“Beloved…..”

1 John 7,8 states strongly, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;  and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”   I saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me. The bumper sticker said,  “God loves you—and I am trying.”

Love is a journey not a destination. Love is like a river, never ending as it flows, but
gets greater with time. God is love.

One person said, “Love is like swallowing hot chocolate before it has  cooled off. It takes you by surprise at first, but keeps you warm for a  long time.”

What would Jesus say about love? I believe that He would say, “Love is my  religion!” Very simply, love is all there is. Love is really all there  is—God IS love, the only energy, the only presence. The only power that  we should express in life is the energy of God’s love, for if we do,  our life will be successful.

You and I, truly, are radiating centers of God’s love. Our spiritual  purpose is to express love to others and to allow others to love us.   Everything we do should be an act of love, the only thing we should  express.

In the first letter of John, it says twice that God is love. It is in the  Bible because it is a reality. God is the very presence and power of love.   God is not necessarily loving, like a human being can be loving, or not  loving; for God is the very essence and quality of love itself.

Because, as it says in first Genesis, you and I are made in the image and  after the likeness of God – so,  it must be that  we, as God’s own creation, also are Divine love in expression. Love is our basic nature, and love is our essence.  If we are not living in that natural essence and expressing from that  essence of love we feel disjointed, and out of kilter.

It is that spiritual essence, that truly binds everything together in  perfect harmony in this world.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians in chapter 3, verse 14. There, Paul is  listing some of the qualities that we need to express in life, like  forbearance, forgiveness, etc. He finally winds up, in verse 14, by  saying, “And ABOVE ALL THESE put on love, which binds everything together  in perfect harmony.” It is the spiritual glue, which, in a sense, holds  this whole world together and holds our lives together. How truly important it is.

There are two major choices in life at any given moment—being loving, or  not being loving. It is as simple as that. It is an experience we have all had, to live from the higher vantage point of life, or from the lower.

It seems in life there is always the flip side to everything, just like on  a record. You play one tune on one side, and then you flip it over and  there can be another tune on the other side that is quite different than the one you just listened to. And so it is with love.

Love is a wonderful quality, but we express it according to our  understanding of it. If our understanding of it, at any given moment, is  not what it ought to be, then it comes out as something that we might even call unloving. This is also represented in the Bible, in particular by one of the gospels; the apostle John could represent the spiritual quality of
love.

In the gospel that bears John’s name, we see that love is mentioned a number of times.  What did Jesus have to say about love? Jesus said many things about love.   He also expressed love in His actions as well as His teachings.

The kingdom of God was Jesus’ main teaching, His main theme. He talked  about that kingdom not being so much an outer, political kingdom, but  being a kingdom within us.

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, a certain gentleman asked him what was  the greatest commandment in our law. In other words, what is the greatest  teaching in our Bible? Jesus gave him two answers instead of one.

First of all, He said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This comes from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament,  chapter 6, verses 4-5. Then he said a second is like unto it, love your  neighbor AS yourself. So, you see, at first glance Jesus gave him two for  the price of one.

And when we love God, what does that mean? How do we love God? So much of
loving God in the churches has been the idea of loving a God out there, outside of us, as if God were sitting on some great throne in the sky.

Jesus’ concept of God is a God who wants us to express our own Divine loving self, and in that way, to love God. If you truly want to love God, then what you need to do is to express more of your personal love from God in everything you do. To do this it might be a complete re-creation or rebirth of yourself and the way you live life. It must be accomplished to truly live within the kingdom of God’s love.

I think this is the kind of God that was meant by Jesus. At one point in His ministry, Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea from the Old Testament and  says, “I desire mercy and steadfast love and not sacrifice.”  In other  words, what Jesus was doing, in quoting Hosea, was saying that God does not want ritual or all of these outer observances, but God wants mercy and  steadfast love to all. It is spiritual, inside of ourselves, and through our daily actions. What God wants us to do, in a sense, is to  express our own love. That is how we can love God to the fullest. The  bible says that ALL love is from God, so, to follow Christianity, we MUST express it.  Express and live the  love of Christ.

 

 

 

God bless you!

____________________________________________

Mother’s Day

Mildred B. Vermont said, “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs…the payment is pure love.”   Ask any mother today, and she will tell you. To hold a little one and feel love is one of the wonders of the world.

 

 

In 1 John 4:12, the Bible states “God’s abides in us and God’s love is perfected in us.” It is certainly perfected in mothers. A Mother’s love is such a mighty force.

 

 

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Tenneva Jordan.~ I LOVE THIS QUOTE!  I remember m mother always said she hated the chicken breast and only wanted the thigh.  Years later when ordering rom KFC she admitted the breast was her favorite but knew we kids liked white meat the best, so she relinquished her choice for a secondary one.

 

 

There was a scientist at the University of Wisconsin who created a mothering machine for little animals. It was made out of wire and covered with terry cloth. Out of the wire was a bottle of milk and there was a light bulb to keep the little one warm. But they found that the little ones were dying because little ones needed love.

 

 

Love is the one thing you cannot recreate with wire, terry cloth, and a light bulb. At some point in your life, someone held you in their arms, close to their heart. They had the look of love in their eyes and a truly open heart. This happened to every one of us; somebody somewhere along the line did this, and it was the greatest expression of love. You know how special it is, and you know how special it was in your life, whether this person was your natural mother, your adoptive mother, grandmother or relative.

 

 

You are here reading this on this day as testimony to that holding. You are able to love because of the love you received. You learned how to love. It was a silent thing, but it was profound and it changed your life, and continues daily. There were times when you made lots of noise, but you were responded to and you were cared for. You were loved.

 

 

The real religion, the only religion that counts (no matter what denominational name we call it) is love. We always have to ask ourselves as a test for religion (which is a system of life) is how loving is this? We should carry our religion of love, our God, into our homes, our lives, and our actions.

 

 

 

Whether we are female or male, we should allow that love to come forth from us, whether for something or someone very young, an adult, or someone that is very old that needs our love. We should always allow that wonderful aspect, the best aspect, of human love to come through us-the love, the magic, of motherhood. And this motherhood is God created.]

 

 

 

Twenty some years ago, a lady came to a minister. She was very, very distressed. She sat in the minister’s office and she said that through a series of events her nephew was coming to live with her. She said to the minister, “I’ve never had any children, and I’m a harsh woman — I admit that. I don’t have the kind of love that I would want to give to a child. I’m scared. How can I, being harsh, hard, and stern in life, give love to this young boy?”

