Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Love of Life

Friday, August 10th, 2018

When you approach work or any task with love of life, the task becomes so much easier, you gain more confidence, and start to see the positives in the work you are doing. You realize how much you enjoy your colleagues, or how nice so many of the customers are, or you simply appreciate going home with a paycheck. When you approach work with this love of life you have more mental and physical energy and are able to do a better job. You are open to see and seize opportunities to learn new things or take on a new job. It helps to move you forward in life. People who really love life are frequently not in the most important jobs. They may not need as much as others need in terms of stimulation, or reward, but they often, though, live much more satisfying and happier work lives than those who seek higher status.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 112

Photo: Rota, Spain, December 18, 2005

God Isn’t Conflicted.

Monday, August 6th, 2018

God’s essential unity is destroyed when we assign to him conflicting actions, as though his love demanded one course of action, and his justice another, as though God the Saviour were one person, and God the Judge a wholly different one. Or, again, when we blindly teach that, if his judgments now mean salvation, they at the great day mean endless damnation. God, I repeat, in his “judgments,” in his “fires,” in “death,” in “election,” God in time and in eternity is one and the same God (Heb 13:8), and has, and must have to all eternity, but one unchanging purpose — is and must be for ever God our Saviour.

— Thomas Allin, Christ Triumphant, p. 231

[Photo: Schloss Dhaun, Germany, July 2002]

Value in Relationships

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

You cannot criticize, stonewall, nag, manipulate, coerce, or threaten someone into genuinely valuing you. More important, you cannot feel valuable while exerting power over loved ones.

The secret of Power Love lies not in exerting power but in creating value, through interest, compassion, and care.

The self-empowerment that comes from creating value through interest, compassion, and care is its own reward, yet it comes with a significant bonus. The more value we create, the more cooperation and mutuality of giving we are likely to experience in love relationships.

You’ve probably heard the saying: “Living well is the best revenge.” Living well actually means creating more value in your life. Creating more value in your life in general and in your love relationship in particular is the surest way to become the partner you most want to be.

— Steven Stosny, Empowered Love, p. 176

[Photo: Oregon Coast, August 6, 2014]

God’s Joy

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

I was brought up and educated to give assent to certain propositions. God is love, for example. You concede “God loves us,” and yet there is this lurking sense that perhaps you aren’t fully part of the “us.” The arms of God reach to embrace, and somehow you feel yourself just outside God’s fingertips.

Then you have no choice but to consider that “God loves me,” yet you spend much of your life unable to shake off what feels like God only embracing you begrudgingly and reluctantly. I suppose, if you insist, God has to love me too. Then who can explain this next moment, when the utter fullness of God rushes in on you — when you completely know the One in whom “you move and live and have your being,” as St. Paul writes. You see, then, that it has been God’s joy to love you all along. And this is completely new.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 25

[Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012]

Sacrifice to End Sacrificing

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

So was the death of Jesus a sacrifice? yes, the death of Jesus was indeed a sacrifice. But it was a sacrifice to end sacrificing, not a sacrifice to appease an angry and retributive god. Jesus sacrificed himself to the love of God manifest in forgiveness, not to the wrath of God for the satisfaction of vengeance. It was not God who required the violent death of Jesus but human civilization. A system built upon violent power cannot tolerate the presence of one who owes it nothing. Jesus was nailed to the ultimate symbol of violent power. But Jesus’s act of forgiveness transformed the cross into a new symbol — the symbol of Christian faith, hope, and love. The sacrifice of Jesus was necessary to convince us to quit producing sacrificial victims, but it was not necessary to convince God to forgive. To forgive sinners is the nature of God. When Jesus prayed on the cross for the forgiveness of his executioners, he was not acting contrary to the nature of God; he was revealing the nature of God as forgiving love. The cross is not what God does; the cross is who God is!

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 86-87

[Photo: Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, Scotland, July 11, 2003]

Lifting People Up in Prayer

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Intercession is really no more than loving people in prayer. It means setting their faces before us and sitting in their presence, still and quiet, for long enough to find out who they are and what they need — in short, for long enough to love them. In prayer meetings one often hears the words, “Lord, we lift up so-and-so before You.” As a formula this can grow tiresome; nevertheless it is exactly what we are to do. In our hearts we lift up people before the Lord, setting them above ourselves, above and beyond all our personal opinions and prejudices. We lift up people to God in order to see them not with our eyes but with His. Without this divine perception, we cannot pray rightly. We cannot bless others until we see them as God created them to be, pure and blameless.

— Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People, p. 197-198

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 31, 2015

God Stoops.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

God stoops. From walking with Adam and Eve through the garden of Eden, to traveling with the liberated Hebrew slaves in a pillar of cloud and fire, to slipping into flesh and eating, laughing, suffering, healing, weeping, and dying among us as part of humanity, the God of Scripture stoops and stoops and stoops and stoops. At the heart of the gospel message is the story of a God who stoops to the point of death on a cross. Dignified or not, believable or not, ours is a God perpetually on bended knee, doing everything it takes to convince stubborn and petulant children that they are seen and loved. It is no more beneath God to speak to us using poetry, proverb, letters, and legend than it is for a mother to read storybooks to her daughter at bedtime. This is who God is. This is what God does.

Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 11-12

[Photo: Waterside Inn, Chincoteague, Virginia, November 11, 2017]

Opposite of Fear

Friday, July 20th, 2018

I couldn’t decide on just one:

When we pay attention to sensations in our bodies, we can feel that love is the energetic opposite of fear. Love seems to open and expand us right down to the cellular level, while fear causes us to contract and withdraw into ourselves.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 116

[Photos: South Riding, Virginia, July 13, 2013]

Jesus and Outsiders

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

If we are going to take Jesus seriously, then we need to see how he talked about hell and we need to pay close attention. Although evangelists most often preach about hell to try to convert people to Christianity, we need to reflect on the significance of the fact that Jesus never tried to scare people into the kingdom of God by threatening them with hell. The only people to which Jesus talked about hell were his own followers and especially to the self-righteous religious leaders of his day. We often assume that heaven is for good people and that hell is for bad people. But according to Jesus’ message and ministry, it is the reverse: heaven is for bad people and hell is for “good” people. Heaven is for people who know they are in need of large doses of grace, while hell is for people who alienate themselves from God and others through the self-sufficiency and self-centeredness of their own pride (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus didn’t see those who were outside the bounds of proper religion as the ones in danger of hell. He saw the ones on the inside as being in the most spiritual danger, because when we are on the inside, it is easy to become complacent and presumptuous and turn our focus on making judgments about others. This is precisely what many of the Pharisees, the self-appointed spiritual and moral guardians of society, did in their day. They were so sure of their insider status with God that they turned their energies towards using threats of hell to those who didn’t measure up the way they did. In most contexts, then, Jesus’s teachings on hell took the Pharisees to task by turning their judgments back on themselves. The threat of hell was primarily used by Jesus, not to encourage speculation about others in the world to come, but to encourage examination of our own lives here and now concerning all the ways in which our pride, greed, lust, anger, judgmentalism, and apathy may be leading us down a wide road to self-destruction (Matt 7:13-14).

When it came to “outsiders,” Jesus tried to love them into the kingdom of God. Jesus did not try to convert sinners by threatening them or heaping guilt or shame on them, as did many of the Pharisees (Matt 23:4). He tried to transform them by eating with them, by scandalously welcoming them into an unconditional embrace of love. This shockingly inclusive compassion that Jesus showed to notorious and egregious sinners like tax collectors and prostitutes was what magnetically drew the crowds of ordinary people to him, and at the same time enraged the religious leaders to conspire against him.

I am convinced that we Christians have for too long preached about hell as the Pharisees did, not as Jesus did. We have made it only about “them,” not us. You see, when we make hell just about what happens to outsiders in the next life, we miss the fact that Jesus made his warning about hell primarily in relation to what insiders do in this life.

— Heath Bradley, The Flames of Love, p. 39-40

[Photo: Los Angeles Rose Garden, July 8, 2015]

Proving Your Worthiness

Saturday, July 14th, 2018

Emotions are sometimes complicated, but in terms of motivation, they’re not rocket science. You prove to yourself that you’re respectable, valuable, and lovable by respecting, valuing, and loving. There’s really no other way to do it. (Other people respecting, valuing, and loving you won’t feel genuine if you’re not respectful, valuing, and loving.) And if you prove these things to yourself, you won’t feel a need to prove them to anyone else. Respectful, valuing, and loving people will recognize these qualities in you. As for those who do not, you can sympathize with their need to heal and grow.

— Steven Stosny, Living and Loving After Betrayal, p. 62

[Photo: Haut Koenigsbourg, Alsace, France, September 28, 1997]