All the Rest is Commentary

This is the first and best commandment. It’s not the first of the Ten Commandments, but it is the first of the the two that Jesus recommended. The second is like unto the first, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” To this Jesus adds the Christian commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It all seems to be about love, doesn’t it?

Is it telling that all of these commandments command love? As if to say that love is not something that comes naturally from us. We must be told to do it. Is it somehow contrary to our nature to love God, neighbor, and our brother in Christ? Or is it that though we love, we don’t love the right things, and that these commandments are direct our love, instead of correcting our lack of love.

In regards to this, do you remember Ephesians 5? In that passage, women are commanded to respect and submit to their husbands, while husbands are commanded to love their wives, as Christ loved the church. While on the one hand, submission is not an easy nor popular thing to do, genuine self-sacrificial love is just as difficult for a man to express for his wife. This is the same kind of love commanded in all three commandments above.

If love wasn’t a commandment, would we do it? Do you struggle with love? It is hard for us to know what Love is when we’ve never been exposed to it. Many people experience unconditional love from their parents, but many don’t. Without that experience, it’s hard to imagine a God who is Love. For without love, it impossible to know God. It’s impossible to understand His motivations. That God would willingly sacrifice His own Son so that the world could be set free from sin. What kind of love is that?

I challenge you today to explore this love. 1 John is an excellent commentary on the love of God. If love is challenging for you, make this a matter of first priority in your prayer life. Because everything we are commanded to do comes from this.

If you struggle with love, let me pray with you. God bless you today.


The Greatest

Of faith, hope and love, the greatest is love. Why is that? Simply because love outlasts the others. Faith is temporal, for it will only be necessary until we see the face of Christ. Then we will know and be fully known. (Do not take this lightly, as faith is the basis for our salvation, and without faith it is impossible to please Him. While temporal, it is still extremely important). Hope too is temporal, in that when we see Him, our hope will be realized. (Again, this is not to say that hope is not needed. We depend on our blessed hope to endure this present darkness and press on to the light. We need our hope like oxygen for perseverance, the mettle or our maturity. Without hope we no direction or focus. We need hope, just as much as faith) But the greatest by far of the three is love. Love is eternal. Love is everlasting. Unconditional, forgiving love is our mainstay, which we will experience both now and forever.

How great this love is when the Father sends His own Son, proof of His love, to suffer and die, to take upon Himself the infinite wrath of God on our behalf. One day we will see his face, though I will ashamed, knowing that this eternal loving God had to suffer and die for my sins. I will week as I’ve never wept before for shame, that such a one, a perfect One, took my sins and curses upon Himself. I am a wretch before Him. And such love will raise his nail-scarred hand and wipe away my tears. What love is this, that would love me so completely? Such I have never experienced on this earth. Such is too wonderful, too hoped for, too fantastic for my imagination. Could I imagine such love? That without regret He would deem me worthy of such a sacrifice as His cross? Am I so valuable to Him as to deserve that love? I am worthless. But He has imparted to me by His grace such worth that I cannot take it all in. So I weep in gratitude. Through tear-filled eyes I behold my Savior and thank Him for His love. And I weep for those that didn’t embrace His offer of love. Such love is too powerful. Shall we ignore it?

God bless you on this Valentine’s Day. He loves you deeply. Don’t ever forget that.

Mere Love

Surely love is too important, too deep, too wonderful to be merely love. Yet this is John’s contention this morning. Is it possibly that love be mere talk? To say “I love you” is just talk? From what I hear, that’s the extremity of commitment for some and a true test of relationship for others. Some count this as proof that they are ready for cohabitation. Mere love, mere expression without commitment. There is saying “I love you” and showing “I love you” by doing. This is the difference John is teasing out here. Saying “I love you” in the backseat of a car or online is far less significant than saying “I love you” before a crowd of witnesses at the altar. It is less meaningful than when holding your wife, tearful after a long and difficult day, weeping how much she wishes she could help people more, angry at the world for its unfairness, and to simply hold her, knowing she has borne you four children, remembering with her that there are good times, that is love. It is love to willingly do dishes when you know she hates to do them. It’s dropping everything at a moment to see what she needs two rooms away.

