"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Top Priority?

Bible Gateway crunched some numbers and came up with The Top 25 Bible Passages of 2009. Now, if you enjoy listings of The Top So-many Whatevers, starting as they do with the bottom of the list, You may be disappointed with this humble Blog-Post, as I've gone straight to the top.

The Number One Bible passage searched on BibleGateway.com was … First Corinthians Chapter Thirteen—The Love Chapter.

What does that fact tell us? Obviously, God's church is at least curious—possibly, concerned—about God's definition of love. And why not? The Apostle John had some rather compelling things to say about it.

1 John 3 vs. 10: Love is an evidence of spiritual lineage.

vs. 11: Love is the first New Testament commandment.

vs. 14: Loving the brethren proves we are redeemed.

vs. 16: Jesus' passion and death is our model for godly love.

vss. 17 & 18: Love not demonstrated by works is false. (also James 2)

1 John 4 vs. 7: Love is from God.

vs. 8: God is love.

vss. 9 & 10: Jesus' atonement for our sin proves God's love for us.

vs. 12: We don't need to see God if we see His love demonstrated in us.

vs. 16: God lives in us if we live in His love.

vs. 18: Love or fear; not both.

vs. 19: "We love because he first loved us."

vs. 20: If we don't love our brother, we don't love God.

vs. 21: That is God's command!

1 John 5:2 "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments."

God's gospel conveys this simple messagea message of enormous implications: Love is not optional, and its character is quite specific. Either we love everyone sacrificially, as Jesus did at the cross, or we are not His.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Be Pollen

        This morning I'm assaulted by God's ultimate challenge: Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Though I usually place a link to the Scriptural context in these posts, today's reference is so crucial that I pasted it here directly.
James 1:19-25 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (20) for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (21) Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (23) For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. (24) For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (25) But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
        I think my getting this message from two independent sources this morning was no coincidence. God is telling me to put feet to His Word which is, for me, a singularly appropriate instruction. I love splitting exegetical hairs—or rightly dividing His Word—and getting lost in the minutia of language. Yet, I so often struggle with the simplest issues of obedience.
        The Lord's apostle James well understood this most human of impulses, and its devastating effect on our Great Commission. He well knew that non-believers are the best B.S. detectors, and that any lack of genuine love in Christ-followers will render our testimony impotent.
        How can non-believers' resistance to Christ's gospel mystify us when we demonstrate so little joy in our own walks? In fact, we typically demonstrate just the opposite; we're uptight about obeying the rules, believing just the right doctrines and worshiping in exactly the correct order. Brethren, that is not the joy non-believers seek, and will attract them like insecticide attracts bees. Be doers of the word, and become the pollen they desperately seek.