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Tag Archives: love

released from the law

Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law is lord over a person as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage. So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code. (Romans 7:1-6, NET)

So if you are divorced and your husband is still alive then if you are having relationships with others you are committing adultery. Only if your husband is dead. So a man can go and do whatever they want? If we read the text as it stands, yes, men are free to do as they please and women are not, yet I believe they text implies and has a deeper meaning that you are bound to the one you know in a biblical sense which is a very intimate way. In my understanding, marriage is complete when it is consummated. So when you know a person in the biblical understanding you are really married to them. And when we get hung up on the rules of things we get held down and feel the pressure of getting things right or doing things right.

So if we are released from the burden of feeling we have to do the right things all the time we will be freed to love and share grace.

Know you are freed to love and share grace.

 

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test the spirit

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. 4Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6, NRSV)

Using this test is not that straight forward, because I have friends who are from God who would say some of the things I believe are not actually what God teaches, and I know I am from God. And yet we all confess that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of the world. So how does this work? I mean there are people who believe that those in the LGBTQ+ community are not Christians if they continue in that lifestyle, but my understanding is God loves us all as God created us. And again we all confess that Jesus is God in flesh.

We test the spirit by asking what would God do, How would God love in this space. An interesting cartoon I have seen several times is this one by nakedpastor. When we use the Bible to determine love we get it wrong.

We need to love as Jesus did, which means we do what is necessary regardless of the trouble we will get in.

Love as God loves!

 

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love one another

9Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; 10and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, 11to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, 12so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, NRSV)

Love one another.

It really is that easy.

Think of others over yourself, and do what is needed for them to know that God loves them.

Share what you have been given with those in need and help those who need help. If you do this, then it will be done for you too.

How much better would the world be if we all loved each other?

 

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welcome

40“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:40-42, NRSV)

I wonder what does it mean to welcome?

If we give someone who needs a drink a drink, then we are welcoming.

To give someone who is hungry food, then we are welcoming.

If we wear a mask to protect others and ourselves from Covid-19? No that is an infringement on my rights and I shouldn’t have to do that. Sometimes we do things for others that make us uncomfortable because they are what is needed.

We need to think about others over ourselves and do what we know is right for the betterment of all people.

Welcome the stranger, the outcast, the widow, the orphan, the one that no one else will welcome. Be Christ for them and allow God’s love and grace to shine through your life.

 

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millstone

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! 2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” (Luke 17:1-4, NRSV)

I have always had a love-hate relationship with this verse, because everything I do as a spiritual leader is to guide people in their relationships with God, and if I lead one the wrong way it would be better for me to hang a millstone around my neck and cast myself into the sea. Not a pretty picture or thought. I pray all the time that I might be a conduit for God and let God work in and through my life so I am allowing God to speak through me and to use me for the betterment of God’s kingdom.

How much better would the world be if we all did this?

If we all sought the kingdom of God and the renewal of all relationships, rather than our own desires?

Do we all do this, I struggle to do this, but I try and I pray for strength every day.

Pray for strength to allow God to use you and to better the world!

 
 

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sheep among wolves

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:5-23, NRSV)

People will not want to hear your message of love and understanding. They will not understand mercy and grace. Even those of us who have been covered with grace do not get it.

We are sent out into a world that doesn’t know the love we have received, with little to no protection and a reliance on those who do not get us. This really doesn’t seem like a wise plan.

But your mission is not to change minds or make people like you or God, your mission is to go and to share. And if they listen and welcome you, then graciously accept what they bring to you and tell them all about God’s mercy and grace. But if they don’t listen, then shake the dust off your feet, don’t even take that from them, and move along.

You are going where they will not want you, but God is always with you. So go in confidence that you are sheltered and protected even as a sheep among wolves.

Trust the promises and go!

 

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enduring

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance. I know that you cannot tolerate evildoers; you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them to be false. 3I also know that you are enduring patiently and bearing up for the sake of my name, and that you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.5Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6Yet this is to your credit: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:1-7, NRSV)

We need to endure with what we have been given to do. Even when it seems we are done we need to hold fast.

The people of Ephesus were bold in their love of God and followed after God testing those who came in God’s name. But they forgot their first love and moved away from that. We need to hold tight to our fist love and allow that to carry us through and not look for more beyond that.

Follow after God and remember what God has given you to be and to do.

Share God’s love with all the world, and never lose sight of how God holds on to you.

 

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secret made known

24“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 26“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:24-39, NRSV)

God knows your worth because God created you. And everything that people think they do in the dark and undercover God knows. And so will everyone else. It will be made known.

So proclaim what God has told you and do not worry about what society will do to you. Because they might be able to destroy your fleshly body, but they can not destroy you. Only God can do that. So be bold and share God’s love. Even when the world pushes back. We need to be witnesses to the love and mercy that God showers on us.

We must share God’s grace in everything we do.

 

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Beware the yeast of the Pharisees

53When he went outside, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be very hostile toward him and to cross-examine him about many things, 54lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say. Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. 2Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 3Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops. (Luke 11:53—12:3, NRSV)

They wanted to catch him in something he would say. They were baiting him to say what he believed and felt and wanted to use that against him.

So many times in life we are asked questions not so others can learn about us but so they can find something to use against us.

What if we never went into a conversation with motives other than to love others and get to know them better?

Because a little yeast spoils the whole batch and once it is in you can’t get it out.

We must be careful how we are and act towards others, and not let our lives cause issues or trouble for others. We are called to love as God loved us.

 

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Prison break

17Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, 18arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said,20“Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.” 21When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching. When the high priest and those with him arrived, they called together the council and the whole body of the elders of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22But when the temple police went there, they did not find them in the prison; so they returned and reported, 23“We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering what might be going on. 25Then someone arrived and announced, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26Then the captain went with the temple police and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. (Acts 5:17-26, NRSV)

Today is the celebration of Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Liberation Day, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read to enslaved African Americans in Texas by Gordon Granger. Texas was the last Confederate State to have the proclamation announced, after the end of the American Civil War in April of that year. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and minimal fighting meant there were few Union troops present to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation until after the war ended.

It is interesting to me that this devo falls on today. Those who were held as slaves were freed when they should have already been freed and the apostles who were imprisoned wrongly were freed. God works in ways we do not understand.

How can we help the world see that God created us all in a wonderful tapestry of beauty that needs to be seen? How can we all show God’s love to the world and love as God first loved us?

We are all called to set the captive free where ever we see that. Lift up the lowly and help those in need.

That is what God called us all to.

 

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