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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Discipline of Love

God’s word tells us He is love and that love hardly even notices when others do it wrong. It’s what keeps us from the stumbling block of offense. So, it nearly escapes my notice as I’m shaking it off and counting my blessings that four of the five new reviews for my book ranked it with 5 stars.

My email was courteous. Is there something I could have done to earn 5 stars for the fifth review? The reply was, “No. It was fine,” followed by a brief explanation. “I only give five-star ratings to those books that will end up in my personal library, to be read again and again.”

For a minute or ten, I contemplated a polite return email stating that I would probably not be adding the book I’d read in exchange to my personal library, to be read again and again, since it was a book for fourth graders, yet I gave it 5 stars because it was a good book. 

I decided to give place to the life of Christ in me instead. My expectation is from Him and He will be my supply. So, moving on to Facebook, a post on a timeline caught my attention: an article renouncing two high profile ‘false gospel of prosperity’ ministries. Being familiar with one of the two ministries in question, I looked for some Biblical principle to support what was being said. Even though the author claimed to be well versed in the Bible as well as proficient in Hebrew and Greek translation, there was no such support. 

It seemed a bit ironic to find on the same timeline, first a prayer request, then a hopeful comment about the prayer, then, finally, a sarcastic remark about the prayer not being answered yet.

Make no mistake; I’ve been in a lot of tight spots, on a very strict budget, round the mountain a time or two. No shame in needing a miracle. But if you don’t believe that God wants to bless you or prosper you (3 John 1:2), what is there to pray for? It seems a little conflicted. Kind of reminds me of what James, the Lord’s brother, wrote: “…ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind;  for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-8).

I shook off the first of these two challenges. It was personal. 

But the second was enough to prompt me to write this long overdue blog. This was an internationally published report by one Christian about another Christian. How can that be? We are supposed to be in this thing together, loving one another as one body. We are supposed to be encouraging one another day after day. To do what? To love and good works. To walk by faith in the covenant Jesus shed His blood to inaugurate.

I’m no match for a Bible scholar with a seminary degree, in fact, I have my own ‘marks’ from the religious leaders of my day, but I do know the love of God.  A world of lost and hurting people is waiting for us to get our act together and to start doing what Jesus told us to do, and it’s not go out and preach to them about repenting from sin. It’s loving one another as He loved us, and by this all people will know WE are His disciples. If, in fact, we are.