Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘love’

Bah Humbug!

Sometimes I feel like Scrooge – old, alone, and unloved – only without the money! (Heck, if I had the money, I wouldn’t be feeling like this, because I could be doing whatever I wanted for Christmas, including going to see my children and grandchildren!)

But maybe I’d still feel this way. After all, I still don’t have anyone to buy me a Christmas present.



It’s really hard to be alone in the winter. The nights get so long, and there’s no point going to bed, because then you’ll wake up in the dark and the COLD!!! TV is such a waste of time that mine isn’t even set up. The light isn’t good enough to sew or crochet (leastways that’s what my old eyes tell me), and I don’t buy better bulbs because of the increased electric bill they’d cause. So I read. But even reading can get boring when dark starts at 5 PM.

With no one to talk to, or play Scrabble with, or even fight and make up with, I can understand how Scrooge gradually began to turn away from everyone. Oh, sure, Mr. Dickens makes it clear that old Ebenezer made his choices because he loved money. And I can’t claim that motive (like I said, I’d be visiting family right now, if I had money). But alone is alone. And after a while, it begins to do things to you.

After a while, you begin to feel that no one loves you, has ever loved you.

After a while, you feel that there is something wrong with you, that makes you unlovable.

After a while, you realize you better find a reason to live, or you’ll die of the loneliness.

Scrooge found his reason in the clink of gold coins.

Others find it in drugs or alcohol. Or in something more innocuous, like a TV show, or a computer game, or a pet (or sixteen. There’s a reason why that old lady has so many cats), or food, or …

But you know, no matter what we try to use to fill the loneliness, to give us a reason for living, nothing works as well as being loved. We need to be loved by God, but we also need to be loved by at least one other human. He didn’t create us to be alone, even to be alone with Him. We need other humans. Of course, being loved by another human is not enough by itself, either. We need to be loved by God, too. We need both.

Knowing that I am loved by God keeps me from sliding into depression, when winter closes in on me. But around the holidays, it’s a bit harder. And for those who don’t know Him … well, they say that Christmas time has one of the highest suicide rates of the year.



So the next time you see that person who lives alone, or that single mom or dad, invite them over for an evening, give them a Christmas card, or maybe even a gift!

After all, everyone deserves a Christmas present – God thought so, He gave us the very first one.

Read Full Post »

God is good?

How many of us really believe that – that God is good? Oh, sure, we say it, but do we really believe it? I’ve heard a lot of sermons over the years that made it clear that the one giving the sermon didn’t believe it at all!



God so loved the world’ – we say it all the time, even use that verse to ‘get people saved’.

But do we believe it? Really???

Another verse says God is love (I John 4:8).

How many of us really believe that?



You know, if God isn’t good, if He isn’t love, what are we doing in church? Why are we trying to follow Him?

Let’s stop going! Let’s stop giving Him all that time and attention and money!

Let’s just go once or twice a year for ‘makeup’ worship, and then get on with our lives!

You don’t think that’ll work? Why not? It worked for the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Babylonians. Annual or monthly visits to the appropriate temple with an offering, and you’re good ‘til next month/year.

Easy-peasy!

Yeah, if God isn’t good, if He isn’t love, let’s go back to that kind of religion.



But if He is good?

If He is love?

Then, the only appropriate response is to love Him back!

The only thing you can do with a Good God who loves you, is to be with Him as much as you can!

To spend time just talking with Him.

To go by His side on whatever path He feels like traveling today.

To receive whatever gift He is giving you now (and there’ll be a lot of them, ‘cause that’s how love is.)

To reach out in love to those He is reaching out to.



I rarely dare people, as I think that’s stupid, but I’m gonna do it now –

I dare you to take I Cor. 13 – the love chapter – and put ‘God’ in place of ‘love’, and read it out loud. And listen! You may be surprised at how that changes your view of God.



May you be blessed with knowing Him who loves us on an increasingly intimate level, all the days of your life.

Read Full Post »

How many of us really believe that is true?

Do you believe that God is good?

Really?

Down in the bottom of your heart, isn’t there a part that believes that He is only good as long as you do what He wants?

