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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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love

Let’s Talk About Love-Laying Down Your Life

love-like-jesus1

John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


Of course, when He made that statement, Jesus was directly referring to the fact that He was about to literally lay down His life for His friends. Jesus was about to literally lay down His life for the entire world and its sins. Is that necessarily the application for all of us? In certain circumstances, it might be. Any one of us could encounter a situation where literally laying down one’s life might be an appropriate expression of ultimate love. What about the rest of us? What if we are never asked to literally sacrifice our lives for a friend? Are we just off the hook? Hardly! What, then, might it mean to lay down one’s life for a friend?

We live in a culture today where people won’t even lay down their thoughts, ideas and opinions for their fellow man, much less their lives. The United States, particularly, is a “me” culture. “Looking out for number 1,” “If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will.” These are all reflections of the way we are. Yet, Jesus’ still said to lay down one’s life for friends is the ultimate expression of love.

We can do this by making others’ needs more important than our own. Jesus did that for us; He gave up his rightful place in Heaven to come here, live as a man, suffer and die just because our need for a savior was so great. Next time you have a situation where two needs are presented and only one can be met, meet your brother or sister’s need and let yours go unmet.

We can do this by forgiving. People wrong us; that is simply a fact. Scripture teaches us over and over that we are to forgive. Jesus asked His Father to forgive the very people killing him on the cross in Luke 23:34.  We simply have to learn to forgive the same way; we need to forgive no matter the seriousness of the offense that is committed against us

We can do this by sacrificing for others. Not only might we be required to meet another person’s need and leave ours unmet, but we might actually have to give up something of our own to meet their need. Maybe you have plans but a brother or sister has a need; give up your plans and be there for them.

We can do this by meeting the needs of people who don’t deserve it and cannot or will not do a thing for us. Some folks don’t deserve help. Some are not capable of doing anything for us in return. Some are capable, but in our hearts, we know they wouldn’t give us a fire extinguisher if we burst into flames. Help them anyway.

Laying down one’s life for friends is similar to Jesus’ mandate that we pick up our cross and follow Him. He didn’t mean for us to literally pick up a cross, and He probably didn’t mean, in most cases, for us to literally die for or friends. Jesus was setting a pattern for us here, and in our efforts to be Christlike, we should follow that pattern.

Who have we laid our lives down for today? If the day is just starting, who will we lay down or lives for today?

Let’s Talk About Love-To Love Is NOT a Suggestion

love-like-jesus1

John 13:34

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.


We have already covered in a previous devotional where Jesus informed the lawyer trying to trick Him what the two greatest commandments are: Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

That was not the only instance where Jesus made it crystal clear that to love our fellow man is not something He would really, really like us to do, but is a commandment. Jesus feels strongly about the things He has commanded us to do. In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” If we love Jesus, if we are one of His, we will strive to do as he says; in our devotional verse we learn that He commands us to love one another.

Isn’t that fairly simple? If we love Jesus, we will love one another.

How did God love us? John 3:16 tells us that:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

“The world” is from an obscure Greek word which means “everybody in the world.” Okay, it’s not really obscure; it simply means what it says. The point is, we are to love the world as well. Before anyone gets excited and starts telling me that The Bible says not to love the world, let me define. Loving the world means loving the people of the world, not the things of the world.

Just in case the point was not clear, let’s recap what Jesus had to say about His commandment to love.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Got all that? Seems pretty clear. In later devotionals we will discus just what it means to love our fellow man, and some ways in which we can do it.

 

Let’s Talk About Love-What Is Love Anyway?

love-like-jesus1

John 21:15-17

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.


Read John Chapter 21 here

First of all, this devotional is not going to be a deep theological dissertation on all the various meanings in the passage above. Someday perhaps we will do that, but not today. I am only using it to illustrate what love means.

Both of the types of love mentioned in the Bible can be found in the above passage. The Bible commonly uses two different Greek words, with quite different meanings. The two words from the Greek which are translated love are, “agape” and “phileo.

The above passage goes something like this:

  • Peter, do you agape me? Yes Lord, you know I phileo you.
  • Peter, do you agape me? Yes, Lord, I phileo you.
  • Peter, do you phileo me? Peter, mildly put out, replies, Lord you know I phileo you.

As I said, here we are not going to analyze that passage; it just works well for what we are going to do briefly, which is explain just what love is.

  • Agape love is the kind of unconditional, sacrificial love which God The Father has for us. It is not based on feelings or based on if the recipient deserves it or not. It is the kind of love that is willing act and sacrifice even when another is totally undeserving. It is the kind of love both God The Father and Jesus Christ displayed when God sacrificed His Son for us, even though we did not deserve it. Agape love is the kind of love we are commanded to practice towards our fellow humans.
  • Phileo love is the kind of love we might have for a friend, or brother or anyone who we are fond of. This love is feeling based; in other words, this is based on whether we actually like a person or not. It might be sacrificial in some circumstances, but only insofar as it meets the needs of the person sacrificing.

Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The kind of love He commanded was not phileo love, but agape love. Because we are not to commanded to love just those we actually feel something positive for; we are commanded to love our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Stay tuned for a future post on that very subject!

Let’s Talk About Love-It All Hangs on Love

love-like-jesus1

Matthew 22: 37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Yesterday we discussed the same passage as we will briefly discuss today. Today our focus will be on the last sentence of the passage. What does it mean that all the law and the prophets hang on those two greatest commandments?

It’s a pretty visual and simple illustration Jesus used, really. Just picture a rack entitled, “love.” On the rack there are two pegs, “The Law” and “The Prophets.” Now picture what happens if there is not a rack entitled “love.” Got that? The pegs fall to the ground if they are not attached to a rack. Jesus was just illustrating that all of God’s expectations concerning His moral law can be met if we just do two things: Love God and love each other.

