Love?

For Valentines Day, Here is a look at a great definition of “Love” I like this translation from “The Message”
Corinthians 13:3-7

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”

May seem an impossible task, but if you ever want direction on how to improve your relationship with your significant other, start at “Love Never Gives Up”  and work down.
I hope your Valentines Day is Special….

It Is Finished…..

What I want to do is start at the ending, or what seems to be the end, with these two verses.

Matthew 27:50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.

Mark 15:37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.

Jesus after being beaten, flogged and crucified on a cross seemingly has reached the end. The Gospel accounts in Matthew and Mark have the  words of Jesus as he reaches the end of his suffering.
Mark 15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which translated means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me” At this moment in time, God has abandoned God. The humanity God assumed in the persona of Jesus has been totally crushed. The weight of the broken world has been put onto the crucifixion of Jesus. The ultimate sacrifice has been paid for our sins. Here is more detail from the Gospel of John 19:28-30

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said,“It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

So what do you take out of these few verses from the Bible? “It is finished!” A common belief is that at that moment Jesus knows he has paid the price for our sins and with death seconds away acknowledges the price paid. Done! Finished! Our sins purchased with Jesus’s blood on the Cross. Certainly that is a basic understanding and truth of those words. However as Christians we know the story does not end there. In three days the tomb where Jesus body was laid is empty. Witnesses attest to seeing the risen Jesus. Certainly without the Resurrection there would be no Christianity. Since the story does not end on the Cross, why do the last words Jesus gives us on the Cross seemingly contradict his and our, ongoing story?

What these words have come to mean to me is that God’s Grace & Love has been interjected into our world. We can do nothing to stop it, reduce it, enlarged it, or earn it. It is finished, means God has entered our world and covered it with his Love & Grace. There is nothing anyone can do to make it more or less. In our sin, God still loves us and covers us with His Love & Grace in the persona of Jesus. Judah Smith, in his book JESUS IS _______ tells us a simple truth.

Lately, I have realized something about grace that has changed my life. It’s nothing new-people have understood this for years. It is straight out of the Bible. But it has become real to me, and it has helped a lot of things fall into place. Grace is more than a principle, more than an idea, more than a doctrine or dogma. More than a cover up for sin. Grace is a person. And his name is Jesus.

Whenever we sin, Jesus is there. Whenever we are at our wits end, Jesus is there. When we try to make our own definition for grace. Jesus is there. How is he there? Standing unchanged, speaking to us in Spirit and in Truth, by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, the Bible. When we try to hold our definition of Grace up to the light of Christ it becomes totally inadequate. When we come face to face with the truth of God’s Grace, Jesus, what else is left except to let it cover us and give us what we need, when we need it. In this truth all can find comfort no matter their situation. So are you ready to meet Grace today? See Jesus Loves you no matter who you are or what you have done. All you need to do is ask him into your life. Acknowledge him as your Lord and Savior. Accept His free gift of Grace and Love.