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Posts Tagged ‘love’

SUFFERING BECAUSE OF PEOPLE WE LOVE

Romans 10:1. Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

Saved from what? Incredible as it seems the super religious people in Israel missed the point of Jesus’ message and Paul’s almost completely. We can see in the Book of Matthew the very earthy Jesus getting up every day and attacking the organized religion of the day. They did not understand “God is a spirit. . . worship Him in spirit and in truth” John 4:24

They did not understand the teaching of Jesus and Paul that true spirituality is a LOVE* based life. Moses gave them the great Shema “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6). We could say it this way, too “. . . you shall LOVE!”

LOVE! That’s the basis of true spirituality! A life of LOVE begins with recognizing that God IS LOVE! God’s LOVE is different than human love. He loves us just as we are. We do not have to try to be better for God to LOVE us. He already loves us.

Paul had a deep heartache over his people not understanding true spirituality. We see this pain over and over again in his writings in the New Testament.1 Jesus also expressed his agony over people.2 Both Jesus and Paul suffered physically.3. Both of them put their physical suffering second to their love and desire to help people. Basically the Jewish people of th believed that they had to have all their ducks in a row before they could please God.

We do not have to get our ducks in a row. Jesus and Paul were desperate to get this point across. Paul says, “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does it all.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 The Message) The first step is recognizing that we are hopeless and helpless to help ourselves. Jesus tells us “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (MSG). I, like most people thought I had to get my ducks in a row. Then God revealed to me that I DON’T HAVE ANY DUCKS!

It’s a gift! This salvation from ourselves and the wrongness within us is free, a gift from God. It has a name too, grace. Grace! I can relax. All the wrong things I’ve said. All the wrong things I’ve done. All the wrong choices I’ve made. All of it taken care of by the LOVE of Jesus. That’s why He left His Father. It’s why He left heaven. He chose to come to us messed up humans and save us. He did this by dying for us and taking ALL the wrongs of every human being who ever lived, you, me, your boss, your mother-in-law, the neighbor down the street, Hitler, the rapist, a murderer, yes, even an ISIS terrorist. No one is left out. All I have to do is accept this gift and decide to let Jesus live His life of LOVE in me.

There you have it. I cannot live the life of LOVE on my own. I don’t even know where to begin to LOVE my enemies. That’s work for Jesus. I just need to learn to let Him do it.  You can ask him into your life right now.

We see in Paul’s prayer for those he loved so deeply, an agony beyond words. I think he knew they would never “get it.” I think he knew they would always be proud of their spirituality which made them hate others who weren’t as “spiritual” as themselves. Their path was a polar opposite of the free gift to the “poor beggar” who comes to God with nothing.

*LOVE – God’s love as opposed to human love

1 Romans 9:1-5; Rom 9:30-33; Rom 11:1-2;

2 Luke 19:43-44; John 11:35

3 Matthew 27:32; John 19:1

Please let me know if this has been meaningful to you.

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MYSTIC MUSINGS

This week in the Genesis study we explored the very difficult 34th chapter. It’s hard to understand why stories like the rape if Dinah are in the Bible. We seem to think that all the characters in the Bible are saints. They are not. The Bible shows use raw humanity. The are stories that could be put on the nightly news and be right at home. So why are they there? To show that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was a God of LOVE.

“For God so loved the world. . . ,” a world of raw humanity capable of horrors and atrocities. “That He gave. . . ” God’s love is always about giving, of Himself, first and then in a million intimate gifts that come to rest in the heart of Jesus. “His only Son. . .? Divine LOVE give all, gives what is most precious and dear to His own divine heart, withholding nothing. That is why I capitalize all the letters when referring to divine LOVE. No human being can LOVE like that. Why would He do that? Why would He give His dearly beloved Son to people capable of the horror we see in Genesis 34.

So, how do we get this great love? See there’s the wrench in the works. Justice demands that sin must pay the penalty. Logic tells us that we must measure up to the righteousness demanded by the law. Except that there was no law at this time, just strict cultural norms and standards enforced by tribal kings in city-states. But this call for justice is a natural one in every human heart of every culture found on earth. So when the Bible says that we obtain this incredible LOVE by faith alone, we rebel. “. . . That whoever believes in Him (Jesus) would not perish but have everlasting life.” Noooooo! It can’t be true. Shechem can’t get off scott free. Jesus didn’t die for Hitler. The boys were perfectly justified in killing all the men in the village. That’s justice. Yes, perhaps. But it us not LOVE, or grace, or making peace.

It is a mistake to demand New Testament values from Old Testament people. As the old saying says, “The Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written.” But God does not change. His righteousness demands perfect LOVE which is part of His great character. The greatest commandment for both Jews and Christians is summed up in Deuteronomy 6:6 “You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”

That’s the standard. Who can measure up to it? Every moment of every day to be totally consumed with a burning love fit God, is the demand. And although these words had not been written yet, God still sets this as the standard. Do I measure up. Certainly not!

Jesus does LOVE like this He loved Shechem when he came riding across the plains to snatch up Dinah and rape her. He loved Jacob when he failed in leadership. He loved Simeon and Levi, when they committed the crime of killing all the men and not stopping with Shechem. The corollary to the Great Commandment is Leviticus 19:18 “. . . You shall love your as yourself.” It takes divine LOVE to love our enemies, those toxic people who destroy our lives our peace and our sanity.

How can we get this divine LOVE? Be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is given through the life of God to us because He is living in us. Galatians 5:23,24. I receive the Holy Spirit when I became a believer. Romans 8:9. But being controlled by God, The Holy Spirit is a matter of choice. God is a gentleman, if I want to do things my way, He will let me. I have a will. When I sin it is then a matter of confessing my willful sins to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me.

Loving toxic people is hard. Sometimes it’s hard to love the people we cherish. But loving my enemies is completely out of the question. I cannot love a “Hitler.” Only divine LOVE can do something that amazing.

Let’s ask Jesus for mercy. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit for the help He is ready to give so that. We can LOVE as He does.

In the heart if Jesus,
Kathy Seidlitz

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