Christianity 201

September 24, 2018

Living Out the Law Where it is Really Important

It’s six months later and we’re paying a return visit to the website called More Than Useless, written by Thom Fowler who pastors two churches and also works full-time in retail. Each of his recent articles is written in a vertical orientation as prayer. (It’s especially helpful to note the time of day when he wrote/prayed each.) Click the title below to read at source, and check out some of the more recent articles as well.

Love and Law

Thank You, Father, for a wonderfully productive day! You have been with me all the way and all the physical things are ready for worship. May I continue to prepare spiritually so that I may say, be and do exactly what You need. Praise Your holy name!

NLT.Matt.5.20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

When we first read this verse Lord I think we are a little shocked – even if we know who the “teachers of the religious law and Pharisees” were. Maybe I’m just not enough of a rebel but I was brought up to respect leaders in all walks of life. But regardless of how high someone is in any organization – even the church – lines can be crossed. And evil cannot be tolerated…and it must be dealt with. I’m sure there were good men among this nefarious crew of religiosity but they may have been few and far between, as well.

You have just proclaimed Your intent to fulfill the law as given to Moses and we are also called to be obedient to it. My study Bible* helps a great deal in understanding this law.

First of all, “there were three categories of law: ceremonial, civil and moral.” Ceremonial law dealt with Israel’s worship and it all pointed to You. Your death and resurrection fulfilled it all! So we “are no longer bound by” them but the “principles behind them – to worship and love a holy God – still apply.”

Our world is a “radically different” place from when the civil law was given to Israel for daily living. We don’t follow them specifically but Your example showed us that the “principles behind the commands are timeless and should guide our conduct.”

Lastly, the moral law (i.e. the Ten Commandments) “is the direct command of God” and we are accountable to abide by it. Lord, You abided by it in its entirety.

And that is the rub with the religious leaders of the time You walked this earth. They were so busy splitting hairs that they didn’t really take time to live out the law where it was really important. Lord, Your desire was and still most assuredly is for us to live in a loving, intimate relationship with You. We can strive to abide by every rule and regulation but unless there is relationship…it is worthless.

Lord, help me (and I know You do) to love You more every day. May there be a burning in my heart to spend time with You regularly. The more time I conscientiously spend with You the closer our relationship will be. Amen – so be it!

*Life Application Bible New Living Translation

November 20, 2014

Jesus: “Be Me”

John 15:9-12

The Message (MSG)

9-10“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

God's RepresentativeYou’ve just been hired as a manufacturer’s representative. The manufacturer in this case manufactured the earth, the universe and all that it is in them. Then he appoints you, a part of that creation to represent Him on earth to the rest of creation. That’s hard to take in. A few years ago my wife Ruth wrote this to be read at a church plant she was doing in a place where representing God, representing Christ, would not be easy. But is it any easier where you are? Where I am?

Look at the example I have set in how I’ve loved you and all of the others and follow my example.

Follow my example. Love the world.

Be Me to the world.

Be Me to your neighbors.

The woman across the road, the guy who lives downstairs.

The kids who play on your lawn.

Be Me to the vulnerable, the hungry, the oppressed.

Be Me to the poor, the cold, the homeless, the lost.

Be Me to the rich, the insulated, the sheltered, the lost.

Be Me to the fearful, the sick, the lonely, the isolated, the recovering.

To the educated, to the street-smart, to the foolish.

To the bruised, the bleeding, the calloused, the rough, the tough, the abrasive.

Be Me to the stubborn, the unappreciative, the ungrateful, the dismissive.

To the takers.

To the users.

To the ones who have raised themselves up, the ones who have made themselves as small as possible or who have been made small.

Be Me to the almost there, the almost gone.

To the empty, the misunderstanding, the suspicious, the condescending.

Be Me to the ones whose backs are toward you, the ones whose heads are bowed, the ones whose chins are held high.

Be Me to the uninterested, the undesiring, to the undeserving.

To the shackled, to the free.

Be Me the way I have been Me to you.

Be Me.

You have no right not to be.

~Ruth Wilkinson

November 1, 2011

“Look at Me”

John 15:9-12

The Message (MSG)

 9-10“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.

 11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

Look at the example I have set in how I’ve loved you and all of the others and follow my example.

Follow my example. Love the world.

Be Me to the world.

Be Me to your neighbors.

The woman across the road, the guy who lives downstairs.

The kids who play on your lawn.

Be Me to the vulnerable, the hungry, the oppressed.

Be Me to the poor, the cold, the homeless, the lost.

Be Me to the rich, the insulated, the sheltered, the lost.

Be Me to the fearful, the sick, the lonely, the isolated, the recovering.

To the educated, to the street-smart, to the foolish.

To the bruised, the bleeding, the calloused, the rough, the tough, the abrasive.

Be Me to the stubborn, the unappreciative, the ungrateful, the dismissive.

To the takers.

To the users.

To the ones who have raised themselves up, the ones who have made themselves as small as possible or who have been made small.

Be Me to the almost there, the almost gone.

To the empty, the misunderstanding, the suspicious, the condescending.

Be Me to the ones whose backs are toward you, the ones whose heads are bowed, the ones whose chins are held high.

Be Me to the uninterested, the undesiring, to the undeserving.

To the shackled, to the free.

Be Me the way I have been Me to you.

Be Me.

You have no right not to be.

~Ruth Wilkinson