Posts Tagged ‘ Love ’

A Love Like None Other

The LORD said to me again, “Go love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” Hosea 3:1 NRSV

In one of the most surprising instructions given in the Bible, God directs the prophet Hosea to bring a prostitute into his home. This powerful illustrates the kind of love God is ready to show God’s people, despite their complete lack of loyalty and devotion.

But it does more than that. It also gives us a window into how things look from God’s perspective. Just imagine what it’s like loving those who do reciprocate that love, forgiving those who repeatedly break their promises and vows, and seeking after those who willfully wander away over and over again.

I find that when I understand how someone else sees things, it changes how I relate to that person. It brings me closer to them, helps me communicate more openly with them and deepens our relationship. Seeing not just God’s love, but seeing things from the perspective of the One who gives that love, changes how I relate to my Lord.

In today’s video, the kind of love God shows toward us is powerfully illustrated. By using the metaphor of a marriage, we get a fresh glimpse into what the love is like.

 Click here to view today’s video. After watching, take a moment to thank God for loving us with a love that will not let us go!

Regrets Holding You Back?

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NRSV

The past is past. It is over and done, gone and forgotten.

….Or is it?

Does what’s in the past actually stay in the past?

What’s in my past stays in my memory. Then, when I least expect it, those memories sometimes pop up, seemingly out of nowhere. So the past is never really gone or forgotten.

MP900396104[1]That’s a good thing, especially when the memory is something I am proud of. Memories of accomplishments, awards and shared family moments all leave me feeling good about myself.

MP900401567[1]But not all memories are pleasant ones. Some of the most painful are those of failures and shortcomings. Those leave me with regrets. When they pop up, I find myself looking back, thinking how I could have behaved differently, responded more lovingly, used more wisdom, or been more patient.

Still, no matter how much I wish I could go back and make changes, I can’t. What I can do is to turn to Jesus Christ, and ask for his forgiving grace. His sacrificial love washes my heart clean, redeems my past, and frees me from the bondage of regret.

Yes, the past is in the past. But the past follows us, and continues to impact how we think, feel and behave. Only Jesus Christ can wipe our slate clean, free us from past regret, and give us new life and a new future.

Today’s video  chronicles some of the regrets many of us carry, and reminds us of the one who came to bear our burdens and set us free. To view the video please click here.

MP900401002[1]Then allow Jesus to heal your past, transform your present and set you on the path to eternal life!

 

Born To Love

Beloved, let us love on another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1John 4:7-8 NRSV

Every birth is a miracle. But every birth follows a basic principle: What was becomes what is. A woman gives birth to a child. A dog gives birth to a puppy. A sheep gives birth to a lamb. In each case, the newborn becomes what the parent was. If you want to know what the parent is like, just look at the child.

We not only inherit our physical characteristics, we are endowed with a spiritual inheritance too. When we experience rebirth into the new life offered by Jesus Christ, we inherit some of the basic characteristics of God’s nature.

If God is love, then we will love too. What God is, becomes what we are.

So be who you are. Do what you were born to do. Love!

 

Born

Love Like Jesus Loved

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 NRSV

MP900399820[1]A week or two ago I was talking to a colleague about ways I could help a student in one of my classes. The response from my colleague was, “Be careful, no good deed goes unpunished.” I had never heard that phrase before. Do good deeds end up being punished?

Good deeds often involve acts of mercy. Merciful acts can be quite loving and beautiful acts of charity. Jesus’ self-sacrificing decision to come to earth, so that we might live, was certainly a great act of mercy.

MP900400146[1]Still, it did not go unpunished. Instead of being welcomed, Jesus found himself the target of religious hatred, and the innocent victim of humankind’s depraved indifference to God. His good deed was punished by death.

Knowing how it would all turn out, did Jesus turn away from God’s calling? Of course not. He continued to follow God faithfully, even to the cross.

The problem is, we are not Jesus. When faced with an opportunity to show mercy, we sometimes shy away from paying the price. We would rather avoid the problems and pain that come with love. We take the road that is less rocky, and less difficult.

Jesus warned against putting our hands to the plow and looking back. For those who would follow Jesus Christ, our call to love must trump the sometimes painful and difficult sacrifices that come with living like Jesus lived. Doing what Jesus asks of us isn’t always the most logical decision, or easiest thing to do. But it is the wise thing!

MP900178883[1]I am not Jesus. But like you I want to become more like him. Why not join me in asking God for the wisdom and grace to love more like Jesus loved, no matter what the consequences may be.

