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Pastor's Commentary

Love Grown Cold
Monday, September 02 2019

Having grown up in the 60’s as a teenager, I could say, I have seen just about everything. As I’ve read often, it was a time of transition, the old guard was stepping down, or being forced out may be closer to it. Those songs of the day still echo in my mind; what couldn’t be said from a podium was often spoken in song; it’s still that way I think. If you lived during that era, do you remember all the love songs? It’s easy to do a lyric search to retrieve that old song you loved so much, nowadays. For this article I checked out some of Jackie De Shannon’s famous hits like; Love, Sweet Love, or maybe the song in 1969; Put a Little Love in Your Heart, I really liked that one. Who would forget the old Elvis song; Love Me Tenderly, what passion? Yes, there was a lot going on back then, some of it even good.

It is with that thought; “this element of love”, that I want to share a brief on this most important subject. Like the song from Jackie D. above; “What the world needs now, is Love, sweet Love”, I agree 100%. It seems to me folks are better at singing the songs than being a participant in such an activity from recent observation. There seems to be such evil in the world, this is getting to be a deadly place anymore. It’s true I was no Angel growing up, I got in more than my fair share of scraps, but I never wanted to kill anybody, still don’t. I always tell folks nowadays that get on my wrong side, it looks like I may have to take you out, and buy you a hamburger for lunch that is, gets a good laugh some times, but none the less a good offer. What this world needs is love, a genuine love for one another, a heart that is not so easily offended, a place where we take the loss, rather than promote the issue. I wrote a book a few years ago that has a Chapter on our topic of love. I think it is a good read, hopefully you will as well.

The Bible has much to say on love, much of what I share is from that perspective. In Galatians 5: 22-23 The “Fruit of the Spirit” is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such, there is no law. Fruit is the product of the branches, which are or can be connected to the main tree or vine, which is the Lord. What the Spirit does in and through us is to produce the fruit of which we, on our own could never produce. Just as its natural and normal for a healthy tree and vines to produce fruit, it should be just as natural for Christians to produce fruit as well. Once again the Holy Spirit’s ministry/job is to do this great work in us as willing and cooperative children of God. In Mathew 12:33b says; that every tree is known by its fruit. Perhaps you noticed the way the Fruit of the Spirit is listed, it’s not “fruits” as I have heard many make such reference. Having lived in Florida most of my life I am familiar with fruit trees having a variety of fruit growing on the same tree. Our orange trees can actually grow lemons, tangerines, as many as five different citrus products all at the same time. Talk about a tree that would be good for a small back yard. With the idea of a tree growing so many different fruit, the idea of the Fruit of the Spirit may be easier to grasp. In Psalm 1, it says we shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of living water, and as a result nine fruit will grow on/in our spiritual tree as well. I’m good with that, I don’t know about you but I wasn’t too happy with the way my tree looked before the Lord came on board. And that may where a lot of folks are in their life right now. We (humans) were born with a nature that is not overly loving; when pushed (our hidden nature), it comes out, ugly and all.

Love, the 1st fruit, quite a contrast exists between what the world calls love, and what God calls love. Concerning relationships; I would imagine many folks have heard the line, “I love you”. Is it genuine or shallow, time and commitment will tell? But take heart, there is help in finding the answer to that before one invests too time much in a relationship. If it doesn’t line up with what God says love is, beware. I heard an old saying once; “I hope that puppy love doesn’t turn into a dog’s life”. So, is there a pattern or more precisely a Divine pattern to determine what love really is from what it is not? You’re probably thinking by now, why didn’t I hear this a long time ago. So here are some thoughts on love, of all the fruit, it’s the most important. Please note, God’s love is the Gold Standard. If we are to know anything about this great phenomenon you need to learn it from the Lord and His Word. Agape Love is referred to as the God type of love. What is that to us you may ask?  It just so happens that by God placing His Holy Spirit in us when we got saved, it is now possible for us to demonstrate some of the attributes of God’s nature in us supernaturally. Don’t be surprised if you begin to look and act like Jesus more and more, no that’s not blasphemy, just walking out of darkness and into the Light. In the order of Divine attributes, Love is the # 1 supreme attribute of God, God is Love. It is His nature, In John 3:16 it says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”. It’s not that God had a couple of dozen sons to give away so He wouldn’t mind giving one away. In Romans 5:8, “For God commended His love for us, in that we were sinners, Christ died for us. Can you comprehend that, I can’t, I just receive it. Much could be said, much has been written, who can know the depth of God’s love?

