The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Some Wonderful Reads on God's Love for Us

One of the wonderful things about preparing a sermon is doing the research! (That sentence alone tells you a lot about me and my attitudes ...) I get to spend a lot of time with some wonderful, deep thinkers who have written some really impressive literature on a wide variety of topics. Here are a few books that will give you some wonderful insights into just how much you are loved by God. See for yourself:

Let's cover the obvious source first so no one can accuse me of leaving it out:

The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV): the 66 book library that speaks consistently throughout of God's love for us all ... and I do mean to be inclusive here! If you like research there are plenty of reference notes and explanations of each book to keep you happy.
Luke 15:1-10
 15Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
3 So he told them this parable: 4‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.
8 ‘Or what woman having ten silver coins,* if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’
Now on to a variety of other books on the topic ...

Life of the Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen:
The unfathomable mystery of God is that God is a Lover who wants to be loved. The one who created us is waiting for our response to the love that gave us our being. God not only says: "You are my Beloved." God also asks: "Do you love me?" and offers us countless chances to say "Yes." (p. 133)
Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love by Laura A. Smit.
Because God is love, you can know that he loves you. The children's songs are right. "Jesus loves me, this I know." You need not doubt that you are loved completely by the very one who most deserves your love. (p. 28) 
To Love as God Loves: Conversations with the Early Church by Roberta C. Bondi.
[The early monastics] also expected all sorts of people to be real sources of grace [defined here as help from God in seeing and knowing the world, i.e., a sign of God's love] , too. There are touching stories of monks (unfortunately women would never have been encouraged to encounter a wide range of people) learning important lessons from even pagan priests. As for us, we often miss such opportunities because we dismiss quickly people who are not like us, or who make us socially uncomfortable. (p. 38)
Let's not leave Jesus out of the mix here:

Finding Faith: Life-changing Encounters with Christ by Sharon Gallagher. A series of collected stories of encounters with Jesus by a number of persons but historic and present day. From "The Panther" by Amy Sullivan:
Sometimes I could feel this presence, like a panther, a black panther, watching me and following me. It was definitely something good and definitely something persistent. I literally felt followed by Christ. (p. 131) And: God has set everything right between him and me. Scripture reassures us that no one who trusts God with heart and soul will ever regret it. It's the same for us all; God will act in the same incredibly generous way to anyone who calls out to him for help.
I could go on and on, but my time is up; the clock tells me I've hit the 30 minute mark and must stop. Enjoy the reading. I hope you find it both uplifting and challenging.

For more on this topic, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2013/07/good-news-from-christianity-powerful.html

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