Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Exhaustless Love

The Lord has been leading me through the gospels in my daily reading of His Word. Recently we have started a new series in our Sunday School class. It is called Keeping God's Commandments. As  most would guess, we began by looking into Exodus 20 and studying the 10 Commandments, the Law, given to the nation of Israel.

The children and I talked about the fact that the 10 commandments were given to show people that no one is able to keep the Law perfectly; "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).  The New Testament tells us that the Law "was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ."  When Jesus came to this earth He came to "fulfill the Law" (and ultimately to die on the cross for man's sin). Jesus was the only one who was able to keep the Law perfectly. He was the spotless Lamb (chosen from the foundation of the world) who would be slain to take away the sin of the world.  When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus boiled the 10 commandments down to two; to love the Lord thy God with ALL (heart, soul and might)-which encompasses the first four of the 10 commandments;  and to love thy neighbor as thyself- which sums up the last six of the commandments.
Oh, how much is contained in those two commandments!  What it all boils down to is "love".  God IS love, and His love is truly exhaustless.  The longer I study it and think upon it, the more I realize that, as the author of love, only He can produce it in me!

On Sunday afternoon our pastor taught on the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 (and Luke 6). I am so used to reading them from Matthew that I forgot how they are worded in the gospel of Luke, where I was reading yesterday.  Woven throughout the fabric of the beatitudes are many threads of love.  Pastor was explaining that though these words were written to show the Jews of that day that they had broken God's law and therefore needed a savior, people reading it today can also see that Jesus came to "fill out" (fulfill) the Old Testament law.  Once a person trusts Jesus as their savior, He will begin to produce these things in us. In the end of Luke 7 Jesus is present at the home of Simon the Pharisee.  While they ate an unchaste woman came with an alabaster box of ointment. With the tears that she was weeping she washed Jesus' feet, wiped them with the hairs of her head and anointed his feet with the precious ointment! Simon was disgusted by the fact that she was a sinful woman and Jesus knew his thoughts. The words that follow have been precious to me since they first sunk into my heart years ago. Jesus posed the question about two debtors, one owed the creditor more money than the other. They were both forgiven their debt because they had nothing wherewith to pay. He asked, "which of them will love him most?" Simon judged rightly when he answered, "I suppose, he to whom he forgave most".  Jesus then used this woman's works to show to Simon how much she had been forgiven. Simon could only understand her love for the Lord by seeing her outward actions. Simon had not given Jesus water to wash his feet, nor had he given him a kiss upon entering his house. He did not anoint Jesus' head with oil. The woman, who knew she had much to be forgiven for, loved Jesus so much that she washed his feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. She kissed his feet and anointed them with expensive ointment. Her works showed her faith in the one who could forgive her sins, and Jesus did so. Luke 7:47 says that "Her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." When  the Lord sent this woman away, he said, "thy faith hath saved thee". Her faith that Jesus was the savior brought her to Christ, but her works showed the love she had for Him.

Through the years and at different levels of spiritual growth the Lord has reminded me of just what it means to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. His love is beyond understanding and yet He wants us to come to Him as one to whom "much has been forgiven".  Any christian has had MUCH forgiven but the problem seems to lie in how much we recognize just what we have been forgiven for!  The words, "but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little" can't mean that some have been forgiven for just a little sin, as any believer has been forgiven for EVERY sin. I won't try to pretend to understand exactly what the Lord meant there, but in context it seems to point to the recognition of just what we have been forgiven for. In my own life there was great sin, perhaps not greater than others, but sin is sin. I ask myself again, just how thankful am I that Jesus took away that enormous amount of sin?  Are my works and my love for my Lord showing that great forgiveness?
Do I wash Jesus' feet with my tears and wipe them with the hairs of my head? Do I bring precious ointment, my time, devotion and attentions, and kiss His feet daily?

Much has been forgiven me. I want to more steadily "love much".  I pray this for every born again believer who is reading. It is only a short time, it seems, before the Lord will be bringing this earth, as we know it, to a close. Great changes are ahead for the earth and the time that we have to serve Him here and to show our love to others is limited. Once we rise from our precious time with the Lord we go out to a world who needs to be forgiven also. Loving my neighbor as myself is another lesson that God is patiently trying to teach me. Lord, please show me how loving others is a natural extension of loving you with all I have.

I leave you today with only these partial thoughts; perhaps haphazard and a bit scattered. I pray that the Lord will pull these truths into my heart and keep them there, not let them filter out amongst the various happenings of the day.  Thanks for visiting Darling Hill this morning. The snow is gently falling and we begin another day with Him.

Frigid on the Hill

I have been so out of touch lately and I'm sorry.  I updated to "chrome" and I got lost in the world of cyberspace!! I think things are becoming clearer now. When I did the update it now tells me that I am not supported by "blogspot" anymore and it's been hit-or-miss on whether I can get back onto darlinghill! That's terrible, since that's where I LIVE! Today, after poking and prodding my computer, I found the hill again. Yay!  I wondered where I was this morning at 5:00 when I took the dogs out in to the below zero temperatures.  Here I am, in our warm little house. Syd's off to work and I have my coffee. Before sitting down to read I decided to just figure this thing out. I asked the Lord to show me what I'm doing wrong - and He allowed it to be made clear. He knows a lot more about computers than ANY of US do!  Now I wanted to write you a note to tell you where I've been.  I'll keep this one short and will get back later today or Friday.

Not much has changed up here except that it's COLD. Only 2 below zero this morning but with no snow it just seems colder. I always sort of scoffed at that remark, but I now do think that it's true.  A few days ago, in our winter rainstorm, it was in the 30s and (again) all our snow went away! There is still some along the hedgerows and north faces but for the most part there's bare ground all over.  I was happy to run the faucet and see that water was coming out. The springs that feed our well are COLD. It feels like refrigerated water right out of the tap!  It is funny, the things that you never have to think about before having running water - your water freezing!

I said I'd keep it short, so I'll go spend time with the Lord now and be back soon.

Hope you all are well. I have not checked out your blogs for some time either, and plan to do so later. Take care.