A thirty-something friend of mine, Harold Cunningham, recently asked me about a problem he had. He shared this in confidence but after he told me what he did, I found it to be so radical, I asked his permission to write about it. Continue reading
In our last post we looked at why Jesus had to die. We looked at a great truth: how he had to die because of what you already know about yourself. How you already know the hurt your anger causes, and how it rears its ugly head too easily and too often. You already know you look at things God wouldn’t have you look at, say things God wouldn’t have you say, do things God wouldn’t have you do.
You know, and so does God.
But God’s love is so powerful, if you just humble yourself and talk to Him, and confess those sins you committed against Him–He will forgive you. Look at Jesus, hanging on the cross, in the very process of dying, yet what did he say to the thief hanging next to him?
The thief said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, Continue reading
Why did Jesus have to die?
Why did Jesus have to die? Why did he die on Good Friday? The truth is, you already know. If you let your conscience loose long enough, you already know your anger hurts people you care about. You already recognize you put images in front of your eyes that God, out of love, would have you avoid. You already know how slow you’ve been to step up and contribute to your family, the way you know God would have you to.
You already know you lack humility before God.
You already know.
And so does God.
God is perfect. And God’s justice is perfect. And God’s love is perfect. So what is He to do then? How can God reconcile His perfect justice with His perfect love? Here we have a seemingly impossible dilemma because one thing is certain: you sin against God, and so do I, and so does every living human being on the planet. Even a glance at Matthew chapter five confirms it. (Matthew 5:21-48) Yet when you look at the life of God in flesh and blood, when you look at the life of Jesus Christ, it’s impossible not to see how He loves us, in spite of our sin.
So what is God to do then, with His perfect justice and His perfect love? God Continue reading
Loving and Giving Until It Hurts
Carol is a single mother with a heart as big as the moon. She loves strays of all kinds: stray dogs, stray cats, stray iguanas (today she informed me there’s a local herpetological society that will contribute toward your care of a stray iguana). She also loves stray people. But early in life she thought she could help a stray person who was struggling. She was sure that with enough love she could bring out the good person she knew lived inside him. She loved him, and loved, him, and loved him. But no matter how much love she gave, she couldn’t compete with his addiction. He spent his money (and hers) on his habit. He neglected her. He neglected his job. He neglected his kids. Finally he left. Not to be deterred, she found another stray. Surely with enough love she would turn this person around. But the pattern repeated until he finally left too. Now and again she would surround herself with several stray people at a time, each one was in a dark place, and that too sent her life into a destructive spin.
So she asked me today, How does this work? We’re supposed to love people like Jesus loved people, but how do we do that without our good efforts deteriorating into something self destructive? Continue reading
Go measure the heavens, go weigh the mountains on a scale, go take the ocean’s water and number each drop, go count the sand on the sea’s wide shore, and when you have accomplished this, you still won’t know how much God loves you. (Spurgeon)
[You might also like Why is Christianity So Restrictive]
C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, 2006, Hendrickson Publishers, p. 399
Father Francis Beaten and Shot
Dutch Jesuit Priest, Father Francis Van Der Lugt, was killed by a masked gunman–shot twice in the head. He was killed at a monastery in the Syrian rebel stronghold of Bustan al-Diwan. Some report that he was beaten before he was shot.
Father Francis was famous for his refusal to leave Bustan al-Diwan in spite of the obvious danger. In a video interview from February, 2014 he was asked why he wasn’t taking advantage of the opportunity to leave Syria and return to the safety of his home in the Netherlands. Father Francis said he didn’t want to abandon the twenty-eight remaining Christians, and that even if there were no Christians, he would stay to help all Syrians.
One of his passions was rescuing the religious art in the area from the destruction of the war. He would often search through the rubble of churches and mosques looking for the remains of religious artwork, some pieces as old as 1,000 years.
Father Francis laid down his life for his friends–even as his Savior did.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
From the archives, one of our most popular posts.
The story of Formula 1 race car driver, Ayrton Senna is so compelling that I couldn’t help but write this post to let you know how the whole thing ended. After his victory over his rival Alain Prost (see post on Genesis 33 to read Part 1 of Senna’s story) he went on to win two more world championships. Ayrton Senna was a flawed man, yet greatly loved in his native Brazil, and around the world, for his humble, unassuming nature. In an interview after winning his third world title, Senna talked about how he was happiest when he was learning and improving as a driver, and also as a man. At the end of the interview he made this comment:
“There is a lot to go, a lot to learn, a lot to live, but I have plenty of time.”
I don’t know anything about Ayrton Senna’s beliefs or theology, but…
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