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January 2021 From the Desk of Dave





God’s Word and way are not complicated. Sometimes we like to think it is complicated. I saw a picture of the healthcare legislation that was passed during the Obama administration (Obamacare), and the caption stated that the paperwork associated with that law was stacked over eight feet tall. Dread; that’s complicated. The Bible alone is about an inch or two thick depending on the paper and print. The wisdom from God for all of life in one small book. To make it more simple, the Lord tells us that the Scriptures are trying to teach us just one thing-To Love! That seems simple. It is - but, here’s one little complication. He wants us to love Him and our neighbor. Ugh! Complicated. Mat 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” A few thoughts here: The second is like the first; If we love Jesus, we’ll love our neighbor. If we’re loving our neighbor, we’re loving Jesus. The Father wants his children to love each other. We’re called to love our neighbor as thyself. Huh? The Scripture tells me I already know how to love!!! I’m loving thyself! That’s a good start. Now I just need to love you like I love thyself. The problem with loving you the way I love thyself is I’m probably going to have to elevate you a bit, which means knocking thyself down a little (or maybe more). That’s not easy. It’s not natural for us to love others as much as we love ourselves. Even those that I meet and counsel who are in a serious hurt are struggling with this. They may say that they’re looking out for others more than themselves, but their bitterness comes from their love of self and anger over the fact that they are having to elevate and love someone else more than they care to.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

It’s our love of self that gets in the way of our love for our neighbor and the Lord. When I problem solve at A Ray of Hope, parent my children or try to see through my own problems it always comes down to this one issue! I need to love myself a little bit less and my neighbor a little bit more. Humility is the soil of which all fruit is borne. Lifelong struggle, but we must be gaining on it. I have found something that helps in this area. If I can come to a greater love of Jesus, then my love of my neighbor comes more naturally out of my love of Jesus. Conversely, if I’m not loving my neighbor, then it shows I’m not in love with Jesus like I think I am. So, the question needs to be asked; How do I love Jesus more? I’ll answer that with a few questions; How can I find the Lord that I don’t seek? How can I love someone I don’t know? How can I love someone I don’t spend time with? You can’t! The more time I spend with Jesus, the more I love Jesus. He’s pure everything. The more I see that in Him, the more I’m inspired to honor Him. I find that desire to love Him is the motivator to try to put away my sin and to love my neighbor. If I try to focus on commands, I fail. If I try to focus on loving my irritating neighbors, I get irritated. But if I focus on Jesus and see Him more clearly, He inspires me to try to be like Him. I know, I have a way to go. Whatever mess we are in, our only hope in seeing change is seeing Jesus. Our flesh does not contain the power or wherewithal to bring about Christ like change. We can’t do it on our own. The Lord tells us in Matthew 6:21; “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The only way we can get the heart that will serve us as we desire in our inward being is to treasure Jesus, then there will your heart be also!!! Pursue Him, seek to treasure Him, your heart will follow. It is here that we can forgive, seek forgiveness, stop the endless cycle of destruction and sin and begin to rise above the flesh and gain the elusive victory that we so long for. The love of Jesus is our hope.






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