 

 

The minister said to her, “You have God’s love inside of you. If you consent to that God love coming through you, it will come through. It is the love of God that will equip you to love this child. If you allow yourself the privilege of having this love come through, it will come through.”

 

 

She said, “Yes, yes. But I was never created to do that. You don’t understand my nature. You see the good too much, preacher.”

 

 

The minister said, “No. I know that God love can come through you-if you let it.”

 

 

That was many years ago. Today that woman has a grown nephew. She was changed by that experience, and so was he. She was a great aunt; she was a wonderful mothering influence. But she didn’t become something; she allowed something to become her. We, each one of us, already are loving children of God. We just have to allow the nature that our mother (or that individual who was the model of a mother) allowed some time ago, to come through us. Why not do it in honor of mother? What greater honor of a mother than to express today in our lives some of the love she taught us how to express?

 

 

There’s a great story I want to share with you about this same idea. It is a story of an Arabian horse. As a young horse, he was orphaned. This Arabian foal was adopted by a family of camels. Every day he looked around and all he saw were other camels, so he decided that he was going to be the best camel he could be because he didn’t know he was an Arabian horse.

 

 

Daily through the hot sands of the desert he would carry heavy loads. He would drink at every oasis because he was so parched and thirsty. And every day he would put his hooves down into the sand and move slowly because that was the way a good camel was supposed to be.

 

 

One day, when he was very, very old, he looked out across the desert. From his weary eyes he saw an Arabian horse running in the distance on a sand dune. He said to himself, “That is the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in my life!” The shiny mane was flowing back from his head and neck. He said, “If I could only be like that.” He thought to himself, “Once, years ago I had the desire to run, leap high in the air and go over the sand dunes . . .” but he quickly remembered his place as a camel. He died from old age never knowing what he really was.

 

 

The worst thing we can do in human life is to die not knowing what we are. Male or female, we are meant to love; we are meant to express God’s love. We are meant to cuddle little things, nurture, and cause great things to happen in individuals.

 

 

We are meant to celebrate life. According to Jesus Christ, the ultimate way to celebrate life is to love all, realizing we are one in the humanity with each other. Otherwise we’re doing a great disservice, to ourselves, but also to our mothers, because that is the way mom would want it to be.

 

 

Mom told us to play nice on the playground. She told us to treat other people well. We should never forget those lessons in our adult life.

 

 

Being Christian, we talk a lot about Jesus Christ. Perhaps we do not talk enough about His mother and the importance she played, not only in His ministry but in the formation of His life.

 

 

Every mother who has ever conceived a child has conceived miraculously. You know that. When you were in the hospital and held that little one you could not help but to believe in God, love and power that is greater than ourselves.

 

 

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”  Sophia Loren

 

 

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.

 

 

Jesus’ first miracle says so much about his mother. The wedding at Cana [John 2:1-8, 11].On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.” I’m sure she was invited by the family because she knew them. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding, but I’m sure they were invited because of Mary. “When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’

 

 

I don’t suggest you say to your mother, “Woman. . .”   But in Jesus’ day this was a very endearing term. It was saying, “Marvelous, marvelous lady.” But He was also saying what you’ve said to your mother many times: “Mom, I’m not ready yet. I can’t do this.”

 

 

You know what mom said to you. She said to you in various ways, “I believe in you. You, more than anybody else in the world, can take care of this problem. You’re my son/daughter and I believe in you and I know what you can accomplish with your life.” That’s what mom was saying to Jesus.

 

 

I’m sure there were many other things she said besides what is written down here. I’m sure He went on and on, for ten times, to his mother saying such things as, “Mom, there’s no way I can do this now.” Mary didn’t even listen to Him, just like your mother didn’t listen to you when you said “I can’t.”

 

 

“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’” Keep in mind this was His first miracle.

 

 

You know how it was for you when you were producing your first miracle . . . like that first day of school or the first day on your new job when you felt so insecure. You just didn’t know if you had it in you to do what you had trained all these years to do. Yet this was the time. You had your mother calling and telling you, “I believe in you!”

 

 

“And they filled them up to the rim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’” You know the rest of the story. They did and it was the finest wine they had ever tasted. It goes on to say,” and his disciples believed in him.” It doesn’t say that then Mary believed; she already knew, and believed. The disciples didn’t, but Mary did. Then at the end of the story it talks of how Jesus went with his mother to the next place they were going.

 

 

Jesus’ mother was so important to Him that the parting words on the Cross, almost the very last thing He said, was, “Woman, behold thy son, and behold thy mother.” He was looking out for his mother. He was getting someone to take care of his mother, whom He valued so highly. He was caring for her, even while He was in great pain.

 

 

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls.”

 

 

There is a wonderful story of Abraham Lincoln when he was riding one day in a coach. There was a colonel from Kentucky with him. The colonel reached into his inside vest pocket and took out a container of whiskey. He said, “Here Mr. Lincoln, have a swig of whiskey.”

 

 

Mr. Lincoln said, “No sir; thank you. I never drink whiskey.”

 

 

They rode along a little while longer and the colonel reached into his other vest pocket and took out a big, long cigar and said, “Here Mr. Lincoln. Have a cigar.”

 

 

Mr. Lincoln said to the colonel, “No. I never smoke cigars.”

 

 

Then Mr. Lincoln said, “Let me tell you a story. When I was nine years of age, I was called to my mother’s bed. She held my hand and said, ‘Abe, the doctor tells me I’m very sick and I’m not going to get up from this bed. Dear boy, I want you to promise me something from my deathbed – that you will never smoke or drink.’” Abe Lincoln said to the colonel from Kentucky, “Now, would you wish at this time I break that promise?”

 

 

 

The colonel paused and said, “Oh no, dear kind sir. I would pay $1,000 if I had made that promise and kept it all these years. I would be a better man for it.”

 

 

Abraham Lincoln, when asked about his incredible strength, said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

 

 

We’ve made many, many promises in our lifetime. Most of them have been to our mothers. And how many thoughts she had for us as she was raising us. How good it is to have a day to honor her and realize that she made us.

 

 

Whenever Alexander the Great was entertaining people in the palace, he
would always put on a special gown that was woven for him by his mother. Every time we go out in public, we put on a gown that was woven for us by our mothers-not only the skin we have, the eyes, teeth, and hair, but also the way we act.

 

 

Perhaps over years we have forgotten some of the things that mom has taught us, but this is a day to remember. This is a day to go back and remember the very best of mom when she was at her best. We become our best by recalling and reliving her best.

 

 

The VERY BEST she taught was LOVE, by her example.

 

 

A man was talking with a woman and asked, “What do you do?” She said, “I’m
just a mother.” This is what Theodore Roosevelt said about being “just a
mother.”

