The First, The Last, My Everything (What Barry White’s song has to do with suffering)

God First

This is the last blog post in the series on suffering and what you’re about to read are the most important words written in the series. You can do everything written so far concerning suffering, but if you don’t have this right, it all falls apart. (To read the whole series, just click on Suffering under the CATEGORIES heading in the right hand column of the God Running home page.)

Barry White’s Take On Love

Barry White used to perform a song called You’re The First, The Last, My Everything. And in that song, he’s singing about a woman, and here are a few things he says about her:

You are “my everything, …the answer to all my dreams.”
You are “…my sun, my moon, my guiding star, …that’s what you are.”
“You’re all I’m living for, you’re love I’ll keep forever more”
“…see so many ways that I, can love you ’til the day I die.”
“You’re the first, you’re the last, my everything.”

When a young man loves a woman like that, nothing else seems to matter. The head gasket blows out in his car, so now he has to borrow his parents’ champaign colored 1998 Lincoln Continental with a torn headliner, but he doesn’t care so much. Because he has her. And like the song says, she’s all he’s living for.

Then the new video game he bought arrives from Amazon. He’s excited about it until he finds it doesn’t work with one of the components on his home built computer. But that’s not so bad. Because he has her. And she’s his sun, his moon, his guiding star.

Then his best friend tells him he lost his trilogy of the Rings DVD set (Blu-ray). But it’s not such a big deal. Because he has her. And she’s his first, his last, and his everything.

But, what happens when it’s over?

It’s worth noting, Barry White’s first wife Continue reading

Shocked by God — Seriously!

Photo by sea turtle, creative commons

Hi, I’m on vacation, hiking in the North Cascades National Park with family. So you’ll see a guest post today (with a short comment from me at the bottom) and a few posts with links to people who write better than I do, until Saturday, July 28. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The following is a guest post by Kassidy Lane. Kassidy is the manager of Oregon Painting and Repair. He is a disciplined follower of the paleo diet and I’m pretty sure his body fat content is less than what you find in a carton of 1% milk. He lives in Springfield, Oregon with his wife, two kids, two dogs, and an undisclosed number of chickens. He is my favorite nephew (in a tie with all my other nephews, but don’t tell him that). Most importantly, he is a lover of Jesus Christ.

So I was in church last Sunday and I’m not proud to say that It was one of those services where I could not wait for it to be over so I could get on with my day. I had a long list of things I planned on doing and felt I did not have enough time for it all.  My pastor said something to the effect of how some people think they don’t need God, how they have it all figured out, and how those people need to be shocked and completely surprised by God to see and feel his awesome power. One thing I know for sure and I’ll never forget, he used the word “shocked” when he shared this with us.

As the service ended I rushed out without talking to anyone so as to have more time to get my many tasks done.

Later that day I was up on a ladder, painting my neighbors house, and was electrocuted by around 220 volts/amps (don’t really know which), when my arm came in contact with a power line. I was lit up for about two seconds, then I fell 12 feet to the ground. It was by far the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. The electricity went in my right wrist and out my left wrist leaving a burn about the size of a quarter. The 220 volts passed directly through my heart and, from what I have read, could have killed me.

I just hugged my family and I cried like I have not cried in years!

God really got my attention and I hope to remember Him and His awesome power and His Grace in my future days!

-Kas

Kas’s story is so timely. As I’m posting this for Kas, I’m trying to find my Kindle. I’ve been trying to find it all day and it’s really bothering me. At the same time the wounding of the 59 and the killing of the 12 by the gunman at Dark Night Rises in Aurora, Colorado is all over the news, which really puts things in perspective. What’s a lost Kindle compared to losing a loved one? I’m betting there were more than a few families and friends of those who suffered, who let the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word — before the shooting. (Matthew 13:22) After the shooting, I’m betting most of these people have turned their hearts toward God. I’m betting the little worries of this life, and the pursuit of wealth don’t seem very important right now.

Turn your heart toward God. Don’t wait for the shock to come, or the tragedy.

You’ll be glad you did.

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

-Jesus Christ, Matthew 13:22-23

Love Like Jesus — God First: John 2:14-15

Love Like Jesus God FirstIn the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

John 2:14-15

How Jesus Loved People:

Let me start with the obvious, you’re not Jesus Christ. That being the case, I don’t recommend you visit your local place of worship and clean house with a whip. But I do believe there’s a most important insight found here concerning how you and I can love like Jesus did. That insight is…

Jesus loved God first.

“Hey, this series is supposed to be about loving people,” you might be saying to yourself.

Well, God is a Person!

And Jesus loves God far more than He loves other people. Here in this passage of scripture we see He loved God with such abandon, He had no regard for what other people thought of Him.

In case you might think Jesus lost His temper here, read closely, and you’ll notice this wasn’t something done on impulse. Making a whip out of cords takes time. He knew what He was going to do ahead of time, and without question, He knew what others would think of His actions.

But He expressed His passion for His God anyway.

We gain additional insight into Jesus’ view of people’s opinions just a few verses further into the same chapter. In verses 23-25 we learn how many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

Jesus loved God first, and He loved Him with abandon. He gave no value to what others thought of Him with regard to His love for His God.

How to Love Like Jesus–Love God First

It’s hugely important to love God first! To love Him far above and beyond anyone else. This is the idea behind Jesus’ teaching: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Obviously Jesus taught over and over we are to love God and love people, and of course that includes the people in your family. What He’s saying in Luke 14, and what we see Jesus demonstrating when he cleanses the temple, is to love God first, far above anyone else. Jesus cares deeply about what God thinks, and what pleases Him. And He puts that above, far above, what other people think.

When I put God first, I’m blessed because I become focused on what’s truly important in life. When God slips out of first place, I quickly become mired down in the temporal. My heart and my soul and my mind are taken up with what’s happening at work, or on ESPN, or what’s on sale at Best Buy, or my next big project, or maintaining my toys, or whatever other temporal business presents itself. And a kind of inertia sets in. The more I move in the direction of the temporal, the further away I drift from God and the eternal. In my experience, when I find myself in this state of being, I’m usually brought back to intimacy with God through some sort of crisis. You can learn from experience, but it doesn’t have to be your own experience. Please, let me encourage you to learn from mine. Draw close to God before the trial comes. You’ll be so glad you did.

And there’s another, even more compelling reason to put God above all others in your life, and it has to do with shame. There have been times in my life when I was skulking around, embarrassed about my love for Christ. I lived in fear of what others might think of me. Man, I’m on dangerous ground when I live like that. Jesus said very plainly, “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be disowned by Christ before the angels of God.

So I need to love God the same way Jesus did: far more than anyone else, with abandon, giving no value to what others think of me with regard to my love for God.

That’s how Jesus loved.

That’s how you can love like Jesus.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”

-Jesus Christ, Matthew 22:37

 

[Image via: AldoZL Creative Commons]

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