Or He is only good to certain (perfect/blond/tall/skinny/smart/ordained/etc) people?

Or maybe that dark corner harbors the belief that God isn’t good at all, but because He is the big, powerful Creator, we better obey His rules.

We all were born into satan’s kingdom, into his brainwashing, which constantly tells us that God isn’t really good, He can’t be trusted, and He withholds the really good stuff from us.

Same lie he’s been telling since Eden’s garden, with the same effect – we all struggle to believe in His goodness.

And we can’t trust Him if we don’t believe He is good.



Few of us are aware of how deep this foundational lie runs, or how thoroughly it’s entwined into the very fabric of our psyches.

We just run from God at every opportunity, rejecting everything about Him.

Even when Holy Spirit reveals God’s love for us and His desire to have a relationship with us, and we accept Him into our lives, we can still believe this lie.

So we put ourselves into the chains of religion – all those ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ we are told are His will for His children.

Or we continue to hide from Him in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds, while outwardly ‘following Him’.

Or both. Or more. There are so many ways we live out our belief that He can’t be trusted.



What we believe about the goodness of God, whether He can be trusted or not, has a direct influence on what we believe about all the facets of our lives.

Only Holy Spirit can show you what you really believe, and what the truth really is. But it’s interesting to ask a few questions.

For instance, if you are having a problem with a coworker or family member, who do you talk to about it? Do you talk to God, or to someone (anyone) else?

What about when you are having a really good time on vacation – do you share your joy with God? Or do you hide it, feeling like maybe He’d be angry that you were having fun?

And then there’s the question of money – do you believe God wants you to have any?

Love – what about that? Do you think God wants you to have a good marriage?

And life – do you believe God wants you to have an abundant life, or a life of pain and suffering?

Our lack of belief in the goodness of God, combined with our feelings of unworthiness, keep us locked in to satan’s bondage. And create more and stronger bondage as time goes on, unless and until Holy Spirit begins to reveal Truth to us.

It is only as we begin to see that He is good, that we begin to trust Him enough to really have the kind of relationship with Him that He desires. A relationship that gives us peace and joy.



May Holy Spirit reveal to you the truth about God’s character, His love for you, and His desire for your good.

May every lie be broken that keeps you from believing His Truth and trusting in His goodness.

And may your relationship with Him grow deeper and broader the more you trust Him.

Read Full Post »

I’m sure most people are familiar with the story in Genesis 3, where our enemy deceives Eve, causing the fall of mankind. (If you’re not, take a few minutes and go read it.)

If you look closely at the conversation between Eve and the serpent (satan), you will see that every lie that any human has ever believed is contained in those three sentences the serpent spoke.



Here’s satan’s part of the conversation:

Verse 1 — “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the garden’?”

Verse 4, 5 – “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

First, he questions God’s words, then His goodness and His integrity. Our enemy tells Eve (and Adam) that God has withheld something good from them, because He doesn’t want them to be like Him. They are not worthy, in God’s eyes, he implies, to be equals; otherwise, He would have been honest with them about the consequences of eating the fruit. And finally, he presents the fruit to them as the solution to this problem.

So here’s the first lie – God can’t be trusted!

Second lie – God finds you unworthy.

Lie three – the way to solve this problem is to fix it yourself!



Over and over again, down through all the centuries, the enemy speaks the same lies to mankind. They may be said in different words, but they have the same effect.

When we believe that God can’t be trusted, we avoid Him. Even His children will hide from their Father (just as Adam and Eve did), when we believe that He is not good. So we avoid listening to the quiet nudgings of Holy Spirit; we avoid reading the Bible or praying, because we are afraid of what He will say to us. We don’t trust Him.

When we believe we are not worthy, we look elsewhere for something to give us value. Sports, college degrees, money, love, acclaim for some thing or another, drugs, alcohol, sex – the list is endless. But none of it brings us the worth that only our Father God can bestow. Even in churches, we find people striving to achieve worth – teaching Sunday School, serving as an usher, giving to missions, whatever. It’s an unending cycle of work to earn acceptance.

