Archive for the 'love of God' Category

(Posts Archive)

Like Father like Son

Like mother like daughter. Like father like son. Sometimes, we see in a child the mannerisms, interests and abilities of a parent. According to Jesus, this is what we see in his relationship with his Father “…The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the […]

Forgive?

Does anyone deserve to be let off the hook of a wrong done? After ruining the lives of others, what right does someone have to ask for mercy? If God really does forgive such people—will we ever be able to forgive him? Or if God hasn’t done anything wrong— what are we missing? Maybe Jesus […]

Blinded by the Right

The beam of a bright flashlight hits our face in the middle of the night. The glare of a rising or setting sun makes it hard for us to see the road in front of us. A solar eclipse threatens to make it last— blinded by the light. Yet could the greater danger be to […]

If Then

Sometimes understatement says the most. The other day, I was reading an author who caught my attention with just a few words. He said, “If God is anything like a father, and… if I am anything like his child… then…” Since then, I’ve found no end to ways of adding to that one thought. May the most important if/then […]

Circle of Care

Have you noticed that we start out believing that nothing is as important as our own needs and desires? Then we gradually learn that everyone else’s needs are just as important— but, for us, and necessarily so, not in the same way. Something similar can be said for those we love. We begin believing that […]

Living with Imagination

While watching a PGA golf match on television the other day, I caught an interview with the professional who, at that point, was on top of the leader board. When he was asked, “Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”, I expected him […]

Tired in Trying

After a wind storm took down big limbs and snapped trees in our neighborhood last week, my neighbors and I wore ourselves out trying to get down a heavy wild cherry branch that was hanging dangerously just beyond the reach of our ladder and ropes. Yet, as I think back on it now, our physical […]

News Without Borders

The ongoing debt crisis that has become such a defining moment for Greece and the nations of the Eurozone might be a parable for the world. What do you do with a debt that cannot be paid? Many believe that to cut Greece from the Union would amount to the imposition of a national foreclosure […]

The Consuming Fire

Does God want us to be afraid of him… or to be afraid of not knowing and remembering how much he loves us? The 12th Chapter of Hebrews ends with a sobering thought: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence […]

Am I Listening?

Am thinking it might be important to have another conversation about issues of authority and obedience. Many of us have been taught to net out our relationship with God in two words— trust and obey. Trust God. Do what he says. Could anything make more sense than the thought that our Creator God deserves our trust and obedience? […]

The Heart of a Park Ranger

While thinking more about our Father’s world, I found an inspiring article in the BBC Online Magazine about Africa’s oldest national park. It’s the story of Andre Bauma, a park ranger, who describes how, in addition to his love for his family, has found a special place in his heart for an adopted orphan gorilla […]

Living Letters

In past conversations we have talked about whether quotes of an inspired Bible remain the Word of God no matter how ungracefully or thoughtlessly they are expressed. We may also have observed together that when the written Scriptures themselves speak of the Word of God they may be referring to, (1)  A direct quote of […]

Hope in Regret

According to his mother, ML was a wonderful son who, at 14, turned to alcohol and drugs. In the years that followed, he made a series of troubled choices. Caught in a downward spiral, he eventually was arrested and convicted of armed robbery. To his parents’ relief, he got a suspended sentence and seemed to […]

Why is God so Angry?

How are we going to explain to our children and grandchildren an angry, fearsome, merciful, compassionate, beautiful Father? The thought lingers in the lyrics of the ancient song we’ve been thinking about together. Reflecting on the passing days of our lives, Moses writes, “For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish […]

Jacob’s Legacy

In All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare gives us the thought that “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” Two centuries later, a French author by the name of Victor Hugo showed his readers that a legacy of honesty—without grace—can turn us into devils. In his 19th-century novel Les Misérables (i.e., The Miserable), Hugo […]

Jacob’s Sleepless Night

When a loving father lets his little boy tackle him to the ground or match muscles in arm wrestling, we don’t expect to see dad suddenly subject his young son to a painful arm twist or body slam. So why then do so many of us feel roughed up, abandoned, and even left for dead […]

Jacob’s Ladder

In 19th-century America, a generation of oppressed slaves sang a spiritual about “Jacob’s Ladder.” The repetitive, rhythmic lyrics about climbing higher and higher helped them envision themselves on a hard journey to a better place. The original story is about a great ladder reaching up to heaven, and it’s as down-to-earth as the man who […]

