Remember the “One Anothers?”

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

ἀλλήλων

allēlōn

one another; reciprocally, mutually

“One Another” – English uses two words for the Greek language’s one word, yet the meaning is the same. It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul. **

As children of God, our priority ought to be the “one anothers.” Jesus commanded us to love one another.

Freedom, liberty, rights…words we hear often these days. Yes, they have been around in this country since the United States of America became a country and the Founding Fathers drafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights. They have been in use worldwide as well. They are words we want to trust and know that we are under a government that allows us, the people, to have rights, freedoms, and liberty. Yet, are these ideals meant for only ourselves as individuals? Are we more important than our neighbors, our co-workers, our parents or children, church members, the community around us? With Covid-19 on the rampage, especially with the Delta variant so highly contagious, using our rights, our individual freedoms, our liberties as excuses to not get the vaccine that will help contain this killing virus, as excuses to not wear masks that guard ourselves and others, we are placing ourselves above everyone else. EVERYONE ELSE!

In this world of harsh, angry words, have we forgotten about the others: those with Cancer, those with immune-compromised body systems from disease, or another issue, the elderly, those who are givers of care to parents, to young children, or both? What about the little ones who cannot even get a vaccine? They are heading back to school. So many more children are in the hospital this very day due to COVID-19/Delta variant. Some places are not allowing a school district or a local public health department to mandate or even suggest the wearing of masks, or mandating teachers get vaccinated. Have the needs of these crossed the minds of those calling for freedom of choice?…to do what we please, labeling it with an amendment or a right from the Bill of Rights? Have they?

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

In Pastor John Pavlovitz’s latest post, titled “Selfishness is America’s Second Deadly Virus,” he encourages me to complete this post (for I have been working on it for a couple of weeks). Those one anothers have been on my mind for quite some time now. When only thinking about myself and not loving others is, to me, the worst of selfishness.

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

In front of my husband’s Bible, he wrote definitions of often hard-to-remember Christian vocabulary. “Submission — is recognizing and yielding to the Jesus in others.” And I say Amen!

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

Scripture says what I desire to say, yet far more eloquently, so I will let the beautiful words of God speak to our hearts, minds, and souls.

Think upon God’s Words to us.

As we focus our eyes and hearts upon Jesus, let us see all He is. And then let us look like Jesus before others. How will they see Him if we don’t spread His Light? Our actions and words speak volumes.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13

We must not stray, thinking our liberty as a Christian gives us freedoms that may end up taking us off God’s path, harming others, causing others to stumble.

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Matthew 15:8-9

We also must seek to glorify God in all we do and are. Even wearing a mask to protect others as well as one’s self can glorify God. Even receiving a vaccine if one is medically able can glorify God.

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7

Lord, I seek Your face. I want to know You well so that I am able to reflect Your Light through all I am and all I do. As I write this post, I see rather clearly my own faults and my judgment upon others. I need reminding that my way is not always right. Others see this virus through a different lens than the one I have. Forgive me, Lord, should I judge another. Guide my steps so that I walk in Your ways. This Covid-19 season has opened my eyes in ways I would never have imagined, both good and not-so-good, about myself and others, even my sisters and brothers in Christ. Grant me patience and humility, mercy and grace. I am trying to take care of myself while caring about those I come into contact with. Help us each and all see it through You, Lord. Please grant us that ability that we could then live in peace with one another, loving one another. Protect us from this awful virus, Lord. May Your will be done in all ways. I pray in Your Son’s Holy and Powerful Name. Oh, my Jesus. Amen.

Here is a fine page of many “one another” passages: (The link is at the bottom where The Architect and the Artist has a printable page of this.)

 

 

“One Another Christianity” photo/graphic: Ottawa Church of Christ

** See OverViewBible.com for a great list of One Another verses in the New Testament

1 John 4:7 Two Swans photo/graphic @BibleVersestoGo

“To & For One Another” graphic: Carmen Puscas Ministries

1 Corinthians 10:23a @ The Visual Verse/SheryllMonique

One Another (Think on These Things) Scripture Writing @ The Architect and the Artist

For I Was Hungry…

My maternal great grandfather sought refuge in this country, searching for work, an income. My paternal great, great, great grandfather sought refuge in this country to escape religious persecution.

Today, many seek refuge in this United States of America due to fear of violence, gangs, drug cartels, dictators, and so much more.

