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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.


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About MikeDerksen

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  1. MikeDerksen

    Cancer and Mortality

    Hi Guppy, Thanks. Very sorry about your mom. I'm kind of hopeful to hear about your wife. Cancer doesn't mean you're going to die. But taking it too lightly is definitely not good either. I heard about CancerTutor from a friend but never checked it out. Thanks. Will do now. Thanks for your prayers. God bless, Mike
  2. MikeDerksen

    Trump Followers

    Good morning Randy. So many Americans were in Germany back then. The street around our town was built by them. The barracks were further down a few towns and they didn't want to ruin the street in town with their tanks, so they built a highway around the town. In the 90's I think all the Americans left, at least in our area. The barracks house immigrants now I believe, or the socially disadvantaged. I prefer living in the U.S. Germany is too "organized" for me. Everything is "perfect". If you grow up there of course you don't notice, but if you return you wonder why everything is so controlled. At least it feels like that to me now. - It's a beautiful country though. Where I'm from, north of the Black Forest, it looks like Ohio or Pennsylvania. Much industry, too. Pretty rich area. Not much unemployment. Cars, machines, etc. The North, the coal mines, they're not doing too well these days. Was very different when they were still used a lot. All the life was up there. Only been to Austria once, as a kid. Awesome! The mountains! Fresh air so beautiful. Ja, ja, deutsch ist nicht so einfach. Englisch faellt mir leicht. (German is not that easy... I'm told. I'm good with English though.) God bless, Mike
  3. MikeDerksen

    The Word of God

    What can I say? I just read morning scripture and I feel so utterly privileged. Wow! I have access to the Word of God! The whole Word of God! Not just a page or a part, no, I have a full Bible here! Nothing new of course. I had a Bible for a long time. I can buy it anywhere. Even very, very cheap. But today it feels awesome. Not everybody, at least not everywhere, has that privilege. Some people might just own a page. A page they read over and over again. Dirty, crumbled up, hidden away so they won't get into trouble, possibly being hurt, tortured, imprisoned, or even killed for possessing it. And that page, it says nothing new. Nothing fancy. The reader probably knows it by heart, every comma, because he read it so often. But it speaks new every day. It's alive. It's sharp too. It's not human words. It's God's Word. This morning this somehow came over me. Wow. Btw, I was reading Deuteronomy 34:1-12. The end of the Torah. It's today's daily reading of the Catholic Church. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081617.cfm
  4. MikeDerksen

    Trump Followers

    Good morning. - I'm not very into current politics right now. Too much other stuff in my head. But the Nazis are always on my mind. I was born and raised in Germany. It's true, the Nazis have nothing to say or stand on. Their philosophy is pure evil. White supremacy, "Christian" values, anti-Semitism, etc. Sometimes I'm surprised about movements in the U.S., as some of them would be outright forbidden in Germany. (They do not have freedom of expression there as it is here. The Nazi and the Communist parties are not allowed there. Only modified platforms. You cannot fly the swastika either. Gets you sent to jail.) - I find this very interesting, this difference. I remember seeing a movie in which, based on a true story, a Jewish ACLU lawyer defended Nazis to their American right for freedom of speech. They won and could demonstrate. I found that to be a powerful message. Like I said, I'm not too informed on current issues, but I know in Germany they have the right getting louder as well. Question is: Are this Nazis? The left seems to be getting lefter and lefter, and sometimes so tangled up in their viewpoints and opinions they make no sense anymore. I'm not right or left. I'm conservative, but I can be pretty libertarian and liberal on certain issues. But what I wanted to say, at least in Germany, the many immigrants make some people nervous. That's not xenophobia or racism. It's just too many for the population and the size. Does not apply to America I think because it's all set up differently and "melting" is part of being American. In Europe there is no real melting. Cultures keep separate for a big part. Good or bad I don't know. That's just the way it is. I would never demonstrate in favor of keeping immigrants out or Muslims or whatever. I work next to a mosque and had a great conversation with the imam there, too. Long time ago, but he really took time to listen and explain things I was interested in. (He teaches at a university in North Carolina now I think. Possibly back in Egypt.) But one has to understand why people do that. It's not hatred. It's concern for their values being overrun and stuff forced upon them they don't want. I think they have a right to that. Violence, however, is never a right, no matter from whom it comes. Following Trump blindly just because he knows what people want to hear says more about the followers than about Trump. But it says even more about us as Americans. (I am an American citizen. German passport gone.) Would be a nice ground these days to present a new kind of philosophy on the book shelves. One that evaluates our history, values, why and how, where we're going or not going. It might be time. - Makes me think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth, too. The Barmen Declaration. Powerful confession right into the face of Hitler. Barth, as Swiss, lived long. Bonhoeffer of course was later executed. Sorry I have no further opinion on just about the current situation, and I'm definitely not a book of wisdom to spill out tidbits of grandeur, but speaking philosophically, we got some interesting things to think and talk about in this country. Think and talk. Debate and argue about. Formulate and have real discussions based on reasoning with clear heads. Screaming and throwing things ain't helping much. Well, it seems to in Turkish and Eastern European parliaments, LOL. Maybe Congress should take boxing lessons to keep it off the streets and show people they care. Just my 50 cents. 45 cents. Have a great day everybody. God bless, Mike
  5. MikeDerksen

