Tag Archives: loving God

For the Love of God! (Professionals or Amateurs?) Part 1 of 4

franknernest2003091355227“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise… the weak things of the world to shame the strong… the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:20-29

“Amateur” – 1. A person who engages in a pursuit on an unpaid basis. 2. Someone considered contemptibly inept or unskillful at a particular activity. Origin: from amare ‘to love’.

I’m an “Amateur Christian.”

Amateurs do what they do, not for pay but for the love of it. They’re not experts, but they do their thing out of sheer enjoyment. That pretty much describes the kind of Jesus followers I prefer to hang around. They do God’s work for the sheer love of it. They don’t expect any pay – financial or otherwise – and, as amateurs are, they’re quite aware of their ineptness at it. They dedicate their incompetence to the God they love and hope he’s blessed by it. When they think of blessings, it’s more about the kind that make God happy rather than themselves. They’re blessed if he is. Period. That’s the kind of Christian I try to be – an amateur – though still quite inept, following Jesus for the love of it.

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THE ANTIPHONAL SONG (God’s love received, reciprocated, and reflected) part 6

[This the final offering of “The Antiphonal Song”… You might want to read the first five to get the whole picture… or go to the one stop shop of it…]

When the audience turns its back…

“But I tell you, love your enemies…” Matthew 5:44

We’re supposed to love the way he loves and love everyone he loves, even those we don’t want to love. The love song we repeat back to him has to be sung even to those who don’t want to be sung to. It’s always more difficult to sing when the audience has turned its back. But most with their backs turned haven’t heard the song as it’s supposed to be sung. And that’s a shame on us who have failed to sing it right, in appropriate harmony with one another. Until we do that, we haven’t properly represented the Song Giver or his song. Continue reading

THE ANTIPHONAL SONG (God’s love received, reciprocated, and reflected) part 5

[This is the 5th of 6 pieces. If you’d prefer to see the paper in one piece…]

Agape reflected: 

I stumbled into the wrong room. It turned out to be the place where the school choir was practicing. They invited me to sing with them and I said, “Are you kidding? I don’t sing and I especially don’t sing in choirs!” Before I backed out the door, they went on with their rehearsal, and what I heard from the back of the room intrigued me, enticed me. Their exquisite harmony lured me to stay and listen to their entire repertoire. I found myself humming along and before I escaped I signed up for the choir. Continue reading

THE ANTIPHONAL SONG (God’s love received, reciprocated, and reflected) part 4

The justifiably jealous lover…

“I am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:5

“The Spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely…” James 4:5

The Lord is a “jealous lover.” Don’t you find it odd that jealousy is an iniquity for us but a quality for God? It’s because he knows that what’s best for us is him. It only makes sense that the created would desperately need the Creator, so it’s only right that he should hate it when we prefer another above him. When we fail to reciprocate his love, it’s not as though we love nothing at all; we’ve become enamored with something else. He’s jealous when we find alternatives with which to share our affection and sing our song. His love is only made “complete,” and the song can only resolve itself when it’s received and returned to its Source. Continue reading

THE ANTIPHONAL SONG (God’s love received, reciprocated, and reflected) part 3

Agape reciprocated

God’s love has always been mutually enjoyed – it looks for a resting place and yearns for reciprocation. His love is only “complete” when those he’s reaching out to reach back. Let’s review what John said about the Singer’s song sung to us and sung by us back to him. Continue reading

THE ANTIPHONAL SONG (God’s agape received, reciprocated, and reflected) part 1

If anyone obeys his Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5 

If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him. In this way love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him… the one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16-18

John was nicknamed “the Apostle of Love,” and for good reason.  He was so sure that Jesus loved him that in his Gospel, he spoke of himself in the third person as, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” He was the one who had the nerve to lean over and rest his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper, and the love theme tends to dominate his writings, especially 1 John. He was a man who knew he was outrageously loved by God, returned his love with a vengeance, and demanded that true disciples love one another as they’ve been loved. Continue reading

Loving the unpredictable God (part 3)

SOMETIMES I CALL HIM THE “SOMETIMES” GOD

The character that depicts Jesus in C.S. Lewis’ series, The Chronicles of Narnia is a ferocious lion named, Aslan. One of the notable characteristics of the lion was his unpredictability. He even seemed fickle at times. Sometimes he would show up and, in the nick of time, save the day; and at others he would refuse to intervene – almost aloof. Or he would only show himself to one person and remain invisible to the rest. One of the characters asked another about Aslan, “Is he safe?” “No. He’s not safe, but he is good.”

It’s hard for us to live with mystery, enigma, and paradox. We moderns allow for very little wonder in our lives. Everything has to be nailed down, have clear explanations, and fit a pattern. But accepting the ambiguity of God’s ways is huge part of a life of faith. He’s just not that nail-downable. Faith doesn’t mean that we have God all figured out, it means that we can live with him without having him figured out. Continue reading