Monday, December 30, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, December 30, 2019

Real Love Is Sacrificial

Colleen Shalby, a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote an article on December 26, 2019, entitled 
Father dies on Christmas Eve trying to save daughter who was swept out to sea.  Although the daughter lived, this father, Paul Lewis, gave his all for his child.  On the same day, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon wrote in the New York Post another heart-breaking article, entitled California dad died trying to save his kids in Christmas tree blaze.  Without regard for his own safety, Juan Moreno, gave his life trying to save his three children all of whom perished.

We are in the holiday season celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  When we hear of the sacrifice of Jorge and Juan, we can begin to appreciate the great love that Jesus had for us when He laid aside His celestial garments and came to earth for the express purpose of dying for us.  He endured the pain and shame of the rugged cross all for the joy of accomplishing His purpose for us (Hebrews 12:2).

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son as a sacrifice for a sinful world (1 John 3:1, John 3:16).  What love the Father had for us!  God looked beyond all of our weaknesses, imperfections, disobedience, cantankerousness, and saved all who will accept His sacrifice from a burning hell and the Lake of Fire.  

This holiday season let us remember the Jorges and the Juans and all of those who lay down their lives for others exhibiting the greatest love (John 15:12-14).  Let us be willing to be sacrificial towards one and another and be concerned about the well-being of others and not simply our own.  Let us love each other indeed and not simply in words.

Hebrews 12:2
Amplified Bible (AMP)
[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

1 John 3:1
New International Version (NIV)
1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:12-14
New International Version (NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

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