Posts Tagged With: lost

Love-Hate Relationships

These days everybody wants to talk about love. People act as though it is a sin to talk about hating anything or anyone.

Go to most churches on a Sunday, and you will hear the word “love” at least once. That is the way it should be.

Go to many movies, and you will hear about love, often in a more vulgar sense or almost always in a selfish sense. Sometimes you will get to see hate acted out.

Go to a stadium, and you will see love demonstrated vigorously (sometimes for no reason). But you will also see some hate (for the opposing team).

Go to a psychologist, and they will encourage you to love yourself and your family and your community. But they will put the censor on any reference to that “h” word like it is a four letter word. Well it is, but so is love … and lust. (These two “L” words are often confused by a psychologist, but we will talk about that at another time.)

If you love someone, you hate others, at least in a relative sense. If you love someone, you are drawn to him and repelled from all others. At least this is true if we are talking about the highest, deepest, and most extensive of loves.

The Love of God should fill our lives. But, we cannot love God properly, unless there is also some relative hate for all others. Jesus taught this.

Where in the Word did Jesus get the idea that we should hate?

The Psalmist says, “I hate them with a perfect hatred.”

Wait a minute, Jesus said love your enemies? There is no room for hatred if there is love, right?

The more proper question is, “Who is our first love?”
It must not be for ourselves.
It must not be for the church.
It must not be for our family.
It must not be for our spouses.
It must not be for our wealth or status.
It must not be for anyone … other than God.

The Lord is our first Love.
Shema Yisrael …
All who do not love the Lord are anathema, accursed.

Whoa, buddy! What are you doing!! Calling down curses on people?

I am simply referring to the same Holy Bible that says, “Jacob have I love, but Esau have I hated.” The Holy Spirit inspired it, and He will help us understand it, as He teaches us.

So often, you will hear people mixing up the love commands (not love command, singular, but plural.)

Our first love is for God and God alone.

NOBODY shares in the full glory of God except the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One Lord.

Muslims call such replacing the Love for God with lesser loves shirk. It is a great evil.

However, the Love of God is such that God is willing to pour out His love into our hearts. As we hate sin and even the garment stained with sin, we will be drawn to love the Lord with pure devotion.

We will humble ourselves so deeply that it will appear to be a kind of hatred. We will appeal to the God of Heaven for His mercy moment by moment, because we will know that without Him we can do nothing. This is what it is to despise oneself: to delight utterly in God.

But if we so humble ourselves, he will lift us up in due time.

To hate your wife is to put intimacy with God ahead of intimacy with your wife. This will sound weird to some, but we must kiss the Son lest He be angry in His wrath and we perish in our way.

But if we are intimate first with God and most intimate with God, then we will enjoy the times we spend with our families all the more.

Perhaps you are by now eager to hate your mother and father and sister and brother that you may get them back. I think you get the picture, your family must be formed around your identity as a child of God the Father. And if you love God, you will certainly seek to repay your debt of love to your parents and the rest of your family by sharing the Gospel with them and all that they need if you have it at all in your power to help.

However, there is more, perhaps you will be like those who only get to see their family occasionally, if at all, because they have chosen to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth to reach the nations.

Ah, you will say, the nations must be hated because they do not love the Lord, and so they must. We must never love any ethnic or pagan so much that we hide the truth from them out of a counterfeit sensitivity that leans more toward those you have gone to reach that towards the God who sent you. Yes, we must love God more than the lost.

But if you love God, you will certainly want to see His name honored among the nations. A love for God will most supremely mean that if it is your first love, you will seek to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all nations. If one group will not hear, you will go to those who will, till some from all have heeded the Hope of Heaven’s Reward: Life in Christ.

Perhaps you harbor a little hatred for your enemy, pure hatred rather than perfect hatred. I would urge you to repent and love your enemy as you know you should. You may receive no reward in this life. Don’t worry about that. Look to the joy you will have on the last day when you will have a clear conscious when you cared nothing for honor in their eyes, but cared more for the Honor of God among the wicked.

How do you honor God? Truth in love. Think, act, speak with all integrity and compassion, patiently and kindly fixing your eyes on God, the Author and Finisher of your faith, the Foundation and Goal of your hope, the one who loves you enough to send His Son to die for you and is worthy of supreme love to the end.

Categories: Cross, Holiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost & Found on the Ground

This winter has been harsh: lots of snow, snow banks, cold weather locally, lots of people complaining about the worst weather in living memory.

