All posts tagged: Love

Church in Hishult, Sweden Credit: Jacob Surland/Flickr/Creative Commons

Where Is the Love?

Cue Black Eyed Peas I always seem to get a giddy feeling when I see competitive sports with good sportsmanship. Something about the opposing team helping their opposition up off the ground, giving acknowledgement when someone makes a good play against you, or giving a high-five after a solid punch to the face. Granted, it’s not a very common occurrence, but I absolutely love to see that type of comradery from the opposition. But then, the question begs to be asked: Why do we lack this type of behavior in the church? I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t exist, but nearly every church has seen some kind of separation through its years. I haven’t seen anything extreme, but I’ve heard of people getting worked up enough over the music or seating arrangement that they feel the need to find a new home for Sunday morning. A couple of years ago, I did see some division in my home church. While I won’t get into the specifics of what went on, one of the …

Credit: Ann Lusch/Flickr/Creative Commons

Kindness and Human Evolution

I was travelling on the weekend, and I learned a hard lesson about air travel. It is so easy to be bumped these days. My flight to another city was bumped to an earlier time, and I was able to deal with that. But I didn’t know if I could get home on time. I walked up to the airline counter and a young woman told me I was supposed to confirm my flight online. If not, I would be charged ten dollars, or possibly not get on the plane. I did not know that, and she told me to take out my phone, log onto the free airport Internet and click “yes” on their website. I had some trouble logging on, and she just told me to just check in, and they would waive the ten-dollar fee. I should have asked for her name and sent a commendation to her boss. What she did was simple kindness; she did not have to help me. Kind acts like that send a powerful message. I knew …

Credit: nfnitloop/flickr/Creative Commons

Is God Real? or Donuts in the Snow

So, is God real? If yes, why is there suffering in this world? Why doesn’t God fix our problems, if He loves us? This is an old argument, and I learned the answer a few days ago. Here is some background. Right now, where I live in Canada, we are in “Roll up the Rim to Win” season at Tim Hortons. Timmies is a cultural thing here, we all go there for coffee or tea and conversations. We also eat too many donuts there. In season, we roll up the rims of our paper cups and learn what we have won. I usually win a chance to play again; they are very kind when they say “no.” When I win a free donut I tear off that statement from the rim, and keep the ticket. One thing I really don’t need is a free donut and I can think of something worse, two free donuts. I had two winning tickets that I carried with me like a guilty pleasure. I do contract work, and some …

Credit: Christian R. Hamacher/Flickr/Creative Commons

Struggling to love unconditionally

Loving others unconditionally (without any conditions, or expectations attached) does not come naturally for me or anyone I know. The question is how does one DO unconditional love (live it out, act and think). In order for me to extend unconditional love to others  I must have  a reason. What would motivate me to love others unconditionally and withhold judgement. Glynnis Whitwer from ministry says that we must ‘find the why’ and reason for our motivation to love unconditionally. The Apostle Paul writes: “For we were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate, deluded and misled  . .  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of anything we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Titus 3:3-4) Everyday, I must be mindful of the reason I choose to love unconditionally which is  to  honor God’s gift of grace to me by reflecting it back into my world. In the Old Testament, the Jews had rules and regulations to please God and the Greeks lived to appease their …

Credit: LJ Mears/Flickr/Creative Commons

How strong is God’s love for you?

What picture would help us grasp the magnitude of this love? There is a verse in the Song of Solomon that describes the love between the bride and bridegroom — a picture of the love relationship between Jesus and His Church, the people of God. “Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame (the very flame of the Lord)! (Song of Solomon 8:6) It provides several metaphors revealing God’s unquenchable love for us: the seal, death, fire and jealousy. The Seal In Biblical times, the seal was a stamp of ownership and authenticity put on an object. In the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman is asking her lover to put this stamp of ownership on her heart so she can be completely and only his. Brown’s Bible Commentary describes it this way: “She was ‘leaning’ on Him, that is, her …

Do you love yourself? Credit: chandrika221/Flickr/Creative Commons

Do we need to love ourselves?

“The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these.” (Mark 12:3) According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, loving yourself from a biblical perspective refers to loving the image of God in you and the way He created you. This is not referring to a conceited, prideful, self-worship type of love. Loving yourself and embracing your significance as a Christian is vital. We need to love and value ourselves in the same way God does. Low self-esteem, beating ourselves up emotionally and physically (body image), defining ourselves through past mistakes and failures are all signs that we are not loving ourselves in the same way God loves us. We can be bitter and unforgiving towards others. But we can also be bitter and unforgiving towards ourselves and God because of the way we perceive ourselves  through our body image or  the way things turned out for us in life. I am learning that it  is just as important to forgive myself  as it is to forgive others. Understanding …

What we think of ourselves, affects who we are.

