Monday, January 05, 2015

Love One Another

Here is the prayer that the priests of Israel would pray over their people. 
We can claim this for ourselves because Jesus is our High Priest. 
So this is my prayer for you and me for a blessed 2015!
"The Lord bless you and keep you. 
The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you! 
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace!" 
Numbers 6:24-26

A happy, blessed new year to you!
My brother Robert gifted me with a planner
for the year 2015, and I happened to 
see all these wonderful Instagram posts
where they decorate their planners.
This is my first page.
I enjoyed doing this so much!

 This is what I read today:

"...love one another..." John 3:23


How do we make the call to love one another REAL in our lives? Before my mother died, each of us in our family had the time to speak to her about what was in our hearts. One of her doctors said this was very important. In the same way, before Jesus was crucified, he took the time to be with His disciples. What he did and said was very important. He washed each of their feet and said, "Do you understand what I have done for you? Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you...Now that you know these things, YOU WILL BE BLESSED if you do them."

And then, after a little while he said, "A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love."



 Why a new commandment, when the Jews were already instructed to "love thy neighbor as thyself?" (Leviticus 19:18) Perhaps because we are to love as Jesus loves, not as we love ourselves. Many of us do not know how to love ourselves. We can be over critical.We want to change the way we look, the way we speak, the way we act, the way we perform our work. We get frustrated with ourselves. We do not accept ourselves unconditionally. That's why Jesus says, "Look at me. Look at the way I love you. Look at my commitment to you. It does not depend on how you look, your achievements, your worthiness. I accept you for who you are. Even if you fail again and again. Even if you see yourselves as thin or fat, or white or dark, or timid, or too young. I love you. I died for you. I want to help you to grow, to mature, to use all your gifts, not only for my glory, but because that is how I can bless you."


The first step to loving others, is to know God's love for us. He loves us unconditionally, eternally!


 "Where is the new born King of the Jews?" Matthew 2:2

May my heart seek You O Lord, Just as the wise men from the east followed Your star!

What amazes me is Herod. While many in Jerusalem were awaiting the Messiah with longing, he wanted to destroy this promised King. True, he wasn't a Jew, but the wise men, these pagan astrologers, weren't either. Herod was blinded by power and his own selfish desires. There were so many prophecies regarding the Messiah, and he obviously believed in them or he would not have bothered to call all the chief priests, scribes and the astrologers to question them. Unfortunately he asked them questions, NOT to find the Messiah, but to murder Him!

How about us? Are we like the astrologers who went out of their way to seek the truth? When they found Him, they were filled with joy, worshiped Him, and gave Him all they had. Or are we like Herod, who tried to protect his way of life from the intervention of God at all cost? We may also be like the scribes and high priests, they who knew the prophecies, and did not even bother to travel a little way to find the truth for themselves. We may know the Word, read the Bible, but do we apply it?



We are all given freedom to choose. When we read this passage in Matthew, it seems easy to choose the path the astrologers took. But most of the time, we choose to follow our own path, protect the status quo, and fear leaving the familiar to follow the path God wants us to take. A lot of times we want to keep what we have, refusing to see that whatever we give up for God, He will multiply a thousand fold.

"And this is the promise He made us: Eternal Life." 1 John 2:25
To live happily ever after, isn't that what any bride wants on her wedding day? I forget which husband on my Facebook feed said that his wife was the perfect gift for an imperfect man, but I thought it was a beautiful sentiment. When Marian Rivera married Dingdong Dantes, I said a prayer for them, that their marriage would last 'till death do them part'.
I read 1 John 2:25 about God's promise to us and I thought about marriage, and how it is a covenant, a promise, God promising us eternal life. He put a ring on my finger, just as another father put a ring on the prodigal son's finger. A PERFECT GIFT FOR IMPERFECT ME! I do not deserve it, I can never earn it, but God desires to give me eternal life, to be together forever.
There are many things that God does that I do not deserve. He gives me a beautiful wedding dress to replace the rags of my sin and shame. He washes me clean by forgiving me time and time again like Hosea forgave His harlot wife.

Sometimes, because I pray every day, and buy food for prisoners and do other good deeds, I think I am in right standing with God. I am complacent and un-needy. But I am as far from holiness and righteousness as the east is from the west! And yet, Jesus, my bridegroom takes me by the hand, and walks me down the aisle, and says, "Yes, I do. I do die for this precious one. I do promise to give her eternal life with Me and My Father in My Kingdom." 
That is the perfect ending and beginning, and the best part is, it is NO fairy tale!!

 "The One who sent me...told me..." John 1:33
John the Baptist is one mysterious character! Imagine living as a hermit for years, wearing camel skin and eating locusts and wild honey. When he turned 30, he started preaching to call men to conversion 'for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand'.

I can imagine that the whole time John was living as a hermit, he was praying, fasting, trying to listen to God, really honing his connection to God. He said in the 1st chapter of John, verses 33 and 34 that, "the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, He is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God."
John had a clear sense of his mission. You can't get that without being close to the GIVER OF THE MISSION. We can't hear God's voice if we don't spend time with Him. For this new year, let's resolve to be more sensitive to God's voice, in whatever way He chooses to speak!



6 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post....and an incredible reminder. Thank you so much for sharing this....exactly what I needed!!

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  2. Such a beautiful feast of God's story that you lay out here - I'd never thought of the Father putting a ring on my finger like the prodigal - just another layer of signifying his commitment! Beautiful art, Patsy - beautiful God-inspired words! Blessings to you in 2015~!

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  3. I love your thoughts about why Jesus restated the original commandment - because it is essentially a new way of loving. We don't love with our own strength and power, but with Jesus' strength and power. When we fall short, we have Someone who makes up for our lack. Amen.

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  4. My first visit here! Beautiful artwork!!!
    Blessings

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  5. What a beautiful post! I'm always blessed when I visit your blog. I just wish you had social media buttons to share the post more easily!

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  6. I love the planner. I don't have time to decorate mine the same, but I love the idea. Thanks for linking with Unforced Rhythms.

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I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy