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Love, not Fear

26 Mar

Enter into God's love

“And so it was that my fear turned to rage, which I carried around with me like a large and heavy parcel that could not be set down.  It kept me from merriment when jests were told.  It kept me from curiosity when I heard a man describe to my father how blood from one dog had been put into the veins of another.  Because of it I could not feel humility when I heard sermons preached at church, nor patience when the nightmare woke Toby three times in one night.” ~ from A True and Faithful Narrative  by Katherine Sturtevant

I was thinking about this statement about fear–the typical example for a parent is when you can’t find your child, maybe you got separated in the mall, and a gazillion scenarios stream through your mind–pedophiles, kidnappings, your child in traffic. . . you know.  This is a sharp, immediate terror.

That feeling of relief when you are reunited is often followed by anger, isn’t it?  “Why did you wander off?” we roar, “I told you to stay with me!”  Fear can keep us from so many things.  What about the sodden fear we sometimes live with for years–fear that someone we love will never come to Christ or be freed of addictions.  What can we do when fear begins to affect our lives?  We need to learn to step into God’s love which drives our fear away.  Make a conscious effort to step into the awareness of God’s accepting love for you today.  You are Beloved.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

While Christmas Shopping

4 Dec

Think about this all-important gift:

“We don’t move [toward intimacy] by saying we hate self.  Self-centeredness, selfishness, and turning self inward are bad, but self by itself is not.  We can’t ignore what Christ said to the Pharisees.  He said we should love the Lord our God with all of our self (Matthew 22:37).  Self is intended to be a gift to God.  But instead, we keep taking self back and putting it into the center where Christ belongs.  It’s no wonder we have difficulty seeing Him clearly.  We need to ask Him to take it–to take all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength–all of self for Him.  This is the joy of connectedness.  This is a step toward intimacy.”  ~ Joseph Stowell in Radical Reliance

And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).  Matthew 22:37

Intimacy – Self-Sufficiency = Fearlessness

1 Dec

“What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God” ~ Monica Baldwin

I’m convinced that it is intimacy with God and dependence on God that creates the fearless life.

“When our spirituality is characterized by self-sufficiency rather than God-sufficiency, we rarely feel the need to depend on God, and our souls are not consumed with a passionate desire for Him.  Instead we are prone to long for God only in times of impending need or when earthly things have proven to be unrewarding.  We long for Him in the tough times instead of cultivating a daily, ongoing, deepening relationship to Him as the only genuine source of true satisfaction.  He is there in case we might need Him, not because we do need Him.  He functions as the divine “911” of our lives.  When life cruises on a level plain, though we might never admit it, we have the sense that we don’t need God.  Not really.” ~ Radical Reliance by Joseph M. Stowell

I got a letter from a friend the other day.  In it, she wrote that no longer was detailing her illness to her friends, as she was sure they were tired of it.  She now is detailing her illness to God as he can take it.  Just talking to Him.  She’s not self-sufficiently dealing with her illness, she’s developing intimacy with God.  Lovely.

We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Cor. 5:20 Message

Love

8 Oct

Love with a passionate love.

But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love]. Revelations 2:4 Amplified

The Bridegroom seeks the fervent love of the Bride.  It is an easy thing for us to go forward in works for God, while losing the passionate love that we first had for Him.  The remedy is given in the next verse.  Repent. Turn back.  It is recoverable.  Let’s devote ourselves this day to fanning the fire, the passion inside of us.

Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste.  Rev. 2:5a  The Message

Am I in Denial?

29 Aug

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20 NIV

Here is a bit more about being delivered from this life of self:

There is but one way of being delivered from this life of self.  We must follow Christ, set out hearts upon Him, listen to His teachings, give ourselves up everyday that he may be all to us, and by the power of Christ the denial of self will be a blessed, unceasing reality.  Never for one hour do I expect the Christian to reach a stage at which he can say, “I have no self to deny;” never for one moment in which he can say, “I do not need to deny self.” ~ Andrew Murray, The Master’s Indwelling

The question I have to ask myself is, “Do I consciously deny myself daily?  Is daily enough?”  The answer is sadly, no.  I’m thinking that I need to come out swinging and deny myself hourly for a while.

What if What We Hope for Doesn’t Happen?

25 Aug

Romans 5:5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out [This is written in the perfect passive tense – we don’t have to do anything to make the love flow] in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

What if what we hope for doesn’t happen?  If we are focused inward on the circumstance our heart will become sick.  “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick (grieve)” (Prov 13:12).  But as we wait for this hope to be fulfilled, the love of God is “poured out into our hearts”.  So if we focus upward our heart is healed with His love.  Remember in Romans, how the heroes of the faith often did not see their hopes fulfilled until after their deaths!

Baseball Bats as Object Lessons?

24 Jul
Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver bowls, but also those of wood and earthenware, some for special use, some for ordinary.  2 Timothy 2:20 HCSB
We recently visited out friend, Jim Seaver, in Northern Maine who brought us to visit a friend of his–Tom–who is a cabinet maker and baseball bat creator.  Tom is a personable guy who graciously stopped what he was working on to demonstrate bat making for us.  He quickly moved from the technical issues of making custom-made bats to the spiritual issues he encounters during the making.  He spoke of the wood as a great object lesson about us and how faults in the wood can’t be seen by the naked eye–how God works in us to mold us into the image of Christ the same way the machines use the patterns to create the bats.  What amazing love he demonstrates as he molds us into vessels for His use.  We left spiritually built up and carried with us the smell of nice clean wood shavings.

The process of turning the bat

Baseball bat being turned by Tom

Baseball Bat Patterns