Love or obligation?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 15

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

​​Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

He who walks uprightly,

​​And works righteousness,

​​And speaks the truth in his heart;

 ​​He who does not backbite with his tongue,

​​Nor does evil to his neighbor,

​​Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

​​In whose eyes a vile person is despised,

​​But he honors those who fear the LORD;

​​He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

​​He who does not put out his money at usury,

​​Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

​​He who does these things shall never be moved.

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1.  Our walk is blameless.

2.  Our walk is righteous.

Both are true when we accept the cleansing of the blood of Christ and are made a new creature.

3.  Our words are true.

4.  We do not spread lies about others.

5.  We do good only, to our neighbor.

6.  We build up; we do not tear down others.

7. We despise, meaning to turn away from a vile person, we do not follow them.

8.  We honor those who fear the Lord.

9.  We keep  our word when it is given.

10. When it comes to money, we lend at a reasonable rate and refuse bribes.

Can we claim this list is a description of who we are and what we do?

“…LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

​​Who may dwell in Your holy hill?…”

What is our motivation?  Is it the love of God in us or just obligation?  When we love God completely with all of our being and it overflows into love for our fellow man/woman, we will be unshaken; for our trust is in Him and it shows.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

7:41 AM

Observations of our group and otheres have led me to some conclusions about commitment and its effects upon the strength of a group and that groups ability to grow and last. 

The bonds of fellowship have a thread of commitment that runs through them much like steel cords reinforce and give strength to tires.  Without that thread, the tires will do their work but fail much more quickly than those with.  Fellowship groups that lack those threads of commitment soon fall apart and fail to grow.  I have observed the formation and development of two such groups.  Each have about four years duration to this point.  Members of one group refuse to allow anything to interfere with their coming together, while members of the other frequently have other things to do and fail to come together as a complete group.  The first group is strong, its members are growing in the Lord, and change is taking place in their lives.  They are able to withstand conflict, opposition and hard times with more insight and strength and come out singing.  The second group is full of personal strife, conflict, pain, distress and often speak of ‘giving it up”.  The first group does not use that kind of language.  The second group finds that often there are those in their fellowship who are not in attendance.  To have a group requires membership and meeting.  If these are lacking a group does not exist, only the shadow of a group.

Does commitment to meeting, to being available to support one another, to collaboratively study the Word of God have an impact upon a group’s ability to do the work of God?  Absolutely. 

Psalm 37:5 NKJV – Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring [it] to pass.

Proverbs 16:3 NKJV – Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.  If God makes a commitment to us can we do any less toward him and our fellow believers? Psalm 105:8 NLT – He always stands by his covenant–the commitment he made to a thousand generations.

Not only is this necessity for commitment scripturally based it can be heard from the secular world.  Take for instance the quote from Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers:

Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

 What we put first in our activities and daily lives is where our true commitment lies.  For some of us it truly sits within family or job rather than the work of God.  Can we make adjustments to our obligations to family and job and still keep the commitment we make to God?  Again, absolutely.  Sometimes it only requires our being firm with ourselves.  Ha!  Imagine that, self arises… It is time to put self down, it is time to commit and be responsible to our word when we say we will and then don’t.  This is not in the character of a true believer.  We can do… In Him we have our strength and ability.  Commit thy way unto the Lord…

How real is your faith?

John 19:38-42

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby

 Two from the Jewish leadership responsible for Jesus’ shameful death and treatment now come to care for the body of Jesus following the traditions and customs of the Jews.  Joseph, Luke tells us is a member of the council, one of those looking for the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus is the ruler who came to Jesus by night seeking answers.  They, Joseph and Nicodemus,  looked for the kingdom of God. They were willing to give all for it.  Nicodemus received personal revelation  of what was to come.  The Christian call to the unbeliever, John 3:16, comes during Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in answer to his questions about the new birth in Christ.  Jesus told him he, Jesus, must be lifted up as the serpents were by Moses.  Jesus told him why he came and what to expect.

These two, with much to lose, come to take the body of Jesus and prepare it for burial.  Where are the disciples, those who spent time with him daily being taught and loved?  Where are the ones we would consider the close friends and family?  There is no mention of family here.  Significant perhaps is the fact that two prepare the body and place it in the tomb, with no other body there.  A witness of two that he is deceased and in a tomb with no other so there can be no confusion.  For the demonstration of power that is to follow in the resurrection these are significant facts. 

Note also, the power of God to reach beyond death to touch the lives of two men and their response; they put their position in the community on the line and the ability to participate in an important religious feast is jeopardized by touching a dead body. Can we learn to trust God beyond our traditions, our obligations to religion, beyond living in a hostile environment?  For God so loved the world…his creation…he gave…  Lets do likewise and give…