Category Archives: Hope

From Death to Life

Two years ago doctors FINALLY uncovered what was causing me so much distress in my digestive system and within two months of diagnosis the surgeons completed a double small bowel resection. Biopsy revealed an extremely rare, incurable form of cancer.

Following surgery and a brief recovery at home I was back at the hospital meeting with an oncologist who explained that the biopsy had also revealed that it was a very slow growing cancer in my case, and so we would just watch it for a while. While it is incurable there is a shot that they can give once a month to try and keep tumors under control and symptoms at bay. My condition wasn’t at that point yet and so I merrily went on my way, returning every six months for either a CT scan or a PET scan to check disease progress.

Six months ago (that’s 18 months post surgery) I was at my “normal” visit when the resident on duty mentioned my ‘lymphoma’ and assured me that I was doing fine. I think I must have been in shock with the word ‘lymphoma’, knowing that my kind of cancer is incurable and then if we add it to the lymphatic system – yikes! Needless to say that by the time my doctor came in I didn’t even have any questions. I just kept hearing ‘lymphoma’ in my ears.

For the next six months I planned to die. You know, getting my affairs in order. Throwing out junk. Donating other junk. Updating my will. Ensuring I had a living will and appropriate powers-of-attorney drawn up for when I could not longer make my own decision. And in all of that, I was fine. I didn’t feel stressed over it. I was actually looking forward to being with Jesus. My life, as it is, is pretty much over anyway. All of my friends have gone on to be with the Lord and my marriage is over and my kids and grand-kids are grown and have their own lives. I was ready to meet my maker and felt pretty certain I only had about another year.

But GOD.

God has His own plans and purposes. Certainly I prayed for deliverance and I had others pray for me too. I mean, I’m not suicidal. And then one evening almost six months to the day of the ‘lymphoma’ statement I had what can only be described as a healing visitation from the Lord. I felt it. I knew it. And from that moment on my entire thought processes changed. The interesting thing about it was that the visitation occurred five days before my next scheduled PET scan. I was flying high that week. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened but I lay on that scan table for 45 minutes without moving a muscle and all the time singing in my mind about the goodness of God.

I didn’t check on-line to read the scan report when the results were ready. I waited to hear it from my doctor. And exactly one week after the scan I visited the oncologist and he said the words “crystal clear”. The scan was “crystal clear”. No evidence of lymphoma or anything else. So I asked him about the ‘lymphoma’ statement and he said it was a mistake.

So let’s take a minute here and give God a praise offering. A thanksgiving offering. A ‘GO GOD!’ celebration!

Nothing there. So now, instead of planning to die I am planning to live! Thank you Jesus.

“I shall not die, but live and declare the works of God.” Psalm 118:17

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The Devil Comes to Steal, Kill and Destroy

Our modern culture doesn’t believe that, of course. It is easier to blame God than to acknowledge that there is an evil presence in our lives that is constantly on the attack. It is easier to cry “God’s judgement” than to acknowledge that there are consequences for our actions. And it is easy to be confused about where the ‘bad’ things in our lives come from if we don’t seek the face of the Creator and ask for an explanation. I think sometimes we don’t ask because we don’t really want to know the answer.

Having been at this ‘Jesus thing’ for quite some time I have learned a few things. So today, instead of tackling all of the evil in the world, I want to focus on just one aspect: What happens in our lives when we fail to put God first?

I have watched marriages crumble when one partner places their careers or families ahead of God. I have seen families disintegrate when God gets placed farther and farther down in their list of priorities. I witnessed an instance where an international evangelist put off going on mission trip because of his wife’s birthday! And I heard her anguished cries of “please, don’t put me before God”. She knew. She understood. That mission trip was ordained by God and she knew it. Everything was in place for a mighty move of God and he postponed it. Today they live separate lives, no longer a couple, no longer serving God together. I won’t share what nuclear bomb took out their marriage but suffice it to say that she saw it coming and couldn’t stop it, no matter how hard she tried.