 

 

 

“When all is said, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. The successful mother, the mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls who are to be the generation of men and women of the next generation, is of better use to the country if only she would realize it. A more honorable as well as a more important position than any man, the mother is the one supreme asset of national life. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, businessman, artist, or scientist.”

 

 

 

I have one more story to share with you that will touch you. It is an old
Chinese story. Po Yu did wrong and he cried when his mother chastised him with a stick. “You never used to cry when I thrashed you,” said his mother. “Why do you cry today?”

 

 

He answered, “When I did wrong and you thrashed me, it always used to hurt. But this time mother’s strength is such that it did not hurt. That’s why I cry.”

 

 

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

 

 

Let us pray. Dear God, one of the most incredible gifts you ever gave me as a human being is my physical mother. I thank You for that incredible gift. I thank You for all the times we’ve spent together and all the lessons she shared with me. Every day I will make my life an example of her love, and in my life I will make her love very much alive and her life not wasted. Her love is the life I live.. Lord, we know our mothers were not perfect, nor were or are we. We ask You to bless them whether they are with You in heaven or with us here on earth.

 

 

I thank you, dear mother, for your love, patience, and incredible kindness hour after hour. For the life I have today, I give credit to you.

 

 

 

 

In Jesus Christ’s name I pray and thank you for the love of my mother….. . . . Amen

Passion – The Passion – Your Passion – My Passion

 

John 12: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

 

 

And so it begins!

 
We begin Holy Week today (Sunday) as Jesus rides the donkey into Jerusalem, surrounded by his disciples and others who love Him and even bystanders who are just curious who this strange man is. Riding in through the gates of a city on a donkey symbolizes that the person comes in peace and love. The opposite would be a rider on a giant steed with armor and weapons. This is Jesus in triumph, but triumph of sacrifice, sacrifice for you and for me. That is how great God’s love for us is. That is what His Passion is all about.

 

 

Every year as we approach this week, I ponder on the word THE PASSION. That is The Passion of Christ; that week of jubilation, then degradation, then finally crucifixion and then joyous resurrection. It is the absolute gambit of emotion – the alpha and the omega, the full circle of emotion. And what is it about this week that we name it Passion Week? This is the week that God’s passion for us is culminated in a display of perfect love – the passion of His toward us.

 

 

But what is Passion throughout the Holy Bible and how does it relate to God – how does it relate to us?

 
Passion means fervor, ardor, zeal, delight. From the very first page through the very last, the Bible seems to demonstrate one relentless passion… that is, the Father’s passion to see those whom He has created walk in intimacy with Him. In Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord speaks to the people of Israel saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love… and I have drawn you in loving-kindness.” This verse is so beautiful not only because it reveals the depth of the Father’s love toward us but also because it demonstrates God’s passion to draw us into His presence.

 

 

 

Even when the hearts of the Israelites had turned from God, the Lord said, in Isaiah 65:1, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name I said, “Here I am, here I am!”   The Lord’s unyielding pursuit, to draw His people into an intimate, loving relationship, is as true today as it has ever been before. You see, it is and has always been God’s deepest desire that you and I walk in the garden with Him in intimacy just as Adam and Eve had once walked with Him in the Garden of Eden.

 

 

 

The Scripture says that the Father has counted the very hairs on our head. We often don’t realize, because this verse is so familiar, the degree to which this demonstrates how intimately the Lord is involved in our lives. We just have no idea of the effect we have on God. David’s son, Solomon, tries to portray this in the Song of Solomon where the bridegroom, who, in this passionate allegory, perhaps representing Jesus, says, “You have stolen my heart, you have stolen my heart.”

 

 

 

For many of us, however, this is difficult to accept… that our Christian life is not as much about our seeking an encounter with the Lord but rather, God seeking an encounter with us  (that God anxiously looks forward to every authentic moment spent with you).  Think of it… Each and every moment in Heaven, the Lord is receiving perfect praise and worship from throngs of angelic worshipers. Yet, when the Lord heard that first note coming from your lips, He, without hesitation, left that beautiful worship of heaven to receive your praise and to interact with you… to be with you. That is what Scripture means when it says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.

 

 

 

I repeat for emphasis, it is and has always been God’s desire for us to walk in the garden with Him, in intimacy, just the way Adam and Eve once had. And so, in loving kindness, the Lord draws us to himself. I love to search scriptures for those verses where God calls us to himself. Like in Isaiah where the Lord spoke to Israel saying, “Come, let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow” or when our Jesus said, “Come, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

 

 

 

So, what do we need to do to really create and celebrate daily that intimacy? Just open your eyes and your mouth and ask Him to be with you, to walk with you, to stay with you. Show him your passion, your passion. God wants that intimacy with you… he doesn’t want the forms of the faith… he wants you. Jesus didn’t endure the Cross of Calvary so that we could fulfill some religious duties or follow some religious ritual. He doesn’t really care which door you walk into to worship, just so you walk in. He doesn’t care if you are Charismatic, Evangelical, Liturgical…. Whatever you feel comfortable with; whatever draws you closer to Him is what He wants. Everyone is different and He knows that.

 

 

 

Oh, how He loves you. He wants you, your love. He wants your passion.

 

 

That is His Passion.

 

 

Walk with Jesus as He rides the donkey through the gates of Jerusalem.

 

JOY

We’ve talked a lot in our prayer groups about happiness and  joy. Let’s chat about this for a moment or two.

 

Religion should be joy! The theologian who has no joy in his work is not a theologian at all.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “A human’s joy knows no bounds when they obtain something beyond hopes.”

 

 

Beyond the realm of just hoping for something—Spiritual euphoria is discovered when you have a happiness to be experienced with all your spiritual might.

 

 

II Samuel 6:2-3, 5, 14-15 says: 3.They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4.with the ark of God on it,c and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

 
2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NKJV):  14 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. ”

 

 

Our FIRST, first lady, Martha Washington said, “The greater part of our joy or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.”

 

 

“To get up each morning with the resolve to be joyful . . . is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

God is a God of joy. Jesus Christ said that God is love. Could love condemn you? And of all things, when Love made you, could God say, “I’m disappointed I don’t really love this one? That’s not God. That’s NOT what Jesus said! That’s only a God, that somebody makes up who has a very limited concept. What we say about God says more about us than God.

