Tags: love

Empathy

Why does the Bible say nothing about how Eve was feeling after her first son killed his younger brother? Did word get back to her that, when asked where Abel was, Cain had said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Did she know that he seemed more concerned about losing the affections of his fields than […]

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 […]

Something in Everything

When you know what to look for, you see it everywhere. An exaggeration to make a point? Yes or no, the idea implies its opposite. The author of the 136th Psalm seems captured by the thought. 26 times in 26 verses he says things like— To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love […]

A Time to Judge

Many of us grew up hearing the quote, “Judge not according to appearance but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24 KJV). I don’t remember reading those words in light of the motive and moment in which Jesus said them. Now I’m looking at them again in a story of rivals who were accusing our Teacher of […]

On Wikileak Sea

How can we make sense of a world where all who have something to hide live in constant fear of being exposed by a power seeking, money hungry— or ever loving rival? How different are such thoughts from the “What is truth?” asked by a cynical judge when he was asked to seal the fate […]

Love Songs

In 1936, American song writer, Billy Hill, wrote “The Glory of Love”. Before long a nation was singing, “You’ve got to give a little, take a little and let your poor heart break a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.” Fifty years later, in 1986, another song reached the top of […]

A Final Solution

In 1979 George Steiner wrote a controversial work of fiction that ignited an international firestorm. In The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H., Steiner  created a scenario in which an aged Adolf Hitler was found and captured from his hiding place in the Amazon jungle— and then given the last word in a court of law. Hitler […]

Agreeing to Disagree

A bitterly polarized nation is one thing. A divided body of Christ is another. As Jesus’s mission of rescue neared its moments of tragic surprise, he prayed that his disciples would have such unity that the world would see the truth about him and the Father who sent him (John 17:18-26). Later, Paul also focused on […]

Caring too Much

I began today in an updated edition of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional. The text is “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you.” Psa 55:22. The words that followed were hard for me to deny. We can care too much. The thought surprised me by hiding behind the assumption that we can never […]

The Curse

This Spring, a Robin built her nest in this wreath on our front door. I watched as she wove the nest, mudded it, and then made it into a soft bed for her family to be. Over the next few days I got pictures of three blue eggs and then babies barely able to lift their heads. But four […]

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 […]

For the Love of God

A friend recently called my attention to a book titled “Testaments of Love, a study of love in the Bible.” It was published in 1981 and written by well-known Australian author, Leon Morris. Even though the book is heavily footnoted  I am impressed not only with its clarity— but also that it may be the book I didn’t […]

Unimaginable— Part 2

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” Here Paul seems to give us a loose quote of prophets who saw that God has unimaginable plans for humanity (1Cor 2:9) (Isa 64:3-4). Yet even Isaiah and others could not conceive of […]

Unimaginable— Part 1

Childlikeness renews wonder that childishness reasons away. But if that’s the case, it may not be readily apparent in the the Apostle Paul’s often quoted, “When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” What is clear is that, whatever Paul meant […]

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 […]

A Certain Kind of Love

Where did Paul get the idea that without love— eloquence is noise.. and that knowledge, understanding, faith, and even charitable sacrifice amount to nothing? If we knew nothing about his story we might assume that Paul was probably just a thoughtful observer of life in the home, neighborhood, workplace, temple, or halls of political debate. On […]

Imagination

At telling moments our Accuser has made his case for why people like us shouldn’t trust our God— and when that worked—why we shouldn’t believe that our God could possibly love people like us. In both cases the Great Divider appeals to our imagination. First he stretches our minds to believe that the source of […]

Looking for What’s Missing

In the previous post, “What’s Wrong With this Picture?” the close up of the ant sculpture in the Atlanta Airport shows what happens when perspective is missing. My guess (trying to read the lines, and between them) is that when Paul says to the divisive church in Corinth (inconsiderate of one another, and drinking to […]

What’s Wrong With this Picture?

As a child I remember a learning game that recently came to mind while thinking about a New Testament letter. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is an interesting study in human nature and in what he believed it means to be followers of Christ— together. From his opening words he is focused on what […]

A True and Better Ethic

I’ve been trying to immerse myself in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians to see if I can get a sense of his frame of mind when writes the 13 verses of his 13th chapter. What I’m finding will not surprise you. Paul writes with a courage and clarity that lifts him above the superstitions, […]

The Wonder of a Tree

A tree doesn’t need to look busy to get a lot done. Without apparent effort, it makes shade and oxygen while filtering the air of carbon monoxide. Without going anywhere, its branches slow erosion by breaking rainfall with its leaves even as it holds soil in place with its roots. Without conscious effort to make a name […]

The Consuming Fire

Seems like I’ve been so slow to learn that Jesus does more than change lives. He also gives new meaning to the way his followers use words and ideas. He gives us his own upside down and inside out vision for everything. He shows us how to think differently about big people, little people, life, death, family, […]

Life 101

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith […]

Father?

