Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Family Affection

Dear woman, behold your son...behold your mother. (John 19:26)

Jesus has a special love for His own. As we've already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary's face.

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WE ARE FA-MI-LY!

WE ARE FA-MI-LY!

♥We are fa-mi-ly...my mother, brothers, sisters, and me!

OK, I did change the lyrics a bit...but that's who we Renners are, since our daddy went home to God more than 25 years ago.

And I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of it all...the oldest of 7 and the "Boss of the Mob" according to my mom :)

Most families are a mess today!  We're a mess too (aren't we all?!), but with one big difference.  A rarity, in fact!  We love and support one another...and we actually want to be together!  What an undeserved gift...and I certainly know it!

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Running my Unique Lap in the Race of Faith (Part 2)

Well, friends, we have come to the end of our class called "Running the Race of Faith" at Patterson Park Church this fall. Some of you have joined us and followed along. Since we have taken some detours along the way at "A Branch in the Vine," click here for Part 1.

Now enjoy the remainder...and keep on running!

4.  My success in running depends on my focus.

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of  faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”   Heb 12: 2-3

See Lessons from a Family Vacation: We become like what we focus on.  Glory and grace when we focus on HIM!

5.  Submission to my “Coach’s” training program is key.

--His process is "discipline" (complete child training):

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

--His motive is love:

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,

--His method is ruthless, but fatherly:

And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but...

See The Father's Pruning

--His goal is holiness; family resemblance:

He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

--His result is fruitfulness--righteousness, peace:

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

See Return to the Vineyard: Reflections on Growth

--His exhortation is "cooperate":

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Heb 12: 4-13

See Love's Abiding Harvest

6.  I must be a “team participant”.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Hebrews 12: 14-17

It's so easy to get bitter over life's hardships and the "irregular people" in our lives...even "irregular Christian people."  Yes, there are fellow teammates who just don't get it...actually we may be one of those at times, huh?

I love this quote by Henri Nouwen entitled, "Stepping Over Our Wounds."

Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on [a.k.a. run on].  The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there.  Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or "the discarded one."  Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them.  It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on [a.k.a. run on]. Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen.

Conclusion

Do you see what all this means -- all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running -- never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed -- that exhilarating finish in and with God -- he could put up with anything along the way:  cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.  When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that will shoot adrenline into your souls. Hebrews 12: 1 - 3  (The Message)

Running my Unique Lap in the Race of Faith (Part 2)

Well, friends, we have come to the end of our class called "Running the Race of Faith" at Patterson Park Church this fall. Some of you have joined us and followed along. Since we have taken some detours along the way at "A Branch in the Vine," click here for Part 1.

Now enjoy the remainder...and keep on running!

4.  My success in running depends on my focus.

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of  faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”   Heb 12: 2-3

See Lessons from a Family Vacation: We become like what we focus on.  Glory and grace when we focus on HIM!

5.  Submission to my “Coach’s” training program is key.

--His process is "discipline" (complete child training):

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

--His motive is love:

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,

--His method is ruthless, but fatherly:

And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but...

See The Father's Pruning

--His goal is holiness; family resemblance:

He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

--His result is fruitfulness--righteousness, peace:

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

See Return to the Vineyard: Reflections on Growth

--His exhortation is "cooperate":

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Heb 12: 4-13

See Love's Abiding Harvest

6.  I must be a “team participant”.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Hebrews 12: 14-17

It's so easy to get bitter over life's hardships and the "irregular people" in our lives...even "irregular Christian people."  Yes, there are fellow teammates who just don't get it...actually we may be one of those at times, huh?

I love this quote by Henri Nouwen entitled, "Stepping Over Our Wounds."

Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on [a.k.a. run on].  The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there.  Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or "the discarded one."  Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them.  It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on [a.k.a. run on]. Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen.

Conclusion

Do you see what all this means -- all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running -- never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed -- that exhilarating finish in and with God -- he could put up with anything along the way:  cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.  When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that will shoot adrenline into your souls. Hebrews 12: 1 - 3  (The Message)

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection

Dear woman, behold your son...behold your mother.  John 19:26 Jesus has a special love for His own.

As we've already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary's face. Calvin Miller describes the scene well:

Beneath the tree stood the grieving mother of the heretic.  She was a woman whose face was rimmed by little wisps of silver hair that protruded defiantly from under her mantle; occasionally she trembled with uncontrollable spasms of despair.  Before the tree a young fisherman gazed in blurred glances at his dying friend; his broad arm cradled the head of the convict's mother.  But he was unable to console her.  The man on the cross was her son... Miller, Once Upon a Tree

This was her little boy...her precious son that she nursed and rocked and raised to be a man to fulfill God's plan.  Yes, she had warning of suffering ahead...remember Simeon's prophecy when the baby was presented in the Temple?

This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword [romphia] will pierce your very soul. Luke 2:34 NLT

Little did Mary know all this sword would entail.  According to Miller, romphia (Greek) was a huge Persian sword that literally skewers its victims in pain.   Jesus Himself knew all this and yet submitted to the Father's plan.

But now He would care for His suffering mama by entrusting her to the man He knew would care for her as his own.

When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27 NLT

Years later the apostle Paul would write to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith:

Michelangelo's Pieta

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

But this begs the question...where were Jesus' brothers?  Surely, this first-born Son could have entrusted His mother to one of his brothers, James or Jude, or perhaps another close relative.

There was obviously something more going on here...something that includes you and me.

