Friday, January 28, 2011

Your Love

One song I've been listening to a lot lately is "Your Love" by Brandon Heath. The lyrics that stand out to me in particular are:

You're the light when the night is falling
You're the song when my heart is singing
It's Your love
You're the eyes to the blind man
You're the feet to the lame man walking
You're the sound of people singing
It's Your love"

Have you ever experience a love like that? One that fills your heart and changes everything. Giving light to the darkness, hope in the hopeless and peace in the turmoil?

We as humans even on the best of days fall short when it comes to really loving someone else. No matter how hard we try, we do mess up, we do disappoint and we do hurt. We don't meet other peoples needs, we say the wrong things and we are way too quick to jump to conclusions and solutions when all someone else needs is understanding.

But there's another love out there. A love that no matter how hard we try to replicate we'll always fall short of. And it's a love that doesn't need replicating because it's available freely to every one of us and that is the love of God.

Many of us view God as an older gentleman with high standards who makes it impossible to get a stamp of approval from. But that couldn't be further from the truth:

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:1)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"[Jesus said] as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." (John 15:9)

"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9)

And my personal favorite:

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Isn't the love of God a truly amazing thing?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let Go

Lately I pulled out my copy of "Let Go" by Francois Fenelon.  When I picked it up I thought it would be a quick read because of its small size, but it turned out to be just the opposite.  There is so much wisdom packed into each chapter- most only 3-4 pages long, that you'll find yourself not wanting to read more than a few pages at a time so that you can let it all sink in.  If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend picking up a copy. 

"Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others." (from Let Go)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Last year at this time I was thinking and praying about the year 2010 and while I don't often get messages like this, I believe I got a message loud and clear from God saying that 2010 was going to be a year of change.

It rang so loudly and seemed so profound that I shared this with a number of people in my life. It's a good thing I did because I wasn't alone in shaking my head in awe as the events of this past year unraveled.

2010 truly was a year of the foundation being shaken up in my life and I experienced major changes in pretty much every area of my life: family, ministry, friendships, health, the list goes on and on.

While knowing in advance that 2010 was going to be a year of change didn't remove the effects that these changes had on my life, it did help to soften the blow because with each change and challenge I was reminded that God saw this coming. He knew what I would be facing this past year and in His grace He was kind enough to give me a heads up.

During one intense period of changes and challenges this spring I was talking with someone I respect very much and he told me that when I climbed out of this valley he believed that I would have a different and deeper relationship with God. To be honest, at the time that wasn't much of a consolation, but today I can see the truth in what he said.

My relationship with God has gone deeper and I see Him very differently than I did even a year ago. I also feel very much loved by Him, which is something that has been so amazing to experience.

As 2011 has arrived I have no idea what the year will bring, but I do know this- no matter what the next year holds, whether they are "Job sized" challenges or abundant blessings, God has His hand on my life. And if this past year has taught me anything it's that He walks with us every single step of the way. During no other time period in my life have I felt the nearness of God and it's been a remarkable thing to experience.