What My Faith Means to Me #3 continued

Despite the many signs of God’s love all around us, I still remain far from the Creator. It’s been said that, if you have never stood before your God in fear and trembling, you have never stood before your God. This is indeed how I feel when I think of the Person we call the Father. He seems so remote, so Other, that I can never hope to come near to Him. How can we possibly relate to someone or something so far outside the realm of our experience. How can such a distance ever be traversed, such a chasm ever bridged?

Then however, we come upon the great evidence of God’s true nature in the Person of Jesus. What kind of God would suffer for humanity? What kin of God would allow Himself to be debased and humiliated by His own creation? What kind of God would stoop to save such a world as this? There are only two possible answers to these questions. Either God is totally mad or God is completely and utterly loving and therefore no action on His part can be too much. Now by definition, God cannot be mad, since He, as creator, is the arbiter of all objective reality and therefore what we call madness would not be madness if it reflected God’s vision but would, in fact, be Truth itself. The only possible answer then is that God is totally loving in a way that beyond our finite understanding.

As I think of God, therefore, I must now think of a God who bridged the chasm between His creation and His otherness. I must contemplate a God who came to us so we could come to Him Then I must take the next step. I must consider what effect such love and action will have on me and on my life.

Final episoode coming soon ……

For more about the love of God see:

Hesed–God’s Love in Action

Martin Luther on God’s Love (Agape)

Perfect Love

He Cares For You

I’ve come to the end of my lectio divina study of 1 Peter, and here’s what stands out to me in Chapter 5:

He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

It led me to think about all the different ways the Bible says God cares for me. He cares for me as deeply as I care for my spouse:

“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and justice and in mercy.” Hosea 2:19

He cares for me as a loving parent cares for a child:

“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would never forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

He cares for me as much as I care for my best friend:

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you.” John 15:15

He cares for me with a love that is truly sacrificial:

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

It’s hard to comprehend the depth of God’s love for me — me, a poor sinful being. It’s impossible to comprehend that kind of love. All I can do is be grateful.

For more about God’s love see:

Hesed–God’s Love in Action

Martin Luther on God’s Love (Agape)

Resting In His Love

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You — Book Review

This lovely little book is a Zonderkidz publication, illustrated by Kit Chase. The soft pastel pictures of baby animals with their parents are charming and winsome.

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You

The rhyming narrative tells a story about love — the love of parents for their children, and the love of God for each of us. Perfect for reading aloud, it pictures daily activities a small child will easily recognize and identify with –playing, cuddling, being read to, eating, rocking, singing, getting ready for bed.

Short and sweet, it will delight both you and your toddler. I recommend it!

VERDICT: 5 STARS

It’s also available as a Zondervan e-book.

For more Christian books for children see:

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

When I Hold You by Ashley Huffstutler–Book Review

Great and Small Easter by B&H Kids Editorial Staff — Book Review

When I Hold You by Ashley Huffstutler–Book Review

The feelings in this book will resonate with all new parents. Each page contains a Bible verse celebrating God’s love for His children ( that’s us!) accompanied by the tender thoughts of a new mother caring for her baby. Nurturing a child who is so small and miraculous is a time of wonder, awe and feeling close to God who is the ultimate creator. It would have been especially poignant for author Ashley Huffstutler, who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor during her second pregnancy.

When I Hold You

Kudos to illustrator Airin O’Callaghan for the lovely depictions of mom and child.

This is a board book, intended for children ages 0-4 and it is truly beautiful. My only concern is that the content will be above the understanding of toddlers. They may enjoy the pictures of being rocked, held, cuddled and fed, but it will appeal more to the grown ups who purchase it than their children.

VERDICT: 3 STARS

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

When I Hold You – B&H Publishing (bhpublishinggroup.com)

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

For other reviews of books for children see:

Flashlight Night by Elisabeth Hasselbeck–Book Review

Great and Small Easter by B&H Kids Editorial Staff — Book Review

Happy Mother’s Day!

I counted this past Sunday as my first real Mother’s day. Yes, I had my first child last February, but with only three months of motherhood behind me I had really not experienced the true essence of being a mom. The many many (did I say many?) sleepless nights and early mornings, feedings and baths and laundry and work had not quite hit me yet. My own mother told me that in the early years of motherhood there is nothing more important to you than sleep. She was right on so many levels. Motherhood is truly an experience that you cannot appreciate until it happens to you.

