John 15:12 ” My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Jesus loves us with an unconditional love…it has no bounds…no restrictions.  But can we love each other in the same way?  Maybe it can be in what we don’t do  that can show the love of Christ more effectively to those around us.  Instead of yelling in anger and frustration at the kids…we don’t.  Instead of becoming upset and disappointed with a co-worker…we don’t.  Instead of allowing discouragement and despair to break apart our marriage…we don’t.  For sometimes the greatest way to demonstrate God’s love to others… is in what we don’t do.

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Foster Your Friendships

Charles Spurgeon said that the voices of childhood echo through life in such a way that the “first learned is generally the last forgotten.” The lessons we learn in our earliest years tend to remain fixed to the end. This is tremendously beneficial when the lessons have been sound, but terribly detrimental when they have not. One harmful lesson men often learn early in life is that they should be suspicious of relationships with other men.

From our youngest days we are taught that friendship can only be so close before our closeness threatens to “out” us. When a friendship looks too friendly we may be called “Sissy!” at best, or “Queer!” at worst. We are expected to play rough and tumble games together, to compete, and to poke fun at one another. But we have to be wary of relational closeness or dependency, because the other boys are watching with suspicion and judgment. We don’t want to be seen as needy or emotional. Fathers may even be watching, wondering if relational intimacy may portend weakness, femininity, or even sexual desire. Men are to be strong, independent, and self-reliant. We can have pals, we can be buddies, but we must not love one another.

In this series of articles for men, we have been looking at a number of issues related to godly manhood. Employing the great metaphor of life as a race, we have seen that men who run their race victoriously apply themselves to a number of important disciplines. We have seen that some of these are related to faith and some are related to life. In the final five articles we will turn to matters of relationship, including your wife, your children, and your local church. But first, we will consider your friends. If you are going to run to win, you must foster your friendships.

Read on:

Be united

A wall with loose bricks

No Time for Widows?

Hmmm right along with what I have said in the past.

Why We Sing With The Lights On

Great Verses Of The Bible: John 13:34

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”

These words are the familiar opening lines of Elisabeth Barrett Browning’s famous 43rd sonnet. What may not be as familiar to most people is Browning’s background.

She was a frail, sick woman who was dominated by a possessive father. She spent most of her time alone in an upstairs room medicated by opium. Elisabeth’s one outlet, producing joy, was her poetry.

When Robert Browning read her works, he was deeply impressed and wrote, asking to meet her. Eventually, they fell in love. And over the stern objections of her father, they married by secretly eloping to Italy in 1846.

During their courting days, Robert and Elisabeth exchanged hundreds of love letters. She was almost 40 years old when she broke free of her father’s control. She gave birth to a son and was happily married for 16 years until her death in 1861.

Elisabeth’s sonnet was a testimony to how much she loved a man who freed her from a life of misery, enslavement, and depression.

While love has been described in so many beautiful and even poetically soul-stirring ways, there is no greater depiction of love than exemplified in the person of Jesus Christ who died to free us from the bondage of sin.

In the shadow of the cross, with his days on earth limited, he admonished the disciples with these simple, but powerful words.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34).

Like Jesus, Browning did not say, “Why do I love thee?” “When do I love thee?” “Where do I love thee?” Or “Why don’t you love me?” But….

“How do I love thee?”

As we make a case for Christ’s love as the perfect example, it’s easy to count the ways.

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Hospitality Is Not Just for Home