That doesn’t “sound” like love

Smacks. Spitting. Cussing. Lashings. Blood splatter. Cries of pain and torment. Scornful jeering. And the sound of hammers against nails.

To the average person, these sounds don’t sound anything like love.

But the interpretation of the sounds isn’t left up to the ears of the hearer. The interpretation is left up to the person who predicted these sounds before they were ever heard.

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1 Peter 1:10-11 – NKJV)

#messianic-prophecy, #mystery-of-the-gospel, #the-love-of-jesus

Not Ashamed

For he who makes holy and those who are made holy are all of one family; and for this reason it is no shame for him to give them the name of brothers,” (Hebrews 2:11 – BBE)

My spiritual imperfections, to say the least, bug me. There are times when I say, think, or do the wrong thing in a way that makes my own stomach, head and feelings hurt.

I hate to fail. I’m uber-competitive in many ways. Over the years I have learned to scale back on unnecessary comments, discussions and involvements that rile up the ole’ competitive side in an unneeded and negative way. But I still have a ways to go.

After a decade of striving to live in and according to the way that’s found in God’s word I have to remember that the one who started my journey for me will be the one who finishes it for me. It took God’s grace to create the opportunity and it’ll take God’s grace to seal it up.

This in no way negates the exhortation of personal responsibility in Hebrews 2:1-3, but that exhortation in no way negates a personal reliance upon Jesus from the beginning of our sanctification to the end of it. For if Jesus was unashamed enough to come and save us from our sin, then reason says that he’s patient and unashamed enough to help us find our way out of it.

Because of this it was necessary for him to be made like his brothers in every way, so that he might be a high priest full of mercy and keeping faith in everything to do with God, making offerings for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17 – BBE)

#imperfection, #jesus, #living-the-faith, #sanctification, #the-love-of-jesus

A “Twitterpated” Church by Dan Gulley

Bambi was a dear movie about a dear deer! In one memorable scene Bambi and his bunny-buddy Thumper and fragrant little skunk friend Flower are puzzled as they watch a pair of “love-birds” flitting, fluttering, chirping and happily chasing each other about. Friend Owl explains, “They’re `twitterpated.’ Twitterpated is when you get weak in the knees, you’re head’s in a whirl. . . you feel light as a feather and you’re walking on air. . . you completely lose your head.” Ever been “twitterpated”?!!

A computer search for “twitterpated” yielded this: “a word used to describe the fluttery rush of feeling that comes when one is in the presence of his or her crush; the giddiness of new love” (reference.com/motif/computers/ what-does-the-word-twitterpated-mean). Who can deny love may bring on some “twitterpation”?! In a highly poetic Bible passage about marital fidelity, Solomon discusses the powerful effect of romantic love between a husband and wife with these words: As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured (or intoxicated, English Standard Version) with her love” (Proverbs 5:19). Sounds like twitterpated to me! And moreover, these twitterpated feelings are part of God’s design for married love. The problem is the world has reduced “love” to nothing more than the “rush of fluttery feelings” akin to being “twitterpated.” The feeling element in love has been cut loose from the wider Biblical definition. The “love” pervasively advocated and celebrated in music and movies and in society at large is often nothing more than plain old lust. As in when Alan Jackson sang in a popular country song a number of years ago, “I’m in love with you baby, and I don’t even know your name.” Need I tell you this kind of “love” is wreaking havoc on our culture? Unplanned pregnancies, unwanted babies, sexually transmitted diseases, broken homes and hearts and lives — these negative things are the offspring of a stunted, twitterpated kind of love that centers on nothing except a “fluttery rush of feelings.” That kind of love that is more concerned with what one feels than how one acts toward others.