In I Cor 13: 2-8 Paul gives the best “outline” on what love is. This is what the Holy Spirit is trying to produce in us, all people for that matter. Did you know that most of the fruit of the Spirit is a product of love, the first fruit. The word charity is often interchangeable with the word love in the Bible. The Amplified Version of the Bible does much credit to these verses below. **** Verse 4 Love is patient, even tempered, not easily provoked. Love is kind, returns good for evil, puts itself in service of others. Love is not envious, never draws undo attention to itself. Love is not proud, it does not lord over others, does not demean others.  Love is not rude or indecent, never embarrasses anyone, Love is not self-seeking, demonstrates giving more than getting. Love is not easily angered, A mode of overcoming evil with good. Love keeps no record of wrongs, fast to forgive and forget. Love does not delight in evil, it never delights in someone’s failure. Love bares all, believes, hopes and endures all things. Maintains a positive performance based walk at all times. **** Tell me; don’t want some of that? When we walk in these attributes, we make better brothers and sisters, wives and husbands, moms and dads, Christians, workers on the job etc. This love never fails.

The 2nd of the Fruit is; Joy, not just a giddy feeling, we are talking about joy down in your soul. A joy that says, it is well with my soul, people would give anything for that. Do you need some joy, just give your life to the Lord, all can attest to the validity of this fruit. We all run into times when all isn’t well. But not to worry, Its a joy the world doesn’t give folks, resultant; the world can’t take it away. When all looks less than favorable, you can have something within. In Isaiah 61:10, I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in God. The New Testament agrees, in I Peter 1:8, We are filled with an inexpressible joy, as being a victim or being victorious, I’ll take the joy filled life.

The 3rd Fruit is Peace; in the Old Testament it meant a greeting, a spirit of tranquility and freedom from either inward or outward disturbance. A peace with God brought about by right relationship through Christ. It’s a life of health, wholeness and harmony. In Psalm 4:8, I will lie and sleep in peace. In Psalm 29:11, The Lord gives strength and peace to His people. In the Gospel of John 14: 27, The Lord Himself says, My peace, I give you, not as the world gives. Paul in Romans 8:6, for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. So, there you have it, the power twins, joy and peace.

            The 4th Fruit is; Longsuffering; equates to Patience, Endurance under trials, long suffering, is the act of enduring pains or trials without complaining. Manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain. The Word of God says having done all to stand, stand some more. This is a great spiritual fruit that will take you down the long road ahead. Most folks don’t get saved and die soon afterward, this is for the long haul. Some verses that help understand the patience needed for the journey, Luke 21:19, In patience possess ye your souls. Also Romans 5:3, Tribulation works patience in a believer. You read it right, next time you are going through a hard place, ask yourself, am I having some patience issues? Hebrews 6:12 in patience they inherited the Kingdom of God. Waiting on the Lord is part of the plan. Last, James 1:3, The trying of your faith works patience. Enough said.                            

            The 5th Fruit is; Gentleness, Kindness, Titus 3:4, but after that when the kindness and love of Christ toward man appeared. We should endeavor to do likewise. The manner of being gentle, mildness of manners or disposition are now possible to us. I heard a story one time of a fellow who came to Christ and got saved; He was a giant in stature, but what a gentle and humble soul in spirit he turned out to be.

            The 6th Fruit is; Goodness, More than the act of just being good, that’s a given. This goodness includes generosity that shares with those in need, Romans 12:13, James 2:15. If a brother or a sister be naked and destitute, it shares in practical ways as well as spiritual ways. Have you ever seen how Christians respond to a major calamity, or need, either in the Church or outside? Growth in the Lord will cultivate that in us as well. I heard it said somewhere, you can give without being a Christian, but you can’t be a Christian and not give.