Perhaps a year or so before...

...as Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Matthew 12:46-50 NLT

So by entrusting His mother to His beloved disciple and friend, Jesus was "creating a new family based not on kinship to one another [blood relationship] but solely through their relationship to him."*  Although his brothers were related by blood, they had not yet become related in the Spirit through faith in Him, God's Son and Savior of the world.

And that brings us back to us believers...those of us who are related to Him by faith.  We are His family...children of the same Father:

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

Jesus the God-Man is our Brother, and we are his brothers and sisters:

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers … For this reason, he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest. Hebrews 2:10, 11, 17

And Jesus cares for His own with a special love and care:

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested...So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 2:18; 4:16 NLT

We also belong to one another...brothers and sisters in our Father's and Brother's family.

On the night before He died, Jesus gave us the new commandment, Love one another as I have loved you...

Why? because then the world will know you are my disciples. Why?  because the world will hate you. Why? because in this world you will have trouble.

So we will need each other!

Love each other with brotherly affection, and delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Dear brothers and sisters, ...who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention? ...who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone--especially to those in the family of faith.  Gal 6:10

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Bible Students:

Go back to the night before Jesus died (John 13-17). Mark every time that Jesus says love with a red heart. Who is loving whom? Now do this for the epistle of First John. Did you notice that LOVE is John's emphasis? No wonder...He's the disciple Jesus loved.

You may also like this post:  "Love's Abiding Harvest"

The New Testament is filled with "_________________ one another verses." Click here and read through all of them, including the Scriptures. Which ones jump out to you and why? Is God telling you to do something about it...attitude or action-wise?

You may also like this post:"It Takes a Village..."

Activity:

In the center of a piece of paper, write your name.  Around your name, write the names of all the other persons that you consider part of your family.  Those closest to you might be written close to your name, those further away may be written a greater distance from your name. *

Now do the same with your "spiritual family"...fellow believers in your life, whether in your church body, Bible study, family, neighbors, etc.

Then answer the closing questions above...

Dear brothers and sisters, ...who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention? ...who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

Our Today, a preparation for our Tomorrow? a back-story...

Our TODAY is important...our right here, right now. Why? Because it is the place where we encounter God...right here, right now, in our Today!  And none of us is promised another Today...

BUT...

...if we are, by God's grace, given other Todays, our Today may be a preparation for another Today...and another...and another...

And they may form the back-story of some of our most difficult days, weeks, months, even years.

Let me illustrate...

After 1998, the infamous year of crises with our children's health -- Jeremy's cancer and Beth's cancer scare -- I started to realize that the Lord had taken me through some experiences with Him that were lessons I would need, not just for my Today, but for the days of trial that, unbeknownst to me (but of course known to HIM), were up ahead.  One such experience I call my Supper Story, or better, my Breakfast Story, and you'll see why.

Back in spring 1997, I was teaching through the Gospel of John in a Precept study.  One particular week, I was preparing a lesson in the familiar passage in John, chapter 13, the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet.

That week I also happened to have a breakfast date with a dear friend of mine who lives out on a farm in New Carlisle, OH.  Our usual breakfast place was a fun, local-color place called Sam & Ethels up in Tipp City.

So that lovely spring morning, as I was driving north through the country roads to pick up her up, I was meditating on John 13 (and perhaps listening to it on CD in my car-- I can't remember).  But as I reflected on the story, I began to notice, as if for the first time,  Christ's interaction with the apostle Peter...how I love that brother!  He is so out there...in this passage, even refusing to let Jesus wash his feet, yow!  What is that about?

Well, just see for yourself..

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean...

So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them,

“Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.

If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them...

Now here was the clincher for me...

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Wait a minute...if I don't wash you, you have no part with Me...whomever I send receives Me...and Him who sent Me!

The Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart,

Jan, you need to not only wash your bothers' and sisters' feet, but you also need to graciously let them wash YOUR feet.  Otherwise, you may be missing what I want to do for you through your brother or sister.

Oh my!  That was a lesson I needed, because I had a tendency to always be doing the giving...maybe it was having been in leadership, maybe it's my type A personality, maybe it's pride. But the Lord was telling me to let my feet be washed  and graciously receive it as HIM!

So I continued driving, picked up my friend and arrived at Sam & Ethel's.  As we sat in that quaint little restaurant and opened our menus, my friend said to me,

Today, I'm paying the bill!

Now I have to tell you that this precious sister does not have much extra cash. And so when she said that, I began to think of how she was probably using some birthday money or such at great sacrifice to herself.  I was ready to protest, when the Lord said to me,

Don't be like Peter...receive this as a gift from Me!  Let her wash your feet!

And so I did!

And this wonderful experience of the Serving Christ, that spring day in 1997, prepared me to receive in multitudinous ways from brothers and sisters in our time of suffering, just 9 months later.  I was able to receive Christ's washing in the form of meals, notes, scriptures, advice (yes, even unsolicited advice), house cleaning, the presence of "strangers," and of course, prayer, prayer, and more prayer!

And so, dear brothers and sisters, siblings in the family of God, could you too be missing out on Christ meeting you and ministering to you in your specific need in your today by not being willing to let your feet be washed?  Think about it!

On other side, has the Lord been moving you to wash someone's feet in a specific way, but you've been holding back thinking it's not a big deal?  It IS a big deal...Jesus wants to serve your brother or sister through YOU!  Yield to Him and just do it!

Because...

