Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

via Daily Prompt: Continue

This first verse of Hebrews 13 is under the title “Sacrifices pleasing to God”, and I can imagine that brotherly  love (of course this applies to sisters too,  as in Christ there is no male or female) is a sacrifice in some cases, probably in many!

There are many notions of love, so I wondered what this love is that Paul is speaking of here.  Apparently, (when I check my friendly concordance), in the ancient Greek that the New Testament was written in, there were four words that would/could be translated as love.

“Eros” – erotic love, referring to sexual love.

“Storge” – Family love.  The love there is between a parent and child, or other family members.

“Agape” –  Ah what a word!  It is the most powerful word for love in the New Testament, and is often used to describe God’s love towards us. This is the love to be rooted and grounded in.  It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given – it gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive.

“Philadelphia” – the word used here in Heb 13. This ancient Greek word speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership.

When Paul was writing to the Hebrews he was talking to a CHURCH, a fellowship of believers who had all things in common, they shared and loved and gave so much that it was exclaimed “Behold how they love one another”.  Who lived Jesus words in John 13:35 “By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.” Paul was calling for this to continue, this self sacrificing, all embracing deep friendship, partnership and affection to grow deeper and stronger.

Of course this had to be a love growing out of the Agape love received from the Father, from His Son now fully present in this body of believers.  No one could manufacture brotherly love to this magnitude without there being a fundamental shift from self.  A shift that crucifies, kills, puts to death that old occupying force of self to be fully occupied by Another. Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, but I live!!; yet no longer I, my ego, but Christ, as Himself, lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Ah, out of that explosive exchanged life comes this awe inspiring love for those amongst them.  The 120, who waiting in that upper room for the Spirit to come, had no idea who they were waiting for, what that waiting would precipitate and how it would resound still around the world all these thousands of years later.  LOVE.

Really though?  Brotherly love continues amongst those who call themselves the church today?  I dont hear “Wow, look how much they love each other” from people observing the fellowship of believers 2000 years down the line.  Nope, I hear the opposite. I watch a generation of idealistic, hot headed, radical, whole hearted human beings eschewing anything to do with “church”.  Not only do they not see brotherly love, or any love, they see corruption, judgement, hypocrisy, hate.  Law based, angry judgemental religion that has removed all and any sense of Grace and the Agape Love of God from its buildings and people.  They portray a god in their denomination box religion that has no sense in any way of the Jesus who said “If you have seen me you have seen the Father”.

Funny how it does not sound any different to the religious world that Jesus came into.  Where he called that “church” white washed grave tombs, white and clean on the outside but full of bones and decay and corruption.  Where he went out and called those who were idealistic, hot headed, radical, wholehearted human beings to come and see a Kingdom that was totaly upside down and opposite to the rabid widow and orphan abusing system they had been sold into.  A kingdom of Love, a kingdom of Peace, a kingdom of Joy, a kingdom that is again being raised up today, but in the places you would not expect for there is no home for it there.  But you find it amongst the poor, the humble, the contrite of heart, the wounded, the failures and the broken.  Amongst these brotherly love is continuing and growing fueled by the Agape love of a God who is truly among us, within us and beside us.

1Co 1:26 For you see your calling, brothers, that there are not many wise according to flesh, nor many powerful, not many wellborn.
1Co 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world that the wise might be put to shame, and God chose the weak things of the world so that He might put to shame the strong things.
1Co 1:28 And God chose the low-born of the world, and the despised, and the things that are not, so that He might bring to nothing the things that are,
1Co 1:29 so that no flesh might glory in His presence.
1Co 1:30 But of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, both righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Eph 3:16 (I pray) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man;
Eph 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height,
Eph 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you might be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God.
Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think or imagine, according to the power that works in us,
Eph 3:21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever. Amen.

