Tag Archives: God of Love

Knowing the God of Love

child-in-hands-of-godLiving in the Spirit
September 30, 2016

Scripture Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. –2 Timothy 1:11-14

As I look back on my life, I must admit I probably was a weird kid. Way too serious; my dad described me as three going on 103. My two favorites songs as a child were Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone and I Know Whom I Have Believed. Obviously, I got my social justice creds early in life and I also learned early that I am never alone even when the world seems to be going crazy. While neither song is sung much today, neither are in our contemporary hymnal; I believe they have much to say about being a follower of Christ in a world living in fear, strangled by greed.

I do not remember knowing at the time that 2 Timothy was the source of I Know Whom I have Believed. Apparently, such assurance was as necessary for the first century as it is now. We become disillusioned because with put our faith in lesser gods promising magic wands to make all things right again. If I just had enough money, if we just had the right person in power, if we just drop a bomb and kill all the bad people, everything will be OK. We dig ourselves deeper and deeper into futility.

There was a man who lived in that first century who proposed a different way: the way of love. When applied with all due humility, Jesus’ way works.

 But I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able
to keep that which I’ve committed
unto him against that day. *

Prayer: Lord, save us from ourselves. Give us the courage to love as you love and to spread that love throughout the lands. Amen.

*Chorus of hymn I Know Whom I Have Believed, Lyrics by Daniel W. Whittle, see at http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh714.sht

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Listen and Learn

Living-Gods-Heart-SmLiving in the Spirit
June 2, 2015

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 8:4-20

But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, ‘No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.’ –1 Samuel 8:4-20

The people called for a king to fight their battles for them without the presence of forethought to realize that they would be the ones conscripted to do the fighting. The prophets often quote God as saying something to the effect, “You closed your ears to me.” The people of Israel had just heard Samuel’s speech regarding the cost of a kingship and it did not matter.

There is a lot of failure to heed wise advice going around throughout the world. From texting while driving to over indulging in sugar and trans fat, we personally do not accept responsibility for our own wellbeing. Our scorn of the poor targeted at saving a few dollars in tax spending is dark comedy when Congress wants to fund the Department of Defense with millions more dollars than requested in its budget.

I have been reading Joan Chittister’s book The Ten Commandments, laws of the Heart. Her treatment of the second commandment really got my attention. My childhood take on, “Do not take the name of the Lord in vain” was basically not to swear. But no, Chittister asserts we should not call on the Lord when we know in our hearts what we are demanding is not something the God of love would even consider. We are wasting God’s time and our own—my words not hers.

We are called to a lifetime quest to know God. Hearing does not mean we have listened. Listening does not mean we have learned unless we live what God speaks to us.

Prayer:  Lord, enable us to give ear to your teaching, let in immerse our souls, and be reflected in our lives. Amen.

 All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.