Friday, May 27, 2011

Torah Love

"Love does not do harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullness of Torah." Romans 13:10 (Complete Jewish Bible)

I have been studying Law (Torah) and how it relates to a Christ-follower's freedom in the Messiah. Because it was/is impossible for humans to follow all the laws contained in the Torah, the sacrifice of an unblemished Lamb was required for redemption. It is in this state of grace, Christ-followers are free to make their own choices. Our love for God is demonstrated in these choices.

"Now before the time for this trusting faithfulness came, we were imprisoned in subjection to the system which results from perverting the Torah into legalism... the Torah functioned as a custodian until the Messiah came, so that we might be declared righteous on the ground of trusting and being faithful... For in union with the Messiah, you are all children of God through this trusting faithfulness..." Galatians 3:23-29 (CJB)

By trusting in God and being in union with the Messiah, we are now free! "What the Messiah has freed us for is freedom!" Galatians 5:1 (CJB) This is not a freedom to do whatever feels good and right to us as human beings. "Do not let that freedom become an excuse for allowing your old nature to have its way. Instead serve one another in love. For the whole of the Torah is summed up in one sentence: "Love your neighbor as yourself..." If you are led by the Spirit, then you are not in subjection to the system that results from perverting Torah into legalism."

The "old nature" has many extremes. It wants to control others by imposing rules no one can follow perfectly! It wants to abuse others for gain or pleasure. It never wants to experience guilt because (in a world view devised by humans) there is no moral absolute. "It is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; involvement with the occult and drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these..." Galatians 5:19-21 (CJB)

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things." Galatians 5:22-23 (CJB)

The "old nature" is what humans struggle against every day. Humans with a biblical world view are aware of this struggle. God has provided us with the tools to live in trusting faithfulness. We have his Word to read and study for answers to all of our questions. We have a direct link to his guidance and help through prayer. We have other Christ-followers to turn to when we need God-inspired advice for a difficult situation. We must use these tools and seek the fruit of the Spirit in every decision. Every "old nature" choice can be forgiven. However, we may have to suffer the consequences of those actions for the rest of our life.

I started with Romans 13:10. I have been thinking of those who are suffering in the loss of their homes, loved ones, and incomes in the aftermath of the tornado destruction in Joplin, Missouri. I heard a piece this morning on NPR about the problem of looting. In a world where there is no moral absolute, looting would be appropriate. Stealing from others appeals to the "old nature." If there is not a law against taking others' possessions, what is wrong with it? In a world with no moral absolute, stealing wouldn't even be in our vocabulary. At this time, "do not steal" (Exodus 20:15) is part of the law of the United States of America. Despite current law, we are witnessing those at the top of their fields and with plenty of resources steal from their neighbors.

Under the law of Christ, we are under the law of love. "Love does not do harm to a neighbor" is the moral absolute in the biblical world view. Looters harm their neighbors by taking others' possessions. We witness daily instances of humans disregarding law. Prisons are full of humans who disregard law. We also know many (including ourselves) who disregard "love" as the "fullness of Torah." Why? Why do we turn back to the "old nature" with all of its trouble?

"Do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh (the present age/world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying, and able to succeed... Don't let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good." Romans 12:2-9 (CJB)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Night

It's 8 pm.

We had a little dinner on the patio at the local Mexican restaurant, visited with Papa and Oma for a few minutes and got two dozen organic eggs for pancakes in the morning, and now I've settled in with my book. Typical. Friday. Night.

Asher is at Space Camp with his 5th grade class. The girls are playing with their Barbie dolls in the bath. D's asleep on the big chair in the living room. So, I'm left to ponder...

Every period of my life as a mama is so long yet so fleeting... I will be dealing with teenage drama before I turn around so I should bask for a moment longer in the sunlight of simplicity. Bask in the glow of perplexing monotony.

I observed the parents with their new babies and huge diaper bags and realized this is my past. I noticed a father meeting his twenty-something daughter for a margarita, queso and chips, and a recap of the week's events and realized this is my future.

I feel in limbo at every period of my life. I enjoy it. I take it in. I learn. I adapt. I wonder. And, just as I figure it out... it morphs into something new.

It fascinates. Keeps me in constant motion. Pondering. Transforming.

Mesmerizing motherhood. How else can it be described?

I'll go and help the girls wash their hair. Bathe them with wisdom. Take in their perfect smiles, genuine giggles, crooked new adult teeth trying to squeeze into their child-size mouths, sparkly eyes... pint-size perfection.

I'll hear the normal I've been observing for months. And, then... there will be something new. Something new that will soon turn into the normal. Then the normal will turn into a memory. A memory of how they used to talk. And play. And interact with me.

And Friday night will never be the "same" again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Baseball 2011

So glad I took my camera to Asher's baseball game last night. It was his team's first win of the season. All the boys played hard and worked together for victory!

Asher earned two runs and even took a ball in the back for the team. Ouch! Great game, Bubs!
Playing second base

Sliding into Home

Getting advice from Daddy


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