“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, June 1, 2017

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (HUMAN AND DIVINE)

Little children, I am with you only a little while longer. You will look for Me, and as I said to the Jews, so now I say to you: ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." -- Jesus Christ, John 13.33-35[1] 


This is the Master's commandment. It is not a suggestion, it is a command as plain as the crooked nose on my face. Why? God is love.[2] For more perspective about the love Christ spoke about, read the 4th chapter of 1John verses 7-21. The Apostle John reinforces and affirms Christ's words. 

Perhaps it is fitting that the fourth chapter of 1John begins with instructions about testing spirits. Spirits and the spirit of our age distort love and pervert it. I believe Christ-like love is the greatest weapon against the cultural war in which we find ourselves (and we are in a culture war of colossal proportions). The battle is for nothing less than the hearts, minds and souls of every man, woman, and child. In the western, developed world, the enemy's weapons are the allure of hedonism and shallow promises of narcissism. Depression and hopelessness are their bitter fruits. The Christian's weapons are Christ-like love that shows Him to the world. (It is often shown through His followers.) 

The Divine love of God is expressed in His Son. It can change people forever as they discover new dimensions of their lives that God intended when He endowed them with His image and likeness. Joy is the sweet fruit as they discover in their divinely intended meaning and purpose. All people need to love and be loved. And they need to know they are loved. 

After more than 33 years of aggressive multiple sclerosis, the why of my suffering has finally been answered: The answer is found in the Divine love of Christ (just as it is for you). By surrendering my brokenness to Him, something mysterious and wonderful has begun. Despite my wheelchair and massive flaws of character, I am being slowly transformed to be more like Him! I'm being prepared for eternity. This is not unique to me. Millions of people throughout the past 2,000 years have discovered this transformation through a personal relationship with the risen Christ. 

He is the source of all dimensions of Divine love. All other love is either stunted or counterfeit. We must love God with our whole being. But it does not stop there, we are to love our neighbour as ourselves.[3] There is a natural flow from the first to the second (or there should be).

Dare anybody ask the cynical and dismissive question: "Who is my neighbour?" Jesus answered that ancient question in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.[4] 

Everybody is called to the light of love (both human and divine). Our world needs to encounter Christ's love. (Despite a line in the song below, there is nobody on this side of the grave who can not be saved. On that point, John Lennon was wrong.

Humanity desperately needs the reality of Jesus Christ, and to be transformed by His love to become children of God.[5] Christians are called to love, at home and abroad. We are to love others wherever we meet them. Hear their silent cries for love, and respond with love. 

For example, there are hundreds of thousands of North American children adrift in foster care. Many need a home and permanent Christian family to call their own -- a family where they find belonging and unconditional love. They need to grow and blossom. Have you considered a domestic adoption? 

Do you know there are an estimated 147 million abandoned and orphaned children in the world? Their need for love and care is immediate and acute. Orphans are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet! They need to love and be loved. They long for belonging. 

Have you considered an international adoption? Do you have love to give but can't afford it financially? Ask your church family to help sponsor your adoption. It may take a village to raise a child, but what happens when the village is abandoned or broken down? It takes a family to care for and protect an orphan or abandoned child. 

God gives us the example: Through faith in Christ, we spiritual orphans are adopted as children of God. Can you mirror God's example and make room at your family table for another child?

Papa (me) waiting
patiently for my
new grandchild
My daughter and son-in-law are in the final throes of adopting a child from Haiti. I could very well meet my new grandchild by Christmas. What a glorious Christmas it will be! A little child will be immersed into the love of our family. Love grows. 

Perhaps a cynic is thinking "That's only one child! You can't save the world." No, but we can save one child's world forever. And that child will change us forever. 

We are the human family; the human family is at its best it under the lordship of Jesus Christ. All we need is love (human and Divine). Leave the rest to God. -- Mark 
(Make sure your sound is on for the video below.
Children are so open to love.)

________________________
Notes

[1] Also see Leviticus 19.18; Matthew 5.44; John 15.17; Romans 12.10, 13.8-10; Gal 5.14; Ephesians 5.2, 1 Thessalonians 4.9. Compare with Galatians 6.2; 1John 2.8-10, 3.4,18,23; 2John 1.5.
[2] 1John 4.8 & 16.
[3] Matthew 22.35-40.
[4] Luke 10.25-37.
[5] John 1.12-13, Galations 3.26-28.

No comments: