Love and Obedience: Inseparable Friends.

For a Bible study/memory competition this summer called the National Bible Bee (click Here for more information) I've been studying John 13-15. As I was studying John 14 a truth seemed to just jump off the page at me. In John 14:15, Jesus is talking to his disciples and says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." I believe that this verse holds the key for a deeper and more consistent relationship with God. Many people today believe that they can have love without obedience. The problem is that love and obedience are two inseparable friends. If you try to have one without the other you will have neither. An attempt at love without obedience equals liberalism. An attempt at obedience without love equals legalism. When one truly loves Jesus they cannot help but obey him. Obedience is impossible without love, but when we truly love we cannot help but to obey. Judas and Peter are two excellent examples of the difference a heart of love makes when one is trying to obey. Judas tried to obey, but eventually betrayed Jesus in the most cruel manner. I believe that this heartless betrayal occurred because Judas was trying to obey without any true love. Peter, although he also fell and denied Jesus, rose again to new heights of victory because he was following Jesus out of an heart of love. 1 John 4:19 states, "We love him, because he first loved us." Jesus is our example of love. We can have a heart of true love if we ask God to give us his true love.
So here are a couple things to remember. 
A. Love and Obedience cannot be separated.
B. Obedience can only be achieved out of a heart of love.
C. Love comes only from God. 

Let us go on our way with true love, and obedience will always follow.
Denver Bontrager
(photo credits- Denver Bontrager)

Editors note- When your younger brother is finishing high-school and only has some work to score and re-score before he is DONE, you help him with the scoring, and he writes your blog post!


Nova Scotia

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line is gone out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

 5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven,
and his circuit unto the ends of it:
and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever:
the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned:
and in keeping of them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
cleanse thou me from secret faults.

 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright,
and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord,
my strength, and my redeemer.



       "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of tohe mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (I Corinthians 4:1-2).  God tells us to be faithful- to serve Him IN SPITE OF life's challenging circumstances.  John 14:15 says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  Faithfulness is love in action.

       Someone once said, "Cheating is easy. Try something more challenging... Like being faithful."  The Bible gives us some great examples of ordinary people who remained faithful to God in the midst of challenging circumstances.  One of these examples is Daniel.  Daniel 6:10 gives us the following account of Daniel- "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime."  Oh, for a few Christians who will decide to serve God REGARDLESS of their circumstances!  

       II Timothy 2:1-2 says, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."  We don't need more TALENTED people in our churches- we need a few FAITHFUL people! 

       The story is told that Andrew Jackson’s boyhood friends just couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson’s friends said, “Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now.”  Another friend responded, “How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn’t they usually say three times and out?”  “Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat—he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner.”

       Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”


Making America Good Again

       Psalm 33:12a says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord;"  I am thankful to live in America, and I definitely believe in American exceptionalism.  However, I believe we are an exceptional country not because we are exceptional people; rather, I believe we are an exceptional country because we serve an exceptional God.

       There is a wicked spirit of pride that pervades America today, and here is what it says- 'We can make America great again, because we made her great in the first place.'"  Friends, no human being can make us great again, because it wasn't humans that made us great in the first place.  Alexis de Tocqueville said it best- “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”  Today, we have ceased from goodness (faith in God, and righteous living), and thus are rapidly losing our greatness.  Here are three things that I believe we need in order to "Make America Good Again."

       First, we need to start praying. (II Chronicles 7:14). We say that it is terrible that prayer has been removed from our schools, and it is terrible.  But which is worse, the ungodly removing prayer from the schools, or Christians neglecting prayer in our homes?  The founding fathers prayed to an Almighty God for deliverance, protection, and wisdom; why are we so proud that we think we can fix our problems ourselves?

       Second, we must start living with purity.  Proverbs 13:34 says, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."  John Adams said this- "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  America will never be right again, until we become righteous again.

       Third, we have to start praising God again.  Psalm 35:28 "And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long."  John 12:32 says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."  May our lives, homes, churches, and government once again be filled with true praise, as we glorify God with our thoughts, words, motives, and actions!
       Alexis de Tocqueville said, "Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”  America will only become "great" again, when she becomes "good" again; and she will only become good when born-again Christians start living right and sharing the Gospel!