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.

Today – beloved

I don’t know really what to write today.  And writing is a strange art, you sift through your head finding thoughts that want to, need to be explored, and you gradually place each word carefully on the page to see if it fits.

Like a jigsaw of many pieces, there is only one piece for each space, and writing is much the same.  Although a number of words will appear that they fit the wordless space, as you move on to the next word and the next, you can see that the line is becoming clumsy, knocking letters out of order and weaving like a drunk.  So you have to go back and unpick, like a tangled piece of crochet or knitting.

I prefer to leave a wordless space to hang there then, while I build around it and suddenly all that is left is that perfect word for that convoluted space, and I breath a sigh of relief and drop her in.

The clocks have gained an hour.  In UK they choose midnight on the last weekend in March to spring forward, I find it annoying!  I feel I shouldn’t because it heralds spring, with its leaky blue skys and vibrant beginning greens with rampant florals erupting everywhere.

Sadly, its the little things that scratch at the inside of my head.   The fact that I look at my clock and it says 8 but I know I lost an hour and it is 9 and I haven’t even started the day yet.

The fact that when I get up for work tomorrow I will be driving in the dark once again.  Its only for a week or so but it scratches never the less.

But then I remember that I have an extra hour of daylight when I get home from work, an extra hour to appreciate the glorious leaky blue skies, vibrant beginning greens and rampant florals, An extra hour to be outside instead of in.

I was inspecting an honesty seed the other day.  These perfectly formed paper thin pods that so exquisitely protect the seeds within.  The intricacy of their making causes me to KNOW there is indeed a God of wonder who wraps his creature creation in spectacular abandoned art.  The same fierce care that is lavished on the creation of an honesty seed and its protection, is lavished on us, but even more so, for we are the messy, bright, engaging, angry, beautiful, perfecting images of his glory and he rejoices over us with singing while weeping over us with sadness as we break and break and break again.  Learning to walk as art in full abandonment to her creator, allowing him to swipe glorious brushstrokes of love and life and beauty in the midst of brokenness, this is Joy.

Always beloved

I am hesitant to share this, but I had chance to spend some time with a friend who has been part of my inner journey over the past few years. She drew my attention to a few things and I saw again how faithful He is to complete the good work, that he continues to do in us. That through no merit of our own, no deserving flesh of our own, He abundantly gives grace upon grace and takes those of us that are not, those of us that are the weakest, those of us that are the lowest and despised and he confounds the world with us. He is a God of Wonder, a magnificent God, my beloved God. This is how he takes each one of us on that ancient journey of becoming, where we stand at the crossroads and look, we ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and we walk in it. I want to add this from Philip Keller because it is beautiful and absolutely true:
“It is God’s knowledge of me, His careful husbanding of the ground of my being , His constant presence in the garden of my little life that guarantees my joy.
—W. Phillip Keller

I want to tell my story…..I do
Of someone, some one
from the minute I began
An intense gaze watched me forming in my mother’s womb
I was becoming
Already His in love
Already beloved
All Ready to be Loved
And suddenly there I was
Not beautiful
Not lovely
Not loved
I did not know I was already beloved
I just knew I was not loved
By one who dressed me
One who fed me
One who left me
I was not loved
My birth, my beginning
into unlovedness

But His gaze did not waver
His heart expanded for love of me
But I did not know that yet
I stumbled as a baby
I faltered as a child
Striving to find love in the faces of those around me
IF it was there it was hidden, behind masks of indifference
festering beneath, with their own hurt and pain to hide

So I shrank
I became small
Insignificant
and smaller still
Of little worth and smaller matter
So I would not be a nuisance
So I would not be a pain
So I would not be
at all
So Small
So Insignificant
That I could not be seen
at all

But He saw me
He Saw ME
and He knew
and He loved ME
He watched me with deep affection
WIlling to break heaven open
and come down when I was hurt
To rebuke those who bullied me
To race to my defence in front of my accusers
But He saw more
He knew that one day, out of the manure of a life seemingly less lived
out of pain
would come the true glorious beloved child he had always seen
no longer hidden and small
no longer believing herself insignificant or of little value
but walking the path of a journey that began at the cross of brokenness
and continues in brokenness right IN the center of the heart of the Father
ALWAYS Beloved
ALWAYS Accepted
ALWAYS