Jesus gave this commandment:  “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

But what if you don’t like the person you are to love? Then what? Do you feel uncomfortable admitting that fact? I do if I am honest and that is an “OUCH.”  Beloved this is not rocket science…we all seem to have fallen into this pit!   Remember James and John who audaciously went to Jesus and asked him: “Teacherwe want you to do for us whatever we ask.” [Mark 10:35] And how did the others respond to them when they heard this? Mark records that the other 10 became angry.

Can you relate? I can. 

But, Jesus used that as a teaching opportunity and we should learn from him. This was a time to teach them this principle: “whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all.” [Mark 10:44] Our servanthood should be marked by being willing to serve others just as Jesus served us. To be a follower of Jesus means we are known by this very character quality: loving one another. 

The Apostle John got the message loud and clear. Nothing like the lesson learned at the feet of Jesus! It is as if he is joining us over coffee and as we bumble our way through our confession, John lovingly reminds us that we must, it is not a well maybe I will think about it but we MUST not only love one another but we MUST keep the commandments as well because when we do we are walking in the same manner as our Master did.

So as we draw near to the time of our “hanging out,” John says we should endeavor to do that so when He returns “we may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame.” [ 1 Jn 2:28 ]

Did we get the OUCH? I hope we did. Application Time: What will we do now?

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the psalter and it is filled with praise for the Father Almighty. In sharp contrast is the shortest verse recorded by the Apostle John:  “Jesus wept.” [John 11:35] Placed side by side we see the glory of the Lord with His depth of sadness because of sin’s work.

Addressed to all the peoples of the world, the psalmist reminds us that we are to Praise the Lord, Applaud the Lord, Extol the Lord. We praise the Lord both now and forever for His lovingkindness and truthfulness surround Him and are evidences of His grace being poured out upon us.

Isaiah wrote: “Truly I am God, I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me, who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred, who says, ‘My plan will be realized, I will accomplish what I desire,’ who summons an eagle from the east, from a distant land, one who carries out my plan. Yes, I have decreed, yes, I will bring it to pass; I have formulated a plan, yes, I will carry it out.” [Isaiah 46:9-11]

As you begin your time with your disciple teach them how to praise God by using this simple psalm of praise.

Praise the Lord, all you nations! —have your disciple include himself/herself as part of the nations of the world, thanking God for  calling them to worship and praise Jehovah, the Lord God Almighty 

Applaud him, all you foreigners!–we once were foreigners but now we are a child of God. “But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name. [John 1:11] 

For his loyal love towers over us,–it extends beyond the highest heaven! Take time to observe the heavens and marvel at His power and majesty. 

and the Lord’s faithfulness endures.–ponder that word “endures.” It means it will never ever end, therefore Jehovah can be trusted to always provide what we need just when we need it. 

Praise the Lord!–finish your time of praise in this way; praising God for He is creator, sustainer, faithful friend and more. 

Do you ponder and wonder and ask how to share God’s omnipotent power with others? The psalmist used word pictures:  “the mountains skipped like rams, the sea fled, the Jordan turned back and the earth trembled.”

God used “radical” means to remove the barriers that kept the Israelites in bondage. When He delivered them from the Egyptian slavery the earth rejoiced!

As the psalmist pondered these “radical” events he began to ask: “why” does the sea flee, “why” did the Jordan turn back, “why” did the mountains skip like rams? Perhaps it was much like the stilling of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. When the disciples saw the “radical” power of Jesus, they asked: “who is this that “even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Know for certain that whether a storm, a sea before us, a river to be crossed, mountains too large to be climbed God can and will use His “radical” power to accomplish His will. God’s creation moves according to His commands…just as we should.

God is sovereign 

therefore stop and glorify Him for what He hath done and is able to do.

Are you skipping like rams or asking “who is this that even the wind and waves obey him?”  Stop wondering but rejoice for all that He has done and will do for you.

Beloved, our “Radical God” began a good work in you and He will complete it just as He did with the removal of the barriers of slavery for the Israelites.

Skip like the rams but tremble when you consider His awesome deeds.

Nothing is impossible for OUR RADICAL GOD