Love

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Love Tale – Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

In the English Language the word “love” covers many emotions and actions.

Love Pizza – image from pixabay.com

In order to clarify what we mean we rely on modifiers but even that often does not accurately define which form of love it is we are referring to. I might say I Love You to my wife, my children and, I also may say I love pizza, dogs, and mountains .  We Christians speak of “Christian Love” or tell someone GOD Loves them but that sure seems to leave a great deal to their imagination.  Of course, one should use many passages within the Bible to help people understand the depth and scope of GOD’S Love. Perhaps begin with one verse and continue to offer more at the recipient’s request.

Psalm 136:26 ESV

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

So this thing called “love” has a broad spectrum of meanings and some languages do better than others expressing it.

Examples of non-English terms of Love that express nuance with single words can be found in this article:

“23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought” by Koty Neelis

23 Untranslatable Foreign Words That Describe Love Better Than You Ever Thought

Love is Vital – image from pixabay.com

GOD has taught us about unconditional Love.

Romans 5:8 ESV 

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God is Love – image from pixabay.com

GOD is about more than love let me not deceive you: GOD is Holy, GOD is Just, GOD requires worship and respect but, . . .  but for this post I have focused on one part of GOD’S nature: Love. In the Bible you can get the whole character of GOD; I encourage you to accept Jesus Christ and immediately gain the help from The Holy Spirit; seek out like minded believers; read the Holy Bible.

First century christians lived LOVE.

Love and 1st Christians – Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Christen.” New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The First Century Christians chose to live their lives as closely to what Jesus had instructed as humanly possible. The Acts 4 scripture below explains in detail the way they lived. They were successful because we know about GOD today and thus can have a loving relationship with GOD: The Bible conveys GOD’S character in great detail: we can know GOD. People call this religion but GOD embraced us; GOD reached out to us and religion is the way humans attempt to get the attention of a god or gods.

Acts 4:32-37 (ESV)

They Had Everything in Common

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

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July 4th Liberty Freedom and

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(Permission to use)

Happy July 4th

A mature Christian may have the freedom to enter into a gray area but not if it can lead a brother or a sister into sin.
Donuts – image from pixabay.com

Even overeating or a poor diet can be self destructive and you may lead your brother or sister into temptation just by indulging in a food harmless to you. Christians may be free to do some things not in themselves a sin or sinful but may be a problem for a fellow believer. (ST) Apostle Paul knew eating food offered to false gods was not a sin but some believers weren’t sure.

1 Corinthians 8:7 – 9 ESV

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.  . . .

Fireworks GIF – http://bestanimations.com/Holidays/Fireworks/Fireworks2.html

Freedom, Liberty, Civility and Law and Order.

What is meant by Freedom and Liberty? Do they refer to the same thing? Can they be used interchangeably? Are there limitations on Liberty, or is it something that is supposed to be completely without restriction? If, as the Declaration of Independence declares, all men are created equal with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does that mean government can do nothing to restrict Liberty? . . . ” http://eyler.freeservers.com/JeffPers/jefpco26.htm

Justice – image from pixabay.com

” . . . Law and justice are two words that often go hand-in-hand. These words are often confusing for many people who believe that these words are the same or refer to the same thing. However, this is not true. . . . ” http://www.differencebetween.info/difference-between-law-and-justice

Luke 14:1-6 ESV 

One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” …

What is Civility?

Civility – image from pixabay.com

“Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same. Civility is the hard work . . . ” http://www.instituteforcivility.org/who-we-are/what-is-civility/

Jesus boils it down to this:

Matthew 22:37-40 ESV 

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Hands in Prayer – image from pixabay.com
Thank You Jesus for teaching us GOD’s truth; I pray we remember this always.  And that our United States though, free from an ‘official religion’ had reflected the best that humans can offer because the founders based their ideals on what they knew about right and wrong from the Holy Bible. May we as a people never forget or forsake this  but remain a beacon truth to the entire world. In Jesus’ name Amen. 
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Christian Unity

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(C) James Halifko

What if all Christians were to meet in the Great Hall C. S. Lewis described and all agreed to do all they could to improve the world?

That “Great Hall” represents all Christians who accept the “Core Tenants” of Christianity.  To be a Christian you must accept these core beliefs but that still leaves a lot of preferences which allow acceptable variation from a human perspective.  Bible version, church building, worship service character and so on.

Grand Building – image from pixabay.com

C.S. Lewis > Quotes

C.S. Lewis

“I hope no reader will suppose that “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions — as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else.

It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall, I have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in.  .  .  . “*


*Page XV, PREFACE:

Lewis, C. S. 1898-1963. Mere Christianity: A Revised and Amplified Edition, With a New Introduction, of the Three Books, Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality. 1st HarperCollins ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.


Perhaps I may be taking a little poetic license applying the following verse to C. S. Lewis’s metaphor, or perhaps not.

 

John 14:2 ESV

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Hilltop Mansion – image from pixabay.com
Clash – image from pixabay.com
Hurdles remain: Inter-denominational and sect tensions as well as intra-denominational disagreement weakens Christianities position in the World and the ability to make improvements.

 

 

Conflict War – image from pixabay.com

Religious wars are all about what people assume and nothing about the relationship we have with GOD.  When Jesus was on trial by the religious leaders this principle was evident:

 

Mark 14:53 -58a (ESV)

Jesus Before the Council

Temple in Jerusalem – image from pixabay.com

53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council[a] were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”

So, let us get on with the business of being loving Christians tolerating inconsequential or minor differences: Let us tell everyone that Jesus has paid our price for our inequities so we may ultimately be with GOD in eternity.