Inside the lower pedestal of The Statue of Liberty is this sonnet by Emma Lazarus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”[11]

This poem was written as a donation for an auction of art and literary works[3] conducted by the “Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty” to raise money for the pedestal’s construction. “Bartholdi’s gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international republicanism, but ‘The New Colossus’ reinvented the statue’s purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world.”[16]. The swarms of immigrants knocking on the Eastern shore of this United States quickly turned the statue into a welcoming-harbor greeter.

So I write this with a heavy heart which I have held for years, more so, these past four years. I have seen pictures of migrants, refugees, young, old, with all range of skin shade pigmentation standing, crying, grasping, yelling, crawling, swimming, climbing, and drowning to get into this country. Babies and children of all ages torn from parents’ arms. Four years later, we have 628 children (now) whose parents cannot be found (although just this past week of December 1, 2020, knowledge of phone numbers has been brought to our attention). Even though, my heart breaks. Tears roll down my face as I type these words.

This is not the America that my grandparents sought those many years ago.

Yes, we have had problems throughout our history. We have lived with segregation, racial injustice, the KKK. Women have had to fight for the right to vote, for equal pay, for the ability to obtain a job that once only men held. We had the Civil War…the South against the North. We have taken land and rights from Indigent Peoples. Yes, this nation is far from perfect.

My great, great grandfather was Italian. He was not liked by the immigrants who came before the Italians. I have Irish immigrants and Scottish immigrants as my kin. They were not liked by their predecessors. It seemed like each group wanted to close the gates, not allowing anyone else in to this country. (This still happens as people move from state to state or area to area, desiring to close the gate once they have found a beautiful place.).

Yet, my mother grew up in Chicago at the turn of the last century in a neighborhood made up of Italians, Irish, Russians, Polish, Jewish, Catholics, Protestants. They loved one another. My grandmother even raised the 6 Bates girls who became orphans when both Russian parents died. Grandma was Irish/English/German. Mama loved to help a widow and her daughter make dinner because the food was Jewish, something different from her own fare. During the Depression, if a family could afford to make bread or soup or both, they would share with those who did not have enough. It was the way it was on Mama’s block of immigrants.

The United States of America seems not to be the UNITED states in some substantial aspects. We are broken.

That melanin of the skin is so distinguishable, not only by black and brown and white, but red and blue, bigot and humanitarian, racist/supremacist and equalitarian/humanitarian, and on and on!

Upon looking up the antonyms of several words, I found “bigot” to mean “one who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” Words of opposite definition of “bigot” include: liberal, moderate, conservative, middle-of-the-road, militant. Does that not cover just about all of us? So how can we all come from various and unique backgrounds and be a united people? The real question is…how can we NOT?

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

“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. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

I want to love unconditionally. That is hard. But I want to.

I desire to be united with my brothers and sisters, my neighbors, my church family. Speaking out about concerns and issues can bring unrequested wrath from people I love. I do not handle that well. AT ALL!

God has called us to love.

By His Word, God leads us in the ways in which He wants us to walk. Again and again! …

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You?  And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:31-40

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

To keep oneself unstained from the world” … “to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”… oh, I need Your help, Father. Please hold me still, guarding the words of my mouth, whether verbally or through the written word. I am sorry for words I have uttered recently that drew unexpected words from others. Forgive me, LORD, even though they were words I am feeling. I need to not be drawn into these worldly concerns. Your ways are infinitely better, LORD. Infinitely. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” Zechariah 7:9-10

learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
Isaiah 1:17

Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Father God, I am sorry for those times and situations when I betrayed You because I did not love, did not give, did not do unto You for I did not do unto the least of those in need. I am truly sorry. As I walk through life for the remainder of my days, please guide my steps, my words, and my actions…that I would be obedient to Your call. I know through my mother’s own stories of our relatives that times were not always easy being a stranger in a strange land. I also know through my mother’s voice that people did learn to get along, to love one another, to wrap their arms around everyone no matter the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their temperament. She taught me and my sisters to love as You teach us. I pray for this nation and this world. I pray for the emigrants who have left their home country and are desiring to enter a new country, possibly the USA. I pray, that one day soon, the opportunity, the gates, will be opened to them. I pray for the DACA children/adults who were brought into the USA innocently with a parent and have known only the United States as their home. I pray for those 628 children who are still in custody in the United States whose parents cannot be found. You know where every single one is. Please unite those precious children with their parents, LORD. They are lambs who need the Shepherd to reunite them with those who bore them. I pray for everyone who is running away from a scary, violent situation who need a new home. Father, You know each one of them around the world. I ask You to guide us as a people to wrap our arms around them. I pray all in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

