Love Means You’re Really Real

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“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 

1 John 3:18

 Often people will look at someone, and try to figure them out– they listen to their words or vocabulary.  They examine the things we say, and also the way we say it. But according to John, this a flawed way of discerning legitimacy.

Love, in his eyes, is most assuredly “doing.”  Speaking falls really short.  Our words, although important, are an insufficient way of proving authenticity.  When you listen closely, even the best fall short.  Love is not expressed by being profound or eloquent in our speech. We can shout out the truth and never show love at all.  That is disturbing, but when will we figure out that love is a verb?

“Actions and in truth.”  This standard propels us to another level.  To act and reveal, puts us on a sound and sure level of discipleship.  It means that we will not just say things that sound really good and wise.  But we would “do love” and not just be talking about it.

I can quite easily mimic the dialect of love.  I verbalize so much that is just plain goofy and nonsense.  My eloquent words simply fog and darken.  They are not real.  (If it were real, I would “do.”)

John is calling believers to a much more real kind of love. 

If we do adjust ourselves to this, it alters and shapes us into authentic believers.  Admittably, this can be frightening, and something that will disturb us deeply.  Even as mature believers, we will avoid it and try to “imitate” something else.  It’s not only easier, but less dangerous.

And to love is to be profoundly dangerous.

We are expressly called to do, and not to say.  No questions about our words, and speech–they are significant.  But our deeds, putting love into acts and deeds is vital, critically so.  Being a doer, and not just a speaker, is the descriptive essence of the real believer.

We must do, and then we can say.

 aabryscript

Apples of Gold

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“The right word spoken at the right time
       is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.”

Prov. 25:11, New Century Version

I’ve been thinking about this particular verse for years.  I had an older translation and I couldn’t decipher it.  It is really good to understand what you have just read.

This verse tells us that there is a certain cadence– a timeliness for just the right word.  There is a proper sense, a beautiful art in making the situation perfect. The wisdom comes in a conversation, and suddenly everything makes sense.  There is a elegance that’s shared by everyone, and a dignity that the Holy Spirit bestows on our words. We only have to ask Him to bless what we say (or write.)

People speak wrong words as well.  Rather then edifying, they tear down.  Thirty years ago a Christian girl I was working with would always try to counsel me.  Soon, I had enough of it.  I walked up to her desk and said, “Becky (name changed), God has given me a word for you!”  She looked up at me and smiled. ‘It’s Judges 16:16’, she got out her Bible to read the verse I just had given her. Tears welled up in her eyes.

“With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.”

I absolutely crushed her spirit.  I had used the Word to assault her like a blunt instrument.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  It would be a time before I sought her forgiveness.  I was hard and brutally used the Bible to purposefully hurt her.  I do not suggest that you do this.  I will never forget what I did. Oh man, did I ever learn.

That day I would learn the awesome power of my words— for good, or for evil.

Let us also decide that our words will bring life to those who we meet today– wise and encouraging words!

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Making Sense of a Deep and Kind Love

Love.

In the face of doctrine, creeds and faith systems…isn’t the important thing that we just love?

Isn’t love the superior truth we should be after?

_______________

1 Corinthians 13, “The Message”

The Way of Love

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

About the time I have my discipleship all figured out, I come across a passage like this. It seems I continually try to move beyond it, somehow regarding love as something diminished. I get it in my head that love is a “primitive teaching”, something I’ve somehow outgrown.

8 “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”.

When we try to define love, we need to look at what love is not. The above list helps us make certain distinctive. Soaking ourselves in the scripture gives us limited authority in the vital area of discernment of real love. Love has a sterling quality that sets it far above everything else. Just as fine gold is valued and tinsel debased, so love is superior to all else.

8-10″Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

Love is the constant and an eternal security  for the believer. Get it now, dig for it. Mine deep and pull it out,  for love is the steady currency of heaven.

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Tempting Offers [Enticement]

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“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.”

Matthew 4:1-2

Jesus was incredibly human.  We can never overlook this, or minimize this fact.  Jesus has just experienced the presence of God in a bone-shaking way after his baptism.  And instead of building on what has happened, he gets turned and directed to leave and go into the wilderness.

The Holy Spirit has initiated this.  The Spirit is leading, directing Jesus to the solitary places.  He has an appointment, and He must keep it.  Satan, the evil prince wants to test Jesus, to put Him on trial.  I believe these examinations are real and substantial.  Because of Jesus’ humanity, He is vulnerable.

Jesus fasted, “and became very hungry”.  His physical defenses were at their very lowest.  He simply could not maintain His walls in this level.  He will need to rely on the Word of God, exclusively.  And perhaps this is the lesson that the Holy Spirit intends to convey.

