God is Love

“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, ‘This is love.’  God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love.’ – Joshua Harris

 

That quote kind of puts things in perspective doesn’t it?  It’s for this reason Jesus tells us in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  Not only is he speaking directly to his disciples and teaching them of the second greatest command, behind only, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30, but He is prophesying about His pending death on the cross for each of our sins.  He was telling them, and us through His word, that He loved us so much He was willing to die for us.  We learn again of this great love in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  While we were still sinners, while we were caught up in selfishness, pride, immorality, lying, cheating, stealing, drunkenness, adultery, murdering,….raping…., every single filthy disgusting act that man can think of and has done.  While we were doing all of that, Jesus loved us so much that He died for each and every one, as he hung on that cross at Calvary.  How can we know that and not love the Lord with all of our heart?

We once got into a discussion in my Bible study about love, how can we define it?  The answer to this question is simple, God is love.  We see His love in sending His Son to die for us.  We see His love in granting us mercy when we least deserved it.  We see His love through grace when we deserve to be condemned.  We see His love through the cross.  God is love.  Think about that the next time someone is so quick to throw around the word love as a though its meaning were trivial.  Do they really know what love is?  Take the time to show them that God is love.

Have a Blessed Day!

“God is Light.” “God is Love.” That which professes to be light yet lacks love, is not of God; while that which calls itself love, but is not according to light is equally not of God. – J. Charleton Steen

National Day of Prayer

With the National Day of Prayer scheduled for this Thursday May 7, 2009, I wanted to look back at the history of this day, how it started, how it’s changed, and potentially where it’s going.  I find it extremely interesting that our country, deemed no longer a nation of Christians by our current administration, had a National Day of Prayer dating back to 1775, as declared by the Continental Congress, when the dominant beliefs of the people were Christianity.  This day was “designated for time for prayer in forming a new nation.” Since then there have been several notable declarations including a Congressional resolution of March 30, 1863 by which Abraham Lincoln declared for a day of fasting and prayer during the civil war.  On March 17, 1952 President Harry Truman signed into law the annual National Day of Prayer.  Building on this, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into bill the annual NDP fixing it on the first Thursday of May.  President Reagan stated, On our National Day of Prayer, then, we join together as people of many faiths to petition God to show us His mercy and His love, to heal our weariness and uphold our hope, that we might live ever mindful of His justice and thankful for His blessing.   What’s important to note here is the new tone of the National Day of prayer to become inclusive, ecumenical if you will, to a multitude of religions.  I realize that the office of presidency is in a very difficult position to take measures that avoid alienating people of other faiths, but at the same time, I believe progressive statements like this have opened the door for the declarations of today such as, “we’re no longer a nation of Christians.”  Each year, the president signs a proclamation encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.  Additionally, all 50 governors plus those of several territories signed similar declarations. 

While this day should exemplify the freedoms that this country were founded on, freedoms to worship and pray as each of us see fit, it’s also important to realize that most of our “founding fathers did not mean for our government to be separated from our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” just as the National Day of Prayer Task Force has argued.  In fact, a statement from this Task Force’s website states:

“The National Day of Prayer Task Force was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer, not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate. It is that broad invitation to the American people that led, in our case, to the creation of the Task Force and the Judeo-Christian principles on which it is based.”

Every year from 2001-2008, President George W. Bush, joined with James and Shirley Dobson (Focus on the Family) and several other prominent evangelicals to observe the NDP.  In fact, there had been no event in the East Room of the White House for this observance until President Bush.  As of last week, the Obama administration has yet to release whether any formal event has been planned at the White House, though there appears there won’t be.  Currently, the administration seems to indicate there will at least be a proclamation which would be positive step, since there have been 56 presidential proclamations for NDP from 1952-2008.

It saddens me to point this out, but as Christians our challenge is great, even reaching to the highest position(s) in our country.  If we are to have a nationwide revival, a modern day “awakening”, it has to start with the people.  We can debate the deistic vs. theistic views of our founders or we can realize that it has always been “We the People”, not any specific group or government organization.  To fully realize our Christian roots and the foundation on biblical principles that this country was formed, we need to stand together on this National Day of Prayer with prayers and petitions to God for wisdom for our leaders, that their hearts might be softened and that selfish ways and ideologies will depart and the true will of God will be sought. 

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay, Founding Father

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"