Tag Archives: compassion

Enjoying Your Freedom

Liberty Close up

   Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Gal 5:1 NKJV Bible Gateway

   Liberty and Freedom. Today is a day of joyous celebration for the whole country. Marching bands and barbecues and fireworks. Nothing shy, subdued or subtle about the 4th of July. We will remember those who have died to create this land of the free as well as those brave men and women who gave their all to protect it. The very bones of our nation are built on the idea that all of us are equal and free to persue happiness. Whatever that might look like and regardless of the cost.

    No! That’s not what it says in the constitution. It does say that we are all created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But, one mans happy might be another mans sad. This is why we have laws to govern our behavior. I am not free to do whatever I like if it interferes with another persons life, liberty or pursuit of happiness.

    Likewise most “religions” have lots of rules of conduct and traditions that must be adhered to. Jesus came to fulfilled the Law and heralded in a new and better way. Radically different from the old way because the Law of Moses was incapable of cleansing us from our sins. It only covered up our sin until they could be washed away. Washed by the Blood of the Lamb. The Lamb that takes away the sin of the world.

     We, who have trusted in the shed blood of Jesus, should hold our heads up high and walk in the liberty and freedom that Christ has made for us and not be again mixed up in the rules and traditions of religion or in the guilt and shame of our own past sins. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. Free to live a life full of love for Him who first loved us and free to share that love with everyone. Yes, everyone.

    Let freedom ring this 4th of July and let that song you sing be a song of love because God is love and He desires that all come to the saving knowledge of the truth. Let us fulfill the law of Love.

      Be blessed. Have fun. Love them like Jesus. Al

Hello…long time no see.

Hello my friends and fellow bloggers,

I haven’t shared anything since my mournful Saturday post, just before Easter Sunday, for several reason which I would like to share here today. It’s not that any earth-shattering event took up my time and attention. It wasn’t any personal crisis or family related problem. No, nothing great or loud. It was more like a whisper that hummed in my ear and kept me from articulating myself.

The distraction keeping me from sharing my faith with you here is the concept of blogging itself. I’m an older man, in my late fifties, and I have seen the growth of technology with all that it brings. Cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, World Wide Web, Blogging etc. etc. I embrace the ability to communicate and surf the web and use map applications and so on. I also jumped at the idea of creating a blog to share my love of Scripture and my view points in hope of encouraging others.

BUT

   But, isn’t it all a bit self-involved, self-important, self-serving? Do I really have anything to say that hasn’t been said before? What impact can I really have by sitting here in my small office telling fellow bloggers what they already know? Isn’t it a bit like preaching to the choir? Shouldn’t I be standing on a street corner handing out tracts and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with those who may not have found His love for themselves?

Betty and I attended (past tense) a church where the Pastor, during a bar-b-que, commented that street evangelism and tent revivals “don’t work anymore”. Really? Seriously? The absurdity of such a comment echos in my ears today as my contemplation of my blogging value whispers in my ear.

Is this what I should be doing? What good does it do? What direction should I go?

   I haven’t yet found the answer. There is a value to encouraging each other – iron sharpening iron and all that. But I will not give up or silence the voice inside me that cries out to tell them about Jesus. With everything that is going on in the world around us – NOW more than ever – Jesus is the answer. So, I may not be sounding a trumpet here as much as in the past. I will Go and tell them about Jesus.

I would lovingly encourage you all to do the same. Jesus is coming.

Thank you all for the pats on the back and thumbs up you have given me.

I pray that God continues to richly bless you. Al and Betty

The Greatest of these is Love

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails.

This verse of Scripture (1 Cor 13:4-8 NIV) is quoted at weddings probably more than any other. It’s been set to music, printed on posters, engraved on gifts. Yet, what many people don’t realize is that the “Love” spoken of here is not the kind of love we think of when we are romantically in love with another.

When we say we love something or someone we are trying to describe the feelings we have about that thing or person. I love my new car, my puppy, my wife, my new job, that new movie, etc, etc, etc. What an injustice to lump a husband or wife into a group of things as meaningless as a car or a video – yet we do it! We do it because our society over-emphasizes the word. Its not like there aren’t other words we could use – I like my new car, I enjoy my new phone, that new movie was great to watch, etc. etc. etc. Why does this world over use the word “Love“?