The Heel Snatcher

In Greek mythology, Achilles is a great warrior who dies from a poisonous arrow that lodges in his heel. Prior to his birth, a prophecy had foreseen his untimely and early death. So when he was born, his mother dipped him in the River Styx that was thought to give magical protection. Holding him by […]

Adam and Jesus

In the era of the Great Depression, the dust bowl, and breadlines, it might seem fitting that the 1930s also produced a dark comedy cartoon that came to be known as The Addams Family. Created by illustrator Charles Addams for The New Yorker magazine, the single-frame comic gags took a satirical look at a ghoulishly […]

The Wonder of a Tree

Discover Magazine published an article called “The Life, Death, and Life of a Tree.” It’s the wonderful story of a majestic redwood tree affectionately named Luna II. According to writer Jack McClintock, Luna II is a coast redwood whose scientific name, Sequoia sempervirens, literally means “ever-living.” He quotes the forest manager of Luna II who […]

A Personal Word

When I began the last post saying, “Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners” I was writing from my heart, and from personal experience. I […]

Solomon and Jesus

Long ago, a young king of Israel wrote, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, . . . she is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15 NIV). The Wisdom of Solomon: To this day, we still tell the story of how God appeared to him in a dream and […]

Bully

When my wife and I walked into the small, darkened auditorium, we saw something that has been almost as unforgettable as the documentary we had come to see. Scattered and spread out among the many empty seats, a few parents sat with children in a manner that, as I recall, looked more like a visit […]

A Misunderstood Warning

Joe and Marissa have never met. But they have a lot in common. Both found that spending 4 years in a state university was hard on their faith. Marissa became a follower of Jesus at a spiritual retreat during her last year in high school. Joe made his decision of faith at the age of […]

Norway’s Trial of the Century

In July of 2011, a 33-year-old Norwegian bombed an Oslo government building and then gunned down scores of guests at a Labor Party youth camp. Seventy-seven people died, and many more were injured. Prior to the attacks, the young gunman wrote a lengthy manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. In chilling detail, he […]

Abandonment

In a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson explores the question of whether the corporate genius ever got over the fact that he was given up at birth by his biological parents. Isaacson quotes co-workers and friends who believe Steve Jobs struggled with a lifelong fear of abandonment. They recall not only his […]

The Bible and Cut Flowers

The words of the Bible can be like cut flowers. The words of Jesus, like the laws of Moses, can be selectively chosen and arranged for anyone’s temporary purposes and enjoyment. But once the words are sheared from the stem and root of the story they are telling, they begin to fade in significance like […]

Giving Facts a Chance

In the early 1950s, a small Chicago-based religious sect predicted that the world was going to end on December 21, 1954. Their leader claimed to have received this information from an alien reincarnation of Jesus who went by the name of Sananda. Their prophecy caught the attention of researchers from Stanford University, who decided to […]

Our Fathers

On StoryCorps, a project of National Public Radio, I heard 73-year-old Walter Dean Myers tell a story that he says has forever changed the way he remembers his father. Myers, an author with almost 100 books to his name, recalls that at 14 he already had a love for writing. Since his parents didn’t have […]

The Tree of Life

A recent motion picture begins with powerful images from the Hubble telescope and the whispered question, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7). As a film, The Tree of Life (written […]

What are God’s Secrets?

A few mornings ago, as we were thinking together about the question “What is God Hiding?”, I woke with a song running through my mind, over and over. What seemed strange to me is that it was a hymn that I have not thought about or sung for years. It was also  a hymn that […]

A Faith That Works

Can faith and works exist apart from one another? The authors of the New Testament seem to be so concerned about answering this question that they sometimes sound as if they are contradicting themselves. In some texts, for instance, the apostle Paul takes pains to emphasize that salvation is by faith alone without any hint […]

The Bible and Truth

In all of our lives there are defining moments that come with the realization that our world will never be the same again. Some of these events changed the course of history. We may have been around long enough to remember where we were when we heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot. Others […]

Endless Knowledge

Never before have so many people had access to so much information. With human knowledge doubling every few years and search engines like Google and Yahoo! at our fingertips, the potential for learning seems endless. The horizons of knowledge—According to Reuters News Service, the Hubble Space Telescope has found 10,000 galaxies in a window of […]

Feel Loved Today?