 

 

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Sawubona – “I SEE you”

Mar 2:13  And He went out again by the seaside. And all the crowd came to Him, and He taught them.
Mar 2:14  And as He passed on, He saw Levi the son of Alpheus sitting at the tax-office. And He said to him, Follow Me. And he arose and followed Him.
Mar 2:15  And it happened as Jesus reclined in his house, many tax-collectors and sinners also reclined with Jesus and His disciples. For there were many, and they followed Him.
Mar 2:16  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with tax-collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, How is it that He eats and drinks with tax-collectors and sinners?
Mar 2:17  When Jesus heard, He said to them, They who are strong have no need of a physician, but the ones who have illness. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
What did you see Lord when you saw Levi. You saw him. “Sawubona”…” I see you”…
You saw a man desperate to be identified and seen and called out. He was a tax collector… he would never have been seen as Levi, he would only have been seen as the dreaded Roman lackey.
Oh goodness then you went to Levis house for dinner!!
The pharisees were so annoyed because you associated with those people. the dregs, the quiet ones, the inconsequential, the less thans. You saw them.
I can hear your “follow me”. You were in the middle of a large crowd, teaching and walking along… yet you saw him, you felt that connection in the midst of all those people and looked up and saw him.
That door opening, that conversation as you looked at Levi.. spirit to spirit.
I can see you motion with your head with a smile on your face.
Levi was poised on his seat, watching you, just itching to get out of his seat.. “shall I”? “No I cant”.. “Shall I…”, he just needed to be seen, and with that “Follow me” he was off.   You knew that and with a smile you gave him freely exactly what he needed because you saw his heart and you loved him.
Then you all went to his house for tea.  You liked doing that.  The pharisees were annoyed!!  Suddenly not part of the clique!
They were used to being the ones with the crowd and being followed and bowed to, and being the IN lot.. but here is Jesus, in the midst of a happy laughing lot of people who are normally passed by and ignored… can you imagine their joy at being seen, at being included, at being loved and brought home for dinner with the man of the hour with power?! He TRUELY saw THEM.
Then I listen to Jessie Duplantis and Kenneth Copeland defending their need for a private jet as there is such a problem being on a normal airline with all  those demons hanging onto us poor folks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdH2DGSXjss
Yet here is Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners! I dont know either of these men so dont want to malign whatever ministry it is that they have, but what I dont believe I will ever see is either of thwm in  crowd of sinners and tax collecters (so many DEMONS) and then calling another over so they can go to his house for tea.
Something else that struck me in this…
Jesus was not restrained by the Pharisees expectations of him. He walked free. This because he was free. I guess this is what Paul was saying about no longer being under the law but how the Law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the Law of sin and death.
While thinking about the concept of God that keeps us small and reduced, I remembered that for me there was a fear that kept me stepping over that line from doubt to trust. Fear that prevents you moving into the true concept of God. It is safer here becaue you can control the outcome. There are rules, laws, religion. You control what is believable or trustable. Staying in the idol concept of God makes him safe and controlable, he will only do what you expect, which is not a great deal. He is still under your control. When you put a box around God, you create a false god because God cannot be boxed. Stepping away from that and putting that god on the pyre takes great courage because now this G-D of the universe, creator and altogether mystery is in control. You do not know what is going to happen because all is possible. He is in control, he is God. That is surrender. The surrender of any illusion of control.
THinking about “MORE”, Asking the false god of your own making for more is like going to one of those ornamental wells in a garden and dropping a bucket expecting water. A waste.
There is no expectations with God, not because he cant deliver but because expectations underline control. I know that he said Greater things than these…. so I dont have expectations any more I just know.. this is what will happen… greater things, rooted and grounded in love things, mountain moving things, and like we love those God puts in front of us today and live in that type of moment, so it is with the greater things, it is not a future expectation but a living it in the moment.
Does God graciously work within our false concepts.. yes I know he does, but like Jesus could not do much in Nazareth when he went home because they had a false concept of him (is this not Jesus the carpenter… etc) who he can be for us, and who we can be in the world is massively diminished until we step out into the wide horizone that is the Kingdom of God.
In the world but no longer of it
Understanding our freedom is key
Woke up so early this morning again 1:30.  wrote the following
What Now?
Greater Things
Do we have an example?
Jesus?  In his time, before his death there was no new covenant.  Paul/Peter/Apostles.
Are they our “at the very least”, or was that experience at that time just for them and all that is left for now is this?
What do I believe
and
There is fear that keeps you stepping over that line fromdoubt to trust.  Fear that prevents you moving into the true concept of God.  It is safer here becaue you can control the outcome.  You control what you believe or trust.  Staying in the idol concept of God makes him safe and controlable, he will only do what you expect, which is nothing nice.  He is still under your control.  Stepping away from that and putting that god on the pyre take great courage because now this G-D of the universe, creator and altogether mystery is in control.
That is surrender.  Asking the false god of your own making for more lis like going to one of those ornamental wells in a garden and dropping a bucket expecting water.
When you put a box around God, you create a false god because God cannot be boxed

