Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

726

PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO LISTEN.

i recently saw a program  where the police officer was directing a suspect to put down the rifle he had in his left hand. The suspect was compliant but the officer was so focused on the rifle that he didn’t see the suspect reach with his right hand for the handgun that was hidden in the small of his back.

i can easily miss some important things because of what i’ll call “tunnel vision.” I’m referring to relationships for todays information. Like the police man and the rifle i let current experiences narrow my vision. They said they loved me, but then… They told me constantly they cared, but when i needed them, where were they?

A wide receiver on a football team must have tunnel vision. He doesn’t have the luxury of thinking about crowd noise as the football spirals toward him. The batter as he concentrates on the baseball hurling toward the plate must use tunnel vision.

In 1994, Tom Amberly set a world record by making 2,750 free throws in a row. Here’s what’s amazing about this record:

  • He was not a professional basketball player, he was a foot doctor.
  • He was 71 at the time.
  • He did not miss number 2,751. The building manager shut off the lights and closed the gym.
  • According to Amberly, “The only thing limiting you is yourself….we are more limited by our beliefs than our ability.”

Tunnel vision in the right situation can be good, but in the wrong situation… it’s a disaster and here’s why… because what i focus on, gets bigger in my life. A man is so focused on getting ahead in his career that he neglects his family. A mother is devoted to her children at the expense of her relationship with her husband. A teenager emphasizes sports and lets the grades slip.

i get so busy counting the times where love wasn’t what it could or should have been that i lose the moments where it was exactly what i needed. i get so distracted remembering the times someone said they cared and it felt like they left me out to dry. All the while i forget to be grateful for the times they spent hours or days caring for me. i become so focused on me that there’s no time to miss the ones that have shared their lives with me, with integrity and sincerity, if only for a moment.

Romans 12:18 (AMP) If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

This is not a command to be a doormat, but it does place a certain amount of responsibility for my relationships directly on me.

There is nothing more important than relationships and they are fleeting. There’s nothing wrong with counting stars but get a good look at the moon as well. People will disappoint me but people will also surprise me. Both situations are a part of life.

Why do I have to be the one to make the calls, send the cards or text a word of encouragement… or apologize… because God holds those stars and the moon in place. Each twinkle of a star or glimmer from the moon reminds me that there are those who love me, care for me and miss me. So, let’s make a call to someone who didn’t measure up as a star but glimmers as a ray of light from the moon.

 

Love in Action…

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Love
Tags: , ,

Love In Action

Love is not the answer… it’s the assignment!

I John 15:12, 13 says, “This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

That says to me that, as i get new revelation of God’s love for me, it will produce new words and actions in me. Therefore it’s time to re-visit these verses regarding love and the assignment they present. I have personalized them to myself.

This is more of a tool than a sharing of a story but, it is a part of my journey.

I Thank God Daily That…

1. i RECEIVE one another, just as Christ also has accepted me to the Glory of God. Romans 15:7

2. i GREET one another with a holy kiss. Romans 15:16

3. i SPEAK to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Ephesians 5:19

4. i SUBMIT to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

5. i LOVE one another, as He has loved me, so i must love one another.  John 13:34

6. i offer HOSPITALITY to one another without grumbling. I Peter 4:9

7. i stop passing JUDGEMENT on one another. Instead, make up my mind not to put any obstacle in my brother’s way. Romans 14:13

8. i with all humility and gentleness, with patience, show TOLERANCE for one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

9. i be KIND to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as Christ also has forgiven me. Ephesians 4:32

10. i be kind to one another, TENDER HEARTED, forgiving each other, just as Christ also has forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32

11. i be kind to one another, tender-hearted, FORGIVING each other, just as Christ also has forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32

12. So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal CONCERN for one another. I Corinthians 12:25

13. I was called to be free. But, i do not use my freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, to SERVE one another in love. Galatians 5:13

14. i CARRY one another’s burdens, and in this way i fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

15. I CONFESS my SINS to one another and pray for one another so that i may be healed.  James 5:16

16. i confess my sins to one another and PRAY for one another so that i may be healed.  James 5:16

17. i pursue the things which make for peace and the BUILDING UP of one another. Romans 14:19

18. I let the word of Christ dwell in me richly as i TEACH and admonish one another with all wisdom and as i sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in my heart to God. Colossians 3:16

19. That I am full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and be able to ADMONISH one another. Romans 15:14

20. i therefore ENCOURAGE one another and build each other up, just as in fact I am doing. I Thessalonians 5:11

21.i CONSIDER one another to provoke me to love and good works. Romans 10:24

22. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant me to be LIKE MINDED with one another. Romans 15:5

23. I be DEVOTED to one another in brotherly love; give PREFERENCE to one another in honor. Romans 12:10

 


Ephesians 3:14-20 – Conclusion

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Love

All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you. “

I notice this prayer follows Paul telling about a new identity in Christ, then that we cannot do it on our own but need God’s help…. and then, about how Christ changes and redeems human relationships conquering conflict.  Paul prays that i know, and understand the things that makes these changes possible.  He prays that i will experience the grace that only God can give.  Paul prays that i am given the very grace he teaches — and that i understand the implications of living in this grace.

