John 14:15-17, NIV
15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask
the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you
forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him
because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him,
for he lives with you and will be in you.


December 19, 2011
If you love me; when you love me. I think either word will do, but I prefer
when. Or maybe it could read: If only you would love and obey me. . . .
Love is an action word and involves participation. In this case obeying
the desires and teachings of Jesus. When Jesus started talking to his
disciples about love, the Gospel takes on a totally new tone. It is
different from his many discourses with the crowds and the religious
leaders of previous chapters.

Jesus links our love for him with a gift we receive exclusively from God.
A forever gift. A constant companion. Counselor, the Spirit of truth,
unseen and unknown to the world. Christian doctrine refers to this gift
as the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit.

When you internalize the teachings of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will come
to you, stand by you, be with you always. Now that's a great promise.

His disciples recognize the Spirit; the world doesn't. It takes eyes of
faith and a heart of love in order to see and know the Holy Spirit.
Invisible, intangible--disciples such as Thomas and Philip were
accustomed to Jesus in the flesh and would have difficulty processing
this teaching. Jesus in the flesh was going away. Jesus in spirit would
come to those who love and obey. We will know the Holy Spirit
experientially because he will live with us and in us.


December 20, 2011
What do I know of loving God? I know it's not difficult to love someone
to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. Throughout my life I have received
better from the hands of my heavenly Father than I deserved, much
better, in terms of grace and forgiveness, blessings and providential
care.

I think the most impressive means of experiencing God's love is
through other people. Loving God can take the enjoyable form of
performing an act of kindness for another person. Music can arouse
those emotions also. When my heart is open, God's love pours in.
I know that love for God can get me out of bed early in the morning to
spend one-to-one time with my heavenly Father. My thoughts return
many times throughout the day to that holy place I call my home.

John Wesley is known for his descriptive phrase, "my heart was
strangely warmed." I borrow those words to acknowledge that many
times the words and writings of past and present saints have warmed
my heart and caused me to settle deeply into the loving arms of my
Creator. Made in his image, I am most at home when I give God my
time and attention. I feel God's presence with me as I write, inspiring
my thoughts and encouraging me to persevere, inviting me to return
to my real home again and again.

Time after time I have heard or read that God loves me, and that Jesus
made the ultimate sacrifice in order to demonstrate that love. But one
of my favorite images of God in the Bible is the parable wherein the
waiting father ran to meet his wayward, returning son and welcome him
back into the family. I no longer wander as far away as I once did, but
even now after the busyness of the day, or a week away from my usual
routines, my heart is strangely warmed when I return and God runs to
welcome me back. God's grace, that eternal loving-kindness, has
conquered all my defenses. I am a captive of my Maker's love.

 

                                             John 14:18-21, NIV
18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before
long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.
Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize
that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one
who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and
I too will love him and show myself to him."


December 21, 2011
Even though Jesus would die on the following day, he told his disciples
he was not leaving them alone, he would come to them. Not in the flesh,
but in spirit. Most people will not see him anymore, but the disciples will
"see" him. Jesus assured them, because he lived, they also will live.
Here's the new arrangement--Jesus would live in the Father and
Jesus and the disciples would live in each other.

 

We are not orphans in this universe, nor in our private lives. Those
who claim God as their heavenly Father are never like a child without
a parent to guide and protect them.

This is an eternal promise Jesus gave to his loyal disciples. We don't
live by feelings, we live by faith. Feelings are fickle and unreliable. We
are to trust these words of Jesus instead, on sunny days and during
stormy times too.

We know from our daily lives that love makes so many things possible,
and bearable. So we are not surprised that Jesus made faith and love a
big part of his final conversation with his disciples. Loving God is a step
beyond believing. It equates to this--God will love that person, or to put
that another way, that person will recognize the love God has for them.
Also Jesus will reveal himself in spirit to them.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus in the present tense. Alive though dead. The
world will see Jesus no more, but you will see him through eyes of
faith. Then you will realize (fully believe and understand) that I am
in God, you are in me (even though I have died) and I am in you
(wherever you may be)! What all-encompassing statements! To eyes
of faith he is alive and always will be alive. The world will see him no
more--no faith. But "you will see me"--faith.

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