Tag Archives: love
Sometimes we want to make the gospel complicated because we have worked so hard. We don’t want it to be easy for newcomers. We have fasted. We have fought the flesh. We have prayed all night. I did it, so you must do it.
But Paul (who did more than any of us) exhorts us to keep it simple. The gospel is simple: Believe in Jesus and be saved. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ. – 2 Cor. 11:3 KJV (caps mine).
Romans 10:9 similarly makes it simple: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (NIV).
It was the Pharisees and Jewish leaders who added rule upon rule, making it harder to get into Heaven. Considering they ultimately rejected Christ, I don’t think it’s a good idea to be like them. Some of us are going to be very surprised to see lots of people in Heaven, people we thought wouldn’t make it because they didn’t follow all our rules.
Simplicity is beautiful. Let’s not deprive the gospel of its beauty.
With Thanksgiving approaching, I want to say things for which I am thankful to God. My son Robert wants to be an engineer. He plays club soccer, and he plays in worship at the church. What else could a dad want his son to do?
What are you thankful for? I encourage you to blog your gratitude. Let’s infect the web with gratefulness.
Keep it short. Much has been written about Jesus, but He Himself? To the point. The sayings of Jesus would fill only a small pamphlet. The gospels about Him are brief and beautiful. On the blogosphere, you’re not writing a college monography that considers every angle.
Use pictures. Jesus spoke word pictures (called parables) that livened up his teaching. Take a lesson from Him.
Multiply. Jesus multiplied loves and fishes. You need to multiply your blog on other social media.
Be patient. Some want to go viral overnight. Jesus worked painstakingly with 12 disciples. Even then, Peter disowned Him at a critical moment. Only after Jesus restored Peter post-resurrection did the investment of time pay out.
Share. I’m troubled by Christians who worry more that their ideas don’t get plagiarized than about the gospel getting spread. Whose message is it anyway? The internet is the place for sharing. If somebody steals your idea, take it as a compliment and work on the next stroke of genius.
Serve your followers. Jesus had 12 disciples to whom He dedicated special attention. Don’t get so big-headed that you forget the people who helped your blog grow and become popular.
Love your enemies. Blogging is not about being a Pharisee, about condemning others and claiming to have the only truth. It’s about sharing ideas and treating others with respect. If your ideas are good, they’ll stand by themselves. You don’t need to be like James and John who wanted to call down fire from Heaven to burn the Samaritans.
Actually, it’s easy to love the Islamic State. What’s hard is to love your spouse.
As Christians, we are ordered to love our enemies. We may be enraged by their atrocities, but we can pray for them to get saved and wish Christianity for them.
The toughest thing is stomaching hurt from a person from whom we expect love. We don’t expect love from the Islamic State. Because we are surprised when a family member (or church family member) rejects us instead of loving us, it’s a rough road.
The lady who blackmailed me by falsely accusing me to the police is easy to love. I never expected anything from her. Her kid was in our school in Guatemala, and, desperate for money, she thought it would be easy to exploit the gringo. Despite her turning my life into a hellish nightmare for nine months, it was easy to forgive her.
But the people I love and expected to receive love from… Help me, Jesus.
In fact, sometimes lots of people are disgusted with me. After all, I’m just a human being.
Jesus asks us to love those who hate us. Sometimes the people who are supposed to love us, pour rejection out. This is hard to handle. It requires maturity — more than I have. But it’s something I can shoot for. Christianity is not about being perfect but aiming for improvement.
What’s startling about this statement is that kings GET gifts from their subjects.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! — Matt. 7:11 NIV.
The greatest gift you could ever receives is NOT a Lamborghini. Nor is it a date with Brittany Spears. Nor is it a trip to Tahiti.
It is forgiveness.
God’s forgiveness is available only for the asking.
Unfortunately, many are too busy arguing that there is no need to ask for forgiveness.
You may be involved in the most prosaic business or ordinary life, and God is looking for you to give you the most extraordinary life.
Many people aren’t looking for God (maybe they’re trying to avoid Him). But God is going to find them.
All over the blogosphere, and talking to people outside of church, I find people who have been hurt in the very place where they should’ve been helped.
Honestly, we look more like the Pharisees than Jesus, who ate with tax-collectors and stopped stone-throwing at prostitutes. Of course, the Bible points to a moral standard that must be upheld by the church, but many times it’s simply a pastor’s ego, a leader’s power trip, that offends.
If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea – Matt. 18:6 NIV.
I haven’t left the church. I wish and pray to see the church changed.
Flashy fashion or walk worn. What’s your ideal of beautiful feet?
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. — Rom. 10:15 KJV. Paul evokes the messenger of antiquity who came running with news of military victory. With the coming of his feet, anxiety gave way to exhilaration. Good news brought great joy.