We are His Hands

We are His hands We are His feet We are His people Children of the Lord We share the hope We share the dream Believers in Jesus Children of the King His Spirit lives within us Flowing like a river Filling us with strength So that we can reach out for our brother Help one another Some of us build, some are teachers Some can sing like angels But all of us can love Like He loved, pure and simple So warm and gentle

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em-Qzmo19t8']

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You might also like to look at the "one another" verses

And the fun back-story at Am I my Brothers' Keeper?  Stories about the crazy boys at right, my darling grandsons...

The Rest of the Gospel: Song of the Week {Before You I Kneel -- A Worker's Prayer}

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It wasn't long after hearing for the first time this haunting melody (Johann Sebastian Bach's melody "Wachet Auf" played on folk instruments) and the accompanying song, that I started playing it in my car on my way to work each day. It moves me to think that the Lord Christ uses the work I do each day to glorify Himself and build His kingdom.

That's because He lives His life through us His children, His disciples, His instruments.

I particularly love one of the lines:

May we...Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days...

It reminds me of what Paul said of King David in Acts 13:36:

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep...

Oh Father, may I serve your purpose in my own generation!

So this is my prayer --please join me!

Before You I kneel, my Master and MakerTo offer the work of my hands.For this is the day You’ve given You’re servant;I will rejoice and be gladFor the strength I have to live and breathe;For each skill Your grace has given me;For the needs and opportunitiesThat will glorify You great Name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodnessTo cover the work of my hands.For patience and peace to shape all my labor,Your grace for thorns in my path.Flow within me like a living stream,Wear away the stones of pride and greed‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in meAnd a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker;Establish the work of our hands.And order our steps to seek first Your kingdomIn every small and great task.May we live the gospel of Your grace,Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,Then our lives will bring eternal praiseAnd all glory to Your Name.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer), Keith & Kristyn Getty


The Rest of the Gospel: God's Precious Assets (chapter 10)

Chapter 10  God's Precious Assets Key Verse

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves... 2 Cor 4:7 NASB

Key Question

Am I an asset or a liability to God?

Read chapter 10 and answer the following questions:

1. How does seeing ourselves as God sees us, above the line, free us to be usable assets to God?

2. In what ways are you an asset to God?

3. What are some things about your humanity that God uses as His asset in the world? What does this say about the uniqueness God has given you?

4. Name some ways that God manifested Himself through you this past week.

5. If you were to suddenly disappear, how would certain individuals miss Christ living through you?

6. What is it like for you, as the vessel, to try to become the contents of the vessel? What is that experience like in your life? Give an example from this past week.

7. How has God used your unique background, seemingly good and seemingly bad, to make you into the vessel of His choosing?

8. If you are the vessel and God is the one living through you, who is the pressure on in this Christian life – you or God? In what ways does God wants you to take the pressure off of yourself?

Hebrews 10:24-25 -- CONSIDER...One Another

Let us consider...one another!   Hebrews 10:24-25 When we come toward the middle of Hebrews, chapter 10, we have what I like to call "the Hinge" (10:19-25)...verses that tie the doctrinal and practical sections together.  And right there at the end of "the Hinge" is our second of three CONSIDER's.

As you may recall, the first time we encountered the word Consider, we talked about how the word means to focus intently like a star-gazer would do.  And of course, our primary focus is always to be on our great High Priest, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- our Great High Priest and Mighty God enthroned above.

When we look at our third Consider in chapter 12, it will be again our Lord Jesus Christ, who as the God-Man endured the Cross.  But now, sandwiched right in the middle, is our second Consider -- Consider...one another.  Why?  Because if we belong to our Lord, we belong to each other.  That's why I often sign my emails, One with you in HIM, when writing to my sisters and brothers in the Lord.

Last year a posted a fun blog about the interaction between two of my grandsons, Evan & Carter...brothers!  I'd like to share the Bible study section of that post, which I called Am I My Brother's Keeper? right here.  But if you would like to read the stories that go with it, just click on the link.

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Our Abba Father's desire for us His children is that we would be devoted to one another, no matter how much we may disagree and even dislike each other.  We are in the same blood line, the same family!

The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together. This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves! 1John 3:14-16 MESSAGE

We have a connection with each other that can't be broken, whether we like it or not!  It's a connection as deep as union with each other in the Triune God!  Just as in a human family, the primary connection a child has is with the parents (and thus with each other), so too in the family of God.  Listen to how Jesus prayed the night before He died:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that THEY also may be IN US, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-23

As I've been meditating on my union with Christ and my brothers and sisters, I've revisited what are called the One another verses.  Maybe you would like to join me in revisiting them, or perhaps visiting them for the first time.  Then if you care to, pray with me:

Father, empower me through the indwelling Christ, Your Perfect Son, to love my brothers and sisters.  Love them through me.  Understand them through me.  Care about their spiritual, emotional, physical welfare through me, O God.  In Christ's Loving Name.  Amen!

John 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

Acts 7:26 " On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

Acts 15:39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;

1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

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For an example of how NOT to "consider one another,"  read this post by Frank Viola on Rick Warren's tragic loss of his son to suicide.  It left me speechless! Beyond Evangelical

Class Notes:  THE HINGE

Homework: Read Hebrews 11 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 200-201 Read chapter 8,  Hoping…

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Hebrews 8-10, Ray Stedman -- scroll down to read his treatment of the 4th warning...very good!

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection

Dear woman, behold your son...behold your mother.  John 19:26 Jesus has a special love for His own.

