Today’s readings are from 1 chronicles 17-19 and 1 Corinthians 13.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Ive heard the above passage from 1 Corinthians 13 read at many weddings. A young bride and groom usually choose to have it read as they are public ally making a covenant before God and men. A covenant to love each other. Love. Other cultures have so many words for different kinds of love and yet English only contains one. I think it can be easy at a wedding or on a date to think of love as merely the physical attraction that we have for another person. Love could be made to simply be the chemistry between two passionate folks.
The 1 Corinthians passage paints a dynamic and powerful picture of our generic English word. There are so many actions and emotions that it encompasses. It trusts, protects, hopes, is patient, kind, selfless, honoring to others, delights in the truth, forgives and so on. Whoo. Just that list alone tells me that love involves work, discipline and practice.
I think of my friends and wonder if motives are always selfless with them. I think of my children and wonder if I’m always slow to anger. I think of my wife and wonder if I’m always honoring her. I think of Christ and am amazed. He IS love. It is by his example that we know to even use our love training wheels.
While I still consider love that is Christ the word perseverance hits me strongly. I have always been rebellious against Christ – I have and do always sin. Because Christ persevered through torture on a cross and rose again, in that one moment I find all of His love for me.
Today’s readings are from 2 Kings17-18 & Galatians 4.
Once again I have a tale from my five year old. He loves super heroes. Well, really he didn’t have a choice. His two orders brothers love everything super hero and his father is an old Marvel comics junkie. Is it any wonder that he loved to dress up in a red Superman cape from age 3 to present.
My wife and I applauded his imagination and encouraged his play with the cape. Others loved it too. Most women think that my youngest looks like a china doll right off the shelf so for many ladies the cape allowed them to hug a real life Superman doll.
The only problem that he encountered with the cape was its tendency to want to attend K-3. Now I deliberately say the cape wished to attend because I don’t remember how many times I found it in my son’s backpack before going to school and he claimed he didn’t put it there. Thus, I must assume that the play cape that supposedly belongs to a powerful being of another planet was subdued with the ability to long for a goal/desire.
The best secret mission that my son had with the cape was a particular school day morning where I didn’t hear a peep from my son. Now being in a house with four active kids means that someone gets their name called out in a warning fashion at least once before going to school. However this day my little boy got put of bed, dressed himself, did his chores, pack his backpack and was ready for school. I drove him and his sister to grade school and was impressed with how good he was behaving. The van stopped in front of the school and I gave the kiddos kisses… BUT WAIT. As I helped my son out of the van I noticed a very prominent bulge in the groin area.
“Did you leave your pull up on?”
Suddenly fearing an infection in his sensitive area I pulled back his pants and out pops a carefully stowed red cape. Clever. Clever.
In the reading for 2 Kings I stopped my reading when I saw that the Israelites secretly did things against God. Now of course it is dumb to think that God didn’t know what they were doing. “Secretly” merely is describing the manner in which they treated the actions that God did not approve. At first I want to condemn the people. After all it just seems like they always screw up only to find that God is very real and powerful through His wrath. However, don’t we do this all the time. Isn’t there something in your life that you know God doesn’t approve of or isn’t good for you to do as a Christian? Do we watch movies or tv shows that if Mother Theresa had come to our home to watch we would blush? How come we say we love Jesus but have a different way of talking in front of our pastor than we do in front of our friends? When do we tell our teenage kids that they should abstain from an action but then we turn right around and do the same deed we forbade?
What is the red cape that you’re hiding?
Today’s readings are from 1 Kings 14-15 and Acts 12.
It’s funny how you can look at a situation from two different angles and have a completely different feeling n the event. For example I remember be about eight years old and going to the public swimming pool with my older teenage cousin. While she was conversing with a friend, I managed to slip on the stairs descending into the pool. After the splashing and flailing were over we both had two tales. I claimed to have almost drowned. She claimed that I was splashing and recklessly horsing around.
In college I remember having a different outlook of the disciples in the book of Acts. My friends and I thought Peter and Paul were the bomb. Us guys were like girls but instead of trying to discover if we were an autumn or a fall, we tried to figure out if we were a Peter or a Paul. We wanted to be more like the group f early Christians in the book of Acts. They lived together having everything in common and sharing with those that had need. Surely since they knew Christ alive their theology was flawless.
We would have been astounded by the faith and prayer of Acts 12. Isn’t it grand that instead of taking up arms for battle in Paul’s imprisonment they sought the power of God through prayer. What mighty spiritual warriors these were. The church as a whole would be better if they would align themselves with the thoughts and practices of the early church. The church would have command of God’s mighty angels to do His work miraculously on earth.
It’s interesting as I look at the chapter now. It doesn’t look near as rosy and glossy to me. Maybe it has taken time to realize that leaders are flawed and that’s not bad but a part of the human condition. Only Christ had it all together all the time. I now notice in the chapter that Herod was ferociously killing Christians and the Jews loved it. When Paul was thrown in prison the believers weren’t mightily seeking the will of God, they were freaking out as they attempted to stay alive one more day. They didn’t know what else to do but pray. Theology? There wasnt formal theology. There was the desire to stay alive.
This early record HAS been recorded for a reason though. What is it? How do I learn from the early church? Where do I part ways with their example and understand that the time and work God has laid out for me is unique to the time and work of Paul and Peter?
Today’s readings: Psalm 27-29 and John 11:1-29.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
Today I had to see my son get his physical completed for kindergarten. Being the extrovert he had the whole medical staff under his control by batting his eyelids. However his whole world came crashing down when he heard that he was going to have to have blood drawn and three shots administered to his legs. Now one must understand that my son was born with a condition that makes the probability of him getting an aggressive tumor very possible. Therefore, we have always had to get blood work performed for his health every three months. This little guy is no stranger to needles and every experience with the needles heightens their hateful relationship.
The nurses entered the examination room and my boy stood still on my lap (I think he was hoping that the nursing staff’s senses relied on motion detection and he might go unnoticed). After holding him down and wrenching his arm from his guarded covering, the medical staff were able to collect the blood. We also were able to hear the loudest blood curdling scream this side of the Rio Grande. The hysterics continued as we placed my poor child on a bed and quickly stuck him in both legs with three boosters.
Immediately following the trauma, I picked up my child ads he melted into my arms.
As I look upon Psalm 27 I think about how great and safe it is to be in the house of the Lord. There are those times that I am beyond scared and hysterical and I am so glad that I can melt in the arms of God.
1 Samuel 20-21
I’m afraid that I’m going to have to ask you, the reader, to help me with the majority of the blog today. It’s not so much a writing I have as thoughts on our 1 Samuel reading.
There are three great men of God in this section. We have Saul, his son Jonathan, and we have the giant slayer, David. God is most definitely with Saul and David in powerful ways. Saul is out to kill David. Jonathan is in the dark about the politics of the situation. David just wants to stay alive. All three men are Christians.
In the church people don’t normally try to kill each other but don’t attacks come in other forms? Just because we are God-fearing doesn’t mean that we are perfect. We don’t have swords but we can wield gossip or rally other church folks against another. How are some like Jonathan and some like David?
After you read the passage looking at your local Christian gathering, I must burden you with one more question. Where has the focus on God gone in each of these men’s lives?
Looking forward to your comments and thoughts.