I know another international evangelist who also had his own church. I watched as he began taking more and more trips abroad and leaving his congregation in the hands of associates. Here was a man who served God at home and abroad. Yet he finally lost his church and he no longer travels abroad. He lost every ministry he had. Why?

Do I believe God did that? Do you? Some say God removed His hand of blessing from their lives. Others say the devil crept in unawares. You might say it is a consequence of actions/inactions that forever changed their lives. It is possible that when we fail to be good stewards over the territory God places on our lives, He removes the opportunities for a time of reflection and discipline.

Here’s what I know in my knower: God loves us and wants the very best for us. He is love. He is also justice. He is also mercy. So: the God who wants the very best for us and loves us unconditionally is not beating us over the head every time we mess up. He is a good father who encourages us, trains us, watches over us and, yes, disciplines us when necessary. DISCIPLINE. Something we hate and love to blame God or the devil for. Something we need that we rail against. Something that keeps us headed toward the finish line – His Kingdom.

I want to encourage you today. God creates calamity as a form of discipline. The bigger the calamity, the greater the need for discipline.

I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me, there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these,” (Isaiah 45:5-7).

It is up to us to respond appropriately and correct our behaviors. And the greatest folly we can enter into is letting something or someone else assume the place of highest priority in our lives. Surely the Lord will discipline us for that, and we would deserve it. If we have asked him to be Lord of our lives and then let something else usurp that position, we deserve whatever befalls us. To be truthful, we all deserve death and hell. Thank you Jesus!

So the next time you are feeling sorely put upon and blaming God for things not going your way, take some time out to be alone with God. Reflect on what is happening and take it to Him. Talk with Him. And be honest with yourself. Whatever is happening, He is in control and only He can see the outcome. Place Him in the position of headship in your life and watch for His Glory on your behalf!

Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside you, what He hath prepared for him that waits for Him.

What is your purpose?

Yesterday in church I heard yet another message about fulfilling our purpose, our calling. Now I don’t know about you, but for me, those words always leave me with an ache and a sorrow inside. I am well into my senior years and every time I hear these kinds of sermons I have the same reaction: what purpose? What calling? Is there one?

And then this morning I had a repeat performance of what happens to me within 24 hours of every sermon I hear about purpose and calling: Holy Spirit showed up and reminded me what my purpose and calling is and how I have and still am fulfilling it. He also graciously told me to stop feeling guilty every time the enemy steals from me, whether it’s in a church service or everyday life.

Do you know what your ‘purpose’ is? Your calling? As you can see, I struggled with this for many years without realizing I was already fulfilling it. I think that is one of the many fiery darts of the enemy – he keeps telling us we haven’t found it while all the while we are walking in it.

Not everyone is ‘called’ to street evangelism or pulpit ministry. Not every ministry is noticeable – like food banks and clothing drives. Some sweet brothers and sisters walk so closely with the Lord that they are in constant communication with Him, and consequently spend most of their prayer time praying for others. These sweet intercessors carry the burdens of others and bring relief and miracle through their efforts. Yet, you will never see them take a bow or get accolades for their ‘ministry’. They are fulfilling their calling every day. I wonder if they think they have missed it?

A lot of believers are filled with angst as they search for a place for their hands to be put to work (or their mouths!) I would encourage those to relax. Take a deep breath and rest in the love of God. If He has called you, He will ensure His plan is completed. I believe you will find that when you relax and leave it to Him, your place in the Kingdom will just sort of appear. You will realize where you are supposed to be or what you are supposed to be doing, or perhaps, as in my case, you will realize (with His help) that you are ALREADY fulfilling your calling.

