Saturday, May 14, 2011

We Suffer At The Hands Of Our Own Stupidity

Blogger was down all day yesterday. I am sorry about that. Here is yesterday's blog posting:

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As followers of Jesus most of our struggles arise from our lack of discipline. Relationship takes effort. Relationship with Jesus takes desire and then effort. Sometimes when we fall in love we fall in love more with the idea of love than with the actual person. This describes many who claim to be followers of Jesus, who like the idea of the relationship but who don’t make it a priority and don’t put in the effort of discipline. This is what causes Christianity to become a religion instead of a relationship.
Jesus did not set up a practice of religion, instead he told us to do something very important: to remain in him. It’s not with him but in him. Read what he said:
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. (John 15:4)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)
We don’t have to pray a certain way, perform certain ceremonies, chant a mantra, or any other requirement. All he told us to do is remain in his love. However, he did not leave it as some pie-in-the –sky idea either. He made remaining in his love a concrete and measurable thing:
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10)
Obedience, not sacrifice, is the measuring rod of our love for Jesus. Some people continue in their sin, rebellion and disobedience and say “Yes, but God loves me.” His love is not the question here; it’s whether we love him. He has done everything he can to save us, but now it requires our response. We say that we love him but do we obey in the same manner that Jesus obeyed? Jesus didn’t just teach it, he modeled it. Let me point out that there is great benefit to obedience born out of love:
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
Blessings come with obedience and what greater blessing can there be than his joy made complete in us? He told us that he has given us his peace which is ours even when circumstances should disturb that peace. He has given us a completed joy which no circumstance should be able to take away or diminish. In fact, there should be no one else who demonstrates a life filled with peace, joy and love like a follower of Jesus.
Our struggles are rooted in the unfortunate fact that we do not remain in Jesus’ love. In fact, we more often take ourselves out of it than leave ourselves in it. Yet, outside of that love there is only death and destruction that comes at the hands of fear, worry, and anxiety. We worry about things we have no control over and we fail to add a single day to our life. In fact, we are probably reducing the days of our life. No success, no amount of toys, no great mounds of money, no satisfying career offers what a strong relationship with Jesus offers.

When we remain in his love, in a strong, vibrant relationship with him, in him, we discover that the scary things of this life are not so scary. He is our security and future. He is the source of everything we need; love, peace, joy, fulfillment, purpose, blessings. In this relationship of “oneness” we discover that all of his promises are real and already ours. However, it is also easy for us to neglect this relationship, to step into disobedience, to allow it to lose all its value, to become a religion. Jesus said it is all about remaining in his love and he said that we can measure this love by our obedience. It is time to cast off the things of this world, renew your first love and to walk in obedience to Jesus.

5 comments:

Joyful Catholics said...

John 6, the whole chapter is how we remain in His love. The others left Him, and went back to their old way of life,(vs. 66) Why? Because what Jesus said was such a "hard saying" ... He said, "This is my body..." Four time did He emphasize that, but some couldn't receive it. Many still will not. But yet, Peter said, "Lord to Whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life." His words MEANT something. His spoken words were LIFE, because He was explaining to them how He would 'remain in them!' By us eating His flesh and drinking His blood! "IF you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have LIFE within you!" That is what caused the others to leave. To leave Jesus, they chose to leave LOVE itself. He actually did set up a 'religion' with all due respect, Pastor. Jesus built His Church, and it's still standing after 2000 years. The only Church that has not buckled to worldly pressure to 'change' for worldly trends. I left that Church for nearly 30 years, but came back 6.5 years ago. Never will I leave HIS religion (NOT man's) again, for it is where TRUTH resides. The FULLness of Truth/Love/Beauty. God bless you.

Pastor Paul said...

Then unfortunately this is a point in which will differ, although I believe it is a minor point. I am saying that Christianity is based on a vibrant relationship with the Son of God, not on ceremonies and meaningless prayers. There is nothing wrong with the ceremonies we have developed if their purpose is to help us remember and to direct us to Jesus. But if we rely on them instead of our relationship with Jesus and his sacrifice for us then we have no understood salvation. Yes, he has established his Church which will not be overcome by anything, but that Church is you and me not some building or religious system. The Kingdom of God has been established in the hearts of men and women we have a relationship with Jesus and walk in obedience to him.

SolarWinds63 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolarWinds63 said...

I have read your response to a comment. I find it odd that you as a person who preaches the gospel would accuse Catholics of thinking of GOD and His Church, as bricks and mortar. The Church as Jesus and the Apostles mention in the Gospel and old testament is of the people who believe in what you posted in your blog and what Joyful posted. You can not rebuke the Scripture to your taste or need. You either accept it all or nothing. In parts of the world mass is held in tents and peoples homes with an Ordained Priest.
Please teach who you are drawing away from Christs Church that Catholics are Christians.
The Gospel is not simplistic nor is GOD... Jesus said to Love thy neighbor and the Catholic church loves there fellow protestant brothers and sisters and sees them as part of the church.
Take a look at the hundreds of protestant ministers and members are returning to the Church of Christ.

May 27, 2011 3:04 PM

Pastor Paul said...

Your comments have caught me by surprise. I apologize if you thought I was directing my comments against the Catholic Church. I have issues with the Catholic Church but what was discussed has nothing to do with those. My comments were directed at anyone who considers the Church to be a building, regardless if they are Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical. My point is that the Church is made up of us, God's people.

I am a pastor a a congregation. I have spent my life preaching Jesus, not systems. I do not draw people away from the Church but instead preach the Word of God as it is written. I am open to any correction from my fellow pastors on any error of doctrine that I may make but I have not made any here.

Again, allow me to assure you so that you can set this matter aside, I did not have the Catholic Church in mind when I responded to the comment. If you read through my last few years of blogs you will see it is something I have taught on many times to anyone who is willing to listen. Perhaps it is best to get to know the teaching of a teacher before taking one comment out of context.

I pray you have a great day of worship tomorrow and may Jesus be glorified.