    Cancer and Mortality

    Hi William, good morning. Thanks. - I wasn't sure if it's okay to post this here, about cancer I mean. It's not a cancer forum. I'm glad it was okay. Too many musings in this little brain of mine these days :) I'm happy if it brings something good. Have a great day! Mike
  6. MikeDerksen

    Cancer and Mortality

    Good evening everybody. Everybody reading this I mean. Hello to others as well, but you probably won't hear it. It's late, I'm tired, my mind is everywhere and nowhere and I hope I make at least a little sense. I'm just gonna write something. If it's not good, just ignore it or delete it from the forum. I hope I say nothing wrong. I think I'm gonna be alive for a while, I'm pretty stubborn and don't just wither, which really has kept me going thus far I suppose; but I am thinking about death quite a bit these days. (Oh, btw, in case I forgot, I have stage iv NSCLC with mets to the brain. Just finished radiation, but more needs to be done.) - And don't misunderstand, I'm not afraid to die. If anything, cancer gave me life. It did not take away anything. I'm quite happy and thankful actually. But that does not negate having thoughts about death a lot. I thought about mortality before being diagnosed, too, and I think the Bible actually wants you to "number your days" (Psalm 90:12); but it's different thoughts now, and they change a lot. Your perspective changes quite a bit. I mean, given I'm doing all the right things it should not happen, but there's a real possibility I just pop in a second. I have brain tumors that might constrict something, press on something, out of the blue. I'm not allowed to drive anymore. Too dangerous. The radiation, I'm pretty, pretty sure has that controlled now. But how do I know? I feel good. No pain. But feeling good doesn't mean you are good internally. That beast could be growing. The one in my lungs. The brain is "just" metastases. - I do a treatment that is not FDA approved. It's a shot once a week. It seems to be working, but I won't know until October. If it's not working I could have screwed up my success rate for palliative chemo therapy. Wait too long and bad it could be. So many things to consider, to research, to think about, to wonder about. Good thing I love to think. Good thing my work is okay with everything. I'm not working right now and "taking care of myself". Not that I would be very productive anyway. I'm pretty weak, dizzy sometimes, tired, headaches. I can sit on the computer well. Think. Think thoughts not requiring energy. Just don't move. What did I wanna say here actually? I'm not sure. Just sharing, or babbling, or whatever thou might call it. Maybe someone else on here has cancer, had cancer, or has some input on "deadly thoughts". I'm not depressed by the way. At least I don't think so. I'm just melancholic by nature and so these thoughts might come naturally to me. But they are interesting. All the stuff going through your head when you think that you might not be around much longer. Gives a different perspective on things. Like: Oh, goodness, I'm not all that unique. I'm just, really just exactly just like everybody else. Nothing special. There's a real freedom in that. Really. Takes a load off you. Or to be real. Really real. If you're really real you mess up, too. Make mistakes. Have to say I'm sorry. But you can deal with it. Really deal with it. It can be fixed, settled, done, etc. Can't do that if you're wearing a mask or are fake and phony. All self-lies, things you tell yourself, they don't help. The distance between "you and you" has disappeared when you're real. I'm reading a lot, thinking a lot, researching a lot, and I feel blessed to have that grace of being able to do it. I almost feel like I'm on a retreat. Strange retreat but still. - I was raised with a certain worldview. It applies to both capitalists and communists: Be productive. If you're not productive you feel kind of worthless. It's a wrong worldview, I know, but it's in me, no matter how often I tried to shake it off. To not "do" anything feels terrible. But I think I must learn that this really is life. Life is not prescribed, and certainly not by human ideas. I must be me. Not some idea. "Be" me. And be "me". Weird? Anyway. I think I'm babbling now. Thanks for listening. Have a great evening. I'm going to bed soon. God bless. Mike
  7. MikeDerksen

