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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Future is... Bright? A long ways away? No. The Future is now!

Sometimes I think about thinking about the future. It makes me feel like I am overwhelmed. The future is so appealing to me. Or at least the future that could be but the secret to happiness in the future... is contentedness in the present. True joy cannot be attained by wishing for it eventually, it is a decision to be made in each and every moment.

I feel like many of the things we wish we had emotionally could easily( that is a term used loosely for lack of a better one) be produced in us by our own choice.

It is not automatic, but a process of change does not begin until A) You choose to begin and B)You act.

Love. I will use it as an example for two reasons. For one, it is the most important thing ever. For two, it also may be the hardest thing to master.

Let's start with a definition of love. In the Bible, love is the central theme because "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16)

The gospel has a verse in it. Probably the most famous verse in modern culture; it is John 3:16.
As most know, it says "For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

That is love. Can you comprehend it?

Think for a moment here with me. Who is the one person on this earth you love more than any other? You got that person. Now imagine him or her. Now imagine them beaten, bruised, broken, and bloodied. Visualize them hanging on a cross. Picture that person- your friend, sister, grandpa, boyfriend, wife, child- being crucified.
Now compound that by thinking of some people you don't particularly like. People who are cruel to you for no good reason. Ok. Got that?
Now imagine that the reason your loved one is dying right now.. is for those people. So that they can live, and so that everybody else can live. The person you love more than anyone else, dying for the world. Can you see that pain, that sacrifice required? can you feel what level of love that would take to allow that to happen? That is God's love.

The word "love" has several Greek counterparts.
Eros also called marital love, is passionate love.
Philia also called brotherly love.
Agape is a divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love.
Jesus says that to love is the greatest commandment.

Paul writes in his first letter to the Church in Corinth.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

In 2 Peter 1:3-7, Christ's servant and apostle says,

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."
These are the links in a chain of the Christian faith. These are the qualities we must find in ourselves and let God create in us. Without them, we have a dead claim. We are lukewarm. We are not Christians at all. We are posers hoping to sneak into heaven.
Brotherly kindness
and finally
They build on each other, Faith leads to goodness which leads to Knowledge which leads to Self-control which leads to Perseverance which leads to Godliness which leads to Brotherly kindness which ultimately culminates in Love.
Do all things in love. Without the pure love of God as your motivation, life and everything in it are meaningless. Take what you will from what I wrote, but if you only remember one thing, remember to choose love.

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