Tag Archive | faith

Love is greater than moral conscience

This post may seem out of character for me.  There are items in the news which I see differently from some of my conservative and Christian counterparts.  Usually I abstain from sharing my feelings on social or public media because, honestly, doing so rarely changes anything.  And that might be the case now, too, but I cannot keep silent this time.

In increasing numbers, Christian behaviour is at the forefront in the media, and to put it mildly, it is not perceived as loving. I am deeply grieved by how the “moral conscience” of some are driving people away from Christ, rather than drawing them near.

Christians—your actions are speaking louder than Jesus’ words.  How can those outside of Christ know his love if we refuse to serve them, stubbornly judge, or by our deeds, reject them?

Jesus called us to LOVE, His message was LOVE, and His ministry was and ever is LOVE.  I’m not going all new-age on you here. It’s just what Jesus said:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:45-47

Christians are called to live above the law, not be excused by it Jesus said the answer to the law is fulfilled in this:

“Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body, and your neighbor as yourself.” 

The apostle Paul called love, “the more excellent way.”

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He went on to say,

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  1 Cor. 13:1-2

In a similar vein, the apostle James said we can talk about our faith until we’re blue in the face (well, not in those words), but if we don’t display loving actions, our faith will be empty, and our message, void:

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 3:15-17

Dear Christians, our faith is not expressed through anchoring our behaviours onto our “moral conscience”; rather, it is to be set into motion through loving deeds, untiring grace, relentless mercy, kindness, compassion, and, above all, humility!  Remember:

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This leaves no room for pride, arrogance, or judgement. We need to humbly learn from our Lord who said that true greatness in God’s kingdom, is being a servant to all.

In the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, two pious men walked past a man beat up by robbers.  A third man stopped and helped him in his need, a helper from a rejected culture, and someone that, under normal conditions, would never be regarded as a friend.  How does the story go??

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Through love and mercy, we reflect God’s character, the very light and life of Christ:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

That’s something legalism, rejection, and judgement can never do.

Believers, humbly live above the law, by going out of your way to show EVERYONE the same mercy, grace, and love that you have received.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  I John 4:9-11

Check out these two articles with similar sentiments, only better expressed:

Don’t Be Defined by What You’re Against

Bake for them Two

Trust Your Shepherd

“Fear not, little flock… 

…for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32

 

So much of our fear comes from trying to figure things out.  We look at the checkbook and try to figure out how to turn the red to black, how to make more time in the day for our family, or desperately wonder, based on world events, if we’re in the last days.  And the more we try to fill in the blanks of our agenda and faith, the more we find unbelief creeping in, replacing trust with doubting questions, rest with anxiety, and love with fear.

We question our journey and with the disciples, say “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, and how can we know the way!?”

Shouldn’t the Lord fill us in?  He knows the way.  Won’t He enlighten us…a little?

Instead He says, compassionately, “Fear not.” 

Why?

~~Because He’s given us His enduring Kingdom.  “I give to you eternal life, and you shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck you out of my hand.  My Father, who gave you me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck you out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

~~Because, He is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).   HE is our journey and our life.  We can trust Him fully.

This assurance is driven home in a brief post by Jon Bloom at Desiring God.  I recommend reading the entire post, but here’s a comforting excerpt:

Frequently, Jesus doesn’t share our urgency for us to know exactly what he’s doing or where he’s leading us. His reasons for withholding that information are always good. His will for us is our sanctification.  And what that usually means is some form of “believe in…me.”

Jesus is your Good Shepherd. A benefit of being a sheep is that you don’t need to know the way.

You just need to trust your Shepherd.

 ~~~

Dear Lord, Help me to trust you more.  My doubts and fears grieve you.  Each day I have to learn to trust you all over again.  I give my questions back to you, for you alone know all things.  You are my shepherd, and I lack nothing.  Truly, ‘your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’ I do believe, Lord.  Help my unbelief, in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

~~~

To complement today’s post, I just uploaded  “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin, in the Music Box.  Please join us every Fearless Friday, as we learn from God’s Word how to grow in God’s perfect love.

My Hope

“My Hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Hope is….to cherish a desire with anticipation.  That defines My Hope…Jesus.

“Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life!”  Titus 3:7

In memory of Todd’s recent passing from death to eternal life, I needed a reminder of  hope and encouragement, since I find myself on this side of eternity, seeing a bit darkly, and walking, sometimes hobbling, by faith.

C. H. Spurgeon writes:

‘The voice of weeping shall be no more heard.’  (Isaiah 65:19)   The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone.  There are no broken friendships, or blighted prospects in heaven.  Poverty, famine, peril, persecution and slander are unknown there.  No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens.

  They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified.  They are without fault before His throne and are fully conformed to His image.  Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. 

They weep no more, because all fear of change is past.  They know that they are eternally secure.  Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They live in a city that will never be stormed..bask in a sun that will never set…drink from a river that will never run dry…and pick fruit from a tree that will never wither.

They weep no more because every desire is fulfilled.  They cannot wish for anything that they do not already have in their possession.  Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, and all the faculties are completely satisfied.

The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them…and that same joyful rest remains for us.  It may not be far distant.  ‘Wherefore, comfort one another with these words!’ (I Thess. 4:18) 

John Newton wrote this hymn about a loved one’s death:

In vain, my fancy strives to paint
The moment after death,
The glories that surround the saint,
Then yielding up his breath.

One gentle sigh the fetter breaks:
We scarce can say,”They’re gone!”
Before the willing spirit takes
Her mansion near the throne.

Faith strives, but all its efforts fail,
To trace her in the flight;
No eye can pierce within the veil
Which hides that world of light.

Thus much (and this is all) we know,
They are completely blest:
Have done with sin, and care, and woe,
And with their Saviour rest!

Before our Lord, they praise His name,
His face they always view;
Then let us followers be of them,
That we may praise Him too.

 

This is an encouraging quote from Bunyan’s Pilgrim:

There also you shall serve Him continually with praise, shouting, and thanksgiving, Him whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the mighty One.

 

And from Jesus:

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”  John 11:25

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hell.” Revelation 1:17, 18 

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  Revelation 22:17

 

What is your Hope? 

 

Faith Floats

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Even at the bottom of the river I didn’t stop to say to myself, ‘Is this a Hearty Joke, or is it the Merest Accident?’ I just floated to the surface and said to myself. ‘It’s wet.’ If you know what I mean.”  Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh

Eeyore was pushed, or as he says, “Bounced!” into the river by Tigger.  He found himself in an uncomfortable environment (the river not exactly being a place for a lumbering donkey), and had no choice but to turn on his back and float.

My first tendency if pushed or “bounced” into an undesirable setting is to fight it with all my might!!  I lash out, flail, and do anything possible to keep my head above water, utterly convinced that, somehow, my efforts will get me through.  Others may take a different approach–they may try to run, fly, or do anything to avoid ‘getting wet.’  But the Lord calls us to Rest, Trust, and have Faith in Him.  Float…

Both the Word and Spurgeon offer us assurance when a flood of trials or difficulties swirl about (but, I confess, I’m still learning):

“….Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by My name, you are Mine!  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you…For I am the Lord you God, The holy one of Israel, your Saviour.”  Isaiah 43:1-3

“You made men ride over our head; we went though fire and through water; Yet, You brought us out into a place of abundance!”  Psalm 66:12

Spurgeon:

“You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled (by God) to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God’s strength had you not been supported amid the flooding waters.  Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation..”

He goes on to say, we don’t need to seek out trials..they are plentiful enough, just as we know Eeyore didn’t choose to go in for a swim one day :-).

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