Because we ALL believe the third lie – the solution lies in my own hands. I am the only one who can fix the issue. God can’t, or won’t. Sure, Jesus died to pay for my sins, to give me eternal life, but what I do with that life is all my responsibility. So I must be busily working ‘for the kingdom’. We wear ourselves out on works that we chose for ourselves, rather than seeking those He chooses – those ‘light burdens and easy yokes’. If we’re not exhausted, we feel we’re still not worthy. So we add more ‘good works’ to our load!

UGH!

The net result of Christians believing any or all of these foundational lies is that we are tired, we are scared, and we feel hopeless.

And all of this is unnecessary!



Because God is good! And He is love! And He can be trusted!

He loves each of us! He chose each of us! And we are worthy in His eyes!

The solution has been perfectly met in Jesus Christ! And we can do nothing to add to it!



Before the foundations of the world, God knew what would happen in this whole creation. He knew that satan would tempt mankind and they would choose to disobey God.

He knew that there was only one solution to sin – a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for all sin for all time.

He knew, and He deliberately set the whole train of events in motion, having already prepared the solution.



When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid for it all, for all time. He defeated satan, and took the keys of death and hell from him. And then He gave all His power over the enemy to us, His body.

I’ll say it again – satan is already defeated! He can do nothing to hurt us. The only power he has is lies. So when he can craft a lie that we believe, he just handed us the first bar for the cage. Every defeat we suffer, every pain we face, every betrayal, every bit of neglect, of abuse, has its roots in some variation of one of those first lies.



May you see clearly who God is, and that He is trustworthy!

May you also see clearly the true value you have in His eyes.

And may you be free from every lie that holds you in bondage to sin, fear, despair, hopelessness, anger, and working to achieve value.

Read Full Post »

While this is the title of my least favorite of Dickens’ works (almost turned me off him completely!), that is not the subject of this post.

What I’m referring to is the expectations we have of ourselves.

If you grew up in church, you probably acquired a long list of rules for ‘good Christian behavior’. Even if you met God as an adult, if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you picked up the same kind of list.

A good Christian reads the Bible every morning, and prays.”

A good Christian always tithes, and gives offerings, too.”

A good Christian turns the other cheek.”

A good Christian obeys everyone in authority.”

A good Christian …”

I could go on indefinitely. The list I had by the time I was a teenager was about ten pages long, single-spaced, in size 8 font! (Is it any wonder our children abandon the church as soon as they can?)



Father God has been working in my life for a long time to get me to see that my list of expectations was not given to me by Him, but by religion.

In fact, the only list He has ever given me (or indeed any of us) is very short – love Him, love others as we love ourselves.

That’s it!! Just those two rules.

And even those are not something He expects me to do on my own. He knows I cannot. The only way I can do anything is to allow His Spirit to do it in and through me.

Left to myself, I either do what I want to do – which is often not good for me or for others – or I do what I ‘should’ do, from that long list of expectations I’ve got for my personal behavior.



It has taken years for me to break the ‘law’ that I must read my Bible and pray every morning. I’m not saying I had to break the habit of doing it, because I never was able to develop the habit! The expectation – the duty – of obeying that law, kept me from doing it! The more I thought about how much I ought to do it, the less able I was to actually do so. (Is this what Paul meant in Romans 7, where he talked about wanting to do what’s right, but being unable to do it? Hmm.) Once I was free of the ‘law’ – my expectation of my behavior – I was able to spend that time with Him freely, eagerly.

Lots of other ‘spiritual’ (actually, religious) laws have gone by the wayside over the years, and even those expectations I had of myself as a wife, a mother, a citizen, a woman. There are many areas of my life where I failed to live up to my expectations of/for myself, but as I give Him all those expectations, He replaces them with His love, forgiveness and grace.



Recently, I ran into ‘expectations’ yet again!

Yet again, I had to take them to Father God, and see what He has to say about them.

And, yet again, He showed me that He has no expectations of me outside of Himself. Everything He expects from me has already been accomplished by Jesus Christ, so all I have to do (and that not by myself, but thru and in Him) is to be in Him. That’s it!

Paul talks about how difficult it is to live the ‘good Christian life’ in the last few verses of Romans 7, but then he goes on to say in the first four verses of chapter 8, that ‘there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus’ because ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free’!!

Free!

