Posts Tagged ‘God’s Love’

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“Another Year” – Jan. 1

January 1, 2019

“And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.”  Genesis 1:3

Another year has passed.  Another year is upon us.  The flow of time creates natural opportunities for retrospection and planning.  The first day of a new year seems like just a division, natural or otherwise, to review the year that has been and plan for the one to come.

I enjoy the optimism of considering what I want to do and become in the coming year and then creating the goals to make that happen.  All things seem possible on January 1st even though I know that they are not.  My lists of goals are too long.  I can’t possibly achieve all that I want to accomplish within a year.  There will be some goal that have to be sacrificed.  Therefore, I have to prioritize my goals.  I have to determine what comes first.

Prioritizing goals is a wonderful sieve of desires.  What can I live without?

I live a life of abundance.  My problems are only problems in my world.  The inhabitants of the vast majority of the world will view my problems as blessings. So, I sieve.  I sieve my hopes and dreams through the screen of “what I can live without”.

This process quickly reveals the gems of my life.  It also reveals that we are not that far removed from the low tiers of a hierarchy closely resembling the construct of Abraham Maslow.  I can get a little apocalyptic when taking my thought experiment to the extreme.

However, have you ever considered what your basic physiological needs, safety, food, water, shelter, etc., are?  As in any good apocalypse movie (other than the Matrix), mankind can be very resilient until you block out the sun.  Light is a basic physiological need.  The sun might be our essential physiological need.  Without the sun, we will have no food.  Without food, we will die.

My little thought experiment brought me back to my January 1st tradition of starting a new Bible reading plan.  As with any good Bible reading plan, it starts with Genesis 1 on January 1; “In the beginning…”

backlit clouds dawn dusk

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Consider what God did first in his order of creation.  He created the heavens and the earth.  God then created light.  God created the essences of life – light.  However, I don’t think that it was by accident that light was created before the sun and the moon.  God created light from himself.  He is the source of light and therefore the sustainer of life.  You can take  away the sun and the moon but that does not remove the light originating from God.  By the very order of creation, God holds all the essentials of our life including light.

Therefore, I can apply the most brutal of apocalyptic sieves, even the blotting out of the sun, and the final gem revealed is God.  I cannot live without God.

I believe the sweetest aspect of the New Year is the opportunity it avails us to evaluate all the blessings we have, even to the elemental levels of light, remembering how essential God is to our very existence.

He is the one  we cannot live without.

 

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for another year.  Thank you for all the blessings  you have shown me.  Forgive me for the poor priorities of last year.  Forgive me for forgetting to recognize my reliance upon you in all things.  I cannot live without you.  Lord, remind me of my need for you through this coming year.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“THE LOVING SAPPER” – Nov. 25

November 25, 2017

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in my love.”  John 15:9

Enthusiasm waned in perfect inversion to the length of the day’s shadows.  The time had finally come to end the work and return home, which was dictated by both light and energy.  The path he walked seemed inclined in all directions as he began the long walk home.  Each step trudged along with heel barely higher than the sole.

The workman had been poured out.  There was nothing left.  He had given his all. Effort and more effort lay all about him but he was glad to be done at least until dawn.  He was well accustomed to the long treading of the trail home and happily started upon his routine.

Within sight of rest, random ruminations were rudely ruined by the wreckage caught in the corner of his eye.  A familiar plot, normally flourishing, lay ravished.  He had never paid much attention but he had remembered this small garden as blooming and inviting, well maintained and refreshing but that was not this evening.

The workman did not know when it was wrecked.  Had it been today?  Could it have been some time ago?  He did not know.  It was not his plot.  It was not his responsibility.  He could walk on by and no one would care.  He could turn the other way and no one would stare.  He could leave this destruction for another without despair.

But that was not his way.

The workman lived amongst destruction.  He knew it well.  The gardens he tended were strewn with munitions; bombs buried beneath every patch.  Inattentive tilling could trigger untold devastation with years of lost effort.  The workman knew that some bombs were buried deep and hard to trip while other were  exposed and ready to explode with a breath.

He could see several mines that would inevitably be tripped by someone less attentive and unaware.  He could not simply move on.  It was not his way.  With a sigh, he wearily stepped out of his routine and into the blast zone of this particular plot.  It was now his problem since he too would be effected by any mis-step.

 

The workman moved quickly with the skill of a sapper and defused all that he could readily see.  It was not hard.  It simply took care and gentleness to remove the danger. Yet, his heart broke over the destruction.  This plot had been stripped of all pleasantness; left barren and uninviting.

U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician

The workman returned to the pathway where he had left his satchel.  He removed a small delicate flower.  It was all that he had left and it was all that he could give.  He carefully opened the soil in the heart of the plot and planted this small gift…a flower.