    Honest Thinkers

    Hello everybody. I just finished reading a tiny book called "Mortality" by Christopher Hitchens. It contains a few chapters he wrote while in hospital for his cancer treatment and concludes when he passed. The Afterword is written by his wife. I enjoyed the book very much, as I did most of Mr. Hitchens' writing. I read quite a bit from him, be that through Vanity Fair or books or other avenues. Having been an atheist, no, pardon, anti-theist, I'm guessing not too many Christians particularly liked him. I did very much. He seemed extremely honest to me, especially concerning thinking and reaching conclusions. He seemed to not have a particular agenda as he got into it with everybody, politically speaking most certainly. Whatever he deemed right he said, offend people or not. I found that so refreshing. After reading the book I got another glimpse, like what he was like in private. A good friend, even to people he did not agree with, like Francis Collins, the Evangelical scientist who ran the Human Genome project, and a funny, lively person in general. I'm saddened he passed away. Anything more I cannot say. Things belong to God and not my musings. (Romans 10:6 ff) What do you think of Mr. Hitchens? He made some strong points on things. To simply ignore them is fine when not suited for such discussions, but an honest objection always deserves an honest answer. I think he misunderstood (not misrepresented) Christian thought at times, hence reaching certain conclusions, but concerning religion in general, apocalyptic fanaticism and things, he had something to stand on. Any thoughts? God bless, Mike
  8. MikeDerksen

    Faulty Logic

    Scientists trained a frog to jump after yelling "Jump" to get him to move forward. The frog jumped happily. They cut off a leg and yelled "Jump". The frog jumped, not so happily. They cut off another leg and yelled "Jump". The frog still tried to jump. They cut off the third leg and yelled "Jump". The frog struggled but moved and tried to jump as best possible. They cut off the fourth leg and yelled "Jump". The frog didn't move. Conclusion: Cutting off a frog's legs makes them deaf.
  9. MikeDerksen

    Do You Believe in Pre-Existence of the Soul?

    That's a nice question. No idea. I've heard this talked about before somewhere. (Not on here.) Since I don't have a memory of it, I believe I "started existing" at conception. No prior soul existence. Since Jeremiah is talking about what God knew, it could mean that God just knew. Not necessarily that the being he knew already existed. It's a nice topic to wonder about, but I think making a doctrine with it would be wrong.
  10. Hello everybody. I hope you're all doing well. I'm still new to this forum and haven't really interacted much yet, but now that I'm taking a bigger look... wow! So many topics and sections, I could be on here reading and responding all day long. LOL Before I choose something on here to add my 50 cents, and there's a lot of interesting issues being debated for sure, I wanted to ask you all about some input in regard to your specific (or not so specific) Christian tradition, heritage, denomination, etc. - What do you love most about your church? What makes you want to belong to your church? Why this church and not another? I love our Christian traditions. Almost all of them. They all have their own beauty and history. Visiting places and checking out especially historic churches, learn about their history for example... that gets me excited. I love church history and ecclesiology. Well, before I write a novel, and pardon me as I can go on and on, as my profile says, I'm attending a Presbyterian church. I'm attending this church because it is Reformed, i.e. Calvinist, because it is Confessional (Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms), and because it has a liturgy for the Worship Service. This is important to me. But I did not grow up Presbyterian. I grew up Roman Catholic and became a Christian in a Pentecostal (Assemblies of God) church. I love all three traditions still. What about you? Thanks for your input. God bless, Mike
  11. MikeDerksen


    I have a question. I hope Devotionals would be the fitting thread for this, as I'm looking for Devotional advice. I'm using several Devotionals for several different reasons and at several different times, but I'm looking for an actual, daily liturgy that can be adopted for private use. I've heard the old, funny, grouchy preacher-teacher Steve Brown talk about using the liturgy of the Church of Scotland but was not able to find it. Any ideas? Doesn't have to be Scotch Presbyterian, but I do appreciate Reformed theology.
  12. MikeDerksen

    Your favorite Author

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
  13. MikeDerksen

    How often do you celebrate the Lord's Supper?

    It's scheduled. Not too often. I like that. It's something special, not something you just do and move on to the next time. You prepare to receive the Lord's Supper. It's the most wonderful services there are.
  14. MikeDerksen

    Hello from Florida

    Hi Guppy. Nice to meet a fellow Floridian. Where do you live? I'm in Coral Springs, northwest of Fort Lauderdale.
  15. MikeDerksen

    Hello from South Florida

    Thanks. I'm actually feeling pretty good. I have a lot of things to do and take care of, but I'm not viewing it too badly. Have a nice weekend. Mike

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