 
“Delight yourself in the Lord; and God will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

 

 

God is unimaginable love, unimaginable life, unimaginable joy. That’s all God could be—so infinitely beyond anything we can conceive, that we can’t conceive of God except to know God’s much more than we are. I’ve always said, “Oh God, help me to be more loving than I am,” because I know there isn’t any other kind of life worth living. I know I’m not capable of that kind of love, but innately, I am. It’s just that I’ve been programmed to believe I am naturally limited as a human.

 

 

In the Bible, Jesus said in three different gospels (so it has importance) that nobody gets into heaven except children. Nobody. Are you a child? Are you childlike? But, stop and think—if you have to be a child to get into heaven, what does a child have? One thing a child has is utter, trusting love. He, or she, quickly learns from us adults to not trust our love. When I’ve been around little children, what’s always impressed me is how they run up to you, reaching out, and expect you to pick them up and hold them. They’re full of love and joy. They know that’s the way they’re meant to be. They know that’s the way the world ought to be. We must re-learn that from them. I hope you can experience and realize the importance and delight of filling yourselves with love and joy as a child.

 

 

Isn’t God wonderful? Isn’t life wonderful? It can be—it’s up to you. I think God gave you all the wonderful faculties you need to live a creative, beautiful, unfolding life, IF you will. So, live it. Have faith. That’s what it takes. Have faith that you can. Dare to act like a child of God. And really trust that the world is good and full of love, and it will respond to you with love when you give love. Approach life with the wow factor, explore, and find joy in every day and you’ll become like a little child again.

 

 

“In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11

 

John Piper in his book “Desiring God” says, “The chief end of a human is to glorify God by enjoying God forever. Enjoying God is essential to glorifying God.”

 

 

Consider some of the sentences from his book I highlighted:

 

“…it is unbiblical and arrogant to try to worship God for any other reason than the pleasure to be found in God.”

 

“Praising God, the highest calling of humanity and our eternal vocation, did not involve the renunciation but rather the consummation of the joy I so desired.”

 

“My aim is to own up to the amazing, and largely neglected, fact that some dimension of joy is a moral duty in all true worship and all virtuous acts.”

 

George Bernard Shaw said, “This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of joyful nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can in a joyful way.”

 

 

We rejoice in God’s love. We feel God’s love. Whatever we may pray, we can know that God’s will for us is fulfillment, because God is love. God’s will is for us unfolding ourselves and being all that God made us to be. God made us to experience joy as a child again. God made us in God’s infinite wisdom, infinite love, and infinite joy.

 

 

God is wisdom and light. It shines in the very center of our being, at the very center of our mind as we focus on the Divine in prayer . . We are never finished discovering the wonders and the treasures and gifts for us to open as God’s child.

 

 

The light of God brings forth awareness of the talents and abilities we have been given by God. We rejoice anew in God’s life. Every thought in our mind, every feeling in our heart, every cell in our body, rings like a beautiful bell, just as the sound of bells is the sound of life. God lets us know that life is singing its song as it courses through our body—through our nerves calming with God’s tranquility, through our veins bringing new God-given life, and through every cell of our being, shouting aliveness and new vitality. We rejoice in God’s life.

 

 

We rejoice in all the good God has bestowed on us because God is our ever-present good. We can know that God’s will for us is the fulfillment of our every need. God is the source of our prosperity and success. God is the source of our peace and security. God is all around us and in us. God is love. God is joy. God is light. God is life. And God is ALL good.

 

 

And as we worship Sundays, we give thanks to our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –  for the awareness of our joy in love.

 

 

God made us with infinite possibilities. Children let themselves be what they are made to be; that’s all. The child does everything just as he or she is led to do it. We are all children of God. We are a living new joyous song of life. The more we succeed at it, the more quickly the world will begin to sing that song with us.

 

 

God wants us to meet in this Divine appointment, to accept our love and joy as a divine and permanent gift. May this gift give us something we carry daily in our soul and our mind and feel in our body. May this joy from God carry us during our good times and our difficult times.

 

 

In Jesus Christ’s name… Amen

 

 

Judging

Matthew 7:1“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

 

Today, as we begin our journey toward Eater, I want to talk about false judgment (certainly a reality in the time of Jesus) by telling a story or two.

 

A false judgment says more about us than it does the other person. It is like when we point at someone, three fingers are pointing back at us. I know this is an old analogy; but we can learn a lot about false judgment when looking back at history and often at ourselves.

 

 

A six-year-old child came home from school with a note from his teacher. The teacher had judged the little boy and decided he should be taken out of school. She thought he was no good. He was too stupid to learn. That boy was Thomas Alva Edison.

 

 

Alfred Tennyson’s grandfather gave him 10 shillings for writing a eulogy for his grandmother. Handing it to the lad, the old man said, “Well, from what I can judge from your writing, this is the first money you have ever made for your poetry and it will certainly be the last.”

 

 

Benjamin Franklin’s mother-in-law hesitated to let her daughter marry a printer. There were already two printing offices in the United States and she judged that the country might not be able to support a third one.

 

 

Dorothy Thompson wrote a book, published in 1933, that contained one of the biggest misjudgments in history. She wrote that it took her just 50 seconds to size up Adolph Hitler, saying he would never become the dictator of Germany. “He is a nobody and will never amount to anything,” she said.

 

 

In 1865, the Chicago Times made what we would consider today an extraordinary judgment of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. They said, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, dishwatery utterances of a man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.”

 

 

It is unbelievable how we, as individuals and as a society, have misjudged in the past. In many public speeches, Daniel Webster expressed his doubt about any real success of American railroads. He wrote that a train would never get moving on rails. If it did move, and if there were frost on the tracks, it could never come to a stop. Webster may have wanted to retract that statement years later.

 

 

In 1865, in Concord, Massachusetts (the home of Thoreau), “Huckleberry Finn” was banned. The very smart people of the town judged it as trash and not worthy to be read by educated citizens.

 

 

In 1929, Russia blacklisted “Sherlock Holmes” for its disgraceful conduct in writing. They said it should never be on the shelves of our good homes.

 

 

In 1939, China banned “Alice in Wonderland.” They judged that animals should not use human language. “It is disastrous,” they said, “to put animals and human beings on the same level.” I asked my golden retriever about this, and she just laughed. (just a little levity)

 

 

If you think about today’s society, who is the one judge in a society that is not a judge? Do you know who it is? It’s a baseball umpire. There was one time, when Babe Ruth was thrown out of a game. He walked up to the umpire and said, “Ump, there are 40,000 people here in the stands who all  know the truth that I am not out.” The umpire looked him straight in the eyes and said, “That may be so, but mine is the only opinion that counts.”

 

 

When we judge another person, when we make a false judgment of someone and then hold that judgment throughout our life, we say the same thing. We say, “Mine is the only opinion that counts.”

