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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Leaning into Love

There is such a simplicity in this journey, isn’t there? Because it is all about Love. A leaning into, a falling into a Love that defies any of the explanations, managings or “doings” that the overuse of the word has placed on it. As I ponder our journey into this Love, again I am brought back to the bride that He is calling out and causing to stand on this earth. We are a chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a spectacular bride without spot or wrinkle. Not because we have done anything to arrive at such splendour but because he has loved us, furiously loved us. And as we have turned into this love, as we would into the wind, we have caught his gaze and begun to see ourselves as he sees us.

It seems to me that I lived unloved because one day I would truly know what it was to be loved.   Because one day I would find this. Union with the God who utterly and totally loves me as he loves himself, this Godhead of union That we are inextricably joined with because someone made a way. Now there is no separation, none, nothing !

Leaning into love.  Leaning into the vast solid presence of a beloved Father. Pain does not disappear!  Why?

Well, because Life happens.  Daily.

AH but this vast solid presence of a Father who loves me? That makes the difference. I am beloved. Life is a journey, a walk on the wild side, from birth to death. Choices! Everywhere.. You are born screaming and the human journey of breathing in and breathing  out through this jungle of emotions is a journey of screamings . Gloriously happy to achingly sad. To remove one is to remove all and give a lie to freedom in those choices  But through it all He is our solid constant. He does not change, he holds us, if we let him He stares into the abyss with us. He sits in the mud of depression with us. He laughs with delight with us. IF WE LET HIM BE PRESENT FOR US, And hide no longer.

I wonder that we see a “Christian” culture of entitlement in “church”. Where, as long as we think we can name it and claim it, gab it and grab it,and that God should prevent something happening because WE know best; he will remain an idol “enemy”, an external god of the big stick, instead of our friend and our beloved. When we embrace that HE is God.  That he allows in his wisdom that which he could easily prevent with his power. When we embrace this whole life journey filled with joy AND pain, with him as our companion and guide and mentor and Father and friend and lover and utter beloved, embraced utterly and in union. Then, whether the waves are calm or stormy, he is our helmsman. He is our anchor, our collaborator, he is the one we scream with joy or pain with. Then we will be content in all circumstances… When we make him a foreign god, an “enemy” instead of our friend. When we hold him at bay instead of embracing him. When we hold life at bay instead of embracing it.  When we hide instead of running with our head thrown back and mouth wide open tasting the rain. We become a tiny portion of who we were called to be. A tiny little piece of our glorious life as it was meant to be. This glorious mess, this glorious overgrown mess.

Why?

Mostly because I did not allow him to be utterly embraced in all of it. I tried to hide from him as they did in the garden. Instead of being gloriously naked and unashamed. He in me and I in Him – Union.

Thank GOD that this is a journey, a wild ocean and not a stagnant pond. And this is that journey, that journey into Him where we experience life IN HIM And HE experiences LIFE in us It is no longer I who live, but CHRIST who lives in me. THAT is life, experienced in ALL its fullness.

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, …

Entangle again

Everything today is geared towards the false self.

To building it up so that we consume, consume, consume

Our true self, our soul, our deep down human being, is lost amid the trappings of the stuff, the bright lights of fairyland, of Tinker Bells and Peter Pans.

We are fractured, splintered, we have lost our true self to become some manufactured doing, performing for validation and adoration

We have re-gowned ourselves with corrupted flesh, in an attempt to cope with overwhelming life

We have forgotten the peace and rest resident in our true self in Christ

We have allowed pain to govern, to rule and snap the gentle, ancient path where the good way is.

Come, again bow your head and take hold of the now, the eternal now that is present in Him

Allow it to permeate your present, to reach up out of your soul, your true self and entangle again with the God of Mystery, the God of the eternal now,

Our eternal Life.

Beloved

I am alone this morning so
I climb up onto your knee again.
Feeling so vulnerable and cold.
You take me as I am,
With a look of love that undoes me.
My shame and failure wash away
and I find home.
You do not judge my scaredness,
You don’t encroach your compassion,
You hold me without agenda
and let me rest.
No urgency marks your holding,
just a gentle, timeless belovedness,
that seeps deeper into my soul
the longer I stay.

