Love, the most powerful concept, motivation, and force of all time, originates in God. God is love.
John tells us, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
He that doesn't love doesn't know God; because God is love.
In this, God's love for us was manifested, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
This is love. not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Hey guys, if this is the way God loved us, we ought to love each other the same way.
Jesus came and fulfilled the whole law, all 613 commandments. And He said, "It is finished."..righteousness completed, our debt paid. Jesus is our way out, or better yet, to live eternal life.
And Jesus gives us one new commandment. It supersedes the Law and the Prophets.
The Law is summed up in " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind', and You shall 'Love your neighbor as yourself."
Well Jesus upps the ante. He gives us, his disciples, only one new commandment, "I'm giving you a new commandment. to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are to love each other."
"This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love each other."
John tells us that If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.
"...just as I have loved you, you're to love each other."
This is powerful.
*Loving one another is proof that God dwells in us.
*This love is above and beyond what any law could ever do for us.
*This is where the truth of God and the grace of God kiss and meet in our lives.
*This is where the tension between faith and works is resolved, in the love of God.
*This is where the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, dissolve and become one, in the love of God.
*This is where all our divisions unite and fall away, in the love of God.
The fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of abiding in the vine, abiding in Jesus, is this: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
These are the character traits of God. The Holy Spirit will cause us to bear God's character as we abide in Jesus. It's an outworking of what God has worked in us. And our champion is God's love to draw it out of us.
Paul gives us a window in: If I speak in the languages of humans and angels but have not love, I have become a reverberating gong or a clashing cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It's never rude, never seeks its own way. It's never irritable or resentful.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures everything,
Love never fails.
This love of God in Jesus Christ, is the center and the heart of the gospel we proclaim.
And this is how we disciple the nations...by our love.
Love breaks the walls...from the inside out.
In every spiritual discipline, rules arise to shape and focus us.
I once heard a Zen master say, "In every Zen temple you'll find good rule keepers. Their spiritual pride runs quiet and deep. They practice well."
Listen, Don't be good rule keepers. Keep your nose on the prize. Run into the arms of Jesus. If the law is perfect, and only Jesus could fulfill it; don't you think He could straighten you out a lot better than a list of rules? God changes us from the inside out.
These rules give us form and structure. They shape, but can never change our lives.
So you've got to be a little rebellious. You've got to have a little chutzpah, without being arrogant, to move through the spiritual disciplines and meet their goal. Otherwise you'll get caught up in the list of rules like a dream catcher, and never get out. And that goes for every spiritual discipline, not matter how 'perfect' it seems.
'Out goal is progress not perfection.' Leave the perfection up to God. He's done it for you. Let Him work out what he's put in you. Our spiritual disciplines are there to shorten the learning curve.
This is the way a vision or a revelation works too.
In a real sense, even meditation is beginning with the end in mind. Here's why: Simply put, through meditation we move into the finished work of Christ. We experience that place of rest and peace Hebrews talks about. That rest in God.
Guess what? That's the whole purpose of meditation for the Believer. Workaholics, Legal Eagles and Gatekeepers hate this. But I've got to tell you.
From this position, this place of rest, this vision of God, we work our way back, or better yet, we work out what we've experienced.
We work out what God has worked in us. It's restful, it's transformational, but the world wants to kill it. Why? Because it reveals Jesus and his finished work on the cross.
So what works for you? Does singing bring you into the presence of God? or worship? or reading the Scripture? or a walk in the woods? Raising your kids? Teaching? Serving other people? What do you do, that brings transcendence up into your life? Those mystical moments. Whatever it is, that's your work of grace.
That is what you were put on this earth to do. That is how love expresses itself best through you.
You are meant for so much more than you can possibly imagine.
Photo Credit: Frank Abbott Photography
There's a stillness at the beach. A quietness you can hear in the echo of a seagull's cry, or the slowly breaking waves, lapping the shore. The waves whisper eternity. You can smell it. You can taste it in the salt air.
It's there, as you gaze out over the waters...it holds you, it draws you. When suddenly, the sun on the water casts a thousand diamonds at your feet.
There's a calm in every sunrise, every sunset...a dazzling display of creation, and rest.
So, soak in the moment. It's like the pause at the end of every breath. A space where time touches eternity. And in that moment, we are renewed.
And if you get very still and you listen very clearly, you'll hear it. In that space, you'll hear a faint echo down the halls of time, along with a call, a yearning for home.