 

 

There is a little plaque in the gift stores that says, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Imagine if we transferred this to judgment. “Not my judgment, but, God, Your judgment be done.”

 

 

Let’s think about this and look at it as if for the first time. We could discover that some of these verdicts/judgments that we have handed down about people and situations may be wrong; and, perhaps, we need to become willing to consider turning those around today.

 

C.R. Hembry wrote this:

 

I Dreamed of Heaven

 

I dreamed death came the other night
And heaven’s gates swung wide.
With kindly grace, an angel ushered me inside.
And there to my astonishment
Stood folks that I had known on earth.
Some I judged unfit, of little worth.
Indignant words rose to my lips
But never were set free.
For every face showed stunned surprise.
No one had expected me.

 

 

Do you remember this story of Michelangelo? He went to a rock quarry looking for a certain big piece of rock. He got it, but the person who owned the quarry said, “No, you don’t want that piece of rock; it’s no good. It is not worth anything.”

 

 

Michelangelo said, “Well, if that is the case, I want a discount.” He got the discount. When he took the rock home, those he passed said, “You can’t do anything with that piece of stone.”

 

 

He said, “You judged wrong. There is an angel trapped in that stone.” They looked at it and walked around it. They said, “There is no angel in there; that is a piece of rock.” He said, “You wait and see.” He was able to make the angel visible from the stone that no one else wanted.

 

 

I think about that a lot when I’m tempted to judge someone I might think I won’t like at first. I try to think of that person and imagine as Michelangelo did, that it isn’t just “an old piece of rock.” But, I I try to imagine that this person might be “an angel that’s trapped in there.” I may be the only one who can see her, but she’s there.”

 

 

I want to share a story with you that Richard Regan wrote about a time when he was sitting in a restaurant with a lot of his friends. Everyone was enjoying themselves visiting and engaged in conversation; everyone was happy. The restaurant was right on the town square. Everything was fine, until they looked out the window and saw a bum come into town with a knapsack and all his worldly belongings on his back. He was holding a sign that read, “I will work for food.”

 

 

All of the people in the restaurant looked out the window and said, “What is this? This man is up to no good. We ought to call the sheriff. He doesn’t belong here.”

 

 

They sat around and even the ones who were members of the church group sat there, as the conversation shifted 100% to judging this man outside the window in the town square who they didn’t even know. Just last Sunday, the preacher had talked about judging, and everyone in the café had heard that message. Richard decided maybe the preacher was right. As he went out of the restaurant and got into his car, he had a nagging feeling that would not leave him alone..

 

 

“Have you ever had God give you a nagging feeling that you should do something? And did it ever just leave you alone after a while?”

 

 

“The minister said if we would just look into the hearts and minds of people a bit more, if we would question in our own minds, we would find something to love, if we took the time. The minister said so often we have a file cabinet in our mind, and it is a file cabinet of gray mass. We find someone and we form a judgment. We don’t just shut the file; we put Crazy Glue around the edge and make sure it is sealed tight. We then put it in our file cabinet with our sealed judgment, the sealed fate of that person. We close it, lock it, put a padlock on it, put more Crazy Glue around the outside, and then we bury it deep in the recesses of our own minds.”

 

 

Richard decided he was going to go beyond what he had done all his life. He went over and talked to this stranger. He was hesitant because he still judged the man. He thought perhaps this man would harm him. He found the man standing on the stone steps of the church on the town square. He talked to the gentleman. He asked, “Are you looking for the pastor?”

 

 

The man said, “No, not really, just resting for a moment.”

 

 

Richard said, “Have you eaten, today?” The Man said, “Oh yes, I ate something this morning.”

 

 

Richard said, “Would you like to have lunch with me?” The man said, “Do you have some work for me to do? I would be glad to work for my lunch. I’ll do anything.”

 

 

“No work,” Richard replied. “Just come with me. I would like to get to know you.” So, they went together into the restaurant where the people had judged this man so harshly just a few minutes before. They sat down at a table, and it was as if every ear was listening to the conversation to see  if they could find out what this stranger was about.

 

 

They listened as he was questioned. “Where are you headed?” “St. Louis,” was the answer.

 

 

“Where are you from?” “Oh, all over, but mainly from Florida.” “How long have you been walking?”

 

 

Everyone in the restaurant listened. “Fourteen years,” was the answer. Richard sat there and stared at the man. He realized he had met someone very special. Someone he did not expect to meet; someone his eyes had not told him about.

 

 

Then the man unbuttoned his coat and on his red tee-shirt was printed, “God the never-ending story.” Daniel’s story began to unfold. He told about how he had been walking for 14 years for God, and how he had stopped in Daytona Beach 14 years earlier. He was a drunk, a drug addict, and an outcast of society. He saw some people raising a tent. He thought it was a circus, so he went over  and said, “Can I have some work?” They said, “Sure. We’ll put you to work.”

 

 

It ended up being a tent revival. During the evenings, he would listen. He wouldn’t want to, but he would listen, anyway. He listened and started to realize his life wasn’t working. He decided to give his will over to God. He became a new man.

 

 

He said, “God what do you want me to do with my life?” God said, “Keep walking. Keep walking and find people to help. Say an encouraging word. Give them a Bible.”

 

 

He concluded, “That is my story.”

 

 

As the entire restaurant listened, they were quite shocked by the incredible, articulate eloquence that flowed from the man’s mouth and the wisdom and deepness of his soul. They also noticed beyond what their eyes told them in the beginning. There was energy coming from this man. It was a love that just filled the whole place that everyone could sense. They wanted to be close to this man.

 

 

So they ate lunch and the whole restaurant enjoyed his company. Then the question was asked where he was going now. He said he had been told in his prayer it was time to go to St. Louis. Someone there needs a Bible. He will meet them on the road because God will arrange the meeting.

 

 

Richard said to the man, “Would you like a Bible to add to your backpack? I’ll get you a Bible if you would like.”

 

 

The man said, “That would be very nice. I can always use an extra Bible.”

 

 

They went into a bookstore and found just the small type of Bible that the man liked to carry and give away. Then the time came for the man to depart. They stood there on the town square and it had started to rain.

 

 

Richard realized his life had been profoundly changed in the two-hour time. There was a presence that radiated from this man and the mission he realized, sensed, and loved. He said to the man, “How long has it been since anyone gave you a hug?” The man said, “It has been a long time.”

 

 

Richard said, “Would you be threatened if I hugged you?” They embraced on the town square like brothers departing. The man said, “I love you.”

 

 

Richard said, “I love you, too.”