Over the last few months, I’ve returned occasionally to read a few more pages in The Ragamuffin Gospel. For some reason, I have not found it to be one of those books that I can’t put down… Written in 1990 by Brennan Manning, it reflects the findings of a Franciscan Priest who discovered in his own […]

Where’s the Good News?

My guess is that most of us have been around long enough to hear questions asked either to avoid or find answers. For example, If the law of God is written on our hearts, as Paul says, why do we need the Scriptures of Moses or Jesus? Or, if all law is fulfilled in one, […]

Why Some Veterans Miss War

In a provocative 13 minute TED Talk war correspondent Sebastian Junger tries to answer a disturbing question. Why do so many veterans, especially those who served in active duty, miss war? After 20 years of covering the horrors and inhumanity of the battlefield, Junger found a painful irony—what veterans miss is the opposite of what […]

Life Light and Love

In spite of the wealth and diversity of life in and around us, how often do we hear of efforts to replicate—or explain the mystical something that animates a single living cell? Yet every multi-billion dollar space probe carries with it the hope of discovering that spontaneously generated life is not unique to us. One […]

Knowing and Being Known

The 139th Psalm is one of the most loved songs of David. It starts and ends with the thought of a God who understands us better than we know ourselves. David sings of One who is with us in life and in death, who saw us before we were born; who sees our days before […]

Foreshadowing in The Lottery

In 1948 the New Yorker Magazine published one of the most famous short stories in American literature. Titled “The Lottery”, and written by Shirley Jackson, it’s about a small town that held an annual drawing in which every family picked a slip of paper out of a black box. As town people look at one […]

Words in the Night

In the middle of the night, lately, I’ve found myself waking, with some of the same words running through my mind, over and over… and then over and over— as if something deep inside me is trying to reach and grasp something that seems too good to be true, suspended teasingly just beyond my will […]

What Was Adam Thinking?

In our last conversation about forgiving ourselves, I think many of you sensed that, if the God who revealed himself in Jesus is our reference point, then the root of forgiving others, and ourselves, is the highest kind of love (i.e. not just feeling, but choosing to actively seek the highest good of another). In […]

Ubuntu

A story is going around the internet that, in some ways, sounds more like legend than fact. But the idea behind it seems to represent a cultural value that is real. As related on an Ubuntu website, an anthropologist made an important discovery after completing his study of a tribe in a southern region of […]

Authority Issues

My guess is that few of us like being told what to do—especially if we don’t think the person has our best interests at heart. Yet we have different ways of showing (or not showing) our true feelings. Jesus spoke to such differences. He tells the story of two brothers who were told by their […]

Has God Said?

The question has a history. Before it was first asked, human experience was limited to a paradise of undisguised trust and innocence (Gen 2:25). Then… from behind the mask of one of God’s own creatures, the hellishly subtle question was asked, “Has God said….?” In the next few words, Genesis gives us a hint of […]

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 […]

Backward and Forward

A journal article speaks of reading the Bible backward and forward to see how each page and chapter helps to tell the Story. A pastor’s weekly messages reinforce the thought that what God has done in the past helps us to understand what he wants to do in us again today. A treasured book reinforces […]

What are we Thinking?

We have entered into the remembrance of  the last days leading to  Jesus’ crucifixion. Together we are moving again toward the dark moment in which, according to the Scriptures, justice and mercy met together in a terrible act of execution and death, for our rescue and deliverance. Many of us have learned to think of […]

Is God Like the Weather?

Does our Creator change like the wind? The Scriptures describe the One who has made us as being loving, merciful, and compassionate. But then they speak of him as being like a consuming fire, into whose hands we don’t want to fall. Even Jesus might leave us wondering if he speaks with the ever changing […]

High Ground

It’s hard to leave the high ground of 1Corinthians 13. Maybe we are not supposed to… except to linger… and then walk… for the rest of our lives in the thought of Who such love comes from… and where He is leading us. Most of us know the story of this song’s author. He had […]

Love Song

How do we know we are in love? Am guessing many of us can remember with a smile the wonder… and the pain. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to discover that seasons of blind desire aren’t the same as the love that makes us good for one another. Without taking anything from the gift and […]

The Gift of a New Testament

In our last conversation, Bill mentioned a book by Gaylord Enns called Love Revolution. I remember reading it some time ago, finding it to be a surprisingly important book, and then forgetting about it. So went to my shelves this past week, found it, and have been mulling over it ever since. In this book […]