Free to live without laws or expectations that I cannot meet.

Free to be and do His will in this life because it is His Spirit living in me!

Free!



In Rom. 6:16, Paul talks about how obeying sin makes us servants of it. Yet, trying to obey the law is also a sin. Yep, you heard me! Romans 7:4, and many other verses throughout scripture (Romans and Galatians, especially), say very plainly that we are not in bondage to the law. So, if I try to obey the law – whether it’s the OT one, or those ‘religious laws’ I picked up as a child in church – I become a servant of that law. I deliberately (if unknowingly) put myself into bondage!

Let me say it again – whenever I start trying to obey expectations, whether mine or someone else’s – I have become a slave to that ‘law’. Yet we are born again into liberty!!

Throughout the New Testament, it is clear that we are to live a life of freedom from sin, the law, death, lack, etc. All that freedom is given to us by His sacrifice, and we sadden Him when we refuse to live in His freedom.

Living with great expectations of ourselves (spiritually or any other way) can bring us just as much disappointment and despair as that stupid story by Dickens.

Let’s give up our expectations and just live free. In Him.



May Father God and His Holy Spirit reveal to you the expectations or laws that you are bound to, that are not from Him.

May you allow His truth to set you free of those, and bring you into the life of liberty in Him that Jesus died and rose again to obtain for you.

And may that life be just as abundant and joyous as He promised!

“The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek for sunshine, and there to find rain. No; it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is the right fruit found on it. Let us so abide in the Lord Jesus.” Hudson Taylor

Read Full Post »

Lack is an open mouth . . .

Greedy, wanting . . .

Never satisfied . . .

Never enough!


An insatiable hunger . . .

An unquenchable thirst . . .

Greedy arms reaching out.

Never enough!


No matter how much it gets . . .

How full its throat . . .

How sated its belly . . .

Never enough!


Not enough’, it screams over and over.

And the heart where it resides

Writhes in torment.

Never enough!


Fear and anger and greed

And pain live in there too.

These are its brothers.

Never enough!


User” . . . “Lazy” . . .

Pig” . . . “Thief”. . .

Those around cry out . . .

Why is it never enough for you?”


But none looks beneath . . .

To see the pain, the fear

The heart in chains to

Never enough!


Oh, but God . . .

Loving Father God . . .

He sees . . . He knows . . .

Why never enough!


He comes . . .

He fills . . .

He loves …

And He is enough!


The chains are broken . . .

The lies destroyed . . .

And the heart can rest,

For He is enough.


Oh, beloved . . .

Come and see . . .

Taste and know . . .

He is enough!


Let Him fill you up . . .

Let Him break the chains . . .

Heal the wounds . . .

Let Him be enough!


He is fullness . . .

Satiation …

Love and trust and joy.

He is enough!


He is enough . . .

I say it again . . .

And again and again . . .

He is enough!



Father God showed me something recently.  Lots of people are talking about the ‘law of prosperity‘, both Christians and not. But if there is a law of prosperity, there must be a corresponding and opposite law.

Which, He showed me, there is – the ‘law of lack’.

This is a law we’ve lived under since the Fall. “There isn’t enough … food/money/time/love” … you fill in the blanks. And it’s a LIE!!! There is enough, and more than enough, of EVERYTHING!

God is, among other things, the Creator of abundance. Nothing He made is skimpy. Insects, though the smallest creatures on the planet, are the most numerous. There are more of them than of all the other life forms put together. Abundance!

How about the sheer variety of creatures on this planet? Or the gazillions of stars in our universe? Just for this one little planet, so us tiny little humans could look up at night and wonder! Abundance!

Now, I’m not saying we should all run out and start wasting time, resources, money, love. We should be wise stewards. But what we are doing right now – hoarding those things, doling them out reluctantly and piecemeal – is an affront to the Creator of abundance. It’s calling Him a liar!

Part of our attitude springs from the realization that some resources are not renewable. So we’ve made changes: don’t clear-cut the whole forest; replant, so the next generation will have some; use water and finite resources responsibly.

Good! We’ve learned to be good stewards.

But we’ve gone too far, if we live like there’s not enough of whatever for us personally.