 

 

As they were departing, the man turned around, waved, and said, “God bless you.” Richard shouted, “God bless you, too.”

 

 

The man walked a little bit further, turned again, and said, “If you ever think of me, will you pray for me?”

 

 

Richard said, “Oh yes, I will. I promise.”

 

 

Richard went on to work; and when he left work at 5 o’clock that evening, he noticed it was starting to get dark. He noticed there was a cold wave that had blown into town, and there was a brisk breeze. He opened the car door; and as he sat down in the seat and moved it back, he looked down at the emergency brake to release it, and he noticed two old worn work gloves in his car. He thought about how cold it was, and he hoped the man could keep his hands warm some way.

 

 

Then he realized this was a prize gift. He thought, “If I found something of this man or about this man, every time I look at it, I will pray for him.” That was 23 years ago. Richard now keeps those gloves on his desk. Every time he sees those gloves, he will remember about the touch of one  person and what it does in a person’s life. And also, something much more important: it is a reminder to him and it is his active prayer that he will never judge with a snap judgment again. He will give the benefit of the doubt to everyone. He will take the time to get to know someone and  take the time to love them as God loves them.

 

 

Let us pray:

 

Today, dear God, I ask for Your help. I know I am under Your law of Divine justice. Your law of Divine judgment always works to perfectly equalize, to harmonize and to establish equality and order for all.

 

I refuse any thought or belief that negates this truth. I hold firm to my faith in your power, God, and in Your justice. I have a deep and abiding feeling of peace and well being. God, I am under Your law of Divine justice and everything in my life proves the working of this law.

 

Thank you. I place You first, God. I place love first in my life. Help me to love openly, without judgment, and with the courage Your Son, Jesus Christ, showed all of us.

 

Thank You, God. In Jesus Christ’s name … Amen.

 

 

LOVE

 

1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

 
Churches teach the biblical teaching of keeping the Sabbath. If God is love, like our Bible says, then to keep the Sabbath, we must spend 24 hours out of our week, refreshing and cleansing our lives by becoming love. 24 hours every Sunday, not judging or criticizing, not jumping to conclusions, but giving everyone, including ourselves a break. The Sabbath is – a spiritual cleansing of love. With our next celebration coming in a few days………

 

 
Valentine’s Day dates back six centuries. It was a commonly accepted day when they believed birds chose their mates. This goes back even before we linked it with St. Valentine. It has been hearts and flowers ever since. ANY day of the year that we decide we are going to become more loving to humanity, to our spouse, our boyfriend or girlfriend, and to all the people in our lives, it is a true Godly act. Valentine’s Day cards are often a good and fun idea because they help us express the human love as well as the Divine love that is inside us and allows an avenue for that love to come forth.

 
The two great things to hold onto in this world are God and each other. Love is the power that connects different people’s souls, broken by ignorance, fear and  circumstance.   Those of us who come in to the Prayer Room. http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com  know this love, unconditional love. We share the love of God and the love of each other.   Wouldn’t it be a glorious service to humanity, to begin THIS day, from this message, a chain of love throughout our planet? We can do this by allowing this chain of love to begin with who? WITH US. When we agree to do this, we are saying yes to God. Say, “Yes, this morning I’m going to allow Divine love to flow through me and from me.

 

 

We can begin planning now by declaring that, “I’m going to be loving to everyone I meet. From now on, I’m going to suspend my judgments on people – suspend anger, criticism and condemnation – and I agree to be loving here on out.” Try this for a month and see what happens.   “If, at the end of this experiment, I choose to take up anger, hate, and disagreements with others, I can do that. But for thirty days, I’m going to walk the high path and be a real light to the world. For thirty, maybe forty, days I’m going to truly follow Jesus Christ whose main teaching was love. I’m going to become a sample of God’s love.”

 
Wouldn’t it be great if just for this week we named our prayer group “Valentine;” and what if we become that manifestation and then begin a conscious realization of love for the next thirty days? That means loving everybody in our lives-not just the select few who are easy to love-everybody, especially those few who are difficult to love, and keep that wonderful smile on our face to show to everybody. Make it a beacon for everyone to enjoy, savor, and hold on to. One of the secrets of life is that it’s much easier to love everyone, than to hate some. When we hate or begrudge, it becomes like a poison to the soul, which the person holds onto dearly and causes great stress and illness. The projected hate toward someone results only in negativity. So, let go of that and focus on love.

 
Love is the theme song of the universe. It is power of new life, not just in you but in those people who come to you on your path.

 
We make a great mistake of thinking that love must be returned. To truly be loving, love must free, not bind. It loves with open arms and open hands. We must love all who cross our path, and not expect anything in return. Now, some hearing this will say, “There Pastor Peggy goes again talking about that Pollyanna philosophy.” But this is not Pollyanna in any way. Love is not a matter of escape from life, rather it is a dedication to God.

 

 
When we are from the foundation of God’s love, we go to a new level of awareness of sharing-not really wanting anything from anyone else. At the opening of the Olympics and during them we see the competition but we also see the love the athletes have for each other. We watch many differing people coming together in a celebration of love. Yes, we look at each other and realize we are different, but we don’t care. We don’t ask anything of someone else, we find joy in sharing. Holding hands in spirituality, and standing up for the very best, of what is best in humanity, as a people. We are many different races and faiths becoming one people.

 

 
If we are unwilling to love the human expression of life that we have seen with our eyes, how are we going to love the source – God – which we have not seen? Some people say, “I love God, but it’s people that I can’t stand.” How can we love music and not harmony? How can we love the morning and not the day? Every individual is an inlet and an outlet for the complete love of God.

 

 
AND, we can’t possibly love anyone or anything unless we first love ourselves in a spiritual way. We have to know that if we are going to love, we have to pour that love through us (like a hose). As that love comes through us, what does that do to us (to the inside of the hose)? It cleans us out to the core, too. We become filled with love.
But, if I realize that God’s love has to get through me to get to you and I say, “Oh, I’m no good today. My hair doesn’t look good today. I look tired. This isn’t my good dress. How can I effectively talk about love because I have this outfit on? What was I thinking about?”

 

 
I am the hose of God; it has to flow through me to you.

 

 
In this world today, love is the only safe emotion there is. It is the only safe way in which we can live as a people with our fellow man/woman and with ourselves. Love gives all, but it also demands all. Love is the toughest taskmaster and hardest discipline in the universe. Why? Because we also have the baggage we carry right above our eyes in our own minds.

