RSS

Tag Archives: Love

Romans 1:18

Romans 1:18
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

Dear God, when I read this scripture this morning the question that came to my mind is, What makes you angry? I get it that this passage says that it’s “wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness,” but what does that look like? And what do you do with that anger?

After I read this scripture this morning, I turned my attention to the news. I didn’t read much yesterday, but I had heard about the attacks in Sri Lanka. There was more information about it today. Tragic. I am sure this attack made you angry. What do you do with that anger? What do you call me to do?

It seems that I am coming up with more questions than answers this morning. I suppose the first thing you are calling me to do is pray. Pray for the survivors who are affected by this crime. That includes the families of the attackers as well as the victims. I pray for the Christian church there as well as the Islamic church. Let this attack backfire on the organizers. Take your own anger and let it burn into love between people. Let there be love that flows between Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka and around the world. Let there be reconciliation. Yes, some amount of justice needs to be done, and I pray for that justice for those who organized this, but even for them, I pray that someone will find them in prison and reveal your holy anger and simultaneous love for them.

Father, as I go through my own day, help me to know how to handle anger and love. Help me to see each situation with your eyes and offer your presence to it through my life. Help me to completely absorb you. As I’ve said many times before, 1 Corinthians 13 does not say that love does not get angry, but it says that love is not easily angered. Let me not be easily angered as well, but to experience healthy anger and have healthy responses to it.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 22, 2019 in Romans

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Narrowing on Jesus and Widening my Love

No verse.

Dear God, I had a great conversation with some old friends of my wife last night, and one part of my conversation with the husband of the couple has kind of stuck with me this morning. I want to spend some time with you unpacking it a little this morning.

We were talking about loving other people who don’t believe the same things we do (religiously, politically, etc.) and he said (paraphrasing), the more I live the wider and wider my love for others gets and, simultaneously, the narrower and narrower I focus on Jesus. I really liked that, and I can relate. I know I still have a long way to go in loving others and not judging them, but I know I was better yesterday that I was the day before, and I hope I am going to be better today than I was yesterday. The more I focus on you/Jesus/the Holy Spirit (the Trinity), the more I start to see others with your eyes, and your eyes seem to be so merciful and loving. And then the ability to give that love and grace to others brings me a peace that I cannot have when I am judging them.

Father, thank you for sharpening me with some other pieces of iron yesterday. Thank you for sharpening me through my wife, my friends, and really everyone with whom you bring me into contact. Thank you for sharpening me through your scripture and through my prayer time with you. Thank you for caring enough about me to take the time to sharpen me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 

Tags: , ,

Peter & John — 3 John

3 John 1:1-14 NIV
[1] The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. [2] Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. [3] It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. [4] I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. [5] Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. [6] They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. [7] It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. [8] We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. [9] I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. [10] So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. [11] Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. [12] Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true. [13] I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. [14] I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

Dear God, there are two people described in this letter: Gaius and Diotrephes. The first is someone who loves others and is the recipient of the letter itself. The second is a man who has put himself and his own ideals before everyone else and you.

As I typed that and thought about the two men, the phrase from that old spiritual song “We are One in the Spirit” came to mind: “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians be our love.”

When I look at Jesus being asked what the greatest commandment is, he replied that we should love the Lord our God… and love our neighbor as ourself. When Paul talked about the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 13, he said that faith, hope and love are what remain, but the greatest of these is love. Later, when Paul talked about the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, the first fruit he lists is love. Love, love, love.

I couple of weeks ago, I was praying to you and talking about a dilemma I was having. I wasn’t sure how to respond to a hurtful situation. The word I got back from you during that prayer was, “Love, love, and love.” I told that to my wife, and we looked for a way to reach out to the people in question with that in mind and I think (I hope) we found it. We haven’t heard anything back, and I guess I didn’t really expect to. But I am hopeful that those seeds of love that we tried to sow will find some fertile soil and be ready for the harvest one day.

Father, even now I have someone in whom I love, but I feel compelled to address something that they do that is offensive to me and likely a lot of others. They don’t realize they are doing it, and I hesitate to address it with them, but remaining silent in awkwardness only allows the problem to fester. I have purposed in my heart this morning that it needs to be addressed, but I pray right now that I will be able to do it in love. Even now, typing this, I can see that there might be haughtiness in my heart about this. I don’t wan there to be any. I just feel compelled to peel back a layer of deception that might be hurtful to some.. Anyway, help me to do everything I do today in love. Help me to be more like Gaius and reject the arrogance of Diotrephes. Help me be the kind of person to whom John would have written, and not the kind he had to confront.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2019 in 3 John, Peter and John, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

Peter & John — 1 John 1:5-2:2

1 John 1:5-2:2 NIV
[5] This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. [6] If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. [8] If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
[1] My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. [2] He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Dear God, I think John’s message here is simply, stop trying to portray yourself as perfect, be humble about your sin, accept grace, and do your best to walk in holiness (the light).

I would probably be remiss if I didn’t mention a song that was performed by dc Talk called “In The Light.” Here are the lyrics:

In The Light

I keep trying to find a life
On my own, apart from You
I am the king of excuses
I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do
What’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
The disease of self runs through my blood
It’s a cancer fatal to my soul
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
To bring this sickness under control
Tell me, what’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
Honesty becomes me
[There’s nothing left to lose]
The secrets that did run me
[In Your presence are defused]
Pride has no position
[And riches have no worth]
The fame that once did cover me
[Has been sentenced to this Earth]
Has been sentenced to this Earth
Tell me, what’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
Songwriters: John Paul Jones / Jimmy Page / Robert Plant

Father, I do want to be in the light. I want to be in your light. There are all kinds of Christian songs that mention being in your light. Help me to bring your light, or allow your light, into the darkest parts of my heart and live in your freedom, peace and joy. And help me to encourage others in this way too.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Peter & John — 2 Peter 1:3-11

2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV
[3] His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. [4] Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. [5] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; [6] and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; [7] and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. [8] For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. [10] Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, [11] and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dear God, the progressive list that Peter gives in verses 5-7 seems like something I should have memorized by now, kind of like the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5. Let me see if I can break it down into a more digestible format.

  1. Faith: We start with our faith in you.
  2. Faith + Goodness: I don’t know that Peter thought this ordering was inflexible, but I’m a little surprised Goodness is the first batter up after Faith. I might have thought Self-Discipline or something like that. But he chose Goodness.
  3. Goodness + Knowledge: If you’re going to have Faith and Goodness, but then you don’t start educating yourself about God through scripture and prayer then you will be left empty. A baby Christian who never grows.
  4. Knowledge + Self Control: So then if you are going to have Faith, Goodness, and Knowledge, you will need to be able to control yourself as well. That means in denying yourself of your vices, your carnal nature such as temper and self-righteousness. It also means self-discipline to pursue Knowledge.
  5. Self Control + Perseverance: Perseverance is what it becomes about. When I was first a Christian at the age of nine, I was like a lot of nine-year-olds in my lack of understanding of time and fatigue. All nine-year-olds think they can just sprint a mile and not give up. When I was nine, I had Faith, and I added Goodness, but then I didn’t add the other things and my faith failed over and over again. It wasn’t until I added Knowledge, Self Control, and Perseverance to the equation that my life changed.
  6. Perseverance + Godliness: Godliness is added over time only after Perseverance has exposed me to you long enough. I am more godly than I was yesterday and I will hopefully more godly tomorrow than I am today.
  7. Godliness + Mutual Affection: Ah, community. Community is the bonfire that keeps our coal going. I was talking with a friend this morning about how you built us for community. Within that community, we need to have empathetic affection for the others around us.
  8. Mutual Affection + Love: And if we are going to have that Mutual Affection, it is nothing if we don’t have your Love. Again, I don’t know that this list is necessarily in order. I would think that Love might have come earlier in the list, but this is Peter’s list, not mine.

Father, help me to be complete in all of these things and then help me to be a light that guides others to this same completeness. Help me to not miss any of these components. Probably the hardest one is perseverance. Help me to press on. Help me finish this race well. Help me to be your man in every area where you have me serving.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 25, 2019 in 2 Peter, Peter and John

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,