Before we attempt to answer that, lets look at what the Word of God says about “Love“. Not forgetting the selfless kind of love outlined in 1 Cor 13 what else do we see in Scripture?

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 LB

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31 KJV

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 KJV

Lets take a look at this last verse from John 15:13 for a minute. We all know that Jesus loved us all so much that He willingly took our place by dieing for our sins. Are we now to believe that He is instructing us to die for our friends as well?

YES! He is!!

But not the kind of death that He experienced. It’s more of that – “take up your cross and follow me” that Jesus also mentioned. It’s a “dieing-to-self” and considering the other person before yourself kinda thing.  Love can be a noun – expressing a feeling, desire or passion or Love can be a verb – an action word.

It is the noun that gets misused so often today. I love this and we love that and so on. But real love – the action word – is rarely seen in this society where we fall, as if by accident, into love and fall, as if involuntarily, out of love. But, the truth is, Love is a choice and not a feeling.  It’s a conscience decision to care for and support and cherish another person even if you sometimes don’t “feel” like doing so. Certainly, feelings play a role in people first getting to know each other. An attraction or shared interests or even a passion brings people together. This is the “Eros” or physical kind of love that is a part of our human nature. But, Jesus wants us to transcend this and move into the “Agape” or brotherly/selfless love that will sustain us in our relationships.

So, for real love to last, somebodies gotta die!

Hands in form of heart

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for_____________!

You fill in the blank. Maybe you gotta die for your husband, maybe for your wife, maybe for your child or maybe even your parents. What might this death look like? Glad you asked! Maybe you have to swallow your pride at work rather than telling the Boss off and loosing your job which would harm your whole family. Maybe, you have to not insist on proving your point to your spouse so as avoid a stupid fight over nothing. Maybe it’s as simple as trusting your child with your car even though your afraid they might get it scratched and thereby build them up.

Prioritizing the needs of another is the action which spells love!

The “Die-to-self” kinda Love that Jesus exemplified

There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—

and the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13 LB

Why does this world over use the word “Love“? Who knows? Who cares?

We are not of this World and we can show that in the way we truly love others. 1John 4

Thanks for stopping by. Be Blessed, Al

Also consider –

Last Years Post on Unforgivenesshttps://trinitystudiospicsblog.com/2014/03/19/but-if-you-dont-forgive/

Last Years Post on Love in Actionhttps://trinitystudiospicsblog.com/2014/04/15/the-basin-and-the-towel/

 

 

 

Where is the Love?!?!?

 Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.  Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4:14-16 TLB

Many years ago, 20 years ago unfortunately, my brothers in Christ and I used to have a saying that we would use in response to any harsh criticism voiced by another – “Oh Brother! Where’s the Love in that?”

This plea for compassion was voiced because we all knew this scripture Paul wrote in his letter to the church is Ephesus encouraging the believers to speak the truth in love. You see, it’s not that we don’t need to hear the truth or be corrected from time to time. But, rather, the truth we need to hear should be sprinkled with liberal amounts of Love. The world has a similar expression – you can catch more flies with honey than yo can with vinegar.

So, lets take this to the next level.

If this is how we are encouraged to speak to one another within the body of believers why shouldn’t we do the same for those who are outside? Many of us know this verse found in Mark when the scribes questioned Jesus about which commandment was the greatest –

 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

But, how many of us remember the rest of His answer?

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:28-31 KJV

I have a saying. Not one I made up but one I like and try to use. It says that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We can do so much more for the Kingdom of God with love and compassion than we can with soapboxes and banners. Have you ever heard of believers being called “Bible-thumpers”? I can only imagine that this expression was born from those of us who have tried to use the Bible as a blunt force weapon of conversion rather than the scalpel for heat surgery its intended to be.

Jude gave us an encouraging word regarding not only how to care for our own salvation but the fate of those unsaved souls around us.

21 Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you. Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you. 22 Try to help those who argue against you. Be merciful to those who doubt. 23 Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself. And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them, but be careful that you yourselves aren’t pulled along into their sins. Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinners.

Do it all 1So, lets try to ask ourselves, just before we open our mouths to speak – Where’s the Love in what I want to say?

Be Blessed. Al

the first commandment with a promise

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6: 1-3 NKJV

That it may go well with you and you may live long.

