Shortage of love will cause our souls to starve

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The greatest of these is love.

- 1 Corinthians 13:13

God created us with deep needs. None of us are self-sufficient. Among many basic needs are the needs for food and love, food for the soul.

One of the factors for the revolution in Egypt is the need for food at a reasonable price. Egypt imports more wheat than any other country in the world, and at a high price.

The United Nation's World Food Program describes Egypt as a "food-deficit country." In spite of $3 billion in annual government food subsidies, the average Egyptian household spends 40 percent of its income on food, compared to 10 percent in the United States.

Approximately 50 million out of 80 million Egyptians rely on their government's subsidized bread every day. Yet, bakeries cannot provide enough bread. Rising food prices and food shortages make acquiring food a daily hardship for millions of Egyptians. The need for food helped push Egypt into riotous revolution.

In a similar way, the soul riots when there is a shortage of love. The soul starves in an environment of criticism, caustic words, anger, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, hate and cruelty.

As a result, an inner riot erupts and is acted out in addictions, violence and revenge to satisfy the hunger for healthy, loving relationships that cultivate the giving and receiving of love.

"Love cures people," according to renowned Christian psychiatrist Karl A. Menninger. "Love cures both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. Love is a medicine for the sickness of the world; a prescription often given, too rarely taken."

Christ is the highest and deepest evidence of God's love and enables us to give and receive love. His love is without conditions. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Carl Rogers, the father of client-centered therapy, captured the power of this unconditional love. "With unconditional positive regard, the individual has a capacity to discover his 'true self' he or she is meant to become."

Christ, the Bread of Heaven, feeds the hungry soul, satisfying one of our basic human needs. He breaks the bread from his boundless storehouse and gives it away, feeding millions upon millions who find acceptance, blessings, friendship, kindness and love from him.

Those who receive that love and give it away make the soul complete, forming a cycle of receiving and giving love again and again.

When Menninger was asked what a person should do if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on, he answered, "Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need, and do something for them."

Empty stomachs become satisfied with food. Empty souls become satisfied with the giving and receiving of the love from God, who incarnated his love through Christ.

The Rev. Dan White is pastor of North Columbia Church in Appling.

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mgrah92
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mgrah92 03/05/11 - 02:03 pm
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Dan, Excellent article. I

Dan,

Excellent article. I think this your best ever and the best I have read in the Saturday Religious section. We cannot place too much importance on loving each other. I appreciate this reminder about how we must love each other to be happy. Our souls do become tormented when we don't have an active love for others. Loving others purges our souls of anything that separates us from God. Those are some keen observations and quotes from Dr. Menninger.

1 John 4:8 (NIV) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Jesus is our Lord,

Keith Graham
President - God@Work Business Fellowship
706-496-2846

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 03/05/11 - 02:21 pm
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Thanks Keith - I keep wanting

Thanks Keith - I keep wanting to join you all again for the Full Gospel Wednesday meal and maybe, I can. I have a tutoring job in the afternoons which makes for a tight schedule with my other responsiblities.

follower
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follower 03/05/11 - 03:42 pm
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Pastor Dan, great article as

Pastor Dan, great article as always.

Our study for the next 4 weeks is "The Grace and Truth Paradox", by Randy Alcorn. One without the other is a guarantee of failure. All truth can lead to legalism and oppression. All grace will result in a watered down gospel.

Though seemingly contrary, when they are in perfect tension, we'll be like Jesus. Very difficult for us humans.

Thanks for your faithfulness.

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 03/06/11 - 08:54 am
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"Christ is the highest and

"Christ is the highest and deepest evidence of God's love and enables us to give and receive love. His love is without conditions. 'While we were still sinners, Christ died for us' (Romans 5:8)" (Dan White).

A little context would be helpful. The next verse adds, "Since we have now been justified by [Christ's] blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!"

If some people will suffer God's wrath, mustn't God's love be conditional? Isn't there some reason why not everyone is saved?

Jesus taught: "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. ... If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me" (John 14:21, 23-24).

He further told his disciples, "... The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God" (John 16:27). It's hard not to see conditions in these verses.

As I recall, the phrase "unconditional love" wasn't around before the hippy movement of the late '60s and early '70s. It appears nowhere in any Bible translation I have, and seems totally unbiblical. Granted, some verses about God's love are silent about conditions for it, but no verse expressly says there are no conditions to God's love.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 03/06/11 - 10:50 pm
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Fundamental - your points on

Fundamental - your points on unconditional love are well-taken. Here are my understandings. God's grace is unconditional. His love is not based on me doing good things to become righteous. Some mistakenly think that it's like God will add up all of the good things they've done and all of the bad things they've done. If the good outweighs the bad, then they are justified and earn heaven.

Grace means God loves and accepts us just as we are. Some define grace as "God's unmerited kindness." Hence the famous hymn Billy Graham used at invitation time in his crusades, "Just As I Am without one plea, I come." Thus, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He did not place conditions on his love for us. He does not require us to live sinless lives in order for Him to love us. That would be conditonal love.

Jesus bore the wrath of God on the cross making justification before God possible through Christ and not our own good works. Romans 5:9-10: "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!"

Then in Romans 4:3, Paul points out from the Old Testament, "What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

So yes, salvation or being made right with God (righteousness) is indeed conditioned on faith, but God's love is not conditional. Salvation is conditional upon our faith in the atoning work of God through Christ which is anchored in the unconditional love and grace of God. Without faith, a person remains under the wrath of God.

Please understand that writing a word limited article for the paper cannot include all of the points that I would like to make. In fact, this article was longer than than their word limits, and I appreciate the Chronicle's editors in not shortening it.

Further, the point of the article was how the giving and receiving of the unconditional love of God is the only way to satisfy the needs of our soul and as Dr. Menninger said, "Love is a medicine for the sickness of the world; a prescription often given, too rarely taken."

It seems to me that Christ gave love unconditionally. For example, in the Zacchaeus narrative in Luke 19, Jesus loved and accepted Zacchaeus in his sinful state. He didn't tell Zacchaeus to make restitution to the people whom he had overcharged in taxes, and then He would love Zacchaeus. Instead, out of unconditional love, Zacchaeus was changed and then made restitution.

On the other hand, in the narrative about the rich young ruler (Mark 10), Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth."

In this instance, selling his possessions and giving to the poor was a condition of following Jesus but not a condition of Jesus loving the rich man. Notice that the young man went away sorrowful because the receiving and giving of love was blocked.

Nevertheless, "Jesus loved him." But, the rich young man loved his possessions more than he did following Christ. The fact that he turned away from Christ did not stop Christ from loving him.

Anyway, your points are well-made and well-taken. Certainly, God's unconditional love is not an argument for universal salvation. If my article implied that, then that was not my intention. My intention was to point to the fact that all need to receive and give the unconditional love of God to others to satisfy the hunger of the soul. Rather the recipients of unconditional love receive or reject that love is an entirely different matter that I did not address.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your commentary.

Pastor Dan White
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Pastor Dan White 03/06/11 - 10:46 pm
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Thanks follower. Great book

Thanks follower. Great book by Alcorn. The Apostle John said it best. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). And Alcorn explains it.

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