Still desperately needed: His Light. His Love.

HIS LIGHT. HIS LOVE. (2)

With the goal of determining if there was a blog post that I could repost this week, I searched my blog using “June 2016” as my search criteria. The post, “His light. His Love,” was the first to appear. The following paragraph grabbed my attention, “In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies like the mass shootings which occurred in Orlando, FL, in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016.”

An internet search highlighted the truth that tragedies have continued unabated since June 12, 2016. They include several natural disasters. Among them were the following: flooding in Louisiana from August 12-14, 2016, which resulted in 13 deaths and an estimated 30,000 people displaced; three earthquakes in Italy in three months, which killed hundreds of people; hurricane Matthew in October 2016, that resulted in an estimated 1,600 deaths and damages in excess of $10.5 billion. The start of the new year brought no relief. In January 2017, more than 130 million people were affected by humanitarian crises such as disease outbreaks, natural disasters and conflict. It is believed that 58 million people are displaced worldwide and terrorists attacks continue, with the people of England experiencing multiple attacks in less than 14 days.

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world” we are told in Matthew 5:14. “God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit,” Romans 5:5, informs us. What was true in June 2016, remains true in June 2017 – “In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies…” We are His light to the world and His love has been “abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Father God, the world still desperately needs Your light and Your love. The heavens tell of Your glory but You have purposed that Your light be seen and Your love be shown through us, Your children. We acknowledge that our ability to reflect Your light is too often impaired, and instead of love, what is seen in us is condemnation and self-righteousness. We confess our weakness. Our sin. Cleanse us, Father, so that Your light in us can be clearly seen. Help us let go of everything we need to and allow You to remove that from which only You can free us, so that Your healing, transforming love in us can constantly overflow to others. And Abba, help us love, not just in word but in deed. In Jesus Name.

His Exclusive Claim

HIS exclusive claim.png

As I mentioned in a recent post, I saw the movie, “The Shack,” two Sundays ago. I continue to reflect on this fictional story and have talked with several persons about it. As sometimes happens, a fresh insight came as I was telling one of my sisters about the movie and my experience of seeing it. What I noted was that the main character, “Mack,” encountered Jesus first and His words were an invitation.

I thought of John 14:6, which constitutes a part of Jesus’ response to Thomas’s question, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5, AMP). “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'” (John 14:6, AMP).

This exclusive claim of Jesus has been the source of offense for many. In the article,  “Is Jesus the Only Way?” the author, Paul Rutherford, identifies Jesus’ exclusive claim that He is the only Way to God as “the most offensive aspect of Christianity today.” He identifies the following objections to Jesus’ exclusive claim: “Tolerance;” “Absolutes Don’t Exist;” and, “Pluralism.” Rutherford also provides the Scriptural basis for believing that Jesus is the only Way to God.  (I encourage you to invest the time necessary to read the article.  I recognize the need in myself to further develop the discipline of diving deeper into the tenets of my faith, to know why I believe what I believe. Perhaps you see this as a need we have in common). 

I think of Jesus’ exclusive claim and how being offended by His claim can result in one overlooking the amazing and incomprehensible fact that God loves us enough to provide any way back to Him, more so this Way. This Way, which required the Word to become flesh  and suffer beyond human imagining to redeem us.

Also, I recall His loving invitations and will close this post with two of them and His promise to those who come to Him. I pray that if you have not accepted His invitations, you will this Lenten season. And if you have, pause to give Him thanks.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, AMP)

 Now on the last and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood and called out [in a loud voice], “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water. (John 7:37-39, AMP)

“All that My Father gives Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me].(John 6:3, AMP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advent Week 4: Day 6 – LOVE

1-corinthians-13_13amp

Prayer

Ancient of Days. Jehovah Shalom. Father.  May our faith (our abiding trust in You and Your promises) be constant, our hope (confident expectation of eternal salvation) be unwavering, and our love (unselfish love for others, growing out of Your love for us) be deeply rooted and maturing. Thank You for Your love.

 

 

Advent Week 4: Day 5 – LOVE

love-rmns-8_38-nlt

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-39, NLT).

