What Truly Loving Someone Looks Like

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John 13:31-38

31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will soon give glory to the Son. 33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” And Jesus replied, “You can’t go with me now, but you will follow me later.” 37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.

                                

This short passage is packed with tremendously powerful truths.  I pray that I will do justice to them in this short article.  There are three key concepts that I will try to unearth here for you who are reading this.  I see Loyalty, Glory and Covenant-Love.  Each of these could take many pages to explore as a topic in and of themselves, but let us here try to understand at least the core of each of these concepts.

I find it interesting in these few verses that we start with Judas, the one who will betray Jesus, and end with Peter, the one who will deny Jesus.  Judas, as we know from a previous article, was willing to sell out his friendship and loyalty to Jesus for merely 30 pieces of silver.  Later, when Judas finds out that Jesus will be crucified to death, his remorse and guilt overpower him so that he threw back the silver and went out to hang himself.

Peter, who so often was the bold spokesman for the group of disciples, is once more also very brash when he so arrogantly declares that he would be willing to die for Jesus.  We find out later that Peter is not really even half the man he bragged he was, as he does in fact deny knowing Jesus three times.  From these two men, we see that Loyalty is a tough attribute to demonstrate when life presses in and our egos get in the way.  How can we avoid these pit falls?  Let’s look at the next important concept.

    

There is no doubt that a key word in this passage is “Glory”.  Jesus used it four times in just two sentences.  So it must be an important concept.  But what exactly is “glory”?  I have to say as a Bible translator, that this word “glory” has given me more trouble than any other biblical term in trying to really understand first what it means in the Greek sentence, and then try to translate it into tribal languages.

“Glory” could refer to the brilliance that exudes out from a Heavenly Being, i.e. “His glory shone around Him.”  It could refer to our act of reverence, as in “We will give him glory”, and so could be translated as “honor”.  It could also refer to character, saying just how wonderful He is, such as, “Isn’t he glorious.”  And there could be even more nuances to this key word.

I could write many pages then about the deep spiritual meaning contained within verses 31-32.  Instead, I would like to try to simply expand the sentences, with some added explanation.  There could be other ways I’m sure to interpret these verses, but this will be my attempt:

“The time has come for the Son of Man [Jesus] to enter into his glory [to show His true nature as the Son of God], and God will be glorified [will be praised and honored] because of him. 32 And since God receives glory [praise and honor] because of the Son [how He was obedient to His Father’s will], he will soon give glory to [will magnify, will exalt] the Son [by raising Him up from the dead and placing Him at His own right hand up in Heaven]. 

    

Can you see now just how much spiritual and theological truth is packed into those two sentences?  And the application of these truths, that the Father and the Son exist to glorify each other, leads us to the most significant application of this truth.  The main reason why Jesus came to earth, to live among men, to die on a cross, and then to conquer death by being raised again to life was so that the Covenant-Love of God could still be experienced by us, who by nature are sinful and unholy people.

John 3:16 tells us quite plainly that God so loves every man, woman and child, that He sent Jesus to die on behalf of all men, and so the love which God has always wanted to share with people can once again be fully experienced, since Jesus removed our sin and thus the barrier that separated us from God.  That’s what truly loving someone else really looks like: being willing to die in order to save the other.

And that is now the last and the greatest commandment that Jesus brings down to mankind, firstly to his disciples.  We who would love God, and accept Jesus as the one who can save us from sin and death, must also demonstrate Covenant Loyalty-Love to our Christian brothers and sisters.  Only this kind of supernatural love, acceptance and forgiveness among Christians will have any attraction and impact on those who are still spiritually lost in this world.  So go ahead now and do as Jesus said, “Love one another!”

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Beautiful Wedding Songs

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Norm’s & Jill’s Love Songs

In any love relationship, there is one or more special moments that each person can look back at and say, “And that is how it all started.”  For any true and lasting love relationship there have to be some moments (which may be the same as the first ones mentioned) that define the relationship and say, “This is what we stand for, and nothing will make me break up this relationship.

