Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. As we continue to toil in God’s vineyard, he continues to watch over us and sends us those who He calls to share about their faith journeys. Today, we welcome Lorraine, who has decided to become a contributor after discerning His call at a recent inner healing retreat. We ask for your prayers and the continued protection of our loving Father as He reaches out to us and speaks to our hearts.
On behalf of the Oxygen Core Team
The apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:
‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’
The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“This I command you, to love one another.”
While this is a familiar scripture passage which I have come across countless times, what struck me as I reflected upon today’s gospel is verse 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you …”
Prior to me attending the Conversion Experience Retreat in May 2016, I had always prided myself on being rather independent; not needing any support nor help from anyone as I believed I had the strength, knowledge and understanding to push on in life. Of course, looking back, I realized how foolish I had been and how difficult my ways were! When I let go and let God, I discovered a new-found freshness and aliveness as I abide in Him.
Of course, because of our fallen nature, I do not come close to His definition of love. But I do have Jesus as my role model, and every time I fall short of this commandment to love, I pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. This is how I am responding to His love, how can I not? When I have learnt that there is nothing I can do to ever win His love and the love he has for me has always been there — “HE CHOSE ME”! He loves me without any condition and I do not need to do anything to earn this love. So, the least I can do is respond to Him in all my brokenness and offer up to him my sinful ways but the key is…I keep trying!
Is it difficult to love as He does? Of course, but life will be worthless, if, in the face of difficulties, we just give up, sit back and throw our hands up in vain, wouldn’t it? Humanity would not have progressed, if everyone took this attitude towards hardship and tribulation. Most, if not all, of advancement in humanity was forged through perseverance and grit. But for me, the big difference now is that the Father has revealed to me through Jesus, His key to salvation! I would rather strive in His vineyard with Jesus by my side, than out in the desert on my own!
(Today’s Oxygen by Lorraine Wong)
Prayer: Father God, we pray that we never give up on my work towards agape love
Thanksgiving: We thank you for choosing us as your children and sending Jesus on earth to walk the talk and show us what you mean by Love.