Tuesday, February 28, 2012


“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV 1984).

Not too many decades ago I was rock climbing with my son and his friend in Colorado. Halfway up a steep ledge, we stepped into an amazing panorama with the valley below and the snow covered peaks beyond it. My son’s friend handed me his camera to take the picture. When I was handing it back, he missed the handoff and I watched the camera bounce down the rock face and over the ledge, out of view. After a moment of silence, all of us shocked by the event, we heard from far below, “It’s toast!”

There are lots of uses for the word TOAST in our lives: “toast the honoree, that’s toast, eat toast, toast the marshmallow….” But TOAST to me is an acronym.

The older I become, the more I seem to seek the basics of my faith--- the profound simplicities on the far side of a complex life.

One of the basics I desperately seek is to understand what it means to love God. When I look at the way we modern folk think of love, it seems we speak mostly of emotions. When I look at the way God shows His love for us in the Bible, it is almost always in action. Perhaps He wishes me to love Him in the same way---and so the acronym TOAST---the basics of loving God.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24, NIV 1984). “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” (Matthew 6:31, NIV 1984).
“This is love for God: to obey his commands…” (1 John 5:3, NIV 1984). “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’” (Acts 5:29, NIV 1984).

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4, ESV). “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31, ESV).

“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’” (Luke 9:23, ESV). “But now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22, NIV 1984).

“Let him give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men” (Psalm 107:8, NIV 1984). “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV 1984).

Dear Father,
Let me love you more.

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