Morning Musing: John 15:9-10

“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We hate hypocrisy and people who take up contradictory positions. And this is not without good reason. Seeing someone claim one thing to be true – and in such a way that they are actively seeking to force others to live up to these standards – and then to see them live in such a way as to betray a belief that it isn’t really true is to witness a lie. It is to see someone creating a fantasy world into which they are trying to force others, but in which they won’t live themselves. It’s disgusting. Because this so bothers us, critics of the Scriptures are always on the lookout for hypocrisy and contradictions in the them. As people who would uphold the integrity of the Scriptures, we need to be ready to explain why places like this aren’t examples of it.

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Morning Musing: Galatians 5:14

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Our world is broken. Brokenness is everywhere we look. Our politics are a mess. Our cultures are crumbling. We are surrounded by hatred and racism. People are at odds with one another over the smallest things. If we’re not careful, the whole scene can begin to get a bit overwhelming. While in some places this may feel like it’s all very new and scary, the truth is, this is simply the world as it has always been. The question for us to wrestle with is the same question people have wrestled with since there were more than one of us on the planet: What can we do about all of this? Jesus offered us a solution to the mess. It is simple and nearly impossible on our own. But if we will pursue it, it just may change everything. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Genesis 2:23-24

“And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Let me ask a loaded question: Did you marry your soulmate? Depending on your circumstances, you may have a whole variety of answers to that question. If you’re a newlywed (or a nearly -wed), you are probably going to fire off an immediate, “Absolutely!” in response. If you marriage is really, really good, you might also say yes. If you have experienced the pain of divorce or are in a marriage that is on rocky ground, you may not be quite so quick to agree. Let me change the question up just a bit: Do you even believe in the idea that each one of us has a soulmate? Again, maybe you do, maybe you don’t. It’s hard to deny the popularity of the idea in pop culture. What got me thinking about this today is a Hallmark movie I recently watched with my bride. If there is anywhere the concept of a soulmate is part of the foundation of an organization, it is in Hallmark’s film division. Sometimes, though, things slip through the cracks. Let’s talk about one of those times and what it looks like to have a healthier view of marriage than Hallmark offers.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 1:4

“For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember Magic Eye books? They had a brief surge of popularity when I was growing up. Each picture looked like some kind of a random, repeating pattern of shapes and images when you just glanced at it. But if you looked at it just right, all of a sudden, there was something else there. I remember getting a book when I was little and spending hours trying to master the technique of seeing the hidden image. The standard approach is to hold the image right up to your nose and pull it away slowly while trying to look through it. When you got to just the right distance, your eyes would begin to perceive the depth of the 3D image hiding beneath the pattern. I finally figured out my own technique which is to cross my eyes and then slowly uncross them. What got me thinking about Magic Eye images this morning is what Paul wrote here in his opening comments in his letter to the Ephesian church. Most folks who look at it see one thing, but as I was spending some time with it recently, I saw in it something just a bit deeper. Let me share with you what I saw.

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Morning Musing: 1 John 4:19

“We love because he first loved us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have a free period in high school? Personally, I never did. We had a kind of study hall block every other day which probably came pretty close, but being part of the band nerd group, most of us checked in with our actual Home Room teachers and then went immediately to hang out together in the band room where we mostly all sat around doing homework. A real free period, though, gives you the chance to do fairly well whatever you want (within reason, of course). Well, this morning is a bit of a free period for me. I didn’t preach yesterday and so I don’t have a sermon to share. We’ll start a new teaching series next Sunday about which I’m pretty excited. Stay tuned for that. Instead, then, I’m going to share a few different thoughts and we’ll see where that takes us. Here’s what’s on my mind this morning.

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