who've hurt us.

That last one's especially tough, isn't it? If you're looking for extra encouragement in this area, stick around after the teaching for our time with Chip and Teresa here in studio. With that, let's listen now to part two of her message, Teddy Bear Hugs from Above. And so how do we love by our actions? Well, when we tell someone that we're going to pray for them, we really pray. We don't just say we're going to do it and walk off and forget what they said. We really pray.

I have a suggestion. If you have a lot of people ask you to do that, like I do, pray for them as you walk away. And then you don't forget. How do we love by our actions? We take time to listen to people instead of always having to tell our story. Instead of always having to talk about us. When we send a note of encouragement to someone. When we take a meal. When we help with our children. When we show hospitality. When we give a hug.

Just give a hug or pat someone on the shoulder. Mother Teresa of Calcutta says, we must not drift away from the humble works because these are the works nobody will do. It is never too small. We are so small and we look at things in a small way. But God, being almighty, sees everything great. Therefore, even if you write a letter for a blind man, or you just go and listen, or you take the mail for him, or you visit somebody or bring a flower to somebody, small things. Or wash clothes for somebody or clean the house. Very humble work.

That is where you and I must be. For there are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things. That's how we love people. And God's not asking us to meet everyone's needs and to give away what we don't have. He's not asking us to do that, but he is asking us to love with our actions, to put shoe leather to our words, and people will see Christ.

They'll see Christ in our lives. Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, who was a famous preacher at one time, a British preacher, and he had five sons, and all of his sons became preachers, ministers of the gospel. And I was reading a story about him once, and it said, one day a visitor in their home dared to ask a personal question. And the question was, which one of you, six, is the best preacher?

And their united answer was, mother. Of course, Mrs. Campbell Morgan had never preached a formal sermon in her life, but her life was a constant sermon on the love of God. The life of a Christian who abides in God's love is a potent witness for God in the world. Men cannot see God, but they can see his love, moving us to deeds of helpfulness and kindness. That's what love truly is. So let us not love in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. Well, love for others is a choice that we make.

It's not always a feeling. 1 John 3.23 says, and this is his commandment, we must believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Because it's a commandment, then it's a choice that we have to make.

There's no condition in this passage of the who. Of the who we are to show love to. It just says one another. It doesn't say to love those who are always kind to us, and it doesn't say to love those who you like to be with, or to love those who do things just the way you want them to do it, or to love when that love is reciprocated. But it says love one another. It's a command, and any time God gives us a command, we always know that he gives us all that we need to be able to obey it.

So if we choose to love, then God will help us love other people. I remember a neighbor that I had once who was very, very hard to love. She just about drove me nuts, and she complained all the time, and she borrowed things all the time. And she would drop by my house just so frequently to use something, and I got so irritated with this lady, and I thought, she's just so robbing me of my privacy. And I didn't know what to do.

She was right next door. You know, I was supposed to be a Christian. I was supposed to be loving people. So first I did the spiritual thing. I prayed. I prayed that she would move. I really did. And then I did the human thing, the selfish thing.

I planted a great big hedge between my house and her house. And I thought if I couldn't get rid of her, at least I didn't have to look at her all the time. See, Chip really does think I'm nuts sometimes. He sees the real me. You just see, you see that soft-spoken, you know, those things you say. Well, but then I did the Christ-like thing. And I baked her some cookies, and I went to see her, and I took an interest in her kids, and I listened to her struggles. And there came a time when God gave me the opportunity in love to be able to confront her with some of the issues that were causing our relationship to be so hard. And God changed her heart. And it was amazing to me.

We became such good friends, and we are to this day. And so God would change our hearts when we make that choice to begin to love others the way Christ loves us. And it's a choice we make to choose to show respect and love for anyone that God brings into our lives, even if we don't feel a lot of affection for that person. And God's desire is so great that we love one another that He gives us in 1 Corinthians 13 a very clear definition of what it looks like to be lived out in our lives every day. 1 Corinthians 13 defines a divine love, agape love, and how it should be expressed in lives of believers. And so what we're going to do is I'm going to read these passages that you have here, and I'm going to define them, ask you a few questions, and then I'd like you to do just a personal inventory and just open your hearts and ask God to show you how you're doing in this area.