 

 
We, so easily, can slip back into saying, “Well, wait a minute. You did this to me last Valentine’s Day. I remember.” But, we must rise above our past. Life, to be alive, has to consent to live above yesterday. It is not held down; it is freed today in a brand new life in a brand new awareness of God.

 

 
Here is a quote from Booker T. Washington, a very famous African-American.   Think about, as I print this quote. the time in which he lived, and realize he had the right to hate if anyone did. He said this: “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”   It has been said that as soon as you begin to condemn someone, you become one of them.

 

 
Psalms 127:1 states: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”   This is about more than a stick-built structure. It’s talking about the HOUSE OF OUR LIFE. If God is building our house, what materials does God use? Divine love!
Joel Goldsmith has written: “Illumination dissolves all material ties, and binds men and women together with golden chains of spiritual understanding. It acknowledges only the leadership of Christ. It has no ritual or rule, but Divine love. No other worship than the inner flame that has ever been lit at the shrine of Spirit. This union is the free state of spiritual brotherhood, and sisterhood. The only restraint is the discipline of the soul. Therefore, as we know liberty without license, we are a united universe without physical limits, Divine service to God without ceremony or creed. The illumined walk without fear but by love and grace.”

 

 
Love cannot just stay inside us. It needs to be expressed. We must go the extra mile. We are children of God; and orphans of society are waiting for our love.

 
Look in the Bible at John 3:16.   You’ve heard it before, but let’s take it to a new depth  today. “For God so loved the world . . .”   I like that. It doesn’t say God just loved or cared for or kind of liked the world. It says SO LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Let’s talk about the size and the scope of God for a moment. The breadth of God-for God so loved the world. The length of God – that he gave his only Son. The depth of God – so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish. The height of God – but may have eternal life.

 

 

Martin Luther called John 3:16 the heart of the Bible. He said it was the gospel in miniature. He said:
“God-the greatest lover,
So loved-the greatest degree,
The world-the greatest number,
His only Son-the greatest gift,
That everyone who-the greatest invitation,
Believes-the greatest simplicity,
In Him-the greatest person,
May not perish-the greatest deliverance,
But-the greatest difference,
May have-the greatest certainty,
Eternal life-the greatest possession.”

 

 

 

There is only one God, and God is Love. Everything else vanishes and love, in reality, stands forth. The Biblical statement “God is love” is accurate in every way. God is not a superman dishing out love to us and expecting it in return. No, God is love, and we are God’s instrument of expression. To love God is to experience the feeling of love and to let love flow through each of us.

 
God is love, and in that love there is no condemnation, disapproval or fault-finding. Love always welcomes its children back into the fold.

 

 
Love always approves. Love, God, approves of us as its child. The approval of love never varies, unlike the sliding scale of human values.

 

 
I’m sure we will have disagreeable people coming to us, people who it would be easy to dislike. Just step back for a moment, step on the right foundation of God’s love, and say in prayer: “Divine love, reveal Thyself to me.”

 

 
Celebrate Valentine’s Day by using this time to make a commitment. Use your prayer time to practice love for the upcoming 40 + days of Lent (beginning March 1; start getting prepared now). Devote yourself to a cease-fire toward that which you find unlovable for the next forty-plus days. (Give it up for Lent, if you observe that tradition.)

 

 

 

Join me in a chain of love with all humanity around us as an experiment. I don’t think we’ll ever regret it or leave it behind.

 
Please join me in prayer in a celebration of the love of God.
On this week celebrating love, we ask You, Lord, to help us become the manifestation of Christ’s love as we rest into Your loving nature, dear God.   Father, create in us this day a desire to mend a quarrel, to seek out a forgotten friend, to dismiss suspicion and replace it with loving trust.   Inspire in us this day to write a love letter or share some treasure or give a soft answer instead of a hard response.. . .

 
Help us, dear God, to appreciate everything and everyone around us.   Help us to be kind, to be gentle, to laugh a little more. Help use to know that we deserve confidence, that we can take up arms against malice, that we can stop complacency and express gratitude.   Help use to remember to go to You, dear God, in prayer every day so we can have Your Divine love and manifest Your Divine love out of the strength we receive during our prayer time.
In the Divine love of Jesus Christ, we pray.
Thank You, God. We love You . . . Amen.

 

 

 

LOVE

With Valentine’s Day coming up, let’s focus on God’s love in our messages for the next few weeks.

LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF. Mark12:28 –

“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, “HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ The second is this, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28 – 34.

 

The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM; AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.”  MARK 12:28-34 (NASB)

 

 

Use your imagination for a moment. Imagine that Jesus Christ is walking up to your front door. He stands and looks at you and smiles. There is a love connection eye-to-eye between you and Jesus. You know that you can ask Him only one question. What will that question be? What are you going to ask Jesus Christ?

 

 

You would hope in asking this question that for once and for all, your hurts and anxieties would be taken away. You would hope you would receive an answer that you could base your whole life on. In a very real sense, it did happen to a scribe. He asks, “What is the greatest thing I can do to bring me happiness?”

 

 

Spiritually, a scribe usually represents the thoughts that come to us from the world. They are forms of thoughts not from the inspiration of God. Now, if you look at the outer appearance in all things, especially scripture—you just read the letter exactly the way it is and do not see what it means spiritually–that is a scribe. Jesus talked about the importance of spiritual interpretation—a spiritual interpretation goes beyond the word to the spirit of what is meant by that word.

 

 

On a literal level, the scribes copied down everything in the outer. They copied down each letter.   After the Jews returned from exile, they formed communities of scribes to preserve and circulate the scriptures. Before a scribe began his work each day, he would dip his pen in ink. At the top of the page he would write, “amalec.” He would then cross that out, hold his pen upright and say, “I am writing the Torah in the name of its sanctity and in the name of God in its sanctity.”

 

 

The scribe would read a sentence, repeat it aloud and then write it down. Every time he came to the name of God, he would say, “I am writing the name of God for the holiness of His name.” If he made an error in writing God’s name, he had to destroy the entire sheet of velum or papyrus he was using.

 

 

After the scribe finished copying a particular book, he would count every single word and the letters it contained. He would then check this tally with the count for the manuscript he was copying. He counted the number of times a particular word occurred in the book. And he noted the middle word in the middle of the page and compared that to the original text.

 

 

By making these careful checks in the outer, he hoped to avoid any mistakes that might come. So, needless to say, this was a detail-oriented person to say the least. He is the perfect person to ask the question and the perfect person to record the answer to the question. Also, this is a person who knows well all 713 Jewish commandments.

 

 

Well, our scribe talks to Jesus in the temple during Passover week and asks the question of Jesus, “What can each of us do right now to improve our lives, to increase our happiness?”

