The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “O”

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

Obedience is better than sacrifice. I Samuel 15:22 Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Words don’t tell how much we love, obedience does.

The first king of Israel, Saul, talked like he loved God and wanted to lead the people of Israel into a closer relationship with God. But his actions often spoke much louder that this king’s love was really for himself and his principal attitude in leading was self-preservation.

Ultimately his duplicity cost him the kingdom, his life and the life of his son, Jonathan, who by the way was the better man. (See I Samuel 31:6)

The next king of Israel, David, understood the intrinsic relationship between saying he loved God and acting like (Obedience) he love God. Was he perfect? By no means. As king his sins were very public and had far reaching consequences. But his heart panted for God like a deer for water. The Psalms are full of David’s longing to show his love through obedience.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165

O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97

I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Psalm 119:113

Of the 176 verses in Psalm 119, at least 90% of them speak of God’s commandments, or precepts, or law, or words, or judgments, or testimonies, or statutes, etc… The entire purpose of this Psalm is to show the important connection between knowing God and not only obeying Him, but having reference and respect for His commandments.

Two kings. One’s actions betrayed what was really in his heart. The other portrayed what was in his heart with his actions (Obedience.)

It’s no different today. We can’t say we love God and still continually disobey His clear commands and principles from His Word. Nor can we say we love one another when we do not hold each other accountable to “obey rather than sacrifice.”

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 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. Hebrews 10:23-25

God does not save us so we can continue to do as we please. (Proverbs 21:2)

He saved us so we can do His good pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5-12)

So which king are we? After all, as children of the King of Kings we are royalty. Do we act more like royal brats or royal nobility?

 

Photo Credit: Margaret Richards \ http://richardsandcompany.smugmug.com/

National Honey Month

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

I Love Honey!

I know I say that about a lot of things, but it’s because I enjoy life so much and I embrace the many good things God has given us mere mortals to enjoy. And, my dear blogger friends, that includes honey. And so, honey must be the foundation for this week’s One Another Living Challenge.

I thought about challenging you to include honey in your daily diet in some form or fashion, but you might conclude I am on the payroll of some local beekeeper’s union.  So that is not the challenge,. But adding honey to your diet won’t kill you, it probably will help you and it sure is tasty. And it is best, or so I’ve heard, to consume locally “grown” honey to help with allergies. Honest, I’m not on anyone’s “honey payroll.”  I Just Love Honey!

Then I thought about challenging you to express to your “Honey”, whomever that may be, and in whatever creative way that comes to mind, how much you love them, cherish them and honor them.  If that were this week’s challenge, I would actually challenge you to do that everyday for the next 7 days and just see what positive changes will come about simply because you actually express how special your “Honey” is to you. But, alas, that is not this week’s challenge.

Then I thought about challenging you to think wisely about our Father’s command to Adam, and through generations…to us, to rule over the all that is in the Earth. If this were the challenge this week I would ask you to do some serious soul searching as to just what kind of “rulers” we’ve been over this precious gift called, Earth.

I would ask this because of the perilous plight of the honey bee and I would give you a little education on how their dwindling numbers are already causing difficulty for our world and if it continues will effect many food sources, not just honey. (No I’m not a tree hugger or a paid lobbyist for the honey federation.) I’m just concerned that we, especially born-again believers, are so paranoid to be associated with radicals, that we aren’t very good “rulers.” We take our environment and world for granted, and just like any relationship, when we take them for granted they usually go down the tubes.

“God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 (NASB)

But, alas, the challenge to be “good rulers” is not this week’s challenge. But, you can Google honey bees and see for yourself…just because.

No, none of the above is this week’s challenge.

This week’s challenge is to take time to connect in a meaningful way with your grandparents or if they are no longer living, your children’s grandparents (your parent’s) or if you don’t have kids…somebody’s grandparents.

What do grandparents have to do with honey? Everything!

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting with my dad’s parents at our kitchen table in the mid-afternoon for tea. My grandparents were British through and through and it just would not do to go through an afternoon without tea. My tea was mostly milk with a dab of tea in it, but Grandpa H. liked his tea strong and Grandma H. liked her tea with just a little cream and 2 lumps of sugar. At least that’s what I remember. I was all of five or six so some of it is fuzzy.

What I do remember very clearly was always and I mean always fresh honey was available and liberally used on whatever cracker, bagel or baguette was offered at the time. And I clearly remember Grandpa and I  dabbing a little on our cookies when Grandma wasn’t looking. It was our little secret. Grandpa loved his honey. And so did I!

Grandpa died while living with us. One day my brother walked into their living area and chatted with Grandpa for awhile, probably about sports. He was sitting in his favorite chair. I’ve often wondered why people, especially grandparents, have favorite chairs. Anyway, they finished their conversation. Then within seconds of each other my brother went out to play whatever sport was in season and Grandma returned from the bedroom. She found her husband eternally asleep.

Grandma moved in with her daughter after that and I never had daily “tea” again. I missed it and I missed them. That was oh so many ages ago, but the precious memory of being delighted with tea and honey and the company of my grandparents is fresh and sweet every time I pop open the lid of my honey bear!

Don’t let a precious memory pass you by. It was Grandparents Day on Sunday, but I think our grandparents are worth more than just one day, don’t you?

I’d love to hear about a precious memory of your grandparents and how they impacted your life.

The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “M”

By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin

Make love the principle thing.

(This post is an excerpt from my to be published book, “The Art of Loving One Another.” It challenges me once again to keep truth and love wrapped tightly together in all I think, do and say.)

John 13:34 & 35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34 & 35

Love trumps everything! It trumps gender and ethnic diversity. It trumps cultural differences. It trumps religious preferences. It even trumps political affiliations. Do I dare say that in an election year?

We’ve gotten so consumed with being right that we’ve forgotten about being in love.

That’s right! We are supposed to be in love with each other. Born again disciples of Jesus Christ are supposed to love other born again disciples of Jesus Christ the same way He loved us.

Christ’s love trumps all! ALL! I know it’s not polite to yell (all caps), but we’ve got to get this right and soon.

That means the Baptist crowd down the street that is singing out of hymnals should trot on down to the Independent church across town, join in with their band and raise their voices to a common Savior. And the Mega church up town that only has “church” on Sunday morning might want to send a worship team once a month to the little Methodist church just outside of town to assist in their Sunday night teaching service.

Whew! Wouldn’t all that turn a staunch old religious community upside down? There might even be some disciple sightings along the way.

I am picking on these groups because I’ve worshiped with all of them and lived to tell about it. My point is the Body of Christ is fractured into all these sub-groups because, in large part, we are not in love with one another. The sick and dying world around us can’t tell a true disciple of Jesus Christ from a religious bigot because we are not in love with one another. We need to face that fact head on and turn the tide around.

It’s not the purpose of this book to get into discussions of religious preference. And I am not degrading the importance of such discussions. I have very strong views and convictions on a variety of topics and not necessarily the ones I randomly pointed out here.

All I ask is for you to pick your topic. There’s plenty of controversy to choose from. Better yet, ask God to pick the topic for you and ask yourself, do I love the my brother or sister in Christ who’s view on _________ (you fill in the blank) is different from mine?

I have my filled in blanks and you have yours. Now what do we do about them?

How do we love within and around the filled in blanks?

When we figure out the answers to these questions then men (and women) will know we are Jesus’ disciples and we will bring honor and glory to our Savior instead of grief and sorrow.

Photo By: Margaret Richards | http://richardsandcompany.smugmug.com/