As we've already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary's face. Calvin Miller describes the scene well:

Beneath the tree stood the grieving mother of the heretic.  She was a woman whose face was rimmed by little wisps of silver hair that protruded defiantly from under her mantle; occasionally she trembled with uncontrollable spasms of despair.  Before the tree a young fisherman gazed in blurred glances at his dying friend; his broad arm cradled the head of the convict's mother.  But he was unable to console her.  The man on the cross was her son... Miller, Once Upon a Tree

This was her little boy...her precious son that she nursed and rocked and raised to be a man to fulfill God's plan.  Yes, she had warning of suffering ahead...remember Simeon's prophecy when the baby was presented in the Temple?

This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul. Luke 2:34 NLT

Little did Mary know all this sword would entail.  According to Miller, romphia (Greek) was a huge Persian sword that literally skewers its victims in pain.   Jesus Himself knew all this and yet submitted to the Father's plan.

But now He would care for His suffering mama by entrusting her to the man He knew would care for her as his own.

When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27 NLT

Years later the apostle Paul would write to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith:

Michelangelo's Pieta

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

But this begs the question...where were Jesus' brothers?  Surely, this first-born Son could have entrusted His mother to one of his brothers, James or Jude, or perhaps another close relative.

There was obviously something more going on here...something that includes you and me.

Perhaps a year or so before...

...as Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Matthew 12:46-50 NLT

So by entrusting His mother to His beloved disciple and friend, Jesus was "creating a new family based not on kinship to one another [blood relationship] but solely through their relationship to him."*  Although his brothers were related by blood, they had not yet become related in the Spirit through faith in Him, God's Son and Savior of the world.

And that brings us back to us believers...those of us who are related to Him by faith.  We are His family...children of the same Father:

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

Jesus the God-Man is our Brother, and we are his brothers and sisters:

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers … For this reason, he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest. Hebrews 2:10, 11, 17

And Jesus cares for His own with a special love and care:

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested...So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 2:18; 4:16 NLT

We also belong to one another...brothers and sisters in our Father's and Brother's family.

On the night before He died, Jesus gave us the new commandment, Love one another as I have loved you...

Why? because then the world will know you are my disciples. Why?  because the world will hate you. Why? because in this world you will have trouble.

So we will need each other!

Love each other with brotherly affection, and delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Dear brothers and sisters, ...who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention? ...who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone--especially to those in the family of faith.  Gal 6:10

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Bible Students:

Go back to the night before Jesus died (John 13-17). Mark every time that Jesus says love with a red heart. Who is loving whom? Now do this for the epistle of First John. Did you notice that LOVE is John's emphasis? No wonder...He's the disciple Jesus loved.

You may also like this post:  "Love's Abiding Harvest"

The New Testament is filled with "_________________ one another verses." Click here and read through all of them, including the Scriptures. Which ones jump out to you and why? Is God telling you to do something about it...attitude or action-wise?

You may also like this post:"It Takes a Village..."

Activity:

In the center of a piece of paper, write your name.  Around your name, write the names of all the other persons that you consider part of your family.  Those closest to you might be written close to your name, those further away may be written a greater distance from your name. *

Now do the same with your "spiritual family"...fellow believers in your life, whether in your church body, Bible study, family, neighbors, etc.

Then answer the closing questions above...

Dear brothers and sisters, ...who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention? ...who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

We Are His Hands and Feet {Patty's story...and ours}

Patty Renner
Patty Renner

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV

"I get it, Janet!  That's why I'm crying...I get it!"

So ended a recent phone conversation with my sister-in-law Patty. What did Patty get, you ask?  Let me back the story up to the beginning.

Early this past summer, a long time friend of Patty's was diagnosed with cancer.  The prognosis for Ellen was not good from the start.  But Ellen went through some rounds of chemo and other treatments.

quilting fabrics
quilting fabrics

In the meantime, not long after learning about Ellen's diagnosis, Patty began hearing the still, small voice of her Shepherd (John 10:27):

"I want you to make Ellen a quilt.  I'll tell you how to put it together.  And I want you to give her a message from Me."

So Patty (who by the way is an incredible seamstress and works at a quilt shop) set out to choose the fabric and make it according to the promptings of the Spirit.  The whole time, Patty knew she was God's instrument, His messenger.

Later in the summer, my husband & I  stayed with Patty and my brother Conrad.  It was then that she told me the story and showed me the almost-completed quilt.

The quilt was incredibly beautiful (see below).  In fact, it almost took my breath away!  Patty's choices of fabric, colors, design could only have been done by inspiration coupled with gifting.

And the most wonderful thing -- God had a message for Ellen.  And the Lord's message was embedded in the quilt itself -- a heart at each edge spoke of LOVE, HOPE, FAITH, COURAGE!    The quilt was to be a reminder that He was wrapping his arms around her and would be with her always.

A few weeks ago came my phone call from Patty.  She told me the rest of Ellen's story.

Quilting-225x300-2
Quilting-225x300-2

Patty had finished the quilt, delivered God's message, and prayed.  Patty wasn't sure if Ellen understood the message she had delivered.  But when she heard that Ellen wanted the quilt buried with her, Patty knew she had understood.

Several weeks passed.  Then came the news...

Ellen had gone home to her loving God.  She had lost her battle with cancer, but she found the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:42-46).  Now she was wrapped in the real, loving arms of God...she no longer needed the quilt.

