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Simple?

December 11, 2016

Greetings,

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  1 Peter 4: 8-10

Is it all really that simple?  Does it all really boil down to just love, hospitality and grace?  I believe the answer to those questions is yes.  Like I have said before though, it is not automatic.  We need to actively choose to love others deeply, offer hospitality freely and to faithfully offer grace to others.

Love is a verb and it needs to be applied personally and with very much care.  Nothing else covers sins like His love does.  It would all be very much easier if He only called us to love those who were entirely lovable, but the fact is that HE wants us to love everyone even those who are difficult to love.  My dear friend Glenn Kaiser says it something like this….”The way we love God the most is how we love those we like the least.”   Ain’t that the truth?  Furthermore, how well do we love those who have sinned against us?  Do we withhold our love from them or do we extend our hand to them in love?  Big questions that are not at all easy to answer.  I think we should love liberally and judge sparingly.

Hospitality is definitely a gift, but we are all called to offer it to others even if it is not our personal gifting.  Truth is that our hearts and homes should be open to everyone.  We should gladly serve others and offer them all we have to give.  Jesus held nothing back.  Not while feeding the multitudes or by going to the cross for us all.  Yet somehow we still find it difficult to even offer a cup of cold water in His name.  We all need to allow Him to soften our hearts so that we can eventually learn to love and serve others as well as He did.

We need to love and serve others in a wide and holistic manner, offering His grace in whatever form necessary.  Jesus lays it out quite clearly in Matthew 25..we should be serving and loving those who are hungry, thirsty, strange, naked, sick and in prison.  And I am certain His list is even more comprehensive than that.  We are meant to give grace to others no matter their station in life.

We were created to offer Love, Hospitality and Grace to both the washed and the unwashed. This is our calling, but are we fulfilling it?  Do we rush to the aid of others or do we hide as they pass us by?  Most of us do not even treat those close to us with such love and grace.  That saddens my heart.  In Christ we are capable of so much more than that.  Christ in us is THE Hope of Glory for both us and others.  Jesus wants us to be givers and lovers.  I do not want to settle for anything less than that.  My heart is sometimes selfish, but today I am choosing to give and love.  Anyone want to join me?

Love and ….

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

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19 Comments
  1. Great word Kirk. Something that has bothered me for along time is how the church has offered humanitarian services (food, clothing, education, etc) but -many times-only with the ulterior motive of evangelism (read that church growth). It sounds like this: “Come to a service and hear about Jesus and we will then meet your needs.” Meaning, if you don’t come to hear us preach we won’t meet your needs. It is like a worm with a hook in it. The church should offer the grace and mercy of meeting human needs, not as an outreach program, but as the means of demonstrating the love Christ. In Papua New Guinea I worked with an City Mission for 18 months. Our vision statement was Sharing the Love of God and Meeting Human Needs. I think they did it better and with more balance than anyone else I have personally seen. Blessings!

    • Yes Steve I agree, meet the needs of folks with no agenda other than sharing the Love of Christ. No MANipulation!

    • Judy Baker permalink

      I believe Love is the greatest commandment . I truly love (agape) mankind. I do find it hard to repeatedly be abused mentally emotionally and physically by certain in law family members. Isn’t it wise to avoid such people ? If we are together in a family gathering I am pleasant to them. But I don’t go to their homes to be insulted and cussed out even attacked. Some people have mental problems.
      I know they have a guilty conscience. Instead of apologizing they act violent. We must be calm and not act violent back. I always pray for God to forgive them as they don’t know what they are doing when in such a state. I thank God for keeping me safe. It does hurt my heart how they treat both Tom and myself as long as we have been married 59 years in Dec 20, 1957. Jealousy is what made Satan want to like God and all the people to follow him. He is a liar and the father of the lie. Tricking Eve into eating of the tree of knowledge – good and bad so she could judge for herself and be like God. I see how bad jealousy is and why God hates jealousy n violence.