God loves us. He wants us to fulfill the calling He has placed on our lives and He will help us do that. God, forgive us for thinking it is all about us fulfilling a calling when it is really all about YOU implementing YOUR PLAN.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: thy mercy, O Lord, endures for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Burning Hearts

Yesterday in church I was blessed to have the Holy Spirit use me to give a short encouraging word to the congregation. It followed the normal pattern for me, from when the Spirit is moving and wants to speak…..until the end. As I neared what turned out to be the end of the message my heart began a slow burn within me. When I paused to await the remainder of the message, the burning increased to such an intensity I thought I would burst into flame – a PHYSICAL BURNING as if it were on fire. And when I say ‘heart’ I mean the center of my body at the bottom of and directly beneath the breastbone. As pastor began to speak and move the service onward with more worship, I wasn’t sure the Spirit was finished. Nevertheless, I let it go, and as the program of service continued the burning ceased. In hindsight I believe it was supposed to be a time of laying-on of hands, but I will never know in this life.

I didn’t really think much more about it yesterday except when my grandson – who had been standing beside me — asked me about the experience on our drive home – he often experiences things spiritually yet doesn’t discuss it. Yet this morning, it is picking at me, and tugging at me, as a seamstress tugs and picks on a seam trying to open it. And knowing after all these years how the Holy Spirit nudges and tugs and pulls and woos me into walking with Him instead of around Him, I delved into different commentaries on the story of the Emmaus Road. Here’s what I found, centering my study around Luke 24:32.

According to Ellicott, the tense used implied a continuous burning and not a momentary state or act.

MacLaren couldn’t contain himself to looking at the one verse and expounds on the entire story, with a mini-sermon that completely ignores the ‘burning hearts’.

Benson counts the burning as a ‘glow within us, with love to God and our Divine Instructor’.

Henry says that ‘Scriptures which speak of Christ will warm the hearts of his true disciples’.

Barnes also believes that the hearts burning expression denotes ‘the deep interest and pleasure which they felt in his discourse’.

Poole counts the travelers as disciples who had not yet had the fire [of evangelism] kindled in their hearts, but once Christ departed they were alight and had to go spread the word.

Gill concludes that the words that Christ shared with them ‘caused their hearts to be warmed and glow as they became fervent in spirit and their affections were raised and fired; they found the word to be as burning fire within them, and they now knew somewhat what it was to be baptized with fire.’

Meyer transcribes the verse to read ‘Was not our heart in an extraordinarily fervent commotion?’

Bengel acknowledges that it was an ‘actual continuance of the burning sensation’.

So….which was it?

Well, having been the one having the actual experience it was, as Bengel acknowledges, an actual burning sensation. Was it a continuous burning? YES. Was my heart warmed as in an emotional experience? NO. Was I quoting Scriptures? NO – at least I don’t think so. Was I meditating on my love for God and my Divine Instructor? NO. Was it my interest and pleasure in the discourse? Given that I don’t remember what was said, a resounding NO. Do I now feel different as if I have been changed with a light to run and spread the word; a light greater than I already had? NO. Was my heart in an extraordinarily fervent commotion? NO. And, finally, was I baptized with fire? I DON’T KNOW.

Here’s what I do know: I want to be all that God has called me to be. When He uses me, I am blessed. When He uses me like He did yesterday, with a new experience, I want to know what it means, and if there is something more I need to do for Him or with Him. And, in the case of a new experience, I want to find other believers who have had similar experiences so we can compare notes and, iron sharpening iron, keep one another headed in the right direction – toward the finish line.

Here’s what I think: It was the truth of God which lit my heart on fire. What do you think?

If you’ve had a similar experience, I’d love to hear from you.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20.

God Hates Abuse

I had opportunity to minister this week to another scarred and battle-weary survivor of domestic abuse. Before I go any further, let me share the definition of ‘domestic abuse’

Domestic abuse comprises of broad categories of behaviour including physical or sexual abuse, violent or threatening behaviour, controlling or coercive behaviour, economic abuse and psychological, emotional, or other abuse. It can be prosecuted under a range of offences and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and it is the cumulative and interlinked types of abuse that have a particularly damaging effect on the victim. The ‘domestic’ nature of the offending behaviour is an aggravating factor because of the abuse of trust involved.” [Extracted from The Crown Prosecution Service https://www.cps.gov.uk/crime-info/domestic-abuse]

So that’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Physical, psychological, emotional, controlling, threatening, violent, economic …. all methods of forcing one individual into submission and terrorizing that same individual, often times to the breaking point, and sometimes, to death.