And Patty was in tears...why?

She got it...that the resurrected, living Lord Christ lives within her, His child.  The Lord had reached out and loved her dying friend Ellen through her...as Patty, the gifted seamstress and outgoing friend that she is.  All she had to be was willing.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves... 2 Cor 4:7 NASB

The same is true for us, dear brothers & sisters in Christ.  The living Lord lives His life through us, as us, to manifest Himself to the world.

But you may say, "I'm not gifted like Patty or like ______________!  I'm broken!  I've had a rough background!  I'm no asset to God...in fact, I'm a liability!  All I seem to do is mess up, even though my heart is to honor my Lord."  And on and on...

Listen to what author Dan Stone says:

earthen vessels
earthen vessels

As earthen vessels, we are a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, appetites, interests, and energies.  The bottom line is that we're always operating from what a friend of mine calls the Holy Wink:  to others, it looks like us, but we know it's Christ in us.  We are at peace in our spirit union with God, knowing that our outer humanity is God's perfect instrument.  It is the means by which God touches the world.

Thank God for your humanity.  Thank God for your parents, even for the difficult things you inherited from them.  God used them to make you the perfect instrument you are.  Thank God for your warts.  Praise God for them, because He's going to make them a blessing in someone else's life.  Take back your humanity as the dwelling place of the Most High God.  Make peace with you...

Let it dawn on you that you are no longer a liability to God.  You are God's wonderful and beautiful and necessary asset.  You are the vessel by which the world drinks.  You are the means by which the world sees the love and life of God. The Rest of the Gospel, p. 118

The Lord Christ lives through us; He loves through us; He serves through us...in the unique us He made each of us to be.  We are His instruments, His messengers to each other and to the world.  Whatever your personality, your background, your gifting...just say "Yes" to Him, listen for His voice, and follow.

Perhaps you would like to pray this at the dawn of each new day:

morning
morning

Lord, As I begin this day, and as I continue throughout the day, I invite you to walk around in my body, love with my heart, speak with my lips, and think with my mind. I thank you that you promised to do greater things through me than you did when you were here on earth. John 14:12-14 By faith, I acknowledge your greatness, your power, and your authority in my life, and I invite you to do anything you wish in and through me today. Amen.

We are His Hands White Heart

We are His handsWe are His feetWe are His peopleChildren of the LordWe share the hopeWe share the dreamBelievers in JesusChildren of the King

His Spirit lives within usFlowing like a riverFilling us with strengthSo that we can reach out for our brotherHelp one another

Some of us build, some are teachersSome can sing like angelsBut all of us can loveLike He loved, pure and simpleSo warm and gentle

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WE ARE FA-MI-LY!

WE ARE FA-MI-LY!

♥We are fa-mi-ly...my mother, brothers, sisters, and me!

OK, I did change the lyrics a bit...but that's who we Renners are, since our daddy went home to God more than 25 years ago.

And I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of it all...the oldest of 7 and the "Boss of the Mob" according to my mom :)

Most families are a mess today!  We're a mess too (aren't we all?!), but with one big difference.  A rarity, in fact!  We love and support one another...and we actually want to be together!  What an undeserved gift...and I certainly know it!

Read More

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection*

Dear woman, behold your son...behold your mother.  John 19:26 Jesus has a special love for His own.

As we've already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary's face. Calvin Miller describes the scene well:

Beneath the tree stood the grieving mother of the heretic.  She was a woman whose face was rimmed by little wisps of silver hair that protruded defiantly from under her mantle; occasionally she trembled with uncontrollable spasms of despair.  Before the tree a young fisherman gazed in blurred glances at his dying friend; his broad arm cradled the head of the convict's mother.  But he was unable to console her.  The man on the cross was her son... Miller, Once Upon a Tree

This was her little boy...her precious son that she nursed and rocked and raised to be a man to fulfill God's plan.  Yes, she had warning of suffering ahead...remember Simeon's prophecy when the baby was presented in the Temple?

This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul. Luke 2:34 NLT

Little did Mary know all this sword would entail.  According to Miller, romphia (Greek) was a huge Persian sword that literally skewers its victims in pain.   Jesus Himself knew all this and yet submitted to the Father's plan.

But now He would care for His suffering mama by entrusting her to the man He knew would care for her as his own.

When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27 NLT

Years later the apostle Paul would write to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith:

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8

But this begs the question...where were Jesus' brothers?  Surely, this first-born Son could have entrusted His mother to one of his brothers, James or Jude, or perhaps another close relative.

There was obviously something more going on here...something that includes you and me.

Perhaps a year or so before...

...as Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Matthew 12:46-50 NLT

So by entrusting His mother to His beloved disciple and friend, Jesus was "creating a new family based not on kinship to one another [blood relationship] but solely through their relationship to him."*  Although his brothers were related by blood, they had not yet become related in the Spirit through faith in Him, God's Son and Savior of the world.

And that brings us back to us believers...those of us who are related to Him by faith.  We are His family...children of the same Father:

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

Jesus the God-Man is our Brother, and we are his brothers and sisters:

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers … For this reason, he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest. Hebrews 2:10, 11, 17

And Jesus cares for His own with a special love and care:

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested...So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 2:18; 4:16 NLT

We also belong to one another...brothers and sisters in our Father's and Brother's family.

On the night before He died, Jesus gave us the new commandment, Love one another as I have loved you...

Why? because then the world will know you are my disciples. Why?  because the world will hate you. Why? because in this world you will have trouble.