Loving in Loss

Two days ago dear friends lost an adult son in a tragic work accident. This morning I received an e-mail from the father who described what happened last night when their grieving family reached out to the man who had accidentally killed their son, brother, husband, and father. The note described not only their overwhelming […]

Body Swap

An article on BBC’s online Future section describes an experimental technology that gives two people the experience of feeling as though they have exchanged bodies with one another. The thought behind the science is not new. It’s ancient wisdom that trying to imagine what it would be like to live in another person’s circumstances, bodies, […]

Jonah and the Word of God

He was a Jewish prophet who, in the 8th century before Christ, spoke words inspired by God. His name, Jonah, meant “dove”—a bird regarded as a symbol of peace. The Backstory– He was first known as a prophet who predicted that Jeroboam 2, the tenth king of the northern tribes of Israel, would conquer lands […]

Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner?

There may be a point in the distinction between hating the sin and loving the sinner. But it’s risky business. And some of us might be better off leaving the job to someone else. By now, more than a few of us have probably discovered that it is hard to point our finger at anyone […]

What We Know and Don’t Know

In the ongoing search for answers to what happened to Malaysian Flight 370 the plight of those waiting for word on the fate of their loved ones is reaching a new level of frustration, anger, and lingering hope. Ships from several nations comb an ocean that, according to one source, is littered with 20 million […]

The Glory Seeker

Some of us might find it difficult to be around those who use whatever occasion or means they can to call attention to their own successes. Yet at the same time we can be blind to the endless, subtle, and ironic means by which we ourselves seek attention, affirmation, and praise. Maybe it is because […]

Live Loved

When I first heard a friend talk about the idea that a relationship with Jesus boils down to a chance to live loved, I was hooked. Two words. So simple. So profound. Since then, while working with a variety of texts, plots and characters of the Bible I’ve repeatedly come back to those 2 words. […]

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 […]

Mandela and the Bible

It’s hard for me to think about how often the Bible was quoted to resist the policies of emancipation for civil rights in the USA, or to support apartheid and to resist Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The question has me thinking again about a conference I recently attended on the trustworthiness of the Bible. […]

The Threat of Terrorism

An 8/5/2013 alert on a Homeland Security website says, “There are growing concerns that an al Qaeda affiliate could use a new generation of liquid explosive, currently undetectable, in a potential attack, according to two senior U.S. government officials briefed on the terror threat that has prompted the closing of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies. […]

In Search of a Safe Place

In Old Testament times, innocent people could find temporary shelter by running to “cities of refuge” or by getting to and hanging on the “the horns the altar” of sacrifice. But that was for those who i.e. unintentionally harmed others. What about those who were guilty? Only with the Cross of Christ do we see […]

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 […]

Can We Think Our Way to God?

Could one of our problems be that we are trying to think our way to God? That thought comes, surprisingly, from a Calvin College professor of philosophy. In a Christianity Today Online interview of James Smith, a professional thinker observes, “Human beings are at their core defined by what they worship rather than primarily by […]

Toxic Truth

Who among us hasn’t seen the pain we can bring to ourselves and others by thoughtlessly saying the truth without humility, love, or wisdom. Those who accused Jesus of being a sinner, or worse (demon possessed) weren’t all wrong. They were followers of Moses. They had heard the rumors about Jesus’ birth, and were not […]

Seeds of Hope

When a troubled Solomon tried to make sense of the times and seasons of life, he observed that “there’s a time to plant, and a time to harvest (Ecc 3:2). Got to thinking about how much of following Christ involves personally planting seeds of faith, hope, and love in the God whose story includes large […]

Looking for a Proverb

Somewhere I picked up the idea that the Bible says, “You can learn more from your critics than your friends.” Seemed to make so much sense that enemies are more likely than our friends to point out our faults, mistakes and blind sides. But I’ve just spent some time trying unsuccessfully to find “what I […]

Close to Home

As so many of us find ourselves inspired by the competition of the Summer Games, my thoughts have also gone to one of the most amazing performances the world has ever seen. His name was Saul, and his deadly game had echoes of his namesake, the first king of Israel. As King Saul raged through […]

Hating Religion and Family

One more look at the hate religion but love Jesus comparison. What if we hated religion the way Jesus asked us to hate the members of our own family? May sound like a stretch. But Jesus seems to consider hatred of close relatives a condition of his kingdom. While fulfilling the law that requires us […]

Love Hate Point Counterpoint

Many of you may have seen the following video that went viral a couple of weeks ago. Titled “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus” it expresses a deeply felt faith that has resonated with millions. But just yesterday, I was sent the following link to a response to the first from the other side […]

What Matters in the End!?

