Friday, February 19, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 2/19/10

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
John 4:11-12

It was the Christ who gave us His new commandment... love...

If we were to really be His disciples, letting His transcending truth overtake us as the power of the Spirit encompasses us, then we are to love and to show that love, to make it manifest in the lives of those who surround us (John 13:34-35. It is the only way that we can truly imitate Him in our lives (1 Corinthians 11:1), the only way that we can truly reveal His hope and love as it pours forth from our souls.

You see, it’s not enough to just say that we have faith. How we understand faith, it should speak to how we act, to how we live, to how we are as people and as redeemed children of God, those called to inherit His kingdom.

Faith is a wondrous, glorious gift of God, given to us as a free offering of His grace in our lives (Ephesians 2:8-9), but it is also something that needs to be shown forth in our deeds. As James warns us “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:14-17) It’s here that we come to understand faith like a tree...

In the Gospel accounting of John we hear Christ speak of how He is the vine while God is the vine keeper and each of us are the branches to that tree. Of that branch fruits come forth... the fruits of that tree in which we are rooted in (John 15:1-2). These fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance”, (Galatians 5:22-23) they are meant to pour forth from our souls, edifying and strengthening, nourishing and encouraging one another in the grace that God has intended for us to show forth from our being.
That love, it is then to be made manifest in the way that we care for one another, the way we show our love for God by showing our love unto our fellow man in their time of need and struggle, in the challenges and the adversity that they face amidst their lives. After all, as we are taught, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)

That, for us, is a challenge. Our nature is not to sharpen our fellow man. As the great American author, Mark Twain, would write “Of all the creatures that were made, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one--the solitary one--that possesses malice. That is the basest of all instincts, passions, vices--the most hateful. He is the only creature that has pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.” It must be ours then to be rejuvenated by the Spirit, by the power of the Lord, to put that nature, that inclination of the flesh behind us and to move past our baser instincts and our flawed character to be something more, to be something better.

Like Christ, the Spirit of the Lord should be upon us as we preach the gospel of to the poor and the downtrodden, to offer healing to broken of heart, to offer freedom to the captives and the slaves through the careful intercessions to the Lord as we humbly submit ourselves to Him, to help the blind see, all that we may proclaim that which is acceptable to our God. (Luke 4:18-19) Like Christ, ours should be to work tirelessly for liberty and justice for all who find themselves held amidst the bondage of the spirit and the soul, the body and the mind as we come to realize that there is no chain that can hold us, no darkness that can separate us, as the strength of the Lord comes upon us to give us hope in even the most hopeless of situations.

Perhaps it may seem as if love is lost in this world as we see that anger and contempt, malice and pain comes so easily from the hand of men to impose itself on others. It may seem as if love is far off and distant as there are those held in grim estate, with sorrow and anguish so near at hand. As overwhelming as it may seem or as overshadowing as it may feel as that darkness seems to encompass us in this world, we should know that God, even in our weakest moments, gives us strength to be more than we are, to offer more than we ever thought that we were capable of amidst our lives as we dwell in His compassion and mercy, finding His hand guiding us through all of the trials and the tribulation of this age and all ages.
Then do we know that God is truly with us, bringing forth that which we need to bring to offer that which is needed in the lives of the people.

There will come a day when Christ shall return in glory to proclaim God’s endless authority as we are carried to the Kingdom to live amidst the majesty of God’s transcending grace, as we are numbered amidst the saints and the martyrs who came before us. Until that day though, until that time, we must be the instruments of God’s love and compassion as His mercy is shown through our hands. It is then that we will work tirelessly to show forth His grace throughout this temporal existence, putting behind us all evil, all wickedness and unrighteousness to bring forth the good fruits that will nourish and strengthen our fellow man in that hope that God has intended for us in our lives. Until that day we must put behind us all our selfishness, all of our own vanity and prove unto the world that we truly are the disciples of he who has come to show us love and ransom us amidst all of the captivity that this corporeal plane would seek to foist upon us.

Then shall we know the truth of God’s righteousness and justice, the truth of His liberty and freedom as we become agents of true love in this world, showing that we can transcend who we are to be who it is that He has intended us to be amidst His grand and glorious design for our lives in the hope that He brings to the lost and the fallen, the captives and the slaves in any bondage that this world may have to offer.

Lord, therefore grant this unto us all...

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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