When Jill and I got married in 1984, we told each other, “Divorce is not an option.”  We still believe that, but it is a strong statement put in a negative form.  When we want to say this truth to each other positively, we go back to the moments when we first started dating, until the day we got married, and we remember the words of our love songs that we gave to each other.

I wrote the first song when I wanted Jill to take a chance on a long term relationship with me.  Jill said yes to me, and then 7 months later she wrote a wedding song which she had pre-recorded and to which she came down the aisle to me.  The third song was sung by a good friend and has been the rock of truth that we have held on to all these years as we keep weathering frequent storms of life.  And the final song is the one that I sang to Jill at our reception.  You can click on the last two and hear them in You Tube.

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1.  “Why Don’t You Dance With Me?”

Norm Weatherhead to Jill MacKay – October 1983

CHORUS:

Why don’t you dance with me, take a chance on me
And then we’ll know if we can dance right through.
I may not know just every move but that is how we’ll grow as two;
So why not come on to the floor, I want to dance with you.

Just take my hand, I’ll lift you up as we walk onto that floor.
Don’t look on back at what we’ve done, I know we’ve tried before,
But there is still a chance that we can
Be a Tinkerbell and a Peter Pan;
So why not come on to the floor
I want to dance with you.

CHORUS

I’d like to dance right through the night but that we’ll never know.
Unless we give our very best, to see if we can go
O’er the problems and the obstacles
That often come our way;
I’d like to keep on dancing, oh please won’t you stay.

CHORUS

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2.  “Jill’s Entry Song”

Jill MacKay to Norm Weatherhead May 11, 1984

In all the world I never knew just what God had in store.
He said he’d give his very best – and who could ask for more.
But never in my deepest dreams could I believe it true;
Yet here am I now walking to you.

You say you’ve loved me for some time you want me to share your life.
And that is why I come to you – I come to be your wife.
I want to give my life to you, to stay by your side,
And we will let the Lord be our guide.

I need to learn to submit to you, to give you all that I am.
And with your love and your help I know that I can.
For God has given me to you to love honour and obey;
It is His will, there is no other way.

And now we stand and pledge our love as a woman and a man.
“For these two shall become one”, this is God’s great plan.
I love you Norman and I pledge to love you all my life.
I am your friend, your partner, your wife.

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3.  Flesh of My Flesh

CHORUS:

You are flesh of my flesh
Bone of my bone;
There’s no one closer.
You are flesh of my flesh
Bone of my bone;
We are one.

I do pledge my life to you
Forever and always;
I will take good care of you
And shower you with praise.
Others try and separate us
But they don’t have a chance;
No one else can take your place
No not even one.

CHORUS

I do give my life to you
Today and everyday;
I will stand right by your side
Whatever comes our way.
I have searched and searched for someone
Who’d make my dreams come true;
Nowhere else on this earth
Is there anyone like you.

INSTRUMENTAL

The storms of life can blow and blow
But they won’t knock me down;
We’ll stand the test,
The test of time,
Cause we stand on Holy ground.

CHORUS

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4.  This is the Day

This is the day that the Lord hath made and I’m so glad He made you.
With each rising sun you are here by my side, you are more than a dream come true.

Oh, to have you, to hold you, to love you, to pray
To share with, to care with, to hold hands and say:

This is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice, I will rejoice,
I will rejoice with you.

This is the love that the Lord hath made that you and I we are one.
Love’s mystery is unfolding today, written for us in the Son.

Oh, for better, for worse, for rich or for poor,
Each day that pass – es I’ll love you more;

‘Cause this is the day that the Lord hath made and I will rejoice, I will rejoice
I will rejoice with you.

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I do hope that you enjoyed this musical montage.  But remember, these are not just words on paper that are to be sung once and then forgotten.  Contained within these words are heart felt messages of love and commitment to last a whole lifetime.  May you too experience what God has made real for us in our lives.

