Love, my conclusion (Part 2)

Love, my conclusion (Part 2)

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one i see
V is very very extraordinary
E is even more than anyone that you adore

And love is all that i can give to you
Love is more than just a game for two
Two in love can make it
Take my heart and please don’t break it
Love was made for me and you

This catchy song by Nat King Cole is probably stuck in your head now, you’re welcome. It is a nice tune, actually, and there are some simple truths in it for sure. Love is not in our wheelhouse, pure love that is. Our human nature does not allow for us to love, purely, from a selfless place but rather love void of God is selfish. It constantly asks the question, what can i get out of this? Oh, we can talk about love, learn about love, desire “true” love but we don’t truly understand love until we understand Christ.

To understand we must study. There is only one place to look really, and that is at the one who perfected love, and the only one to actually pull off perfect, pure love was Jesus. He was not jealous, although we do read in Exodus 34:14 – “For you must not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about His relationship with you.” So, how do we reconcile this idea of a jealous God and pure love, not being jealous?

The idea is simple really. Love was made for me and you. For God so loved the world. God is love. You see, pure love is about God in the first place, the last place and right here where we are in the middle. Perfect love casts out fear. When we have communion with Christ we can rest assured that His perfect love will cast out fear. It will allow us to love unconditionally, others, even those who would hurt us. Perfect love said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)  Our human efforts at love are full of weakness, that is precisely why we must, absolutely must, commune with God regularly. In fact, it should be as often as we possibly can!

So let’s take Jesus and define pure love. In 1 Corinthians 13 we read;

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails 

Where our human nature may fail, God’s love is perfected. We forgive others because God through Christ forgives us. When we love God we are doing what we were made to do . . . when we love others, we show the heart of God within us. When we love others, even when they have spit in our face, undermine us, provoke us, curse us, cheat on us, lie to us, steal from us, when we love our enemies, blessing them and not cursing them, then we will know what it is to love perfectly in pure love. Let us love like that . . .

You are Loved,

cj

Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails

Have you ever been lost? When i was eight years old my family went to Knott’s Berry Farm in Southern California. They had at the time Western Stunt Shows that would just erupt in the middle of the park on the walkways. Following one of these shows, i was separated from my family. Panic quickly set in. Yet, being a pretty independent kid, after the initial shock i was able to shift into survival mode. Step one, find a Sherrif (a.k.a. Park Security). i spotted one and sure enough, he knew what to do. After all, they are trained in the art of reuniting lost children with lost parents.

There are times in one’s life where life comes at you full speed and takes you by surprise leaving you feeling lost. At first, you are scrambling to figure out what just happened, that turns into, what must i do to survive?! Survival instincts are natural and necessary but if relied on solely can cause you to begin to lose sight of the big picture. God’s picture. We are going to look at a pretty famous or popular passage of Scripture today found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 & 13. It’s known as the love chapter.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (Love Never Fails) …Three things will last forever–Faith, Hope, and Love–and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

When my family and i were finally reunited there was no casting of judgment on who’s fault it was we were separated. No record kept, no irritations, we rejoiced, the “Sherrif” rejoiced too. We celebrated our love for one another. Our love endured. i didn’t lose hope or faith that i would be brought back together with my family nor did my family. This might seem like a simple story and you might say of course love wasn’t lost in a short amount of time. Surely you would be right. There is a bigger point, however.

This is a story where everything worked properly. i sought the help of a trained professional. In my survival mode, i realized i needed help and didn’t just accept the help of anyone i went to someone trained in these sorts of situations. i let them walk me through it. Because i took proper steps, i was able to come out of this better for it. Often when we get “lost,” we think we need to solve the problem ourselves rather than rely on the help of others who are trained in our specific situation. It isn’t a sign of weakness but courage that one seeks help.

If i had not gone to the “Sherrif” who knows how long i would have been separated from my family. Had my parents not looked for a “help center” things really could have ended up differently. One of the reasons Paul is led by the Spirit to write this, i believe, is to show God’s great love for us and in turn compelling us to love like Him.

When we feel lost, after the initial shock, we need to remember, love never fails. We need to seek the help of someone trained in the area or situation we are facing in that moment. Don’t take the advice of someone who isn’t equipped, no matter how great their intentions the advice might be all wrong. Don’t lose sight of the big picture, which is exactly what the devil will want you to do. Keep focused on the big picture, what does God think of your situation? i bet the answer is…

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (Love Never Fails) …Three things will last forever–Faith, Hope, and Love–and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

you are LOVED,
cj