Tag Archives: love of God

Love Is Love?

Just the other day I was riding with my youngest daughter through the Nashville, TN area. We were visiting a couple of colleges that she is thinking of attending, one of them being MTSU.

Since I was the one riding, and since I wasn’t too afraid that Haley would get us killed, I felt more comfortable looking at the sights. One of the sights I saw was a little sticker placed on the back window of a vehicle in the lane next to us.

The first thing I did when I saw it was say out loud what I was thinking: “Love is love? What kind of definition is that?”

And that’s really the point of this little post (rant) of mine: What does it mean when you say “Love Is Love”?

Let’s change the words a little and see if the same way of defining love works with other stuff.

  • Rock is Rock.
  • Lamb is Lamb.
  • Bob is Bob.
  • Cola is Cola.
  • Dirt is Dirt.
  • Poison is Poison.
  • Hate is Hate.

As you can see, the words above are not as easy to define by stating that one is what it is. To say that a rock is a rock is to say a diamond is a piece of driveway gravel. To say that dirt is dirt is to equate what my flowers are growing in with stuff people dig up to smear politicians.

Is every Bob the same as every other Bob? Is Coke really as nasty as the generic stuff? Is a stuffed lamb in a toy store the same as the living, breathing, pooping animal capable of growing wool?

If “hate is hate,” then is it equally immoral to hate murder as I could hate my neighbor?

LOVE IS LOVE tells us nothing. All it does is confuse, belittle, elevate what is not the real thing, and degrade what is priceless.

Is there no standard for what love is supposed to be? Is self-love the same as sacrificial love? Stating that “love is love” doesn’t even clarify whether or not love is a verb or a noun?

That is why the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to write (1 John 4:8,16): “God is love.”

What love is supposed to be is directly related to the nature of God. God is the standard. God is the Definer.

Love without God in the equation is a scary, vague, unstable, dangerous, self-serving, undefinable, always-changing emotional term that can be used to justify anything (which can be verified by doing a Google search of “Love Is Love” memes).

Poison isn’t just poison, but love without God is a poison that blinds the heart. 

 

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Filed under Culture Wars, General Observations, God, Love of God

“I Just Wanna Be a Sheep”

The following post was written by a fellow blogger from New Zealand, Johanna. Unfortunately, Johanna was not in a place where she could access my blog to add her post, so she emailed me the text. Johanna blogs at Isaiah 41v10. Be sure to pay her a visit…she may have some more shepherding advice on hand 😉


‘I just wanna be a sheep’

I come from a country that is famous for its sheep. New Zealand used to have more than 70 million sheep.  Now the number is about 29 million, according to teara.govt.nz.  August is the best time of year to see the sheep, as it is late winter, when the ewes are lambing. It is delightful to watch the lambs gambolling in the fields playfully, so different from their sedate mothers.

Thinking about sheep gets me pondering all the Biblical references to sheep. The way we farm sheep here in NZ is quite different from 1st Century Palestine or how David cared for his father’s sheep before he became king of Ancient Israel. These differences can teach us something about our relationship with God.

Shepherds in the Bible

It’s clear from reading the Bible texts that the good shepherds in those days (like David) had a small number of valued sheep, each one of which was known by the shepherd, and who knew the shepherd and followed him.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. “ (Luke 15:4-6 ESV)

Jesus also talks about the shepherd’s relationship to his sheep in John 10:3-4, where he says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. “

Contrast this with modern farming, where a farmer will often have hundreds, if not thousands of sheep. They live in fields fenced by barbed wire. They are seen as stupid animals, that the shepherd herds by using dogs to make them obey his will. You do not see a shepherd leading his sheep, instead driving them in front of him. They have an eartag with a number to identify them to the sheep farmer.

To me this speaks of two different ways of relating to God.

What kind of sheep are you?

One kind is motivated by fear, and kept safe by barbed wire. These fences are like the extra rules that we make for ourselves or that others make for us, to keep us safe and away from sin. But they also keep us from following the Shepherd to green pastures. Instead we are boxed in where the grass has been overgrazed, living on stale hay.

