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Posts Tagged ‘loving others’

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you

so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—so that

whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

I command you to love one another.

John 15:16-17

Chosen to produce fruit! Ask any farmer, or keeper of vines and orchards how difficult it is to produce fruit and all will acknowledge producing fruit takes patience, consistency, discipline and focused attention to tasks. So it is when you seek to produce spiritual fruit, whether in your own life or through mentoring or fellowshipping with others. Generating fruit, more fruit, or much fruit, as we are called to do, demands the same dedicated consistency. (John 15:1-8) Fruit that will last does not come from avoidance, ignoring warning signs of disease or the potential harm to the critical elements that must work together. The price for a successful harvest must be paid.

So it is with the journey of faith. We cannot negotiate the price if we truly want a personal and deeply intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Rationalization, avoidance, justification are all words that describe conduct implemented when we face the unknown, the uncomfortable, or difficult life events. Sensitize yourself today to those actions that emerge when life throws an unexpected twist in your day, week or changes your future entirely.   What are your default mechanisms when you are confronted with a challenge? Sleep? Eating? Becoming a hermit? Watching television? Shopping? Some of those are the ones that I run to when I want to avoid.

But the Lord God has called me out this Lenten season. God is challenging me to realize that turning back to those actions might bring me comfort and security for today, but none will lead to bearing fruit that will last in my life or the life of others. We are called to pour out compassion, encouragement, mercy, or other attitudes and actions that will offer the love of Jesus to a hurting life—leading to fruit that will last both in us and the ones we serve. It isn’t our job to determine the quality of the fruit; our responsibility is to “go and bear” fruit. We leave the worth of the harvest to the Lord.

This week of Lent, fast the rationalizations, justifications or those default actions that allow you to avoid the uncomfortable or unknown. It is time to stop avoiding. Notice the value—when we go as “appointed” we are being obedient to God’s directive, and the result is “so that whatever you ask” in the name of our Heavenly Father will be given to you. It is God’s command that we produce fruit by going out to love one another, and when we do, He will honor our requests in His name. Lavish love today in His Holy Name and for His honor and glory.

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“For the mountains may depart and the hills disappear, but even then I will remain loyal to you.  My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord God who has mercy on you.”  Isaiah 54:10

 

Did you ever wonder why there were two tablets to make up the Ten Commandments?  It isn’t as portrayed by Charlton Heston and Hollywood that there were 5 commandments on each tablet.  Rather, in fact, there were two tablets because God was making a contract with His people.  Then He told them to keep both copies because He wanted them to understand that meant He was always and forever going to remain with them—after all, one party to a contract can’t do much unless there is a close working relationship with the other party.  Such is equally true with the contract of love God has extended to each of us freely.

 

Study of the Bible reveals there are very few times God was unequivocal in legal contract language. The Ten Commandments was one such occasion and another was when He set the rainbow in the sky to remind us of His promise that He will never again flood the earth (Gen 8:21).  In Isaiah 54:10, God provided assurance that even if earthquakes and floods was away the world around us, He will never stop extending His love and mercy toward us.

 

I love my family, but I know there are times when I stop extending blessings toward them.  I “break” my covenant toward them.  Yet, no matter how much I fail or turn away from the Lord, He continues to pour out His blessings toward me.  A love contract that has never been breached by Him.

 

February, a month filled with reminders of love towards others through Valentine’s Day celebrations, has ended.  Today, begins a new month, but we can take this reminder of God’s constant and consistent presence with us as we journey through March—is there a way we can pour out blessings of love on someone who wasn’t loyal, who wasn’t “loving” toward us, who didn’t earn our love or even deserve it.  Is there someone I can be present with or for who needs a demonstration of God’s love today?    There is someone who comes to my mind as I write this—I commit to keeping the covenant God made with me by loving that individual despite his actions toward me and I will do it in Jesus name.  How about you? Is there someone who needs a demonstration of love from you today?

 

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