A Love Like No Other

Mark 12

Today’s reading is Mark 12, and we will focus on Mark 12:30-31. Jesus tells us the greatest and 2nd greatest commandment when asked by a scribe. He says…

“And you shall love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Let’s then ask the question my four-year old son asks many times daily, “Why?” Growing up, there were times when I wondered what made Jesus death different than many other people throughout history who had been wrongly put to death.

Romans 3:23 and 6:23 provide an explanation. Romans 3:23 states, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” James 4:17 even tells us that we sin not just by what we do, but by what we don’t do. The beginning of Romans 6:23 tells us, “the wages of sin is death.” I think it is often overlooked that sin is singular here. Many people mistakenly think that if they do more things right than wrong, and if they are a “good person,” they will go to Heaven, but just one sin separates us from God and brings us condemnation. I love the picture often used to tell the Gospel which shows us on one side and God on the other side of a large crevice with sin and Hell at the bottom. We are separated from God due to our sin and there is no way to get to the other side until we lay the cross down, which Jesus died on for us, as a bridge to bring us together with God.

Romans 5:8 tells us, “God shows us His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” We did nothing to deserve this. These verses answer my question growing up as to why Jesus’ death on the cross is different and so important. Only God, who is without sin, can justify us and bring us together with Him as one by grace through his perfect son Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “(God) who saved us and called us to a holy calling not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which He gave in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” He did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. No number of good deeds can bring us together with God. Only His grace can do that through Jesus’ death on the cross and our belief in Him. Because He did this, 2 Corinthians 5:15 says that we are called to live for Him and not for ourselves.

Think about if you would be able to love your spouse, parent, or child the same if they sinned against you every hour of every day? This is what we do to God, and He still loves us more than we could ever love another human being because His love in original Greek is “agape” which means unconditional love.

So now that God has given us this free gift of grace through Jesus, how can we not love Him immensely and feel called to give that same love and grace to our neighbors which He tells us to do in Mark 12:31? In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus tells Peter that we are to forgive our neighbor over and over again, just as He does us. 1 John 14:9 says, “we love because He first loved us.”  I think it is very neat how John 3:16 that many know so well says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Then, 1 John 3:16 correlates with that and says, “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers (and sisters.)”

I’ve heard non-believers say that if going to Heaven is just about praising and worshipping God for eternity, then there is no way I want to go there. This makes my heart ache when I hear this because they do not know God’s love. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” I wish I could say that I connect with God’s love as deeply and as often as He wants and I should, but I don’t. However, there are moments in church when we are standing and praising God in song when I feel that connection and oneness with God and His love. I don’t want the song to ever end, and I think to myself, “if this is what Heaven will be like then I can’t wait to get there and spend forever like this.” His love fills me up and gives me peace like nothing I can describe in these moments.

My prayer this day for all of you and for myself is that we connect with and feel God’s love more today and every day and then that we share that love with others.

My close friends will laugh if they read this because they probably could have easily guessed that at some point, sooner rather than later, I would reference the lyrics of a song by my favorite band Sister Hazel. I don’t know if this song was written with Christ’s love in mind, but His love is what I think of when I hear it. Here are the lyrics below. Check it out on you tube…


Or better yet..download it.

This Kind of Love

This kind of love makes me feel ten feet tall

It makes all my problems fall

And this kind of trust helps me to hold the line

I’ll be there every time


This kind of love it’s what I dreamed about

Yeah it fills me up

Baby it leaves no doubt

This kind of love it’s why I’m standing here

It’s something that we can share

I can’t enough of this kind of love


This kind of hope is what I try to find

And now I can’t deny I believe

And this kind of faith is so unshakeable

It’s unmistakable

It’s bigger than me


This kind of love it’s what I dreamed about

Yeah it fills me up

Baby it leaves no doubt

This kind of love it’s why I’m standing here

It’s something that we can share

I can’t enough of this kind of love


Your love can move a mountain

It makes my world go round

It’s always there to guide me

I’m so lucky that I found


This kind of love is what I dreamed about

Yeah it fills me up

Well baby it leaves no doubt

This kind of love it’s why I’m standing here

It’s something that we can share

I can’t get enough of this kind of love

This kind of love


Law of Love

Today’s Date: 8/23/2016

The Beatles were onto something when they sang the song All You Need Is Love . But Paul says it best in Romans 13:8-14

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 15; Romans 13; Jeremiah 52; Psalm 31

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

Being asked to Love others is the only way we even come close to showing God our appreciation for sending His own son to die for us. Let’s refer back to John 3:16 where we find out exactly how much God loves us.  So as believers, we are asked to love one another.

How hard can it be? Honestly,.. hard, because naturally we attempt to make excuses as to why or what others do to not allow us to love them. We can gratify the desires of the flesh without understanding that the day could be on hand when our worldly bodies won’t be able to share this love.

God wants us to hold no debts except for the debt of Love to others.  So as we work diligently to cut out our own or our children’s financial debt never lose sight of the debt of Love that doesn’t impact any bank statement. Our only obligation here is to love our neighbors.

Loving others as ourselves is a deep love that covers everything to make sure all needs are met.  Helping and loving others means that your secure in yourself enough to make sure that you love your neighbors. James 2:8 says to love thy neighbor like thyself.