A believer’s heart is the garden where Christ has planted this sweet flower of his love.  It is the channel through which the golden stream of his affection runs.  ~ Thomas Watson


It had been a long day and the last thing he wanted to do was to stop for some fuel.  However, he did want to get home so where wasn’t really a choice.  So, he broke his routine and reluctantly swung his pickup into the gas station.  A swipe of the credit card through the fuel pump produced the annoying message “See Attendant”.  This was not the desired result for someone who just wants to get home.   Another swipe of a different card produced the same results.  “What a waste of time” was all he thought as he wearily trudged toward the store with heels barely higher than the soles.

He saw the familiar face of the attendant standing behind the counter as he entered the store.  However, her faced somehow seemed to be a mere shadow of itself.  As his turn in line came, the workman gave his usual greeting.  The reply was far from usual.  It was terse, verging on rude.  A quick glance into her eye caught a tear turning into a glare.

Clearly, something had happened that had wrecked her normally jovial spirit.  Had it been today?  Could it have been some time ago?  He did not know.  He didn’t really know her.  It was not his responsibility.  He could walk out and no one would care.  He could not engage and no one would stare.

He could leave her in despair but that was not his way…he said a prayer, it was time to get to the real work of the day, for he was a loving sapper.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for your love.  Help me to love others as you have loved me and your Father has loved you.  Help me to not ignore the hurting around me.  Help me to not selfishly protect myself from other’s issues.  Give me a heart the feels and desires to heal.  Give me the desire to share the sweet flower of your love that it may flow with your affection into the hearts of the hurting.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“SECULAR SKEPTIC BUT NOT UNIVERSALLY SKEPTICAL” – Nov. 16

November 16, 2015

“And  we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  Hebrews 6:11-12

I watched the most recent Republican Presidential Debate on FOX Business News with my son.

At one point during the debate, he asked me what I thought about the candidates.  I grumbled some affirmation regarding the candidate’s sound-bite solutions but mixed in my reservations as to whether any of them will actually fulfill their promises.

“I’m skeptical” was the conclusion of a decidedly negative lament on my doubts associated with the promises of leading candidates.  To which, my son commented on the fact that I am the most skeptical person he knows.  While, I had selected that particular word.  It made me a little circumspect when I heard it used as an adjective to my character.

Granted, my son hasn’t been around very many skeptical people; we homeschool after all.  Yet, I recoiled at being a skeptic in my son’s eyes due to the negative association that comes with that word.  I was concerned by what I might be patterning for him.

Skeptical is defined as not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations.  Based on this definition, I am a skeptic, particularly of politicians.  I am not easily convinced by charismatic talk of how a candidate is going to make America better.  I have doubts and reservations regarding the grand promises of those seeking political office because I have seen so few of those promises fulfilled.

In fact, I probably have gone beyond mere skepticism into full political cynicism.  Cynical is defined as distrusting or disparaging the motives of others.  In general, I distrust the motives of all politicians of both parties.  My cynicism has come from years of being lied to or mislead by those in political office especially if that office is in Washington, DC.

Therefore, as I listen to candidates make their promises I am overwhelmed with an equal sentiment of skepticism and cynicism.

Skeptical – I doubt whether they have or can obtain the political ability to actually do what they say.
Cynical – I question whether their words are mere semantics formulated for an election-day victory.

Politicians in America have earned the skepticism and cynicism of the US voter.  I wish more voters would think critically of what candidates are selling and hold them accountable to their promises.  Yet, I have lost my optimism of the political process.

Years of broken pledges have fouled my political optimism with the contaminated water stored up in the reservoirs of campaign promises.

I am not pessimistic but realistic.
I am a secular skeptic but not universally skeptical.
I am a humanistic cynic but not celestially cynical.

I want to pattern for my son that it is important to think critically about all promises that are dependent upon the ability and will of the one making the promise.  That is why I am skeptical and cynical of all politicians in their ability and will to keep their promises.

I desire my son to follow this same example of critical thinking and apply what the Bible teaches about God’s character to what He promises.

God’s character is why I am not universally skeptical.

“Ah, Lord God!  It is you who has made the heavens and the earth
by your great power and by your outstretched arm!
Nothing is too hard for you.”  Jeremiah 32:17

God has the ability to keep any promise that He makes.  If God has the ability to create this world and all that is in it, then there is not a promise in the Bible that is beyond His omniscient, omnipotent power.

God’s character is why I am not celestially cynical.

“Anyone who does not love does not know God,
because God is love.”  1 John 4:8

God proved His love for us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  If God proved His love by giving His Son so that I can have eternal life, then there is not a promise in the Bible made with questionable motives.

With God, all skepticism can end because He can do everything He says.

With God, all cynicism can end because He has proven His motivation.

With God, we can have full assurance of hope in every promise that He has made.

“Prayer irrigates the fields of life with the waters
which are stored up in the reservoirs of promise.”
~ C. H. Spurgeon

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the promises that you have made in the Bible.   Thank you for revealing yourself to us so that we can have confidence in all your promises  Lord, give me a full assurance of hope to the end.  Father, grant that same assurance to my son and daughter.  Help them to see mankind for who we are and You for who You are.  Help us not to be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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