Be nice to yourself

My mind can be my best friend or worst enemy depending on what I choose to believe about myself. In other words, my body responds to messages I send it via my thoughts. Many times, while trying on clothes in a store, I have stood in front of the mirror and criticized myself for being fat. There is, undeniably, a mind-body connection and statements like “I am fat” affect our mental, emotional and physical well-being. I have shut myself down many times because of my negative thinking and the demeaning language that followed. Waking up and feeling gloomy because the sun isn’t shining often sets the mood and tone of my day and this in turn determines how productive it will be as well. The Bible tells us that our thoughts dictate who we become. The mind of a man reflects who he really is, not just his actions or words . “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Guarding the heart really means the inner core of …

Photo of the Heart shaped leaf that fell at Laura's feet as she meditated on God's love for her.

Struggling to believe God’s love?

[by Laura Fauchon] For many years I struggled to understand God’s love. The unsettling events of my life (sexual and physical abuse ) often kept me awake at night. I would cry myself to sleep asking God to help me and take the pain away. How could a loving God be so absent and seemingly distant during these times? Although I grew up being taught that God loved me and died on the cross for my sins and that He heard my prayers, I felt He did not care. I would struggle with being told God is a very present help in times of trouble. If this was true, then where was He? A wise and godly woman years ago helped me on my journey to healing.  It was through her mentoring and fellowship that I began to heal from the hurt and pain I endured. Coming to the realization that this abuse was not my fault was a stepping stone to my healing.  Then, by the grace of God, I was able to forgive …

Understanding who we are in Christ will change us. Photo: James/Flickr/Creative Commons

Rooted in love

Recently, I heard a beautiful message on having Christ’s love rooted in our lives because it has the power to radically change us. Our pastor talked about Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge , that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:17 -19 NASB) This prayer came out of the Apostle Paul’s deep desire that the Ephesians would know their identity in Christ.  Once they grasped who they really were through a revelation of God’s love their perception of themselves and the world would change: Paul was passionate about believers being rooted and grounded in the love of God.  He knew it would bring a stability and security that would produce wholeness and make them complete. Our pastor referred to a story …

Mural of a dam construction by William Gropper (1939). Photo: James Vaughan/Flickr/Creative Commons

A secret purpose for the ‘gift of tongues’

With King Saul trying to kill him, David and his army had developed an uneasy alliance with the Philistines. For a few days, David and his army had joined the Philistines for some battles, but the Philistine commanders were wary of David’s loyalties and eventually asked him to return home. But while David and his men were gone, scouts for the Amalekite army had discovered that other than for a few old men and young boys, David’s base at Ziklag was unguarded and launched a raid on the base. When David and his men returned from what had turned into an utterly useless venture they found Ziklag burning and empty. Their wives and children hauled off into captivity. David’s men immediately turned their anger and frustration on David. It was his dumb decision to join the Philistines that caused this mess. David had made a huge mistake. But there was one thing that set King David apart — during times of stress and adversity he purposefully strengthened himself in the Lord. 6 Moreover David was greatly …

Thiago Brado: YouTube Capture

New Brazilian worship song “Minha Essência” (My Essence)

I encourage you to listen to this video by Thiago Brado, a worship singer from Brazil.  The song sung in Portuguese, entitled My Essence in English, has nearly 4.3 million views on YouTube. Thiago, 25, whose real name is Thiago Oliveira da Silva started singing at the age of 10. At 14, he attended a musical conservatory for further training after his grandmother gave him a guitar. Three years later in 2007, Thiago encountered the Holy Spirit at a Catholic Charismatic meeting in Brazil that transformed his life. He has been attending ever since. During these gatherings his attention was drawn to worship and today Thiago says: “I sing what the Lord wants me to sing.” Several years back, my wife and I met a young couple involved in the Catholic Charismatic movement in Peru. I was genuinely impressed with their faith. We spent an evening with them and our discussion eventually turned to doctrine. Ok I confess, I asked them their views on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Though they were still Catholic in …

The Birkenhead Drill

[by Earl Blacklock] There have been many great shipwrecks in history, the Titanic being only the most memorable. There is another – that of the troopship Birkenhead in 1852 – which deserves remembrance. The Birkenhead was carrying British soldiers and their families to South Africa when it struck an uncharted rock 40 miles from Capetown. The initial collision had caused devastating damage, and the disaster became complete when the ship struck again, splitting in two, the bow quickly sinking. The 630 people on board, including 170 women and children, were in mortal peril. Only three 60-person lifeboats were left and it was clear that, in the shark-infested waters, only those with a seat on a lifeboat would survive.

A key to successful prayer: Do you believe God loves you?

When the pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NASV) Can anyone be commanded to love God or love anyone for that matter? Yet we are told this is the greatest commandment for a believer. How do we do it? The Apostle John provides the answer: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NASV) The key to being able to love God is first understanding and believing that God loves you and this is our “great” struggle to obeying the “greatest” commandment. A study by Baylor University, published in the journal Sociology of Religion, concluded that understanding God loves us is even an important key to successful prayer.