This particular woman was a victim of psychological and emotional abuse coupled with controlling and threatening behaviors and economic barriers. Added to that, she experienced the betrayal of the church leadership who sided with her husband, claiming that she was to blame for what she was suffering because of her ‘rebellious’ behavior. In effect, church leaders did not hold her husband accountable for any of his un-Christian behavior

I am not going to go into counseling mode nor am I going to try to explain and defend all of the reasons why her forms of abuse are wrong. The issue I want to deal with is the betrayal by her church leaders — those who can quote the ‘words’ of the Bible but seriously miss the Spirit. The letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life (2 Cor 3:6) I believe God hates abuse. (Psalms 11:5, James 1:26, Ephesians 4:29, Psalms 103:6, Colossians 3:8, Romans 6:15, Galatians 5:13, Colossians 3:19, Exodus 21:15, Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 4:31)

Marriage is SUPPOSED to be a partnership, not a master-slave relationship. Marriage is SUPPOSED to fulfill both parties, not glorify one and denigrate the other. Marriage is SUPPOSED to be a reflection of Jesus Christ and His Bride, the church, NOT a reflection of the Pharisees and the Jews.

Yet, so many Christian leaders ignore the abuse occurring in the marriages and families in their churches and wash their hands of the abuse victim, not fully understanding the heart of God or His standards for marriage, families, and church leaders. Is it possible that these leaders have spent so much time studying the Word and working for God that they have neglected their relationship with the Lord and dulled their hearts to the heart of God? A heart which clearly points us ALL to submit and ALL to serve?

Here is an exerpt from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, citing 1 Corinthians 11:10 which highlights the dual roles of each spouse within the marriage — For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head.—……. What is meant, first, by the woman having “power on her head?” There have been many—some of them most fanciful—suggestions that the word for power (exousia) may have crept in instead of some other word by the mistake of some copyist; or that the word used by St. Paul may have been exiousa—“When she goes out in public;” or two words (ex ousias)—“in accordance with her nature.” All explanations, however, which require an alteration in the Greek text of the passage must be set aside, for (1) there is no MS. evidence whatever to support any other read.……. refer the “power” here to some symbol of a power which belongs to the woman herself.

If we bear in mind the Apostle’s constant use of words with a double significance, or rather with both an obvious and a subtly implied meaning, and if we also recall the reference made to a woman’s abundance of hair in 1Corinthians 11:5-6, and the further reference to a woman’s long hair in 1Corinthians 11:14-15, where the hair of the woman, given her by nature, and the wearing of a veil are used as almost identical thoughts, we may, I think, conclude that the “power” here spoken of is that long hair which is called in 1Corinthians 11:15 her “glory.” It is remarkable that Callistratus twice uses this word exousia in connection with hair to express its abundance. To the Jews the recollection of Samson’s history would have given the word “power,” when applied to hair, a remarkable significance. To thus turn aside abruptly in the middle of a long passage in which woman’s subordination is enforced, and speak suddenly and vividly of her “power,” would be eminently Pauline. In the Apostle’s writings the thought of inferiority and superiority, of ruler and server, are frequently and almost paradoxically regarded and enforced as identical. To serve because you rule; to be weak because you are in another sense strong, are thoughts strikingly combined again and again in the Epistles of St. Paul. [Emphasis mine] Thus I would imagine him here to suddenly turn aside and say, I have been speaking of your bondage and subordination, you are, because of this, to have a covering (a veil or long hair) on your head as a sign, and yet that very thing which is the symbol of your subjection to man is the sign of your beauty and “power” as a woman.”

It is clear to me that Paul understood the relationship of servant/leader just as taught by Christ when he washed the feet of the disciples. In order to lead we must serve, and by serving become leaders. At no time, on no occasion, did Jesus, Paul, or any other apostle FORCE their followers into any situation, behavior or belief. And at NO TIME should any marriage partner force or coerce the other into any situation, behavior or belief. To do so is contrary to the heart of God we see expressed in Christ Jesus.

