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The Fruit of the Relationship

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"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."     - John 14:15

There are verses in the Bible that people often misinterpret. This is one of those verses. Many times, this specific verse is read like this: "If you really, really love me, you better keep my commandments." This reading brings to mind an authoritarian type of ruler, pointing and waving his finger trying to scare people into "robot-like" obedience. However, this is not the heart of Jesus in this verse. The context reveals that this was Jesus' last night with His disciples. The moment was tender. Humility toward and love for one another filled the atmosphere. It was all about their relationships with one another that night. Jesus wasn't calling for strict obedience; He was after the relationship! You see, obedience is not the focus of the life of a Jesus follower; obedience is the fruit as you and I live in moment-by-moment dependence on the Father.

Is your obedience to Jesus rooted in your love relationship with Jesus?

Gripped by Grace

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"Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality." - 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

Generosity flows from a heart that has been gripped by grace! That is the reality Paul highlights about the churches in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, etc.). These believers knew God's grace toward them, and it encouraged them to give in extravagant ways despite obvious hardships. Yet, it was out of their poverty that their spirit of generosity flowed. This tells us that we can never write a check big enough to impress God, for it is all His anyway (Psalms 50:10). He simply calls us to live ready to make a difference in the lives of others because of the grace we ourselves have received.

Has God's grace so gripped your heart that you can't help but to give?

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