sincere love

The end of everything has come. Therefore, be self-controlled and clearheaded so you can pray. Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. Open your homes to each other without complaining. And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts. Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11, CEB)

Sincere love?

Can one love something insincerely?

Yes, you can and most of us probably do that every day.

Sincere means honest, pure, true. So how does one not love this way?

To love someone or say you do to get something from them, that is not honest, or pure. We are using that person to get something we want. Love is not about quid pro quo. Love is not looking to gain. We love because we can, not for what we will get.

We need to love all people. This is what God did and does for us. Accepts us where we are and loves us as we are.

So love sincerely.

Loving People. Loving God.

finished with sin

Therefore, since Christ suffered as a human, you should also arm yourselves with his way of thinking. This is because whoever suffers is finished with sin. As a result, they don’t live the rest of their human lives in ways determined by human desires but in ways determined by God’s will. You have wasted enough time doing what unbelievers desire—living in their unrestrained immorality and lust, their drunkenness and excessive feasting and wild parties, and their forbidden worship of idols. They think it’s strange that you don’t join in these activities with the same flood of unrestrained wickedness. So they slander you. They will have to reckon with the one who is ready to judge the living and the dead. Indeed, this is the reason the good news was also preached to the dead. This happened so that, although they were judged as humans according to human standards, they could live by the Spirit according to divine standards. (1 Peter 4:1-6, CEB)

This is because whoever suffers is finished with sin.

Why do I want to suffer? Christ was killed by the religious power with the empire to shut him up so the religious leaders and the empire could stay in power. With this in mind, the suffering we need to undergo is standing up against oppression and power structures that keep the rich rich and the people who have always been in power in power. We need to stand against injustice and speak for the downtrodden.

Then we will be finished with sin, which is anything that keeps us from our relationship with God. We will be focused on the other and therefore focused on God. Sin is not a list of rules to keep or a list of things not to do, it is whatever slides into the middle of you and God.

Stand up for the other and then you will not sin. Love people and stand against oppression and they will slander you because you are going against what is the normative way to do things and what got Jesus killed.

Stand for justice.

Loving People. Loving God.

High Priestly Prayer

When Jesus finished saying these things, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son can glorify you. You gave him authority over everyone so that he could give eternal life to everyone you gave him. This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I shared with you before the world was created. “I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from this world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. This is because I gave them the words that you gave me, and they received them. They truly understood that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. “I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours. Everything that is mine is yours and everything that is yours is mine; I have been glorified in them. I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one. (John 17:1-11, CEB)

On the seventh Sunday of Easter, we get a portion of this chapter each year of the three-year lectionary cycle. This first part is Jesus praying for himself. Jesus thanks God for all of the things he has received and for allowing him to come and share love with the world.

Do we thank God for letting us be here, and share love with the world? It seems hard now to want to share love with the world when it seems our country is trying to eradicate LGBTQIA+ people with legislation and keeping them from care. However, this is the time for us to speak in love. Speak and stand for the rights of those who are being held down and silenced so that God’s love is shown.

We need to claim the power that God gave us and thank God for us being here at this time so we can stand and show God’s love to the world.

Loving People. Loving God.

I Am

Jesus continued, “I’m going away. You will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I’m going, you can’t come.” The Jewish leaders said, “He isn’t going to kill himself, is he? Is that why he said, ‘Where I’m going, you can’t come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I’m from above. You are from this world; I’m not from this world. This is why I told you that you would die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I Am, you will die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they asked. Jesus replied, “I’m exactly who I have claimed to be from the beginning. I have many things to say in judgment concerning you. The one who sent me is true, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” They didn’t know he was speaking about his Father. So Jesus said to them, “When the Human One is lifted up, then you will know that I Am. Then you will know that I do nothing on my own, but I say just what the Father has taught me. He who sent me is with me. He doesn’t leave me by myself, because I always do what makes him happy.” While Jesus was saying these things, many people came to believe in him. (John 8:21-30, CEB)

“If you don’t believe that I Am…” Why is I Am capitalized?

This reminds me of the movie National Treasure. At one point they are talking about the clue from the pipe and the words Silent and Matlack are capitalized and Ian asks why this word is capitalized. And the response is “It’s important.” Well yes, it is but it is also a name.

I Am is capitalized because it is a name. ἐγώ εἰμι, The name of God.

If you don’t believe the messiah is God you will die in your sins. You will not be connected to God. Notice Jesus doesn’t say you won’t be saved or live forever, but you will die in your sins. We could talk about that at length and how dying is not the same as not being saved, just as hate is not the opposite of love.

Know that Jesus is God and that life is fuller in that relationship.

Loving People. Loving God.


At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. You used to live like people of this world. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else. However, God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7, CEB)

You were dead.

You lived a life separate from God.

God gave grace.

