I often tell young people, “You are not obliged to fall in love with anyone; you are obliged to be loving to everyone.”
The difference between being “in love” and being loving is that one of them is commanded. The term “falling in love” implies a loss of control. Emotions are powerful. The hormones heat up and the brain cells melt down. But being loving is about self-control. Continue reading “Being loving”
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1 NASB).
This verse has been on my mind almost every day as this Sunday approached. On that day, we will observe an undeclared holiday: Father’s Day. Continue reading “See how great a love!”
We read in 1 Corinthians 5 about the man who had been living with his father’s wife (presumably his step-mother). Two unmarried Christians living together in a sexual relationship could not be approved by the local congregation. Paul wrote to them so they would know how they should deal with such a situation: Continue reading “Forgive, comfort and love”
Regardless of economics, race or status, people value love and recognize that love will shape what is good and true. It should not be surprising to anybody that love permeates and lies at the heart of our Biblical message.
Since our English word love is used so broadly, it is helpful to distinguish between different types of love in order to gain a more precise understanding of the New Testament’s message. This can be easily accomplished because the New Testament was written in Greek and there are various Greek words for love.
Continue reading “A brief handbook on love”
After leaving church services, many people only desire to go home and rest or take a nap.
After leaving the synagogue, surely Jesus could have used some rest (Luke 4:38-41). Instead, when he arrived at Peter’s house, he found one crying out for help just as he had in the synagogue.
Peter’s mother-in-law, Dr. Luke tells us, was “afflicted,” which is a medical term Greek doctors used in those days to describe one’s condition. He also wrote that Peter’s mother-in-law was “suffering from a high fever” (Luke 4:38 NASB). Physicians, as Luke, classified fevers as either major or minor. Major fevers were life-threatening, and Luke described this as a major fever. Continue reading “A miracle for mother”
We need to learn to live with others in harmony since social interaction is impossible to ignore.
Since we won’t get along perfectly with everyone (Romans 12:18), we must choose what to say rather than spitting out every thought that enters our minds. God will deal with our thoughts but no one else has to know all of them (1 Corinthians 3:20). Continue reading “Mouth filters”
Although the Apostle Paul was incarcerated many miles away, his heart was solidly with the Philippians. Christian bonds are immune to distance.
Most have had to move and leave brethren, but the unity we enjoy in Christ extends beyond time and space. In Christ, we remain tethered together in the same household (Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 3:27). Continue reading “Abounding love and unity”
“Right away, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. With him came a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and experts in the law and elders. (Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him and lead him away under guard.’) When Judas arrived, he went up to Jesus immediately and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him” (Mark 14:43-45 NET).
Betrayal. How does it feel when a friend betrays you? It may be that he has betrayed your confidence by telling others something very private that you confided in him (or her) alone. It may be that as a friend they have not supported you. It could be any number of ways that a friend has betrayed us.
But how would it feel to be betrayed by using something that meant you were a friend? In our text we read that Judas prearranged with those with him that he would betray Jesus with a kiss. Continue reading “Betrayed with a kiss”
Earlier today I heard an intriguing story. My imagination instantly brought it to life.
A Christian sister recounted how she had been walking along a fence line when she came upon a sheep hopelessly ensnared by barbed wire. As she approached the pitiful creature and began assisting it, the ewe frantically thrashed, kicked and pulled in every direction.
The barb wire held fast as she worked to release the snagged sheep. Suddenly the violent movements of the sheep knocked her to the ground as the ewe lunged free to happily scamper off.
Watching that sheep joyfully run free some thoughts entered her mind. “That sheep probably thinks it freed itself from the barbed wire. In fact, it will probably still be skittish of me in the future.” Continue reading “Freed from barbed wire”
Anyone concerned with the growth of the local congregation must develop a big picture mentality. Otherwise, we can become lost in the details and miss the wider vision of Christ.
Jesus built his Church, kingdom and household (Matthew 16:18-19; Ephesians 2:19). Everything begins and ends with him and his Word (Psalm 119:105). Continue reading “The Importance of atmosphere in a congregation”