So we will need each other!

Love each other with brotherly affection, and delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Dear brothers and sisters, ...who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention? ...who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone--especially to those in the family of faith.  Gal 6:10

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bible Students:

Go back to the night before Jesus died (John 13-17). Mark every time that Jesus says love with a red heart. Who is loving whom? Now do this for the epistle of First John. Did you notice that LOVE is John's emphasis? No wonder...He's the disciple Jesus loved.

You may also like this post:  "Love's Abiding Harvest"

The New Testament is filled with "_________________ one another verses." Click here and read through all of them, including the Scriptures. Which ones jump out to you and why? Is God telling you to do something about it...attitude or action-wise?

You may also like this post: "It Takes a Village..."

Activity:

In the center of a piece of paper, write your name.  Around your name, write the names of all the other persons that you consider part of your family.  Those closest to you might be written close to your name, those further away may be written a greater distance from your name. *

Now do the same with your "spiritual family"...fellow believers in your life, whether in your church body, Bible study, family, neighbors, etc.

Then answer the closing questions above...

Dear brothers and sisters, ...who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention? ...who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

*Thanks to friends at Abiding Christ Church for sharing these thoughts.

It Takes a Village...

February is American Heart Month. How appropriate since February is also the month of Valentine's Day, celebrating the heart's favorite emotion -- LOVE. Well, this year American Heart Month takes on new meaning because the "love of my life" had a heart attack six months ago.  So the last six months have brought lots of changes to both of our lives, but especially his.  And cardiac rehab has been a big part of these past six months.  As many heart patients know, cardiac rehab takes a village...

It has taken a village of medical personnel.  There were the paramedics who responded when we called 9-1-1; the doctors who did the heart cath; the nurses who cared for John in the hospital; the physical therapists and technicians who exercised and educated him so he could find his "new normal"...and the list goes on and on.

Then there were the neighbors, family, and friends who prayed, jumped in to help, and emailed, facebooked, called, and sent cards with words of encouragement. There were also fellow heart patients, past and present, who empathized and spurred John on.

It has taken all of these folks using their expertise, gifting, and care to enable John to recover from a "widow-maker" level heart attack.  Now he can live in relative good health for as long as God ordains.  We thank God for the village He's provided.

All of this makes me think of the village the Lord has provided for our "spiritual cardiac rehab."

Through our personal heart relationship with the Lord Christ, we have received a new heart and new spirit, so we are complete in Him.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you....And I will put my Spirit within you...  Ezekiel 36:26-27

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2Cor 5:17

But while we are living in our broken humanness on this earth, we need our minds, affections, and wills continually renewed.  And in God's eternal plan in Christ Jesus, it takes a village...the Body of Christ, the community of believers, His church.

Our minds get darkened by the enemy's lies.  Our affections get wooed by the "sweet-talkin'" world.  Our wills are weakened and pulled away from God and His ways.  And all of this even while we have the indwelling life of God in Christ through the Spirit.

Oswald Chambers (July 12, My Utmost for His Highest) says it well:

THE SPIRITUAL SOCIETY "Till we all come . . unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:13

Rehabilitation means the putting back of the whole human race into the relationship God designed it to be in, and this is what Jesus Christ did in Redemption... The rehabilitation of the human race on Jesus Christ's plan means the realization of Jesus Christ in corporate life as well as in individual life.

Jesus Christ sent apostles and teachers for this purpose - that the corporate Personality might be realized. We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy spiritual retirement; we are here so to realize Jesus Christ that the Body of Christ may be built up. Am I building up the Body of Christ, or am I looking for my own personal development only?

The essential thing is my personal relationship to Jesus Christ - "That I may know Him." To fulfill God's design means entire abandonment to Him. Whenever I want things for myself, the relationship is distorted. It will be a big humiliation to realize that I have not been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ, but only about realizing what He has done for me.

So our growth in Christ not for our own spiritual "pleasure."  We all need each other for our "spiritual cardiac rehab" on this earth.

How does this work?

  1. Connect to a community of believers who know and love the Lord, His Word, and His people. Today, there are many options:  from small groups to house churches to mega-congregations; from contemporary & casual to formal and even liturgical. The important thing is...where does GOD want you.  No matter what you choose, it won't be perfect.  As one Bible teacher I know used to say, "If you find the perfect church, don't join it...because you'll ruin it."  :)
  2. Give to & receive from others in the body of Christ. I love the story in John 13 where Jesus washed His disciples feet.  Most of us immediately get the lesson that we are to "wash each others' feet" by serving them. But tucked in that passage is the added lesson that we need to let our feet be washed by our brothers and sisters.  When Peter protested about the Lord washing his feet, Jesus responded: Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.   John 13:8 It dawned on me one day when reading that verse that perhaps part of what Jesus was saying was...if you don't let your brothers and sisters serve and minister to you, you are rejecting ME..."no part with ME!"
  3. Use whatever gifts the Lord has given to build up one another and glorify God and His grace. One of my favorite Bible words is "manifold."  It means various, multi-colored, variegated (like yarn), multi-faceted (like diamonds)...and it's used in my favorite verses about spiritual gifts:

    As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

So each of us is a "facet" in the brilliant diamond of God's glorious grace when we serve in the fulness of the Spirit in the gifting He's given us.  What a privilege!  And what a protection as we walk through this sin-cursed world.

