Sunday, March 20, 2005

Love is

It seems to me the issue at hand is a matter of love. To come to ultimate surrender…

(Revelation 12:11They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb and the bold word of their witness. They weren't in love with themselves; they were willing to die for Christ.)

is to lay down all of who we are for the greater Love.

1 John 4:7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

The term “know” is translated here in a way that indicates much more than an intellectual understanding. To be known by God, and to know God, in this case is the same way in which Adam knew Eve when she bore a son. To become intimately acquainted with the God of creation is a frightening yet all consuming idea. Who am I (asked Moses)… that you should use me? Who am I to receive Your love?

We are born with some measure of love, and given the freedom to direct that love. Given the chance to reveal the love within ourselves, we can shine forth to those that do not yet know love, pour it out in return to the source, or chase that which will fail us.

Our choice, too frequently, is ourselves. We become consumed in doing whatever we want, succumbing to the entertainment that easily enthralls our attention. Clamoring gongs cannot regain focus when all we know has become about self and matters of the flesh and soul. Upon knowing (intimately) the God who is Himself Love, we are also spirit. Our spirit is united with His, yet the distractions of the flesh cause war to erupt in the soul on what we will choose.

Psalm 131:
1[LORD, MY heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in matters too great or in things too wonderful for me. 2Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me [ceased from fretting]. 3O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.

Our soul is much like the infant crying loudly for food. We want whatever we set our intent upon, and until we are satisfied we will be heard. To quiet our soul is to recognize the only thing that will satisfy is to nourish deeper, to allow our spirit to unite with His Holy Spirit.

In this place, we find that our Savior, the ultimate object of God’s love, was given on our behalf. God gave up something incredibly important – part of Himself – to stand in my place, allowing me to go free. Jesus, consumed with love, chose to see us as we are. Whether the woman with 5 husbands and new guy, the lady with the blood issues, the sinful woman standing in the midst of men carrying stones, or even closer, in Peter who said he would never deny the Lord or in Judas who would be bribed… Christ knew what would happen and chose to love anyway. Christ knew we would run after selfish gain and ambition. He knew we’d fall for another source of love, even ourselves. Yet more determined than we can fathom, He opts to love us just the same. Then, He takes the object of His affection and uses it to communicate this outrageous love to others. Only by being used in this sense is it right to shine forth love. When we reveal the source of our love in the process, Christ gets the glory and we do not. Redirecting the attention off ourselves alleviates the enormous pressure of living perfectly, because it is our weakness that He is made perfect.

Surrender is not an easy task. To cease loving ourselves and replace that with the Love of God alters everything. The most unlovable people around us, even ourselves, will be seen through the lens of God choosing to love. God was not selective either in His love. He chose to love the whole world enough to send His Son. Freedom from the bonds of all that holds us down, under, and back from Love is loosed. Run freely to the throne of grace and linger until you know you have met with God.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


It's been about a dozen years or so since I first took claim to my faith, my beliefs, my very inmost connection to God. Taking inventory is occasionally good. My roots lie in storybook tales represented with flanel board representations of God unleashing time upon creation. As a small child, I accepted whatever adults told me was fact. Therefore, baby Moses being rescued by the Egyptian princess was as much fact as the tongues of fire happening in Rome. Also, small children have little concept of time and years... so all of this happened relatively close together. Eventually we stopped doing the Sunday school thing, the church thing, and anything about God. Nearly forgotten, yet very much a pull on my life. I still wanted to be the good girl, do the right thing, and live in such a way that my parents wouldn't question me. Yet... they did, and I rebelled as any adolescent does... boys.

Somewhere in the 9th grade I had an altogether seperate encounter. I was lying awake in bed listening to music, as my life was fixed very much upon the music surrounding me. The song sand about "Lord I, I love you, completely and forever more." With unexpected revelation that not only does this far off God love me... but that I am to likewise love Him, and that it could be a very near experience... this indeed was not what I was looking for. I wanted to know this God... had an internal craving to find out all there was about Him, and learn how to please Him. I was willing to lay aside my selfish motives for all that He needed. At that phase of life, I'd gladly throw down all I had for a good cause, these days... it isn't as easy.

So why do I believe in God? Why do I believe in Christ? Is it because I had great teachers, a Christian family, or some fanatical occurance that caused me to fall madly in love with God? Is it called being "saved" or "accepting Christ"? These very real descriptions do not apply in one small bit to my life. I spoke with God... said... I love You Lord... I'm Yours. I had no real reason to cry out to Him... life was comfortable and fine. I had no real pressing issues. I had no real expectations. Yet I knew... this is right. Stripping aside the desperate need for something to drive me to Christ... what I did have was the fact that the eternal all-loving God of the universe showed one unforgettable act of love to grab my attention. Long before I had the opportunity to turn away, or was even born, God knew every facet of my nature. He knew I'd run the wrong way, and that I'd go against Him knowingly. Yet... He chose to dwell among us. He chose to live in such a way that I could be with Him eternally...if I allowed myself to recieve the price paid for the ways in which I screwed up.

Logic holds great answers. If you want a theological debate... I can do my research and debate my case. (see Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" as a starting point). Yet... this is not adequate. Having knowledge of truth is meaningless without experiencing freedom. I can instead tell you that daily I speak with the great Love, daily we meet to discuss life or for me to learn more about Him. Until I returned the love, I could not comprehend that any of this could be possible. These days I cannot shrug off the idea that at all times, in all circumstances, and in more ways than I can yet comprehend... God is near and cares about me. All the methods we contrive to prove it will never satisfy. We don't look for mental food to nourish our weary souls. Rather... we look for spiritual satisfaction that trickles knowledge out to our intellect. The result is a life yielded entirely to the One who allows us to fulfill all that we were designed to do.

Currently listening to:
Waterdeep: I Could Run Away
by Don Chaffer

I could run away
But You would never leave
You would always stay
Right by my side

Everything I’ve ever wanted
I’ve found in you

And I need you, Oh I need you
Every step of the way

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Yield to freedom

Seemingly endless is my return to what was. Rather than leaving the things that bring me down and distract me from anything worthwhile, I opt to run after these and keep them clutched in my hands. These weights are not necessary, yet I cannot help but grip them as if survival depended upon them. Realizing this, I continue to fight to keep my vision clear. Dwelling in a new land, realizing that I am seated in heavenly places, is too suddenly forgotten.

Destruction abounds when I knowingly wander the wrong way. Somehow it feels foreign to realize my acts of freedom, the inevitable desire to do whatever I please, are the very things that destroy all hope of freedom that I have. Ironically, if I yield myself to Christ, allow my will to vanish as I focus on His will, I find limitless freedom. Seeking to lay down all of me, I reach wholeheartedly after that which will please God. He asks me to set aside myself and offer it up to Him. Knowing I have nothing of value He would want or need and that all He asks is for all of me to be used as He pleases, I will fall prostrate before the Throne of Grace. Romans 7:24-25: O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Into the arms of grace I fall, seeking to steal away and enjoy the pure freedom found only in surrendering all. Moments found here make living more than tolerable; they are actually a joy during the hardship as I know on the other side is eternal Hope.