Sadly, some people are taught they have to change before God could love them. But that’s completely backwards. Instead, it’s God’s love that changes us. It’s not perfection that allows us entry into His presence, but rather it’s by sitting in His presence He perfects us. And it’s by encountering His love we learn how to love.
The journey of the cross was a nightmare for those who witnessed it first-hand, but one they couldn’t wake up from. As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we reorient ourselves to our eternal reality – the grave has been defeated, death has lost its sting. When we feel lost, when the world feels too large and uncertain, Easter serves as a resounding alarm in which we reawaken to our King who is seated on His throne with glory and power.
There’s a tension we may experience between truth and love: telling someone the truth doesn’t always seem loving, and sometimes loving people can feel as though it comes at the expense of telling the truth.
From where I stood, the water barely reached my ankles before retreating. This ocean, larger than any city, more powerful than any crowd, fell apart after stretching so far across the sand. Because the ocean has limits. And so do we.
Our muscles grow stronger when we repeatedly push against a weight or force. Similarly, as followers of Jesus, we can grow spiritually stronger when we encounter resistance.
We might define success by using external qualities like the amount of money someone accumulates or the amount of fame they achieve. However, in the Bible, we find a successful life is defined by our character – our disposition towards qualities like love and generosity.
As Christmas Day draws closer, I find myself already anticipating its end. I’m already planning when to take the tree down. The stockings, once hung with care, will soon be shoved in a box until next year. But in the calm of the trees and flowers, all eagerly awaiting the full warmth of the sun, I realize my sense of expectancy has been misplaced.
We may have several roles we play in society: as a spouse, a parent, or a co-worker, to name a few. At the same time, there are cultural standards for what it means to be “good” at the various roles we find ourselves in.
Jon Acuff says, “A good tradition is like a speed bump. It slows you down and reminds you of years gone by.”
The tradition of hanging Christmas lights was literally slowing me down, keeping me from the other activities I would rather be doing. But this speed bump in my day also reminded me that Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). Where there is confusion, He offers clarity. Where there is death, He offers life. As I hung each bulb, Jesus’ words were being hung on me.
When I was a child, my mother would collect coins wherever she could find them – between couch cushions or on the sidewalk. We didn’t have a lot of money, but she would always keep an eye out for “spare” change. When she had collected enough, she would take me and my sisters to the store to buy us a candy bar or some other small treat.