Don't try to do it on your own, dear brother and sister.  We need each other in the Body of Christ!  As a friend once said when going through some dark trials in his family, "The Body of Christ is at its best when a believer suffers!"  Why?  Because we are part of each other.   And the Lord's multi-faceted grace ministers through His people!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bible Students:

If you would like to read and study further about spiritual gifts, look at these passages:

Romans 12:3-13

1 Cor 12:4-31

Eph 4:7-16

Be sure to note what the goal or purpose (anticipated outcome) of the gifts is in each of these passages.  Our unity in diversity is a beautiful thing to behold!

Love's Abiding Harvest

jan at the harvest
jan at the harvest

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. John 15:9

When I returned home from California a couple weeks ago, I began meditating on John 15 from the "harvest" point of view.  Though my daytime thoughts were going in a different direction, my waking thought became a word from the Lord:  Abide in My love.

I visualized the Lord on His way to Gethsemane with his disciples.  He had just showed His love for them by washing their feet at supper and sharing His last loving instructions and encouragements before He went to the Cross.

Then Jesus and His beloved followers walked together through a vineyard:  I am the vine...you are the branches....whoever abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing...Just as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:5, 9-10

I couldn't get away from it...abide in My love! Then I realized, it's all about love.  It always is!

Deep in every human heart is the desire to love and be loved.  And it is also deep in the heart of God....because GOD IS LOVE!

ripe grapes
ripe grapes

So a harvest of fruitfulness is all about abiding in HIS LOVE!WHOSE LOVE?

The Father's love for the Son.

As the Father has loved me... John 15:9a

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:20a

The Son's love for the Father.

I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31

I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

The Son's love for us.

...so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9b

...when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

WHAT KIND OF LOVE?

The kind of love Jesus is talking about is agape...God's love, unconditional andsacrificial.  It's the kind that esteems another more highly than himself.  It's a love that can express a oneness of will and purpose, because it's not primarily "touchy-feely" but rather a choice of the will.  And it's hard to find on this earth.

It's the love that moved the Father to send the Son to the Cross on our behalf.  It's the love that motivated Jesus to always do as His Father commanded.  It's the love that moved the heart of the Son to sacrifice Himself for us.

And it's this very love in which we are to abide!

HOW DO WE ABIDE IN HIS LOVE?

Jesus gives us the answer:

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

So Jesus calls us to the same obedient life He lived...not by trying hard to live it, but by living with His obedient life.  Let me explain...

Because of the abiding life union of branch in the Vine, the obedient life of the Son of God courses through our spiritual veins.  Will we live from that from that Obedient Life?  That's always the question, isn't it?

WHAT ARE HIS COMMANDS?

They are those written in chapter and verse in the Scriptures...and on our hearts.

They are also the little Holy Spirit nudges that tell us to say a kind word or refrain from saying an unkind word....to pick up the phone and check on a friend...to stop and help someone in need instead of going our merry way.  Because in the context of John 13-17, the new command of the Lord is to love one another as He has loved us.

Or it may mean to stay away from a certain relationship or terminate one because it is ungodly and destructive.

His word may also come saying, "Put aside your own agenda and spend some time with Me, feeding on my Word and abiding in My love."

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?

  • I can experience friendship with God. Jesus said that He has called us friends.  But friendships can't be just one-sided.  That's true in human relationships, and it's true in friendship with the Lord.  Jesus tells us that when we obey Him, we are His friends.You are my friends if you do what I command you.  John 15:14
  • I can use His name with confidence in prayer to the Father. I can be a "name dropper" in the throne room of heaven :)If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you....whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.John 15:7,16
  • I can be in on family secrets. This is the same perk the Son has in relationship with the Father!No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing;but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.    John 15:15
  • I can bear fruit that remains. What I do and who I am can have eternal results because of my life union with Christ, abiding in His love.By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples...I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... John 15:8,16
  • I can experience exuberant joy :)These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Abide in His love, O beloved branch!

Because it's all about love...it always is!

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1John 5:3

We love because He first loved us! 1John 4:19

Here is a moving presentation of the Gospel of John.  About 8:50 minutes into this segment, you will see John 15.  Rest, enjoy, and abide in His love.


Kaden the student
Kaden the student

A project for Bible students:  Go through the epistle of 1 John and notice how the Elder Apostle John, years after writing his gospel, uses the same words and concepts...but with more depth.  Look for love, abide, keep His commandments...any others?

"__________ One Another"

Let brotherly love continue... Hebrews 13:1 [This is the Bible study section of Am I My Brother's Keeper? ]

Our Abba Father's desire for us His children is that we would be devoted to one another, no matter how much we may disagree and even dislike each other.  We are in the same blood line, the same family!

The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together. This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves! 1John 3:14-16 MESSAGE

We have a connection with each other that can't be broken, whether we like it or not!  It's a connection as deep as union with each other in the Triune God!  Just as in a human family, the primary connection a child has is with the parents (and thus with each other), so too in the family of God.  Listen to how Jesus prayed the night before He died:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that THEY also may be IN US, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-23

As I've been meditating on my union with Christ and my brothers and sisters, I've revisited what are called the One another verses.  Maybe you would like to join me in revisiting them, or perhaps visiting them for the first time.  Then if you care to, pray with me:

Father, empower me through the indwelling Christ, Your Perfect Son, to love my brothers and sisters.  Love them through me.  Understand them through me.  Care about their spiritual, emotional, physical welfare through me, O God.  In Christ's Loving Name.  Amen!

