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Posts Tagged ‘God’s love’

Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (John 14:21)

In the hit television drama “Breaking Bad”, high school chemistry teacher Walt is trying to set up a big buy of his amazing quality methamphetamine. The buyer is reluctant to deal with Walt. This is because Walt employs Jesse Pinkman, a former student of his who sells Walt’s drugs. “You can’t trust drug addicts,” the buyer tells Walt.

Sitting in a fast food place with this dealer, the  manager and also a man who is really a major player in the drug world, Walt explains why he works with Jessie. “I trust him,” Walt says, “He’ll do what I say.”

While Walt is far from being Jesus, he DOES have the same approach as our Lord when it comes to who he associates with. One of the followers of Jesus asked him “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”

 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say… Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.” (John 14:22-24a)

I’m a little like Jessie Pinkman. I have my own dependencies. What I have come to realize, however, is that if I want to have a connection to Jesus, I have to get rid of them.

Unlike Walt, part of of doing what Jesus says involves dealing with my personal character. If I don’t, the attitude of Jesus toward me will be the same as the major buyer of Walt’s meth: He won’t let me into His world for fear that I may betray Him.

It’s getting more and more difficult in American culture to do what Jesus says. For me and I am sure others, part of the problem is that we want to fit in and have friends.

However, I think in my case the real issue is that I know that I can pretty much do what I want in America in the moral sphere and not worry about recriminations. In fact, the only abuse I would take in the US now is if I failed to join in on the fun.  In essence, the boundaries against immorality are now gone.

What keeps me from disobeying Jesus now is that I value His friendship more than I do the fleeting pleasures of my dependencies.  With this attitude in place, I have done pretty well of late dealing with them.

The rest of the world doesn’t know what they’re missing!

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“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,   for to you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143:8.)”

Residents of the mid-Atlantic in the United States are crying “uncle!”  Another blizzard swept through this weekend, stranding people on the highways and at home, snapping power lines, and creating general havoc.  As  the old phrase says, many folks have got to be saying,  “Have mercy!”

There are others who are taking another view of the most recent storm.  There are a lot of photos this morning of people out skiing, snowboarding, sledding and throwing snowballs, and generally having fun. The people in these pictures are smiling and enjoying themselves.  My wife saw the blizzard as an entrepreneurial venture.  She went out with my youngest daughter yesterday and shoveled walks and driveways for cash.

When David went through tough times, he cried for mercy like some people have been doing with the record winter weather.  He was worn out from all the struggle.  However, his problems weren’t weather related.  He had issues with other people (Psalm 143:3,4).

The biggest problem for David was that people were running their mouths about him.   He called on God to silence  them (Psalm 143:12). He asked God to powerfully intervene on his behalf with enemies who were lying about him.  These foes were probably getting a hearing, too, because they presented themselves as being pure as the wind-driven snow when they were in fact corrupt and selfish (Psalm 144:5-8).

In the midst of crying for mercy and deliverance in his awful circumstances, David also asked what he could do about them. He wanted to learn to do God’s will  so that his life would level out and not be so chaotic (Psalm 143:10).

So what can we do when we are faced with the same kind of people that David encountered, people who are working either in public or behind the scenes to take us down?  When it comes to relationships with others, even our enemies, the apostle Paul has some good advice.  He said to “be ready to do whatever is good” (Titus 3:1).    He reminded his friend Titus that we believers were once like the people who are coming after us.  “We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another,” said Paul (Titus 3:3). 

The difference between believers and the people attacking us is that we have received mercy for our previous behavior.  Jesus Christ graciously saved us and made us new.  Remembering  what Jesus did for us will lead us to treat people differently. It will  give us cause to devote  ourselves to doing what is good instead of  reacting the way we used to before we knew Christ  (Titus 3:4-8).

What does “doing what is good” look like in practice?   Doing what is good involves not backbiting others even  though they are slandering us.  Doing what is good means dealing with our enemies in a peaceable and considerate way when they are doing the opposite ,  and exhibiting true humility towards them, even if they acting in  a proud way toward us  (Titus 3:2).