The spreading of the gospel is like news of victory. We didn’t stand a military chance against Satan and sin, but Jesus intervened and won us the war. With the news, there is great rejoicing.
The first carriers of the gospel walked long distances to break pagans out of the ignorance. Instead of paparazzi, they were met with stone-throwers. They sacrificed because the bore good news and hungered to share it.
Even today, there is much sacrifice to do to get the good word out.
She chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?
Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.
Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.
God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.
It’s one thing for young pups in love to send each other “forever” memes. We need to see
older mature (?) married couples still in love. My wife and I celebrate 24 years this month. Praise God! It is not always easy but always worth it to work on it instead of throwing it away. My kids agree too.
That is beautiful because it almost rhymes and expresses profound truth. So we should not despise the people who are lessons to us — the frustrating ones. It appears to me that is generally cute to despise others: “I don’t hate people. I just feel better when they’re not around,” one T-shirt says. And thus we families that fall apart. Since we can’t get along with others (we are unwilling to work at building relationships and blame others, not ourselves), we wind up with loneliness.
This is my plea for you to work at relationships, to restore, to forgive, and to give without expecting in return. Demolition is much easier than construction. To tear down feels pleasurable. But the rubble left is no fun. It is better to build, even if it is costly. Build your family, your friendships, your church.
Heart, you’ve led me astray, following your desires, chasing love where it cannot be found. So I’m giving up on you. I’m going to follow One who is faithful and who forgives. I’m tired of the disillusions you lead me to. It’s time to settle down for an illusion, a hope, that won’t disappoint.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.
So much effort and money is being spent on finding life in Mars or elsewhere — all in an effort to see if we are not alone in the Galaxy. You needn’t invest so much to find out that you are not, in fact, alone.
Jesus is only a prayer away. He is loving you through your time of suffering. He is simply waiting for you to call out to Him.
It has been four years since I was missionary in Guatemala. As the years pass, there are old dear friends still in the work — and they warm my heart. Then too, there are new friends, also a joy. The video is of Andrea, who shyly explained what she liked about the school, el Liceo Bilingue La Puerta, that I left working in Guatemala. I’m proud of her.
An analogy is powerful persuasion. But it also has its flaws in that it never holds 100% correspondence to what it is being compared to. Such was the case of my last post, math = God’s systems. Specifically, I focused on order of operations, and how it you do math out of order, you get the wrong answer. I compared this to fudging God’s order from the Bible. For example, many people now think (especially in California) that it really doesn’t matter if you have sex before marriage. I insisted the correct order does matter.
Then http://marshajobrien.com/ pointed out that my post didn’t sound right. It sounded condemning, compassionless, cold. Maybe it turned a lot of people off to the gospel when my wish is to attract people.
While I believe there is a great truth to the order-of-operations analogy, at the same time there is a fallacy: Grace trumps. God redeems the brokenness and hurt of our lives. He gives us new beginnings. Think of doing the math problem wrong and still getting the right answer: that is grace.
Grace is when we turn to God, realizing our sin. We want forgiveness. We want a new start. And He embraces us with compassion. He shows us a better way to live life. When we blow it, He continually gives us a new opportunity.
The tension between grace and law are summed up in the prodigal son: He was restored to full sonship, but his part of the inheritance was entirely and irrevocably squandered. We do lose blessings by our bad decisions. But God works the math to always favor us. Even this runs the risk of lacking grace.
Hooray for the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver fined Clipper owner Donald Sterling $2.5 million and banned him from the NBA for life after the real estate mogul was recorded making racist remarks against blacks to his girlfriend.
Hooray for Dani Alves. The left defender from FC Barcelona mocked racial taunts. When a fan from the other team attempted to provoke the Brazilian by throwing a banana at him during a game (message: you are a monkey), he picked up the banana, took a bite and kept playing. Footballers in support took pictures of themselves eating bananas and posted them on Instagram. The fan has been banned for life from attending soccer stadiums.
Church, take heed! I have been mortified by brothers who, thinking they talk in confidence with me because I’m as wait as a freshly bleached sheet, share their evil racism with me. There is no room for racism in the church. It is a sin. For too many years, “apologists” accommodated and justified slavery with a wicked twisting of the scriptures.
I’ve got news for you. In Heaven, all the races live together in harmony. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. — Rev. 5:9.
If you secretly harbor thoughts of the superiority of one race, repent of your sin before God and convert in a truly loving Christian.
God forbid that the NBA and a Spanish soccer club be more loving towards rejected people than the church.
Sterling may fight back. He can dicker over due process. He can prosecute whoever illegally recorded his conversation (presumably his girlfriend). But his doom has been decreed. He’s not going to make much headway.
If you don’t know anguish, relief is boring.
If you ignore what misery is, you will be void of compassion.
If you don’t understand how your sin puts you into desperate straits before God, you will never grasp the imponderable wonder of grace and salvation.