As an adult, it gives me a new appreciation for my own mother and how much she went through to take care of us. How much love and sacrifice it took to continue down that path of nurturing, caring, and developing tiny little people. There is so much reward and yet it can be so exhausting and overwhelming at times. There are no breaks from motherhood, no vacations, and very young children never respond to your silent prayers to sleep through the night ‘just this one time’. How did my mother do it? How do I do it? And yet you love them so much it hurts, would give them every last bit of energy you have left, and at the end of the day still find just a little bit more to give them when they need it. The love for your own child is something that surpasses understanding and must truly be a gift from God.

Amazing to also think that God loves and cares about each and every one of us the same way that we care about our own children. What a responsibility that must be!! How is it possible?? Aren’t we so lucky to have Him as our heavenly father, always there, always watching? He knows and loves each and every one of us, and aren’t we blessed! Happy Mother’s Day to my mother and to all the mothers out there who are doing such important work!!!

Confronting Christianity – A Book Review

Rebecca McLaughlin has written a book that tackles 12 hard-hitting questions that most Christians should be able to answer but shy away from, whether from an inability to answer or afraid of the answer, remains to be seen.

The chapters are divided into topics such as slavery, the denigration of women, homosexuality, and God allowing suffering are just a few.  Each chapter gives detailed Biblical reference to the position stated and additional references from noted theologians.

The book is so detailed in the response to the questions that I would argue it is more than a one time read. It is an armchair reference manual to be studied regularly and absorbed. I feel more comfortable in explaining several of the questions asked but will take more time to read and digest them all. I applaud the author for this undertaking and feel that she has done a tremendous job of equipping Christians to answer those hard-hitting questions.

I give this book a stellar 5 stars. This review is based on the thorough, detailed explanation and thought that went into the compilation.

You may purchase this book at the link below:

https://www.crossway.org/books/confronting-christianity-hcj/

I have received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

All Life is Precious

jeremiah 1,15Today is Sanctity of Life Sunday and many people have spent the whole week in Washington, D.C. rallying for the right to life.

Personally, I don’t think that Roe vs. Wade will ever be overturned, that is just my opinion. But, I think that we, as a people, need to express our thoughts on life and make them known to those around us.  We need to let others know about how God created this earth and the people on it and as part of God’s creation, All Life is Precious.

It’s not just abortion.  There are issues with child and elder abuse, and assisted suicide.  None of these issues are new.  Abuse of all kinds have existed for years and years.  The sin in this world has tried to tear us apart in so many different ways.

Our thoughts must center on the belief that God is sovereign and that he has a plan.   Every life matters to him.  He knows each of us and what we are capable of  doing during our time on earth.

Each of us is called to live our lives with love and acceptance of all people.  Each person, each child has a life that God has called them to.  We can hate the sin that is prevalent in everyone’s life, but we must look beyond that to love all that God has created.  Anger and hate has no place in this discussion, just determination to show how God loves all of us and has created us to be who we are.

You were not a mistake and neither is any child that is conceived.  All of God’s children need to be brought up with love, although I know that in this world that may not be possible.  Sickness and pain permeates our existence, but God is in control and we should never try to take that control away from Him.  Instead, we should look to the Sovereign God for direction and help.

Peace Is Flowing Like a River

On a Via de Cristo weekend, the speaker chooses a hymn or Christian song which everyone sings right before their talk.  This was the song I chose for my Environment talk, and I think it expresses the idea that when God’s peace, love and joy is inside of us, it will overflow and affect everyone we’re around.  Enjoy listening!

The Motive is Love

“If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Without love for God and for others there is no true piety.  All our pious actions are worthless if they are not motivated by love — love for God and love for others.  This is what Jesus was trying to tell the Pharisees and what Paul is teaching us here.

God is love.  If we, as followers, are to reflect His nature to the world, we, too must be loving. Not just to our family and friends, but to everyone we meet, and yes, even to those who seem completely unlovable.  Not to earn God’s approval, not because He needs our love, simply out of gratitude for the grace and mercy He extends to each of us.

This goes back to Beth Ann’s post about personal piety.  Truly pious people are not looking for a reward.  They don’t need to attract attention or be held up as shining examples of sainthood. Pious people have internalized Christ’s character.  They are humble and unassuming. They are focused. The engine that drives them is simply love. Guess what?  If you think you’re pious, you’re not there yet!

Will we ever become truly and 100% pious? Not in this life.  That’s why Lutherans think of piety as an ideal, and sanctification as a process.  The more we study, pray and worship, the more we walk and talk with Christ, the more like Him we’ll become.  Love will be our motive.

 

God of All My Days

This song has been getting a lot of air play recently for good reason.  Casting Crowns has this song that points to piety or living your whole live toward Christ.  Just listen.  I’m sure it will touch your heart.