Conclusion

One thing about Paul is that he keeps saying the same thing.  Like the previous chapters, there is little I can say about this other than my life changes as my thoughts and attitudes change.  In the thoughtful passages before — and this rather heavy prayer, i do not see behaviors, but attitudes.  i must learn, and love better.

Paul prays, and i would not be in error in following his example and praying for these same things.  Part of the change in attitude is recognizing my dependence on God.  If I were to suggest a practical recommendation — it would be to pray for the same things Paul prayed for — that i would understand better, that i would live in love, and that Christ would always be in my heart.

“For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”

Ephesians 3:14-20 – Prayer Pauls Way

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Love

One thing i notice when i read things written by Paul is that he wrote out, or mentioned his prayers in nearly all of the letters.  my impression is that for Paul, prayer was nearly synonymous with breathing.  He thanked God, and prayed for God’s grace and mercy again and again.  He prayed for the general, and at times for the specific.

Paul not only mentioned his own prayers, but mentioned others who prayed, and asked those he wrote to pray as well.  Even if none of his prayers are an example — the prominence of prayer is an example.  Paul tells the Thessalonians to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17),  and he told the Philippians to pray and not worry. (Philippians 4:6)  Paul behaves the same as he recommends by praying to God instead of worrying.

Contents of this prayer

Prayer TO God who Calls every family on Earth

When looking at various translations, you may see some disagreement on which preposition to choose.  I understand this part to mean that Christ calls all people — The Greek into English seems to me to say: “Each descendant in heaven and on earth is called by him”.

Paul is praying to a God with a mission as broad as his own, to bring Salvation, and a new identity of Christ to the whole world.

Prayer TO God – The one with more than we can ask or think.

It is deeply tempting to believe that “God helps those who help themselves”  It’s quoted this all the time, but this is not the doctrine of the gospel.  In truth, i seek God’s help because i cannot help myself.

There is a Latin word, Omnipotent, to describe God’s power.  Rene Descartes described this power better than the word itself by suggesting that a person imagine the greatest most powerful being he could.  The true omnipotent God has power even greater than what can be imagined.  Paul addresses God using the same metaphor later described by Descartes.  God is more than i can ask for, or imagine.

Prayer for the people That i may be Strengthened

It seems sane to consider that when Paul prays that God give the readers strength, that he does not wish them to rely on their own strength but God’s strength.  Paul has wrote extensively explaining that man is in no way good enough but needs God’s grace.  Paul does not tell the people to “be stronger” but calls on God to give them strength.

Prayer TO God  – That Christ may dwell in my heart

For many of us, this is basic Christianity. Children speak of Christ in their heart — though, we often find this basic idea difficult as well… how is it that Christ dwells in our heart?

Whether conflict, or success, or failings, our lives have been connected with Christ… whether Christ “dwells in our hearts” because he is always in our thoughts, and we pray just as we breathe”, or if this is something deeper. Paul’s prayer is that i am tied more and more closely with Christ.

Prayer TO God – To Be rooted and grounded in love

Paul also prays that i become rooted in love.  In Ephesians, Paul explains how Salvation is among other things the healing of human relationships.  Paul prays that God will grant the readers a solid love — to keep their feet stead… or love solid as the ground under my feet.  This standard is stated over and over again from Christ, throughout Church history.

Prayer TO God – Understand… breadth, length, height, and depth

Paul is using physical dimensions when calling me to understand.  It is pure speculation to point this out — but, I count four words of dimension — while our senses recognize only three.  Paul prays that God gives me understanding… beyond what i have.  Some see more clearly than others, but it takes special revelation to understand what is beyond our senses.