The God Obstacle

Beloved,
God stands in your path, as you march around the mountain, picking flowers as you go, drinking coffee and eating cake.
All you see is an obstacle as you quickly glance ahead, so you carry on chatting, or reading, or flicking through your ipad and move to the left a little to navigate it.
You have done this a few times, and then carried on.
But this time the obstacle is going to move to the left, or the right with you.
As you carry on your conversation with your life you are surprised subconciously that the obstacle is still there, so you keep walking left to move around it as there has always been a way around before.
Suddenly the mountain is before you and you can go left no more, as you turn you subconciously think that surely you can go forward round the mountain again now, but no, the obstacle is still there.  You stand a little, not really engaging with this, conversing with your slowly devolving life, until you begin to feel a little uncomfortable, a little less sure.  Suddenly you are acutely aware of the deep waters below all the froth and the bubbles you have been doggy paddling in for so long.  Your ipad, your phone, your life becomes quiet, and suddenly you hear it… this deep rumbling call to look up.
So you do, …

The Flag and the Promise

If I know anything at all in this journey, it is that in reality I know nothing. Because it is mystery, but I think I know this, that love is the key. The more I read the more I see this. That the opportunity to love and be loved as he did is the prize, it is the THAT for which Christ called us. Anything else is desert. Of the very little I know, I hope I am beginning to know this.

What do we do when we KNOW we see a city
One built without hands in the distance,
We can glimpse its towers and gates, its windows reflecting in the sun
Yet we are in the desert miles away
Part of us thinks it is a mirage, we rub our eyes and get on with surviving in the desert
But something tugs inside that we cant identify and we look up again and it’s still there,
The child inside is filled with wonder and excitement and yearns to drop everything to be THERE,
but The Adult. she ruthlessly quiets the childs voice, being pinned in the world of sand while furiously digging for water
A desert full of the millions of grains of shoulds and musts and have to do’s.
Of busy busy busy and speed and bustle and occupation.
Then one day we darent look up anymore.
BUT beloved,
There IS a city, whose builder and maker is God
A place of transparency and light and deep calling to deep
Where Love is the beginning and Love is the end
filling everything in between
Love flows like rivers from a throne of brightness and we know as we are known
This City has Love is its rooting and grounding, its habitat, its place of being.
Here we love without judgement without regard for our own self or agenda
Here we LOVE and are LOVED
And are filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
Here Grace saturates the air we breath
and we see each day as coming from the hand of Love, the hand of GOd
Here we see each other through the eyes of the one who inhabits us
The one who calls all of us BELOVED
BE LOVED
For he is the One who IS love
Here we find the rest that was promised and are safe
Here is a Kingdom filled with a body of people and He is the head.
He, the image of the invisible God
He, The firstborn of all creation,
He, whom all things were created in, through and for,
He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.
He is the beginning and the first born from the dead
All the fullness of God dwells in Him
Lover, Bridegroom, King.
There is a city, there is!
It is made without hands, and its architect and builder is God.
IT is not a mirage,its a promise, and the flag will take us through the gates

This is what the Lord says

This is what the Lord says:
This, the church,
She the bride, glorious without spot or wrinkle
Beautiful.
Born out of brokenness, out of grief
bearing in her body the sufferings of her Beloved
full of Joy and Hope and Glory
She has been quiet, unseen, her beauty hidden
behind steeples and bells
Behind long winded words and hell fire with brimstone
behind false shepherds and false gospels
behind strange fire and witchcraft
behind well intentioned but shackling care and control
It’s been a long time but NOW
He is calling her forth
He is saying her name,
You hear it, like a whisper on the wind,
It echoes in your dreams,
She is the THIS, She is what the Lord is SAYING
In every moment he is sounding her name
until every rock and tree
lamb and lion shake with the sound
for this has been their groaning, for SO long
And she is rising,
shaking off the dust and mothballs of her fear induced coma
She is his Beloved and He is hers
To her he makes known the unfathomable riches that are in Him
THrough her he makes known the manifold wisdom of God
to all those who sought to keep her hidden, quiet and afraid.
Can you Hear your name
Beloved
Hear Your Name
for you are She