fbpx
Large Print

We Need Jesus’ Help

By |2022-08-05T02:33:14-04:00August 5th, 2022|

The day finally came—the day I realized my father wasn’t indestructible. As a boy, I knew his strength and determination. But in my early adult years, he injured his back, and I realized that my father was mortal after all. I stayed with my parents to help my dad to the bathroom, assisting him in dressing, even guiding a glass of water to his mouth—it was humbling to him. He made some initial attempts to accomplish small tasks, but admitted, “I can’t do anything without your help.” He eventually recovered to his strong self, but that experience taught both of us an important lesson. We need each other.

And while we need each other, we need Jesus even more. In John 15, the imagery of the vine and the branches continues to be one we cling to. Yet one of the other phrases, while comforting, can also strike at our self-reliance, the thought that easily creeps into our minds: I don’t need help. Jesus is clear—“apart from me you can do nothing” (v. 5). Jesus is talking about bearing fruit, like “love, joy, peace” (Galatians 5), those core features of a disciple. To bear fruit is the life Christ calls us to, and our total reliance on Him yields a fruitful life, a life lived to the Father’s glory (v. 8).

Walking with Others

By |2022-06-26T09:06:04-04:00June 26th, 2022|

Billy, a loving and loyal dog, became an internet star in 2020. His owner, Russell, had broken his ankle and was using crutches to walk. Soon the dog also began to hobble when walking with his owner. Concerned, Russell took Billy to the vet, who said there was nothing wrong with him! He ran freely when he was by himself. It turned out that the dog faked a limp when he walked with his owner. That’s what you call trying to truly identify with someone’s pain!

Coming alongside others is forefront in the apostle Paul’s instructions to the church in Rome. He summed up the last five of the Ten Commandments in this way: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9). We can see the importance of walking with others in verse 8 as well: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”

Author Jenny Albers advises: “When someone is broken, don’t try to fix them. (You can’t.) When someone is hurting, don’t attempt to take away their pain. (You can’t.) Instead, love them by walking beside them in the hurt. (You can.) Because sometimes what people need is simply to know they aren’t alone.”

Because Jesus, our Savior, walks alongside us through all our hurt and pain, we know what it means to walk with others.

Trustworthy Love

By |2022-06-20T09:06:06-04:00June 20th, 2022|

Why can't I stop thinking about it? My emotions were a tangled mess of sadness, guilt, anger, and confusion.

Years ago, I’d made the painful decision to cut ties with someone close to me, after attempts to address deeply hurtful behavior were merely met with dismissal and denial. Today, after hearing she was in town visiting, my thoughts had spiraled into hashing and rehashing the past.

As I struggled to calm my thoughts, I heard a song playing on the radio. The song expressed not just the anguish of betrayal, but also a profound longing for change and healing in the person who’d caused harm. Tears filled my eyes as I soaked in the haunting ballad giving voice to my own deepest longings.

“Love must be sincere,” the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9, a reminder that not all that passes for love is genuine. Yet our heart’s deepest longing is to know real love—love that isn’t self-serving or manipulative, but compassionate and self-giving (vv. 11–13). Love that’s not a fear-driven need for control but a joyful commitment to each other’s well-being (vv. 11–13).

And that’s the good news, the gospel. Because of Jesus, we can finally know and share a love we can trust—a love that will never cause us harm (13:10). To live in His love is to be free.

What Counts

By |2022-04-23T09:06:04-04:00April 23rd, 2022|

My friend recounted how she’d pointedly been asked by a fellow believer and colleague which political party she belonged to. His aim in asking the question seemed to be to predict whether he agreed with her on any number of issues currently dividing their community. In an effort to find common ground between them, she simply replied, “Since we’re both believers, I’d rather focus on our unity in Christ.”

People were also divided in Paul’s day, though over different issues. Topics such as what foods were permissible to eat and which days were holy brought disagreement among the Christians in Rome. Despite being “fully convinced in their own mind” on whichever position they held, Paul reminds them of their common ground: living for the Lord (Romans 14:5–9). Instead of passing judgment on one another, he encouraged them to “do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (v. 19).

In an era when many countries, churches, and communities are divided over issues large and small, we can point one another to the unifying truth of Christ’s work on the cross to secure our life with Him eternally. Paul’s reminder that we ought not “destroy the work of God” (v. 20) with our individual positions is as timely today as it was 2,000 years ago. Instead of passing judgment on one another, we can act in love and live in a way that honors our brothers and sisters.

Love Is Worth the Risk

By |2022-04-20T09:06:04-04:00April 20th, 2022|

Read: John 21:15–19 | Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 9–11; Luke 15:11–32 Play/Pause Mute/Unmute Vol+ Vol- Download Download MP3 Subscribe to iTunesIf you love me, keep my commands. John 14:15 After a friend ended our decade-long friendship without explanation, I began slipping back into my old habit of keeping people at arms’ length. While [...]

Warts and All

By |2022-03-13T09:06:04-04:00March 13th, 2022|

Oliver Cromwell, known as the “Protector of England,” was a military commander in the seventeenth century. It was common practice during those days for people of importance to have their portraits painted. And it wasn’t unusual for an artist to avoid depicting the less attractive aspects of a person’s face. Cromwell, however, wanted nothing to do with a likeness that would flatter him. He cautioned the artist, “You must paint me just as I am—warts and all—or I won’t pay you.” 

Apparently, the artist complied. The finished portrait of Cromwell displays a couple of prominent facial warts that in the present day would surely be filtered or airbrushed before being posted on social media. 

The expression “warts and all” has come to mean that people should be accepted just as they are—with all their annoying faults, attitudes, and issues. In some cases, we feel that’s too difficult a task. Yet, when we take a hard inward look, we might find some pretty unattractive aspects of our own character. 

We’re grateful that God forgives our “warts.” And in Colossians 3, we’re taught to extend grace to others. The apostle Paul encourages us to be more patient, kind, and compassionate—even to those who aren’t easy to love. He urges us to have a forgiving spirit because of the way God forgives us (vv. 12–13). By His example, we’re taught to love others the way God loves us—warts and all. 

Go to Top