Love

Home, Sweet Home

Two weeks ago, my kids headed off to school. One week later they were back home, sick with the first round of school-bourne illnesses. I got the call from the school nurse around 11:30. My eight-year-old son had a fever—slight—but just enough to send him home. By bedtime, the rest of us were beginning to show signs too. Unfortunately, it was the kind of sickness that was just bad enough to make you miserable but not bad enough to knock you out completely. The kind where you can’t muster enough energy to go about your normal routine but you’ve still got enough energy to bicker and fight. The kind that brings out the worst in you—irritability, whining, helplessness.

And that was just me.

As difficult as last week was, I found that it reminded me of the importance of home. Stripped of the externals—the housekeeping, the pinterest projects, the car pools—the purpose of home became clearer:

The fundamental purpose of the home is to teach us how to live in relationship with God and with each other.

Every day, as we interact with our spouses, parents, children, aunts, and cousins, we are learning the basics of how to interact with other human beings. So when my family is at our worst, when we are not loving or kind or patient, when we have “one of those” weeks, I remember exactly what I am fighting for.

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A Tour of Love, Jewish-Roots Style

Never underestimate the importance of love. Although all creation will glorify God by hook or crook (Rom. 9:22-24), our love for God and others is the volitional focus of the Christian life (Col. 3:14). There are too many passages to site, but reading 1 John or the Gospels (Luke 10:26-28, for example) should make the point.

I am not going to tackle the Hebrew word hesed, nor the Greek word agape. There is a place for that, but today we are going to look at love in relational fashion.

We were created to love. Love affects our entire being, even our physical health. For example,

The experimental group wrote with affection about one person in their lives for 20 minutes on three occasions over a five-week period. The control group wrote mundane descriptions of their activities over the week, jobs they had done and places they had lived…. [A]fter only 25 days, the experimental group who had written affectionate notes, showed a significant reduction in cholesterol. (Affectionate Writing)

4761 reads

Book Review - A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships

Image of A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships
by Paul E. Miller
Crossway 2014
Paperback 176

Like he did with A Praying Life, Paul Miller once again has given us a book that doesn’t fit the mold. This is not just any old book on Christian love. This book turns love inside out and gives hope and help to readers at all stages of their Christian life.  A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships describes the perils and pitfalls, as well as the promise and pleasure of love. 

2036 reads

Homosexuality - Seeking a Balanced Discussion

Republished, with permission, from Voice magazine, Jul/Aug 2013.

Several years ago, the philosophy department at Franklin & Marshall College invited me to be a featured guest on a panel discussing gay marriage. They wanted to pick up on the significant community focus on a column I wrote for our local newspaper.

In a large room of full of college students, professors and community people, I was drilled with questions and comments for two hours. The panel included a professor from a liberal seminary, a visiting law professor (whose lesbian partner was in the audience), a gay German professor and a liberal campus minister. God granted me grace the entire evening to patiently respond with kindness to those who questioned me. The students were exceptionally polite but a bit confused as to why I would be opposed to gay marriage. The professors were rude and belligerent.

The evening ended with the German professor looking over at me and asking how I could respect him if I consider him immoral for being gay. Although panelists were not directing questions at each other, I assured the professor that I would always treat him with the utmost respect as a fellow human being even if I disagreed with his sexual behavior. After the event concluded, about 20 students remained to discuss my views with me for another hour.

Despite the pervasive wrongful accusations of militant homosexuals, I am neither fearful nor hateful of those who live a gay lifestyle. But the popularity of such accusations makes it important for us to tone our debate and discussion with true concern and compassion. When we place the discussion in the general context of sexuality, we find important perspective for shaping the tone of debate.

1172 reads

Book Review - Loving Well (Even If You Haven't Been)

Image of Loving Well (Even If You Haven't Been)
by William P. Smith
New Growth Press 2012
Paperback 304

“It’s only after having been loved that you respond with love. You love him (God) back, and you reach out to share with others a tiny portion of the love that you yourself have received.” (p. xix)

Love. It’s a small word with great potential. Its absence is destructive but the effects of its presence are incalculable. But what is it? Is it a feeling or an action? If an action, what does it look like? Where does it come from—from within, or without?

1000 reads

Fervently Love One Another

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (NASB, 1 Peter 1:22-23)

Please do not misunderstand my intention here. This is not meant to be an essay about warm, fuzzy love or the mushy sentiment the world advertises as true love. This is not about abandoning truth and all that is doctrinally sound. This is not going to be a post about compromising theological precision for the sake of a common unity that comes with superficial love and approval of sinful words and deeds. My intent is to turn our attention, as believers, to a broader understanding of what Peter tells suffering Christians scattered in various places.

Before I begin, my desire is to encourage believers to follow the many commands in Scripture which require us to “walk wisely” (Eph. 5:15, Matt. 10:16, Rom. 16:19). All of us should examine what we are being taught with a healthy, rigorous intellect when it comes to following the Bereans’ example (Mark 12:30, Acts 17:11). We, in the church, often become dazzled and mesmerized by ear-tickling sermons about love which has a tendency to puff us up and feed the inner nature of man, particularly if these sermons are centered on our perceived inherent worth and value apart from Jesus Christ.

5918 reads

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