Category Archives: love

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He was one of the walking dead. It had almost been three years since the priest examined that suspicious spot on his left arm and looked at him with sympathy, “I’m so sorry. It’s leprosy. May God have mercy on you, my son.”

Leprosy made you die many times before it killed you. It cut you off from those you loved most in the world. It forced you to live with other unclean people in a hopeless colony away from the town. Those with more advanced cases showed you what you had to look forward to.

It also forced you to scream “Unclean!” whenever people approached, and suffer the humiliation of watching them cover themselves and hurry by, cutting you a wide swath. And worst of all, it excluded you from the worshiping community that once had been the center of your life.

He had once prayed that God would protect him from this disease. Then he had prayed that God would heal him. God had done neither.

What had he done to deserve leprosy? It must have been some sin. But it didn’t make sense. He knew others who were living in sin and were perfectly healthy. He was confused and increasingly despondent.

Then news reached him that the rabbi Jesus was in the area. Word was that Jesus’ teaching was controversial. But apparently he had healed sick people in Capernaum—some of them lepers. This was worth checking out. So he joined the crowd on the mountain, keeping his distance, to listen to the rabbi teach and see if the healing stories were true.

What he heard transformed him. Jesus was different—from everyone. He spoke with power and authority. It was as if his very words coursed with life. He talked about the kingdom of God and the end of death and the promise of eternal life. And Jesus claimed that he could grant it!

Normally he would have written Jesus off as another delusional “messiah.” A dying man didn’t have time for delusions. Yet here he was, hanging on Jesus’ words.

Maybe it was because Jesus wasn’t just talk. People he knew as sinners repented and received forgiveness. Demon-possessed people received deliverance. And diseased people received healing.

But it was more than that. The joy his followers had seemed to go deeper than good health. They were clean inside. They were free. He wasn’t sure what it was, but the hope he tasted in Jesus’ words made him long for something beyond healing.

So he made up his mind. Whatever it took, he was going to get to Jesus and ask him to cleanse him from his leprosy and anything else that defiled him. And if Jesus granted him this gift, he was going to follow him.

So he trailed Jesus down the mountain, looking and praying for the right moment. He had an anxious knot in his gut. What if the moment never came? What if it came and Jesus said no?

It came just as Jesus reached the bottom of the mountain. So he moved quickly and dropped on his knees before the rabbi and blurted out, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

He amazed himself at the confidence with which he said those words.

Jesus looked at him. It seemed like a long time. All the conversation nearby stopped. The man could feel everyone watching. Then the kindest smile spread across Jesus’ face as he stretched out his hand and touched him. “I will; be clean.”

The first thing he felt was Jesus’ mercy. He had not been touched by a non-leper in three years.

Then he felt heat course through his whole body. Then tingling! He felt tingling in the tips of his fingers—fingers he had thought would never feel again! There were gasps from the crowd. He pulled up his sleeves. No spots! He looked up at Jesus with stunned, speechless joy. He knew he was clean.

Jesus helped him stand up and firmly instructed him to tell no one, but to go show himself to the priest with the gift commanded by Moses “for a proof to them.” Nodding, the man stammered, “Thank you!” And with another smile Jesus was off.

As the former leper walked toward the temple, Jesus’ words were ringing in his ears: “I will; be clean.” He shivered. “I will.” Jesus wanted to grant him what he asked for. “Be clean.” Jesus had the power to do it.

That morning all he had wanted was to be healed of leprosy. But now it seemed like that was just a prelude to something much bigger.

God’s good gifts in this life all point to his greatest gift—one he really looks forward to giving us in full. If he did not spare his own son to give us the gift of forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life, “How will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Ask! God is willing and able to give you the very best.

source: Desiring God Ministries Blog

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what part?

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over at the New Attitude website, they have posted a portion of my testimony.  In that testimony, I mentioned a spontaneous song sung by Bob Kauflin… here is a link where you can listen to the version I heard that day.

 

Lyrics:

What part of your sin did I not cover?
What part of your guilt did I not take?
You have broken my commandments again and again
But I suffered in your place.

What part of your guilt have I not removed?
And what part of your soul did I not make clean?
Through my once and for all sacrifice
I wholly reconciled you to me.

And don’t let the temporary pleasures of sin
Keep you from what I created you for.
Neverending joy and lasting treasure
In the presence of your Lord.

