Monday, October 30, 2017

A New Commandment ~ A New Standard ~ As I Have LOVED You

Photo courtesy of Aaron Baron

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

So, that is the standard, “as I have loved you.” There is no greater love; no higher standard that Jesus Himself. The words of the Lord Jesus rebuke us. When we shun the annoying neighbor, hurry away from the malodorous homeless man – the words of Jesus rebuke us. The memory of His life and sacrifice is sufficient to bring the rebuke.
            Jesus gave that new commandment. Yet, can even training of the most steadfast and severe cause us to feel and think and respond along those lines naturally? Can a tiger change his spots? Man’s relationship to man is certainly a mixed bag revealing the depths of the human heart from desperately wicked to sublime saintliness.
            But how in every moment of our lives – every crisis and perplexity – do we manage to love as He loved? I would think it is only possible if we become a new creature. Marvel not that I said to you, you must be born again. Without the new birth, trying to live Jesus’ commandment is a goal beyond our human grasp. As new creatures, born again of the Spirit of God, we are enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit to live in accordance to His will. Then it is possible to form the mind of Christ. The ultimate refining comes as we obey His commands and work into our character what God has given by His grace.
The scribes asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. Jesus answered. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30,31) When we live these commandments, we will begin to love as He loved us.
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Friday, September 8, 2017

When Facing the Storms of Life, Consider God's Servant Job

And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”  Job 1:8 RSV

I cringe when I hear someone say that natural disasters are God’s punishment on people for their sins.  I have heard it said twice in two days that God has sent these hurricanes (i.e. Harvey and Irma) to punish our nation.
What pompous, prejudicial statements!  Who can know these things?
I daresay, those who make such comments are reminiscent of Job’s “friends” who slandered him. They thought they had the answers to the calamities that he faced, the answer to the why of his suffering based on their narrow beliefs and theories of God.  They thought surely God was punishing Job for his sins, and that Job was deserving of all the punishment. They passed a shallow verdict on Job and presumed to know more than they possibly could know.
They were wrong and God rebuked them. (See Job 42:7)
Job suffered according to the permissive will of God. God allowed Satan to test his servant Job.

"All right, you may test him," the LORD said to Satan. "Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don't harm him physically." So Satan left the LORD's presence. Job 1:12 NLT

And through it all, all the calamities that befell him -- loss of property and children, the contempt of his friends, and the loss of health, and the consequent mental, physical, and spiritual suffering that followed – no matter what he went through, Job stood true to the integrity of God. He had an implicit understanding of God’s character and he held true to his relationship with God.
What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.  Job 2:10b
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.  Job 13:15a
Job proved Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren (Revelations 12:10), wrong – men do worship God for more than just His blessings.
Job also proved his friends wrong. Job had not brought the suffering on himself by his own wickedness.
When facing the storms of life, consider God’s servant Job, whose faith when tried came through as pure gold.
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7 KJV
Give a hand to someone in crisis. Help lift someone up. Pious platitudes and judgments are not helpful. 
Beaver Creek Reservoir Charlottesville, Virginia ~ courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

Thank you for taking the time to read Write Moments with God.  I appreciate you and have prayed for all who visit this blog.  I hope you will join me in prayers for all those who are in the path of hurricanes and any other storms you face. As we call upon God, may His grace and mercy be with us, and may we find strength and help in our times of need.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Do Your Actions Portray Jesus or Betray Him? WATCH and PRAY

The sweetest kiss

Greet one another with a holy kiss. 2 Corinthians 13:12

I surprised a friend of mine with the gift of her favorite cookies, and delighted, she responded by kissing my cheek. My daughter, sent me a video of her sixteen-month-old kissing baby dolls. Her toddler gives kisses to those she loves, even dolls, and anyone else who pleases her. About that same time, another one of my daughters sent me a picture of her little girl giving her daddy a precious kiss. These tokens of affection touch my heart. And then, I read the Apostle Paul’s words, Greet one another with a holy kiss (2 Corinthians 13:12).

All this about kissing, made me think of Judas’ kiss, and I looked at the picture I took at Chartres Cathedral memorializing this event.

Picture taken at Chartres, France – front portal of the Chartres Cathedral
When I went to France in 1999, I visited this marvel of 13th century architecture. I was awed by its grandeur and the multitude of sculptures, inside and out of the structure, seemingly on a mission to teach the Word of God and tell the story of Jesus.

Every time I look at this picture, portraying Judas’ kiss, I am saddened. What a hateful act of betrayal. Again, I thought, Oh, how could he have done that? I could never. And then I realized, oh yes, I could, and I do. When I disregard our Lord’s counsel, I betray Him. When I lose confidence in the integrity of His word, and when I fail to walk in faith, I betray Him.

Our actions either portray or betray Jesus.

Jesus told us to shine. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Paul echoed that sentiment when he said, For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). 

Are we doing that? When we compromise with the world, we become traitors. We don’t shine as children of light. We can’t. We’ve let darkness overshadow His truth. 

Jesus said to his disciples in the midst of His own agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). And we know what happened there: Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and most of the other disciples deserted Him. Watch and pray. 

Are we watching and praying? 

I know today August 21, 2017 almost everyone in this country, especially those in the path of the total eclipse of the sun will be  watching. 

Wouldn’t it be a powerful thing, if all those who look up at the sun today, look up to Him and pray for the world. Oh, that we would watch and pray as He intended; then our actions would portray His love and light.

Blessed is he that watcheth. Revelations 16:15

Sunrise at Seabrook Island ~ Beautiful Photograph courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

Thanks to everyone who takes a moment out of this momentous  day to visit Write Moments with God. I appreciate you and pray God blesses your day in a special way. Feel free to leave comments below and to share this blog post with your friends.