The 7th is; Faith, Faithfulness, faithful, trustworthy, reliable, believing. More than outward conformity, Faithful despite circumstances, it comes from a life of faith in God and for His service, beyond the work that is being performed. It also implies loyalty, constancy, and freedom from arbitrariness or fickleness.  God’s faithfulness gives us hope and peace and demonstrates that God will carry out His promises just as His Word says. I Cor 4:2, moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

The 8th Fruit is; Meekness, Gentleness, humility, not to be confused with weakness, enduring injury with patience without resentment. It is not quarrelsome, does not need to defend itself. It is an encourager of others and per Apostle Paul to Titus 3:2, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men. This is a quality to be admonished to all the brethren about subjection to higher authority and the like. I’ve seen many times where the world thinks Christians and especially guys are wimps, they don’t fight, they don’t cuss (no more), sissies, but nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the Lord Jesus Himself. He could have annihilated the world for rejecting Him (Angels were at the ready), God in the flesh, but what does He do? He allowed the world to humiliate Him unto death, even the death of the cross, that’s power controlled.  

The 9th Fruit is; Temperance- Self Control is last on the list, but not least. It’s the keeping of appetites and passions under control; moderation in action. Keeping yourself in subjection at all times, chastity. 

As one can readily see, if folks were to walk in this level of love, the killings would stop over night, the criminal activity would disappear as well. The lock makers would go out business as the thief would steal no more. This would change the world, the nukes would be dismantled and the Nations Leaders would be content with their land and not someone else’s. Marriages would last forever, lawyers would become extinct, the rule of law would need no more police and judges as everyone would readily obey the law of the land. How far do you want to go, we want to go? The song of old needs to be the songs of now; “What the world needs now; Is Love, Sweet Love”. It can happen, but we need God’s help. The world is a living example that man cannot do this on its own or apart from God. It’s time seek the Lord now, with all your heart, and remember God wrote the Book on love.

Pastor Thomas Nosworthy

Light the Way Ministries.                                                  

lightthewayministries.org

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Special Guest Commentary

101 BODACIOUS QUOTATIONS

TO

INSPIRE PATRIOTISM

Introduction

You might be wondering what prompted the writing of this bodacious quotation book? What better time than now to be reminded of how both essential and fragile our country is. America is experiencing one of its darkest periods in recent history.  For over three years, we have witnessed some truly vicious and ugly political unrest.

          A ceaseless cacophony of accusations, innuendo, and intrigue have kept those in Washington and the media ever busy. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, to watch the daily news and social media, one would never know that the stock market had hit all-time highs numerous times in the last 54 months, or we’d had the lowest unemployment numbers in decades, and the lowest unemployment rate among blacks ever!  President Trump also renegotiated trade deals that  were fairer to America.

          Then, in January 2020, our nation was rocked when the Coronavirus landed on our shores and ended our way of life as we know it. Soon there were daily press briefings from the White House and various doctors. Each day virus information was plentiful, contradictory, and confusing. People were dying. We heard that hospitals were going to be overrun with COVID cases.

          The army set up hospital tents in various cities to handle the tens of thousands that were expected to land there. It didn’t happen. Hospitals were going to be inundated and unable to care for all of the sick. The army hospitals were never used – not one patient was seen in many of these. They were eventually dismantled. What happened? All non-essential surgeries and doctors’ visits were canceled. Hospitals were virtually emptied. And now? Many health care workers have been terminated or furloughed because the hospital's operating capital has vanished.    

           Now, thousands have died! Our elderly, who were not adequately protected in nursing homes, have had the most significant number of deaths. The actual numbers of COVID deaths cannot be relied upon because of highly questionable methodologies for assigning the cause of death. The rationale for this might be related to government funding to hospitals for each COVID case.     Time will tell as we compare data from previous years for various causes of deaths to see if the other numbers are in line with past years, OR if there's been a sharp decline in other categories, and they have been pushed into the COVID category.  And, suddenly, in the last several weeks, cases have begun to spike again. There is substantial debate on if it’s because many more people are getting tested. There is so much information out there – unreliable at best, that there’s no sense in discussing it at this point.

