Tag Archives: love

The Essence of Christianity

Something to think about.

The Essence of Christianity

We recently went on a weekend getaway to New York we were there for 3 days. I was born and raised in the South Bronx and spent the first nineteen years of my in the city.  The city is teeming with people. There are people everywhere. As we travel throughout the city, I looked for churches invariably I saw small churches. 


We visited family who still lives there.  We visited the Freedom Tower went up to the observation deck took some beautiful pictures of the city. On Sunday we went to Hillsong Church. 

It occurred to me while I was in the Manhattan Center where Hillsong is currently holding their services that New York does not have a true mega church.  The Manhattan Center’s capacity depending on configuration will hold 3500 people. When we visited, it was near capacity. Hillsong New York has several services on Sunday, so the Sunday attendance is in the thousands. Yet I say there is not a true megachurch in New York City. Why do I say that? The population of New York is 8 million plus. A few thousand is not a significant number compared to the total population. It was during the service with a couple thousand people in the church I was visiting that I realized the disparity of believers as compared to the rest of the population. 


It all resulted in this question, how do we Christians reach the lost of the world. The answer is apparent. The answer is in John 3:16, Matthew 22:36-40 and 1 Corinthians 13:13. 

John 3:16  (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

The answer is love. The answer is not found in strict adherence to a particular set of rules and regulations. It is not in-laws or traditions, theology or doctrine it is in love.  If we are to reach the world we need to show them “Love.” Not love as defined by man but love as established by God. 

Everyone wants to be loved this is the commonality that is shared by all humanity. That is how we exemplify Christ not through laws and traditions but through love. Love not as a license to sin but love as a gift of righteousness. The sinless love God expresses to us is the love we are to express to our fellow-man. 

The way to change the world does not come through political action, not through the struggle against immorality or unrighteousness it comes through love. A positive progressive movement will only come about when the passion of God’s Love is unleashed through us that belong to him. If you want to see a change in this generation at this time, it will only come through love. From the spirit of love, from the God who is love, will all benevolent action spring.  We must show the world the motivation for the crucifixion. The motivation is love, not law. If we love our neighbor with the love of God, they will come to learn and love the law of God. Law without love is bondage. Love provides the liberty to obey the law. It must first be love. Always Love.  

The essence of Christianity is Love when we deviate from it we are lost. 

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First Love

Something to think about.

First Love

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelations 2:2-4

Have we become so busy in the doing that we have lost the reason for the doing? We have become too distracted in the doing of Christianity to even notice we have drifted from the cause of our doing. There are too many of us pointing out the shortcomings of others like us. Some of us are consumed with correcting the lot of us. We nick pick the leader, we question their motivations we condemn their methods. We demand perfect righteousness.

We should question our leaders and are ourselves against the standard of Christ.  We should put Christ at the head of all we do and use what He taught us a standard of behavior and morality. All of this should be employed;  this is what the church in Ephesus was doing. But even after doing all of this Christ says to them I have “this” against you. “You have abandoned the love you had at first.” We need to stop nick picking each other on obscure or even flagrant disagreements in theology. We need to return to the reason we stay in the body of Christ. Why we identify with Christ. The reason is a love relationship. “The greatest of these is love” the bible does say.  It is through love that we understand who God is. It is love that explains and validates the word of God. It is love that is the fuel, the passion of God. It is the motivation for the sacrifice of His Son.

If we focus on the cause of our conviction, it will purify our actions. If love permeates our thoughts and actions, we will be righteous. There is no sin in love there is no injustice in love there is no selflessness in love. God prefers we become experts in love rather than in theology, doctrine, and righteousness. 

Let this not overwhelm you, you are not to love the world. Love, those around you, love those God has put in your life for this season for this time. Love those whom you can. If everyone loved those around them, then everyone would be loved.  

Let God be your first love, let Him be the receiver of your love. In this relationship with Him, you will find the love you need for yourself and all others. Love comes from God not from us. To receive the most from God you need to first love Him. We need to keep Gods love in the forefront of our minds. What is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord your God with all of your heart soul and mind, and the second Love your neighbor as your self. 

How Far Away?

Something to think about.

How Far Away?

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:44-45

 “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Whoa, did you read the verse before this?  “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” These are some very high standards.  Love your enemies. That is a mouthful not in words but in action. Christians are being persecuted killed and hated throughout the world.  Here is Jesus speaking to us today. It is almost as if this scripture was written with this date in mind. And He is telling us that we should love our enemies. Those that wish to cause us physical harm. Those that want to enslave and silence us. Those that want to banish us to a quiet room.  We are to love them.  

