2 Disparate Manifestations of God's Love for Us

You can't have one without the other.

Juliane Liebermann


You've probably heard the adage, "God is love," culled both from experience of those with deep relationships with him and from popular Scripture passages such as, "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 John 4:16).

The saying is true.

God is the essence the lovea perfect, unconditional, and consuming love. Yet the effects of this quality manifest themselves in diverse ways. This is to be expected since God's love is deep and consuming; it touches all aspects of our lives. Sometimes the implications of this quality are confusing because of our shallow and shortsighted understanding of the term.

Proverbs 3:9-12 highlights two very different ways God shows his love to us:

The Antidote to Going through the Motions

    A preview of August's email-only article.


Sammy Williams


Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers. (If you'd like to join the club, fill out the form below. It's free!)

In this month's subscriber email we're looking at how to respond when faith becomes inconvenient.

Here's how the article starts:

I recently read David Allen's productivity manifesto, Getting Things Done. I'll write more about it in my annual reading roundup, but the entire philosophy of Allen's system could be summed up in this one quotation:

Your mind is designed to have ideas, based upon pattern detection, but it isn’t designed to remember much of anything![1]

When we don't have a reliable system for recording commitments and to dos, we attempt to store and recall everything in our brains with disastrous effect. Something in the back of our minds knows we have unfulfilled and unrecorded commitments, therefore we must do our best to retain these details. The psychological toll alone is overwhelming since our brains are not great at recall.

Around the same time I read Getting Things Done, I was also studying motivation theory in the workplace for a college course. One dimension of motivation is the contrast between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic desire spurs people to engage in activities for the benefits they will receive from the activities themselves, while those motivated by extrinsic factors engage in activities for external outcomes like money or praise.[2]

Which do you think is more effective?

 

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Notes:

1. David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (New York: Penguin, 2015), Kindle Edition, 277.
2. Steven McShane and Mary Von Glinow, Organizational Behavior: Emerging Knowledge, Global Reality, Ninth Edition (New York: McGraw Hill, 2021), 171.
3. This post contains an affiliate link.

Our Best Response in the Face of Loss

 A counterintuitive example from Job.


Jonatán Becerra


Part of the human condition is dealing with loss. Living in a post-Edenic fallen world, chaos, entropy, and just plain evil reigns (for a time).

If you haven't experienced loss, you will. The question, really, is how will you respond?

Maybe you're a better person than I am, but I doubt I'll have the faith to respond as Job did when he lost just about everything. In rapid succession Job lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, and all of his servants to raiders and natural disaster. Last, "a great wind" came and blew down the house of Job's eldest son, killing all of his children who were enjoying one of their infamous feasts at the time.

How did Job react?

When Christianity becomes Inconvenient

   A preview of July's email-only article.


Mike Haupt


Every month I publish an exclusive article for my email subscribers. (If you'd like to join the club, fill out the form below. It's free!)

In this month's subscriber email we're looking at how to respond when faith becomes inconvenient.

Here's how the article starts:

On the blog this month we examined Job's wealth and godliness and the implied causal relationship between the two. The Scripture seems to suggest, but does not state, that Job was wealthy because he lived an upright and blameless life. That is, God blessed Job because he was godly.

But as we progress through the book we see Satan trying to reverse cause and effect. This should come as no surprise since the adversary is always trying to twist the truth, calling up, down and right, wrong. Here he claims Job is only living a righteous life because of the blessings God has given him. Take those away, Satan said, and Job would curse God.

If you ask me, it's pretty dumb to wager with an omnipotent being, but the enemy has enough hubris to do just that. Nevertheless, Satan probably formed his assumptions about Job's faithfulness to God based on centuries of human examples.

 

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Yes, the Wealthy Can Be Godly. Here's What It Takes.

 Lessons from one of the richest men of the Bible.


The book of Job is underrated.

While other passages and tomes get all the love, Job offers poignant and practical lessons regarding some of the most existential questions humans face. These lessons are myriad: faithfulness, suffering, evil, God's silence, integrity, holiness, justice, and more.

An important lesson we see right in the beginning is one that was not even a question for the book's original audience: the congruence of wealth and godliness.

As we read the first few verses of the book of Job, the narrative describes Job as both "blameless and upright" (1:1) and wealthy. In fact the passage describes Job as the wealthiest man of the east. (Such a designation probably means east of the Jordan river.)

In the ancient near east way of thinking, these two statuses should co-exist. Riches and honor result from integrity and faithfulness to God. Although the passage details no causal relationship between Job's godliness and his wealth, ancient minds would have read as much into the story. Whether or not such an inference is justifiable is up to interpretation.

Nevertheless, today we (and I mean culture in general) often villainize or look down upon the wealthy. We assume that they are greedy or unethical and love to take advantage of others.

Where do we get such notions?

The Sin of Complacency

  A preview of June's email-only article.


Nikola Jovanovic


Every month I publish an exclusive articles for my email subscribers. (If you'd like to join the list, fill out the form below.)

In this month's subscriber email we're examining the foolishness of complacency.

Here's how the article starts:

Have you ever noticed that people get the most spiritual when faced with some kind of tragedy? 

When once they couldn't be bothered to say a prayer, suddenly they find themselves on their knees every day.

While I do spend quiet time with God every day, I'm not immune to this phenomenon either. I find that my prayers are more pointed--more focused--when I'm dealing with some type of stressor or pressing issue in my life.

Part of this is natural, no doubt. When times get rough, the best thing we can do is turn to our maker for guidance and deliverance.

Nevertheless there is danger in operating one's life in this manner. The best time to prepare for a famine is when food is plentiful, not when the drought has already come.

Solomon touched on this phenomenon in Proverbs 1.

 

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