Love Notes Series: Who is my neighbor?

Love Notes Series: Who is my neighbor?

In today’s reading, Jesus gets a big question from a man in the crowd: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”(Luke 10:25)

The man is actually a scribe of the Pharisees, who was supposedly an expert in the law of God. The NASB version calls him a lawyer. So shouldn’t this obviously very educated man be well acquainted with the laws spelled out in scripture? Jesus turns the question back on him. “What does the Law say you must do?” The man answers correctly, quoting both Leviticus 18:18 & Deuteronomy 6:5 respectively: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” and “love your neighbor as yourself”.

He wasn’t asking to genuinely find out the answer, he was asking to put Jesus on the spot and perhaps trap Jesus in his own words. Pretty sneaky, lawyer dude. The man then asks, “Who is my neighbor?” testing Jesus a second time.

Back then, the popular opinion among the Pharisees was that the word “neighbor”, as it appeared in scriptural commandments, only referred to those righteous believers of Israel who followed all the rules, went to temple, and always did the “right thing”. Neither the hated tax collectors, prostitutes, nor any other non-Jewish person counted as a neighbor to them, effectively cutting the “wicked” right out of God’s loving Will for the people he created.

Jesus refutes this idea with the parable that follows, sometimes dubbed “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:30-37), meaning that ALL people are to be considered neighbors regardless of religion, bank account balance, appearance, hair style, occupation, social standing, etc.

Back then the Samaritans and Jews were about as opposed in everything as you could get. Jews weren’t allowed to eat with, or even touch a Samaritan, lest they be defiled and unable to take part in temple rituals. Jesus’s suggestion was counter-cultural and provocative. And yet, to love a neighbor – any old person – was not only God’s command, it is the greatest command in all of God’s Word, equal to loving god with you heart, soul, and strength. Whoa.

This reminds me of a certain hate group that claims to preach God’s truth, while simultaneously protesting military funerals and wielding signs with absolute lies scrawled across. God doesn’t hate. That’s kinda his thing. The John MacArthur’s Study bible puts it perfectly: “Godly hatred of sin (see Psalm 139:21,22) is an abhorrence of all that is corrupt and base. It is not a spiteful, personal loathing of individuals.” (The Macarthur Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006. Print.)

So who are your neighbors? They are all around you. People you like, dislike, don’t know very well, and never met. They are all the exact same as you. Just flesh and blood, equally as loved by God, with souls thirsty for a Savior and a purpose. Love them. And love God.

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Love, Molly

Being, Doing, Proving: An #IF:Gathering Reflection

Being, Doing, Proving: An #IF:Gathering Reflection

I’ve been watching the IF:Gathering sessions all day. Speakers, worship, laughs, and a whole lot of TRUTH being spoken through these ladies. If you’re not familiar with Jennie Allen’s ministry, it’s a generation of women coming together to glorify God by equipping and sending disciples into the world to make more. It’s an awesome ministry and I so wish that I was there this weekend.

Actually… Okay, this is embarrassing. But we’re friends so I can tell you, right?

I wish I was there this weekend. To speak.

I look at these sisters in Christ. These beautiful, incredibly humble and purpose-driven God-fearing women. They are full of passion and intense desire for Jesus. They work hard, they always have something witty and remarkable to say on Instagram, and they all have really nice hair (I mean…). And all the cute shoes we saw today? *Sigh*

Now here come the whispers. The lies come so softly and subtly that if I’m not careful I might actually mistake them for God’s voice. Because that’s what Satan does. He’s a clever manipulator in the worst way. He says:

Look at these women. You could be like that if only you tried a little harder. Got up a little earlier. Took a little more pride in your appearance. You might actually have a real career, a meaningful life. 

 

These last few weeks little else has been on my mind but this blog and my writing projects. I have many grand ideas because I have set my sight on what I want. Yes, the book contracts, the site ratings, the respect and attention. I think, if I can do all that, God will surely be praised because of what he did for me. Plus if I was in with this crowd, I might even get my own pair of cute ankle booties.

Then Jennie Allen said something that made me do a double-take. She said, “We need to pledge to quit doing things FOR God instead of WITH God. Basically, we need to quit being so awesome.”

It was at that exact moment that my eyes were opened. I realized that all these dreams I have for myself, while not bad in and of themselves, were for my glory mostly and a little for god. Probably like 60/40. Or maybe 70/30 if I wasn’t lying.

See, it’s all the Being and Doing and Proving that gets us tangled up in our own fears and failures. It’s all the trying to be so awesome that ironically shuts God out of those same plans. We forget to sit still and be captivated and in awe of the Author and Owner of the universe.

Do you do this too? Run in circles trying to catch up with, or even surpass Him in his greatness? I do for sure. But I’m trying to quit. Clearly, I’m just not cut out to be that awesome.

Let us remember tonight that we are called to rest in his unfailing love. That’s why He’s God and we are not.

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Watch the IF:Gathering here

#IF:Gathering2016 #IF:Local


 

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or give feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you 🙂

~The PD team

 

 

Love Notes Series – Fear Has Been Dethroned

Love Notes Series – Fear Has Been Dethroned

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.” 1 John 4:15

God’s love for me is an anchor for the soul. It’s a safety harness, a net, a rope, a strong refuge. Fear’s role in our natural lives may loom large, but it will never have the last word. Since nothing can possibly separate us from the love of god, there is literally nothing to fear. My reputation may be hurt, my possessions taken away, my body killed, but nothing may ever touch my soul which is so precious to God because of his love for me.

Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?