We can take a look at the Ten Commandments to illustrate how loving God and loving one another roll everything up within them. These are paraphrased in a short form, incidentally.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor your Father and Mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

If we love God with everything we have, then the first four Commandments will be the natural result. If we love our neighbor, then the last six will be the natural result.  If you carry this to it’s ultimate conclusion, there is really nothing God expects of us which could not be found in one of the Ten Commandments; we could say they have many unspecified subcategories. And The Commandments can be further reduced to two: Love God and love each other. Love.

All of God’s moral law does hang on Love. If we really do love God with our all, and each other with our all, then the natural outflow of keeping those two commandments will be doing the things God wants us to do. If we fail in either of those two areas, then we will be unable to meet any expectations God might have of us.

Let’s Talk About Love-Love-It Matters to God

love-like-jesus1

Well, since our conversation about love reading through “The Love Chapter” seemed to go well, I thought continuing onward talking about love might be a good idea. All of this material has appeared before as had the previous discussion. So, off we go!

Matthew 22: 37-40

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Love matters to God: a lot. How much does it matter to Him? Well, just read the above passage. Jesus taught us that the greatest commandment is to Love God with everything we have. And the second greatest commandment is like it: we are to love our neighbor like we love ourselves.

Today begins a devotional series on some of the things God’s word has to say about the topic of love. The Bible has many, many things to say about love; there are so many that if we discussed them all this would become simply the Daily Love Devotional. So, we are just going to look at some of them.

The key take away for today is going to be to take note of the fact that Jesus didn’t say these two were the biggest suggestions; He said they are the biggest commandments! These aren’t things Jesus would have us do if we don’t mind, or if we agree or if we like it.

We are to love our neighbor just as we love ourselves, which for most of us is fairly completely. God says so. If we choose to NOT love our neighbor, we are basically thumbing our noses in the face of Almighty God! That is really not a good idea.

Stay posted for more about love over the next few days!

The Love Chapter-All Things

love never fails

1 Corinthians 13:7

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

1 Corinthians 13:8

Charity never faileth…….


Paul begins wrapping up the description of love given to him by the Holy Spirit here. All things…repeated four times in this verse. Really, we can just see here how Paul is more or less saying that love is all things. Does that sound familiar? Remember all the law and prophets hanging on love?

Love bears all things. Not that love just puts up with things and gets shoved around. Love bears all the transgressions of others OUT of love.

Love believes all things. Love is not gullible. Love looks for the best in people. Of course we are all sinners, but we don’t need to be looking for the sin. Trust and believe people.

Love hopes all things. As long as the tie that binds us to Jesus Christ is present, and it always is once there…then there is hope for every person. Jesus never gives up on us and we do not need to give up on our brothers and sisters.

Love endures all things. Even when all of the above have disappointed us, we keep on keeping on. Why do we do that? Because in the end, love never fails. Why does it not? God is love; God never fails.

What’s next? Not sure yet, but hopefully will get it sorted out before the day ends!

The Love Chapters Love Does Rejoice in Truth

love never fails

1 Corinthians 13:6

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;


There are so many possible lessons here it would take pages to cover them, so we will just sum up a few.

Love is honest, especially with other people. We should deal with people in all of our dealings honestly. Tell the truth; don’t lie; don’t flatter to get your way.

Love shares the truth of the Gospel. If we don’t share with our fellow humans salvation through Jesus Christ, we are basically not being truthful with them about their eternity.

Love shares the truth of scripture. We have to teach what the Bible teaches in love but also with truth. We do not show love to anybody by watering down the truths the Bible teaches.

The Love Chapter-Love Does Not Rejoice In Sin

love never fails

1 Corinthians 13:6

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;


Love doesn’t take joy, or rejoice, in iniquity; That is, unrighteousness or sin. How does this happen? Well, there are probably a couple of ways this happens.

One is rejoicing in our own sin. Yes, that is correct; even believing Christians sometimes rejoice in our own sins. How? Well, perhaps by continuing to purposely sin because we know we are forgiven. We may claim we are just rejoicing in Christian freedom, but we are actually rejoicing in our sin.

The other, and very common way we rejoice is to rejoice in the sins and iniquities of other people. The list of  how we do this could be long, so we will talk about a couple.

We gossip. We TALK about the sins of others. Sometimes we even gossip through our prayers! If we aren’t talking to that person about their sin, then we don’t need to be talking about their sin. Just in case you think I’m talking about you, that statement was VERY convicting to me personally.

Why would we rejoice in another person’s sin? Well, it is probably not because we are happy for their fun! We are probably doing it because it makes us feel that we are somewhat, if not vastly, better than they are. I can only speak for myself, however. What about you?

The Love Chapter-Love Is Not Keeping Count

love never fails

1 Corinthian 13:5

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;


Love thinketh no evil.  That statement needs some explanation, really. It’s not that we don’t think evil thoughts. This has to do with keeping track. This means we aren’t keeping an accounting, or a ledger of the wrongs another person has done to us.

The previous devotion showed us how we are not to react in anger at the moment a wrong is done to us; this one is about how we likewise should not hold a grudge over wrongs done to us. In other words, forgive and forget. Of course, we can’t always literally forget wrongs, so what does this mean in reality? As with all things love, this one is a factor of our actions and not necessarily our minds. We may remember wrongs, but we need to not let them change the way we behave towards another.

The word used for the accounting in this passage is the same word for accounting used to refer to God’s forgiveness. He does not keep an accounting of our sins once they are forgiven. Do we look at the transgressions of others the way God looks at ours?

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