Well, after it thaws, people get grateful. The snow backs away. Things warm up. People are more comfortable and safe on the roads.

There is a parallel in the way I found a small treasure one week: I found over $50 on the ground in just over a week’s time.

Much of it was along parking spots. Two places however stick out in my mind most prominently though.

Once, I was walking along on a near regular routine of picking up my mail after a Monday afternoon class. After I crossed the street at a little different place, I walked along a sidewalk and spotted two bills. I thought they were two new $1 bills. They turned out to be two $20 bills. Still intact. Freshly thawed from the snow. Wow!! I knew I couldn’t keep that and I had already committed to give some funds to a particular ministry or three. In English law, the following applies:
The general rule attaching to the three types of property may be summarized as: A finder of property acquires no rights in mislaid property, is entitled to possession of lost property against everyone except the true owner, and is entitled to keep abandoned property.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost,_mislaid,_and_abandoned_property

This derives from Jewish law in Leviticus 6:
http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/avedah4.html

So what if there is no identifying information about whose money or property it is? This money is to be given to the Lord.

Why?
A. God is the ultimate Finder. He finds the lost coin and the lost sheep and the lost son in Luke 15.
B. God is the ultimate Owner. He teaches us to profit and all that we have ultimately belongs to Him. (Isaiah 48:17)
C. We should share the first-fruits of what we receive with the Lord and share all good things with our Teacher. (Galatians 6; Proverbs 3:9-10)
D. You didn’t earn it, it is a gift which is for the poor.

This also undercuts the motive of the heart to look for lost property of others in order to keep it for oneself.

Oh, how wicked is the heart. We make a little extra and want to keep it all to ourselves. Instead the Lord says: give & it will be given unto you.

At times I have kept money I found to myself, but in the end it was like gravel until my generosity renewed.

So back to the $40 I found. Sometimes the gifts of God are great in quantity and this is what is so special about them.

Other times, it is the mere fact that the harder we look, the more we find.

This was true one day as I was riding on the bus and elected to transfer. As I waited for my next bus to arrive, I decided to look for coins. I found a few. and then some more. And more. And just as the bus was driving up, I looked behind me, and there in plain view, in the middle of the sidewalk was a slough of coins. Now, they were virtually all pennies. But there were so many that appeared suddenly, that I thought I had a hole in my pocket and that I was dropping them as soon as I picked them up. But no, no hole. God just blessed me with finding a bunch of pennies. The whole time, I meditated on how God looks for the lost and how the harder we look, the more we find.

I was so excited over those pennies that I started to talk to people on the bus about the way God puts treasures in our path for us to find, namely grace. God’s treasures of grace are all along the route every day of the year.

Now, if I was so excited about some silly pennies, HOW MUCH MORE should we be excited about whenever the lost souls are found? We should dance every time someone starts making good decisions. We should be happy every time someone decides to follow Jesus! We should shout every time someone chooses to serve the Lord!!

If finding something small produces pleasure, then finding grace in the eyes of God through our Lord Jesus Christ should produce so much more pleasure.

What have you found lately? Where have you been looking for treasure lately? What have you found joy in lately? Have you found favor in the eyes of God? Have you found the goodness of God in Christ Jesus? Look into his word.

Perhaps you say, “I read a fancy Bible and get little out of it.” It is not the fanciness of the Bible or the fanciness of your interpretation. It is the obedience to what is heard. Let us all obey and share the treasures God gives us with those who have not yet heard.

Categories: Evangelism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Man who Cried – Hebrews 5:7-10

I heard him in his room at noon, at night
Asking God for wisdom, grace and light.
Unrelenting passion filled his heart,
Trusting God would answer from the start.
Praying hard: he sought, he groaned, he sighed . . .
That’s how I’d describe the man who cried.

I saw him kneeling early in the morn
Calling out for sinners he had warned.
Simple words of power touched his lips,
Wetted eyes released their salty drips.
Bowing at the throne while others slept . . .
That’s how I’d describe the man who wept.

I heard his voice beside the young man’s grave
Telling friends about the Lord who saves.
Hugging those who mourned, his soul could hear
Every sadness, quiver, sigh, and tear.
Hurting when folks hurt; he sympathized . . .
That’s how I’d describe the man who agonized.

I saw him in the garden full of praise
Singing psalms with arms and hands upraised.
God had answered his request at last:
Fruit had come, so he would break the fast.
Thanking God just like a little boy . . .
That’s how I’d describe the man of joy.

Categories: Evangelism, Humility, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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