Jesus demonstrated love the day He died on the cross for the sins of the world (Romans 5:8) — but He was just not just twitterpated. The love Jesus displayed at the cross did not feel good to Him, but what He did was very good for those He loved. The love that purchased the church (Acts 20:28) was not the self-centered, twitterpated love looking for a fluttery rush of positive and pleasurable feelings. The love that provided salvation from sin was tough and selfless enough to endure crucifixion and the suffering that came with it. The Bible calls Christians to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). A twitterpated world is not well-served by a twitterpated church willing to love only when it feels good. The cross of Christ reminds us that Christ-like love keeps on loving even when we suffer long (1 Corinthians 13:4).  And the Bible makes clear that loving God’s way is more about what we do and how we act than how we feel. Jesus was not just a twitterpated Savior. Are you just a twitterpated Christian? Think about it.

Dan Gulley serves as an elder and preacher for the Smithville church of Christ.

#biblical-love, #christian-living, #christianity, #consequences-of-sin, #culture, #love, #marriage, #the-love-of-jesus

Red and Yellow, Black and White

For some reason a lot of people have no problem singing about the love of God for all the children of different races but things seem to change when they look at adults.

The truth of the matter is that the only “race” God is concerned about is the one we’re called to finish as his people! (2 Timothy 4:7)

Marshall Keeble once preached about the wonderful way that God could take a white egg and produce a black chicken. There’s a thought for you.

And I’ve often pointed out that cows of all colors have no problem living in and sharing the same field. It’s amazing to me how an ignorant animal can get past the color barrier but “intelligent” people run right into it!

Peter got it straight when he told a Roman solider, family man and truth seeker, “…In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

Red and yellow, black and white, Jesus died for all in his sight because he doesn’t only love all the little children of the world – he loves us stubborn adults too.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,…” (Matthew 13:47)

#christianity, #heart, #love-of-god, #race, #racism, #the-gospel-is-for-all, #the-love-of-jesus

Don’t Doubt The Unconditional Love of God

God’s love for mankind is unconditional. Many have a hard time believing and understanding this because of the truthful concepts such as universal justice, judgment and hell.

For some religions, a God who loves all, both friend and foe, is about as foreign and even abrasive as chewing on sand! Their religion won’t allow them to love others the way God loves the world because of how they perceive the enemies of God and how they perceive the love of God. Their religion won’t allow them to love others the way God loves the world because of how they perceive themselves – and in that, this said self-perception, there is a great danger even to God’s people…think Pharisees for a moment.

One can be an enemy of God but still be loved by God. How is this possible one may ask? I ask how is not possible? Besides the expressly stated examples of Matthew 5:44-45 and Romans 11:28, if God does not love his enemy then how could his enemy ever become his friend? For if there is no love at all on God’s behalf for his enemy, they would forever remain his enemy with no hope of peace, atonement or reconciliation.

Every Christian who has ever lived was at one time or another an enemy of God (Romans 5:8-10). This may offend some sensibilities, but to say otherwise is an offence to the cross. And the cross proves God’s love for his enemies. This as well may offend some sensibilities, but to say otherwise is an offence to the cross. For in the cross, God was reconciling the world, his very own enemies, to himself (Colossians 1:20-21, Ephesians 2:16-17). This in fact is the very reason why the cross was such an offensive stumbling block to some – because the love of God doesn’t exist to satisfy our standards, and thank God it doesn’t (1 Corinthians 1:23, 1 Peter 2:5-10). God’s love satisfies his own standard, for any other standard would fall far short of reconciling any of his enemies.

Understanding the difference between unconditional love and unconditional salvation is essential. Two things can look similar, but what they’re made of and what they cost can be something far different. One covered the price of sin that we could not pay through the atoning blood of Jesus (Romans 6:23) while the other will cost us our most valuable possession (Matthew 16:26).

Does God love the sinner? Does God want the best for those who want the worst? Does God love his enemies in ways that are unconditional? Through Christianity the answer to these questions is closed with a biblical, scriptural and joyful “yes!” But whether or not we love God is a more open-ended question that we must answer for our self.

This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us. So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. If we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son while we were still enemies, now that we have been reconciled, how much more certain is it that we will be saved by his life?” (Romans 5:5-10 – CEB)

#atonement, #christianity, #god, #love, #reconciliation, #the-gospel-of-christ, #the-love-of-jesus, #unconditional-love