Mere Love

www.bible.com/72/1jn.3.18.hcsb

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.

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Loud Noises, No Meaning

www.bible.com/72/1co.13.1.hcsb

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?

bible.com/72/2th.3.5.hcsb

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.

Unlike Us

Love Without Limits

Two things that I know I lack, which demonstrates to me just how amazing God is. He is slow to anger. I am not. He is rich in love. Mine has limits. We could never invent a God like this one because we could never conceive of Him. And yet this is the One who sent His Son to die for us. “God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were enemies, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Something to think about today.

Summer of Love

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“Summer is for Lovers” or so the saying goes. I first met my wife during the summer. Maybe it was the humidity, or maybe it was the sweat stinging my eyes, we managed to fall in love that summer long ago. The summer romance is a staple of movies and media that try to capitalize on the season and desires of young people to get together.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1Jn 4:7-8)

We know that “God is love” and that all true love must begin with God. If it is truly love, then it is from God. This love comes from a specific Greek word, “agapae”, which closely defined means “sacrificial love” or love which freely sacrifices itself for the  sake of another without expecting reciprocation. This is the kind of love encouraged throughout the New Testament, and echoes the kind of Love which God expresses in the Old Testament, “hesed” or as it is often translated, “loving-kindness”. This should make us wonder if some of the things we “love” are truly worth the word we apply.

Some people love chocolate. I like to add peanut butter to that list. But neither chocolate, nor any food, can provide the kind of response required in love. Some love certain media figures or celebrities, though they will have no chance of ever meeting them or having those feelings reciprocated. We may adore and elevate nearly anything, but if there is no real response, can it really be love?

We must be careful to distinguish real love with its evil opposite, lust. Lust translates the Greek word “epithumia” and is often translated as “evil desire” or “covet”. Lust sees and wants. Love sees and desires a relationship. Lust takes for itself what it wants, without thinking about the other. Love gives and gives before the other gives back. Lust uses up and throws away when it is done, making even people disposable. Love values and upholds others, making them indispensable, even if no one else values them.

Lust is the beady eyes hovering over the computer screen downloading and viewing, demanding even new images of pornography to fill the eyes with pictures and the mind with fantasies without consequence.

Love is the elderly couple who long after the wrinkles and age has set in, still hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes. Love is sitting at the bedside, seeing past the brokenness, the sickness and the age, and still being passionate for your mate. Love is watching your children slip into bad decisions, but still welcoming them home when their world has caved in. Love is still giving them enough room to work things out for themselves, being patient with them.

Love is in the God who sends His own Son, though all on earth are His enemies, and hate Him, to live and die for them, dying for their sins so that after His death, burial and resurrection, some would respond in faith.

God made us to love. He made us to look outside ourselves and to work to please others, especially God, in a self-sacrificial way. Jesus tells us:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (Joh 15:12-14)

Who do you truly love? Who is indispensable to you?