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Love Notes Series – Put Your Trust In Him, For He Has Overcome The World

Love Notes Series – Put Your Trust In Him, For He Has Overcome The World

Here’s a verse so familiar in our minds that it almost seems to lose its urgency.

The statement that God loved the world was surprising because Judaism rarely, if ever of God’s loving the world outside of Israel. It is a uniquely Christian idea to say that God’s love extends beyond the limits of race and nation.

And yet, God loves all his creation, not just the people, but ALL of it– from the dirt and sand to the wild and bright cosmos. He spoke it all into being from the very beginning and saw it all when it was a formless mass, and said it was Good. But when man and woman sinned, death was introduced to the world. Not just for humans, but death extended to all creation and is spinning out of control.

God loves his creation so very much that he could not bear to see it destroy itself. Enter Jesus, fully man, fully God. Sent by the Father to redeem this fallen world and make us whole again. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through him.

“Here on Earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

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Love Notes Series -We Are Here To Imitate The Lord

Love Notes Series -We Are Here To Imitate The Lord

St. John Baptist de Rossi (1698-1764) was an assistant pastor in Rome. Day to day, he devoted himself to the sick poor in Rome’s hospitals. By night he ministered to street people at a refuge. No service for the sick, no matter how repugnant, repulsed him… he exhorted others to follow his example in caring for souls:

“Like the child Jesus we also must be about our Father’s business–the saving of the souls of our brothers and sisters… Many of us shrink form going to the hospital from fear of infection or from the sights and smells that await us there. Courage! We are not in the world to follow our own will and pleasure, but to imitate the Lord.”

from Ghezzi, Bert. Voices of the Saints: A Year of Readings. New York: Doubleday, 2000.

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Love Notes Series – Will You Choose Love Today?

Love Notes Series – Will You Choose Love Today?
Everyday we get the chance to make a choice between hope and despair. I don’t know what kind of hardship stares you in the face, friend, but I do know that only Jesus can grant us the courage to choose hope.
When we decide to trust in Jesus, we declare the existence of a love that never gives up, never loses faith, and endures through every circumstance. To the world that is passing away, we can stand our ground and say, Jesus is Lord! without fear.
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Love Notes Series – How Would You Spend Your Jailtime?

Love Notes Series – How Would You Spend Your Jailtime?

Thought for the day: What if YOU were the only gospel in someone else’s life? It’s a pretty sobering thought, right? I’m pretty sure I’d the last person chosen to demonstrate Jesus’s message.

And yet, we all are called to live out the gospel, just was much as the apostle Paul.

One of my favorite stories of the apostles being watched by ordinary bystanders is in Acts chapter 16, when Paul and Silas are in jail.

After preaching the message about Jesus, they had riled up the crowd, causing the leaders to have them beaten and thrown into prison. But instead of collapsing under the weight of that sentence, look how they spend their time in jail:

” But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!’ And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ ”

Their simple obedience and praise caused a hardened jailer to repentance! This is a great reminder for me that I have no place in judging my effect on the world around me. Who’s to say that because of my carefully chosen words or actions, someone might not be pointed to Jesus and eventually believe?

Let us look for some moments today where we can shine some gospel light for the sake of the Truth and to be an example for others!

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[Free Printable Guide] Love Notes From God

[Free Printable Guide] Love Notes From God

Dear friends,

Before we get too deep into our study series on the Love of God, I wanted to you to have this free printable study guide. Now you can follow along in our 14-day study to prepare our hearts for Valentine’s Day. YAY!

Each day from now until Valentine’s Day, there will be a new reflection up on the blog related to the verses down below. I sincerely hope and pray that God would be near to you in this time.

Whether you’re currently attached or a part of the lonely hearts club band, there is a good, patient and unchanging lover of your soul just WAITING for the chance to charm you. His name is good and wonderful counsellor, the Word of God, Emmanuel, Jesus.

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Click here to download the guide!

 

Love Notes Series – We Are Obedient Out Of Gratitude

Love Notes Series – We Are Obedient Out Of Gratitude

Good morning friends, here is today’s love note from your God

Isaiah says that all the time and effort we spend trying to be holy and obedient to God is nothing but filthy rags compared to what Jesus has done for us (Is 64:6).

And even though we know this fact intellectually, we constantly act as though any of our good works accomplish anything toward our salvation.

Because that’s how the world works, isn’t it? You give something, you take something. That’s how the game has been played since day 1 and it’s easy to assume that God plays that way too.

But no, Jesus didn’t stand at the foot of the cross looking at his watch and tapping his foot, waiting to see what I would choose. He died BEFORE we ever believed and converted, confessed and turned toward God. This is how we know that we have done nothing to save ourselves.

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[New Study!] Love Notes from God

[New Study!] Love Notes from God

Welp, It’s February! And you know what that means… cupid’s arrow in your face and heart-shaped everything exploding into shades of pink and red everywhere you walk!

The other day I walked into my local grocery store and was immediately distracted by the Valentines displays of all sorts of plastic junk and candy no one ever needs (except for the bag of chocolates I had to purchase.) I happily walked back to my car with my purchase, only to realize I hadn’t gotten any of the actual groceries on my list.

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This year I want to be intentional about Valentines day. That’s why for the next 2 weeks days, we are going exploring all the ways in which God teaches us about love through scripture. But not romantic love, we are talking AGAPE love.

“Agape love is always shown by what it does… [it] is unmerited, gracious, and constantly seeking the benefit of the ones He loves.” (http://www.gotquestions.org/agape-love.html) It is sacrificial love, and it is not possible to obtain or give unless it comes from God.

I pray that these daily messages from scripture will help remind and drive us toward being the SALT & LIGHT in the world we are called to be.

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