The Need To Be Loved

switzerland-4290226__480What is our deepest longing, as people?  I would suggest that it is to be loved.  I have listened to numerous testimonies by people who at one time lived lives that made it appear as though they gave absolutely no thought to the need to be loved, when in reality, they were yearning for it on the inside.  They wanted someone to love them enough to show them a better way of living…someone who had their best interests at heart.  Someone who would be a compassionate listener when they needed to vent their deepest frustrations, allowing them to be as honest and flawed as they truly are, and yet still offer love and acceptance.  Someone who would allow them to put the weight of their discouragement, fear, anxiety, abandoned hopes, feelings of worthlessness, and all of their other struggles onto them and give them the wisdom to navigate through them.  Someone to hold them when they were feeling…done…tired…burnt out…shame…at the end of their rope…and who would whisper, “I love you,”…”I…loveyou.”  We all long for this, and this is the kind of relationship God offers us through His Son, Jesus.

“What is the price of five sparrows?  A couple of pennies?  Yet God does not forget a single one of them.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Luke 12:6-7

Hearts In Pieces

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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

-kb


“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

From A Long Way Off

merciful-father-2629952__480Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is how God in the Old Testament (OT) sometimes seems different from the God Jesus came to make known.  I know that He is not different because God does not change…“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).  The Bible also reveals that Jesus is God…“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15), and that He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  So why does it seem like God was more stern in the OT, whereas Jesus makes familiar a God of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness?  First, I need to say that the OT is not without examples of the love and forgiveness of God…I just get more insight into the gentleness of God, in Jesus.  So this is a question I will continue to ask God about.  But one thing I do know.  I know that God is love…“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).  And I have experienced His love first hand, when at times I have acted less than loving toward Him and He has made it known to me, whether it was through something I read, something someone said, or just a reassuring thought, that He was still there and was present with me.  Through Jesus, God forgives us our shortcomings and not only that, but like the prodigal son, He sees us from a “long way off” and is “filled with compassion” (Luke 15:20).

The Navigator

desktop-1753659__480It is very clear to me that I need God’s help in determining how best to navigate my relationships with others.  Since He knows the heart of every person, there is no better Counselor in these matters.  When I have taken these types of concerns to Him, He has answered my prayers in different ways.  When I was only able to see the negatives about a person, He opened my eyes to their good qualities.  When someone left me frustrated, He put empathy in my heart for them.  He has also helped me to leave things in His hands so that I had a greater measure of peace.  Each time I have done this it has strengthened my faith, as I have witnessed God respond to my petitions for help.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

Putting Our Thoughts In The Right Hands

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“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” – Psalm 51:10

Every day we battle thoughts that aren’t so kind about our neighbor, or we realize that our motives aren’t always completely honorable.  As someone who loves Christ, God has ensured me that His Holy Spirit lives in me and that He has given me a new heart.  Even though this is the case, I still battle the old habits within me, and sometimes neglect loving my neighbor as I should.  Deficiencies like this lead me to pray the Bible verse above.  It is a reminder that God is the One who creates a clean heart within me.  When unkind thoughts plague us, it can be easy to go down the path of self-condemnation, but when we turn to God and ask Him to work on our hearts, we can’t go wrong.  Maybe we don’t always feel freedom from those thoughts right away, but at least we know that we have put them in the right Hands.

“Sittin’ Here Lookin’ At All My Stuff”

package-1511683__480Some of you know that I enjoy singing and songwriting and from time to time I share my songs via my blog posts, along with brief explanations as to what they are about.  Today I am sharing my thoughts on a song I wrote called, “Don’t Expect Much.”  It’s about that drive we all have as human beings to collect earthly goods, and how, at the end of our lives, all of the things we have collected will not matter.  When we realize this, we start thinking about what lies beyond this life.  Not sure about you, but I spent many years going my own way, and although I always believed that God existed, I did not spend time seeking Him out.  Then I met someone who began to share her faith with me, and by the way she treated me, made me want to know Him better.  She even gave me a Bible to boot.  It was the best gift she could have given me because it inspired me to learn more about Him.  (*If you are interested in receiving a free copy of the Bible let me know by filling out the contact form at the bottom of this post.  I will send them out while my supplies last.)  For an audio clip of and lyrics to “Don’t Expect Much,” see below.

Don’t Expect Much, Audio (click play):
Lyrics:

hey God, i’m sittin’ here lookin’ at all my stuff

and i’m thinkin’ i won’t need it where i’m goin’
but another thing that occurs to me
i got no good place for my soul to be
and i remember someone tellin’ me
bout livin’ with You in eternity
well, i don’t know You
so, i don’t expect much
cause i have gone my own, my own way
but i’m beggin’ You today, save me
didn’t think i’d be needin’ You
or this hole inside would come bleedin’ through
but every step i took, know now You knew
the good of a God who won’t leave when we do
can i be with You in paradise
you will be with Me in paradise
hey God, i’m sittin’ here lookin’ at all my stuff
and i’m thinkin’ i won’t need it where i’m goin’

 

God With Us – Always

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

beach-394503__480It can be a downer when vacations come to an end.  When you spend time away, there are no deadlines at work to be concerned about, no e-mails you need to respond to, and no chores to do around the house.  It’s just time set aside to relax, enjoy yourself; be free from outside demands.  But, if you believe that God has your whole life in His hands, then even when going back to those responsibilities that feel like pressure at times – you can find peace in knowing that God is with you.

 

No One Like You

“Search high and low, scan skies and land, you’ll find nothing and no one quite like God.” – Psalm 89:6

jesus-light-578027__480There is no one like You, God.  When I look around and see what the world has to offer, I know that none of it will last and that one day I will be face to face with You, my Maker.  I am reminded of a time in my life that brought me to a place of wondering about my future, and at that time it hit me that at the end of my life it would come down to just You and me.  The people I love, and those who love me – they do not know my deepest fears.  Only You know all of my thoughts.  One of the things I struggle with is the fact that we all need to say goodbye, at least for a time, to the people we love.  There isn’t any getting around it.  When that happens, You will be the One taking my hand.  No one else can do that.  When I go home, it will be You I am going home to.

“I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.  You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.  You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.  I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going.” – Psalm 139:1-5

 

The Way

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I heard a voice behind me say,
“Don’t look this or that way stray…
For I will lead you in the way,
the way that you should go.”

-kb

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” – Psalm 32:8

My Cry Reached His Ears

saveWhen I was in my early twenties, I went through challenges in my life that at times left me sad and struggling.  One night, when I was especially down, I cried out to God.  Suddenly, it was as if a wave of love washed over me, and I immediately felt comforted.  Two things stand out to me about that night.  One, that the comfort I received was free; His love didn’t cost me anything.  And two, that it wasn’t the result of my reliance on a friend or a family member, but came directly from God.  What happened that night must not only have affected me inwardly, but also outwardly, as the next day my boss said something to me along the lines of, “What happened to you?  Something seems different!?”

“But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.  He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” – Psalm 18:6