Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I had completely forgotten that today was Valentine's Day until I saw Google's logo bedecked with, of all things, a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Thinking that "Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Day" was definitely a holiday to celebrate, I then noticed that it was a reference to Valentine's Day. So, in celebration of that holiday (although, I believe a much inferior reason to celebrate than my original idea), here is an essay about love that I wrote a while back.

God Loves Us

Today I was reading 1 John 4. Some texts require lots of exegesis to study, such as the beginning point of the 2300 days or the identity of the king of the North in Daniel 11:36-39. But some questions in the Bible are answered pretty simply and directly.

Q: Who loves us? How do we know we are loved?
A: 1 John 4:9–
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Q:Why should we love God?
A:1 John 4:18–
"We love him, because he first loved us."

It’s a pretty short study. There are probably 50 more points we can get out of the brief passage, each of them as important as eternity and just as comforting, too. But in this frantic, unloving world everyone needs to be presented with at least this information, right here; whether or not they choose to believe and embrace it or to rationalize it away and ignore it is their choice. But the simple statement–"He first loved us," means everything if you choose to believe it. Imagine, just imagine, being loved by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe! Looking outside at the world around us and knowing that it’s a gift to us from God, a token of His love. Everbody wants to be loved. And everybody knows that when a man is in love with a woman he will not give up easily but will do anything he can to try to win her love–cards, flowers, dates, sweet expressions of affection and assurance that he cares about her. Think how much farther God has gone to provide expression of His love for us–all the gifts of the natural world, and much more, the gift of Jesus to provide a way that He can be with us and us with Him, despite the gulf that exists now. That really is love.

Does your god love you?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Barton Road

I still recall with pride the one--and possibly only--occcasion when I was able to embarrass Monica. It happened on a Sabbath at exactly 12:30 PM, at the intersection of Barton and Anderson, where I kicked a pine cone all the way as we crossed Barton Road, looking like a crazy person as the entire membership of University Church waited at the stoplight.

I was humbled yesterday when I walked back home from my eye appointment near the intersection of Barton and Mountain View. I didn't know that the optometrist was going to dialate my eyes, and I had not taken sunglasses with me because it was not bright enough in the morning to think of it. He gave me a ridiculous piece of flimsy brown plastic to serve as disposable sunglasses, which of course did not stay on my face and looked absolutely silly. When he gave them to me, I thought, "I'm not wearing this walking down Barton Road in the middle of a busy weekday!" But the moment I stepped outside into the California sunshine, the pain of the light started to overshadow even the embarrassment of having to wear the silly contraption. So there I was, walking westbound on Barton, right across from the one and only grocery store in town, along the main thoroughfare of Loma Linda, wearing a floppy piece of brown plastic on my face. Hopefully nobody recognized me, wearing my shades.