      • Judy, thank you for sharing. Some people who are toxic we must love from a safe distance at times. At times we even need to avoid those who would seek to do us harm. That is why I pray about those I encounter and allow Jesus to sort out all the details of whether to love them up close or from a far. I allow Jesus to set up divine appointments and interactions to avoid making mistakes in my flesh.

  2. Mercy fulgencio permalink

    If our love tank is empty, we have nothing to give at all. Let us allow God’s love to fill and overflow us so it will run down to others.

    • Thanks for sharing Mercy. May Christ’s Love overflow from our hearts to reach and touch others in amazing ways.

  3. Sue heumann permalink

    Good words, guys. That isn’t really common, it’s supernatural love. I am up for using Gods love in me for others…..sounds like Christmas to me!

    • You are right Sue, we really shouldn’t settle for common and natural when Christ has given us access to the Supernatural. So we can give love generously.

  4. People attack me about “loving others” and accuse me of being soft and mushy – they have no idea how hard it is to love others. Especially, those who say grace is all soft and mushy – I wonder if they ever really met Jesus at times? Peace!

    • Carlos, I so understand and can relate first hand of what you share here. People either forget or don’t understand that “Mercy triumphs over judgement”.

  5. What an interesting discussion. To me I think that motives are an important factor. For example, I could selfishly help the poor in order to try to gain more crowns in Heaven. But to me that sounds just a bit selfish and lacking true agape – which in 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “it is not self-seeking”. So, if my motive to help is actually selfish, then it may look good to others, but it may actually be more like 1 Corinthians 13:3 – “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” And on top of this, there seems to be a complexity, such as when someone once claimed my car and stereo in Jesus’ name. Should I have given them to him since Jesus said “give to those who ask you?” I thought the solution was humorous – I claimed my car and stereo back from him in Jesus’ name! And in doing missions work in Haiti, all the little children say, “Give me one dollar.” If three people say that to me on the streets of USA, then I can give them a dollar each. But in Haiti I would soon have zero dollars for anything. So, even with Jesus – He did not give to everyone who asked Him – such as in John 6 when they wanted Him to be a bread machine and He did not comply with their request. So, once again, my brain is not big enough to map all the logic of this. At the same time, I want to walk in agape and give everywhere Jesus would like me to. So, a freeing verse to me is John 16:13a which says, “But when he, the (Holy) Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”

    Side note for Sue Heumann and whomever else is interested…Hi Sue, on a prior blog, you asked how to get my Twos-and-Threes ebook and I told you that it is now one of the four books in our Four-in-One ebook. I also said that I should hopefully have Four-in-One in paperback by the end of this year. Today, we received a $15 copy from Amazon and are excited to have it in print! Here is the link to it at Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/Four-One-Scott-Richard-Brooks/dp/0692807969/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1481051561&sr=1-2&keywords=Four+in+One+by+Scott+Brooks
    And here is additional information as well as other places it is available: http://www.BrooksFamilyStore.com — Scott

    • Scott, true we need to be good stewards of everything the Lord gives us, including love and charity. In our giving or Love or anything else we must be wise and Spirit led, but also open to giving to all those we encounter in life.