The Living Bible translates this scripture like this –

This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise.  And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.

Whatever translation you choose to read the idea still resounds. God will reward you for honoring your parents.

See also Exodus 20:12  and Deuteronomy 5:16 NKJV

On this Mothers’ Day as we salute our Moms  and celebrate their devotion in raising us through the years we need to remember that not all Moms are feeling loved and appreciated today. Sadly many Moms (and Dads too) are abandoned or ashamed by their children.  Is it any wonder that prisons and morgue are filling up as our society shows less respect for parents and more concern for what matters only to me.

That it may go well with you and you may live long

Fortunately, God is the God of U-Turns. If  we think that we have been less than “honorable” towards our parents we can repent and turn towards God as we change our ways. Even if our parents have passed away we can still ask God to forgive us of being rebellious and disobedient children. Even if they were less than perfect parents, we can be honorable towards them. God does not tell us to honor our father and mother if they are good and perfect parents. The responsibility is on us to honor our parents. How good a job they do with the children they were given is between them and God. So, if they were poor parents or even abusive derelict parents, we should forgive them.

That it may go well with you and you may live long

It’s a promise from God that He clearly put in writing. No reading between the lines or ambiguity here. Simply put do this and this is what will happen. So, the exact opposite is rationally true. Dont honor your parents and it will not be good for you and you will not live long.

Maybe this should have been a happy funny uplifting post but I don’t tend to plan what I write too far in advance. I write what is on my heart. I speak as a layman – not a clergy. I have to say that this is something that I had to learn and like almost all of my life lessens – I learned the hard way. After years of disrespecting and disobeying my parents and years of speaking critically about their shortcomings I found myself in a bad place. Only by the love of God was I able to learn Gods Word and live a new life.

My parents both died long before I learned what kind of child I should have been but I know that God has forgiven me and I honor them today in how I speak of them to others and by looking back at them with compassion rather then judgement.

Painted Gerber

Finally, I pray that everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day today but if you did not, I want you to know that there is a God in Heaven Who sent His Son, Jesus, to show the greatest measurable amount of love towards YOU! He died so that you don’t have to. He LOVES you and will wash away that hurt you feel because of  a child or a parent who hurt you so long ago.

He will hear you when you call – Honestly, He Will.

The Painter and the Mouse

I backed my van into the driveway next to a similar looking work truck. It had a sign on it advertising a nationwide paint brand and the name of a local painter. At the open back doors of this dusty van stood a small group of construction workers huddled around one guy sitting with something in his lap. Of course I had to see what was up. I drew close and heard one guy ask “Is it dead?” “well, it’s not moving.” answer another guy hammer and tool belt in hand. “no, no no. He’s just cold.” stated the big-fisted guy sitting with a shallow box on the lap of his white painter pants. Inside the box was a thumb-sized lump of grey in the form of a mouse. “you can see that he is breathing so he ain’t dead!” continued the caretaker as he fashioned a bed out of a clean rag around the little guy. As the group dispersed to get on with the remodeling project you could here them talking amongst themselves about the plight of this little creature who was clearly hanging on to life. Being the last to arrive I was the last to leave the scene but not before the painter looked away from his charge to sadly confess, “I almost stepped on him as I unload my truck. He’s cold and hunger and I just had to do something for him.”

The whole event was a study in contrasts. This burly guy and his huge truck compared with this tiny mouse and a cigar box makeshift bed. This business owner with a big life full of responsibilities and concerns compared to this new born rodent with only one worry – survive.

Not knowing the painter I would not speculate on his motivation for showing such concern for the mouse. Yet, I came away wondering if this act was what Jesus had in mind when He said – Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to ever creature. Mark 16:15 KJV

With Resurrection Sunday behind us and Mothers Day and Graduations coming up quickly it’s easy to just get on with life as usual. Even the Disciples went back to fishing before Jesus “sent them” with His mountain top speech prior to His Ascension. and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8b HCSB or, if I may paraphrase – you will show Me to those in your city, your State, the States around yours and even the entire world.

Really?! But how? By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35 KJV

Blue Bearded Iris 1

As Spring rolls into Summer and Easter fades with the business of life – keep in mind – Jesus said – GO!