Prayer TO God – Christ’s love

Paul prays that i will understand Christ’s love that “surpasses all understanding”.  With my mind, i can reason that the whole of Christ’s life and death on this earth are a testament of His love.  The choice to give His own name and reputation to replace the one i earn for myself is a testament of His love.  Many people focus on the details of the cross — as the whole of life of Christ seems to much to understand.  i may focus on salvation from hell, as i cannot comprehend salvation from a life of focusing on myself instead of Christ.  If Christ roots me in love for one another, and He has killed conflict between men on the cross – this is part of Christ’s love for me.  i spend a lifetime understanding this love… and it is deep enough for a lifetime of epiphanies. ( i like that word)

Prayer TO God – That you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Paul also prays i may be filled with “all the fullness of God”  Paul’s prayer is something that is definitely a continuous process.  No matter how much i grow, there is more fullness to fill me.

Paul says some  remarkable words—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ . . .”—he spends the next two chapters expounding on what those riches are. He talks about how the Father has chosen me to a sure and certain calling—having predestined me for heavenly glory in Christ, and having made me acceptable to Himself through Him. He talks about how i have been redeemed from my sins and washed completely clean by the blood of Jesus; and how i have, by faith in Him, obtained an eternal inheritance that is as sure for me as if it were already in my hands. He talks about how the Holy Spirit is placed in me as a guarantee—sealing me for the day of full redemption. He talks about the greatness of God’s power that is at work in me—the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of glory; and he talks about how, from God’s perspective, i have already been raised from the dead with Christ, and seated at the right hand of glory with Him. He talks about how—right now—i stand positionally before God as those who have been brought near to Him and made partakers of all of His glorious covenant promises. He talks about how i have been given a full citizenship into heaven; and are, right now, being built together as a holy habitation for Christ on earth.

I read not long ago about a man who had been a poor beggar for nearly twenty years—standing out in the streets of some major city day after day, panhandling for dimes. A wealthy man came by; and when the beggar asked the man for a dime, the man turned to look intensely at him. The rich man soon realized, to his joy, that the beggar was his long-lost son; and that the wealthy man was his father. They had been separated those many years ago, and the father had been searching for him ever since. And now that he found him, the wealthy man told him that he would not only give him a dime . . . but that, as his son, all the riches of his great wealth were already his!

Spiritually speaking, I tend to live like that poor beggar. i’m going through life panhandling for the world’s meager dimes; when, the whole time long, my heavenly Father is trying to tell me that He has already blessed me with the indescribable wealth of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ! It is all mine already because of my relationship with Him through His Son Jesus. It was “for this reason” that Paul prayed the prayer he prayed—that i the believer to whom he wrote would realize what is already mine in Christ; and that the truths that he laid out for me in chapters one and two would sink into my heart and mind so that i would grasp hold of them fully.

Ephesians 3:14-21- Intro

Posted: January 2, 2012 in Love

i always find it encouraging whenever i hear that someone is praying for me.

I’m especially encouraged when a wise, mature, Spirit-filled individual, who really knows how to pray, comes up to me and says, “ed; I want you to know that I’m praying for you.” To know that I’m being prayed for by someone like that makes me very eager to see their prayer answered! And I’m even more encouraged when I find out the specific details of what they are asking God for concerning me.

When I learn that a believer is praying that I become a specific kind of man, or that I begin to take on certain specific characteristics of Christian maturity, or that I begin to do some specific thing that he or she believes God is calling me to do, I am inspired to grow, or behave more like, or to do that thing that they are praying for.

The apostle Paul may have been the greatest Christian who ever lived. He demonstrated a life-commitment to the Savior that was total. He had been given an understanding of the truths of the Christian faith that was deeper and more profound than could be found among any other redeemed human being. He had been given a practical and experiential grasp of our riches in Christ that was beyond parallel. He was a man who was utterly consumed and driven by the love of Christ. And that’s what makes his prayer for the church such an important one to consider.

The prayer is in Ephesians 3:14-21; where it says. . .

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21).

I am greatly encouraged by this prayer; particularly when I consider the man who prayed it—and especially when I consider that it was a prayer that was preserved for my edification by the Holy Spirit Himself. It’s a prayer that serves as an example to me, as a pastor, of the sorts of things that I should pray for my church family. I believe it should also serve as an example of how i, as an individual member of this church family, should pray for one another.

But most of all, I believe this prayer is meant to motivate me. It is meant to impact me with a sense the wonder and value of the spiritual riches that are mine in Christ. This love is not about what love i get, but what love i give. I know what i am supposed to do but somehow it isn’t there when i need it. This prayer is meant to encourage me to let the truth of those riches sink deeply into my heart and life and transform me from the inside-out. It is meant to inspire me to truly ‘seize hold’ of what is mine in Christ, and live out the implications of those spiritual riches in everyday life.