Friday, July 25, 2014

God is Love

God is love or Love is God. Yes, love is a characteristic of God that cannot be denied. “God is love” , 1 John 4:16, “whoever lives in love, loves God, and God in him. Verse 7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God.  We are reminded that, “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love castes or drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  “We love because he first loved us.” (verse 19).  These verses speak of who God is; he is Love and much more.  Only with God and God in us can we love with the love of God, which is Agape love. This is not eros (sexual) or phileo which is brotherly love.  Wow, I knew I had trouble loving my neighbor and myself, because without  God’s love is is not possible.

Recently, a dear friend was troubled as he read the “Love Chapter”, which is 1 Corinthians 13. It says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast…love never fails…Faith, hope and love remain, but the greatest of these is love.  He struggled with doing or being any of this. I suggested that the love referred to in this chapter is capitalized, Love is… Why, because love is God. Only God can love like this chapter portrays and the Bible references.  Do not be hard on yourself, God is working, perfecting you to be more like him or Love. This is a journey in a life of love, more and more as we draw near to God and are filled with the Holy Spirit.  Love is referred to as the most excellent way (1 Cor 12:31).  This is talking about “Love” that/who never fails.   God in us is the way of love, it never fails and lives forever. What lives forever, Love or Christ lives forever as does the Word of God. All else fails.  Live in Love and Love in you, apart from Love you can do nothing (Paraphrase John 15:5-8).  Remember, nothing can separate you from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

How is your love life? 

                                          From the album Love Came Down, Brian Johnson, Composer

Friday, July 18, 2014

Great is God’s Faithfulness

Ecola Rock                                 Douglas Frank, Photographer
When bad things happen to good people. This is the title and thesis of Rabbi Harold Kushner’s bestselling book printed in 1983. His thesis was that God not only allowed the bad things, but also was not powerful enough to stop them. God was either impotent or not good. Why should we turn to a God that makes bad things happen?  In fact accidents, illness, tragic occurrences happen in the world every day and they will continue to. Down through the ages humankind has suffered at their own hand in consequence or from bad things happening to them. The earth is flawed and not the way God created it. God allows this to happen. Stuff happens.

But “Great is God’s Faithfulness.”  “For great is your love, your faithfulness reaches to the heavens.” (Psalm 56:10).  The Bible has dozens of scriptures and stories in Old and New Testament telling that through it all, God is faithful. Through trial and temptation, I have seen God work. He has not abandoned or forsaken me, although I have him. The forward of my book tells of God’s healing me from a dire illness through his Word. And I can also think of other dramatic circumstances.

In 1966, after graduating from High School, I headed north to Alaska with a friend. Many dramatic things happened, but perhaps most so was our surviving a plane crash in a failed attempt to fly up to Mt. McKinley for fishing and climbing base camp. Our desire had been to fly in to the base and explore. A violent and unexpected July blizzard caused us to abort mission and try to return in a white out by altimeter and compass. The strength of the wind and snow caused us to despair, dive and crash into a lake. The force of the impact tore the planes wings and knocked out the pilot. We were able to open the door and drag the unconscious pilot to shore only 100 feet away. Standing on the shore we realized that we were standing near the dock where we had started, safe. This was not brilliant flying, or coincidence. This was God’s faithfulness. God had intervened that we might live another day.

I have experienced many stories like this. Perhaps you have too and would like to share? I invite your joining me on the shore while we look into the sky and the slowly emerging immensity of Mt. McKinley or another place.

Psalm 31:23 “The Lord preserves the faithful.”