Tag Archives: Love

Thursday of the Commandment

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34

Today is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34, “A new commandment (mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Holy-Thursday-Maundy-Thursday-2015

This commandment was given by Jesus on the Thursday before his crucifixion. So Maundy Thursday is the “Thursday of the Commandment.” This is the commandment: “love one another: just as I have loved you.” But what about Galatians 5:14? “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” If the whole law is fulfilled in “Love your neighbor as yourself,” what more can “Love one another as Christ loved you” add to the fulfillment of the whole law?

I would say that Jesus did not replace or change the commandment, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” He filled it out and gave it clear illustration. He is saying,

Here is what I mean by “as yourself.” Watch me. I mean: Just as you would want someone to set you free from certain death, so you should set them free from certain death. That is how I am now loving you. My suffering and death is what I mean by ‘as yourself.’ You want life. Live to give others life. At any cost.

So John says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16). Was Jesus loving us “as he loved himself ”? Listen to Ephesians 5:29–30, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”

In the horrors of his suffering, Christ was sustained “who for the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). And that joy was the everlasting gladness of his redeemed people, satisfied in the presence of the risen king.

Therefore, let us see the greatest love in action on Maundy Thursday and tomorrow on Good Friday. “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1). He loved us to the uttermost. And let us be so moved by this love that it becomes our own. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.(1 John 3:16).

This is the commandment. This is the Thursday.

Love to the Uttermost Devotional Readings for Holy Week
John Piper

Seeing The King On Palm Sunday

hosanna“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Today is Palm Sunday. We picture ourselves welcoming the King into our city and into our hearts. He tries to make his intentions known by coming, not on a great stallion, but on a lowly donkey, meek and humble.

I wonder how many here look upon this lowly Servant- King and feel that this is just a thin veneer, and that beneath this lowly exterior there is a terrible power and authority which is just waiting to burst out against you if you slip in any way. I wonder how many feel that it is not really the deepest pleasure of this King’s heart to serve his people and meet their needs.

I wonder how many feel that he’s riding this donkey of lowliness as a kind of camouflage. And once he gains a foothold, he will throw off his rags, pull out his sword, and storm forth to do what he really loves to do, namely, judge and destroy. Of course, some will be saved—the few who somehow could please him. But that is not his heart’s desire. He is basically angry—always angry. And the best we can do is stay out of his way, and maybe, if we keep the rules well enough, we could sneak by him when he is in one of his temporary good moods.

God’s Deepest Delight

Jesus is at pains to help you not feel that way about God. And I want to draw your attention to one verse, namely, Luke 12:32, because every little piece of this verse is intended to help take away the fear that Jesus knows we struggle with, namely, that God begrudges his benefits, that he is constrained and out of character when he does nice things, that at bottom he is angry and loves to vent his anger.

Luke 12:32 is a verse about the nature of God. It’s a verse about what kind of heart God has. It’s a verse about what makes God glad—not merely about what God will do or what he has to do, but what he delights to do, what he loves to do, and what he takes pleasure in doing. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

The phrase “good pleasure,” is a verb in Greek: “to be a pleasure” or “to be pleased by.” You could translate it: “It pleased God,” or, “God chose it gladly.” In other words, God is not acting in this generous way in order to cloak and hide some malicious motive. The word “good pleasure” utterly rules that out. He is not saying inside, “I will have to be generous for a while even though I don’t want to be, because what I really want to do is bring judgment on sinners.”

The Lord’s meaning is inescapable: God is acting here in freedom. He is not under constraint to do what he doesn’t really want to do. At this very point, when he gives his flock the kingdom, he is acting out his deepest delight. This is what the word means: God’s joy, his desire, his want and wish and hope and pleasure and gladness and delight, is to give the kingdom to his flock.

Love to the Uttermost Devotional Readings for Holy Week
John Piper

The Coming Christ

candles-4Zechariah 2:10-11 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you.”

Jesus came to establish His Kingdom. We, as believers, have seen Jesus and we have been impacted by our encounter with Jesus Christ. This calls for exuberant shouting and gladness because of what he has done and continues to do within us. Because of this, we have more reason than anybody to be a people of exuberant praise.

God is in the business of restoring our hearts to such a degree that we can be people who receive grace and forgiveness. Because of God’s great love, we can be people of hope even in the desert places of life. We can be people who are living testimonies of God’s splendor, and we can be people of praise because we know the hope of our Coming Lord.

Lead Me to the Rock

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61:1-3

When your heart is overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget that God is there, waiting for you to turn to Him. Often we worry, stress and struggle with our problems, looking for solutions in our own power, and feeling faint of heart. What can we do? Who do we have to turn to? We feel alone and desperate, afraid to wake up and get out of bed. It would be easy to stay there and avoid our problems, but that doesn’t solve them.

lighthouse_at_duskThankfully, God doesn’t forget us! He’s our refuge, our shelter, a strong tower from our enemy. When our heart is overwhelmed, when we feel like the world is against us, when we feel like giving up, we can run to God, who is always there for us. He’s our loving Father, who wraps us in loving arms and comforts us. He protects us from the enemy, and He is our rock when we falter.