Do As I Do

“I give you a new command, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”  John 13:34 NRSV

Jewish torah scroll in coverGod gave Moses ten commandments. Then Jesus said that loving God with your whole heart soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself was the greatest commandment. Finally, near the end of his ministry,  Jesus adds something new. He not only tells his disciples to love, he tells them how far they are to go with love. Jesus lets them know that they are to love in exactly the same way that he has loved them. They are to go as far as he goes to show love!

Do what Jesus did.

As Jesus says this, during the intimate moments of the Last Supper, he is keenly aware that in just a few short hours he will be taken away. Jesus knows that he is about to die, be raised up and then ascend into heaven. He also knows that where goes, his followers cannot follow.

So what are they supposed to do when he leaves? Jesus makes it clear: They are supposed to love one another with exactly the same kind of love that Jesus has loved them with!

MP900431741[1]This means that they are to love with a love that is patient and kind. They are to love with a love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. They are to love with a love that is not irritable or resentful. They are to love with a love that does not insist on its own way. They are to love with a love that does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the truth. They are to love with a love that sacrifices and forgives. They are to love with a love that hopes all things, believes all things and bears all things. They are to love with a love that lasts until death, even when it means a death on the cross.

Love like Jesus loved.

This is the love that Jesus loved them with since they began walking together. This is the love that will show the world that they are in fact his disciples! Yes, with this kind of love the world will come to know Jesus!

MP900438973[1]Love is the defining characteristic of Jesus Christ, and it is the identifying mark of his disciples! So, let’s do what Jesus did, let’s love! Let’s spread some kindness. Let’s believe the best about each other. Let’s rejoice in each other’s successes, and faithfully bear each other’s sufferings. Let’s hope together, and believe together.

A commandment is not a suggestion or a principle. It is a command. Every Christian is called to do Jesus’ work, and we are to follow his command!

Why not show the world how much you love Jesus? Go ahead and love his children. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. Share the love that he gave to you with everyone you meet!

Do Love, Today!

Prayer:

Loving Savior, I want to love others the way you love me. Make me a servant who welcomes instead of rejects,  who loves instead of judges, and who builds up instead of tears down. Make me more like you!

Amen.

Loving

Bridges of Love

But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ… Ephesians 4:15 NRSV

MP900447728[1]In response to a recent posting, one reader left a comment that got me thinking. They pointed out that not only should we speak the truth in love, as Paul tell us, we should use love to build a bridge that is strong enough to bear the weight of the truth we are trying to get across.

The image of building a bridge of love is a powerful one. Bridges allow us to cross otherwise impassable chasms. Bridges support us when there is no ground to stand on. Bridges allow us to make connections that would be otherwise impossible.

The problem with bridges are that some of them are not very sturdy. They may be unable to bear the weight of those who try to cross on them.

MP900442723[1]When we have a truth we want to share to help someone, we better be sure there is a strong enough bridge to bear the weight of that truth. Truth is not always light. It can hit us like a ton of bricks. It may also be difficult to bear. Only when carried across a strong bridge of love, will that truth be able to have the desired impact.

That tells me that I don’t want to just speak truth in love. I want to lay a strong foundation of love, support and understanding. Then, when I am ready to speak the truth, the bridge we travel together will hold us and sustain us until we reach the other side.

FaithJesus did that. He laid a foundation of self-sacrificing love that was so deep and strong that the truth he spoke could be heard, accepted and embraced.

This week, why not build bridges of love, so the truth you witness to draws those who listen to God!

Drink As Much As You Want

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. Isaiah 55:1-3 excerpts NIV

MP900443670[1]Recently I read a newspaper report on troubling changes in teen alcohol use. Part of the problem was attributed to combining of alcohol with everyday beverages, from lemonade to energy drinks. Particularly worrisome is that fact that the amount of alcohol in one serving of these drinks is often greater than in 3-4 servings of traditional alcoholic beverages.

I imagine that any public criticism about these products will be countered with the industry defense, we tell them to drink responsibly. What a good idea. Drink, but only drink a responsible amount. I wonder, how much is that? Is it just enough to feel relaxed? Is it enough to make you the life of the party? Is it enough to make you sick?

The other problem is that drinking alcohol impairs judgment, relaxes inhibitions and encourages over indulgence. So how is it that people are supposed to be able to drink responsibly?

Of course there is one place we can go and drink all we want. We don’t have to worry about getting stupid or sick. We don’t have to hear people tell us we’ve had enough. We don’t even have to think about how bad we will feel in the morning. We can just drink to our heart’s content!

MP900401350[1]God invites you and me to come and drink in the blessings of God’s love. This is living water. It restores, revives and renews. It gives life and life more abundant.

Next time your soul gets thirsty, why not accept God’s invitation? Come. Come to the waters. Drink. Drink as much as you want. Drink in the love that gives eternal life!