Love God, Yourself and Neighbour

lovegodandneighbour

(But the arrows need to go both ways!)

Love is the most powerful force in the universe.  Love is the only way of fulfilling a relationship. Without love, relationships cannot exist and without  relationship, there is no need for love. For love to change the world, three relationships are necessary:

  • Loving God
  • Loving ourselves
  • Loving our neighbour

Jesus was asked the question: “What is the most important commandment?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NIV)

God’s plan is to change the world in which we live.  Not through exercising his power, not by commanding us to live better lives, not through fear of punishment but by using his love, enabling us to love him, to love ourselves and to love those around us. [Read more…]

Tell the nations that love has won

carillonChristine and I belong to a choir.  We have just held a number of Christmas concerts and we sang this carol among others. It starts with typical words about Christmas bells and “Peace on earth”.   The carol goes on to say:

“Tell the nations that love has won”

But then suddenly comes this verse:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth”, I said,
“for hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, goodwill to men”.

[Read more…]

Optimism and the Kingdom of God

sun-and-wheatMy last blog was about nationalism and racism and how the future is effected by them. When we look at the world we could be very gloomy.  But basically I am an optimist because I believe the ultimate future is what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus taught us to pray in what is called “The Lord’s Prayer”, he says we should pray:

Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 NIV)

When we use those words we are asking God to rule on the earth in the same way that his will is always done in heaven. In fact we are firstly asking God to rule in our own attitudes, words and actions. Then we are asking God to extend his rule over the whole of humanity. But the way God rules is very different from the way earthly dictators have power over the citizens of their country. [Read more…]

Optimistic or Pessimistic future

Trump and ClintonI believe that the world is standing at the crossroads. Are we moving to a more united world where the problems of war, extreme poverty and disease are reduced or even eliminated? Or are we are moving towards a world divided by nationalism and racism resulting in war, economic disaster, deprivation and misery? [Read more…]

Jesus breaks religious rules

redXAs we live in an imperfect society we need some rules and laws to combat the worst forms of evil.  Religion has its own sets of rules, but Jesus showed us that if we follow his way, love transcends rules. He was born into a Jewish society which had built up a complex set of rules to moderate and control how people lived their everyday lives. We will see in this article how Jesus broke many of the rules and traditions that religion imposed. [Read more…]

Faith: a window to God

sun room windowFaith is like a window. We can think of a window in many ways.  We could concentrate on the construction, the design, the curtains, the glass but fail to realise that the purpose of a window is to actually look out and enjoy the view.  A window brings the outside in and exposes the inside to the outside.

Faith is a window which enables us to see God clearly and enables us to have a direct relationship with him.  God can also see us clearly and yet because of his great love for us does not look upon our imperfections.

Religion, on the other hand, can prevent us from really seeing God.  We argue about the window style, and say that unless our window conforms in construction or rituals it is inferior or even not a window at all.  Religion puts obstacles in the way of seeing God.  It makes rules and regulations and says that unless we conform we cannot know God. [Read more…]

What is wrong with Religion?

religions
When I was a child I attended Christian churches, which, although they preached the good news of the Gospel, nevertheless taught that we had to strive all of our lives to please God and conform to certain rules.  So I was taught not to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, visit the cinema or to dance.  We had turned Jesus into a religion.

Now we can drink as long as we don’t get drunk, and we can even dance in church.  However there is still a risk of encouraging religion by expecting people to conform to our standards and rules.

For two thousand years, we have turned the good news into a religion.  The process started with the early church when some were told they needed to be circumcised to really be saved.  Others were told that they mustn’t eat meat which had been used as an offering to other religions.  Others were side-lined into worshipping angels. Some tried to reconcile the Old Testament law with their new-found faith. [Read more…]

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