* * *

Make no mistake! The law you believe in will work in your life. Romans 6:16 says, “to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are”. As long as we believe and live under the law of lack, we will have lack in our lives, and it will rule us! Uck!!! (The New KJV says slaves, instead of servants. Ain’t that the truth! Then there’s the sowing and reaping thing – Gal. 6:8 just took on a whole new meaning!)

Borrowing on credit is living in the law of lack.  Buying used can be, it depends on your attitude. Are you buying used out of fear of not having enough money for something else? Are you settling for less, because you don’t believe you deserve better?

Or are you buying used because there is no need to be as wasteful as most Americans are, or to lose half the value of that new car once you drive it off the lot? (The last can still be a wrong attitude, if you value the value of something more than its usefulness.)

Which brings up another way to live under the law of lack: buying the best, or a certain brand, because that proves your worth, either personally or financially. That’s still lack mentality. It’s trying to compensate for a belief in your lack of personal worth.

This covers so many areas of our lives! Money, yes, big time! But also love, respect, acceptance, even time. Yeah, I know, you can’t turn back the clock, yet on two different occasions in the OT, God did just that!

* * *

So, do I know I have abundance of time, money, love, acceptance, respect, forgiveness? Or do I believe I must ration or fight for these things?

Jesus Himself said (in John 10:10) that He came to give us abundant life!

I repeat, I’m not advocating wasting time or money or love. We need to be responsible. And some of us will be asked by our Father’s call on our lives to do without certain things. (A missionary to the cardboard villages in the town dump somewhere in Mexico probably should not drive a Rolls to get there.) But that should be a voluntary, joyful choice we make out of love for Him and those we are sent to help (II Cor. 9:7). If we live in lack out of fear or unbelief, we are not living the abundant life He died to give us. Rather, we are living under satan’s laws.

* * *

When the children of the kingdom finally get this, look out! There will be no lack in the King’s house, and every plan He has will go forward unimpeded by financial issues! This is the real secret! You can’t talk about the Law Of Prosperity, until people understand that they live under the Law Of Lack.  We can begin to truly live under the law of the Spirit of (abundant) life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2, John 10:10) only when we stop living under the law of lack.

This is the underlying truth that allows us to live a giving life; to be just like our Father in heaven (see Matt. 5:45).

* * *

May you reject the Law Of Lack, and all its lies and works and wrong beliefs.

May Father God teach you to live in His abundance!

And may He show you how to be a good steward without slipping back into believing in lack.

“When you’re dealing with the infinite, you can never take more than your share.” (quote by somebody named Thubbard, I think.)


Read Full Post »

Sounds so spiritual, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s been so ‘spiritual’ for so long, that it didn’t seem very real to me. (Father’s love is very real to me, though.)

But lately, I’ve been contemplating the love that Jesus has for me, and I’m overwhelmed by it!

I have been seeing His love not just in the spiritual sense, but also the human one. After all, Jesus Christ was 100% man and 100% God.  Bringing it down to the human level makes it more real.

When I think of His very human reaction to what He was facing on the cross (and before it, too), it blows me away!

He loved me so much He was willing to suffer like that for the joy of having me as a friend, brother, part of His body and His bride!

* * *

And He loved You that much, too.

Can you feel the intense, even fierce, love He has for you?

He took a beating that often killed men, to give you healing!

He accepted shame when they stripped Him naked and hung Him on the cross for all to see. And He did it because He loves you too much to let you be imprisoned by shame.

He paid the penalty for every sin you will ever commit in your entire life, taking all the guilt and condemnation, so you can be free!

He fought satan himself for you!

This very human God, this God inside a man, loves you so much He even accepted being separated from His Father as He became your sin! Imagine being separated from the other parts of yourself like that – God has been three-in-one from before eternity existed – yet Jesus Christ was cut off from that relationship because He loved you so much!

When I contemplate this fierce lover, I am so in awe that I can only weep, and fall at His feet to offer Him my puny love in return.

* * *

May you be blessed with fresh revelation of the love of our Father, the love of our Savior, the love of our Bridegroom, and any facet you need a revelation of His love  in.

We love Him because He first loved us.  I John 4:19

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »