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Thursday: Love’s Commitment — 9 Comments

  1. We are coming to the end of our study on "Making Friends for God - The Joy of Sharing His Mission" and it's probably a good time to have a think about the demonstrable results of this study. This series has come at a time where we have seen a serious upheaval to our social interaction and I wonder if we have resigned ourselves to just sitting it out. Have we thought about how we interact with the secular people in the world? Do we have a plan of action? Are we already working on it?

    If, for a moment, I can be constructively critical: often our discussion has centred on the theory of how things work (or should work). We discuss theology rather than the nuts and bolts of putting friendship into practice. It is a bit like my understanding of electricity. I probably know more about electricity than my electrician. I know that because we go birdwatching together and we have some interesting discussions. But when it comes to fixing up the electrical wiring on my house, I bow to the experience of my electrician friend. He has the experience to know where the wires go without endangering the house or me. Our Christianity has to be the practical kind that reaches out, not the theoretical kind that says we have all the answers.

    John, the beloved, makes the point:

    This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18 NIV

    I like John. He would have made a good electrician!

    • If I may offer an additional perspective.

      I spend a lot of time in my helping 'profession' studying and discussing theory in order to learn how things work. If one only sees the online training, the forums and the blogs, it would be easy to think that all I do is discuss and 'debate' theory.

      On the one hand, my participation in this learning is vital to building my background of knowledge and understanding that helps me grow in my capacity to help others. On the other hand, it is only a small proportion of the time I spend. I couldn't do what I do without it. But the rest of the time is spent actually putting the 'theory' into practice through getting alongside others who are struggling to gain their trust and help them with those struggles. But I don't talk about that stuff because I don't want to draw attention to myself and what I am doing. I want the focus to be upon others and the benefits they are experiencing through living a better way.

      I wonder if there might be more going on 'behind-the-scenes' than can be seen in this forum?

      I wonder if there are more 'electricians' hanging-out here than we realise?

      I wonder if perhaps we will only truly see the magnitude of the 'results' in the world to come...

    • Maurice - As usual, I agree on point though have thoughts to complement your thoughts.
      The electrician went first through an extensive theoretical learning process before anyone let him work on their distributer box or whatever it may be that needs attention.
      This compares with our studying the Word of God to enlighten our spiritual understanding of the spiritual life we are now living.

      The electrician was given small, practical tasks along with his theorectial training to proof his progress of theoretical learning; he was an apprentice before he became the expert in his field. By the way, not everyone that goes through the training ends up to be a good electrician.
      This compares with our walk by faith. We are like the apprentice when we learn to experience Faith, understanding how it works as we learn to apply it by trusting God's Word and His Spirit to be benevolent (it's not goin to 'kill' us).

      Those of us who amplify 'spiritual theory', do so to provide the intellectual basis for Faith before it can be identified as such - we are working with a new mind which can discern spiritual things.
      No one ever disputed that Christianity is a practically lived, expressed Faith based on God given Truth! Though, because Faith is spiritually based, it starts in the spirit of man when touched by God, not in his 'mind of flesh'; it starts as the gift of God's Love comes into man to enable him to love as he was loved by Him.
      I am sure you are familiar with James 1:17 - "EVERY good gift and EVERY perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variablenes, neiter shadow of(when) turning." 'Gift' means anything and everything that is considered 'good' by and 'in' man; even things we do not recognize as being 'good' because our mind is finite.

      The most difficult aspect for Christians to understand is that the good works done are generated(sparked) by the GOODNESS of the Creator Spirit within. The actions are done by using the body of the Christian, but not by his/her own 'goodness'. Rom 7:18 - "..the will is present, but HOW to perform that which is good I find not."

      This is the spiritual transformation we are experiencing in our minds and hearts. The whole, flesh-related 'wiring' of the 'house' has been replaced by the Spirit of God into spiritually discerned understanding for those who trust Him explicitely and live according to HIS Will.
      Because we are still in our physical body, it is extremely difficult to separate the work of the Spirit from the works of the flesh - and this is were studying the Word of God is essential, because He is the Teacher that renewes our minds.
      If you accept my analogy: The Electrician, the electricity, and the wiring are all one spiritual source - the Trinity - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

      • Let me just say that if I started talking to my electrician friend about Fermi-Dirac energy levels and conduction bands he would not have a clue what I was talking about. His theoretical training would have included building codes, wiring guages, load factors, grounding and safety issues. In other words, the theory he would have learned would have had very little to do with the theory I learned.

        and that is the crux of the issue with our spiritual learning. Sometimes what we learn and discuss among ourselves in theological terms has little to do with what we need to tell those who need to be saved. I am not saying that we should not study theology. What I am saying is that we need to sort out what is meaningful to others.

        • Maurice - yes, acts of kindness are always an express of faith in the teachings of Jesus. What I am explaining is not theology, it is the basic understanding of why the Son of God, who is Spirit, needed to come to us in the form of flesh to redeem mankind to become Spirit in order to be able to enter the heavenly, spiritual Kingdom of God.
          Flesh and blood is not able to inherit the eternal kingdome, it is our new, spiritual nature build up, formed through acts of living faith in the Faith of Jesus.