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he writes out an extended prayer that expresses his longing that his readers will be given by God the ability to understand something of the immeasurable height, depth, and breadth of how much God loves them. Do you think this prayer has anything to do not only […]

Camp Hope

Now that 33 miners have been lifted from 2000 feet below the surface of Chile’s Atacama desert, Camp Hope will soon be a memory. At one point the temporary tent city in the middle of a barren nowhere hosted between 2,500 and 3,000 family members, journalists, volunteers and rescue workers. Now 70 days after the […]

The Big If

Seems to me that the Snoopy 1 and 2 MetLife blimps that cover televised sporting events with the slogan “For the if in Life” are a pretty effective way of getting out an insurance company’s name and message. Could even get us thinking about the bigger “ifs in life”. If we make criticizing others our […]

The Value of a Person

What did Jesus mean when he said that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27)? Could people be more important than the laws of God? The question is similar to the business-related question we’ve been discussing the last couple of days: Are people and relationships more important than […]

The Ultimate Top Kill

The video feeds from live Gulf cams seem to indicate that efforts to overcome the pressure of escaping oil and gas have a chance of working. If the pipes, a mile down on the ocean floor, can withstand the stress of offsetting pressure, the oil will stop when it meets its match of the drilling […]

Adoption Option

I’ve been thinking lately about inviting a guest blogger from time to time to give us a change of pace and some different perspectives to think about. So please welcome Mike Wittmer. He’s one of our regular bloggers at Our Daily Journey. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring a few of his posts […]

Does Anyone Care?

I’ve been thinking lately about inviting a guest blogger from time to time to give us a change of pace and some different perspectives to think about. So please welcome Mike Wittmer. He’s one of our regular bloggers at Our Daily Journey. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring a few of his posts […]

Follow the Gifts…

“Follow the money,” was the memorable quote from All the President’s Men. An unnamed source suggested to Bob Woodward that the key to understanding the Watergate mystery was the money. At the end of that path were reasons to be cynical. But change the idea slightly. Refocus on “follow the gifts” … and we find […]

Getting Buddy’s Trust

My experience with my son’s American bulldog has been an on-again, off-again kind of relationship. Although I’ve occasionally helped to take care of Buddy while my son and his wife were out of town, and even though I’ve never raised my hand or voice at the big boy, every once in a while he acts […]

Clunker Rebates

There’s something about the “cash for clunkers” economic stimulus that I find inspiring. Not interested right now in debating the issue of the policy’s wisdom. Am just intrigued with the idea that buyers are able to get a 3,500 to 4,500 dollar cash rebate for a gas hog … while helping car companies lower their […]

A Pastoral Paul Cuts us Slack

If we read the Apostle Paul as a black and white thinker who wrote rule-filled letters to followers of Christ, we may be forgetting that his pre-occupation with rule keeping was a thing of the past  (Philip 3:3-14). Listen, for instance, to what he wrote to the Corinthians, “The time is short, so that from […]

Love

As indispensable as truth, good words, and faith are, what is more important… To know all there is to know… To say all that can be said… To have faith that with God all things are possible… or to love? An inspired Paul writes that knowing all that is true, and saying all that is […]

Second Thoughts About Giving Thanks

There’s a down side to public expressions of thanksgiving. It’s one thing to privately thank our God for what he gives us individually. It’s also only right that we would publicly, within the appropriate circle, thank him for what we share together. As we saw in our last conversation, acting as if we are entitled […]

Entitlement and the Holiday

Started thinking that entitlement and thanksgiving are mutually exclusive, and that what’s at risk, if I don’t see the difference, is not only a heartless holiday, but also a shrinking spirituality. Then the most basic Google search gives me definitions that complicate my thoughts. For openers, I find, “The state of meeting the applicable requirements […]

A Prayer for the End of the Day

“Our Father, At the end of another day, we come to you not just by ourselves– but together. Many of us will readily admit that you have given us again today far more than we deserve. But some of us find ourselves reeling with news that we have not yet been able to understand or […]

What Does God Use to Open Our Hearts?

He took 39 back-ripping lashes– five times. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was stoned and left for dead. Three times he was shipwrecked. Then, as if all of this wasn’t enough, he had to live with the awareness that the Devil was oppressing him with a physical problem that God wouldn’t […]

The Shack

Because of the problem of pain and evil that raises disturbing questions about the God of the Bible, I thought it might be a good time to talk about “The Shack”. Finally read the 248 page paperback that so many are talking about. In the meantime I’ve been seeing reviews that go from likening it […]

The Holocaust

I’m traveling today to Jerusalem to work with our Day of Discovery team on a new series of “land of the Bible” programs. As I prepare to leave I’m reminded of some thoughts I had after returning from a similar assignment a couple of years ago. What I wrote is a bit long for a […]

The Fear Factor

Los Angeles Lakers’ star, Kobe Bryant, is claiming today that his hyperdunk jump over a pool of snakes is for real. His stunt, that recently hit the internet, echoes a television series that aired for six years from 2001 to 2006. “Fear Factor” was the first reality show to be syndicated by a television network. […]

The Way Back

Some places are not a good spot to begin looking for God. With a smile, but in all seriousness, we talked about some of them in our last post. The pride by which we turn our backs on God can turn into a wounded pride that leads us to think that our sins are greater […]

Who Gets into the Kingdom of God?

Like Jesus, the Apostle Paul sets high standards for entering the kingdom of God. In his first letter to the Corinthians he writes: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of […]

Jesus and Sodom

No one could rightly accuse Jesus of having low standards. But he was accused in his day of being “a friend of sinners.” Religious leaders of the lakeshore community of Capernaum, for instance, would have criticized Jesus if he had befriended the kind of people who once lived on the shores of the Dead Sea, […]

Jerusalem and Sodom

None of us can afford to call good bad, or bad good. The prophet Isaiah says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and […]

Hopeful?

Without hope no one can live. Yet, hope can be cruel. Solomon reminds us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov 13:8). So much of our unhappiness is the result of thinking we are going to get something better than we end up with. Yet no one will argue that disappointment and despair are […]

White Flag

Do you have just a minute? I’ll keep this short. I have a question I want to ask you? How can we possibly come together around the issues that divide us? There’s so much we increasingly disagree about. Yet that is a thought that set up me up for one of the most memorable experiences […]

Forgiving Ourselves (5)

What if we can’t forgive ourselves for the sins that haunt us? What if in the middle of beating ourselves up for the hundredth time, we suddenly become aware of an angry voice and then a loud slapping noise? Startled we stop and listen. Now, we hear several voices. Then we hear our name and […]

Forgiving Ourselves (4)

What if we can’t forgive ourselves? Is that the worst thing that could happen to us? Or would it be far worse for us to have no lingering sadness for the foolish things we have done? Could that be one reason the Bible does not tell us to forgive ourselves? Instead, the Apostle Paul tells […]

Forgiving Ourselves (3)

Why won’t some of us stop punishing ourselves for the wrongs we’ve done? I know the question. Long after I’ve asked God’s forgiveness, I have silently cursed myself for doing things that embarrassed me and hurt others.There was a time, though, that I wouldn’t talk this way. I assumed that forgiving me was God’s prerogative […]

Forgiving Ourselves (2)

As we think together about how hard it can be to forgive ourselves, I took a chance to ask some co-workers, some of whom just happen to be counselors, why they think so many of us continue to beat ourselves up for past mistakes. I thought you might be interested in reading a summary of […]

Forgiving Ourselves (1)

Why do so many of us beat ourselves up for old regrets long after we believe God has forgiven us? How could it be possible for us to find it easier to believe that God has forgiven us than to quit punishing ourselves for what we’ve done? We’ve spent some time thinking about forgiving others. […]

The Submission Riddle

When does the absence of submission double its meaning? I learned something this week that has carried with me into the weekend. Let me see if I can put in words a thought that I find compelling. In the ongoing debate about the role of husbands and wives, we’ve probably all heard both sides of […]

The Big Fish Story of Yom Kippur

On Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar, a big fish story is read in synagogues. As worshipers fast, confess their sins, and reflect on the words of Moses and Isaiah, they listen once again to the account of a catch and release that is so amazing no one would believe it […]

The Love of God

I looked in the mirror and wondered if I was staring at one of heaven’s spoiled brats.After consuming more than my share of mercies, I could see in my eyes a sadness that reflected not what God had given, but what He had withheld. Questions formed emotional distance between me and the Father I was […]

Wounded Soldiers

A veteran of the Iraq war recalls patrolling a street in Mosul on an ordinary Saturday morning when a grenade, tossed from a rooftop, exploded under his Humvee. He says he remembers lying on his stomach in the street unable to move his arms or legs. Blinded by the smoke, his ears were ringing as […]

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