Mercy or justice? We want people we think are "bad" to be punished and people we think are "good" to receive mercy (and normally that includes ourselves!). Too often our judgments are based on emotions. Is God both merciful and just, even though everyone around us suffers and dies?
“The best things in life are free.” That certainly can be true, but as always there is more to the story. Take love - the love that is between a husband and a wife as a for instance. While this love certainly should be free – freely given and freely received, it does have a maintenance schedule attached to it. Funny thing is, we never hear much about love’s maintenance schedule as it can be difficult, demanding and even daunting. The good news is that if we stick with the schedule, the results will literally last a lifetime and the love that we were freely given will have become a most valuable admired and cherished part of our lives! So, how do we get there? How do we learn what to do and how to do it so our love will last a lifetime?
Defining God is a monumental task. The measure of its difficulty is such that very few will ever follow through with it, for the world is overrun with contradictory myths, stories and legends about the nature and purposes of God. So many stories, so little truth! Defining God requires us to look into things beyond our natural sight. It requires us to grab hold of things beyond our physical reach, and it requires us to believe in things that are beyond our earthly capacity. To know who God is means we would know His character, His mind and what drives Him. Can we know these things? Can we know God’s heart and mind? Can we know God’s plans and purposes? Will knowing God help us to better know ourselves?
We live in a time of great contradiction. There are voices that shout, rant and insist for all in our society to embrace and accept everyone no matter what their choices in life are and no matter what their actions in life may be. Their message in many ways is framed as one of love – love for those who are opposite, love for those who are different. Then there are those like myself who say that while I am willing to accept and love people regardless of their choices, I will not embrace anything I believe is not moral or righteous. I will love the person but not the action. For this I have been called a "hater" by those who preach that you should embrace those who are different than you. Jesus told us to love our enemies, but what exactly does that mean? Am I not loving enough? Do I need to change?
We humans are built to long for love, commitment and longevity. We all want to be happy and for most that means being involved in a special relationship. We want “…and they all lived happily ever after!” for such an end is what dreams are made of. For a few, this may become their reality, but for most their reality sounds more like “and they lived tentatively ever after, never quite satisfied, but rather they were tolerant of their lot in life.” How do we avoid the tragedy of the last ending and find some of the “happily” of the first?
God is love! We as Christians love to bask in the magnitude of that statement as it gives us comfort and confidence that our faith is in a Being that possesses understanding, compassion and wisdom. God is love – that statement just makes us feel good! So was that the reason John wrote it - to make us feel good? Or did he write it to help us not only unlock the depths of God’s character but to also unlock the potential depths of our own characters? Stay with us! This is love as you have never seen it before!
The world is changing. It is changing at an ever-quickening pace and in a more dramatic and fundamental way than ever, as well. Within the last few months, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of gay marriage, changing the definition of a 6,000 year-old institution. Okay, so what should we as Christians be doing now? Complain? Protest? Fight? Accept? What does the Bible really say about marriage, homosexuality and our Christian responsibilities?
Love, marriage, tradition and happiness. As time goes on, these four timeless elements of our world seem to be drifting ever further apart from each other. It is almost as if we are at a point where we are not really sure what to believe in or how to believe in it. Well, stay with us because on this program, we are going to look at the tradition – the godly institution of marriage as a proven vehicle that carries with it love and happiness…love and happiness! Isn’t that what we all want?
Enemies. For some of us, naming them is easy – we can put a name and a face to them and recite the reasons we have to consider them enemies. For others, the idea of an enemy may be more related to a general group who may have a different ideology, or a different political perspective. Whatever makes someone your enemy, the question remains, how do you treat them? Jesus says to love our enemies, but is that really a practical statement? Doesn’t loving an enemy overlook and minimize the very reasons that they may justifiably be our enemies? Stay with us!
Love God. It is a simple enough commandment - easy to say, repeat and remember. But what does it really mean? Are there different ways of expressing love for God and does God look for different results depending on what age of humanity we live in? Most of all, is loving God - no matter when and where we live - enough?