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From the Pastor's Pen

 

December 6, 2018



In Genesis 1:27 it says “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.”

Since God is love, we image God best when we love! In first John 4:7-8 it says, “Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God, everyone who loves is begotten of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God for God is love!” Scripture tells us that our ability to love was wounded by original sin. Instead of loving God and others, many humans treated other humans with hatred, violence, murder and threats of war rather than with respect and love.

God the Father responded to humankind’s sinful ways by sending Jesus his Son to teach humans what love is for there is much intentional and unintentional confusion today about love. Jesus died on the cross for our sins which hurt our ability to love; then he rose from the dead, ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to help his followers to follow him, and live a more Christ-like life.

In his public life on earth Jesus called a group of followers who became the first church. After his followers received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the church spread rapidly from Jerusalem to Samaria to the ends of the earth.

To be a follower of Jesus and a member of the church, Christians accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and are baptized into his death and resurrection. Following Jesus becomes a top priority.

In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit because without me you can do nothing.” Christians stay connected to Jesus by listening to his voice rather than to the voices which contradict his ways. In the parable of the Good Shepherd Christ said, “my sheep hear my voice and they follow me.”

The ways of the world are sometimes excessive competition, manipulation, greed, one upmanship, violence, revenge, disrespect and the like.

The ways of Christ are respect and love for one another. In Galations 5:22-23, it says that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and fidelity. In first Corinthinans 13:4-7, Saint Paul lists some characteristics of love. He says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, Love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. The Sermon on the Mount and some of the letters to Christian communities too numerous to mention here list more of the positive characteristics of a loving Christian community! The early church and churches today show us that followers of Jesus can have the best of both worlds now and forever. Let us pray!

By Pastor Donald Lange

 
 

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