Posts Tagged ‘love of God’

Friendship

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 by Diane Chandler

I’m reminded of the power of healthy friendships and how they infuse life into our discouraged hearts.  With friends, life is invigorated with breath and hopeful in outlook. Without friends, life becomes suffocating, hopeless, and nondescript.  Friendship involves sharing privileged information and is like fuel added to an empty tank.  Friendship is also proven and enriched during times of crisis.  

In his book Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, author Jon Meacham recounts the deep friendship that developed between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.  Interesting, Roosevelt had quite a negative impression of Churchill when they first met twenty-one years earlier.  Roosevelt was running for a state senate position and made a visit to London. He found Churchill brusque.  What brought them together years later as president and prime minister was Adolf Hitler.  However what kept them together was friendship

Throughout WWII, they exchanged nearly 2000 letters, spent over 100 days together, and celebrated holidays with one another.  They encouraged each other in the midst of dark times.  In the last 24 hours of Roosevelt’s life, he penned these words for a speech that he would never deliver: “Today we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships.” [I’ll resist the temptation to discuss the lack of friendship and collegiality, which characterizes the political atmosphere in Congress at present.  However, I do wonder if friendship is one of the missing ingredients in solving our nation’s problems.]

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Rob Bell and Reformed Madness

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 by Dale M. Coulter

When Marc Santom emailed the blog team at Renewal Dynamics about the recent round of comments over Rob Bell’s unreleased book, I thought to myself that it was not worth the effort to respond. I mean, the book has not even been published. Moreover, I tend to think that the entire situation is a tempest in a tea pot. Then I read Kevin DeYoung’s blog… Read the rest of this entry »

The Pain of Premature Death

Sunday, December 12th, 2010 by Diane Chandler

Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010)

Over this past week, two public figures died prematurely.  One had cancer.  The other committed suicide.  Both had to deal with a sense of personal and public shame because of a family member’s misdeeds.

This past Tuesday, December 7th, Elizabeth Edwards passed away one day after her doctors discontinued her cancer treatments. Elizabeth was the ex-wife of John Edwards, former senator of North Carolina, 2004 vice-presidential nominee, and 2008 presidential contender. We know Elizabeth for her courageous battle with breast cancer throughout her husband’s campaigns, her public struggle with her husband’s infidelity and illegitimate child, her advocacy of health issues, and her commitment to her children. At 61 years old, she leaves behind three children, ages 28, 12, and 10. 

Yesterday, December 11th, Mark Madoff, 46-year old son of convicted financier Bernie Madoff, took his own life in his Manhattan apartment, while his 2-year old son slept nearby.  The date marked the two year anniversary of when Mark and his brother went to the authorities after their father confessed to the two decade-long Ponzi scheme.  Mark had e-mailed his wife while she vacationed in Florida with their 4-year old daughter, with a parting message and asking that someone check in on their son.  

Both Edwards and Madoff dealt very differently with a deep and agonizing sense of personal and public shame.  For Edwards, she persevered, holding her head up high and her children together.  For Mark Madoff, he succumbed to shame in bearing the family name associated with his father’s dastardly misdeeds, the endless judgment by association, ongoing lawsuits, and unemployment. 

I grieve the loss of both of their lives. 

C.S. Lewis, Christian apologist & writer

When Christian apologist and author C. S. Lewis lost his wife, Joy Davidman, to bone cancer, he wrote a journal that poignantly dealt with the grief.  This was later published in 1961 as the book A Grief Observed.  His heart wrenching  struggle regarding his deep loss reveals that we can be honest with God about our struggles, uncertainties, anger, and pain.  Can you imagine calling God “a Cosmic Sadist”?  Lewis did.

How do we deal with questions related to personal and family identity, forgiveness, freedom, and issues of life and death?  How does the message of Jesus Christ offer hope in the midst of deep despair, guilt, pain, and loss?  

What are your experiences in ministering and/or receiving the love of God during such times?

Spirituality and Leadership

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 by Diane Chandler

In my blog last week, I addressed how a leader’s background informs his or her adult leadership style.  From the Hebrew Bible, I contrasted David’s secure attachment to God (forged early in his life) with the ongoing anxious attachment style evidenced by Saul.  Saul’s uncontrollable jealousy and rage are ample indications of the insecurity that infiltrated Saul’s life and leadership. 

The contrasting lives of David and Saul become classrooms for understanding leadership and spirituality ~ specifically how their relationship with God informed (or in Saul’s case, did not inform) their leadership.  The contrast could not be more glaring!

As I read the Psalms attributed to David, one prominent observation concerns David’s utter dependence upon God through the leadership trials he encountered.  And he encountered many ~ namely death threats, opposition, criticism, rejection, mutiny, and troubles of his own making, including ethical breaches and moral failures.

What sustained David through these times?

From a careful reading of the Psalms, what sustained David was his dependence upon the love (Heb. hesed) of God. The Psalms attributed to David are replete with thanks to God for his hesed for past deliverance and cries for God’s unfailing love to continue to deliver and restore him.  See Psalms 6, 13, 17, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 31, 36, 40, 51, 52, 57, 60, 61, 63, 96, 70, 86, 101, 103, 108, 138, 143, and 145.  [Also refer to Dale Coulter’s blog of May 14th, which assessed translations of hesed.]  

David learned how to bed himself in the palm of God’s unfailing love as an automatic default when in crisis. 

Although difficult to translate into English, the meaning of hesed has been shown to connect with God’s covenantal relationship to those who “belong to him” (Claus Westermann, Praise and Lament in the Psalms, 1981, pp. 120-21).  In his book Hesed in the Bible, Nelson Glueck further defines hesed: “To him [David], for whom communion with God is the greatest good, God’s hesed, His love for His followers, is comparable to God’s goodness” (1975, p. 95). Gordon R. Clark notes that hesed includes grace, mercy, compassion, faithfulness, reliability, confidence, and love; yet is much broader than any of these combined (The Word Hesed in the Hebrew Bible, 1993, pp. 267-68).

David’s spirituality informed his leadership with all of its successes and failures because his automatic reflex was to cast himself upon the hesed of God. Saul evidences little to none of this kind of dependence upon or trust in God’s mercy and loving-kindness.

Often when leadership trials come, we might conclude that God is not with us.  Yet David’s spiritual default to leadership crises was to dive headlong into God’s presence, crying out for his loving kindness.  He pressed in boldly.  How can our spirituality inform our leadership with this kind of trust?