Aloha Friday Message – February 17, 2017 – What’s Love Got to do With It?

1707AFC021717 – What’s Love Got to do With It?

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Leviticus 19:18 – 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

1 John 3:7-11 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. 10 The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations

E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! (May blessing always be with you and may God bless you, Beloved!) Aloha Friday is back – already. Life does seem to be moving so much faster. As we go careening through time, we bang into and bump off of all kinds of obstacles – sort of like one of those pinball machines; it just gets crazy sometimes. One of the things that is a big help in dealing with that craziness is a crazy little thing called love. You know what they say about love. Love changes everything. Love makes the world go ’round. Love never dies. Love never gives up. Love is everything. And best of all, God is Love. Those who love God love one another, and those who love one another love God. Love is the answer. All you need is love. (↔ NOT a Music Link! Heh-heh-heh-heh-heeeeeeehhhhh!)

There are at least 300 occurrences of the word love in the Bible. God’s love coupled with our privilege to return that love is one of the most common themes in scripture. God gave us his life-breath as an act of love. God loves us completely – perfectly, wholly, unconditionally. There is nothing we can do to stop that from happening. He will always, always, always love us. We love him because he loved us before we even knew him. (See 1 John 4:19) He wants us to love him, and he helps us love him because he IS LOVE. That means that whenever we love one another, we are doing what The Father has commanded, what Jesus has commanded, and what the Holy Spirit fulfills in us. There is something, though, that can interfere with all the LOVE.

There is this other crazy little thing called sin – the antithesis of Love – and that is something about which he warns many, many times. You know how that turns out. When we fail at loving each other, love each other wrongly, or love ourselves gracelessly, Love is distorted and we mistakenly cling to the distortion rather than the True Image of Love. Last year in our Lenten Series, we looked at the cardinal sins that pose barriers to loving God and the cardinal virtues that defeat those barriers. I chose that passage from Leviticus because it speaks of taking vengeance and bearing a grudge. (“Grudges are heavy, difficult to carry because they have no handles, and dangerous because they can suddenly grow teeth and claws and tear us to shreds. They are the most fearsome and deadly form of self-awareness and the cause of much suffering.” See 834AFC082208)

That’s no way to live; in fact, that’s no way to die either, even though carrying a grudge and seeking vengeance can indeed kill us or get us killed. That kind of negativity in our lives is deadly because it is sin. A grudge is a disappointment we nurture so that it becomes greater than and more important than the disappointment. It is one of the devils’ favorite tools (yes that’s a plural form). Satan and his demons are constantly prodding us to snap at those who love us most. Why is that? I believe it is because when we hurt someone we really love because they really love us – really-really, we see how that hurt we inflict wounds them and our guilt is intensified. If hurting someone close to us whose love we desire is a terrible thing, how much more terrible is failing to love God who loves us perfectly? Shouldn’t we feel even guiltier for hurting him through our lack of love?

And !!SNAP!! The trap closes!

metal-bear-trap-3d-model-max-fbx

God never, never, never, never, ever stops loving us! Even when we consort with people who revel in doing evil, we are still Loved by God. Did you know there is a book in the Bible that has Love on practically every page? While it is written to combat some very false ideas about the true nature of the Christ of God – True God and True Man – it expresses so much about God’s love. I’m going to put a few selections from this beautiful letter, the First Letter of John.

1 John 3:7-11 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. 10 The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 John 4:12 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Please also take a moment to read these two great passages: 1 John 2:1-6 and 1 John 5:1-5

 

Loving God helps us do what is right because loving God well means we love others as we love ourselves. But what about people who don’t want that kind of love, the sort of folks that lurk at the edge of the Darkness?

Here are some insights into how to keep our Love for God strong.

Ephesians 5:3-11 But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Corinthians 5:11 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons— 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”

Note in this one that the Apostle Paul is talking about Christians who are immoral, idolaters, thieves, greedy, or who disparage others. That is not the Love of God at work. He also said in 1 Corinthians 3:36 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? How could we be the temple of the Holy Spirit if our heart is filled with corruption? God himself calls for us to love him: Deuteronomy 6:4-5 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Tie that to Leviticus 19:18 – 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

That is what LOVE has to do with it! That is how God orders the universe – in Love. Every good thing in our lives comes from LOVE. Here are some other Scripture passages you can look at to help settle the idea in your heart:

Matthew 22:36-39; Matthew 5:43-45; Mathew 19:19; Mark 12:28-31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8-13; 1 John 3:14; John 15:12;

GOD ≡ LIGHT ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ MERCY ≡ GOD (↔ Music Link – really!)

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

PS: I love you! ~ God (Hey! me, too!)

Share-A-Prayer _______

votive_candleA wonderful friend, AD, just received confirmation of breast cancer. As she begins this battle, please cover her on every side with your loving prayers. We also deeply appreciate your prayers for R&BP as B continues in hospice. Our love and prayers really do make a difference.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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