In the jungle that is my day
when the chill starts attacking my bones
the warmth of my belovedness descends again
and cracks the ice the skate of fear is upon.
I know the future is uncertain
I see the past is unregrettable
I have NOW and this moment is mine again and I find myself in You

When we feel we are not quite enough

Sometimes we feel we are not quite enough.  We look at those around that seem to have it all together, that seem better, more spiritual, more fun, more happy, more… well just more!

It happens this incidental looking and comparing, but it is not true, it is not life, it is a lie and we know that so step back and remember the truth.

Paul talks to us about living up to what we have believed, know what we know and live there. That revelation that God has given you, walk in that. Dont eye up those around you and their revelations as if you can live there. You cant. You will die a death a 1000 times trying to live in someone elses knowledge or life.

Cosy up to listen to another’s truth. Hear it, weigh it, taste it, if it brings lights and sounds and fireworks… or just that deep AHA moment, grasp it,  and let it marinate, eat it. It can take a while for that revelation to grow in you and for you to be able to live there, but be patient, God is not finished yet.
That revelation will grow out of YOUR life and YOUR experiences, God knows you uniquely and as you allow the life in the words to move through your being you will find it becoming your revelation, your wisdom, your truth.
You dont need to be anything other than willing to go deeper. Allow our beloved God to take you to places that are out of your comfort zone, allow Him to speak to you with words that maybe dont quite fit your current theories. That maybe dont sound quite like synagogue, as Paul did. He heard Jesus say many things that were contrary to “church”. He really was a Hebrew of Hebrews, and God stopped him and said, hang on a minute there really is MORE and VERY VERY different!.
Yes Paul became blind and was struck down so I guess that helped his willingness! But we have so much more history to go on than Paul. He was writing history.
We know so much more because his truth is there for us to read, We can eat his learnings and wait until the life that he found explodes within us, within our world, within our lived lives.

Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I am pressing on, if I may lay hold of that for which I also was taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 My brothers, I do not count myself to have taken possession, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be of this mind. And if in anything you are otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this to you.
Php 3:16 Yet, as to what we have already attained, let us walk in the same standard, let us focus on the same thing.

Not that we have already made it, for of course we haven’t, but because there is so much MORE, we can press on and press in, drawing down deeper into the God of wonder who fills everything in every way. Laying hold of THAT, that one life that we are called to live, being present to it, living IN it, the unique, beautiful, precious space in time that is given to us to possess and make our own. Lay HOLD of that, for this is what He took hold of you for. TO be present in this LIFE with you, Christ in you, filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. CHRIST IN YOU. Let each day be NEW, learning and growing from yesterday but forgetting what is behind, what fell over yesterday, and living fully in today, digging deeper into the ground of His life in you today. Press on, press in, as God calls you higher up and farther in, growing up into the head, walking each day in that which we have already attained, living up to what we have believed and what God has marinated in us.
Dont be robbed of the beauty of your precious life by trying to live and walk another’s journey, each of our steps on the paths of our lives are ours and ours alone. No one else can live them for us, only He can live them in us as we daily become one with him.

Embrace the place where you are at, and press in, draw close so you can hear that still small voice that speaks of Home, for each of us has that unique place in the household of God, in the Bride that we are becoming. It is a place that no one else can fill, so be you and fill it.

The Gift

We all have been given the gift of our true authentic selves. That self we see when we catch his gaze. If we are willing to recognize what He sees, nothing will ever be the same again.

I wait in your presence,
not just around me but in me
reaching each dusty unused corner of my soul
I dont wait for revelation
or fireworks
for fierce words
or whispers on the wind
I just wait
Being
me
in
you
wrapped in you

You are the fraction in my soul that makes a whole
makes me whole
The fracture in my soul that lets the light in
You are the light, the LIGHT
that exploded through the fracture
and told me the TRUTH,
told me plainly,
no bullsh*t, no baffle just
steak on my plate, while I wait.
“This is you, sweetheart, here you are”
and you give me ME, like a unexpected gift,
not a birthday or Christmas, a
just because GIFT,
from YOU to me,
A gift for sharing
for exploring
not for hiding
for ignoring
so I am being
undone, unwrapped,
uncreased
BEING
Me