Some sheep break out, thinking that the grass looks greener elsewhere, and end up on a busy road or in a ditch. This is like those who break away from legalism to do their own thing, or those who fear the Shepherd and his voice, and shipwreck their lives as a result. Both are far from the Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd’s sheep are motivated by love for their Shepherd. They trust him to keep them safe and fed, and they follow him wherever he leads. He leads them to green pastures and restores their souls. He protects them in the darkest valleys and lays down his life for them. Jesus said,  “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth.”

Jesus is not a factory farmer. He wants us to know his voice and follow him out of love. He doesn’t want us to be penned in by traditions or extra rules, but instead to walk with him to green pastures and fresh water.

Will you follow him?

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That’s Anthony on the far left. He always has to get his nose in the picture.

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Filed under animals, Bible Study, Christian Living

Ole’ Whazzisname

May I Help You?

My husband has an incredible facial recognition center in his brain.  This man can see someone on the television and say, “Oh yeah, he was in that commercial a couple years ago.” Are you kidding me?!  I am continually amazed at this untapped gift that politicians would pay to have.  (Too bad we can’t translate that into some lucrative arrangement…)

So the story of when our firstborn was attending the college where her father works is still a fun one.  Bean (an affectionate nickname) walked into her dad’s office to visit with him and caught him in the middle of whatever project he was engaged in at the time.  Now, although Bob is excellent with facial recognition, his ability to multi-task leaves much to be desired.

Looking her in the face, Bob said something like, “May I help you?” and while his daughter stared back at him in disbelief, he finally recognized her—by her signature Converse tennis shoes!

Hilarious.

The point is, he wasn’t expecting her right then, and he was distracted by other work.  And thus, you may know where this is going…

“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.”*

Would You Recognize Him?

I can still get a good giggle out of how the man with expert recognition qualities didn’t “see” his own daughter.  But the fact that the world did “see” its own Creator in Jesus is on a bit of a different plane entirely.  Even though He took on their own form to walk among them.  Even though He understood their every fear and pain, and came to take those upon Himself.

They were, in fact:

  • Expecting something else,
  • Wanting something else,
  • Busy with something else.

Today, the world continues to do the same thing.  Unfortunately, even as a Christian, I can still allow my “something else” to prevent me from recognizing the Love of God standing right in front of me. 

And watch out, He may be wearing some Chuckie-T’s!

*John 1:10 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Humor, Parenting, Relationships and Family, worship

The Witness of a Mother’s Love

The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the love of a mother…therefore, we are without excuse.

Marie Baker. My Mother :-)

Marie Baker. My Mother 🙂

Listen to “The Mother’s Day Song” (by Anthony Baker)

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Filed under current events, God, Relationships and Family

The Impossible List

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. – Psalm 40:5

Lists

My wife is a list person. No, seriously, if anything needs to be done, bought, cleaned, learned, or debated, she can whip out a list quicker than gunslinger’s six-shooter – and with more shots.

However, one of our daughters (Katie) has not only learned from her mother, but has taken the whole list-taking thing to the extreme. How do I know this? Because if anything needs to be done, bought, cleaned, learned, or debated, any time frame in which those things need to be done must be extended in order for her to complete the list, print the list, decorate the list, and share the list with anyone who will listen.

I would say that I hate lists, but I don’t. The difference between my wife and daughter and me is that I don’t love lists; I just prepare them when I absolutely have to, such as: 1) when I am preparing a sermon; 2) when I am forced to order for the family at a drive-thru window; 3) when I have an important argument to win; or 4) when this blog calls for it.

The last thing I would want to do is list all the wonderful works and thoughts of God toward me. I couldn’t be done.

Impossible

Stop and think about it, could you make a list of all the things God has done for you? Could you list them in order of occurrence? David couldn’t. I know I can’t.

If I were to compile a list of God’s wonderful works, how could I list His thoughts? Even if I were to list the works of which I knew, how would I list the works I never knew about? He has done more for me than I will ever know!

Even if I were to sit down with pen or pencil in hand, like David, how could I list all God has done in order? It wouldn’t take long to wear out an eraser. As soon as a couple of items could be put down, something else would come to mind…erase…change the order…remember…erase…

O LORD, my God, your works and your thoughts toward me are beyond comprehension! Before I was born…while I sleep…even with eyes wide open…your wonderful works and thoughts toward me are impossible to list!

If only my praises were so numerable.

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Filed under Bible Study, God, Love of God, worship