  6. "BK" permalink

    Loving this discussion (no pun intended! :-)) I had a few thoughts as I read through the posts so far. I have heard alot of times that love is a choice, and for sure there is truth to that statement but I do see it a little differently. Love is listed in Galatians as a part of the fruit of the Spirit, so it certainly is something that grows within us, and easier to choose when it has grown to some maturity. A really green banana is so bitter it will pucker you for a long while if you take a bite of it, yet it IS a banana nonetheless. Sometimes that person who is so awful really is trying to choose love, it’s just so green it doesn’t look like the mature fruit! Another thought I had as I read is when we think of people who are hungry, thirsty, strange, naked, sick and in prison we think of addicts and street people or such like. I made the comment once that Jesus hung out with the street people (as did I! 🙂 ) and here came that freeing Voice, “I also ate with Scribes and Pharisees….I died for them too”. Wow, that was an attitude adjustment I needed. Those religious people who give us so much grief are often the sickest and poorest of the poor no matter how much they may have in the natural. I get attacked often also for ‘setting people free to sin’ or ‘greasy grace’. I have come to respond, “there is NO SUCH THING as greasy grace.” When people are ‘set free to sin’ they will learn there is no pleasure in it. They WILL get thirsty…..sometimes it just takes awhile…a looooooong while. Jesus didn’t come to forgive sin as most seem to think in religion. They had forgiveness under the law. Slit the sheep’s throat, throw it’s blood in the proper places and ‘their sins will be forgiven them’. What our precious Jesus did was come to TAKE AWAY OUR SIN (Matt and Hebrews come to mind). And that is grace. That is the gospel i.e. good news. Ok, so I’m kind of going on and on so I’ll stop here and just say AMEN to this thread. Very encouraging. Love, “BK”

    • BK, thank you for sharing your yummy heaping portion with us here. Love is fruit and fruit does need to ripen over time I agree. Plus we do need to Love and accept those in need no matter their social or religious status. In all these matters we need the Spirit to guide us to whosoever will, because true need can rarely be seen with the human eye.

  7. I think you have some excellent thoughts BK as well as your reply thoughts, Chris. I was fellowshipping with Bonna (my wife) today and the thought hit me that when the Bible says for us to make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:5 NIV – “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”), that many Christians count ANY activity as the “most” of every opportunity. But in reality, that activity can be positive, negative, or both. But the best I can do is whatever the Father is doing – with Him helping me to tag along with Him. Today we saw two girls parked near where we were parked. And many times the Holy Spirit will give me a nudge to offer people for me to tell them about themselves via the spiritual gifting He decided to give to me. Jesus has used this gifting many times to open doors for us with non-Christians. And I had to look up “spot on” in the dictionary since that is usually the reply I get. But this time, the Lord had me do nothing – which to me is often the more difficult test since thoughts come in like, “Are you sure you shouldn’t have shared with them?” And yet, I find that only if I can entrust everyone to Jesus can I more easily have His agape love flow through me to them. Without this place of REST, I am much more tempted to use my strength to make something happen. But the freedom to have Jesus’ love for a person without having to do any action is truly a great freedom. So, my desire is that Jesus would give us all great wisdom and sensitivity to Him so as to truly be a plus rather than a minus. (Side note: Your helping many people to Jesus, Chris, is definitely a big plus!). I’ll end with a quote from our “Four in One” book which gives an example of someone thinking they were doing positive activity, but in reality it was negative:
    “We (Bonna and Scott) were once taking a walk and a conversation arose with a young woman who was a non-Christian. She told us that once a Baptist pastor walked into the room that she and her friends were in, and he proceeded to tell them that they were going to Hell because they had not accepted Jesus into their hearts. The young woman proceeded to say that it did not make any sense to them that “not accepting Jesus into their hearts” would doom them to Hell. We then shared how the Gospel is often shared from this judicial standpoint rather than the more relational standpoint found in the Bible, and then proceeded to explain the differences to her. At the end of the discussion, she was not yet ready to become a Christian, but she thanked us for explaining it to her and gave each of us a hug before we went our separate ways.”

    • I hear you Scott. I fear that many approach “evangelism” with the attitude of a used car salesman. Always trying to “make the sale” at any cost. I am so glad I have learned to just rest in HIM and allow HIM to flow through me as HE desires. That way it really is about HIM and NOT me.

  8. <> Amen, Chris! It seems like the most relationally natural way to go … and most conducive to true agape love as well! 🙂 — Scott

  9. It cut off my quote in the , so I’ll try again with quote marks… You said: “I am so glad I have learned to just rest in HIM and allow HIM to flow through me as HE desires. That way it really is about HIM and NOT me.” … Amen, Chris! It seems like the most relationally natural way to go … and most conducive to true agape love as well!🙂 — Scott

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