Now you live in God.

You did nothing to earn or gain grace. It is God’s gift to you.

Give freely as you have been given.

Love People. Love God.


Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.” He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. And they were continuously in the temple praising God. (Luke 24:44-53, CEB)

This day is 40 days after Easter and 10 days before Pentecost. Today is a weird day in the early church.

Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead and spent 40 days with the disciples and then he ascended into heaven to be with the trinity before sending the spirit to bridge the gap.

These next ten days we are not alone but first century believers were technically without God. Much like before Christ came. We are never alone. God is always with us.

We should do as the disciples did and continuously worship and praise God.

Loving People. Loving God.

complete joy

Soon you won’t be able to see me; soon after that, you will see me.” Some of Jesus’ disciples said to each other, “What does he mean: ‘Soon you won’t see me, and soon after that you will see me’ and ‘Because I’m going to the Father’? What does he mean by ‘soon’? We don’t understand what he’s talking about.” Jesus knew they wanted to ask him, so he said, “Are you trying to find out from each other what I meant when I said, ‘Soon you won’t see me, and soon after that you will see me’? I assure you that you will cry and lament, and the world will be happy. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman gives birth, she has pain because her time has come. But when the child is born, she no longer remembers her distress because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. In the same way, you have sorrow now; but I will see you again, and you will be overjoyed. No one takes away your joy. In that day, you won’t ask me anything. I assure you that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Up to now, you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete. (John 16:16-24, CEB)

Complete joy seems like an impossibility to me.

I think about the example here that Jesus gives here about childbirth. How does he understand this? He is a man and has not given birth, yet he says that the woman is in pain, until the child is born and then the memory of the pain is remembered no more when the child is born. Seriously. I guess I need to take his word for it, as I do not understand or comprehend that. Yet maybe God does understand God’s creation…

We need to know that God wants us to be complete in our joy and have everything we need. We will get what we need. God will provide it so our joy will be complete.

Loving People. Loving God.

one mind

Finally, all of you be of one mind, sympathetic, lovers of your fellow believers, compassionate, and modest in your opinion of yourselves. Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, give blessing in return. You were called to do this so that you might inherit a blessing. For those who want to love life and see good days should keep their tongue from evil speaking and their lips from speaking lies. They should shun evil and do good; seek peace and chase after it. The Lord’s eyes are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord cannot tolerate those who do evil. (1 Peter 3:8-12, CEB)

We are to be of one mind. You may say we can’t do that because we don’t always agree. Well, do you always agree with yourself? If you said yes, then I want to know how you do it because I don’t always agree with myself.

We are called to be sympathetic, meaning we look to understand even when we don’t. And to be lovers of fellow believers, meaning we do not call them not fellow believers because their lifestyle doesn’t fit our mold of what a believer is. We are to be compassionate, which means we show compassion to everyone. And don’t do evil. Do not cause others harm. If your faith causes you to do things that would harm others, then you are not doing what Peter says we are to be as followers of Christ. Simple.

Don’t do evil. Love everyone.

Loving People. Loving God.


In the morning light they saw a bay with a sandy beach. They didn’t know what land it was, but they thought they might possibly be able to run the ship aground. They cut the anchors loose and left them in the sea. At the same time, they untied the ropes that ran back to the rudders. They raised the foresail to catch the wind and made for the beach. But they struck a sandbar and the ship ran aground. The bow was stuck and wouldn’t move, and the stern was broken into pieces by the force of the waves. The soldiers decided to kill the prisoners to keep them from swimming to shore and escaping. However, the centurion wanted to save Paul, so he stopped them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and head for land. He ordered the rest to grab hold of planks or debris from the ship. In this way, everyone reached land safely. (Acts 27:39-44, CEB)

They were sailing and when the storm hit it seemed they would not make it and to make sure that none of the prisoners escaped the soldiers decided they would kill everyone so they couldn’t get in trouble for people escaping. But the centurion wanted to save Paul and thus everyone else. So he wouldn’t let the soldiers kill anyone and told those who could swim to jump and swim to shore and those who couldn’t to grab hold of wood that would float so they could be carried to shore.

And Everyone was saved, and no one was killed by soldiers or storm.

what storm are you fighting now that id trying to kill you?

Loving People. Loving God.


“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be with you. “I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them loves me. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (John 14:15-21, CEB)

I thought Jesus was with us forever? Why is the author of the gospel of John telling us that Jesus said that he will ask the Father and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever?” I mean the end of Matthew is and I will be with you always even to the end of the age.

Well, Matthew and John are different books and are written for different people. They say things in different ways.

Jesus saying I am with you always is the same as another Companion coming. God is trinity according to our Christian understanding so Jesus being with us always is the same as the Spirit being with us.

And this is comforting. Because we are never alone.

Loving People. Loving God.