How are you doing? Are we loving others as Christ loves us? Is there a person in your life that God would want you to make the choice to love, even though you don't feel like loving that person?

Is there any way that you need to put shoe leather to your words and love other people? Are you living in fellowship with God so His Spirit can freely pour out God's love through your life so you can love others in the way that He wants you to? 1 Corinthians 13, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.

It's a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for patience in this passage means taking a long time to boil. And so we need to ask ourselves, are we patient with others when they irritate us, or do we quickly express our anger to them? Do we quickly express our displeasure?

Do we have a short fuse when things don't go our way? You know, when a circumstance is out of control, am I impatient with the Lord, or do I wait for Him to act? Do I think before I speak and choose words that would build up another instead of tear them down? Do I patiently endure the faults and weaknesses of others?

Do I do that? Recognizing God's sovereignty in my own life and how patient He has been with me in my faults and weaknesses, am I patient? Well, God's love acts kindly. Ephesians 4 32 says, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you. Love acts kindly because God has shown His unfailing kindness to us. That's how He's treated us.

In Nehemiah 9 17, it says, Thou art a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness. He shows His kindness to us. Well, do I graciously reach out to others, even if there's a possibility or I'm afraid that my offer might be rejected? Do I reach out to others? Do I have an eye out for the needs of others, take the initiative to help them? Kindness doesn't rush in front of another car to get the best parking space. Kindness clears another's plate from the table. Kindness mows the neighbor's lawn.

Kindness looks the checkout person in the eye and says, Thank you, and appreciates their service. So do I treat others in a kind and gracious way, in a way that I would want to be treated? Okay, love does not act jealously. Proverbs 14 30 says, A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. A definition for envy is feelings of discontent and ill will because of another's advantages or possessions. It's resentful dislike of another who has something that I desire, jealousy, envy.

It's a destructive thing. It's destructive in our lives because when we're envious of others, it's showing that we're self-centered, that we're not trusting in God. We're telling Him He's not good to us, or He would have given us that too. We're not thankful for what God has given us. When we're envious, we're telling God He's given us a raw deal.

We're living for things of this world and not the things of God. But love, on the other hand, rejoices when God blesses another person's life. Can I rejoice at her marriage? Can I rejoice when she has a baby? Can I rejoice with her successful ministry, what God is doing through her life?

Can I rejoice at the new home she got to move into, at the new house she has, at the career she has, how God has given her so much? You see, love is not envious but rejoices with the blessings and the successes of other people. Love does not act boastful or proud.

Philippians 2, 5-8 says, Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing.

He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form, and in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal's death on the cross. You see, love is not focused on making sure that everyone notices how much I know, how spiritual I am, how important I am, and all the sacrifices I made. You see, love is not focused on itself. It doesn't brag about itself, but it looks to build up others.

It looks at others. Love willingly takes the back seat in the service so someone else can have the front seat. Next, Lucado says, How can I love others if my eyes are only on me? How can I point to God if I am pointing to me?

And worse still, how can someone see God if I am fanning my own tail feathers? You see, love does not act boastful or proud. Well, love does not act rudely.

Matthew 5 16, Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and praise your Father who is in heaven. To be rude means to tear apart. It means to act discourteously, to act unmannerly.

And God says that we should act in such a way that people will see Christ, that they should be drawn to Him through our actions. Our actions should be courteous. They should be polite.

They shouldn't be improper. Our actions shouldn't humiliate others. Our actions should treat others with dignity and with respect. Well, do we treat the Jehovah's Witness at our door with respect, or do we rudely get rid of them?

Do we just try to get rid of them as fast as we can, or do we treat them with respect that they were made in God's image and He loves them? When you make an appointment with someone, do you try to show up on time? Do you constantly interrupt when others are speaking? Do you respect others' property?

Do you return what you borrowed from your neighbor or your friend? Do you treat all people with dignity and respect? Are you gracious and respectful in your own home with your own family, with your own children? Love does not act rudely. Love does not demand its own way. Philippians 2, 3, and 4, don't be selfish. Don't live to make a good impression on others.

Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others too and what they are doing. You see, love doesn't always look out for number one, but it's always considering what's best for someone else. And as this passage says, we do need to look out. We do need to take care of our own affairs. But it says don't only look out for yourselves, but think about what others need. Love means giving up, having our own way for the sake of someone else, if that's what's best for them.

So do I take time when I'm involved in something to think about others' needs, or am I too busy and focused on myself and making sure that everything works out in a way that is just best for me? Love is not easily angered. James 1, 19, but let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. See, anger is a God-given emotion that we experience when something doesn't go the way we want it to.

Or someone responds to us in a way that's hurtful or in a way that makes us feel rejected. And to be angry is not a sin. It's not sin. But how we respond to that anger can become a sin. And love, on the other hand, has a long fuse.

It has a long fuse. It's not irritable. It's not touchy, especially over little and unimportant things. It's not touchy. Love takes the emotion of anger, which is a good thing in some instances, but it takes it, and instead of flying off the handle with the situation, as we do sometimes, it runs to God to find help.

And it runs to God to deal with the situation. Love forgives over and over and over again and never stops forgiving. Has someone hurt you? Has someone disappointed you?

Have you forgiven them? Do you get easily irritated over little things that don't go your way and take it out on your family? Do you defend being irritable because, well, it's just the way I am. You know, it's just my makeup. It's just the way I am.

I'm just that kind of person. But love is not easily angered. Love is not irritable. Love keeps no record of when it has been wronged. Isaiah 43, 24, I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Love doesn't keep a notebook tallying up the score of people who have disappointed you. It doesn't keep a notebook. It doesn't keep a record of the mistakes or sins that others have committed in the past.

And it doesn't keep bringing up other people's failures. God doesn't keep a big scoreboard in heaven on you and all the things that you have done to mess up. Because He says when we confess our sins, He forgives us totally. And then He says He remembers them no more. And it's not because He can't remember them. It's because He chooses not to.

He doesn't want to. And so we need to give people a chance to change and to grow, to overcome and to become victorious. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Is there any person in your life that you keep reminding them of how they blew it, you just keep bringing it up and you keep reminding them, and you won't give them the grace to change? Is there anyone you're doing that to?

You keep bringing up their past mistakes and just shove them in their face. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Psalm 119, 128. Therefore I esteem right all thy precepts concerning everything. I hate every false way. You see, love never takes pleasure when somebody else falls. Love never asks somebody to do something that's wrong.

Love never causes a brother or sister to stumble. Love always wants others to follow Christ, to follow God's truth in their life. And so are we living in such a way that our life builds up others and God's truth and it influences them to do what's right? Is that how we're living? Am I modeling Christlike behavior to my children?

Am I walking my talk? Mother Teresa says, Where does love begin? It begins at home. Let us learn to love in our family.

In our own family we may have very poor people and we do not notice them. We have no time to smile, no time to talk to each other. Let us bring that love, that tenderness, into our home and you will see the difference. You see, we need to start practicing this, first of all, in our homes, and then spread out to every person that we meet. Love never gives up. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all men. Love never gives up on people.

God never gives up on us and He never will. Love keeps on praying, keeps on encouraging, keeps on sharing the truth, keeps on doing whatever is necessary to help others come to know the Lord, to help others want to be like Christ. Love enables a person to grow.

It doesn't disable a person. And love doesn't do for someone what they can do for themselves. You see, it's not love when we enable a person to continue in a lifestyle that's harmful or doing things for them that they need to learn to do themselves. Love doesn't disable. Love enables. And love encourages the faint-hearted to be strong and to walk by faith. And love doesn't condone unruly behavior, but it brings about discipline in a person's life so that Christ-likeness would be produced. But love never gives up. Love never gives up. Love never loses faith in others. Do not judge lest you be judged yourself, for in the way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you.

And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye but do not notice the log that is in your own? You see, love thinks the best of others. It gives them the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't judge other people's motives. It doesn't speak in a judgmental way about other people.

