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Posts Tagged ‘Love one another’

 

How do you worship? How do you allow others to worship?

 

Many Hearts – One Song

 

Father, what is it about us that makes us think that the way “we” worship You is the only “correct” way? We are all Your children, but we all worship You so differently. Some of us are quiet and reserved, some of us are spirited and emotional, and some of us a combination of both, but still, we are Your children.

Lord, I look at my own children and see that they are quite different, but both my children. I know they both love me, and I love them, but as You well know, they are so different. Why can’t we, as Your children, realize and understand that about each other?

Father, I’m not even talking about other religions, but just within the family of us who claim the name “Christian.” Those of us who claim Jesus’ declaration of “I am the Way the Truth, and the Life” seem to maintain that “our” definition, of which “way” the “Way” should be proclaimed, is the only manner in which to experience it… how much we are missing by this assertion …

How much we are limiting our praise and worship by doggedly holding to our own methods without drinking from our brothers’ cups. Yes, we may go back to our own cup, but we will have tasted that there are other flavors and other aromas to be experienced.

Just as the one body has many parts, each with diverse gifts and functions, so there are many ways to worship You. Each will be fulfilling to different people in different ways. Let us not think that our way is the only “correct” way, and thus hinder or impede another’s relationship with You.

Protect us from thinking that just because another worships You differently than we, that they are not quite as “spiritual” or as close to You as we are. Only You know the heart. For all who are led by Your Spirit are Your children. We have not been given the spirit of bondage but of adoption to which we can all say, “Abba, Father” whether we sing it, shout it or whisper it…

May we always remember that as many parts make one body, so many hearts make one song. Give us grace to allow our brother to worship You in accordance with how You made him. And give us courage to worship in the manner to which we were called.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

May God bless you in your worship.

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In my teaching and writing I often talk about what I call “Duh” statements and questions, and this is certainly one of those. (Do you love Jesus? Well duh, of course I love Jesus!) But how do you know that you love Jesus? Paul said that “God proves His love for us in that, while we were yet (still) sinners, Christ died for us.” He didn’t wait until we “accepted Him”, or got our act together, or started going to church. In fact, if you think realistically about it – Jesus died for us before we were even born!

 That proves His love. What proves ours? 

In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” The word “keep” is in a tense that literally says “you will keep on keeping My commandments.” So, what are His commandments? Does He mean the Ten Commandments, or gee, do we have to study Leviticus and keep all those commandments? (Yikes!)

[One quick word on the Old Testament commandments – God gave the Jewish People three kinds of commandments – Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral. The Civil commandments dealt with their life as a nation. The Ceremonial commandments dealt with their religious life, and the Moral commandments dealt with their life as moral human beings.

  • We do not live in the Old Testament nation of Israel; therefore we do not have to keep the Civil commandments.
  • We do not live under the religious requirements of the Jewish Law; therefore we do not have to keep the Ceremonial commandments.
  • We ARE, however, moral human beings; therefore we DO have to keep God’s Moral commandments. 

Don’t let anyone “muddy the waters” for you by saying (for instance) “Well, those laws don’t matter any more. I’m sure that our clothing is made from more than two kinds of fabric and we sow more than two kinds of seed in our gardens…” (Making fun of Leviticus 19:19). That IS NOT what keeping the commandments means…] 

More than once Jesus was asked which commandment was the most important (a favorite topic of discussion of the Religious leaders, by the way.) And Jesus’ reply was to love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) However, in one instance, as you may remember, the rich young ruler “wishing to justify himself, said [to paraphrase] yeah but… who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered the question using the parable of the “Good Samaritan.”

But it is in John 13:34 that Jesus reveals His commandment when He says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another”.He goes on, “By [doing] this all men [every person] will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In other words, if you love Jesus, you will love one another. But what does it really mean to “love one another?”

In John 15:12 Jesus reiterates the command, “This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you (italics added). How did He prove His love for us? He died for us! Verse 13 adds, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  

Wow! Does this mean that I need to die for others in order to prove my love for Jesus? Actually what this means is… yes, if necessary. However, for most of us, literally giving our life won’t be a decision we’ll have to make, but giving ourselves is a decision we have to make every day.

The Greek word for love that’s used throughout these verses is “Agape”. It’s a word that is seldom used in Greek culture outside of the New Testament Church. Agape is a “self sacrificing” type of love. It is a love that sacrifices for the good of others. It is a deliberate choice to act in the best interest of another person (which, by the way, may not be the action they actually want you to take… but, that’s another thought for another day!) 

Agape love is a self-giving love. It is not an emotion; it is not based on how I “feel” about someone. It is a decision. And when I decide to love, not only my brother; not only my neighbor, but “one another” (including my enemy) I say to the world, “I love Jesus” and so I ask, “Do you love Jesus? Can you prove it?”

 

Loving Father, You loved me and provided for my salvation before the foundation of the world. Every command You have given has been for my own good. In the “Thou shall’s” You are offering me every wonderful gift of the kingdom. In the “Thou shall not’s” You are protecting me from harm. What a wonderful God and Father! 

I pray O Lord for Your strength in making and keeping the decision to love. I cannot do it on my own. I must understand that You, through Jesus, gave the command to love, and that You, through the Holy Spirit, give us the ability to keep the command. Yes! What a wonderful God and Father!

Now, Gracious Master, I bow in humble submission and proclaim, “I love Jesus!” “And I know that He loves me.” It is in His precious Name I pray – Amen.

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