Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lent ~ 'love one another'

I live and love in God's peculiar light.

"To love one another" is to walk in the Light! While we cannot explain God, by faith we demonstrate His love when we love others. To say we live in God's light and act with contradiction - with envy or jealousy, with anger or criticism, with pride or arrogance - we are not being truthful. When our actions offer compassion, peace, joy, humility and generosity, we are living and loving in God's peculiar light.

Read 1 John 2:7-11

. . . This commandment - to love one another - is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. This commandment is true in Christ and is true among you, because the darkness is disappearing and the true light is already shining.
1 John 2: 7-8 NLT

The commentary in the Life Application Bible reads as follows:
Christian love is not a feeling but a choice. We can choose to be concerned with people's well-being and teat them with respect, whether or not we feel affection toward them. If we choose to love others, God will help us express our love.

When we seek deeper, more intimate relationships, love must be present. Without this component, there is no evidence of a meaningful relationship with God or between us and another. As we grow spiritually, our love becomes an outward manifestation. God teaches us how to love by example ~ by loving us more than we can even understand love ~ by sending Christ as His Love Offering for us.

consider this!
  • How can the message to 'love one another' be both old and new?
  • How does a Christian wander in spiritual darkness?
  • How do you love?

Holy One ~ You love us more than words and call us to love each other. The world tells us to love self most but does not love us at all. The contrast of light and darkness shouts! Jesus,the True Light, guide us through this dark world. Help us grow our love in You. Amen. ~dho

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent ~ Grace-full

The fullness of our heart is expressed in our eyes,
in our touch, in what we write, in what we say, in
the way we walk, the way we receive, the way we need.
Mother Teresa

We find in Christ the One who speaks our needs to the Father, the One who pleads our case, the One who intercedes for us. Christ is the sacrifice for our sins, the One with whom we are to become intimately connected, the One we are to reflect in our living. Our actions evidence our heart, define our relationship with Christ.

Read 1 John 2:1-6

[Jesus Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:2 NASB

Propitiation means atonement, atoning sacrifice; it means GRACE! Jesus became the sacrificial lamb ~ the perfect, unblemished lamb ~ offered for our sins, for our salvation. Christ is the very essence of Amazing Grace. Only through Him can we be made righteous.

consider this!
  • In God's Court, Satan is our Accuser, and Jesus is our Defender. What evidence does Satan have to convict you? Remember - he is seeking the death penalty.
  • When you stand before God, what evidence will Jesus have to present on your behalf?
  • Will your verdict be "case dismissed"? If so, who paid the penalty for your sins? What was the cost?

Jesus, You are more than an Advocate, You are the Offering. We cannot live the truth of Your Righteousness without Your suffering sacrifice. Teach us to become more and more like You. Amen. ~dho

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

"It’s tough in the desert. It’s bewildering.
It’s destructive. It’s hellish. Yet the testimony
of the Old Testament, and ever more strongly,
of the New, is that out of it comes new growth,
new insight, new certainty that a God of love
is at home among us."
Charles Elliott

This is the day Christians around the world come to His altar to receive the mark of a sinner. It symbolically reminds us that God alone is Sovereign; God alone is Grace. We believers can never find salvation or peace or eternity without Jesus Christ. It is His Forgiveness we need, His Presence we seek, His Love we offer. Today begins a journey of renewal, a time to reflect on our own individual faith-walk.

Read 1 John 1:1-10

If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth - we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the Light, God Himself being the Light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin. 1 John 1:6-7 The Message

consider this!

  • Where does the "Light" originate?

  • If believers are "forgiven" why do we still stand before God marked as a sinner?

  • Does my living what I claim reflect Jesus?

Light of the World ~ You have come that we might love. We are sinners, but You are Grace. We confess You are Absolute Truth. Dress us in righteousness, forgiven and redeemed. May our words of living reflect the Word of Life. Amen. ~dho