Tag Archives: love

My Delight is the Lord, December 21

Do You Love Me?

December 21, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: John 21:15-24

Peter sounds a little exasperated after Jesus asks him for the third time–and he’s already responded in the affirmative twice–if the impetuous disciple loved Him. “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (v. 17). Peter was correct, wasn’t he? Jesus does know all things, including our love for Him. But wait, Jesus didn’t change His response. It wasn’t “You’re right. I already know.” It was,  “Feed my sheep” (v. 17). There is more to loving the Lord than what is in our heart. The confirmation of our love for the Lord doesn’t come from his all-knowing awareness of what we feel toward him. It comes from us and what we do (or don’t do). As Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What did Jesus mean by, “more than these”? (v. 15)
  • How was Peter to feed/tend Jesus’ sheep/lambs? (vv. 15, 16, 17)
  • What would Peter do in his death? (v. 19)
  • What is our ultimate, individual responsibility (v. 22)

My Delight is the Lord, November 10

For Love’s Sake

November 10, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: Philemon

What Paul said to Philemon is significant. No less so is what he did not say. He even draws attention to what he is not saying (v. 8). Paul, as an apostle could have commanded Philemon to do the right thing (which was to receive Onesimus, his runaway-slave-turned-disciple, as a brother in Christ). Instead, “for love’s sake, I appeal to you” (v. 9). This can be challenging for us, but the greatest thing we can do is not that we would obey God’s commands. Rather, it is that we would love Him . Then, motivated by that love that we move to do His will (that’s obedience). The saying goes, “The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.” I agree. I believe Paul does too. The main thing is loving God. Then “for love’s sake” we’ll obey Him.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How does Paul identify himself? (v. 1)
  • For what does Paul commend Philemon? (v. 5)
  • How does Paul identify Onesimus? (v. 10)
  • What suggestion does Paul make in v. 15?

My Delight is the Lord, October 11

Angelic Hospitality

October 11, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:1-21

Angels are a fascinating Bible subject, no doubt. One of the most titillating statements about them is that people have “entertained angels unawares” (v. 2). I wonder if I have? Or, has someone I know, unknown to them, been in the presence of angels? It does make one wonder. But have we missed the point? This isn’t a text primarily intended to teach us about angels, rather it is one of those insightful asides in Scripture that grab our attention, leaving us wanting to know more. The point is “Let brotherly love continue” (v. 1). Do that by not failing to show hospitality to strangers and remembering those in prison and who are mistreated (vv. 2-3). Have the angels distracted us? Has the mysterious diverted our attention from what is explicit and plain? Is my interest in brotherly love as great as my curiosity about angels?

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is marriage held in honor? (v. 4)
  • What poses a threat to our lives?  (v. 5)
  • What is good for the heart? (v. 9)
  • What sacrifice ought we to offer? (v. 15)

My Delight is the Lord, September 19

Casting Out Fear

September 19, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Psalm 76

We work hard to eliminate the notion of being afraid from our fearing God. We know that we must fear Him and we also know that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear” (Ecc. 12:13; 1 Jn. 4:18). But have we worked a little too hard? Note how often “fear” shows up in this Psalm (vv. 7, 8, 11). God’s anger and judgment are both specified as reasons for this fear (7, 8) and it, then, is the reason why He is worshipped (11). It is true that responding to God’s love with love is a superior motivation for our actions than is being scared of His punishment for our failure. We may well begin with being afraid, but it is highly desirable that we would progress to loving Him. Just because we begin somewhere and move forward doesn’t mean the place we began is irrelevant or unimportant. Without “square one” all the other squares will tumble.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Where is Salem? (v. 2)
  • Why is God to be feared? (v. 7)
  • Why does God “establish judgment”? (v. 9)
  • How can man’s wrath praise God? (v. 10)

My Delight is the Lord, September 8

Ruinous Love

September 8, Thursday: God’s People

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 11:1-43

One is hard pressed to find any other person who teaches us more than does Solomon. He “spoke 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005” for crying out loud (1 Kings 4:32). But we also learn as much from his mistakes as we do his positive affirmations of truth. Here is a hard one; love can ruin you. Solomon’s many wives (700 of them) “turned away his heart” (v. 3). These are women he “loved” (v. 1). And in case you missed that one, the Bible further says He “clung to these in love” (v. 2). We speak of love in such glowing terms; it’s all good, right? No. You can love the very people and/or influences that will destroy you (1 Jn. 2:15). The only time love can be trusted is when we’ve followed the first and greatest command (Matt. 22:37-38).

Questions to Ponder:

  • What’s the great irony of vv. 7-8?
  • What punishment did Solomon receive for his sin? (v. 11)
  • What do we learn from vv. 14, 23?
  • What kind of man was Jeroboam? (v. 28)

My Delight is the Lord, July 9

For Whom Have I Cried?