Amen.

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What Ruins a Family, a Society, a Nation . . .

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Gone are We – image from pixabay.com

What is the ruin of us all?

 

  1.  Denying GOD exists.
  2.  Worshiping things of this Earth – including self.
  3.  Defiling GOD’s Holiness by profanity or triviality.
  4.  Not taking a period of rest to worship GOD, for yourself and rest for any living thing under your care.
  5.  Not honoring your parents and respecting your family.
  6.  Willing to or committing murder.
  7.  Sexual immorality of any kind but especially adultery.
  8.  Taking anything that is not yours to take or claim.
  9.  Lying, omitting truth, perpetrating nefarious subterfuge especially for  personal gain.
  10.  Allowing desire for the possessions of others  to dominate our life – our being.

So obeying GOD’s proscriptions and prescriptions helps people live a more peaceful and productive life; more likely to be filled with love and not hate.

Exodus 20: 1-17 ESV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+20%3A1-17&version=ESV

Christian Hope – image from pixabay.com

Achieving these will give you and your family, and nation, a better quality of life.

images from pixabay.com

Jesus summed it up when he answered the scribe:

Mark 12: 28-31 ESV

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 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.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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Is God’s Direct Punishment Now Rare on Earth?

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«Добро пожаловать» ‘WITAMY’ ‘VITAJTE’ ‘ÜDVÖZÖLJÜK’ Welcome

Strike – image from pixabay.com

God may not mete out punishment today as read in Biblical examples but . . .

. . . our disobedience and sinning has consequences all on their own; we may reap negative results now, or maybe later, but GOD will not be mocked: GOD has a high standard and ultimately GOD will judge everyone. This World is still under the rule of Satan and will remain so until Jesus returns and implements the end times prophecies.

Romans 6:23 ESV 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am sure glad  that I am a Christian living under GOD’s Grace

Yes Christians are in this world that has much to tempt us; yes our minds and bodies are weak and we all have sinned.

Romans 3:23 ESV 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 


Receive Grace – image from pixabay.com

“Dziękuję Ci za wypłatę kar za moje grzechy, ocalając mnie przed sądem Bożym z wyprzedzeniem”.

“Ďakujem Ježišovi za zaplatenie pokuty za moje hriechy, a tak ma zachránil pred Božím úsudkom vopred”.

“Thank you Jesus for paying the penalty for my sins thus saving me from GOD’s judgement in advance”.

«Спасибо вам, Иисус за то, что заплатил за мои грехи, чтобы спасти меня от суждения Бога».


The more I sin the more forgiveness and the greater measure of GOD’s Grace I get, right?

Sin City – image from pixabay.com

Not so fast. (ST) Apostle Paul writes:

Romans 6:1-2 ESV

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

 

I will just do more good than bad and thus please GOD so that I can enter Heaven

Donate – image from pixabay.com

 

Volunteer – image from pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

Wrong.  We do not save our self with works, we do good to demonstrate GOD’s Love and our gratitude for what Jesus had done – and is doing even now – as HIS work applies to all believers from all times. The good we do, can enhance our heavenly rewards and make things better on this planet but trust in Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Romans 11:6 ESV 

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

 About heavenly rewards

Rewards – image from pixabay.com

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 ESV 

Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

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Why Did I Survive

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Military Cemetery – image from pixabay.com

Special Memorial Day message

Why did we survive . . . . ?

For me Memorial Day’s Meaning has Increased with Time.

Sacrifice comes in many forms and the men and women who have served our Nation have many stories to tell.  Today we take time to especially keep alive the the memory of the fallen; express our gratefulness to all who have served and are serving; carry on the life to the fullest they swore to protect and to those who died to preserve all of what is good for us. 

As a Christian I have relied on GOD’s Word to make sense of the ways of this world especially the things that are beyond my understanding.
Bible Study – image from pixabay.com

Romans 5:1 ESV

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

KIA – image from pixabay.com

The men in my family all served in the armed forces of The United States of America from World War I up and through The Vietnam War.  My military job was with weapons not found in the Vietnam Theater of War but, many of my contemporaries did serve there and one childhood friend died there in 1968.  Setting aside politics I am convinced that war seems to be a necessary evil that must be waged from time to time (or even continue at a low-level seemingly all the time). Sadly this human activity seems needed in order to preserve what good there is in this world.  Since I served for just under four years on active duty and never fired a shot in anger I have felt guilty on occasion.

Homeless-veteran – image from pixabay.com

The Comrades I have met as well as my family veterans all have told me not to allow this destructive guilt to diminish my life.

Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen all Comrades – image from pixabay.com

Hebrews 13:6 ESV 

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I am told all who have served honorably have contributed; men women, all.  Like some surrealistic movie I see my childhood friend’s face as we huddled in a football game and he told us what the play was.  Why did he die? He was so much better than I. He was more courageous than I. My favorite uncle who passed away last fall at 92 years old was a medic and served under General Patton,  was in the Battle of the Bulge and liberated at least one Nazi Concentration Camp; he never said much though he was the only post WWII medic from his class to survive (the other one out of a class of 32 came home only to get hit by a car and die).  My uncle did not talk much but did have medals and many restless nights.

Thank You – image from pixabay.com

GOD has a Purpose for us; when you accept Christ and study GOD’s Word you can discover why you were spared and what you are meant to do in this life.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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