The Doobie Brothers recorded a song in 1973 called “Long Train Runnin”. One of the lyrics in the song is “Without Love, where would you be right now?” Think of all the things, places and people in our lives to which we ascribe love.
That lyric begs the question, “Without love where would we be right now?
Imagine for a moment marriages without love. Think of all the people places and things to which we ascribe some form of what we believe is love.
I love my wife with compassionate, unconditional devoted love. I love my children. I love to listen to Gospel music. I love rock and roll. I love fried chicken and corn on the cob.
I love pizza, I love chicken salad. I love to watch college football, I love our church family, I love chocolate. I could go and on about the things in my life to which I attach the emotion of love.
It is a worldly misconception that love means different things to different people.
ALL love of every kind, for any person, place or thing comes from God in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no other source. There is no other definition or meaning.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
God is the creator and source for all love.
I watch the Hallmark Channel and its sister channel Movies and Mysteries regularly. I catch all kinds of flak from the guys at church. They dismiss those movies as chick flicks.
But I don’t care. In these movies no one ever gets shot or stabbed or strangled. Nobody commits adultery. No women or children are ever abused. No characters ever fly into a fit of anger or rage. Conflicts between the characters are few and far between. Any conflicts that arise always get resolved at the end of the movie.
What I like most about Hallmark movies is that God and Christ are woven throughout the movies. Pastors, priests and rabbis appear in some movies as characters who impact the story lines. They sometimes play influential roles in the movies. Churches and synagogues often serve as scene settings for the dramas. Scenes often include families praying together and fellowshiping around the dinner table talking about God and spiritual matters. Families are all a mainstay in every Hallmark movie. The underlying theme of every Hallmark movie is helping and serving others.
Marie and I don’t care much for TV at all. I watch college football. We have a few select shows during the week that we’ll watch. Survivor and Dancing with the Stars among them. Marie likes 20/20 and some cop shows.Some nights we go without watching TV at all.
But we’re always up or a Hallmark movie.
For years I toiled under the weight of a “works” oriented salvation. I believed that to please God I had to work to earn His favor and His grace. When I did good things I believed my deeds were pleasing to God and, for the moment, I had gained His favor. But, when I sinned (and I did. A lot) I believed, even when I repented, God would make me pay with some consequence or retribution. I considered it, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
It was a miserable way to live. I went about my day trying to figure out what the
shoe would be. Would it hurt? Would it drop when I least expected it? Would it drop when I was enjoying pleasant times? Would it drop on my friends? When it dropped would my friends abandon me? Would it grieve me or cause me emotional pain? Would I suffer?
Then in August, 2000, I learned my true identity in Christ. God showed me His grace and taught me I didn’t have to pay for any or all the sins I committed. He told me, “They’re all already paid for. Stop waiting for that shoe and let me show you how much I love you.”
I’ve never worried about that shoe again.
A Jewish lady answered a knock at her door. The young man asked her if she wanted her house painted. It needed painting, so she took his card. She noticed a fish symbol on the card and asked him what it meant. “It means I’m a Christian painter,” he said.
In my opinion, calling yourself a “Christian” anything presents two problems. First, no one has ever explained to me what a Christian is in Biblical terms. Any definition fails to capture what Jesus taught us about following Him.
And second, using “Christian” to describe a “painter” does not help me learn anything about the person holding the brush and ladder. Does a “Christian painter” paint differently from a “Catholic painter” or a “Muslim painter” or, “atheist painter”? The woman wanted her house painted. All she cared about was whether or not the guy could paint.
Too many times I think folks use “Christian” to describe their business to persuade their customers they’re more honest or ethical than “non-Christian” businesses. That somehow their “Christian business” ethics or integrity or quality of work is superior to their competitors who don’t flash a “Christian” label in their front window or on their business cards.
Too often we hear stories of bad experiences some consumers have with “Christian” businesses who flash their fish symbols then act just like the world in the market place. Those “Christian” business folks drive people away from The church and away from Jesus. One bad “Christian” business deal can destroy dozens of potential good business deals with authentic followers of Jesus who take Jesus to work every day.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23
Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to flash a “Christian” label to attract more customers, or to describe one’s integrity or character. Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to convince others of their faith. The way we love others is all we need to bear witness to our integrity and our character.
Did you inow . . . Continue reading →
Editor’s Note: I wrote this blog post two days before the
police murders in Baton Rouge.
A fellow blogger on Bloggermeetup.com challenged us to write a blog post conveying our thoughts and feelings about the killings in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernardino and beyond. Here I goes . . .
Editor’s Note: When I read this post on Shannon’s blog, I left her a comment saying everyone needs to read this message. In my opinion it goes to the heart and soul of the solution to many of our world’s social ills. Enjoy.
By Shannon Moreno
Blogger over at Revelations in Writing
Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – (John 4:7,9-10)
I so appreciate this exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He models for us how we can break down social and cultural barriers, and approach people where they are. Though society would have deemed her unworthy – to acknowledge, let alone speak to – Jesus approached her directly and spoke to her face to face. He was kind, honest, and offered the hope she had so long been looking for. As followers of Christ, we are called to do likewise. Our job is to break down barriers that society deems necessary, and show the world that they are not. We must touch the “untouchable“, love the “unlovable“, give voice to the silent, and meet the needs of those without. So many are misunderstood, misrepresented, and labeled as a result of their circumstances. May we be the ones who answer the call to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us – no barriers, no limits, just love.
Shannon is a long-time devoted blogger since 2011. I read her thought-provoking posts regularly. Shannon is a career teacher and coach and is raising two teenage boys. which in and of itself is a full time job. Read her posts on her blog at https://revelationsinwriting.wordpress.com
Editor’s Note: “Grace means . . .” was written by Sparrow Girl on her blog over at Underthewaterfallofgrace It appears on here home page sidebar. She’s been one of my favorite blogging friends for years. She and I share the same passion for our true identity in Christ. She writes about it beautifully. Be blessed, my precious readers.
Grace means there are no demands on you today..you do not need to ‘do’ anything or ‘become’ anything – you already ARE all you were meant to be, as a gift (something given, not worked for, something already yours, experienced and enjoyed here and now by simple faith – by seeing it is yours), by Jesus’ work on your behalf.
You already ARE righteous, loved, accepted, at peace with God, empowered, free from sin’s power, strong, holy, pure, and ONE with God, together with Him forever.
You are His child, included in the royal family, and the inheritance is yours in Christ!
There is nothing left for you to do because Jesus did it all and will manifest it all in you! You are free! Free to enjoy a love relationship with the most Perfect Love of all – HIM!
Too often I listen, but I don’t hear.
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