Photo Credit: Zelite
[Adapted from the Archives]
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved. – Ephesians 2:4-5
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – Romans 12:9-10
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.– 1 John 3:16
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:20
Life is full of consequence. We are often initiators, of either good or evil. People see Christ in us…or something very different…dark even.
News cycles are short, and I’m not going to be specific here, because by next week we will be on to something different. However, I will say this: the church is under fire. When some, in the church, choose to live in ways that show dishonor to Christ or one another, then no wonder. The evil one never tires of working to destroy us, our character, our influence, and our witness.
The good and glorious God we know loves His church. We do not see always ourselves as the radiant Bride for whom Christ died. In fact, we too often find ourselves tarnished by following after the world and “the sin that so easily entangles us”. Still, the Lord waits for us…as we make ourselves ready for that day (Revelation 19:7-8).
How ever we see ourselves now…whatever we must do to stay the course or correct course…God calls us to see as He sees. He sees His church with eyes of love. He knows our frame. He knows the battles. He is with us and will fight those battles for us, as we stay close to Him and side by side with each other.
As for the current news cycle…where the church seems to chase after things not of the Lord or hide behind a facade rather than truth, we have two options: Love and lift it or leave it altogether. The last option is not a long-term option…long eventually becomes forever.
What will it really take for things to get better? What actions can right the wrongs and bridge the divisions? The words blasting through our news outlets seem more hurtful than healing. We as the church are wrestling with what to say…what to do. I have found that so puzzling given how the Lord has told us how to live and how to love…but we seem challenged especially in the dark dilemmas of our lives and times.
Photo Credit: Michael Catt, Twitter
We have a beautiful Savior who showed us how to really love each other. Words only (just talking about our differences or doling out our opinions) do not take us to the cross…or to the grave.
Our Savior held nothing back. Maybe we don’t know what that means for us in particular…but we know where to start.
We start with receiving the love Christ has given us, every one of us. We receive from His heart…from His hands. Then we reflect his heart and become His hands for one another. He loves…we love. He serves…we serve.
He has given us a way forward…ours is to take that path.
How Beautiful the hands that served
The Wine and the Bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
How Beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sin and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
And as He lay down His life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as He died
Willing to pay the price
Willing to pay the price
How Beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How Beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the Body of Christ
How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How Beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the Body of Christ*
Photo Credit: QuotesLyfe
Someone very dear to us had a medical need recently that would require everything he had in savings and then some. It had already been a challenging year for him, but life happens like that at times. A friend of his with whom he/we attended church years ago had this great idea to do a GoFundMe appeal. The donors who showed up to help him (both on GoFundMe and privately) were so kind and generous. His words: “Very generous and unexpected”. Most were believers. The church he is now most closely associated with also gave a large donation….but GOD. This meant so much for one who could easily have been discouraged by this next hard thing.
YouTube Video – Rev. H. B. Charles, Jr. – “But God” – sermon. Don’t miss it!