Jesus demonstrated God’s love for us by giving of his life. How can we show our love to God? This passage from John 12 teaches us many lessons about demonstrating our love to God and others.
As Jesus makes his way to the cross, he tells us a parable about a fig tree that teaches us that God is gracious and willing to give one more change for people to turn their lives around. The parable also teaches us that there will be a day in which we are all held accountable to God for the fruit in our lives.
Life is hard. The truth of this is found in each person’s story and in the pages of every newspaper. Interpersonal conflict, financial difficulty, health concerns, disappointment and struggle accentuate the human story. However, there is good news. Easter is more than bunnies, colored eggs, and flowery decorations. Easter reminds us that Jesus’ death and resurrection is God’s ultimate victory over suffering, sickness, and death.
God not only knows about our pains, but experienced them directly in the person of Jesus the Christ who came, suffered, and died for us. God did this so that all people no matter what they have done or where they are from might know that they are called by God to experience a new life that connects with the life giving power of God both now and for an eternal future. Paul reflects on the human dilemma when he states that “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom 8:18).”
This doesn’t mean that those who are believers never experience hardship. It does mean that while we still suffer and die in this life, we are continually being drawn by the inner working of God toward a bright and undiminishing future. Again Paul reframes our struggles within the context of God’s actions, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).”
God’s hand of direction and provision continues to guide us through our sufferings, not because of our good outstanding moral character, but solely because of God’s amazing, abundant, and unconditional love for each of us. God’s love will not let you go. It pursues humanity to the very ends of the earth, to the depths of the grave, and the very gates of hell. There is no obstacle that can prevent God’s love from restoring his beloved creation. Paul summarizes it this way “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:37-39).”
Each of us receives the gifts of God’s victorious love through belief and turning to God. Indeed, the good news is that there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because God’s love has overcome the world. This Easter you are encouraged to receive this good news for yourself and to bring a friend with you to the Easter celebration on April 21st.
We are celebrating women’s history month in March. God is like a midwife who embraces the femaleness in people and has aspects of being motherly.
Lent is upon us. These are moments in our life to experience renewal as we prepare for Easter.
There are times in our lives where we need to be renewed spiritually. Jesus would often withdraw to secluded places to pray.
We are asked to turn the other cheek when we face our enemies. We are asked to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us.
Jesus addressed those who came with stories of suffering, hardship, disenfranchisement, and of those about lives being hard. Jesus speaks a blessing to the lives of the poor.
Love is perhaps the most celebrated virtue in our culture. It’s the phrase that opens doors and we can’t get enough of it.
To love like God loves, we grow towards the center and each other. One cannot claim to love God without also loving one’s fellow brothers and sisters.