Am I quick to judge others and think about things that they're doing wrong or make a judgment of them when I don't even have all the facts? Love does not judge others. Love says, I believe in you.

I know you can do it. Love never loses faith. And love is always hopeful.

2 Corinthians 1, 2, and 3 said, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. You see, love instills hope into other people's lives. Hope for the future, hope in whatever circumstance that they may find themselves, that God will be their helper, that God will be their comforter, their deliverer. Have you experienced difficulty in your life in some area and God has helped you through that? Well, love will take that comfort that you have received from God and instill hope in someone else's life who's going through the same thing. Maybe there's a young mom who's struggling with caring for a new baby and you've been there and you can encourage her, you can give her hope.

Or maybe there's a teenage daughter who needs to hear about the struggles her mom went through when she was her age and she can say, Yeah, her mom made it through, I can do that too. You see, love instills hope into people's lives. We all need to see that there's light at the end of the tunnel. And the last thing here in 1 Corinthians 13, 7, Love endures through every circumstance. Hebrews 10, 36, For you have need of endurance so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what was promised. Love endures and it holds on no matter what difficult circumstances.

It faces because of our faith in God and His promises for our life. It holds on. It endures through every circumstances. It remains steadfast. It remains steadfast. There's someone in your life that you are just at the end of your rope with and you've just about had it.

You can't take it anymore with them, with their problems. But God says be patient. He says persevere and endure because nothing is impossible with Him. So do you have a love that's made in heaven?

I hope we're all growing in that way. Well, I was sitting at the breakfast table with my daughter, Annie, and she was eating her breakfast and getting ready for school, and she was telling me she had this strong feeling that she had a dream, but she couldn't remember what it was. And she said, Mom, have you ever had a dream, and it just seemed like it was right there, but she couldn't remember what it was.

And so we talked about that, and she went in her bedroom, closed the door, and she was having her quiet time before she went to school. And so she opened up her Bible, and she was reading out of Philippians. She read Philippians 4.18. And she came back in, and she was so excited, and she said, Mom, I remembered the dream. I remembered the dream when I read the Bible. And she said, I read Philippians 4.18. This is what she read.

The gifts you sent me are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases Him. And she said, when I read that, I remembered the dream. And she said, in the dream, I was in a room, and Jesus was there.

He was in this room with me. And she said, and then all of a sudden, I was in another room, and there were all these people there that I didn't know who they were. And someone in the room said, well, what's that smell?

And Annie said, in her dream, she realized, oh, don't you know what that is? That's Jesus. That's what I smelled. That's what He smells like, that sweet smell of the love of God.

She said, it was all over me, and it penetrated the room. And she was so just overwhelmed that God had spoken to her in that way. And you see, I think that's what God wants to happen to us, that as we spend time with Him, He fills us, He floods us with that love for other people, and it becomes a sweet-smelling sacrifice to Him as we love others, and it fills the room, and people experience it.

And they'll see the difference. They'll see it in us, and their lives will change. You've been listening to the second part of Teresa Ingram's message, Teddy Bear Hugs from Above, from her series, He Holds Me Forever.

She and Chip are here now, and we'll be back in just a few minutes to talk about what she shared today. The ideas Teresa's tackling in this series are fundamental to understanding God's loving nature. Sadly, there are a lot of people who don't know what that feels like. Maybe they're struggling with self-worth or feeling spiritually lost, and to them, God is cold and distant. Our desire with these messages is to help you understand that God deeply cares and loves each and every one of us. If you're still wrestling with that idea, that's okay. Let me encourage you to get plugged in with this series and find the hope you're missing.

Check out the resources for He Holds Me Forever at livingontheedge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. App listeners simply tap Special Offers. Well now, here's Chip with an offer you don't want to miss. I'll be right back in just a minute with some application to today's teaching. But I just want to pause for a moment, remind some of you, especially men, but not just men, that Mother's Day is around the corner, and this is a really powerful opportunity to encourage the mother or the mothers in your life that maybe your daughter's a mother by now, like is the case with me.

You can give flowers, you can give candy, and by the way, don't let me hold you back on that. But I think this is an opportunity to invest in our moms and our daughters in ways that's really rare. I will tell you the number one struggle most women have is they have a low self-image. They struggle with being accepted, they struggle with rejection, they struggle with all kind of issues. And I saw my wife go through a journey where she felt very lowly of herself, and honestly, guys, I couldn't figure it out. And out of some great counseling that we got, she began to do some affirmations, and she wrote some cards down about her appearance and about her competence and security that were truth from God's Word, very short, didn't try to memorize them, and she would read them out loud. And then she identified a handful of misbeliefs that really had paralyzed her, and the issues in her life were really around these lies.

And honestly, don't tell anybody. And I realized I had the same lies. And then on the flip side of these cards, these affirmation cards are truths. And as we read those over together, yes, that's true, you heard me. I actually read them over with her. It was so transformational. My mind was renewed, but here's what really got me.

My wife's life, she began to believe what was true about her, that she was competent, that she belonged, that she was secure, that she didn't need people's approval. So let me encourage you, go to the website. They're called affirmation cards. This is an awesome gift for Mother's Day, very inexpensive, very high impact. I just can't encourage you enough to put these cards in the hands of the women that you love.

Thanks for that. Do you know someone who needs the kind of encouragement Chip was just describing? Sending the gift of Teresa's affirmation cards might be just the thing they need. You'll find all the details at livingontheedge.org or by calling 888-333-6003. And if you're wanting these cards for Mother's Day, time is running out, but express shipping is still available. Visit us at livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003.

Have listeners tap special offers. Now with some final thoughts, here's Chip and Teresa. As we wrap up today's program, I love the story you told Teresa about your neighbor that drove you nuts. What would you say to that person who's stuck in their anger or resentment, and especially if it's maybe toward their mate or a family member, what would you say to them about dealing with that anger and that struggle? Well, when you're stuck in anger and resentment, it's a terrible place to be. And I've been there at different times in my life. The first response I have and I think most people would have is I want revenge. I want to get back in some way, tit for tat sort of thing.

I have a neighbor right now thinking about neighbors who's just irritating me to no end. But God says vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.

The hard thing is we can know that's true, but we don't want to wait. But he also says be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven us. So carrying unforgiveness and a grudge in our heart is a sin. It separates us from God. My friend who led me to Christ would share with me off and on when I was having a struggle and I was angry or something and I didn't feel close to God, and he would always ask me, well, who moved?

And I thought, well, I guess I did. God didn't move. He's still here.

He still loves me. But I moved away from him because I'm holding this anger and this grudge in my heart. Well, we don't want to stay there. God doesn't want us to stay in that place. And so it becomes a heart attitude.

Sometimes that person's not going to change. And it's a heart attitude that we need to allow God to develop in us. And it's divine. It's only from God. We as humans can't love that way.

We can't forgive that way. But Christ gave his life to die for us and give us the forgiveness of all of our sins. And we are to do likewise to love others as Christ loved us.

And so we need to resist the devil and pray against him and realize where the battle is. And another thing that I thought about is just to be grateful. I love my home. I love where I live. I believe it was given to us by the Lord. Could I allow this one neighbor to ruin my life?

I don't think so. I think God wants me to continue to love the place he's given us and to be grateful. So I begin to focus on all the things I'm grateful for.

And that has helped me a lot. And also praying for my neighbor. Praying that he doesn't know the Lord.

Why would I expect him to act any other way? To pray for him and expect God to speak to his life. And then God will give you peace as we do those things.

I believe that he will give us peace in our heart. And I would say, watching you, honey, you've been very vulnerable about what's going on inside. You've just been so gracious with him.

And you have just, I mean, everything from taking cookies to helping out to whatever. And sometimes we're waiting for some big wave of grace that God's going to do something. And it's when you take the step of obedience to love, when you don't feel like it, that's when God fills us with grace. I'm always reminded that Jesus did not feel like going to the cross.

But he did. And love is not how you feel. Love is doing what you know God wants you to do. And I've just watched how you've done that. And I'm really proud of you. And that's been a great example to me. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-24 14:17:16 / 2023-11-24 14:30:45 / 13

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