Tag Archives: love one another

1,2,3 John, Jude; Love Came Down… And Out

Merry Christmas! Jesus is born. God, who is love, came down from glory and began life in human form. We celebrate that incredible birth today. Happy birthday, Jesus.

This portion of Scripture that I read today reminds me that I can claim to be a Christian, I can go through the motions of worshiping Him, but unless I am changed by my encounter with Jesus – I don’t know Him.

Period.

I can’t claim to be a Christian if I have hate in my heart. I can’t claim to be His child if I mistreat people He came to save. If God is love, then when He comes to live in me, love lives in me. And I can’t help but express that love to others. His love comes down, then reaches out to others through me.

Enjoy the day with family and friends. Take time to worship the new born King. And may His love be evident in all of us who truly know Him.

I Corinthians 6-10; Life in a Nutshell

Paul gives us many examples of what life should be for the Christian. And his descriptions are so politically incorrect, it’s almost laughable.

In his letter to the Corinthians he tells us Christians ought not to sweat the small stuff. We shouldn’t be making mountains out of mole hills. We shouldn’t be blowing up over trivial matters. The world is watching how we handle the small stuff. Does our example convict them, or does it validate their own bad behavior?

The Christian life should be pure. Yes, I know that’s an old-fashioned word. But purity should describe we who serve a Holy God. Again, the world is watching us. Do they see us with self-control, with unwavering morality? Or do they see the same depravity in us they see in themselves?

Christians should be content, faithful in marriage, busy serving God. If they see us sleeping around, divorcing because we fall out of love, or neglecting our families or our ministries, what is different about us than what they have in their own homes?

Paul challenges us again today to stop looking out for “number one,” and step aside for the benefit of others. Who cares if the new sanctuary color isn’t to your liking? Or if that lady in your Sunday School took your favorite pyrex dish home after the last pot-luck dinner? Who cares if Suzie got the choir solo you wanted to sing, or if you weren’t asked to sit on the AdMin committee again this year.

Get over yourself.

The world tells us to stop being a door-mat. The apostle seems to be telling us being a door-mat has its purposes.

Paul said he gave up so many rights to take on his ministry. He said he became whatever was needed in order to win people to the Lord. That must have been exhausting. He did it anyway. He denied himself a spouse, he turned down wages, he gave up the comforts of home. For what?

Time is running out, he told the Corinthians 2,000 years ago. And, friend, if time was running out then, it’s closer yet today. Paul didn’t have time to be self-absorbed when there were people who still needed the Lord.

Do we? Paul tells us to be single minded. Focus. You can’t live with one foot in God’s kingdom and one foot in the world. Are you trying to make God mad? (10:22)

Life in a nutshell? Jesus said we are to love God and love our neighbor. (No mention of self-love, is there?) Paul tells us whatever we do, whether we are eating or drinking, “do it all for the glory of God.” (10:31)

Life in a nutshell is not about you.

John 12-17; What Would You Say?

We get a glimpse of the table conversation at the Passover Feast by one who was actually there in the upper room. John, who identifies himself as loved by Jesus, shares this last, intimate exchange between Jesus and those closest to Him.

Jesus knew He was about to die. What did He want his disciples to know before everything changed for them? Let’s take a look.

Jesus keeps reinforcing the fact that He is the Son of God, that He is on a mission from the Father, that what He says comes out of the Father’s mouth, that He and the Father are one. “Don’t ever forget,” He seems to say, “I AM who I say I AM.”

Jesus not only spoke to them about being a servant, He demonstrated His role as servant by getting on His knees and washing their feet. He showed them that He came to serve. Now it was their turn. “Love one another as I have loved you,” He tells them. They would need to love each other fiercely in the days and years ahead.

He encouraged them to trust God, knowing their faith was about to be tested. He told them He was going to lay down His life, but they would see Him again. In fact, He spoke about heaven, and told them they would join Him there some day.

We’ve already looked at some of the “I AM” statements that Jesus spoke during His ministry. Here, in this last conversation before the cross, He tells His disciples:

I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him. (John 14:6-7)

One of the last things Jesus says to His disciples is I AM the only way. Don’t ever forget that.

Jesus went on to tell his disciples about the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth. He wanted His disciples to know He was not leaving them alone. “I’m sending help,” He tells them. “One who will never leave you!” (or me!)

Then, to draw one last picture, Jesus says;

I AM the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (15:1)

The Spirit within us produces fruit that is straight from God. Our lives in Him bear fruit. Lives apart from Him can do nothing.

Jesus goes on to talk about love. I think I’d want to tell my loved ones how much I loved them, too, if I knew I was going to die. “I love you like the Father loves me,” He tells them. “Love each other.” And then Jesus called them His friends. Imagine. The Savior of the world said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

Then, before making His way to the garden where He would be arrested, Jesus did something amazingly beautiful. He prayed. He prayed for those men sitting at His feet. And He prayed for us. For you. For me.

If you knew you would die tonight, what would you want to say to your loved ones? What would you leave them with? In these chapters in John, we read what Jesus said to wrap up His earthly life. We hear His love, feel His passion. And we know He didn’t leave there before He prayed. Not a prayer that focused on what He was about to experience. He prayed for us.

What I have shared by no means covers everything Jesus said in these chapters of John. Please read them for yourself. Let God speak to your heart about the things that are on His. What Jesus said to His disciples that day, was meant for your ears, too.

Dear Father, thank You for inspiring John to let us in on that last, intimate conversation Jesus had with His disciples. We get to hear Him put a cap on His ministry, find out what He wanted us to remember. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives in those of us who call You Lord. And thank You for this precious Book that allows us to know You in such a personal way.

 

 

April 6 – Safe Places

Judges 19-21

Where do you turn when you feel lost, or afraid, or overwhelmed by the circumstances of life? I hope you all can answer that question by saying you go directly to God in prayer.

But I’m talking in addition to that. When you get up off your knees, where do you go to feel safe? Who in your life represents that safe place we all need from time to time?

Judges 19 tells of a Jewish man traveling with his wife and servant. It was getting late in the day, and they were close to a town of non-Jewish people. The man decided to travel a bit further because he did not want to stay with foreigners. They went, instead, to Gibeah, a town of the tribe of Benjamin.

First of all, the travelers were ignored by their fellow Jews. No one offered to take them in until an old guy showed up and invited them into his home. Read the account for yourself. It’s horrible what happened.

Shouldn’t we be able to feel the safest with our families? Shouldn’t we be welcomed and cared for by those related to us? And shouldn’t the same be said for our churches?

This story made me think of those who have been hurt or betrayed by people in their homes, or in their churches. We probably all know someone who tells of mistreatment at the hands of those who they trusted to care for them. Maybe you have experienced that pain yourself.

If you describe your home as a Christian home, is it the one place on earth your children feel the most welcome, the safest, the best loved? Even when discipline is required?

Is your church fellowship warm and caring and forgiving? Or is there gossip and jealousy and pride running rampant? Do your members have reason to trust and support each other?

If there is hurt going on, don’t just stand by and let it happen. That makes you just as guilty as the one inflicting harm. Let’s put our homes and churches in order and set them as the standard for which everyone else strives.

Our Christian homes and our churches need to be the safest, most caring and loving places in the lives of our fellow Christians. And making that a reality is something you can do.

Dear God, I pray for all of us today as we take a look at our homes and our church fellowships. Convict those of us who are guilty of holding grudges, or having a mean temper, or who gossip, or are jealous… I pray that you will help us to repent, to speak up against mistreatment of our brothers and sisters, and to demand that our homes and churches be the safest place for a Christian to be. May You be glorified as we love one another like You love us.