[11] The New Colossus – Lehman, David, ed. (2006). The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Oxford University Press. p. 184. OCLC 62697134

[3] Sutherland, Cara A (2003), The Statue of Liberty: The Museum of the City of New York, Barnes & Noble, p. 77, ISBN0-7607-3890-4auction of art and literary work; Mark Twain also contributed.

[16] Auster, Paul (2005), “NYC = USA”, Collected Prose: Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, and Collaborations with Artists, Picador, p. 508, ISBN0-312-42468-X.

Graphic of Mark 12:30-31: https://www.heartlight.org

Graphic of Matthew 25: https://www.alittleperspective.com/february-04-bible-reading-2020/

Graphic of James 1:27: https://www.heartlight.org

Free in Christ

freedom1

I am free.  Christ paid the highest price so that I could be free.  Free to live this life for Him and with Him…free to walk with God, my Creator….free to love, learn to love as He loves, free to care as He cares.

The liberties with which I have gained by choosing Jesus are yours as well.  You are free if you have given your life to Jesus.  Do you believe in the One Who died for your sins, was buried, was resurrected after three days?  Have you asked forgiveness for your sins?  Do you believe in the Trinity…God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  They are One as they are Three.  Have you asked Jesus into your heart?

If ‘yes’ is the answer to these questions, then you join me in being FREE in Christ!

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.  Gal 5:1

Living in a country which allows many freedoms is wonderful, yet Christ is Who actually sets us free.

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Yes, the Constitution of the United States gives us many rights and liberties.

Amendment 1:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Amendment 13:  Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Amendment 14:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

Amendment 15:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Amendment 19:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Amendment 26:  The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. 

These are only a few of the rights allowed us as citizens of this country.

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Those reading this from other countries may and may not have these things given to you.  Whether or not, though, believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior gives you a freedom that others cannot claim until they know Jesus.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

 ἐλευθερόω

eleutheroō

to liberate, deliver, make free, set at liberty from the dominion of sin

(This Greek word is the same word in all the New Testament Scriptures I have used here on this post.)

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The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;

To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3

דְּרוֹר

dĕrowr

freedom; hence, spontaneity of outflow, and so clear:—liberty, pure.

(The Old Testament has this Hebrew word of similar meaning.)

 

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Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Once we accept this freedom in Christ, we have much to do and much to live for.  It is our privilege to stand strong in this freedom, whether we live behind bars, under scrutiny, under demeaning people, or living in fear.  It is also our life’s work to project Christ even when we live in a free country.  There are many who do not believe in a god or in God.  There are many who idolize a god, but it leads not to Christ.  Many countries in this world which once saw God as their leader no longer see God as such.  Many countries depend upon people of varying powers or worldliness as their leaders.  Ideologies may not be Christian either in vast parts of this world.  This Christian life is not usually easy, but it is ours as we believe in Christ.  We are made in His image and others are watching in order to catch us doing something they deem as wrong, or doing something they see as Christlike.  They may be making a judgment upon our ways in order to determine their decision about Christ.  So it is our privilege and position to enable others to see Christ in us as we walk in this world.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  Galatians 5:13
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16
 

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:22-23

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Father God, I adore You and am so very grateful that you are in my life. I live under Your wings of power and protection.  You hold me close, lifting me near.  You have granted me this freedom to live for Your sake and not for mine.  You ask me to keep my eyes on You and that is my desire, my goal.  Forgive me when I fail You.  I want to reflect Your Son to this world in which You have placed me.  I want to fly freely.  I have come to know, in this liberty that You have allowed, that I am Yours and Yours alone.  I am free because I am Yours.  For some, that would not be considered free, but I see it as so.  I can fly because of You.  I am Yours and want to live my life in You.  I hold near to You as I learn to be obedient to Your calling for me.  I love You, Lord.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  Romans 8:2

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C.H. Spurgeon Quote/Graphic:  http://www.depravedwretch.com/social-images/