Monday, December 13, 2010

Who's Lovin' Who?

Time and again, I have had one recurring conversation with Christians and non-Christians alike - what do you have to do to be a follower of Christ? How do you know someone is a follower of Christ? So today I ask, what is the identifying mark of a Christian? Is it how often people see or hear about you reading your bible? Is it how often you make it to church? Is it how loudly you pray? Is it in a showy display of praise? What should set Christians apart from all others?

Never fear, because Christ answers that question loud and clear! He made the identifying mark of his followers crystal clear. He said:

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35 (emphasis mine)

Yes folks. Love. That is the identifying trait of a Christian. Loving others. I have the symbol above on the back of my car. And I can't tell you how many times I find myself ashamed because displaying love while driving in NYC is one of the hardest things to do. And yet, that is how I show that I am a disciple of Christ. And I'm not just supposed to show any old love. This is not love by my understanding. But Christ made the kind of love that he was referring to very clear. He said:

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34

Now, let's unwrap this a bit. Christ said this the very night that he was to be crucified for our sins. He knew what was going to occur that night. And he told his disciples to love each other as he loved them!

Whew! So we're supposed to love each other to the point of laying down our life for each other... That's a special kind of love. But that's just one thing we'd be able to do for each other if we had Christ's love in us.

So, just what is love? How do we show it in everyday life? For that answer, I send you here:
Agape Epistle - Love Letter

~*Be Blessed*~

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rainbows are Precious Gifts

Last week, as I drove to work and back home again, it rained and rained and rained. I saw so much devastation around me. A bus had crashed into a car - a heart-wrenching sight. As I kept driving, I saw a car that had been side-swiped by a truck. And I'm sure that that's only the beginning of the days devastation. However, as I approached my destination, the storm clouds cleared, the rain lightened to a drizzle, and the sun began to set. And behind a cloud, surrounded by sun rays, was a small rainbow (it's very small in the picture above). And suddenly, I had a revelation.

At Genesis 9:13-17, God made a covenant with Noah to never again destroy all life with rain. But the covenant was so much deeper than that. In order for a rainbow hidden in the clouds to appear, the clouds must part and the sun must shine. And it dawned on me - as we travel to our life destinations, there will be storms. However, as we approach our destination, there will be a time for the clouds to part, the sun to shine, and the rainbow to come out. So don't let the trials of life get you down.

As James 1:2-4 (MSG) says: "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

Now, you may be saying, "You don't know what I'm going through and how long I've been going through it." That's very very true. But there is always a helper who does know what you're going through. The scripture continues by saying,

"If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." - James 1:5,6a (MSG)

So go through the storms of life, seeking God and asking him for help, without doubting that He'll help. And remember, the rainbow will come out at the end of your journey.

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