Certainly other commentators disagree with Ellicott, and I have read them with interest but remain unconvinced because their arguments, while scholarly, lack the expressive love of Christ. I believe they have forgotten what I have just stated: Christ came to destroy the works of the enemy, not to enforce it with tyranny and oppression. (1 John 3:8)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

The Healing Love of Children

I don’t remember any longing in my life stronger than a longing for a child, and I tried very hard for the first one.

I had my first miscarriage at 19, when I was in transit from one Army assignment to another.  That miscarriage was followed by two more.  

Maybe I should back up and explain why I wanted a child so desperately.  You understand, I come from a very large family — I have 5 brothers and sisters; my mother had 7 siblings, and my father had 6.  That’s a lot of kids and cousins, and all of them in need of caring, nurturing attention and love.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well.  My eldest sister seemed to adopt me as her “baby-doll” and I guess my mother thought that was sufficient attention.  And, being an introvert — a keen and interested observer in all that is around me — I didn’t have the personality to demand attention from an already over-worked and under-appreciated mother.  Add that to the constant moving and uprooting from friends and family, and you have a picture of a very lonely and unloved little girl.

That little girl grew into a lonely and unloved teenager who married the first guy that asked.  Turns out, a big mistake.  He didn’t love me and he didn’t want me to love him — he loved my income that allowed him to be just as lazy as he desired.  He pretended to love me and only ‘let’ me get pregnant when I pleaded with him for someone to love.  That someone turned out to be my little girl.

After years of trying and failing, my OB/GYN put me on progesterone shots the next time I had a positive pregnancy test.  And, voila!  It worked!  I was so happy when I was pregnant, truly the most joyous time of my life was when I was carrying a child.

Of course, I deceived myself into believing that NOW he would love me.  That also proved untrue.  As I lay in a hospital bed hooked up to oxygen, he sat in a chair in the room smoking and flirting with the nurse.  I called her attention to the fact that I WAS, in fact, hooked up to oxygen and perhaps he should put out his cigarette?????  She came to her senses at that point and left the room after telling him he couldn’t smoke in my room, so he left with her.  He, it turns out, was also a bigamist — or should I say polygamist — with a string of wives around the country that he didn’t bother to divorce as he moved on to the next opportunity.  (Sigh — my daughter has many half-siblings.)

After 23 hours and 50 minutes of labor — and a warning from the doctor that at 24 hours they would perform a caesarean, my stubborn, self-willed little darling arrived, peeing all over the doctor, clearly announcing her disdain for the entire process.  She’s sort of gone through her entire life with that same attitude!  🙂  

I love my kids.  I love my grandkids.  If I hadn’t had so many miscarriages, I would have 6 kids by now!  No, make that 7 — we mustn’t forget Richard — the child I was terrorized into aborting.

I dote on my kids, probably because they are the only source of love I experienced before I found Jesus — correction, He found me!  And, I’m probably not the best example of motherhood, spoiling them and trying to make life as easy as possible for them.  But the truth is, my life has been incredibly difficult, and if it wasn’t for them I would have given up long ago.  So, I spoil them.  And love them.  And cherish them.  And weep over their difficulties.  And the joy I experienced at the birth of my first child is still with me today, every time I see my children, or even think of them.  The lights of my life still light up my every day!

My Dove

I’ve had some truly amazing experiences, but the one that leaps to the forefront of my memory involves and beautiful white dove.

There was a period of about 6 years when my grandkids were small that I would spend Friday nights up at the church, providing worship music non-stop so that others could connect with the Lord, and just worshipping and enjoying the Lord’s presence.  One Friday evening I was driving on the highway headed to church and traffic was extremely heavy.  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a beautiful white dove came alongside my front right quarter panel.  I was traveling between 55-60 miles an hour, keeping up with traffic, and that white dove traveled right along beside me, staying on my quarter panel.  When I finally reached the turn-off to head to the church, the dove turned off with me!  And then, as there was little to no traffic on this little side road, it flew away.  

