Saturday, August 31, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
- From: An identification of who wrote the letter. Which was Jesus. But the "from" highlights a particular trait or truth about Jesus.
- Good: The church had strengths, something they did well. Jesus praises them and encourages them.
- Bad: The church had weaknesses, something they were failing in. Jesus warns and corrects them.
- Promise: Jesus wanted them to press forward, to keep striving. If the church did so, he gave them a promise.
- Warning: In a number of cases, Jesus warns them of consequences of continuing in the bad behavior.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
We can have positive expectations of the future that are based on whimsy. And we can have expectations that are based on the character of our Father. If our hopes are based on a chance happening with the odds of 175 million to one, we are going to be disappointed most of the time. If our hopes are based on someone who loves us, wants our best, has planned a good ending for us, and has the power and authority to complete it, we can be pretty confident it will happen.
There is another aspect of having a positive expectation of the future. It is how we look at people.
Often, when people look at other people, they see their lacks, failures, sins and everywhere else they are not meeting up. When God looks at people, especially children in his family, what does he see? He sees Jesus.
God is committed to transforming each and every one of his children into the image of Jesus. Eventually, if you are his child, you will be like Jesus. Your character will be forged. There will be no lacks, no failures, no sins and completion in everything. God has this picture of what someone will be like whenever he interacts with anyone, whenever he thinks about anyone.
This is a trait which probably is impossible for us to complete, because of physical limits. But this is a trait of love. We ought to approach each person -- saved, unsaved, ourselves -- with Jesus' vision of who that person is ultimately in mind.
This is really foreign thinking. Human beings see faults and failures so well, it is very difficult to imagine how viewing people's present condition from the perspective of their potential will affect current relationships. How will this affect words and actions toward other people? (Looks like more thought is required.) But I am convinced Jesus looked at people this way. God still looks at people this way. It was part of how Jesus impacted lives. Knowing that it is an expression of love, that Jesus followed this quality and that combination shook the world, that should be enough for any Jesus follower to seek to understand and practice it.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
- I believe you -- meaning I think you are telling the truth.
- I believe in you -- meaning I am confident of your abilities.
- I believe in you -- meaning I trust you ... with my life, to do the right thing, with my money.
- I believe in you -- meaning I am behind you, I support you, I am committed to you.
Monday, August 12, 2013
"Always protects" is the next quality of love. It is another quality that is worded in different ways. "Always protects", "bears all things" and "never gives up" are some examples. A number of people seem to think it connotes covering up something -- as in hiding or burying.
So, is it:
* Putting up with the faullts of others?
* Covering up the faults of others?
(Not in the sense of abetting a crime or sin, but protecting reputations from unnecessary damage.)
* Carrying people's burdens, as in helping to solve problems, or easing their effects?
Maybe, it is a panorama of response to the trials and troubles of others. Especially trouble they bring on themselves because of inexperience, a character flaw, or some chronic condition created by mistakes the person made. The three responses I gave above are all responses to the failures of people. Given someone's failure\wrong doing, love seeks to limit the ripple effects that erupt from the person's actions. It minimizes the damage done to the person, and to anyone else involved. It is one way Jesus followers fulfill their role as peace makers.
Any individual Jesus follower may not have an impact on the global stage. But dampening discord in families, neighborhoods and churches will decrease the overall "noise level." And who knows who will notice.
Friday, August 09, 2013
- The individual's heart health. (I am stressing the spiritual health here, but it could be argued that physical health is involved also.)
- Relationship with the offender.
- Often relationships connected to that relationship.
- The Bible says that it affects a person's relationship with God.