Monday, June 13, 2016

love!

 Yesterday our nation was attacked.  A gunman killed 50 people. 

 From CNN: ' The deadliest terror attack since 9/11 followed a clarion call (strongly expressed demand/request for action) by ISIS to its supporters in the United States to launch attacks during Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month, which started last week.' 

The culprit: ISIS  
The victims: The LGBT community

We are at war!  And it's on our homeland turf.  What are we to do about this?  How do we overcome this?  There is so much hate.  So much intolerance.  And as a Christian, I feel I need to speak up.  Although I don't have the words to eloquently speak into this.  But the Bible does.  And appropriately, the words from the book of 1 John jumped off the page at me this morning.  I have found that the only way to overcome this evil is in the perfect love of Christ!  Please, read this scripture!  

1 John 3:
11For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,b if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 4:
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 John 5:
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.


I guess what I am reminded of when I read this scripture is that as a Christian, I am called to love everyone.  Period.  No exceptions.  So that means even loving the ISIS man that wreaked havoc on the LGBT community.  If we have the heart of God in us, we would desire that all peoples and nations and communities would come to Him!  And to become VICTORS of this world of hate. 

My summary of this scripture:

From chapter 3:  Love even though the world will hate you. If I choose hate, I am a murderer.  Jesus is my perfect example and I need to pursue perfect love.

From chapter 4: God loved us first even in our broken, sinful state.  God is LOVE.  As Christians, having known God, we should also love one another (and that is how we will know if God lives in us.)  Rely on the love God has for us.  And that love is fearless and with that love, we love each other. 

From chapter 5: Everyone who loves the Father loves His child as well.  Whether that child be ISIS or homosexual or a selfish, impatient, broken and battered and angry, privileged white woman living out of her own self-righteousness (that last one would be me).

As a follower of Jesus, I get so angry when headlines about Christians include hateful descriptions.  If we are truly following Jesus' example, we would only hate evil but never people.  Do I agree with Muslims' beliefs?  No.  Do I encourage or condone homosexual activity?  No.  Do I pray for the lost who haven't found victory in Jesus?  Yes. In spite of our differences, they matter to God and Jesus died for us all!  I didn't do anything to deserve salvation and that's the same for every human being.  We are all broken.  We are all sinners.  And those of us that have accepted the salvation that Jesus gave up his life for need to love and fight for and pray to the means that others would know His love too.

So lets pray for this love to manifest itself into the ISIS community and the LGBT community and the Christian community that GOD would be glorified and His victories multiplied.  Let's combat this evil and use it to share the perfect love represented in Jesus Christ, that Savior of the world!  

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