As the sun was setting, I got a shot of this milkweed. Am thinking it might illustrate a way to move forward with our conversation about living in anticipation of end times. There’s a bit of irony here. Many of us believe that being ready for Christ’s promised return prepares us for eternity. Yet, in […]

Reference Points

Traveling in Asia with co-workers, have been reminded again of the value of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty. Have also seen how important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves as the measure of either. Even more impressed with the deepening impression of what, in […]

More than Ten Suggestions

Down through the years some of us  have pointed out that God didn’t give Moses The Ten Suggestions. With similar conviction we rightly recognize the importance of being obedient to God. Many have also observed that the only real solution for the world will come in a day when God’s Messiah rules the world with […]

Why is Sharing our Faith so Difficult?

Some followers of Christ seem to find it so natural to spontaneously talk to others about their faith. By all appearances, they are able to turn normal conversations, even with strangers, into an opportunity for talk about the best news in the world. They anticipate obstacles along the way, graciously answer objections, and often end […]

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 […]

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Let’s pick up on a theme that surfaced a couple of times in the “From Your Window” comments. More than one of our friends talked about how hard it is to see a recurring pattern of church people attacking their leaders and hurting one another. Why does it happen? What causes us to turn into […]

Why We See Forgiveness Differently

In reading over the previous conversation it’s apparent  that there is still disagreement about the nature of forgiveness. We all know that we need it. But we disagree about when it is appropriate to give it. Our problem is that the Bible, in wisdom, says at least two different things: (1) That forgiveness is to […]

Three to Watch For

Everyone has faith in something. No one can live very long without hope. And those who don’t believe in God often make a strong case for loving one another. So is it any wonder that those who do not think Christ is the only way to God are not impressed when they hear his followers […]

Unwanted Opportunity

Followers of Christ often find it easy to affirm the importance of faith, hope, and love. We acknowledge that according to the Scriptures, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). We hear that without love we are somewhere between noise and nothing (1Cor 13:1-2). We admit that without hope, we are just […]

A Lost Commandment?

The other day someone gave me a book that has gotten my attention. It’s called, Love Revolution: Rediscovering the Lost Command of Jesus by Gaylord Enns. I was skeptical at first. Expected a predictable rehash of a subject we’ve all heard a lot about. But the author told his own story of brokenness in a […]

Taking Inventory and Steps

Over the months I’ve talked every once in a while about how 12 Step thinking and process echoes basics of true spirituality. Even after the specific language of the Bible has been removed to make the Steps “accessible” to those who come with an aversion to the “religion” of their past, real wisdom remains. Step […]

Let There be Light… and Darkness

Have been thinking that one way to understand the Bible is to see the way it tells the story of light and darkness. The first quoted words of the God who brought something out of nothing and order out of chaos are, “Let there be Light.” Then God divided the light from the darkness in […]

In Hope of Changing Seasons

It was raining and 43 degrees yesterday when I stopped to look up into this tree. Its trunk and branches are strong. Yet by its appearance, it is joining the rest of us in acknowledging that we have no power to resist the seasons of life. Solomon, struggled for a while to make sense of […]

The Variety of Nature and Spirituality

Maybe the variety of nature can help us laugh at ourselves, and grow in our appreciation for one another… while still taking life seriously. Scientists estimate that the number of species on earth ranges somewhere between 5 and 30 million, with about 8 million different kinds of bugs. Could there be a parallel between what […]

A Christmas Story (5 of 5)

Who hasn’t been frustrated trying to find the perfect Christmas gift? So why bother? Probably for any number of reasons… none of which is more important than giving out of a heart that is once again being warmed by the true meaning of the Christmas story. The Gifts of the King Continued from Christmas Morning […]

This is a Football

According to an often repeated story, legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, once expressed his frustration by stopping practice and saying to his Green Bay Packer professionals something like, “Let’s start at the beginning. This is a football. These are the yard markers. I’m the coach. You are the players.” (Although I haven’t been able to […]

The Value of a Person

Until I saw it, I didn’t realize that much of Israel’s Mount of Olives is a cemetery. Here, those who remember the dead place a stone of remembrance on top of their loved one’s grave. Today, in America, we use this Memorial Day to honor those who have lost their lives fighting for our country. […]

The "H" Factor

Like pride, the closets of humility are filled with different hats and clothes for different occasions. Popular opinion regards it as a doormat personality, and maybe even pride in disguise. Yet our books of common language describe it as the kind of realistic view of ourselves that is necessary to share the pain or joys […]

The Logic of Intercession

I don’t like to think about how many times I’ve told someone “I’ll be praying for you,” before only following through in a token way. And when I have prayed repeatedly for those I really care about– with no apparent results– I sometimes wonder why I don’t seem to be able to touch the heart […]

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, by continuing to use this site you agree to this. Find out more on how we use cookies and how to disable them.