Sunday, February 24, 2013

To Know the Love of Christ

Ephesians 3:16-19 says "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."  

Everyone is looking for love...we all, naturally, want to be loved!  It is a God given desire that each of us have.   Sadly, we generally look in the wrong places to find that love.  Born with a sinful nature, it is only natural for humans to look everywhere but in Christ for love.  Some examples of that search include, seeking after money, sexual sin, controlling ones spouse in order to find satisfaction, insisting that children "fulfill" them, being a workaholic, and many other vices.  

For myself, I, too, have looked in the wrong place many times for love.  To be honest, I thought I HAD to have a husband to be happy.  I thought a job that paid better would make me happy, etc.  I'm grateful that while I would still like to have a husband, it is no longer the MUST item it once was.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to teach in a Christian school and be a part of God's work even though the pay is small.  God supplies all of my needs!  

It is a blessed day when an individual comes to the realization that there is NO HUMAN alive who can give them the unconditional love that fulfills and satisfies!  What a blessed day when Christ is all and in all!

"Jesus, from your amazing resources, empower me with inner strength through your Holy Spirit.  As You make Yourself more and more at home in my heart, teach me to trust You alone for love.  May my roots go down deep into Your love and keep me strong.  Give me power to understand how wide, how long, and how high and how deep Your love is!  Even though I can't understand it fully in this life, make me complete with Your life and power!!!"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

High Places...

In Habakkak 3:17-19 we read these words...."Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments."  
I think of my dear brother, Michael, who for nearly three years has "labored" in the lonely place of cancer.  I truly cannot imagine all that he goes through as he continues to receive chemo treatments, etc.  Sometimes, he is so discouraged, and probably wonders if there is a reason to press on.  I believe there are several reasons to press on...
All through history, ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden, people have walked in darkness.  They have started life's journey with many expectations, hopes, and dreams.  But, all, will eventually find those dreams dashed in big and small ways.  No different for Michael.  It seems that the fig trees refuse to bear fruit, the olive trees have no crop, there is nothing to eat.  It seems that life is useless, difficult and sad.  But, the writer of this scripture had the right idea which I need to remember.  Even though, life is not going according to my plan, I can still CHOOSE to rejoice in God.  I will not feel like it much of the time, but it's a choice that I must make.  
I can remember that God has not placed me here so I can be "happy."  My happiness is not dependent on the hand life deals me.  My "happiness" can come ONLY from a relationship with God.  When that relationship is right, I will have strength to press on and rejoice in Him.  
I believe that Michael has chosen, time after time, to rejoice in God and continue to press on, even in great difficulty.  He has wanted so much that God would be glorified in His life whether by living or dying.  When he does this, God helps him to walk upon the high places of God.  I believe that God has a special plan for Michael and for those of His own who suffer.  In the suffering, God can truly be glorified.  It's easy to praise God when there is no pain, but much more difficult when things are not going well.  
Oh, to have a faith in Christ so strong, that even in the darkest of times, I can praise Him!  My brother is a great example...God bless him and give him strength!  God give me a faith in YOU, so encompassing, that even in darkness there will be praise.  Oh, to walk on the high places with You, above the world and the strife in it...resting safely in You!