If it’s always somebody’s else’s fault, you will never know what it means to forgive.
If you only love yourself, you do not know what love is.
Even though I face rejection on all sides.
Cutting myself off from people would save me the hurt. But it would deprive me of human warmth, affirmation.
Too bad so many people see others through competitive eyes. They can’t just be friends. They have to put others down, downplay others’ giftings. Life must be miserable when you can’t enjoy friendship.
I’m going to keep reaching out to find friends. To find people who can accept me for what I am. My strengths and weaknesses. My quirks. People who don’t try to re-make me according to what they think I should be. God made me sensitive. If you don’t like that, too bad for you!
I’m going to keep reaching out because that’s what Jesus did. Spurned, he still gave love. I’m going to keep reaching out because the alternative to rejection is loneliness — which is worse.
But we take no heed to the danger of negative or sinful thoughts. The Bible says, “Take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.” If the direction of your thought life is toward depression, low self esteem, drugs or some other negative, take the steering wheel away from the devil and direct your thoughts towards positive things.
A good chunk of my life went to the mission field — almost 16 years planting churches and a school in Guatemala. It’s been four years since I left, and now that I visit, I see miracles, miracles, miracles. Miracles continue.
These kids have an environment free from bullying, free from cutting, free from drugs, free from pornography, free from so many quicksand pits that are swallowing the lives of our youth.
To be sure, there have been failures. One kid who was expelled is now dead. Another just got out of jail. Another got pregnant out of wedlock. Not all the stories are success.
But there are undeniable testimonies of revolutionized lives. One kid unwittingly ran the errands of narcs. He had been kicked out of every school he enrolled prior. Today, he is an upstanding parent and put his girl in our school. Excuse me while tears well up. Jesus did this. I just let my life be used.
It took oodles of prayer and oodles of work, but it was all worth it. And the momentum continues. Miracles of salvation and healing continue. Pray for the Door Church in Guatemala.
Think about Job’s friends. They wanted to console Job. But their theology was too black-and-white. Through some 20 chapters, they degenerated from help to hurt, from wanting to encourage to discouraging. Eventually, they just argued.
Don’t be like Job’s friends. They started on the right foot. The Bible says that when calamity slammed Job, they sat with him in silence for seven days, grieving with him. They showed strong moral support.
But then they searched for words. They sought reasons to explain the unexplainable. They spoke eloquently and gradually became enamored with their fine speeches and forgot about the purpose of uplifting the victim. Instead of infusing solace, they spiked Job. Dogmatism doomed them.
Their lack of words spoke more powerfully than the florid poetry they poured out trying to convince Job he was wrong. In the end, they did more harm than good. Eventually, the dragged Job into the fray and provoked him to some unwise statements. At the end, God rebuked them.
If only they would have finished like they started, friends showing mute affirmation.
But in Christianity, we are all losers (because we are all sinners), and Jesus invites us to join the winning team (His).
Jesus was the only Person who was without sin. He triumphed over sin, over Satan and over death.
So we Christians MUST not view anyone as “losers.” Because that’s what we all are. We have been made winners not by our individual accomplishments but by what Christ did for us, adopting us into His kingdom.
To anyone who has not yet become a follower of Christ, I invite you. It can be frustrating trying to be a “winner” in this cruel world. Somebody is always better. Sooner or later, someone will always beat you. Jesus accepts all “losers” and makes them a valuable part of the winning team.
Pseudo-intellectual siege after siege has been brought against Jesus to cast doubt over the historicity.
“Scholars” have focused on details small and large in this attempt. But those attempts have failed. The evidence supporting the Biblical accounts is overwhelming, as is His undeniable work in me.
Let’s celebrate Christmas not as businessmen but as the gratefully saved.
Dianna’s co-worker was dumbfounded — why was Dianna not crying? Her dad had just died.
Dianna explained that 1) his passing came as no surprise, and 2) we have no doubt as to the reality of Heaven.
If you don’t believe in Heaven, you will try to extract every ounce of pleasure from Earth. Don’t get me wrong: I believe there’s a great taste of Heaven here. But that is just a foretaste. Those who try to experience Heaven on Earth are accepting tinsel for gold. If you don’t believe in Heaven, then you wail hopelessly upon the death of friends and family — or stiffen yourself stoically.
The evolutionists deride Heaven. The atheists scoff. The humanists ridicule. Still the human heart yearns to believe in eternity. We are not animals. Undeniably born in the human heart is the knowledge of eternity. What we yearn for, God confirms in His Word:
- My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I a.m – John 14:2-3 NIV.
- We do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first – 1 Thes. 4:13, 16 NIV.
- And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God – Revelations 21:3 NIV.
In regards to Heaven, let me say one important thing: We eat sumptuous food in Heaven. Why should Dianna cry? Dad is in Heaven.