Acts 10:44–48. John 15:9–17
I LOVE peanut butter. I love the taste, I love the texture I love the way it tastes with Jam and bread. Yum, yum, yum. But for some reason casually declaring a love for peanut butter on bread isn’t what Jesus meant when he talks about love: Love one for the other and Abiding in His Love. The way Agape love is used in this passage is the very opposite of casual, and the explanation of Love by Jesus could be why some people struggle to say “I love you”. Love is not a fuzzy feeling, a sweet emoticon, or jam and peanut butter on toast. Agape Love is an action word which takes followers of Jesus to difficult places and forces difficult decisions.
In John 15:9 Jesus tells his followers to abide in his Love, while in John 15:12 we are to love one another as Jesus has loved us. With all this instruction about love, it seems Jesus is aware of humanities casual banter about love, and our inability to fully appreciate Love on a divine scale. Jesus describes and offers examples about Love:
1. Love comes from the Source
Abide in me Jesus says, as I abide in the father. This discourse follows the description of the vine and the branches, an image of the source being the vine while the branches feed on the goodness of the source.
2. Love is through obedience
To abide in Jesus’ love is to follow His commands.
When we abide in Jesus, we have complete joy.
3. Love is sacrificial
The ultimate love is to be willing to die for one’s friends. Obviously, I am not going to sacrifice my life for a peanut butter and jam sandwich. In fact, if truth be told it will be difficult to fully follow Jesus’s command even with very good friends. To be willing to die for another human is foreign to us as we cling to this world.
4. Love chooses me first
Even when we feel unloved and unlovable, Jesus chooses us first.
We cannot earn or deserve, we do not ‘qualify’ or need to meet a standard for God’s Love. God Loves us first. It is through our response to this great love that we can love others.
This obedient, sacrificial action word of Love is impossible if we do not abide in Jesus, our source.
When I read John’s version of the Gentile Pentecost in Acts 10, the importance of Love choosing us first is re-enforced. While Peter was preaching, God’s Love chose the entire congregation, and the Holy Spirit fell on unbelievers and those people the Jewish people thought the least likely to receive the power of God. God’s revelation to the Gentiles was choosing them first, and the reaction was to praise God and receive divine transformation through baptism. Without God’s mighty power choosing us first, without us abiding in Jesus’ love, without sacrificial obedience, you and I will continually return to a worldly understanding of Love, missing the complete Joy offered through Jesus in His love.
In 2015 Stornie Omartian wrote a best-selling book The Power Of A Praying Mom. Today is Mother’s Day, a day when we celebrate a Mother’s Love for her child. It would be interesting to poll the people here to find out about the influence a mother has on her children. I cannot count how many mother’s continue to pray for their children, even when she despairs for the way of life the child has chosen and lives. As a mother I can tell you I pray every day for my children and my family. In it’s fullness, a parents love is Agape love. Sacrificial, obedient, love derived from the source, given to us even though we don’t deserve it, and flows to our without being mindful of the cost.
I would like to pray for three things today following “The Power Of A Praying Mom”
1. I’d like us mothers to pray for ourselves, and for mothers around us.
LORD, PROTECT ME AND ALL I CARE ABOUT
Because you have made the Lᴏʀᴅ, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. Psalm 91:9-10
Lord, I pray for Your hand of protection to be upon me. I trust in Your Word, which assures me that You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my stronghold, and my strength in whom I trust. I want to dwell in Your secret place and abide in Your shadow (Psalm 91:1). Keep me under the umbrella of Your protection. Help me never to stray from the centre of Your will or off the path You have for me. Enable me to always hear Your voice guiding me. Send Your angels to keep charge over me and keep me in all my ways. May they bear me up, so that I will not even stumble (Psalm 91:12).
In Jesus’ name I pray.
2. I’d like to pray for all those of us who have lost our mothers. Or whose mothers are so very, very far away.
3. I’d like to pray for our children.
PLACE A HEDGE OF PROTECTION AROUND MY CHILD
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. —Isaiah 43:2
Lord, I lift (name of child) up to You and ask that You would put a hedge of protection around them. Protect their spirit, body, mind, and emotions from any kind of evil or harm. I pray specifically for protection from accidents, disease, injury, or any physical, mental, or emotional abuse. I pray they will make their refuge “in the shadow of Your wings” until “these calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1). Hide them from any kind of evil influences that would come against them. Help them to understand that You will be with them wherever they go, and no matter what they experience, You will see them through it.
In Jesus’ name I pray.