          Governors in many states issued draconian lock-down orders threatening people with arrests and the closure of businesses, or cancellation of necessary licenses if they didn’t abide by these rules. Masks and gloves were donned, not in hospitals, but stores and any public places. We even saw a parent handcuffed and arrested in front of his little girl because he dared to play ball with her in an empty field. A salon owner was arrested and jailed for opening her salon to pay her bills and put food on her table. Many other Gestapo tactics, such as these, were used to keep people in line. YES, I am talking about America!

            Americans have turned against one another. Some believe everything that the CDC, World Health Organization, and government say. Others believe there is a conspiracy to subjugate the people as a test to see how much they'll tolerate and for how long. It's been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. People hate each other more than ever. Make no mistake; the various powers have observed very carefully to see how we've all responded. Unfortunately, it's been too much for many, and suicides have skyrocketed. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs to cope with the crisis have also gone up dramatically (as if we didn't already have an opioid epidemic.)

          Younger Americans seem to be suffering more than most from deep depression, isolation, and loneliness.  I find this completely paradoxical since they are the generation that is so disconnected from one-on-one relationships, and so completely connected to their phones and other electronic devices. You can’t sit in the same room, or at the same table with them, without sharing their time with their hand-held devices! And yet, they are  the ones suffering from their own self-created lack of meaningful relationships with others.  

           The mainstream media, who now chooses to cherry-pick what they report, excluding vital details, has become an op-ed machine rather than a fair and unbiased media. What was once the actual news is now a daily dose of propaganda. And fear mongering. I once believed everything I heard on the evening news! I now question absolutely everything I hear on the evening news! I have no faith in the honesty, integrity, or intentions of what is being "reported." Who exactly can we turn to for the facts and not opinions? I don't know.

           Just when we were beginning to see the light, and the states were opening things back up, one rogue cop, caught in the horrendous act of murdering a black man by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, captured the country’s attention.  The anger and outrage at this injustice rocked every corner of our nation. But, within the black community, it ignited a firestorm of rage and anger. That moment symbolized, for many, both black and white, the brutality of a small percentage of police that has unfairly tarnished ALL police officers. To believe this of an entire segment of people is blatantly untrue and unfair.

           That was the tinderbox that erupted into the scenarios we are now witnessing, hour by hour, day after day, that could be right out of the movie “Escape from New York.”  Cities are burning. Businesses looted. People are being shot, and armed citizens are patrolling their neighborhoods to keep looters out and their areas safe with their weapons.

          A six-block area has been taken over by anarchists. Checkpoints have been established for entering and exiting, and there are check-points to allow people in or out. They are extorting business owners, and the Mayor of Seattle seems to think it’s a “summer block party.”  I guess she is not aware that a new country has been set up in a six-block area now known as CHAZ/CHOP – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. You can’t make this stuff up!

          All across our country,  statues and monuments are being defaced and torn down – while those in charge sit on their hands and let the anarchists destroy America, insisting there is nothing they can do. Every day the frenzy continues as the calls for changing names of military bases, schools, colleges, sports teams, etc., escalates. It is complete insanity.

           Right on cue, the media and politicians have seized upon the opportunity to stoke the coals of division and hatred. I cry for our nation and what we have allowed ourselves to become.  I don't know the people seen on T.V. I don't come in contact with the level of black, or white,  Americans seen on there – they don't represent those with whom I daily interact.  People with thinking brains understand that these broad generalizations are not only untrue, but inherently harmful to us individually, and collectively as a nation.    

          Many officials of these large cities have refused to address the rioters and insist upon calling them, protesters. They seem to have limited knowledge of vocabulary for no one in their right mind would equate a protester and a rioter who burns, loots,  and harms people, as the same thing.        The very thing that the black community, what all communities need, are jobs and businesses. Now, thousands have seen their streets and businesses burned and destroyed, some of which will never return. Those jobs are permanently lost.  Those black communities will again know the pains of hopelessness and living in burned-out hulls of their former cities.

