14 February 2008

"L" is for...

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

I John 3:16-18, 23
Matthew 22:36-39
John 13:34-35, 15:13
Matthew 5:43-45
Ephesians 2:4-10
I John 4:7-12, 16-19

English Standard Version

05 February 2008

Yay for America

I voted today.

I have warm fuzzies inside for my country.

02 February 2008

In Memoriam

A year ago today one of my dear friends lost her brother in a car accident. A group of friends from church gathered at another friend's place to remember her brother, encourage and pray with her, share fellowship and worship God together, and just love her as best we could. Another friend baked some of her brother's favorite pies (Key Lime & Apple), and there was some wonderful time off hanging out and being in community and communion with each other.

I had only known her a couple weeks when the accident happened, and I didn't know her brother at all. They announced the news at church the Sunday after it happened--it was Super Bowl Sunday--and somehow I just wept and wept and wept when I heard, grieving deeply with her and for her and for her family. I had been reflecting on my father's death around that time, and so perhaps my heart was prepared to enter into another's mourning--weeping when others weep, as Paul says in Romans.

My father passed away nine years ago next Saturday. I suppose I don't think about it too much. It would be nice if he could see where I'm at and what I'm up to these days, there are a lot of milestones and things where his presence has been missing. But I do remember him fondly, that he loved me well, as best he could.

I try to hold onto the reality of heaven and the sure hope it presents, all possible because of Jesus' life and death and resurrection. Sometimes that hope and that reality are clear and beautiful in my sight. Most of the time I guess I get bogged down in the day-to-day, and I don't suppose that I'm "eagerly awaiting a Savior from there" (Phil.3:20) as much as slogging through and getting by--a mix of enjoying and lamenting life.

Against this backdrop of semi-complacency, I feel like God has been at times quietly and at times rather noisily breaking into my life these last few months. I hope so. I need my sight refocused, I need a new enthusiasm for dwelling on His Word, for actually desiring His Will, for praying and praying and praying some more. He is a good and right and true and just and faithful God. I need the power of his love and affection to rightly claim my heart--oh, that I would finally worship the only One worthy of worship.

The last couple days have had some fasting and praying and confusion and trials and rich blessings. Some excellent, fruitful time of talking things out with some friends, having wisdom and light spoken into my life and my uncertainties. God is faithful in so many ways, and I thank Him for the community of friends that I find myself in the midst of here in Nashville.

Thy Kingdom come.


Lastly, please pray for my dear friends, Tom & Megan Langsdorf. They were stuck in N'Djamena along with Megan's dad when the fighting broke out near and in the capital. We're awaiting updates on their blog. The waiting and my anxiety are showing me some more wrinkles about what it means to have faith.

Thy Will be done.