Thursday, February 22, 2007

Giving Something Up?

Have you ever given anyting up for lent. Well if you haven't been paying any attention yesterday was Ash Wednesday the first day of Lent. It is the 40 days prior to the Crucifixion and Ressurection of Jesus Christ. It is a time that many peopel enter a time of reverance and solomen reflection on what the season means and what will occur.

However for us Prostant Christians it is something that we struggle with. We either don't observe or we halfway observe. I find it so weird that people go around and ask each other, "so what are you giving up for Lent?" Then they work so hard to abstain from that one thing only to pick it right back up again after the six weeks.

This past week I was reading in Matthew 6:1 which states, "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." We need to be cautious in our giving up and acts of righteousness this time of Lent so that we don't draw attention to ourselves but only that our attention in on Christ.

I this year am not going to give anything up for Lent. However I am going to add something to my life. And hopefully at the end of the 40 days that this might become a habit. It is a spiritual discipline between me and Lord. I encourage you to do the same. To find something that you need more in your life to help you grow in Christ or to serve Christ or to reachout with the Love of Christ.

Good luck! And may the next 40 days be our 40 days closer to Christ! Closer to the meaning of this season, closer to the cross and closer to the reason for our Hope, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

What is Love

"And so we know and rely on the love god has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in god, and god in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 john 4:16-18)

Have you ever known real love? We us the word everyday of our lives. We say we love someone, or we love something or we love the meal. We use the word so candidly and easily. But what is behind the word? What is our motives or intentions? What are we describing? Is it a feeling we get when we feel good or feel accepted? Is it a state of mind when things just make sense?

Love can be quite difficult. Actually there are many different levels and kinds of love. But let me throw out this question. Is it possible to know and give love without knowing the perfect love that Christ has for us? You might say, "Scott of course you can love without knowing Christ, look at all the people that aren't Christians but still love their spouses and family. What about them?" I would say of course. They are loving each other and having experiences and moments of affection or attraction with one another. I guess I should rephrase my question. It might sound a little leading, but I think it gets down to what we find in scripture.

1 John 4:8 says, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." It states here that God is love. Not that He has love for us. Or that God is capable of loving like you and I. Look a little closer. It says the HE IS LOVE. That you cannot separate the two. Where God is you find love and where love is you find God. They are connected. So I would reason from that those who know God have the ability to really love. That's my questions. Do Christians and those who have know God's love; are they more capable of loving and experiencing better love?

I think it is a fair question that one needs to unearth themselves. I encourage you to ponder this question, to wrestle with it and find you own answers. I have been alive long enough to know that there are several different kinds of love and choices when it comes to love. I have experienced the joys of love and the anguish of it as well. But what I do know is the surpassing Greatness and Perfect love that God has for me. I know that no matter how low I am or where I go, God still loves me. He desires for me to know him and to experience that great and powerful love He has for me.

I think when we begin to understand the vastness of God's love for us it allows us to love and accept others as God would want us to. Let's bask in the love of God and love the world as God loved it.

1 John 3:16 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.