Friday, December 6, 2013

God Is Love

Things to Think About

Today's meditation focuses on the qualities of love, and the differences between romantic love and Godly love, pointing out that human love tends to be ephemeral, whereas God's love is constant. 

Love is an interesting word, but just for today, try an experiment.  Take the portion of 1 John 4:8 that says "God is Love."  For today, everywhere that you would normally say "God", substitute "Love."  And everywhere you would normally say "Love", say "God." 

You might find an interesting change in perspective, because God is not only a noun now, but a verb - an action that governs your relationships.  And you might find how often we trivialize "love" when you substitute God as a verb.  You might also find Love elevated, for if God is Love, shouldn't those we love be given stations and respect far above where they currently are? 

Let us know what epiphanies you reach today.  And Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Something Fun for Advent

Draw names and write a love note for a family member. On Christmas Eve, distribute your notes into their stockings.

Reflection from a Guest Pastor - Dustin Parker-Fahey

In today’s meditation focus we look at love and the difference between an earthly, physical love and that of our Heavenly Father's love. Yet as believers are we not called to love as our Father loves? Are we not called to be Followers of Christ? To love as he loves?

God is Love. It’s an incredibly deep yet incredibly simple statement that we read many times yet completely gloss over. If we stop and actually spend a couple minutes thinking about what it really means, if we meditate upon God's Word, I’m sure that He will reveal to you many epiphanies as He did for me.

The Pharisees came to Jesus with what they thought was the perfect question to snare Him. “What is the greatest commandment?” they asked, knowing that however He answered, it would divide His audience. Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment.”

Well that wasn’t what the Pharisees were expecting, and they certainly weren’t expecting what He said next. “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

You see, what Jesus is saying is that if we can’t love, then we’re doing something wrong in this walk with Him we call life. “All the Laws and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus is telling the Pharisees “Listen, you can do everything that the Law and the Prophets say to do. You can keep the feasts, make the offerings, whatever. But if you can’t love God and can’t love people then you aren’t doing it right.”

In that statement there is a hidden little message for us. “The second is like it, Love your neighbor.” I’m going to make a bold statement here. If we can’t love people, then we don’t love God. Because “God is Love.” His message through Jesus was one of love. “For God so loved the world…” That didn’t mean that He loved the hunk of rock, but the people that walk on it. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, shared table fellowship with them-as a means of showing them love; and in turn, showing US how to love.

I had a conversation with a man I witness to on a regular basis. He has been very angry about the cars that drive up and down his road and has taken to yelling and even cursing the drivers. I asked him one day “Ronnie, do you remember when Christ says we are to love our neighbor?” “Yes,” he replied grudgingly. “Do you think God loves them despite their speeding?” “Yes,’ he replied again. “Do you think that God loves them so much that Christ died for them just like you and me?” This time, he couldn’t say yes as tears rolled down his face. He just simply nodded. God's truth rung just as true in my ears as it did his and the Lord reminded me of the people I had been unloving to lately.

If we are to be true followers of Christ, we need to learn how to love like Christ. Not this earthly love or the mortal/physical sense were it fades with time, with an action, or lack of an action. We are to love them unconditionally, for the Child of God that they are, to love them as Christ loves them.

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