Prayer

Creator. Ancient of Days. Father. There is so much in life that is uncertain. Thank You that one of the things we can be absolutely sure of is, “Nothing can separate us from You love.” Thank You for Your love and for this assurance that we have in You.

 

 

 

Week 4 Advent 2016 – The Love of Advent

love

“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

(Isaiah 9:6, NKJV)

 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17, AMP)

The full lyrics of this hymn can be found here.

Prayer

Elohim. Eternal God. Everlasting Father. Thank You. Thank You for Your love. Thank You.

 

 

 

 

His Light. His Love.

 “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, Amplified Bible; emphasis added).

 ” Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5, Amplified Bible; emphasis added).

We are His light to the world and His love has been “abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

We are His light to the world and His love has been “abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

We are His light to the world and we have His love in abundance in our hearts. But sometimes, just as the brilliance of the light of a physical lantern can be dimmed when the globe of the lantern is dusty, I believe our ability to reflect His light can be dimmed (impaired) by the dust, or residue of sin, resentment, weariness, discouragement, etc. And although He has abundantly poured His love into our hearts, there are times when a “blockage” (for example, pain, disappointment, distrust, doubt, unbelief) can prevent His love in us from overflowing to others.

In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies like the mass shootings which occurred in Orlando, FL, in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Father, cleanse us so that Your light in us can be clearly seen. Also, help us let go of everything we need to and allow You to remove that from which only You can free us, so that Your healing, transforming love in us can constantly overflow to others. In Jesus Name.

Redemption: All His doing

1 John 4 v10

 

Musing on His Plan and His Timing

As we approach the period known in Christianity as Holy Week (which begins this year on Sunday, March 20th), I continue to reflect on God’s Plan and His timing.

The first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, documents the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah, beginning with Abraham, the father of Isaac. Verse 17 states, “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.” Forty-two generations.

Even without counting the generations from Adam to Terah, Abraham’s father, 42 generations represent a large number of people, living life in all its dimensions. And, encompassing all these numerous people and all their living, was the Omnipotent One, existing outside of time, but diligently, patiently, lovingly, meticulously working out His eternal plan of redemption, through humans and in time, to bring us back to Himself.

4 “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” (Galatians 4:4-7, NLT)

These verses are worth reading again and again until they sink deep and indelibly into our beings. Why wait for a later time? Let us read them again at least once now. Shall we?

He made us His very own children at an incalculable cost. You. Me. As such I find it impossible to muse on His Plan and His timing and not think of His incomprehensible love, which has been and will always be His motive for all He does for us.

In his classic hymn, “The love of God,”* Frederick M. Lehman eloquently speaks of God’s love.

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Refrain

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Refrain

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Refrain

What is our response to His love?

*Lyrics taken from http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/o/loveofgo.htm

 

 

Monday Vitamins: The Love of Advent

The song, “Noel,” sung by Lauren Daigle on Chris Tomlin’s Christmas album, Adore, moved me deeply the first time I heard it, and its impact seems to deepen each time I listen. If the gospel can be summed up in one song, “Noel” does so, for me. I experience a sense of wonder when I hear Lauren Daigle exult, “Noel. Noel. Come and see what God has done…Story of amazing love.” Indeed.

 Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Savior of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

Chorus
Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel

Verse 2
Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord
He shall reign forevermore

Lyrics from http://worshiptogether.com/songs/noel-chris-tomlin/

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Table

Joining Kate Motaung and other courageous writers who are part of the Five Minute Friday Community. Today’s prompt is “Table.”

TOC

Some individuals are described or describe themselves as “closed books,” which means they are not easy to understand. Others are described as or describe themselves as “open books,” suggesting that they are easy to understand and freely share information about themselves.

Whether a closed book or an open book, if we are books, we will have a table of contents. And I wonder, what would be included in each of our table of contents?

Table of contents can have first-level headers, which are usually titles of chapters, and section titles within each chapter. I imagine that our first level headers would include titles such as “Birth” and other major life events and within each chapter, perhaps, there will be places, peoples, and times related to each event.

Speaking about my own life (“book”), in each title in the table of contents you will find two words “Love” and “Grace” for His grace and His love are recurring themes of my life story.