Every day we are able to see evidence of God around us. We see the work of His hands in what He has created: our friends, our family, our pets. We see His power when we witness people suffering, yet who find their strength in Him. How have I seen Him this week? I was reminded of His faithfulness as I listened to a wounded friend confide that God would be The One – the only One she would lean on through her pain. I was reminded of what happens when God’s love captures someone’s heart, as I watched one of His faithful followers spend time and energy aligning each chair in our church sanctuary perfectly, in order to glorify Him. And I heard about Him in a song this morning called, “Reckless Love,” by Cory Asbury (see below). It conveys so well the kind of love God has for us. As the song says, “Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me…You have been so, so kind to me.”
“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.” – 1 John 4:9-10, 16
We can feel free to bring our troubles, anger, frustration, and sadness to God, and we can be assured that He will listen to our every thought and word. His heart is moved by the things that carve valleys of pain through our souls. He is there when we weep. He is there when we ask why. His understanding and mercy toward us are considerable, and what makes Him great is that they are also considerable toward those we call our enemies. Can we be okay with that? Maybe we can. Maybe we can let it bring us a sense of comfort, knowing that God offers the same grace to all.
“Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” – Isaiah 30:18
Did God give us the sun
to remind us of Him
To show us what we’re in for
when earth’s light starts to dim?
“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” – Psalm 8:9
In the past, I have gone to God with anxieties and did not come away from the experience with the peace that I was hoping for. Instead, my tears seemed to be met with silence. I was confused and frustrated as to why it seemed God was not responding. I realize now that in those situations, although it is always a good thing to want to hear from God, it is just as important to turn and hold fast to the truths He has already spoken (and is speaking), through the Bible. Those truths are just for those times.
“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ ” – Isaiah 41:13
When someone is good to you, you want to share it with others. When they are kind, patient, understanding and self-sacrificing on your behalf, you want to give back somehow. When someone has extended mercy and forgiveness to you and has pursued you even though you felt you were not worth pursuing, you want to express thanks. And my way of thanking God is to tell others about Him. To share with others that He is good, patient, forgiving, humble, and a seeker after them. When Jesus left this earth to go back to His Father, He told his disciples to tell others about Him. To let others know that they could come to Him if they wanted to have a life with He and the Father. Both here and now, and forever. When I think about Christmas, I think of all of the fun things that our culture does to celebrate the season – the lights, the Christmas trees, the gift giving, but there’s this quiet voice in my heart that keeps reminding me that Jesus was the greatest gift ever given, and that Christmas is about Him being all we need when entering a relationship with God. We don’t need to make special sacrifices (Jesus did that), we don’t need to put on special garments (Jesus is that), and we don’t need to be perfect (Jesus was that). All we need to do is invite Jesus into our hearts and lives. I was lost before He became a part of my life. I was searching, but I didn’t realize I was searching. And even though I wasn’t looking in His direction, He gently knocked on the door of my heart and drew me to Him. There is nothing I can do to repay God for what He has done, but I can tell others that God is hope, and He can fill your heart with it. That’s not to say that life will be perfect, Jesus told us that life would not be without struggles, but He will never abandon us in those struggles. It is a Merry Christmas, and it’s all because of Jesus.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2:8-14
“While many are busy trying to set forth satisfactory definitions of the word faith, we do well to simply consider that believing is directing the heart’s attention to Jesus!”
– A.W. Tozer
Lately, I’ve been finding myself sitting at my computer in front of the window at just the right time of day to enjoy twilight. Glowing patterns are created across the sky, and the sounds of the day lessen until I can hear the water fountain running, from across the street. The muffled sound of a plane flying in the distance reminds me of how big the world is, and at the same time I notice how easily palm branches move in the wind…they don’t fight it. Then, a single bird chirps, as if he is the last of his fleet to find out that the day is coming to a close. Twilight is a gift, when the quieting of the day draws my attention not only to the wonderful things that have been made, but to the One Who so kindly made them.
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You
created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
What is love? To me, love is Jesus forgiving Peter for denying that he knew Him. Love is Jesus inviting Matthew, an unpopular tax collector, to follow Him, learn from Him, and to be His friend. Love is Jesus washing His friends’ feet. Love is Jesus multiplying loaves of bread for the hungry masses. Love is Jesus asking His Father to forgive His persecutors at the same time that He was suffering. Love is Jesus assuring a humbled, dying thief that he would, that day, be with Him in paradise. Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to love. He forgave. He invited. He washed. He multiplied. He interceded. He accepted. Thank you, Jesus.
“And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Hearts In Pieces
Was just me and a book
in my small kitchen nook
when the sun cast a ray
over me as I shook
Light turned to dark
hearts were in mourning
and suddenly thoughts
of loss without warning
Stories emerged of special lives
teachers and nurses, and husbands and wives
of heroic deeds, and self-sacrifice
of those who passed and of those who survived
To the mothers and brothers and sisters and daughters
the spouses, grandparents, grandchildren, sons, fathers
the nephews, the friends, the cousins, the nieces
to all those affected, whose hearts are in pieces
When the sun comes up, we wake with you
we mourn your loss and ache with you
pray comfort, you can take with you
know the stories of courage grew our hearts too
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18