God’s Grocery List

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:11-12

“Brother do you love me?” asked one of my jokester friends at Bible college one day. I was kind of puzzled where Jose was going with this so I decided to play along. “Okay Jose. I love you. What do you need?’ I answered. “Then obey my commandments!” he shouted with a big grin. Now that is a special memory and kind of a funny story that I still carry after fifty years, but it got me to thinking about Jesus and His commandment. We might think about it this way – the Pharisees had a list of six hundred plus commandments, Moses gave us ten, but Jesus narrowed the list down to one. Think of it like me going into the grocery store. In my hand is a list of four things which my wife has carefully written down. Nancy being a detail person usually includes things like the brand, and size she needs and even the aisle where I can find her items. Imagine her response if I returned home with two of the four things missing! Yet this happens every day with us. Jesus only left us one commandment – love one another as I have loved you.” Seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why everybody loves Jesus! Jewish people love him as a great teacher, Muslims love Him as a general in God’s army, Hindus love His peaceful resistance to unjust authority and even a good number of professed atheists think He was a nice guy. The reason these folks generally never show up for church has a lot less to do with Jesus than with how we flop at obeying His commandment.

So how can we do better? First, we could start remembering that His great commandment is not a nice suggestion. Swindlers and sick folks, strangers and thieves all felt right at home with Jesus. They each came to Him, not because He was one of them; but because they knew that He cared about them and was ready to help at any hour of the day or night. The problem is they often don’t feel that way with us. So then, who can I love today like Jesus loved me? I am convinced that God has a detailed grocery list that includes their brand, size and location and we can be assured that it will be the joy of His heart to show us exactly how if we are ready to obey!

Thursday Sunshine – Fourth Advent Week – Love

Worship at His Feet

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  Matthew 2:11 ESV

At a recent meeting at our church the pastor’s wife reminded us of the wise men when she said, “The more we seek Him: the more He finds us.” We usually think of the wise men as going out on a quest to find God’s Son. But more likely they were emissaries chosen to carry gifts and give worship, to a neighboring king’s child so as to curry political favor. But the star they followed led them further than they imagined. Maybe when they left Persia, they simply planned on visiting a neighboring kingdom. But instead of a few days on the road, they discovered that the star directed them over a thousand miles across the desert to Israel. When they arrived at the capital city, Jerusalem they were invited into the king’s palace. The wise men probably unloaded the camels shouting, “Finally we’re here!” But that’s when things got strange. That evening at supper they learned that the one who they had been seeking was not the king’s son, but instead a special chosen one of God, whom the Jews called the Messiah. The next afternoon as they started towards Bethlehem, the star they had followed appeared again yet this time led them not to a palace, but to an ordinary house. There in the light of God’s star they found a child who was the true King sent from Heaven. In Him they found the one who had been seeking them and there they opened their treasures and worshiped at His feet!

“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love Is

Love is patient to slow its pace
And walk with us our street
Love is kind when it takes time
To wash our dirty feet

Love protects from angry waves
And trusts when we can’t see
And hopes in hours before sunrise
When shadows finally flee

After everything in us has fallen
Love still stays standing true
Believing the impossible
That we will make it through

Love Is by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved
Do not waste time bothering whether, you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you do and you will presently come to love him" C S Lewis

A Superglue Love!

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? …Romans 8:35

I have always loved this verse, though holding on to it at times of trouble has seemed elusive at best. Usually when the going gets tough in relational conflict, under financial pressure or sickness I forget about God’s love and revert to anxiety or stressed out overreactions. But God’s love is supposed stick to us like superglue; so what are we missing?

Maybe our common weakness in situations needing God’s love is expecting to find the source in ourselves; and when that is failing we fall back into fear, stress or shame. But this morning I noticed how this superglue love that sticks through every possible circumstance has nothing to do with me or you. Its holding power is linked to who Jesus is and where He is in the previous verse.

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:34 ESV

Yup…that superglue love is all about Jesus interceding for us with the Father right there in heaven. Remember He told us, “I and the Father are one.”? His love for us superglues Him to that place in Heaven. No situation of life or death, sickness or persecution can unstick His love or make Him give up on us. His love is superglued right to the throne of God and nothing in creation will ever separate us from the amazing….unbelievable…all powerful and wonderful, love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord! Now that gives me hope and puts a drop of God’s superglue love in me!