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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Doing love

We often speak about love as if it were a feeling.
But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love in a way that God intends.
Feelings of love are great - but our loving others cannot be based in that feeling.
To love is to think, speak and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible to this world.
In short, we are to do more than "just" "feel" love, we are to "do" love.
Billy Waters writes in “Teacher Touch”, “after an accident in which she lost her arm, a girl named Jaime refused to go to school or church for an entire year.  Finally the young teen thought she could face her peers. 
In preparation, her mother called her Sunday school teacher and asked that he not call attention to Jaime.  The teacher promised, but when he got sick on Sunday and had to call a substitute, he forgot to tell the second teacher.   

At the conclusion of the lesson that day, which was about inviting friends to church, the sub led the class in doing the hand motions to the familiar children’s poem:   

Here’s the church
Here are the people
Open the door
See all the people 

Jaime’s eyes filled with tears.  A 13-year-old boy realized how she must have been feeling.  He knelt beside her.  With one hand apiece, they supported each other, making the church, steeple, and people.  Together they illustrated what real church is.” 

Love God, love people!  Our mission statement.  Love God - Love people! 

At the core is love. 

I remember the song we used to sing back in the early 70’s – “And they know we are Christians by our love.” 
People around us know that we are believers in Christ, not by what we believe or by our doctrine or theology, but by the love we show in our families, in our church and in the daily activities of our lives. 

Love is a very powerful thing.  Love is at the foundation of our walk with God. 
It should be as I have read, “our top priority, our primary objective and our greatest ambition.” 

Did you know that love can make a person become better looking?

It’s true!  Psychologists tell us that the excitement of being in love increases your heart rate so that your face glows, your lips look redder, and those circles under your eyes actually become less noticeable!  Heightened emotions of love cause your pupils to dilate, so that your eyes look brighter and clearer.  

However, love is more than a feeling.  Love is an action verb.  It goes beyond something I feel in my heart to extend itself to something I do in my life.  Love is to be the basis of everything that we do. 

The Apostle John puts it this way in First John 3:18, “My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.  This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.” 

John says, “let’s practice love.” 

Let’s think about that for a moment.  How can we practice love?  Or to put it another way, how can we “do” love? 

I would suggest to you that we can “do” love by loving those in our spiritual family. 
Paul writes to Timothy in First Timothy 3:14,15, “I’m writing so that you’ll know how to live in the family of God.  That family is the church.” 
Our church is not a building, an institution, an organization, a club; our church is a family.  It is not a place you go to; it is a family you belong to.  
We are a family here at Stone Church and as a family God has called us to worship together as brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Peter tells us in First Peters 2:17 to “love your spiritual family.” 
God is my father and we are His children.  We are a “family oriented” church. 
Hebrews 2:10 says, “God is the One who made all things, and all things are for his glory.  He wanted to have many children to share His glory."   

I read of a cartoon this week where a couple is greeting the pastor after church and he says, “Julie and I met during this morning’s ‘greet your neighbor’ time.  We’d like you to marry us.”  
Now that’s a little bit much, but God does call us to love each other in the family of God! 

Why does God want us to learn to love one another in our family?  If God is my father, and He is, than he wants me to get along with those around me like any earthly father would. 

When all of our kids lived at home (Debbie and I are now "empty nesters"), I wasn't thrilled when they got into arguments and verbal joustings.
At the same time, it pleased me when they loved one another and took care of each other and enjoyed being around one another.   

God feels the same about us! 

Another reason that God wants me to love those in our spiritual family is that I am never more like God than when I love those around me. 

Let’s go back to First John.  John writes in First John 4:8, 21,  “the person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love, so you can’t know him if you don’t love......the command we have from Christ is blunt: loving God includes loving people.  You’ve got to love both.”   

God calls us to love one another as He loves us – unconditionally!  God loves all people equally – even those who are hard to love and so he wants us to learn to practice, to “do” unconditional love as well! 

And then another reason why we are to love one another is that our love for each other attracts those who don’t have a relationship with God to Jesus! 

A woman by the name of Gloria one time was ready to take her life.  Years of drug abuse, failed relationships, and multiple rejections had taken their toll.  Prepared with countless prescription drugs she saved for this purpose, Gloria turned on the television to keep her neighbors from hearing. 

The channel was tuned in to a Billy Graham crusade.  At the bottom of the screen was a telephone number for anyone needing help.  Gloria called the number before she took the pills. 

The counselor recognized the seriousness of Gloria’s situation.  She directed Gloria to a nearby church where someone would be able to help her.  Gloria decided to put off her suicide and attend the church the next day, Sunday.  Just before the worship service began, Gloria met the pastor.  “Billy Graham sent me,” she told him. 

Sometimes later, Gloria was able to give this testimony: 

“Billy Graham saved me from killing myself, but my church sowed me how to be saved from my sins.  The love of the people was incredible.  I never knew someone as dirty as me could ever receive love again.  The people accepted me just as I was.  I have seen Jesus.  He is in the faces of all these people who love me.” 

We are to love one another because it helps to grow his family.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.


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