Jesus overcame each “real” temptation with a promise.  It was His only defense as His enemy subtly and malevolently adapted to take down Jesus.  The Word has become a powerful weapon, and Jesus wields it deftly and precisely. It was his escape hatch.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Cor. 10:13).

On the other hand, most people who want to be delivered from temptation, would still like to keep in touch. We will send it our forwarding address. This is tragic.

Why are church leaders so committed to the study of the Bible?  Because it is the modus operandi for believers in every time and every place.  The promises are truth wrapped in words.  Disciples from every age and theology have found the Bible to be a razor-sharp spiritual weapon.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” 

Hebrews 4:15-16

aabryscript

 

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Welcome Home, Dear One

Image. via Wikipedia
Image. via Wikipedia

v. 1 “In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.”

v. 14 “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

St. John 1:1, v. 14

flourish-horizontal-border-with-flowersSo very much, swings on an understanding of these two verses. They are truly pivotal. When we can grab on these, and make them our own– it’s a bit like a “stone-age” tribe making the jump to a nuclear power. In our sudden and brightness of faith, John could be heard saying, “I trust you Father, whatever you decide for me will be true. You are concrete, and you are true. I was made to be yours eternally.”

We talk about the beginning, and suddenly we are ‘cold-cocked’ with someone called the Word. He has always been there. We process that “the word is God.” This can swirl us around, until we concretely decide that the Word is indeed God. This decision is quite solid, and quite true. Yet too many will never get this fixed in their minds.

In Vs. 14, we are powerfully touched by this idea that the Word/Truth is now human. He has become surprising real in His humanness. If we decide to hit Him with a big stick rather hard, we will see God bleed in front of us. He is human flesh. It staggers us to think that God is so vulnerable.

Yet there is coming on us a true day. We will be brought into this, in this deepest of deep moment of time. We are the rascals, the deniers, the evil, and the misfits. But upon our arrival, there will be the “welcome wagon” -a light in the window, for us. There will be a sign put up, that says, “Welcome Home, Broken Ones!”

And that dear one, will make complete sense in the light of “Amazing Grace.”

Talk to me if you want to.

Amazing Grace, Lyrics

by John Newton (1725-1807)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

kyrie eleison, Bryan

(Lord, have mercy on me)

 

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Nothing! Romans 8:38, Revisualized

Just a gentle reminder from one of the greatest truths ever written for the hearts of men. I’m sure you have either read it or heard it many times. Here, in this artwork you can see it. I hope that this approach will help you receive this truth by faith. It helped me!

http://www.facebook.com/TypographicVerses
http://www.facebook.com/TypographicVerses

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On a Wing and a Prayer

 

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6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Philippians 1:6

When I saw this photo of a B-29 it seemed perfect to open up this post. Sometimes we return from combat ‘on a wing and a prayer’

I have been ill for a long time.  My hepatitis has been aggravated the last three months.  The Bipolar depression has been a bit better, but it seems to linger like an unwelcome guest.  Recovery from the effects from my brain tumor has stalled.  And I suppose I could go on, but I won’t.

I’m mindful that I was aware of hypochondriacs before this recent spate with a medical issues.  I was pretty much annoyed by these complainers, they seemed to always be talking about themselves.  Their self-absorption with problems and complaints was an irritant for me.

Until it happens to you.  Lots of times there is a domino effect, with illness following illness.  The doctors call this “kindling.”  There can be an overwhelming co-occurrence.  Things can move down hill fairly fast.  And many conditions can overlap. Things cascade into another crisis. But there can be a right way to handle things.

“The moment an ill can be patiently handled, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Maintaining a spiritual discipleship is an obvious challenge.  Having something even resembling a living faith is pretty hard.  Three things have helped me.  These three doesn’t mean that there aren’t others, its just these are the boiled-down essentials.

1) Prayer–

Things will often turn from bitter to sweet in just a moment. I think of Jesus turning plain, basic water into a delicious and succulent wine.  When He shows up, everything changes– I change.  I need him, His presence isn’t an option.

2)  The Word–

Sometimes a just a phrase, a perceived inflection on the words.  Simple verses, rolling through my heart and thinking create hope, and recharges me through one more day. I realize that these are our promises, for me to call my own.  My enemy who hates me, is afraid when I start reading it. I need to read the Word.

3)  Serving Others–

I can easily paralyze myself with the awful venom of selfishness.  Self-absorbed faith will kill me.  Actually, “brokenbelievers.com” has been a way for me to recover. (I’m sitting here writing from the cozy confines of my loft in Alaska— on a beat-up old laptop.)  It has been a necessary thing.

Each of the three listed above work better when you mix and match them.  Take prayer and combine with the Word and they will strengthen each other.  Sort of a synergy happens, and things will come together for you, for one more day.  And that is just how it seems to work. It’s a pretty good start, anyway.

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