Thank You God that He cares for each of us. We can place our trust in Him, knowing that even though the storm rages around us, we are safe in His love.

Love

“‘I will tend My flock and let them lie down.’ [This is] the declaration of the Lord GOD. ‘I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice'” Ezekiel 34:15-16.

“For the Lord will not reject [us] forever. Even if He causes suffering, He will show compassion according to His abundant, faithful love. For He does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind” Lamentations 3:31-33.

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. candles 4

He couldn’t do anything for himself. Born with cerebral palsy, he sat in the wheel chair loving every second of the Christmas musical. He faces challenges that I can’t even imagine. His body wrecked by a disease that causes him to be in constant motion. He sat in the back of the auditorium, perhaps wanting not to distract. And sitting next to him was a proud mother, I couldn’t help stealing a glance throughout that evening, to see hear stroking his hair, wiping his mouth, and smiling all the while. She adored him. I thought to myself, That’s it. That’s love.

I had to meet this amazing mother. She was a single mom who had just moved to Tennessee from Kansas. “How do you do this all by yourself?” I had to ask. “He’s my life. He’s the greatest blessing that ever happened to me.”

This two-person family had an eternal impact on me. I received a glimpse of the love God has for me. Despite my constant battles with the curse of sin and personal rebellion, God loves me like that. Amazingly, you are God’s treasure and if you follow Him, He will be yours.

“Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!Romans 5:8. No doubt you’ve already heard the familiar words of “O Holy Night” this year. Don’t miss the truth of the final verse: Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.

If you want to know how to love one another, look at the love that sent Jesus to earth to live a life of love and pay the price for all of our sins. It’s all about love. This isn’t a love of fancy words and impossible tasks. This is a love that says, “I am willing to love you no matter what.”

We can love because He first loved us.

 

*** Matt Tullos is pastor of Bluegrass Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee

Loyalty Unhinged

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“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Written by Swagga4Christ Biblical Writer, Stephen A. Peterson © 2013

David O’Connor was a really good person and soldier.  A student at Father Scecina Memorial High School and later as a medic in the United States Army, he saw his work as service to his country for the greater good of humanity, and especially to the more than 200 men and women of his military unit.  David was fully committed to service at all costs and was willing to give his life in service to his country.  Evidence of David O’Connor’s commitment was observed on his desk.  He had, in a picture frame, a picture of the crucified Christ and to the right side these words:  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Christ’s words were not merely words to Sergeant David O’Connor.  They expressed his commitment to his duty as an Army leader.  A commitment he knew he might someday demand the ultimate—his life.  That day did, in fact, occur in Vietnam.

As every Christian knows, Jesus submitted himself to his words shortly after He stated them.  Unlike any person who ever lived, Jesus knew exactly what He was to experience.  It is impossible for anyone then or today to fully grasp the totality of His agony and suffering.  In recent years, biological and medical scientists have been able to reconstruct physiological information with regards to His roughly 20 hours of relentless torture without sleep, food, water or relief.

As God, Jesus could have spared Himself of the suffering, humiliation, torture.  He was without sin and did not deserve to be brought to trial.  His death was the greatest example of human injustice ever recorded in the annals of humankind.  To this day, even some Christians cannot understand Jesus’ sacrifice and death.  They ask “why”.  They believe there had to be another less painful, less humiliating way to deal with humankind’s sins.  Others have referred to His death as “altruistic suicide”, “hari-kari”, or the result of Him having humiliated the government and religious leaders of His day.  But crucifixion?  Crucifixion was reserved for the most dangerous evildoers, treasonous, murderers of the Roman state as documented by the writers of that era.

A love (agape) humankind cannot understand drove Christ to His death on the cross.  It is only through humility, faith, trust in Him, and acceptance of our human imperfections do we come to even recognize His sacrifice.  Any other approach or explanation defies reason and logic in the human mind.

 

Whom Shall I Fear

soldier in the wilderness“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;”
Psalm 136:1-3

George Muller said” Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.”

Man might fail you. Government might fail you. Economics might fail you.  You may even fail yourself … BUT

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

God’s Everlasting Love

Romans 8:37-39“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
we celebrate Jesus.
not because it’s a holiday.
we celebrate him because he is God.
and because his love for us is immeasurable
and unfathomable.
redemption is the ultimate picture of that love—
Jesus chose to die so that we might live with him forever.
and not in this forever.
but a forever in a world without pain, loneliness, hunger, death, and tears.
this Christmas, our hope and prayer is that we all might fall on our knees
and experience Jesus as our redeemer
as our Immanuel
and know his goodness
and perfect love.
Amidst the busyness surrounding the Christmas season may you find space to breathe and be still. The ultimate “present” is His presence, and our gift to you is this devotion “In the Grip of Silence” and simple reminder of what matters most.

Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
God, my Father,
May I love You in all things and above all things.
May I reach the joy which You have prepared for me in
Heaven.
Nothing is good that is against Your Will,
and all that is good comes from Your Hand.
Place in my heart a desire to please You
and fill my mind with thoughts of Your Love,
so that I may grow in Your Wisdom and enjoy Your Peace.