Archives for posts with tag: love god

I do not understand all that I know. I wish I did.

I know laws of math and science but I do not understand all of them. I know psychological terms and principles but I do not understand all of them. I know the Bible and can quote much of the Scripture but I do not understand all of them.

I don’t understand why good people sometimes do bad things and bad people do good things. I don’t always understand why some people prosper and others perish. I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people. I don’t understand why people hate other people- for any reason. I don’t understand why God is so patient with us.

Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to meet and know people who do not think like me and many of them do not look like me. I have had the experience of traveling to places with customs and behaviors that are foreign to me. I live in a very diverse neighborhood with 81 other families. The folks who live near me come from all over the United States and several other countries.

I was brought up in a church that taught me the love of God and the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. I was taught to love God and love people. I understood that meant all people.

I listen to music on the first half of my morning walk and then on my return home I listen to an audio reading of the Bible. One recent morning the reading was from the Book of Acts. Chapter 10 tells the story of Peter, a Jew, and Cornelius, a Gentile. Jews of that time were not supposed to have anything to do with non-Jews (Gentiles) but a strange and wonderful thing happened.

Cornelius was a good and religious man who was neither Jewish nor Christian. Peter was a good Jew who had come to believe in Jesus and was a follower of The Way. God spoke to both of them and they both were obedient to the instructions given to them by God. The captain of the Italian Guard that was stationed in Caesarea had a vision and an angel of God, “as real as his next-door neighbor,” told him to send for Peter. So he sent three men to summon Peter from Joppa.

While Cornelius’ men are on the way Peter had a vision and God spoke to him with instructions that were contrary to his religious upbringing. This devout Jew struggled with what he was being told to do but finally gave in to what seemed right. So when these emissaries from Cornelius arrived Peter went with them.

When they arrived in Caesarea, Cornelius greeted Peter and invited him into his house. Peter said, “I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other.”

Peter asked Cornelius why he had sent for him and Cornelius explained the vision and instructions he had received from God. Then “Peter fairly exploded with his good news: ‘It is God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open’.” (Acts 10:34-36, The Message)

There is so much about this story that I don’t understand. But one thing that I do know- God can do what God wants to do and God loves everyone. One other thing- I am supposed to love everyone too.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Toby Keith, country music singer/song writer, reveals the philosophy of life for many people in one of his hits. The song. I Wanna Talk About Me, was his seventh Number One single. The opening lyrics are

We talk about your work how your boss is a jerk
We talk about your church and your head when it hurts
We talk about the troubles you’ve been having with your brother
About your daddy and your mother and your crazy ex-lover
We talk about your friends and the places that you’ve been
We talk about your skin and the dimples on your chin
The polish on your toes and the run in your hose
And God knows we’re gonna talk about your clothes
You know talking about you makes me smile
But every once in awhile

I want to talk about me
Want to talk about I
Want to talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, you, you, you usually, but occasionally
I want to talk about me

For many people life is “all about me.” The philosophy of Selfism insists that love of self is the greatest love of all. Therefore a person’s self interests trumps everything else. This is one of many faulty philosophies upon which people build their lives.

One day when Jesus was responding to questions a lawyer asks, “Which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  What is the organizing principle around which to order my life?

Jesus answered: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” He was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema, the basic tenet of Judaism. Every Hebrew child is taught this from earliest childhood. Every devout Jew recites it twice every day.

This is the basic and first commandment of Jesus and of God and of life. We are to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and spiritual emotions, with all the strength and vitality of our inner lives, and with all our brains and human brilliance.

Jesus continued by quoting Leviticus 19:18 saying, “A second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, Jesus suggests that we are to love our neighbor as deeply as we look out for our own welfare. To value others as much as we value ourselves. To focus on the needs of our neighbor as much as we focus on our own needs.

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Jesus combines the two laws into one moral law. Neither law was to stand on its own; This is similar to Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Remember the Golden Rule? (Matthew 7:12) “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.”

To love the Lord your God with all the energy you have and to love your neighbor as yourself is at the core of Jesus’ teaching. The cross of Christ, the most important symbol of the Christian faith, has two dimensions: a vertical love to God and a horizontal love towards our neighbors.

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Jesus said all the law and the prophets hang on these two basic interconnected commandments. It is as if Jesus said, “This is all Scripture in a nutshell; the whole law of human duty in a portable, pocket form.”Indeed, it is so simple that a child may understand it, so brief that all may remember it, so comprehensive as to embrace all possible cases. And from its very nature it is unchangeable. It is inconceivable that God should require from his rational creatures anything less, or in substance anything else… (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown)

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We are called to love not only those who are like us or those who “like” us. Love for neighbor is not hormonal or simply emotional. It has to be intentional and will seldom leave you in a state of ecstasy.

 

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We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (I John 4:16,20,21)

Love of God and love of neighbor is more than a statement for a bumper sticker. They are not abstract concepts and cannot be separated. They are the principle on which a person can organize their life.

Jamie Jenkins