Love is more than speech. It is action, commitment, a willingness to follow through with the promise of “I do.” Love isn’t just between humans either.

For the love we experience with God is much more. For his did God demonstrate His love for us? Did He scrawl “I love you” on the face of the moon? Did He send a Valentine’s card in the mail? He sent His Son. His only Son into a world that He knew would be hostile to him. He sent His Son to suffer and die for the sins of the world, to receive into Himself the extremity of His wrath for sin. You see, our God is an angry God, angry at sin and the men who commit it. Since Adam God has weighed and counted the sins of the men, preparing them for His wrath. God’s Justice must be served. God prepared a place called Hell to receive the souls of the damned for eternal torment and suffering to a degree we are not familiar. Sin is costly, and it must be paid for.

But the Love of God must also be satisfied. For His love is just as intense and infinite as His sense of justice. And there was only one answer to the intensity of His wrath, and that was the willingness to endure it through the perfect sacrifice of His Son on Calvary. For as infinite as His wrath is, so must also be the One willing to endure it, and that can only be Jesus, the God who became Man, and the Man for all of us. This is the Love of God.

Cards and flowers say love, but what really shows love? Don’t merely say love. Mean it. Do it.

God bless you today.

Loud Noises, No Meaning

I’ve heard the phrase “Turn up the signal, drown out the noise” which seem cryptic on the surface, but as I’ve come to understand it, means that we focus on the meaningful communication and tune out the meaningless noise. We live in a world with a lot of noise. Everywhere we go thee is music, chatter, the noise of machines and the business of life. But none of that matters when what you want to hear are the sounds of your children, or your wife’s voice saying “I love you”. More than this, all of life’s noise drowns our the small still voice of our Heavenly Father. You can hear his voice if you listen closely. You open up His Book and His voice is right there.

Pail here is talking about love and its importance to the life of a believer. Without love, life is just noise. Love makes it meaningful. Love makes the message matter. So something we need to work on today is our love. Do we have it and is it meaningful? I suggest you do a love inventory. What and who do you love? Do you love to receive or do you love that you may give love. Love is powerful , and without it, life is useless noise. Don’t let your life be useless.

God bless!

Not Sure Where To Go?

The world says to “follow your heart” and “listen to your heart”, but it seems the heart is just as confused as the rest of us. The Bible has a different take on this. Let the Lord lead your heart into love and steadfastness, or, let the Lord lead you into His kind of love, and the perseverance to stay there. His kind of love is unconditional, needs no prompting, and no promise of reward. That kind of love is tough, which is why you must also have perseverance, the kind of endurance that allows you to weather adversity. It calls for loving the unlovable, loving without expecting anything in return for those that can do nothing for you, even your enemies. It is love for others, simply because they are God’s children wherever they are, and sharing that love with them, sharing God’s love for them through His Som Christ Jesus. Follow your heart as God leads it. God bless you today with good journey.

Nowhere to Hide

Jesus Reached Out

No matter where you run, or how buried you are in work and circumstances, there is no place that God cannot find you. This is a comfort to some, and a fear for others. Don’t add God to your list of fears. When Adam sinned against God, he ran and hid. God called out into the garden and said, “Where are you Adam?” Adam hid because of his sin, but his sin did not hide him from God. God knew exactly where Adam was, just as our parents could always see our foot sticking out or our hair just above the back of the couch. We pretend that we can hide from those that love us the most, but we are only fooling ourselves. God sees us in our sinfulness, our wretchedness, even our busyness, and stills calls to us. He still reaches out His hand. God loves us, even when we sin against Him. God loves you, especially today.