July 9, Saturday: God’s Story (2)

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 18:1-33

How strange is it that the love and affections of our lives can end up being at cross purposes? David loved the Lord. He love the people, the nation of Israel. He loved the city from where he reigned. I believe he loved being the king. But he also loved Absalom. He loved this son who had no regard for his father’s God and who would take it all from him by violence to make it his own. David’s tortured cry is chilling: “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (v. 33). Love can thrill our very soul but it can also torture our spirit. Like David, Jesus cried out over Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37-39). He cried because he loved. If such crying is evidence of loving, have I cried for those lost in sin and alienated from God? The very ones whom He loves?

Questions to Ponder:

  • Why did the army refuse to allow David to go out with them? (v. 3)
  • How did Absalom die? (vv. 9-15)
  • How was the news of victory delivered to David? (v. 21)
  • What was David’s first question upon hearing of the victory? (vv. 29, 32)

My Delight is the Lord, July 6

Love Much or Love Little

July 6, Wednesday: Knowing God’s Son

Scripture Reading: Luke 7:36-50

We may have it wrong. Is the person mired in the depths of sin worse off than the one with a well-ordered, respected life? One would think so, wouldn’t they? But Jesus turned that line of thinking on its head when He identified a woman who, in abject humility, groveled at His feet, washing them with tears, kissing, and anointing them. Her ledger of sins was much lengthier than that of the dignified Pharisee host in whose home this awkward scene played out. Nevertheless, she found grace with Jesus and her many sins were forgiven which elicited from her much love. “But,” Jesus continued, “he who is forgiven little, loves little” (v. 47). So, is one better off to love God much or little?

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is the woman characterized in v. 37?
  • What kind of attitude was displayed by the Pharisee? (v. 39)
  • What elicits greater love? (vv. 41-43)
  • Was the question of v. 49 asked in wonder or scorn?

My Delight is the Lord, June 20

Undesirable Love

June 20, Monday: God is…

Scripture Reading: Hosea 1:2-11; 3:1-5

God is love. The Bible says so and we know it to be true. That is among the most desirable–if not the most desirable–thought that could ever occupy our minds. But at the same time, the extent and degree to which He loves us is shown in such a way that is quite undesirable to ponder. How can that be? Well, because one evidence of the depth and strength of God’s love for us is seen in just how unlovable we are. See, I told you–undesirable. We’re not prone to even let our minds go in that direction. That’s okay, the Bible goes there for us. That’s one of the incredible features of the prophet Hosea. God told him to marry a prostitute and have children by her. Then, after she forsakes him and returns to prostitution, to go get her back. Guess where we fit into that scenario? Undesirable and unpleasant to think about? Yes. But, oh, the magnificence and the beauty of God’s love!

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is unfaithfulness to God like “whoredom”? (1:2)
  • What was the name (and meaning) of Hosea’s second child? (1:6)
  • What about the third child? (1:9)
  • To what shall the people come in the latter days? (3:5)

My Delight is the Lord, January 26

January 26, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-21

The Real Trouble

It is a fact, that there is no book of the Bible with any greater theological depth than Romans. It is also “pure Paul.” That is, some so-called biblical scholars who cast doubt on the authorship of other of his epistles, still maintain that Romans is his. That would be classified as testimony from a hostile witness, but still. He has spoken at length and in great depth on a subject no less than our very justification. Here in chapter 12 the book turns practical. Scholars debate meaning and intent and interpretation in ad nauseam over the first 11+ chapters. But what is there to miss about “Let love be genuine”? Or “Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good”? Or “Love one another with brotherly affection”? You see it’s really not the theologically challenging that trips us up. It’s more often the plain and straightforward.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How do we love with brotherly affection? (v. 10)
  • What does it mean to “give thought to what is honorable in the sight of all”? (v. 17)
  • Why is it hard to leave hurts and wrongs suffered to the wrath of God? (v. 19)
  • How do we prevent being overcome by evil? (v. 21)

My Delight is the Lord, January 5

January 5, Tuesday: Following God’s Way

Scripture Reading: Luke 6:20-38

The Ideal State

How would you describe the ideal state? Not geographically, as in one of the States in the Union, but state of being. Would it be healthy, happy, contented, rich, married, single, physically fit, accepted, powerful, alone? Well, obviously, this could go all over the place, but what about blessed? Jesus promotes blessedness (see also Matt. 5:3-11). He contrasts it with “woe.” Worthy of close consideration is that many negative conditions (poor, hungry, sorrowful, hated) He attaches to blessing and many positive ones (rich, filled, laughing, well thought of) He attaches to woe. So much that is to us desirable and meaningful has nothing to do with blessedness. Remember this, from Christ’s judgment throne He will call to Himself “you who are blessed of my Father” (Matt. 25:34). The ideal state is blessed.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What does it mean to be blessed? (vv. 20-22)
  • Who is your enemy? (vv. 27-29)
  • Why should we love even those who do not return our love? (v. 35)
  • What must we do to be forgiven? (v. 37)