That beautiful dove has an average sustained flying speed of 45 mph.  Yet, this one stayed with me at 60 mph for almost five miles.

I know I can over-spiritualize things sometimes, and I probably will again. Yet I am certain the Holy Spirit was watching over me and accompanying me safely to my destination.  And it was an incredible night of worship!

I think when you look for God to show up in your daily life, you begin to see just how often He tries to make Himself known to you, and you begin to rest in a peace that passes all understanding as you realize He is right with you all of the time. I’ve had instances where the Holy Spirit gripped the steering wheel and literally got me out of danger, and times when people would fall back when I approached them. I’ve even been in the midst of huge crowds and watched as they parted for me, much in the same way the Red Sea parted for the Israelites! These things are all the work of the Holy Spirit of God and I am just a vessel — a living stone in His temple. What a mighty God we serve!

Psalm 25:14
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.

Gentleness

I love to do things that surprise and bless others and I have, many times, given rides to strangers or bought them lunch and even, a thousand miles from home, paid for someone else’s meal in the drive-through lane.

Yet, I was blown away and collapsed in tears when one morning I stopped for a cup of coffee (a rare occurrence) and when I got to the register was told that someone had already paid for me.  I was dumbfounded, overwhelmed and completely undone.  Kindness in any form, even on the television, always makes me tear up.  Life has been very hard on me and I have had to harden myself in order to cope.  So things that are horrible have less of an emotional impact upon me than kindness does, because my life has been bereft of kindness.  Abuse I understand.  Terror I understand.  Manipulation I understand.  Neglect I understand.  Emotional absence I understand.  But kindness?  Love?  Gentleness?  

Those tears that fell that day were cleansing and uplifting.  At a very alone moment in my life, Jesus showed up in the form of a stranger in the checkout lane.  His kindness drove me to my knees and I wept and thanked Him.

There is a Scripture verse:  Psalm 18:35  “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.”

Gentleness moves mountains.  Gentleness melts hearts.  Gentleness turns anger into meekness.  Gentleness brings healing.

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”  I have seen this in action, when angry and frustrated people are met with gentleness and kindness, their entire demeanor changes and they are instantly calm.

Be gentle.  Be kind.  Be sweet.  And watch God move mountains for you!

Breathe

Good morning, beloved of the Lord!  I spent some time with a dear sister in the Lord this week and listened as she bemoaned her spiritual circumstances.  Her complaint echoed that of so many Christians:  why aren’t I growing? What’s wrong in my church that I don’t feel connected?  I’m not serving nearly as much as others but the others are becoming resentful and burned out in the service.  As she talked, I could sense the Lord’s compassion and passionate love for her.

Beloved, I believe the message the Lord has in His Holy Scriptures is not just for her, but for every believer who is struggling to find a place where they belong in the Body – a place of service that satisfies and doesn’t destroy.  It is so easy to become burned out when we are serving in our own strength.  I pray that you have not fallen for the “works” doctrine. 

The “works” doctrine insists that we must do something good for God.  Good works = faith, so we are told.  I think, however, that we mustn’t fall into that trap, because a “works” doctrine steals our joy and saps our strength.  You see, the ‘work’ that God has for our hands and feet are unique to us individually, just as much as we are unique from every other believer.  If we fall into the trap of the “works” doctrine, we become so busy being duty-bound to volunteer for everything that comes along that we are unavailable when the Holy Spirit actually taps us on the shoulder and asks us to do something for HIM.  I am reminded of a story that a woman once told me about her experience after a long day of going out with a street ministry to evangelize (NOT where her heart was), she was standing in line at a take-out counter when the Holy Spirit nudged her about a man in front of her.  Unfortunately, she was exhausted after what, to her, was a fruitless day of evangelizing and so she ignored the nudge.  She had spent all day doing what others told her she needed to be doing without any fruit, and missed the ONE THING the Holy Spirit wanted her to do.

