1 Timothy 1:3,5—As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, continue to remain at Ephesus so that you might command some to teach no other doctrine . . . Now the goal of this command is love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. (Modern English Version)
The word, “command” in verses three and five is a military term which means “to give strict orders.”
Zechariah 7:9—“The LORD of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another.”
It is cold outside—twelve degrees above zero. Snow is on the ground and from inside my office window it looks beautiful. It’s a matter of perspective. December can be a wonderful time of warmth for many people; a chance to be with family, to take a break from work and to enjoy each other’s company. But I could equally write that this month is a frozen, depressing period for many people; the reminder that loved ones are gone, unemployment a reality, and a feeling that few care or understand.
Exodus 23:5—If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, and you want to refrain from helping it, you must help with it.
If I see that my enemy, Joe, is in trouble, my natural reaction is to think, “He is getting what he deserves for his poor behavior and attitude!” and to walk past him without providing assistance. Basically Joe’s misfortune is deserved because of past, poor behavior and I should not interfere with his karma.
It was truly an implausible act. She lived behind fortified walls yet chose to be vulnerable. For a woman of the street she possessed great insight. She knew that her city would be destroyed because she believed the reports of the Destroyer. As new stories meandered along hot, dusty streets and through bustling merchant shops, hearts despaired and courage disappeared. She saw things differently; embracing faith from a heaven and earthperspective.
Why did the spies go to her house? She could easily have reported them. Even the king knew they visited her and dispatched messengers who told her to bring them out for arrest. No, she knew a lot about men, and these two were different. So she hid them on her roof and lied about them leaving the city. Later under the cover of darkness she gave them a rope so they could escape down her wall. She was an audacious woman with a simple request.
Trenton’s wisdom is deep for such a young boy. In describing his love for Lindsay, his sister, Trenton shared, “I would take a bullet for her.” As he regained his composure after getting choked up, he added “She’s my best friend. I would do anything for her. My life would be nothing without her.” These are not trite statements they emanate from his heart.
Lindsay has spinal muscular atrophy yet from her motorized chair she beams when she describes her older brother. His example of love if followed would change the world! Watch their story at http://omeleto.com/213180/ and make sure to have Kleenex handy!
George really loves his three sons and he also really loves scouting. As a teenager he significantly grew through his scouting experience and remembers the pride on his father’s face when he made Eagle Scout. If circumstances were different he would still be a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. When his oldest son, Hal, was in the scouts, George invested time in him so he was able to compete and do well against older boys. But Hal got to a place where he didn’t enjoy scouting and wanted out. He shared with his mom Shannon his desire to quit and she felt the stress of wanting to help him while knowing how passionate George was about his sons becoming Eagle Scouts.
What Christian is not frustrated in trying to live a godly life? Why is it so hard? For starters, we are flawed. We enter the world dripping wet with a sin nature and from the very outset need God’s grace. A baby’s temper tantrum was not learned behavior it was already ingrained. We grow up enamored with the world’s offerings—what man is not drawn to lust after a sensual woman or woman drawn to the need for security? We are stubborn, preferring to do what we want. It is completely counter-culture to pursue holiness. There is nothing easy about achieving purity and we are quickly frustrated by adversity, failure, and the clever attacks of Satan who will do all he can to disrupt us from fellowship with God.
In his book Younger Next Year cowritten with Chris Crowley, Dr. Henry Lodge states that “Over 50% of all illness and injuries in the last third of your life can be eliminated by changing your lifestyle in the way we suggest.” The major way they suggest is to exercise forty-five minutes a day six days a week. Four of those workouts are aerobic and two involve weight training. The reason most people grow weak and more susceptible to disease is directly attributed to their failure to exercise!
Chip and Dan Heath wrote a terrific book called Switch, subtitled, How to Change Things When Change is Hard. If you are a leader or a worker in an organization undergoing change, this is necessary read. Chip and Dan make a point that self-control is an exhaustible resource. They share an experiment that proves the point. Researchers divided college students into two groups and placed them in a room with two bowls: one contained chocolate and chocolate-chip cookies while the other contained radishes. One group could only eat the cookies; the other group could only eat the radishes. The researchers then left the room to induce temptation. Fortunately, all the participants followed the rules. Next each group received a series of unsolvable puzzles. The group that ate the chocolate spent nineteen minutes on the task making 34 attempts to solve the challenge. The radish eaters gave up after only eight minutes and 19 solution attempts. Why did this latter group quit so quickly? They used up self-control by not eating the chocolate!
Why do followers of God go through the motions of Christianity shallowly in love with their Father? What does it mean and look like to have an intimate walk with Jesus? Spiritual Intimacy can be defined as a growing I can’t live without You relationship with God that is our first cause, our abiding joy and our natural expression.
Almost five years ago, I shared the story of David Knecht, a West Point classmate who suffered a horrifying injury while on a military exercise that left him partially paralyzed and blind in his right eye. The name of that reveration was Glory. This week I was able to visit Dave and Annette in their home in Tampa, Florida.
When it comes to romance, maybe the wise thing for us to remember is that one day cannot offset 364 days. How we love the rest of the year speaks infinitely louder than the most creative gifts given on February 14.
I believe there are four keys to making a marriage prosper and endure and guys if we don’t get this, we are doomed to a lot of hardship. (Apologies to the unmarried and to gals, but this Reveration is for married men or those engaged to be married).
Coffee Cottage is a popular coffee shop near George Fox University. One of their favorite draws for students is the free wireless service. Often I come in to find many tables occupied with folks writing papers or working projects on their laptops. But unless a person knew that wireless was free and available, they could work on their computer and have no idea they could access internet connection capability simply by asking for the password.
2 John 1-4--The Elder: To the elect lady and her children: I love all of you in the truth—and not only I, but also all who have come to know the truth—because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I was very glad to find some of your children walking in the truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father.
Song of Songs 8:7—Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Mighty waters cannot extinguish love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If a man were to give all his wealth for love, it would be utterly scorned.
Part of me is lost and I don’t like it. If I could skip this day in time or have never lived it I know I would be the worse for it but at least I would not sense this absence that came too fast and . . . heartrending and heartbreaking are too strong in meaning for what I’m feeling. Perhaps in this poignant period a more apt description is heartmissing. The good news is she is only three and a half hours away. The bad news is there are 206 miles between us.
Until she passed away, I loved to meet with Lillian for prayer. She lived in a retirement community called King City. Each of the houses were separated by brick walls and the only way to enter a home was through the garage or a gate in the front. Whoever designed her neighborhood obviously valued privacy and security. There was little sense of community. No wonder lonely Lillian so much looked forward to meeting.
Luke 7:1-10 is one of the most remarkable passages in the New Testament. A man who should have been hated by the Jews as an unwelcome occupier, a leader of soldiers that held Israel subject to Rome, becomes the most celebrated example of faith Jesus encounters. There is so much we can learn from this man’s profile that I would dare say that he gives us a pattern for how we ought to live our lives. Let’s learn from what Luke tells us about this man.
1 John 4:7, 21-- Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God . . . And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother.
Would you like to know the secret for living a successful life? The key is found in understanding and obeying the Bible’s Greatest Commandment given by God to Moses in Deuteronomy 6:5--“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Over 22 times in the Bible we are directly encouraged to love God. Loving God requires a wholehearted commitment in a half-hearted world. Aside from the obvious fact that God desires our love, I believe there are at least four excellent reasons why we should love Him.