Showing posts from June, 2016

Forgiveness vs. Transactional Forgiveness

Do you practice transactional forgiveness or just plain forgiveness? Here's the difference:
Transactional forgiveness says, "I forgive you, but you have to grovel and be in the doghouse for a long time." Plain forgiveness says, "I forgive you."
Transactional forgiveness says, "I forgive you, but I'm going to hold this over your head as long as I like." Forgiveness says, "I forgive you."
Transactional forgiveness says, "I forgive you, but from now on you'll never be equal to me." Forgiveness says, "I forgive you."
Transactional forgiveness says, "I'll forgive you if you somehow do enough to prove to me that you've earned it." Plain forgiveness says, "I forgive you."
Transactional forgiveness flows out of fury & rage. Forgiveness flows out of love.
Transactional forgiveness comes from a heart filled with the fear of deprivation. Forgiveness comes from a heart filled with gratitude for God's a…

The Biblical Age of Kings #13: God's Love Endures

Here's a short meditation on Lamentations 5:19-22:
It's good to praise God and to remember his love. This is especially easy when we experience the majesty and wonder of creation. It's also equally simple when you can witness the deliverance of God, either first-hand or through the stories of those who lived it.
For example, Psalm 136 is a hymn of hope. In it, the psalmist tells the history of creation and redemption—how God made the heavens and the earth, and how God redeemed his people from slavery and brought them to a good and prosperous land. After each affirmation in this psalm (26 times), we hear the same refrain, "For his steadfast love endures forever."
But can you testify to the goodness of God's love when your world has collapsed and when your enemies are having their way with you? Can you sing the praises of God's enduring love when it feels as if God is looking the other way? How can you declare, "God's love endures forever," wh…

The Biblical Age of Kings #12: The Day of the Lord

Lord, come quickly!
It's a prayer that many people utter every day. When folks grow weary of life's struggles, they cry out to God for help. Especially in light of tragedies like the Orlando mass shooting, believing people pray to God, "Lord, come quickly."
This prayer or a variation of it goes back before time of Christ. God-fearing Jews apparently longed for God to come and save them. They coined the phrase Day of the Lord to refer to this hopeful concept. This was apparently an important turn of phrase, a way of signifying their special status as God's chosen people and of expressing their need for God's deliverance.
We don't know the total weight of this term. But we know this. They thought the Day of Lord was good news. They assumed that the Lord’s coming would protect them and crush their enemies in the process.
Onto this scene marches the prophet Zephaniah. Referring to the Day of the Lord, he tells his listeners, "Be silent before the Lord God…

After Orlando: A Believer’s Response to Tragedy

The massacre of fifty people at an Orlando night club is a horror story. Unless you are emotionally numb, you ought to feel incredible sorrow when hearing about the victims. And as you learn about the gunman's perverted views on the value of life, you should feel some sense of revulsion.
But is it enough to feel anger or empathy? Isn't there something we ought to do? How should believing people respond to tragedies like the one in Orlando? What should our words look and sound like in the wake of disaster? How do we bear witness to the hope of Jesus Christ when folks are torn by grief and fear?
Here are three biblical responses to tragedy.
1. Be present and be silent.
Job's personal disaster would make headlines in our world today. Job was a leading figure in his society, one of the wealthiest and largest employers around. Yet in one fell swoop, Job experienced a terrorist attack and natural calamity rolled into one. He lost all his family (except his wife), his workers and…

The Age of Kings #10: The Lord's a Witness

Have you ever needed a witness?
Picture the worst kind of rush-hour traffic that you can imagine. Cars on the freeway. Stop and go. Maddening slowdowns and sudden stops. The daily negotiation of gridlock like this requires a huge dose of patience and skill. Even then things sometimes happen. And when it does, you might need a witness.
My friend Martina was driving in this kind of big-city traffic. Cars would stop for a while and then slowly inch forward. At one point when traffic stopped, the car in front of Martina suddenly threw it into reverse and smashed backwards into Martina's car. He jumped out, grabbed his neck and was going to claim that Martina had rear-ended him. Can you imagine how Martina was going to defend herself? Who would believe that this driver had backed into her when read-end collisions are so common in stop-and-go traffic?
Martina needed a witness! As soon as she realized what was happening, she bravely jumped out into traffic and flagged down drivers in th…