 
To answer this question, let’s look at Mark 12:28-34.

 

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that He answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’”

 

Now, this scribe was one of many. You can imagine there was a whole group there arguing with one another. He stopped as he was passing by because he was impressed with the way Jesus was answering the questions. So this scribe asked the question that was burning on his mind of this Holy Man. It was an intelligent question.

 

 

If you had 713 commandments in your mind that you knew well and tried to live by, you would wonder what is really important. Out of the 713 commandments, what should I do today to make my life better?   And, what about arguing? What is it when you argue inside of your mind? We have all done that. This was a very unusual scribe because he was questioning.

 

 

“Jesus answered, ‘The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”

 

 

Jesus said that there is one God, one presence, one power, omnipotent—the principle of oneness. And this principle is our spiritual consciousness and shows that we are in a state of an awareness inside of our mind, an awareness of God. “Hear” means to look deeper. So, if we do look deeper into our own spirituality, we will find that God is One with each of us ALL the time. When we are feeling down in our life, we will receive the same power and same love from the same God as when we’re in a high time in our life. The Lord isn’t a thousand different moods. The Lord is one at all times.

 

 

In God, love is the power that joins and binds the universe and everything in it. It is the inner quality that sees good everywhere and in everyone. God is love. Lord our God is within us, as the ruling awareness, creating each person’s spirituality. If we have a ruling thought in our head and if that ruling thought is God and the Presence of God and putting God first, then we have the Lord our God ruling our life.

 

 

The heart is our thoughts and feelings that have been stored inside of us. Our soul is more. Our soul is both our subconscious and conscious mind. Our soul is everything we are aware of at this present moment and all time. The mind is the co-creative inventor inside of us. It tells us the starting point of every act. Strength is our energy from God. the might, the capacity to accomplish.

 

 

This is all inside of us for the work of God. We are to love the activity of Christ on every level. The mind is the starting point of every act, thought or feeling with the energy from God. In other words, in everything in our life, put God first. Don’t even allow a fear thought, or a feeling that we don’t have what it takes, to be even be thought of. Always put God first. And if we put God first, we put God first in our mind, in our body, in our life. We are going to have a change in everything, including a change of heart, our consciousness.

 

 

“The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 

 

How should we love our neighbor? We should love our neighbor as ourself. If we do not love ourself, we can’t give our neighbor love. We have to love ourself because our body is the temple of the living Lord. If we love that activity inside of us and what it is doing in our life, then we can pass that on to our neighbor. If we are a channel for God’s love to flow, and we close that channel, how can the love flow? We have to choose to keep the channel wide open, and allow the love to flow.

 

 

What about your neighbor? This is not just talking about someone who lives next door to us.   It’s talking about people we’ve never met, across the continent. It’s talking about a  commitment to have that openness and to go the extra mile for every person who enters our life. It is talking about people that are like us and people very different from us. It is talking about people in our town and people in all the other towns and all different places of worship. When Jesus said to go the extra mile, He was never talking about an experience of walking around in a circle within our place of familiarity.

 

 

There’s a wonderful story of St. Francis of Assisi. He was terrified of leprosy. He was walking down a very narrow path one day and saw a very pale, ghostly white leper coming towards him.   His heart shrank back. He recoiled. He had all this fear come up inside of him. He started to shake and shudder because he was terrified of contamination from this loathsome disease.

 

He was ashamed of himself and his actions at that point. Then, he decided he would go the extra mile with God and allow God to love through him. He rallied and went with God then.

 

He ran up to the leper, put his arms around him and kissed his cheek. Then St. Francis of Assisi went on. A moment later he looked back and no one was there. Throughout his life, he was convinced that the leper was not really a leper but was Christ Himself whom he had met.

 

In Mark 12:32, our scribe answers. “And the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher; You have truly said that He is one, and there is no other but He; and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’”

 

 

We have here a scribe who sees that there is one power and that power is love. There is one law that counts in our ministry and in our life. It’s really not just what we teach, but how loving we each are daily. That is what it means to follow Jesus Christ, and go the extra mile.

 

 

The bottom line of Christianity is love. God is love. Love God, love yourself, love the people.   That’s it. That’s all there is. If that’s all we did here, it would be more than enough.

 

 

In Mark 12:34 we read: “And when Jesus saw that, he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to ask Him any questions.”

 

 

Can we even imagine if Jesus Christ said to us that we were not far from the kingdom of God?   What an incredible compliment, perhaps the finest compliment that has ever been given.   The kingdom of God IS Christ and His  awareness. God is love. To have that love individualized inside of us is what we are here to achieve. It is the greatest activity a human can strive for.

 

 

Jesus could have said something that was much more complicated. He could have talked all day long about the 712 other commandments. He could have made it so difficult for us to grasp.   But we’re the ones who make religion so difficult for people because our human mind is a difficult place, and we think it has to be a difficult world. But it’s not. In reality it is very simple. And it is the way of happiness.

 

 

We have a choice in our life. We can live our life as an ordinary scribe who is a person who looks only to outer facts and constantly makes decisions about ourselves with the facts of the given moment, or we can decide to have a deeper, enlarged, inner view of life through the eyes of love.

 

 

It’s interesting. Jesus was talking with the disciples about the scribes right after this, and He gave His opinion. Now, Jesus was a teacher who called something exactly what it was.

 

 

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

 

You can know this Bible. You can live with it and sleep with it. But if you are not loving, you don’t have anything. It’s not what we know but what we demonstrate in our lives. We have to begin to demonstrate love. When love is made active in us, it spreads out.

 
.
You see, the love way is the way of the true prophet. The silent way is more powerful than the noisy way. Gandhi said, “If the crowd should ask an eye for an eye, all will be blind.” All people are blind who do not see through the perception of God’s love. Love is not blind.  Loves sees the good. The more loving we are, the more worth we are to our world, our business, our family and our friends.

After we are gone we are only going to be remembered for one thing—what we gave. We will be going to be remembered by the amount of love we gave to the world. People are never gone until they are forgotten, what an incredible legacy to leave behind.

Today we will experience love by expressing it. We are like the wanderer in search of love. We have journeyed to the most loving person in all the world. We have asked this person how to find love. The wise one speaks and assigns us three tasks. And when we complete these tasks, we’ll know the mystery of love. The three tasks assigned are as follows:

1. Love God, 2. Love yourself, 3. Love others as yourself. The spiritual goal is to become one of the most loving of individuals.

I ask you to follow God by making a commitment this morning to become ten times more loving in your life.

I do so and give my love…..

God love  Bless You!