When hating yourself is in your best interest

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26, NIV).

 

“Literally, self-hatred refers to an extreme dislike of oneself, or being angry at oneself. The term is also used to designate a dislike or hatred of a group to which one belongs.” —wikipedia.org

How to hate one’s own life? Some have learned to hate themselves because they have been ridiculed, derided, or devalued by people around them. They find many reasons to hate themselves and consider themselves worthless, but Jesus isn’t talking about one’s self-worth. Continue reading “When hating yourself is in your best interest”

Which are we?

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ He said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9 NKJV)?

 

“Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you” (Ruth 3:1)?

I overheard a conversation in Asia. One asked about how a certain work was going to be done. The reply was, “That is not our headache. It is the contractor’s responsibility; let him take care of it.” On one level, that is not an unreasonable response. We might have better stated it, “It is not really our business, let him do the job his way.” But in the context of the conversation the attitude of the responder was basically, “I don’t care – let them handle their own problems without my help. Continue reading “Which are we?”

When the glory of God returned

The day the temple was dedicated, God’s glorious presence filled his house (2 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1-3). It was a momentous day filled with praise, sacrifice, and feasting. God was with his people. But times would not always be so good. In a preview of Israel’s fickle ways, God promised that if they would humble themselves, repent, and pray, then God would forgive them.

God’s glory would remain in his house through many difficult days. But a time came when no repentance was forthcoming, and a cleansing needed to occur. The last resort, a carrying away of the people into captivity, had already begun. Soon the house would be toppled by foreign invaders. Continue reading “When the glory of God returned”

Do you love me?

Have you ever made a promise to someone and didn’t keep it? Remember how you felt the next time you saw that person?

Peter and his friends had been fishing all night and caught nothing (John 21:3). The next day, Jesus was standing on the beach. The disciples didn’t know who he was but they heard a voice saying, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch,” (John 21:6). When the net came up with so many large fish and it only came to the surface with much effort, John said, “It is the Lord.” Continue reading “Do you love me?”

Coats of many colors

“The second coat is on!” Those were the words spoken to me as I walked into the garage with some new plants from my favorite seller. The reason they were going into the garage is that the nights are still freezing here, and will be for some weeks now. My “Yard Boy” husband wasn’t talking about wearing two pieces of outerwear, he was referring to the beautiful paint job he did on the beehives.

Yes, it looks like our little patch of flowers and vegetables will soon have extra help getting pollinated. The second coat of paint had just been finished, just in time to put the plants on the work surface now vacated by the beehives. Continue reading “Coats of many colors”

Love for self is selfishness

If any age of man is the era of selfishness, ours is it. The selfie is our symbol. If Narcissus had his pool of water, we have that ubiquitous extension of our personalities, the smartphone.

In the last letter that has remained from his hand, the apostle Paul warned his son in the faith, Timothy, away from false teachers and manipulators of souls. The entire passage deserves reading, but start with these six verses: Continue reading “Love for self is selfishness”

A pearl and an apple

One of the shortest parables of the Lord Jesus is in Matthew chapter 13. Like most of Jesus’ teachings, its meaning and wonder extend beyond the simple 32 words of the text.

The Lord said the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for pearls. Then, he saw “one pearl of great price” and desired it so much he sold all he owned to buy it (Matthew 13:45-46). The merchant knew what was important to him and sacrificed everything he had. Continue reading “A pearl and an apple”

A faithful father listens

Talking to people can be a bit of a chore but talking to a child is always a delight.

My grandchildren talk to me about their pets, their toys, their schoolwork and it’s never boring. My eyes never leave their faces, and my ears never turn away from their voices.

In prayer, God’s attention never wavers. He is intently interested in everything we have to say even when we might bore people. Continue reading “A faithful father listens”

Taking care of what is needed

“As Jesus came ashore he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he taught them many things.” (Mark 6:34 NET).

Jesus cared about people. When he saw this crowd – a large crowd at that – he felt for them. They needed a shepherd, someone to guide them. So he did, by teaching them many things.

And that caused the problem. It became too late – definitely too late for anyone to get anything to eat. There were no McDonalds they could go to (or even fish and chips) – they were in the middle of nowhere. Jesus’ disciples thought they should get rid of the people: “This is an isolated place and it is already very late. Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat” (Mark 6:35-36). In other words, “it’s not our problem.” Continue reading “Taking care of what is needed”

5 gifts parents can give their children

1. LOVE. Because of love parents have compassion for their children, Psalm 103.13. They know how to give good gifts to their children: “Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7.9-11. The apostle Paul speaks of a father’s love for his children. “As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his own children” 1 Thessalonians 2.11. Parents must learn to die to themselves, to extinguish their own selfishness, so that they might love their children with true love. Continue reading “5 gifts parents can give their children”