And I’m the One you were created for.
I made you for myself.
My plans are perfect, my timing’s perfect
I know just where you should be and go
So why would you give yourself to anything else?

For my blood has set you free
Free to worship me
Free to resist the power of sin
That seeks to own your life

My blood has set you free
For you were made for Me.
So live in the good of all that I paid for
Live in the good of what you were made for
Live in the good of the blood shed for you.

The Importance of Being Earnest

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I Peter 1:22 -25 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

There is a transition in 1st Peter from faith to hope to love. Our faith results in hope, that hope and faith results in an outworking of love to others. Revelation (faith) always requires a response (hope and love). To Love means to be loving in our actions, speech and attitudes.

  • Definition: “earnest”
    Serious in intention, serious in purpose, serious in effort, to be sincerely zealous
    showing depth and sincerity of feeling.
    Fell seriousness as of intention or purpose
  • Synonyms: ardently, diligently, energetically, strenuously, intensely, intensively, painstakingly, throroughly, entirely
  • The Greek word earnestly could be translated as: Strongly, deeply felt and fervent
    This word is only used two more times in the New Testament:
    In the Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus prayed earnestly
    Peter was in prison: the people made earnest prayer- then the angel released him

Questions to think about:
Are you earnest enough?
Are you ardently (diligently) loving your family, who are Christians?
Children, do you intensely love your mom and dad who are Christians?
Parents, do we painstakingly love our children?
Do we entirely love our spouse/ friends or is our love conditional?
How is our earnestness? Is it enough?
Are we diligent with our Christian friends?
Are we energetic and strenuous enough in our love for those in our caregroup? If friends and caregroup don’t go together, then we are not earnest enough. It is not about others – this is about ourselves and whether we are earnest enough.
Are we intensively loving those in our local church?
Are we painstakingly and unwaveringly loving our Christian “enemies” – even though they are our brothers and our sisters?


So, with that in mind, what’s the importance of “being earnest”?
Part of it is this … revelation requires a response. If I’m not earnestly loving those who God has placed around me, then that shows some other serious issues. If I’m not painstakingly seeking to serve, then I must question why the glorious revelation does not affect my steps. If I’m being unmerciful, maybe I should stop and look at the log in my own eye. If my actions don’t show love, can I truly say that I do? Love is not a feeling based on common understandings and goals – it is sacrificial – look no further than the cross.

I think that often in my life, I only tend to repent of as Jim called them “sins of commission” and I negelect the “sins of ommission.” It’s obvious that if/when I lie, I should confess. But when I fail to serve (fail to love), my response should be the same. I should be as brokenhearted and convicted over not loving my friends as I am when I deceive them.

We don’t have to be permanently dysfunctional because of our past. Even though everything in my heart condemns me, God is greater! “Woe is me” in Scripture leads to change, not a self-pity standstill.

What is the solution to all of this discouragement? verse 22 “obedience to the truth”. Our response to the gospel is because of our transformation by the gospel (we are to love one another earnestly). “Since you have been born again” – this is our hope for obedience in loving one another. Our hope is that our seed will not go away – the seed of the gospel, that will grow in us, is an imperishable seed, that will not go away, that will not perish – the gospel is alive and active and it abides in us – the new life we have been given will never be destroyed, it will never fade or fail – the seed is imperishable.

Because of who we already are, we are to act this way – loving one another earnestly – and our confidence begins and ends in the hope of the gospel. This command is not meant to be burdensome. Love one another earnestly is impossible but if we have faith in Jesus, we can do it through the gospel. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes – it is the only hope for change.

We have been born again and because we’ve been born again, we are to obey and we can only obey because of the gospel, resting in the gospel. The gospel is the power and motivation for all obedience. It is our example, our motive and the power for everything that we need. The gospel is the Word of God, all that we need for life and godliness.

Looks like we’re back to the 2 answers: the gospel and pride. how do I love? by repenting of my pride / seflishness / etc. not by an “I’ll do better” attitude, rather by repentence and dependence on the gospel. My hope for love is the gospel. The importance of being earnest is because my life is a picture of the gospel. By being earnest, I display grace and Christ’s love to others.

by the way, if you look closely at the picture, you will find one guy confessing sin and the other sitting across the table just smiling. =)