           But take hope. While all of this has happened, America's elite have raised over twenty million dollars – wait for it – not to help rebuild those cities, but to bail out the “protesters” who have destroyed those cities. Yes, this is where we are. There seems to be no help for those who work and play by the rules. No support is arriving from Hollywood elites and wealthy athletes for those people. One must question why?

           I’m watching this and feeling astounded, and at times utterly hopeless. The Washington leadership (can we call it that?) is still dividing us, still trying to rush through bills that are an atrocity, and I'm thinking to myself, has pandering and appeasement ever gotten anyone anywhere?'  Has that given people jobs and hope? Has that lifted them out of poverty? And, I feel, most importantly, has that increased their self-respect and self-reliance?  That I can answer with a resounding NO! To deny any human being the chance to work and produce, to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, is to deny a basic human need – to feel valued.

          I don’t understand all of the machinations of politics (I couldn’t sleep at night if I did). I do know one thing as a person who loves their country – that we can’t, we must not give up on America. Too many people have given their lives for our America. We are in a fight for the very soul of this country. That might sound dramatic, but it is a fact. Many want to tear it apart – rebuild it into what they “envision” would be a better place. The founding fathers had a profoundly inciteful vision for the greatest country that the world has ever known. They knew history, and they sought to use their knowledge to create a more perfect union. (Where have we heard that before?)

            There are days when I question everything. At moments I give up hope and want to surrender. Times when I think if that is what THEY want, then they can have it. But it is not ours to give away! We owe a debt to our country to protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That is our duty as a patriotic American who is willing to speak up and stop the insanity.

           I call upon my strong faith in God, knowing that whatever He has in store, He is with us. When America turned Him out of their schools, their homes, and their hearts, our decline began.  That is what happens when we shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” Or, “Live and let live.” Now you can see the left doesn’t want people to live and let live. They want to control us. There seems to be no middle ground. This indeed is something new.

            I have seen the thousands of crosses marking graves of our soldiers who fought for democracy around the world and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I mourn with families who have known the pain of losing those heroes. I remind myself that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that America is a country of citizens who deserve to live in peace and prosperity, fellowship, and understanding. Abraham Lincoln was well aware, as our country teetered on the brink of civil war, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  (Mark 3:25)

            America is equivalent to a marriage. Sometimes we see all the best she has to offer, and we're starry-eyed and optimistic. Other times, we see everything as irreconcilable and dark. Then, it's as though we would like a divorce.  But saving America is worth the fight. We have a lot of work ahead of us. A great deal of understanding and healing needs to be done.

          We need to commit to providing more opportunities for all. And, more of a commitment to make each person responsible for their actions. We must step up to the plate and take personal responsibility – stop pointing the finger and passing the buck. Even though it seems impossible through the lens of the current crisis, I do believe in miracles. It's going to take courage, strength, consistency, fairness, rules for all, and laws that everyone must follow - not just a few. It will also necessitate a commitment from those in Washington to come together and serve America – not themselves. I don’t believe they will do that willingly. Their strength lies in our discord!

            How could I express all of these thoughts and feelings in a small book? I've always been enamored with quotations! With just a few carefully chosen words strung together like a beautiful strand of pearls, they present a profound concept. These BODACIOUS quotations have been hand-picked for an important point or reminder about freedom, honesty, politicians, government, personal duty, economics, liberty, and above all else, man's responsibility to think for himself. History has gifted us with brilliant people, whose insightful reasoning and words of wisdom have proven ageless. They deserve to be heard once again as valuable reminders to each of us.

          It is my sincere hope that you will become even more bodacious in your patriotism. I hope that you will find meaningful ways to become a better, more involved citizen. I pray that this will stimulate conversation and inspire each of you to understand your unique "Power of One" and step into your new bodacious life! America is depending upon you.

 

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