In order to show this love you need to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ“.  There are many references to putting on a new self. Ephesians 4:24 talks about a new self created in the likeness of God; In addition Colossians 3:14-17.  We can also show this in be baptized. Galatians 3:27. Second, we model the same qualities that Jesus had while on this Earth. (Love, Humility, Truth, Service) Here is where you could go with the acronym W.W.J.D. Ephesians 4:17-32

We must make sure we are getting dressed everyday – taking off sin and putting on the righteousness of Christ.  It is an everyday love that we need to put on new each day.  We need to keep God’s promise of a new self close to not allow  worldly things invite us to enter into jealousy, anger, mistrust, being negative against others for whatever previous mistakes you or they made.

The night is far gone; and the day is at hand.  So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12-13


Dear Father, I am thankful that You are love. That You have woke us up from a sleep that only focused on ourselves. We rejoice that You demonstrated incredible love for us in the flesh through your son Jesus Christ. I pray that we share this great love with others. We are forever changed because of this love and I know that it extends to those around us because You have enabled us to love deeply. Today, I pray that You let Your love flow through us and touch those around us. May the love we give be a blessing and a light for Your kingdom. Amen

Love ~ Chris Tomlin

A Letter to Hate

The other morning I found myself watching the news about the Orlando massacre and crying. As I looked over at my wife Heather, there were tears streaming down her face as well. How is it that there is so much senseless violence in our country, in our world? Where does such hatred come from? My only answer was it is born of selfishness, confusion and pain. Perhaps some form of mental illness triggered by indifference that flourishes in self pity and self righteous.

When I think about history, I know that in other times and other places there have been terrible genocides and atrocities of massive proportions. Perhaps these are just as senseless, even on a grander scale. Sometimes the history of the world seems mostly about people taking each other’s stuff and killing. Certainly not the utopia of the garden where man once “walked” in harmony with God.

We live in a modern society with abundant freedoms to pursue our dreams and raise our children in relative tranquility. In contrast, violence of any kind is quite disturbing, and perhaps, without a strong anchor of truth, contagious. This all makes me wonder, where does such evil come from?

Does selfishness and indifference reside in the heart of man? My personal experience tells me it does, and so does the Bible. In our own power we will always fall short of God’s greater glory. The tendency to justify our desires, and our achievements; sometimes with great pride, always puts the focus on us instead of on others; instead of on God. Is it possible that even the smallest acts of self interest ripple beyond our understanding into great evil?

Todays Reading Link: Duetoronomy 31, Psalm 119:97-120. Isaiah 58, Matherw 6

The verse below from last Sunday’s reading offered me hope and understanding. It also encouraged me to write a letter to the problem, HATRED.

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. -Psalm 115:1

Dear Hatred,

Why do you torment the helpless, the weak and the unprepared? Why do you spill the blood of grief upon those who suffer for your treachery? Are you a coward? Is your life driven by fear or confusion? Did you not see the sunrise or the sunset, and the dome of the heavens or the magnificence of nature that hath ceaselessly proclaimed the glory of the living God? Have you been passed over by love, unable to feel God’s love in the lives of those who have chosen to turn from their selfish desires? Have you not heard the good news: God’s grace is sufficient for all mankind! God’s love endures forever!

Yes, even you Hatred are loved are offered freedom from your malice and self loathing, through the redemption of the blood of Jesus. God proclaims your salvation as His hand reaches deep, into the depths of your despair, to pull you into the light of His amazing grace and love. Look away from your self. Look up. What would your life be if you knew the truth of God’s amazing love?

Hatred, I cry for you in your confusion, and for those who must wrestle in the pain that you deliver in the evil of your delusion. But you need to know this; love cannot be overcome! You cannot extinguish the light of hope, for it will only grow stronger, as the wounded and the left behind search for answers to your senseless violence.

In the light of the glory of God.

With all my Love,


Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
    The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
The Lord protects them
    and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
    and rescues them from their enemies.
The Lord nurses them when they are sick
    and restores them to health. (Psalm 41:1-3)

Numbers 6; Psalms 40–41; Song of Solomon 4; Hebrews 4


Take a look at this sweet young lady. Her name is Ruth-Naelle and we have the privilege of being her sponsor family through Haitian Christian Ministries. My wife Amy stared at Ruth-Naelle’s picture numerous times Sunday saying “I love her! I’ve gotta get back there right away!!!” Amy was experiencing the true joy in being kind to the poor. I wish you could hear Amy say “I love her”… her voice rings; it softly raises and lowers as though she is singing a song.

This example is just one of an infinite number of reasons the following verse continues to prove true:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

God’s word is alive. It speaks to us in our daily lives, we just need to listen to it and allow His will to take over our will. The joy of being kind to the poor from Psalm 41:1 and this experience are God’s word coming to life. We get to experience that joy not because of what “we did”, but because God the ultimate giver, gave first. He gave his son Jesus Christ so that we can be saved. He gave us his word through the Bible. He gives us resources to steward appropriately. He gives us sound preaching, wisdom, churches, friends, and family to guide us along our path. This joy comes from God; to him, and only him be the glory.

My mom commented on Amy’s related Facebook post saying “She’s a blessed girl”… while true Ruth-Naelle is blessed, we too are surely blessed and you can be as well.

For only $30 a month, children sponsored through Haitian Christian Ministries receive a nationally recognized Christian education, uniforms, a daily hot meal and vitamins, access to the medical clinic, mentoring through the Pillatre Christian Church and above all else… hope. (from the HCM web site)


Haitian Christian Ministries is a real organization sponsoring real humans with real needs in Haiti; one of the world’s poorest countries. Amy visited Haiti in 2015 and had the opportunity to visit with many of these wonderful children and young adults in person. It’s legitimate, check it out.

Amy with our first sponsored Child, Osky. We love him too!

For more information on Haitian Christian Ministries, please go to http://www.hcmin.org/about-us.