We Are All God’s Beloved

I was driving around town one day and noticed someone’s bumper sticker. I have a habit of reading every bumper sticker I see. Not sure quite what it is that draws me to them. Some times they’re very uplifting and I think, “What a nice person that is.” Some times they’re very vulgar and I think, “That poor person, I sure hope they find Jesus soon.” Not being a very social person, I tend to learn about people through their actions: watching them interact with other people, what they’re wearing, where I’ve met them, and reading their bumper stickers. So when I read bumper stickers I assume (not very correctly, I’m sure) it gives me a clue as to whom that person really is. After all, why would they put it there if they didn’t want people to read it and promptly associate them with the saying?

Anyway, this bumper sticker made me think of the next well-celebrated holiday, Valentine’s Day. So then I started thinking about the Valentine’s Days before Ted and I got married. Brittany was my valentine for most of it. It was awfully cute to give her a Valentine bear, almost as big as her, and a small box of chocolates. But some don’t have a Valentine at all, and then it’s just another holiday spent alone watching the reruns of “Sleepless in Seattle” on all the networks. I want you to know that you are not alone. You are God’s Beloved.

My New Testament studies have brought to my attention that Jesus was not just a victim of persecution. He was in complete control at all times during His trial, and crucifixion. My book, A Survey of the New Testament[Gundry], says “It is ‘the Jews,’ the very leaders to whom Jesus said, ‘destroy this temple’ [his body], who take and crucify Jesus. But true to no one’s taking his life from him and his laying it down on his own initiative (“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again”- John 10: 17-18), he carries his cross by himself. (19:17) He did this because He loves us so much. John 15:13 says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” We don’t fully comprehend this love because it is so awesome. Ephesians calls it the “love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge,” in 3:19.

So do not feel alone this Valentine’s Day. Jesus loves you more then anyone ever could. And He is always with us. For you are God’s beloved.

Are you still wondering about that bumper sticker? Well, it was the title of this little snippet: “We are all God’s beloved.”

Have a Blessed Valentine’s Day

Our worst enemy

In my experience as an adult, I often find I am my own worst enemy. The critical battles that I face each day are usually the little struggles with myself. Am I going to read some scripture and pray for a few minutes, or would I rather read the most current political news for example.

However, as I look back on my youth, I often think my worst enemies were my siblings. That’s not to say I don’t love my brothers, today I would count them as two of my very favorite people.

I see some of the same scenarios playing out with my children. They love each other dearly, but they also drive each other nuts. Often on purpose. We have made a point over the last several years of trying to convince Isaac and Faith particularly to just walk away and come get one of us. Don’t fight over the cereal, or the new toy, or what movie to watch, just let the other child have their way and come to us. We’ll sort it out.

So this morning, after Isaac and Brittany had finished their breakfast and gone on to other things, and Faith was just sitting down to eat hers, she told Brandy, “Don’t worry, Mommy. If I fight with myself, I come get you.”

A Crazy Birthday

For my birthday, Brandy took me to see the national tour of Crazy For You. For those not familiar, Crazy For You is basically a greatest hits of Gershwin music. The author has written a story to fit a collection of Gershwin music, essentially creating a new Gershwin musical. It was a great time, and the first opportunity we’ve had to get out to the theatre in a long time.

While I had never seen the show before, I had read a review or two, and as I recall it has largely been critiqued for a somewhat disjointed feeling between the text and the music. In other words, it feels like the story and the music weren’t originally intended to go together. I’ll admit that I agree with this critique to some extent, but I don’t think it in any way diminished my enjoyment of the show.

The basic message (at least what I perceived) was that love is more important that money, our career aspirations, or any life’s other distractions. While I understand this as being an outgrowth of George and Ira Gershwin’s roots as song writers in the depression, I see it as a remarkably Christian message. If we boil down discipleship is it not just making our love affair with Christ more important than our own hopes, dreams, aspirations and measures of success?

God’s Heroes

EDITOR: A little story Isaac wrote recently:

THE THREE HERO’S MAKING FRIENDS

We were fighting in the war. Zak (Lazer in hero terms) was fighting the boss, then he got shot,Isaac (Bowboy in hero terms) started to fight the boss, he got shot to!.Then boss against boss. Strider (the leader of the gang, he kept is real name for fighting crime) got shot, we became mummies.Then Strider reached his sword and sliced the string, next Lazer, and last Bowboy. Finishing with that, they became heroes fighting crime, and most of all bosses.(When they came out of their mummies they were friends.)

by Isaac