          Jesus talked with the women at the well, He spoke to 5000 gathered to hear Him speak; He spoke in the temple to the lawers when He was a child. The Spirit of God will adapt the Word of God to reach the hearts of all who can 'hear' His voice.
          God does not speak to us as He speaks to His angels and agents of His heavenly domain, He uses words we can understand, each in his own language, and the Spirit translates them to be understood by our spirit, and so are hearts and minds transformed in people all over this world.
          Again and again, the acts of kindness are the expression of love engaged by faith, not by the will of the mind of flesh. Glory and Honor belong the God!
          The electrician is free to ask questions if he wants to understand "Dirac energy levels and conduction bands" should someone mention them to him.
          Col.1:9-15 - God will not hold back His Spirit from anyone who seeks spiritual maturity and better understanding of Him and His redemptive work of Love.

  2. In the gospel of John we see that at the beginning of His ministry Jesus said, because We, the Triune God, loved our creation, each one of you, we risked everything to provide a second chance for you to choose eternal life over nonexistence. Then in his letter, through inspiration, John reveals the other side of coin, Jesus proved His love for us and when we allow Him to recreate a new heart in us we will show our love by sharing our time and means with others. The matching principle to John 3:16 is 1John 3:16.
    Do you have a tree of love growing in your heart, the more you give love the more love will grow in your heart.

    Maurice is right we need to discuss the nuts and bolts of putting friendship into action, so let us each one give examples of how this week we have shown friendship or have received friendship from others.
    My friend ran out of toilet paper so I gave her a roll
    My other friend was stuck without transport at court reporting her abusive husband, so I sent her a "cash send" so she could get a taxi home.
    While I have been stuck at home my neighbours have brought me supper every night
    It is not I but the love of Christ that compels me to share the truth and love with others. Gal 2:20, 2Cor 5:14

  3. For the love of Christ constrains/compels us.... 2 Cor 5:14-21

    What a lovely passage and when we get to understand its meaning it propels us forward in Christ.

    Shirley you said 'So let us each one give examples of how this week we have shown friendship or have received friendship from others'. You also gave examples.

    My simple example.
    I am writing this today Sabbath because I was unable to do my lesson on Thursday so I didnt saw this reading. On Thursday at 4:20am my spouse and I set off on our mission trip. The place was dark but we knew by the time we get there it will be day light. Couple weeks before, I mentioned about the Lord laid on my heart what I needed to do for my family abroad. The time had come now so we hired a vehicle because of the amount of things we had to post, we travelled hundreds of miles to post them, we paid to post them, then we travelled back home the same day. The Lord took us safe to that busy place and protected us, no accident, no damage to the vehicle. That was the biggest vehicle I ever drove in my life, but I overcame the fear. My determination was stronger than my fear and I knew Jesus and my angels were with us. Not to mentioned, I had a medical procedure the day before and they told me I should not drive for 24 hrs. I even forgot that because I was feeling ok and I knew what I was doing was for Jesus and he was leading us in the right direction.
    Not to mention, when the things arrive at the port of destination I will be paying for the things to clear them.
    God has being good to me, all he does is place his treasure and means in my hand to distribute to others. He is using all of us to bring others to his kingdom that's why I keep saying the Covid19 and recession has nothing to do with Jesus. What I meant is, Jesus wants us to show others/the world who He is in times like these that He is still the Bread of life, the Living Waters, the Provider of all good things, the Creator, the Sustainer, etc. Now is when the SDA church should be shining is all of its glory if we believe we are a chosen people. Other religions should be looking at us and longing to become like us and want what we have because all of our trust is in a Living God.

    Shirley I do hope my little words pass the test.

    • Lyn, thank you for sharing how you are being a friend for Jesus.
      It is difficult, Maurice says put theory into action, Phil says if I tell you it will sound like I am boasting, I agree with both of them. I took the risk and shared my experiences but I notice that you, Lyn, were the only other one willing to stand up and be counted.
      I trust there are many others putting the theory into action quietly without the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing.
      Luke 18:9-14 Matt 6:3

  4. When thou passes through the waters...Isa 43:2

    Shirley when I look at many Christians today, if I was not a Christian trusting in Jesus I would not have become one. Their lives have become so dead because their faith have being tested and for some reason I don't know what happened. We serve a living Jesus, he is no more on the cross or in the tomb. Let the world see and know about him and they will come and follow him. I said to people half of my story had not yet being told about the goodness of Jesus to me.
    The bible is written in a specific way for a reason, its goes into details for somethings. For example; the deliverance of the children of Isreal from the Egyptian bondage, the journey of the children in the wilderness and it was retold in several other places in the bible. Num 33:1-56; Psm 78:1-72.
    Why would some passages be repeated over and over again, the answer is in Ps 78:3-7. Many times when my children were young and we had devotion, or when they acting up I took them through the journey of my life and told them where I was to the present to show them the God we serve. Ps 78:7 says- That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandment: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generations; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.

    Oh that we will be steadfast with our God and show love to him and our fellow men.

    I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Isa 42:8


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