Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Appreciation and Value

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Appreciate means to value your partner. Appreciation, in turn, makes you feel more alert and alive; you increase the value of your own life when you appreciate your partner in any way. When your partner feels your appreciation, you don’t have to worry about whether you compliment or praise him or her enough. And if you felt your partner’s appreciation, you wouldn’t feel so bad that he or she doesn’t think to compliment you. As a matter of fact, compliments seem empty if they do not convey in some sense that your life is better at this moment because of the person you appreciate.

Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 101-102

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 24, 2017

Beyond Fear

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Yes, I understand the Bible commends the fear of God, and I do too, but only as a preliminary beginning. God desires us to grow beyond the rudimentary beginning of fear. The apostle John said it this way:

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. . . . There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

In what is called the fear of God, what I fear is not God but the suffering my sin can inflict on myself and those around me. What God calls me to fear is the destructive results of sin — and I take God seriously. The shorthand term for this is the fear of God. The malevolent consequences of sin are all too real. But I’m not afraid of God. I used to be, but I am no longer. I am no longer afraid of God because I have come to know God as he is revealed in Christ. I have come to know that God’s single disposition toward me is one of unconditional, unwavering love. The knowledge of God’s love has made it impossible for me to be afraid of God.

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 96-97

Photo: Chateau de Chillon, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, November 2000

Divine Possibility

Friday, October 12th, 2018

At the end of the day, I believe that God’s love for us will be more relentless than our rejection of him, and that is why I am a universalist. I do not at all underestimate how deeply rooted self-centered and sinful patterns of living can be, but at the same time I do not think we should underestimate the power of God’s just and holy love to pull the roots of sin out of our hearts.

If I am proven to be wrong about this, if some will forever hold out against God, then I think God will not be offended if I put too much confidence in the power of divine love. Even if one doesn’t go all the way in affirming that God will ultimately heal every human heart and transform every evil will through destroying all sin with the fire of his holy love, it seems to me that every Christian should at least have hope in the possibility of this happening. Jesus, after all, told us that, “with God, all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). We should take careful note of the fact that when Jesus said this he was explicitly referring to the power of God to save even those who seem impossible to save from a merely human perspective (Matt 19:23-26). When it comes to who can be saved, our hope is in divine possibility, not in human probabilities.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 101-102

Photo: Sunset from Waterside Inn, Chincoteague, October 22, 2016

Loving Yourself More

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Don’t get confused — loving yourself is not about “me, me, me,” it’s not about being conceited or greedy. I am struggling to explain the difference between loving yourself and being completely self-centered. I think, though, that most people deep down know the difference.

When you love yourself more, you have more love and compassion for others around you. I keep saying you cannot love anyone more than you love yourself. If you only love yourself a little, then that is all then you can love anyone else — your child, your husband, your wife. When you love yourself more, it changes everything. It changes the circumstances in your life. It makes you happier and it makes everyone in your life happier. How could that be selfish?

— Lorna Byrne, Love From Heaven, p. 193-194

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 9, 2014

Gratitude and Love

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Today, look at who it is you love. What are you really enjoying in your love for them? Allow yourselves to feel your natural gratitude toward this person or situation. Gratitude allows you even stronger resonance with the very gift you are experiencing. Your gratitude not only opens the door to love, it increases love.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 327

Photo: Skyline Drive, Virginia, October 1999

God’s Joy

Friday, October 5th, 2018

God, I guess, is more expansive than every image we think rhymes with God. How much greater is the God we have than the one we think we have. More than anything else, the truth of God seems to be about a joy that is a foreigner to disappointment and disapproval. This joy just doesn’t know what we’re talking about when we focus on the restriction of not measuring up. This joy, God’s joy, is like a bunch of women lined up in the parish hall on your birthday, wanting only to dance with you — cheek to cheek. “First things, recognizably first,” as Daniel Berrigan says. The God, who is greater than God, has only one thing on Her mind, and that is to drop, endlessly, rose petals on our heads. Behold the One who can’t take His eyes off of you.

Marinate in the vastness of that.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 38-39.

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 4, 2016.

God Is Like Jesus

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Jesus’s entire life was a demonstration of the true nature of God. As Jesus heals the sick, forgives the sinner, receives the outcast, restores the fallen, and supremely as he dies on a cross forgiving his killers, he reveals what God is like. To see Jesus is to see the Father. At last we know that God is not like the thunderbolt-hurling Zeus or any of the other angry gods in the pantheon of terrorized religious imagination. God is like Jesus, nailed to a tree, offering forgiveness. God is not a monster. God is like Jesus!

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 93-94

Photo: Staffa Island, Scotland, July 13, 2003

Breaking Resentments

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

When we forgive someone, we don’t pretend that the harm didn’t happen or cause us pain. We see it clearly for what it was, but we also come to see that fixating on the memory of harm generates anger and sadness. Those feelings then prevent us from savoring the love and joy available to us right now. Forgiveness is the way we break the grip that long-held resentments have on our hearts.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 193

Photo: Prague, July 16, 2004

Changed Hearts

Monday, September 24th, 2018

When we think about how God could bring it about that all would ultimately choose to repent and be reconciled to God, we are not limited to thinking that God will have to twist people’s arms behind their backs or beat them into submission. A foundational Christian belief is that God has the power to break into people’s hearts and lives and change them from the inside out and make them new people. God has the power to dispel our illusions and set us free from the bubbles of self-deception in which we often live. In the age to come, when we are immersed in the divine presence, surrounded by the unmediated and pure holiness and love of God, the light will shine on the ugliness of our sin and on the beauty of God’s love for us. God will not externally force anyone to do something they do not want to do. Rather, we can trust that God has the power to internally compel all people to see the truth about themselves and the truth about God in such a way that will leave them without any motivation to cling to their sin, and every motivation to throw themselves onto the mercy of God.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 99-100

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 25, 2013

Love Opens Fists.

Friday, September 21st, 2018

I’ve learned from giving thousands of talks that you never appeal to the conscience of your audience but, rather, introduce them to their own goodness. I remember, in my earliest days, that I used to be so angry. In talks, in op-ed pieces, in radio interviews, I shook my fist a lot. My speeches would rail against indifference and how the young men and women I buried seemed to matter less in the world than other lives. I eventually learned that shaking one’s fist at something doesn’t change it. Only love gets fists to open. Only love leads to a conjuring of kinship within reach of the actual lives we live.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 6

Photo: South Riding, October 25, 2017