Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
An actor was famous for saying – who loves you baby. Of course I’m talking about Telly Savalas when he played the lollypop loving lead role in the detective show Kojak (1973-1978). Knowing who loves you is important. I remember in grade school when girls sent notes to boys asking them if they liked them. We have a need to know who loves us – who likes us – how people feel about us.
A better question than who loves us or likes us is whom do we love or like? Some men have a hard time saying I love you to their wife or children. Knowing whom we love/like and being able to express it is important.
The word love – at times – flows too easily for some. Young men say it to young women in order to sway them to like them back or give them special attention. We might say we love someone – even saying we love Jesus – but as my mom would say – the proof is in the pudding or words are nice but actions speak louder than words.
Do we love God? Do we really love God more than anything or anyone? In scripture we are told to love God with all that we have and all that we are. Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Continue reading
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
As I researched the phrase tough love – I found that this phrase became popular in the late 60’s. Tough Love was a book written by Bill Milliken, published in 1968. Tough love is the idea of discipline and even the restriction of freedoms in order to train and teach – to get someone – usually a child – to conform to an acceptable pattern of behavior. It is not easy because as parents we usually want to shower our children with everything we can – but – at times – that is counterproductive to the results we are after in them.
An example might be not bailing out a child who has done something wrong but allowing them to face the consequences of their actions – thus learning that there are indeed consequences when we behave in certain ways. Do you remember the episode of Andy Griffith where Obie broke a window and Andy told him he would have to pay for it? That was the episode where the rich young man (Bill Bixby I think) came speeding through town and wrecked a farm truck. His rich father sent a lawyer to bail him out and bought off the farmer with a new truck. In the end the rich young man learned a lesson by spending some time with Andy and stayed to pay the debt owed. Continue reading
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
As we begin a New Year – I felt the need to do a series of blog posts about attitude. I believe we can have all the right programs in a church. We can have friendly faces on Sunday mornings. We can have just the right amount of staff and volunteers. We can have a great facility that is attractive – warm – and welcoming. But I believe if our attitudes are not right – our attitudes will seep through all of the other areas of ministry and eventually they will be seen and will corrupt all that we try to do. We all need to constantly check our attitudes. I’m not sure how long this series will go – but I felt led of God to share it.
You would think that – in the church – good attitudes would abound – maybe even be the rule rather than the exception. Yet in church life – real people are involved and real people have attitudes at times. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking about our attitude as Christians. I created a saying some 30 plus years ago that goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. Over the year I’ve added a follow-up statement and the saying now reads – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. God is after our hearts – God desires a cheerful heart – a heart set on Christ. Let’s look at some passages that speak about the heart. Continue reading
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.
Paul – an Apostle – told a young pastor – Timothy – to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2) Paul also wrote these words to Timothy – 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I’m not a young pastor nor am I an Apostle – but the Word of God – as I read it – tells me to love one another – not hate one anyone. I see far too much hatred in the world – and at times – sadly – from folks claiming to be Christians.
We’re told to hate sin – we’re told to love others. We’re told to love God more than anything or anyone. Matthew 10:37 – Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Continue reading
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
Salvation is a free gift – according to what I read in the Bible anyway. Here is a passage that shares this truth with us. Salvation is free – it is not something we can earn.
Ephesians 2:8–9 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
While salvation is free and there is nothing we can do to earn it – there is a required response to our salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Galatians 6:15 – Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.
Romans 6:22 – But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Continue reading