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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Pretty little lies

What do I know.
I know that because of Jesus, because a brother I didnt know I had saw me, loved me and then sacrificed himself for me so that I could come home.
I could leave the dark, desolate, alone lands and come home.
There would be no repercussions, no remembering who I was before I was home.
It would be dark… and then light.
It is impossible to go back surely.  Once adopted.. ?
Satan seems to try and hang “old” stuff on you. To draw you down a path that looks like it leads to those nether lands, but it dosent actually exist any more.  Right?  All that “before stuff” is gone, incinerated.  In the power of a love that has no darkness at all.
So what is it that we fall into…? Maybe forgetting.  We forget.
We get caught up in the mad whirl of things and forget.. but why.
Why does the mad whirl of things cause us to forget?
Maybe because the mad whirl of things is not made up of our counter culture, our surreal society.
The mad whirl of things is made up of all that we were taken out of.  All those things that keep society going without the God who made us.
So it is geared to make us forget.. it does not change who we are or remove who we are, it just makes us forget.
The forgetting means our heart is not protected, it is not guarded and we become weak and feeble as Satan drapes us with lies.
Lies that become like mud as we walk, lies that catch at our ankles and trip us up.
Lies that have no grip on the shoulders of a guarded heart.
Lies that burn up as soon as they touch the most outer extremity of our hearing, when our heart is guarded.
Lies about our past failures,
Lies about who we are,
Lies about how we look.
Lies that can appear as truth.
Lies that keep us small and in the dirt.
Lies that hold us on the milk.
Lies that keep us in old truth, afraid of the new.
Lies that prevent us becoming.
Guard your heart, Beloved of God.
Remind yourself daily, who you truly are.
Polish those words written on your heart
Dont let the dust of worry and fear settle over that which is etched there,
causing you to forget.
Guard your heart, Beloved of God.

Dust and mud pies

Sometimes when I sit in the mornings, especially after little sleep, I feel grumpy and irritable, my cup of tea doesn’t quite hit the spot. My little “gracespace” starts off being a “grumblespot” or a “facebookspace”, or a “newsoverloadfest”. Or like this morning, I.just.dont.feel.it! The temptation in that to get up and just get on with the day can usually win out, but to be honest, at this particular point in my “journey” I dont have time for that, its a crock of…. .so this morning I hung in there with very little grace to begin with for sure.

I find no beauty in what I read today.
The words do not “pop” and catch my heart
“you shall give him his wages…”
“Children obey your parents..”
These do not hold my attention, speak to me of life,
Talk to me of transformation or give me cause to celebrate our intimacy
Holy Spirit I hear no gentle groan within
I feel no trajectory of up up and away
I am sitting in the dirt with no water to make mud pies
Just dusty, dry, sad, and alone
Ahhh…
But then I feel the sly smile of irony crease upwards
That one sided grin that says “dont be so daft”
There is within, a holy, awe-filled place
That deep aquifer of living water that bubbles up through dry dusty ground
To fill the salt pans and bring back the muddy hollows
It just needs a bit of patience sometimes
A bit of waiting and a whole lot of knowing-that-you-know-nothing seeking
Letting deep call to deep, for
“on the first day you set your heart on understanding and on humbling yourself before your God
Your words were heard..”
On the FIRST day…
Ah Beloved, you have already answered
Its the waiting that softens that dry dusty ground with tears
Its the vulnerable, honest brokenness that allows the water within
to flow without
even when you dont know you are vulnerably, honestly broken
for
If you are not sick you have no need of a doctor
a comforter
a healer
you are enough for yourself.
But you know me, so here I am
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
Psa 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
Psa 139:3 You searched my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Psa 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
Psa 139:5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Psa 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
Psa 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psa 139:10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
Psa 139:12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psa 139:13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
Psa 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Psa 139:15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Psa 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
Psa 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psa 139:18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

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

Fear is not the final word

A couple of things happened this week (yes it is only Tuesday!) which ticked all my “enneagram” #5 boxes. I found myself withdrawing into my safe place again, my protected, safe, introverted space where only carefully vetted people and circumstances penetrate.
It didnt feel like fear, it felt like this wider space that I know God has called me into was too exhausting, too time consuming and just too much effort when my physical circumstances are so hard right now. I had all the excuses stacked up in my head.. I’m exhasuted Lord, I’m in pain Lord, I’m working Lord, I, I, I, I… just feel safer here right now, thank you Lord but no thanks.
Then I read Terry Hershey’s “Sabbath moment” early this morning. He pulls no punches and captures totally where my heart is at, even if my head is elsewhere.
He says:

“Is it possible to live from wholehearted vulnerability?”
“Fear says, “I’ll make you safe.”
Love says, “You are safe.”
But here’s the deal: If you live from the heart, it may (or will) hurt. You may be misunderstood. You may be called crazy. People will shake their heads (or, like Hachi, pat you on the head) and remind you, “He’s not coming back.”
It doesn’t matter who we are, there are times when we are certain that we are not enough. What we say is not enough. The work we do is not enough.How long we wait is not enough.
Even so, I want to know in my heart–like Hachi, like Jacob–that fear is not the final word. ”

You need to read his whole Sabbath Moment to get the context http://www.terryhershey.com/fear-is-not-the-final-word/

In this very uncomfortable place, this zone of no comfort, this place where vulnerability is all you have and yet because it is such an anathema to others you receive judgment as having an agenda or … well actually I don’t know what the or’s are.
Wholehearted vulnerability receives a pat on the back, it has become a buzz word, a tag to add to your facebook or twitter feed, but don’t live it… whatever you do don’t live it.. because it’s a broken place, and like the homeless person on the street, people will pass you by averting their eyes.
BUT… I realise my heart loves this place, I quite like being that homeless person, there is freedom in not having to wear the trappings of my old protected self, encased in an identity that people feel safe with, are not uncomfortable dealing with.
So what to do, do I stay with what my heart knows, what my heart KNOWS or do I crawl back into the other space for a while just for a bit of respite? Although that is my head space, it really is a no brainer, I KNOW whom I have believed 2Ti 1:12 …. “Still I am not ashamed, for I know Him Whom I have believed and am convinced of, and I am utterly persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed to Him until that day. ”
So, the climb goes on.

Deep calling to Deep

Brennan Manning calls it the “furious longing of God”. And I think that is what I feel, this deep within us calling to the deep of God because he is furiously longing for that union with us that calls us higher up and farther in.
When I move out of myself and into him, a movement that is internal, I find him there. This deep calling to deep, this sense of utter rest and peace and calm and solid secure foundation bedrock of life.
When we visit and start talking there is such a sense of union, of being. When we dive down into the rich water of his life in us.
We leave the shallows, the bubbles and froth of the surf, and dive down deep into the still quiet pool of his voice.
There is a place of infinite wonder below the surface of our lives, below the surface of our Journey

 

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.