Friday, February 13, 2015

The Greatest of These

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
 But the greatest of these is love
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

            The Apostle Paul closes out the most touching passage he wrote with these words. Have you ever wondered what He means by the word “things?” I have. Could he mean emotions? Faith is deeper than an emotion. So is hope. Love is a deliberate act of our souls.  Could he mean motivations? Let’s see, motivation means the reason for an action taken.

            I believe he means these three terms to be motivations. We take action in certain areas of our lives because we know the path we choose to take is the right one. (Faith) At other times we take a course of exercise that we see as the best way to go. (Hope) Still, we venture on a path that opens to us because we know it is what is best for someone else at that time. (Love)

            In 2011, our son came to me and told me he had been accepted for a job 600 miles to the west of where we live. He remembers me telling him, “That’s all right. You could live thee for a couple of years.”  He told me I said this when he was home the other week. What I didn’t know was my thought would be prophetic. I was motivated by my love for him.

            He will be relocating back to our home state in a few weeks. Yes, we are excited about his decision. We met him in the town where he will live and tried to help him find an apartment. We came home on the morning of the second day and he continued his search. He found one and did the business he needed to do and then drove two hours to our home.

We had a short visit with him here. He had to leave out a full day earlier that he planned due to the predicted weather.  All the actions that Hubby and I took in this venture were backed by the motivation of love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Remain in His Love

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Now remain in my love.”
John 15:9 (NIV)

               The scene is in an upper room. Jesus and his disciples recline at their last meal together. Jesus tells his disciples as He prepares them for the future.

               The Master tells them how much He loved those who followed Him. He states it well. “As the Father has loved me,” As we study the Gospels we sense how great God’s love was for Jesus.

               Now, Jesus tells his disciples that He loves them as His Father has loved Him. What does Our Lord mean by this?

            Jesus loves patiently. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthian believers (I Cor. 13:4), reminds us that love is patient. Our Lord loves us and waits for us to realize our need for Him. I had a Sunday school teacher who said it this way, “Jesus is always a gentleman.”

            He loves unconditionally. As children, our earthly parents had to discipline us when we did something that could have hurt us or someone else, if we disobeyed them, or broke a house rule. But, they still loved us! God, who loved us when we were still unformed, loves us no matter how serious our disobedience.

            As children of God, we sometimes wonder if an action we do might cause God to be angry with us. On Tuesday mornings, I meet with a group of friends from church for a season of prayer. But, I can’t always be as faithful as I would like about my attendance. Weather conditions or my general health enter into the decision I sometime have to make to stay home; when I do I try to spend that time in prayer.

            We cannot put limits on how much Jesus loves us. We know He does. We see the evidence in the ways He protects us, provides for us, and brings us through difficulties. We should always remember that He loves us more than we can ever realize.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Know and Love Your Neighbor

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself” Matthew 22:39 (NIV)

            Since the Pharisees heard that Jesus had earlier ‘silenced the Sadducees,’ (:34), they decided to test Him. One who was knowledgeable in the law posed the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

            The Master answered the question and went further, giving the second greatest commandment, to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. When He said this, Jesus was quoting Old Testament Law. (Leviticus 19:18)
            This is a tall order. In our 21st Century society, we barely know who are neighbors are.At one time, I could say I knew or was acquainted with several families along our street, those a few houses away as well as those close to our house. As time and circumstance has changed our street, I no longer can say that.

            Last spring, we had an emergency right across the street from us. A house caught fire. The woman who lived across our side yard had her dad staying overnight. He ran across and down the street and pounded on the front door of the house immediately to the west of the burning house.  He was a neighbor in every sense, and he was just staying at his daughter’s. 

            Will we be held accountable for our society becoming more insular as time goes by? I believe so. Certain regions of these United States have recently gone through times of great unrest. These times have caused concern and caution on the part of those who watched events unfold.
            Is there still time for us to learn to know and then to love our neighbors? I certainly hope there is.

            Dear Father God:
                        Thank you for giving us neighbors. Help us to learn to live side by side or close to one another. Teach us to respect one another and to bring aid when and as we can. Also equip us to share our love for You with them. We give You all the praise. In the name of Jesus, we pray. AMEN.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...