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Week 2 March 2024, Devotion Part 2

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer.  2 Corinthians 5:16

Tragically, the contemporary church is not immune to that mindset. In its fold are too many who are Christians in name, but not nature. God is celebrated as the enhancer of life and human potential. He owes His people happiness. When death calls, a “better place” awaits the churched and otherwise good. God is deemed lucky to wind up in close proximity to such shining lights of humanity.

From now on, therefore… the church stands at the crossroads where Calvary and culture intersect. We must prayerfully prize a “wretch” like Paul who unflinchingly promotes the offense of the cross. And we must prayerfully mourn for our good, religious loved ones who decline the life that flows from Christ’s shed blood. A flood tide of courage awaits the confessing church of today. Redemption is on the march. Our point of no return beckons. Let all lesser loyalties bleed out!  (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: “Love is love.”  Is there shock value in this statement by a celebrity with “strong Southern Baptist roots”?  After winning an award, she thanked “Jesus, God, and everyone else.”  On the surface it may strike us as fair, because we love desserts, pets, clothes, Jeopardy!, nice weather, Yosemite, fantastic finds at the discount store, wine…  You’ve heard the joke where a couple sips the stuff and she says, “I love you.”  The husband asks if she is talking to him, and the wife points to the Cabernet in her glass.  When the “influencer” on TV says that “love is love,” she endorses same-sex marriage, confident that her tolerant public is on board with it.

As demonstrated above, the English language is fully on board with pairing “love” with butterflies and meatballs. The New Testament writers distinguished between four kinds of “love.”  Storge, empathy bond; Philia, friend bond; Eros, romantic love; Agape, unconditional “God” love.  As both an inveterate word hound and lover of hymns, I feel like giving my readers two choices.  Either come with me into Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to check out hundreds of “love” references, but risk a strongly exhausted cerebrum.  Or stir yourself to look up Charles Wesley’s 1747 hymn, “Love divine, all loves excelling…”  (He wrote over 6,500 worship songs.)  One Concordance entry jumps out at me, and I feel that the famous fisherman with strong Galilean roots is tugging at my elbow.  The passage won’t be praised on American Idol, but when placed and prized in our heart, will grow and ripen the fruit of righteousness.  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever…the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you…He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:15-17;21).  2 Corinthians 5


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