Perhaps doing what is good towards our foes will lead  them to Christ.  Doing what is good will give us a different outlook on our stormy lives.  While crying out for mercy, we can also give it.

First, though, we have to remind ourselves of what God has done for us. We can be mindful of his generosity.  We will then look at the difficult people in our lives in a different way. Because we have received grace, we can be gracious to others.

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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”

The day started smoothly enough.  I had gotten out of work a little early and decided to pursue my idea of visiting a major landmark about 3 hours away. My students and I are reading a book involving one of the architects, so I thought it would be interesting. I also knew the drive took me by a beautiful mountain gap I really wanted to see again.

Then things started to get frustrating.  The mountain gap was completely shrouded in fog, even though it was just the middle of the day.  Visibilty was about 50 yards. I shrugged it off, though, and crossed into the state of my destination. However, shortly after doing so I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the interstate.  Road work. This delayed my trip even more.

Soon the traffic moved again and I prepared to turn off onto the highway that would take me to where I intended to go. But before I made the turn I saw a sign about a rock slide on that road, and when I turned on to it there was bumper to bumper traffic again. 

I stopped to get a bite to eat and evaluate at this junction. I wasn’t that far from a place I used to live and thought it would be interesting to see it. So I just headed south instead of west.  I am now writing this from a town where I spent about 8 years of my life.

I don’t think this was all an accident. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know I have the Spirit of God living in me. His role is to guide me and keep me in touch with the Father (John 16:13).  In fact, this is His main role. As any good father, God has his plans for me and I may be frustrated at the time, but they are for the best. If I  go my own way and don’t consult Him, I will suffer for it. I may also suffer if I go His way, but that particular suffering will ultimately lead to good. My choices won’t (Romans 8:18=39).

I enjoyed looking over some old stomping grounds yesterday. But I have no idea why I am here. I may never know.

The rock slide that caused me to redirect turned out to be in another part of the road. But  I love and follow Jesus and I know He loves me. As I thought and prayed about it at the time, I thought this destination was where I should be. So here I am and I can trust Him with that.

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“I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it (Psalm 81:10).”

The land of Virginia to which I have now moved is steeped in history. It is the home of many of America’s Founding Fathers. 

Several Virginians participated in the Constitutional Convention in 1789 that formed the United States.  But what people don’t necessarily realize is the doubt that accompanied this convention.  George Washington was elected president of the convention, but he almost didn’t attend. His brother was sick, he was also ill, and he needed to manage his estates at Mount Vernon.  In addition, many people thought the convention might fail and Washington had to think long and hard about having his name associated with it.

George Mason was disappointed with the results of the convention.  He wanted a bill of rights to protect citizens from the same kind of tyranny Americans experienced under the British.  Mason had written a similar document for Virginia, and although his ideas were eventually used to create the Bill of Rights Americans enjoy today, at first his proposals were not accepted.

Thankfully the fathers of our country persevered. They were the best minds on government of the day, and they kept at it until they came up with a “more perfect union”.   The key man in bringing that about was Virginia’s James Madison.

The Bible has its own James Madison.  Paul describes Ananias as a highly respected Jew and a devout observer of the law of God.  He was instrumental in bringing Paul to Christ and giving him a mission.  Perhaps Paul was a bit reluctant or dazed after he heard the pronouncements of Ananias regarding the salvation offered to Paul and the words about his life’s purpose because Ananias said to him, “What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name (Acts 22:14-16).”

For the sake of all Christians, it was a good thing Ananias was there to put Paul in the right direction. Paul was the greatest Christian mind of all time and wrote a good part of the New Testament.

We too can’t either believe or accept the overwhelming blessings God offers us. But we all need to know God  is just waiting to dump a truckload of His love, care, compassion and generosity on us. What are we waiting for? It’s time to grasp this truth and act on it.

Source: National Archives Constitution site

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