In Luke 10:25-27, Jesus says that the key to inheriting eternal life is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” This is not just a suggestion – it’s a command! So what does it mean to honor God in everything I do, say, and think?
From The Good and Beautiful God by James B. Smith:
Author and speaker Brennan Manning has an amazing story about how he got the name “Brennan.” While growing up, his best friend was Ray. The two of them did everything together… They even enlisted in the Army together… and fought on the frontlines together. One night while sitting in a foxhole, Brennan was reminiscing about the old days in Brooklyn while Ray listened and ate a chocolate bar. Suddenly a live grenade came into the foxhole. Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, dropped his chocolate bar and threw himself on the live grenade. It exploded, killing Ray, but Brennan’s life was spared.
When Brennan became a priest he was instructed to take on the name of a saint. He thought of his friend, Ray Brennan. So he took on the name Brennan. Years later he went to visit Ray’s mother… Brennan asked her, “Do you think Ray loved me?” Mrs. Brennan… shook her finger in front of Brennan’s face and shouted, “Jesus Christ- what more could he have done for you?!”
Brennan said that at that moment he experienced an epiphany. He imagined himself standing before the cross of Jesus wondering, Does God really love me? and Jesus’ mother Mary pointing to her son, saying, “Jesus Christ- what more could he have done for you?”
God does not make me feel bad or shame me into better behavior. Nor does He use fear or guilt. God’s method of change is the highest of all. God’s holy love burns the dross of sin out of our lives. It is God’s kindness that leads to genuine repentance (Romans 2:4)…
“love loves unto purity
Chapter 3: God is Trustworthy
1. To trust someone is to believe that he or she has your best interests in mind, that the person will protect you from harm and is reliable. In the moment of his deepest suffering, Jesus trusted in his Heavenly Father.
2. Fatherhood is first defined by God and Jesus, not by Adam and his children. God’s fatherhood must define what human fatherhood ought to look like, not the reverse.
I have this huge secret fear that I will one day be a terrible mother, but this part of the book is reassuring in that as long as I continue to grow closer to the ultimate Father, I don’t have to worry about that because God is the perfect parent.
3. God is present. God is pure. God is powerful. God provides. God pardons. God protects.
4. If we do not know God as our Abba Father, then we will never have the courage to face our problems. But as we come to know the good and beautiful God that Jesus knows, our struggles take on a whole new meaning. If God is truly good and is looking out for our good, then we can come to him with complete honesty. We can practice honesty when we pray - baring our soul and confronting those hurts that make us doubt God’s goodness by handing them over to him for healing.
5. A trusting response to a known love
6. Our troubles are real, but they are small compared to God’s widespread mercy.
Chapter 2: God is Good
1. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
2. If God exists, then why is there still pain/suffering/evil?
To be honest, that’s a really tough question. For me, it’s something I struggle with coming to a conclusion with as well, there are so many forms of injustice in the world (hunger, poverty, homelessness, rape, cancer) - and there’s a lot of the time when I just want to throw my hands up in the air, and say WHY GOD, WHY. But, I am not God. I don’t know what’s best for me, and what’s best for other people; but I trust what God has planned for me. I trust that God is a just god. That we, as humans, have sin in our nature, and are forced to deal with the pain and suffering as a result of it. God also knows that pain and suffering in our own lives is essential. Like a parent disciplines his child, there may be pain and suffering involved, but ultimately it is out of pure love. As far as I’ve thought about it, this is the answer I have come to; but it’s still a hard question, and therefore there is no easy answer.
3. Matthew 5:45. “Jesus is telling us an obvious truth: just as sunshine and rain are given equally to saints and sinners with no distinction, so God gives blessings to all without regard to their behavior. Terrible things happen to wonderful people. Wonderful things happen to awful people. We cannot look around the world we live in and build a case that sinners are punished and righteous people are blessed.” We like the idea of it because we like to think that we can control God by how we behave. If God gave us punishment because we are bad, then we also deserve blessings because we are good; however, this is not how God works!
4. John 16:33. Jesus promises us trials. Yay. -__-. Just kidding, but the verse also says that he has already overcome the world! Yay!
Chapter 1: What are you seeking?
1. Our ability to change is because of the work of the Holy Spirit and not because of our willpower.
2. The will only does what we tell it to do. The three primary influencers on the will are our mind, our body, and our social context.
3. Change comes from changing what we think, how we practice, and who we are interacting with, all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
4. We are called to have the mind of Jesus which may conflict with our family and/or cultural values. Our thought process determines much of our behavior - for better or worse.
5. Praying, bible reading, and being in solitude are ways we can train our soul. Training is necessary for transformation.
The book provides the comparison to the training of an athlete. What I liked about this comparison is that an athlete not only has to devote hours to exercising/practicing, but being an athlete also influences how you treat your body in terms of what you eat and how you sleep, etc. In a similar way, we should train by not only separating time for God but allowing our status as Christians to infiltrate other aspects of our lives. Let’s be honest here, I am not an athlete, I love my sugar, I love to rot and sit around and do nothing. However, I’ve been trying to become healthier by eating cleaner and exercising more. And sometimes when you train, it sometimes requires pushing through the stomach cramps and doing it even when you’re sore. It’s not what you do once in a while that matters, but what you do every day!
6. We are design to live and love in community. Spiritual growth and formation are not just personal pursuits, but a communal activity. Community provides support and encouragement.
7. The Holy Spirit points us back to Jesus the Son and God the Father by whispering truths, prompting us in prayer, and opening our hearts.
8. The fruits of the Spirit can not be improved or mustered by our own doing but only through the inward transformation by the Holy Spirit which results in outward transformation.
9. Sleep is an act of surrender. It is a declaration of trust. It is admitting that we are not God (who never sleeps), and that is good news.
The evolution of the swim suit by Jessica Rey
He is patient with your immaturity, He forgives you when you wrong Him, and He stays committed to you even when you ignore Him for long periods of time.
He is always faithful.
John Ortberg in A Life of Endurance
I felt so disgusted after reading this post; it reminded me again that this world is a broken one and needs active Christians to bring God’s justice. Thought I should repost and raise awareness.
I’m not sure how many of you have heard about the events that took place early this morning, but you all need to be informed. There was an off-campus end of the year party going on that was hosted by and attended by primarily black students. A little before 3am, LAPD stormed the party with 79 officers in full riot gear. There had been no violence, weapons, or any threatening situations going on to invoke such thing. Students were harassed, tasered, and some even arrested. Meanwhile across the street another party was taking place that was primarily white students and they were told by LAPD to stay inside and try to be quiet. This is an example of the blatant and disgusting racism that has been happening at and around USC. These are your friends, your peers, your hardworking classmates being treated like second-class citizens and it’s not okay.
There will be a silent protest on Tuesday at 5pm followed by a discussion with LAPD and DPS to discuss the events. I encourage all of you to participate and stand in solidarity with your friends and peers. This is not something that will blow over quickly as so many USC students were directly affected and are already taking steps to seek change.
You may not feel connected to this at all, but as Christians we are called to seek justice alongside our brothers and sisters. Let’s not be a fellowship who watches the brokenness of our own campus and does nothing about it. Let’s join the fight for justice and cover this situation in prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit! Tragedies like this have the potential to make lasting change, and it is my prayer that through this that can happen.
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.