Love Allows No Room for Racism

I like how my pastor always says that the bible is full of stories of real people dealing with real life issues. One real life issue the bible deals with is racism and prejudice. Paul wrote more than once about it in his epistles, letters. to churches. In Colossians 3 he wrote:

 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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In the early church there tended to be divisions at times between Jew and Gentile. In the Jewish mind at that time, there were only two groups of people, Jews and Gentiles. Jews even the ones who had become Christians, tended to be prejudiced against the Gentiles.

Another division was between slave and free. Slavery was common among all the cultures back then. Slaves would be face being looked down on by the free people and treated as less than.

Paul addressed this issue and what he wrote was a revolutionary idea at the time that in the church there were no Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free. There is only one way to become a Christian and part of the church, which is to come to faith in Christ asking him for forgiveness of sins. We come to the cross realizing our great need to forgiveness. At the cross, we are all equally sinners. It is a humbling thing to realize.

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Paul wrote of how we should treat each other in the church addressing inner attitudes. He sums it up with love saying love binds all of the virtues together. It is a thought Martin Luther King some 2,000 years later emphasized when he said:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

Imagine the impact on the world if we who follow Jesus lived this out in the church and throughout our lives. We who follow Jesus should be to first to reject prejudice realizing prejudice and racism are sins against our fellow human beings and against God who created us. In our minds, there should only be two groups of people. those who know Jesus and those who out of love we want to see come to know Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish my followers a Merry Christmas. May you experience the joy of the presence of Jesus in your lives. When I think of Christmas, I think of the wonderful truth Jesus spoke in the famous verse John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

It is my privilege to share the love of God in Jesus with the world such as refugees and immigrants from all over the world living in my city. It has been my privilege to share that love with people in Brazil, France, Mexico, and Romana in person. It is a blessing for me to know that people from many countries read my blog posts.

Merry Christmas. May you experience the love of God today and every day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Why Jesus Came- John Chapter 17

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One verse in John 17 reveals to us why Jesus came. What the end goal of his being born as a human baby was. Why he left his glory in heaven to be born a human baby.

He wants us to be with him for all eternity. John 17:24 says:

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

Jesus wants all who will believe in him to be with him forever. He wants us to be with him in heaven and enjoy eternity with him. But we should not think of this as merely a ticket out of hell and into heaven. He wants relationship with us an eternal relationship. In the last verse of John 17, Jesus said this:

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you  known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

He makes God the Father known to us not a mere head knowledge but rather intimately knowing Jesus and God the Father. Jesus wants an eternal relationship of love. He wants God’s love to be in us. He wants us to be part of the family.

That is why Jesus came. That is why we celebrate Christmas. Jesus loves us, wants us to be with him as part of his family forever.

I am sharing the video What A Beautiful Name because one line from the song conveys it so well- You Didn’t Want Heaven Without Us, So Jesus You Brought Heaven Down.

The question is do we want relationship with Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Our Friend- John Chapter 15

Last week looked at how Jesus is our source and our need to stay connected with him. He empowers us to live for him. Jesus used the word remain-remain in him. He is the vine and we are the branches. A branch depends on the vine for everything.

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Jesus expands on that in John 15:9:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

Remaining in Jesus is based on love. First there is the love between God the Father and Jesus. Out of that comes Jesus’s love for us. He calls us to remain in his love. He does not call us to remain in him out of fear of punishment if we don’t. He calls us to remain in his love.

He then equates loving him with obeying his commands. If we love Jesus, we will follow through with what he teaches us to do. But what exactly does he command us to do?

In John 15:12 we read:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

He then goes on to explain what kind of love he is talking about.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

Jesus is talking about the self sacrificing love that he himself showed for us. The kind of love that compels a person to lay down their life for a friend. That is what Jesus did for us. Self sacrificing love is expressed in many ways. Perhaps it is taking time to listen to someone having trouble. It can mean giving to someone in need instead of having a meal in a restaurant. There are many ways to show sacrificial love. When Jesus says greater love has no one than this, he is giving the ultimate example of sacrificial love.

Notice Jesus used the word friends. He goes on to say:

You are my friends if you do what I command.

If we love one another with the love of Jesus, we are his friends. No one does that perfectly. As John wrote in his letter 1st John in 1 John 4:19:

We love because he first loved us.

First we experience the love of Jesus, Then we can show his love.

Even though Jesus is the creator, our savior, and is deserving of us being his servants, Jesus said:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 

He calls us friend not servant. Notice what he says about friendship. He makes known to use what the Father showed him. He lets us in on his business. He includes us in his work.

He concludes this section by repeating his command- Love each other.

What a privilege that Jesus calls us friend. Anyone who believes in Jesus he calls friend. His command is to love one another with sacrificial love.

How does that make you feel to know Jesus says- FRIEND?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wonderful Promises of Jesus- John Chapter 14

When we make promises, do we keep them? We can be well intentioned and still fail to follow through. Things can happen that are beyond our control. Jesus has all power and his character never changes, so if Jesus promises something, we can rest assured that it will happen. Nothing can thwart the promises of Jesus.

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There are wonderful promises to unpack in just seven verses in John chapter 14. They are John 14:15 to 21. They read:

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Notice the conditional aspect of the promises. If you keep my commands. What is Jesus talking about when he refers to commands. If helps to look at other verse in John to understand.

In John 6 after Jesus had fed the thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, they followed him around and asked what they needed to do to do the works God requires. Jesus’s answer was:

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

To receive the promises, we need to believe in Jesus.

Jesus gave a new command in John 13:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

To experience the promises in fullness, we need to love one another.

1st promise- The Holy Spirit

We can overlook the fact that for these men and others The Father sent The Holy Spirit a little over 40 days from the time Jesus was speaking to them in this passage. We learn four things about The Holy Spirit from these verses; 1- he is the Spirit of truth, 2- he will be with us, 3-he will be in us. 4- he is an advocate for us.

2nd promise- Jesus will never leave us.

Jesus promised not to leave us as orphans. I have visited orphanages in various countries. Some are in very sad conditions. Orphans have no hope unless someone comes to help them. They are defenseless. Jesus promised to come to us and not leave us helpless.

3rd promise- We will see Jesus.

For the disciples, they would see Jesus after his resurrection. Jesus only appeared to those who believed in him after his resurrection. For the disciples, this would all transpire in a matter of days from the time of this conversation. For us, we know we will see Jesus face to face one day when we go to heaven.

4th promise- The Father’s love.

If we love Jesus, believe in him, The Father loves us. The love of God the Father is beyond our comprehension. He does not see or hold our sin against us. He sees Jesus when he looks at us.

5th promise- Jesus will show himself to us.

So many ways Jesus shows himself to us. Have you ever suddenly had a verse from the bible come to mind? Have you ever had a song about Jesus in your spirit? Have you ever needed something and without expecting it, a friend is there? Jesus shows himself in many ways while we are in this life. One day he will show himself to us when we go to heaven.

Remember as you read John 14 that what Jesus was talking about was in the near future for the disciples. What a wonder it would have been to see Jesus after his resurrection and then to be in the room when The Father sent The Holy Spirit.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.