How far away are you from this kind of love? Personally, I don’t think I am on the same field. I can barely acknowledge that I have enemies. That someone would actually want to cause me harm because I believe in Jesus. Not only do I have to accept this reality but I have to love them as well. I don’t get to hate them. I don’t have the right to retribution. I can’t have justice? Before I love them. None of the things I thought I had a right to like revenge can I claim. I am told I must love them.  

Jesus is saying things that are counter normalcy. He is saying you must forgive your enemies. You say it does not say that. No, it doesn’t, but you must forgive before you can love.  Is it normal to forgive your enemies those that have caused you harm? Is it normal to love those that hate you? Is it normal to do these things while you are in conflict with your enemies?  We are not given preconditions of when to love. Jesus does not say when they start to love you then love them. He does not say when, if, and after. He says love your enemies.    

I have not gotten past  ” Love your enemies” so the rest of the verse is something to aspire to.  How far are you?

Separation

Something to think about.
Separation
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Let’s get real for a moment. This scripture has to be the most uplifting, inspiring scripture in the entire Bible. We are assured, under no possible circumstances will we be separated from the love of God. As I thought about this scripture, I realized something. This is one-sided.
Everything that is promised here is a promise from God to us not us to God. The truth of this verse only exists when it comes from God to us. What it is saying is there is nothing in creation that can stop God from expressing His love to us. There is no existing authority of any kind that can keep God from revealing His love for us. There is nothing that can keep us from receiving His love. He has created the entire universe in such a way as to make it impossible for us not to have access to His love.
You are the only thing in creation which can make this promise void. Have you ever been in a situation where someone expresses love to you but you do reciprocate that love? After all that God has done to enable you and I to be loved by Him we can reject Him. We can close the door. We can nullify all He has done to love us. After all, He has done for us to be loved He has given us the authority to reject His love. There is nothing in life which can impede His love for us. But we can stop it at the door of our hearts.
The greatest promise in the bible and we can negate it and render it powerless. We have the power to accept or reject Gods love. He will not force us to accept His love. After creating a universe with the sole purpose of loving us we can say no. I do not want your love. We can say that to God.
Even still, God calls to you, let me love you. He knows many will reject His perfect love. Still at the door of your heart. Knocking, asking you to let Him in to heal your broken heart.
It astonishes me that insignificant man was given the authority to reject God. We can actually say no to God. We can choose not to accept His love.
God wants us to love Him as He loves us, willfully intentionally, knowingly. He wants us to pick Him as He has picked us. When we do there is nothing that can separate us from receiving His love, nothing.

Smite

Something to think about.

Smite

Something to think about.
Smite

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15-3

God is good He is the provider of all our needs. His love is never-ending. He is long-suffering and patient, kind, forgiving and tolerant. He has given us more than we can hope or think. He has provided for our salvation and eternal life. He made way for us when there was no way. He is gracious beyond measure, and His glory fills our lives. He gives us purpose and fulfillment. He completes our lives. He is good to us. He is perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing. He fulfills and exceeds our expectations. He is better than I can describe.

He is also the one who commanded Israel to utterly destroy the Amalekites’. Look at the verse again God commands Israel to kill everything. We want to quote and hide behind the goodness of God. It is almost like we want to present a one-dimensional God. A God who is only a benevolent king. You might say this command about the Amalekites’ is an aberration. This command is not consistent with the character of God. That is not true. Remember the flood. Remember the 3000 dead Israelite’s on their way to the promise land. Remember the generation of Israel that died in the desert. Remember the judgments that were carried out by the enemies of Israel upon Israel. God throughout history has judged people, nations. He has continually judged Israel.

God is a complete God; He is full of compassion, love, and patience. But He is also a God of judgment, wrath, and fury. What I am saying is yes God is good, but He is also going to pass judgment on humanity. His judgment will be both just and fair. Which means some of us will celebrate with complete joy: while some of us will suffer unimaginable pain. Knowing Gods impending judgment is important to Christians. Because we need to be aware of the consequences of sin in the lives of those we love. Those consequences are not just for today they are also still to come. By preaching a one-dimensional God, we are hiding the truth of God’s judgment.

Is it just to share only the grace of God and not mention the wrath of God? For me, I prefer to know about every facet of God, not just those things that are music to my ears.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

Something to think about
 
Where The Rubber Meets The Road
 
18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.1 John 3:18
 
This is where Christianity lives or dies. The proof of Christianity is not in eloquent speech or elegant prose. It is in the sharing of a glass of water. The act of love proves our heart. It speaks louder than words, greater than any intent. Stronger than justice. More meaningful than just retribution. Love is not silent, fearful or restrained.  Love is an action. Love is what drove Jesus to the cross. What are we doing as individuals to show the love we have for God? We all need to return to the basis of our belief system which is love.  For God so loved the world…. John 3:16. We need to go back to the center of God’s heart and remember why He did what He did. We must emulate God’s love

Joy

Something to think about.
 
Joy

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
“Fullness of joy” To me this short phrase defines the height, depth, and breadth of the fullness of life. This verse promises me what my heart longs for peace, fulfillment, and love.  A life without lack, full of all of the good things of life. A lack of need, want or desire. It means that I will have abundance in every area of my life. And if that is not enough it then says,” at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” When you’re on the path of God, you will be safe, provided for loved and cared for. He will give you pleasures above and beyond that. Have you ever received a better offer?
When you are in the presence of God almighty He will give you the fullness joy. All you have to do is walk the path He has provided for you.  The path is not a secret. It is not anything that requires great education, superior, intelligence or a unique revelation. The path is the same for everyone.
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (ESV)
Jesus is the path. He is the way into the presence of God the Father. Jesus is the one that makes your joy full. It is He that provides all that you need. He is the secret in plain sight. He is the fullness of life. In the God Man, that is Jesus rests the the completion of man, and it is offered to you freely. You can have all the promises of God, but only through the path, that is Jesus. Celebrate the joy which is Jesus. Look around you will not find a better life.

One Day

Something to think about.
 
One Day
 
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10
 
Somewhere along the life of Christianity we’ve allowed the devil to upstage this reality. I have lived the life the devil has to offer I have received the best he has, I know the lies he has perpetrated against us. It is better to enter into the kingdom God and be as far away from his presence as possible and still receive his glory. Than to be in the center of the devil’s demise.  We’ve allowed the lies of the enemy to be sold as truth and accepted as desirable accomplishments. 
 
Our country our world is in the shape it is in because we have allowed the lies of the enemy to be sold as truths.  There isn’t anything the enemy has sold us that compares to being in the presence of God.  All the world’s accomplishments combined can not equate to being in the presence of God.  not even for an instant.
 
God’s presence is where you are fulfilled to overflowing. It is where you will find love, peace, joy, happiness. It is where you will be filled with the water of life, and you’ll never be thirsty again. Today, now these things are available to those who choose Christ. You can have a meaningful, purposeful and joyous life now. You can have the love, security and the companionship of God now, here today. You can have everything that makes life worth living. You can experience the presence of God.
 
Then when we are in His permanent presence when He dwells with man. There will be no more war, famine, hate, disease. No more lack, hurt, loss, exclusion, rejection, loneliness or empty promises. You will have security, peace, love, and acceptance. You will be washed and cleansed from the filth of sin.  You will be given a new perfect body. You will share in His glory.
 
We need to turn the tide of evil and let the world know, God has a better way, a better life. Instead of selling the world the lies of the devil we need to give them the truth of the joy of living the life of Christ. It is better to live life in the love of Christ than to live the life of lust and lost without Christ. We have a much better life to live here and now and into eternity, Far better than anything the devil has ever offer. If we show the world what it is like to live one day in His courts, we will revolutionize the world. 

Realities of Heaven

Something to think about.
 
 Realities of Heaven
 
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Colossians 3:1
 
What are the realities of heaven?  It is the dwelling of God, Father Son, and Holy Spirit. No more death, disease, infirmity or pain. Peace, joy, and happiness are its foundation. Completeness, wholeness is the standard of life. Lack will not exist. Love received without impediment.  No enemy that can taunt, assail or kill. No conflict, war or discord. Worship and praise are unhindered or obstructed.  The fullness of God is ever-present. Jesus our Lord rules. Our eyes, ears, and minds opened and unfettered by the veil of sin. We will live in truth, free from the threat of sin. We will be cleansed from the stench of sin. We will be free.  Our minds will be opened, and we will understand the justice, love, and forgiveness of God. 

Simplicity

Sometimes to think about.

Simplicity

10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:3

At times the simplicity of the Bible is overwhelming in is naked and piercing truth.  If you love someone, you will not cause them harm. If you look at the unrest in our society, in our personal relationships. If you look at the pain and sorrow caused in all forms from every spectrum, it is due in large part because of the utter absence of love.