That’s What Friends Are For

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Hard Road Journey – Part 6

Today we want to continue our study of Mark Atteberry’s book, “Walking With God on the Road You Never Wanted to Travel“.  So far, we have learned that difficult times come to everyone at some point in their lives.  And as much as we may want and try to figure out how we got to that point, or who may be at fault, it is more important to learn good strategies that will help us get through a difficult period in our lives.

(If you have not read previous articles on this book, then click here to go back to “A Hard Road Journey – Part 1“.)

In the last article, we looked at the important strategy of  “Travel With a Friend” when traveling on a hard-road journey.  When choosing what kind of friend to travel with, Atteberry suggests four qualities to be looking for in them that would make a person a good friend, someone  who would probably be the most helpful to you as you travel your difficult road.  He recommends that you choose:

  • someone who also has experienced traveling on a hard-road journey
  • someone who has an intimate connection with God
  • someone who has a heart of compassion
  • someone who will be loyal and be around long after the initial crisis is over

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At the end of the last article (“God Given Friends”), I had started to tell you about the friendship that developed between me and my friend Christian.  (That is his name, and I think that is so neat to have a friend with that name.)  As I look over the list of qualities in a good friendship, I believe that he fits the bill in some wonderful ways that only God could have orchestrated.

In 2002, when our family was just starting to walk the hard road of dealing with Eric’s cancer (leukemia), Christian himself had just undergone treatment for a rare form of eye cancer.  From what I understand, he could have lost his sight, and it could have been life threatening.  So when he heard about our son’s battle with leukemia, he understood the fears we had about cancer and the survival of our son.

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What started our relationship is actually quite interesting.  The Wish Foundation had been talking to us about what wish Eric had as a cancer child and they would try to make it happen.  Well, Eric had a very strong interest in Nintendo, and one of his thoughts was to meet the top man from Nintendo who was the creator of so many of his video “heroes”.  So I did some web surfing and finally saw a link to where I could submit a question.

As far as I know, the question I sent about Eric meeting this famous man from Nintendo never got to the company.  But Christian worked for a subsidiary video company and somehow he saw it.  He wrote back and shared how he was also in this battle with cancer, but he wanted to know how he might encourage us.  So I knew from the start that this would be a person who knew something about the hard road journey we were on at that time.

That is how I happened to mention Eric’s other big wish, to have the newest console, the Game Cube.  And Christian, with a compassionate heart and great enthusiasm, immediately went about finding a Game Cube and sent it up by Express Mail so that it came to Eric just in time for his birthday.  And he even made sure he got Eric’s favorite color back then, purple.

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As time went on, I found that Christian also had a belief in God.  And he found our ministry of Bible translation work to be most fascinating.  He appreciates how the Bible is able to speak to the needs of our soul, and so we found we had another area, an important area of life that we could share with each other.   And for almost 10 years now, Christian has been very supportive to what our family is doing and is interested in how we are doing.  That’s the loyalty factor that Atteberry talks about.

Now jump ahead with me to more recent times, the past year and a half or more.  Christian knew of my strong faith in God, and we had shared a journey together as friends for a number of years.  And then a recent development came up in his life that was rocking his world, and he needed a hard-road journey friend.  What looked like a perfect relationship match for him turned out to be anything but that, and it was crushing his soul and spirit.

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So what was he to do?  He could have done a lot of things that would have been harmful to himself.  He could have lashed out at the other person.  He could have just sunk into a deep depression and stayed there.  But he didn’t.  He reached out to God.  And he reached out to me.  For he felt confident that I would be that loyal, compassionate, and godly person who could walk beside him through this difficult time.  And that is what I did.

We sent many emails back and forth to each other.  We talked on the phone.  We prayed.  We shared uplifting passages of Scripture with each other.  It has been a couple of hard years for Christian, but he is a stronger, more godly and grounded person now than he was before.  What made the difference?  He turned to God who answered his cries, and he turned to me who could share in his tears.

This is the message of this article.  If you are on a hard-road journey, then ask God to help you, and He will.  But one of the best things that God often does, is He provides that special friend who will help you through this difficult time.  So pray to God, and ask Him to send you such a person.  And He will.

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