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Love is the greatest gift!

“When he had gone, Jesus spoke, “Now comes the glory of the Son of Man, and the glory of God in him! If God is glorified through him then God will glorify the Son of Man—and that without delay. Oh, my children, I am with you such a short time! You will look for me and I have to tell you as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow.’ Now I am giving you a new command—love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another.” -John 13:31-35 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Our saviour was giving his followers a spiritual pep talk. Through three years of public ministry they had followed their Lord through the wind and the rain and the scorching desert sun. They saw their Lord heal the sick, make the blind to see and cause those who were walking in spiritual darkness to see the light of God’s salvation, a hope for a brighter tomorrow and joyful bliss in eternity.

Jesus tells His disciples that He will be betrayed by one of them (John 13:21). He will be put into the hands of hate. Hate can never understand love, because hate is filled with its own bitter world of evil and destruction.

Then, Jesus tells Simon Peter that before the rooster crows he will deny Christ three times (John 13:38). In John 13, verses 34-35, Jesus gives His disciples some parting instruction before He is to be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the one who Christ gives a piece of bread to (John 13:26-27).

Christ’s call to His disciples to love one another is our collective call today to love one another as their Lord had taught them so well. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NASB). That is the guidance I leave with you as I answer my Lord’s call to stand aside and rest for a while.

Love each other. Be kind and giving to one another. Follow Christ’s example in caring for others. Hear and answer the cries for help of the lonely, rejected, abused, abandoned and addicted. Know in your heart that God put you on this earth for a reason.

Live and act out in your life the Truth you profess. Mend that broken relationship. Don’t believe the lies of darkness and ignorance. Cling to that which is good, pure, noble and upright.

Dare to feel the wind against your face as you stand up for Truth, as you wage the war against intolerance and injustice. Give that angry soul who has hurt you deeply another chance. Let the tears of healing forgiveness flow. Live out your calling with passion and unflinching courage.

Own your inheritance as the child of a King, the Lord of your heart and the abounding joy in your every heartbeat. And dearly beloved, blessed children of God, hold fast to one another. Hope in all things. Believe in all things. Never give up. Never surrender to the voices of darkness and engulfing despair.

Lift up Christ in your home, business, church and school. Don’t give hate, indifference, injustice and inequality the victory. Let Christ be the victor in your life, and call others to that sweet and glorious victory!

I have a rapidly advancing respiratory bug. I don’t know how long the Lord has decided my recovery will be. That’s in His hands. As I go into respite care at Northview Manor in Englehart and then in God’s time on to Bridgepoint Health Care Centre for assessment and treatment of my rare auto immune condition of mastocytosis, I will carry all of you in my heart.

As my pastor said so well, “Kevin, this is the next step in your journey with your Lord.” I smiled in my spirit. “Yes, Steven, I can shine Christ’s light to all I come in contact with.

Dear friend, if you don’t know Christ as your personal Lord and saviour, you can today. Just ask Him into your life. Be willing as I was even in my stubborn resistance 31 years ago, a wounded victim of my horrifying and haunting abuse from my schizo affective father and all the others who falsely judged me, “Lord, here I am with all the stains of sin, all the garbage in my life that has turned me away from You. Please forgive me for the way I got it so wrong.”

No fancy words are needed. This is not a time for eloquence. Just be real. Give God all your pain, all your anger, all your hurt. He can take it. If you said anything like this, you have entered into a life in which you have been given the greatest gift  — Love. It is after all the greatest gift of all.