Sunday, September 25, 2011

He's Devising a Way

My recent venture into homeschooling has given rise to much thought on how God the Father relates to us, His kids.  My recognition of the need to love more like He loves has increased dramatically. (He's incredibly long suffering and patient--I am not!)  I've been spending a lot more time meditating on His love and what it looks like...which is guaranteed to make one fall more and more in love with Him!

I came across a verse that I feel I've never seen before.  (Don't you love it when that happens?)

"But God does not just sweep life away;
instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him."
2 Samuel 14:14b

He doesn't sweep life away...He devises ways to bring us back.  Wow.

He doesn't get angry or offended, rather He yearns to draw us back to Him.

For the soul aching with shame...He has no desire to sweep you away.  He's longing to restore your connection to Him.

For the one who feels they've messed up and wrecked things beyond repair...not so.

If your heart feels despair over one was has wandered and you've lost hope for restoration...take comfort.  He is, at this very moment, devising ways to bring that one back to Him.  Pray with renewed faith.

Comfort and conviction.

I sometimes want to "sweep away" those who irritate or inconvenience me.  This alone separates me from Him, but He has devised a way...  The capacity to sustain love for the unlovable isn't instinctive or human.  To love like He loves means soaking up His love for me so I can extend the same love to others.

 We love each other because he loved us first.
1 John 4:19

Friday, September 16, 2011


"Why are you putting those letters there?"

The shelf has been there as long as we've lived in this house.  It's a weathered board, a piece of an old grainary, once the storehouse of someone's bounty, now it holds treasured keepsakes, each a memory of a special friend and a unique blessing bestowed.  It hangs at the main intersection of our house, between kitchen and dining room, where all our intense living happens.

On this day, I placed five letters below.


I need the bold reminder.

I need grace.  Badly.

I'm so not perfect.  I hate it.  I find myself wishing I was a better wife, mother, friend.  To make matters worse no one else around me is perfect either!  Sometimes in this space of intense living frustration brews and impatience stews.  Sometimes it bursts out and shrapnel rips and wounds.  Sometimes a sense of inadequacy drains all my energy.  All my wishing accomplishes nothing.  The only thing that will make any difference is grace.  I must open myself to receive it, acknowledging my failure/inadequacy and His tender desire to come and redeem.  Apart from Him I can do nothing.  I can't make myself better so He'll receive me.  I need to make myself humble so He can restore.  I need to receive grace for myself.  I need to extend grace to the imperfect ones I love.

Grace floods in when we open the door!  In spite of my weakness, because of His greatness, amazing things happen.  Relationships are strengthened instead of eroded.  Love grows instead of bitterness.  It's an inside out, upside down economy where the deficit of failure, and the zero of my ability to do things perfectly are turned into treasure...because of grace, amazing grace.


To receive and give.

Because he first loved us.

If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing,
can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes,
sovereign life,
in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift,
this grand setting-everything-right,
that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
Romans 5:17 MSG

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Difficult Obedience

When He asks something of us and we choose to that moment we only know what we are giving up, letting go of, surrendering.  We may have hopes and ideas about the fruit of our obedience, but the only thing we know for sure is what we are giving--and hopefully the One to whom we are giving.  Therein lies the guarantee.

The boy with the loaves and fish was sought out by the disciples and asked if he would give what he had.  Five loaves and two fish sounds like a huge lunch to me, but I imagine his mother packing a lunch for him as I do for my son.  Some boys need to eat a lot.  They love eating!  As I picture this young lad in my mind, I wonder if he was reluctant to give up his lunch?  My son would be--he's always hungry.  Or perhaps when he looked into the eyes of the Son of God his hesitation melted away?  Whatever the case, when he put his "little" into the hands of the Master something profoundly amazing happened.  I'm sure he had no idea in the moment of "letting go" what was about to unfold.  We still talk about it two thousand years later.

Sometimes the giving asked of us feels huge and we wrestle with it--whether it's our tithe or our time or, you know, whatever it is He's asking of you.  In that moment all we can see is what it's going to cost us.  Unless we look at the One to whom we give it.  The greatest we have to give is nothing in comparison to the One to whom we give.

Sometimes I struggle because I place such a high value on what I'm letting go though He wouldn't turn it into something far greater than I could imagine.  Sometimes what I have to give seems paltry or even pathetic in the face of the need.  Much like five loaves to feed five thousand.

The world is in desperate need of what He can do with our "little".  Given, blessed, broken, nourishment for many.

And he took the five cakes of bread and the two fishes and,
 looking up to heaven,
he said words of blessing over them, and when they had been broken,
he gave them to the disciples to give to the people.
Luke 9:16