John 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

Acts 7:26 " On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

Acts 15:39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;

1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

[from Am I My Brother's Keeper]

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

the grandboys dec 2010

the grandboys dec 2010

Let brotherly love continue... Hebrews 13:1

I have four grandsons.  They are the darling-est little guys!  I learn so much from them -- about fun, love, life, human nature, and language development (I'm an English teacher).  Above all, through them I learn about our Heavenly Father and how He relates to us His children in the family of God.

Kaden & Eli Oct 2011

Kaden & Eli Oct 2011

Now these little guys come in two's, two sets of brothers.

Evan Carter Oct 2011

Evan Carter Oct 2011

I've told stories about them in various blogs.  This time I'd like to tell two stories about one set of the brothers (Evan and Carter) -- stories that encourage me in my relationship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

"The Interpreter" -- Understanding Each Other

One day, I was driving Evan and Carter home after spending time with them at my house.

Carter says from his car seat in the back, "Babci (my Polish grandma name), where we goin?"

Me:  "I'm taking you home, hon'."

Carter:  "I don't wanna go home!"

Me:  "Daddy will be home soon!"

Carter:  "Daddy?  I wuv him!"

angry birds in disguise

angry birds in disguise

Carter (again):  "I wanna go animal wode!"

Me:  "Animal Road?"

Carter:  "No! animal wode!"

I repeat:  "Animal Road?"  Then back and forth a couple of times.

Finally Carter is in tears...so I turn to the family interpreter, Evan.

Me:  "Evan, what is Carter saying?"

Evan: "He means 'Shade Wode'."

Me:  "Shade Road?"

Evan: "NO! Shade Wode!"

I repeat:  "Shade Road?"  Now Evan is in tears, which is very unlike him.  So I figured I just threw him over the edge!

Me:  "Evan, hon', use different words, like you usually do, to explain what Carter is saying."  This is the amazing thing Evan has done for a long time.  He rarely gets frustrated if I don't understand what he is saying.  He patiently uses synonyms. Amazing!

Evan:  "You know, it's by the Nike store far away."

Me: "I still don't know...Animal wode?  Shade wode?  What is 'wode'?"

Evan:  "You know, Babci, 'He's got the whole wode in His Hands'!"

I laughed and then cried!  Here the first thing sweet little 4 year old Evan thought of to explain the word "world"  was a song he had learned about his Creator God.

Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies, you have prepared praise.
Matthew 21:16

By the way, the place Carter wanted to go to was "Traders World,” a huge, crazy flea market with the statues of animals on the roof...thus "Animal Wode"

"The Evangelist" -- Caring for Each Other

About a week ago, the boys were at my house.  I had saved them a cool ad from a party store, showing every costume imaginable and desirable to a 3 & 4 year old.  But I couldn't find it.  So Evan, Carter, and Babci proceeded to search every room to see where I had put it -- to no avail!  Finally as a last resort...I prayed!  "Jesus, please find the ad!"

Carter:  "Babci, Jesus isn't here!"

Me:  " Oh, hon', He is!  That's the beautiful thing...Jesus is everywhere."

Evan steps in:  "Carter,  you know where ELSE he is?"  Evan very dramatically points to inside his little chest! "You need to get him in YOU.  You need to pray!"

Then to me, Evan says:  "Carter doesn't have Him!"

So I pick up Carter and put him on my lap, thinking this is the time to start explaining the gospel to little Carter.  Maybe little C is ready to "pray the sinner's prayer."

I begin telling him that inside his body is his real person, his heart.   He can ask Jesus to forgive his sins and come into His heart.

Carter, "Inside my belly [pointing]?  Inside my bottom [pointing again with a giggle]?

I figure by this time, things are deteriorating. 

So I turn to Evan, "I don't think Carter is ready yet...we need to pray for him !"

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4

By the way, we did find the ad.  Carter said to me, "In your purse, Babci?"  Sure enough!

The parents of both of these sets of brothers desire that these little guys grow up to be "best buds." And they seem to be well on their way!  But that doesn't always seem to be happening when kids are growing up!

Trust me, I know!  I'm the oldest of 7 and always wished I were an only child...like the time, my youngest sister Nancy threatened to run away from home, and I was helping her pack!  But today each of us would DIE for the other...truly!  Why?  Because we belong to each other...we are in the same blood line, the same family!

And isn't that our Abba Father's desire for us His children...that we would be devoted to one another ("best buds," so to speak), no matter how much we disagree and even dislike each other?  We are in the same blood line, the same family!

The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together. This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves! 1John 3:14-16 MESSAGE

We have a connection with each other that can't be broken, whether we like it or not!  It's a connection as deep as union with each other in the Triune God!  Just as in a human family, the primary connection a child has is with the parents (and thus with each other), so too in the family of God.  Listen to how Jesus prayed the night before He died:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that THEY also may be IN US, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-23

As I've been meditating on my union with Christ and my brothers and sisters, I've revisited what are called the One another verses.  Maybe you would like to join me in revisiting them, or perhaps visiting them for the first time.  Then if you care to, pray with me:

Father, empower me through the indwelling Christ, Your Perfect Son, to love my brothers and sisters.  Love them through me.  Understand them through me.  Care about their spiritual, emotional, physical welfare through me, O God.  In Christ's Loving Name.  Amen!

John 13:14

"If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

John 13:34

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

Acts 7:26 " On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

Acts 15:39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing oneanother with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;

1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.