Faith without works is indeed dead (James 2:26) – but works born out of duty instead of passionate love for the Savior are going to burn up (2 Peter 3:10).  Jesus Christ didn’t suffer and die so that we would live a life in the bondage of duty – He died to set us FREE.  Free to love Him, to serve Him when He asks, and to bear spiritual fruit for His harvesting.  The spiritual fruit comes from the hand of the Father, not from our works.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  And the works that we should be doing will suffer loss if we are so busy doing something else instead.  Each person in the Body of Christ has a unique position.  There are as many persons in the Body of Christ as there are cells in the human body, and each cell performs a perfect work – the one designed for it to do.  We don’t expect our brain cells to filter blood, so why would we expect someone God has gifted with administration to be out cleaning the parking lot?  Each part of the Body is designed for a specific task, and if we are doing someone else’s task, who is doing ours?

Think about it in the natural – a tree does not go searching for nutrients or water or sunshine in order to produce a harvest of fruit.  God provides what the tree needs and the tree then does, quite naturally, what it was designed to do.  If we would just drink in what God provides and watch the Holy Spirit develop the fruit in us, I think we would find life taking on a whole new realm of joy and passion.  We’d begin to see the fruit that is developing in us being used to feed others – either spiritually or naturally.  And it wouldn’t be a chore – it would be a delight and a joy because we would be right where God wanted us, when He wanted us, and doing what He wanted instead of what others demand we must do.

So, dearly beloved of Christ, let us take a few moments today and take stock of where we are and what we are doing.  We should be breaking up the ground around our hearts (Hosea 10:12) to allow the nutrients that God is pouring out to reach our hearts and produce the fruit He desires.  Let’s not make this harder than it has to be.  Loving God should be as effortless as breathing and just as life-giving.

Micah 6:8   “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

God’s Gift

I wonder if you really know what true love looks like or if you have ever experienced it.  How many of us substitute what the entertainment industry peddles as ‘love’ for the true love that is available to us each and every day?  Well today I have a message for you from the lover of your soul – the one who loves you unconditionally and laid down his life for you.  HearHis love:

“Listen to my song of love.  A sin forgiven is a sin forgotten.  A sin washed is a sin removed.  You are washed.  You are forgiven.  You are free.  Go and sin no more.

My love is deep.  Deeper than any well.  Higher than any mountain.  Stronger than any force you can imagine.  My love is endless and unchanging.  If you have a temper tantrum, my love doesn’t change.  If you deny me, my love doesn’t change.  If you wander, my love doesn’t change.

I am forever the Bridegroom, enamored of his bride.  I am forever madly, deeply, passionately in love with you.  Every time you turn your thoughts toward me, you light a fire of passion within me – a passion to be with you forever – to see you protected, defended, provided for, pampered, cherished and adored.  That is how I want you treated – that is what I created you for!  TO BE LOVED!!

Even now you doubt because your experience of love has been corrupted.  Doubt not, my beloved.  You are cherished and I will protect you, defend you, provide for you and hover over you with passion.  My desire is for you.  I desire the best for you – the absolute best.

I did not lay down my life so that you would settle for mediocre.  I did not suffer so that you would suffer the empty life of mediocrity.  I suffered to set you free to love, to laugh, to joy in others.  To serve in love is the absolute best life.  To serve in duty is bondage.  I set you free to love, laugh and serve in joy.  That is the greatest gift you can give to me – live a life of love.”

This message of love, you will notice, is completely devoid of lust.  It is hard for human beings to comprehend a love and passion devoid of lust.  Yet that is the passionate love with which our Saviour loves us.  Think of an artist who lives to create – whether buildings or sculptures or paintings.  That passion, that fire is completely devoid of lust.  Our passion for the Creator should be just the same – a passionate fire completely devoid of lust, and completely consuming.  We should live to love the Master.  If we would just surrender and make Him our focus, our lives would shine with His glory and bring us more joy and satisfaction than we even think is possible.

Jeremiah 31:3  “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”