Aug 26, 2012

Greater Love

What is love?

Not the mushy feeling of romantic love that come and goes like the tide.  Or the "we have fun together", friendly, spunk, non-committal love.
What is real, honest-to-goodness, last forever, kind of love?  The kind that you can shower on a child, or your husband, or any friend, or any stranger that will encourage them, strengthen them, make them all that they were meant to be?

Love is sacrifice.  "Greater love has no one than this: that to lay down one's life for his friends."   Sacrifice is costly. To be sacrifice it must be given without expectation of getting anything back.  I think we never truly understand love until we have poured ourselves out for someone who will not reciprocate.

Sure, we serve people. But have you ever stopped to question your own motives? Have you ever realized that deep down in the hiddenest place in your heart, the motive for serving people is often to gain their affection or their thanks?  I have.  That's not love.

I have loved the unlovely...but found it was relatively easy to love the unlovely when I knew they would respond with gratitude - even hero-worship. And so I plumped my ego to a terrific size by service as I gained back the praise of the people I helped. Then I woke up to the realization that I didn't really love THEM at all. I merely loved their love. Then I realized one thing more. I realized that I stopped loving people that I knew didn't care a straw for me.  I could love the unlovely, but I wouldn't love the ungrateful.  I realized I didn't really know love at all.

When Christ went to the cross, He opened His heart unreservedly for the world. He offered His blood for people He knew would never love Him back. Unreservedly. Without hesitation. He fed the crowds knowing those crowds would turn on Him.  He did not consider that miracle ill-placed. He loved Judas with an open heart knowing Judas would betray Him.  He did not consider that love wasted. He poured Himself out in service daily - hourly - for the people who would shout for Him to be crucified. He didn't look back on those days and hours with regret.
He didn't stop loving us when we didn't love Him. He didn't grow impatient in His love while He waited for us to respond to Him.  He just LOVED. Plainly, purely, simply, overwhelmingly, powerfully, astoundingly.

Love's definition is this: Give everything. Expect nothing. Forgive without limits.

Today, pour out your life in service to others. Not for praise or fame or to be well-respected by them. Not to gain friends or followers or loyal supporter. Serve with your words, with your actions, with your prayers. Sacrifice for the ungrateful, the unloving, the unworthy, the despicable. Sacrifice your spare time, and sacrifice the time you would have preferred not to spare. Serve in the Name of Jesus, to display His love to an ungrateful world.

That, my friends, is Love.

Aug 19, 2012

Jesus' Way

Is this the way my Jesus walked
This lonely, narrow lane?
If those footsteps in the dust are His
I'll gladly walk this way

Is that the way my Jesus looked
Love on His face, His eyes, His voice?
Then mercy permeate my every act
And compassion decide each choice

Where was it that my Jesus lived
The place He called His home?
If His country is Heaven, then so is mine
I'm content a stranger now to roam

How was it my Jesus talked
What sort of words were used?
If He spoke only the language of the Father
Then I yield my lips to truth

Is this the Temple my Jesus purged
To make it fit for prayer?
Then make me pure to my heart of hearts
That Your glory may abide in here

Is this the cross my Jesus bore
The weight of the Father's will?
I willingly kneel to accept my own
I'll follow Him up that hill

Aug 18, 2012

What Is Your Portion?

Are you satisfied?

Psalm 145:19 "He will fulfill the desire of all who fear Him."

All of us have desires, dreams and ambitions. Whether it be for an object, a relationship, a status, an achievement...
Often I have looked at scriptures like this and - though I would never have admitted it - I considered it a way to manipulate God. "If I love Him - if I fear Him, He'll give me what I want."
But today I looked at it different. I realized that what this is not saying that we'll have everything that we want right now.
It is saying that as we honor and revere and love the Lord - truly love Him from our hearts, and not just with lip service - He will become the fulfillment of every yearning of our hearts. He doesn't just satisfy a temporary longing, He reaches into the depths of our desires and satisfies the root, the core, the heart!

If you long for a relationship, He becomes your lover - and the best love anyone could ask for.
If you long for position, He gives you a place in His heart, in His family, in His story.
If you long for achievement, He will show you what counts for eternity.
If you long to be noticed, He shows you your own name written on His hand that He will never forget.

Oh, I know, sometimes life gets hard…hard because we have bought into the lie that says we have to strive for anything we want or we will never get it. Sometimes we get tired of waiting for the fulfillment of the promises of God…because we put more affection on the promise than we do on the Promise Maker.
Sometimes we get mad at the Lord because we think He has forgotten us, but in reality we are still cared for, still alive, still have access to salvation. He just doesn’t care so much about our priority list because He has one of His own that is infinitely better and eternally more perfect.

Are you satisfied with just your Lord and nothing more? If everything was stripped away and stolen from you (family, spouse, friends, job, responsibility, possession) would you still be satisfied. Or perhaps is your love a bit divided. Perhaps you love the Lord BECAUSE of all He's given you. I encourage you, do some searching...I had to, and I discovered how lacking my love was.

The age old question remains. Would you love Him if He took it all away and you were left with nothing but Him?

I ask you, what is YOUR portion?

Aug 14, 2012

Positioned for a Miracle

Do you ever feel that where you are right now is not compatible with where you are going?

Like a lame man looking up a sheer cliff face at his mountaintop destination?

It is curious to notice, though, that this is the place God puts His children in at least once in life. All of His best heroes have spent time in this spot.

And why?

Because this is the spot where we learn what faith is.  This is where we either give discouraged, throw in the towel, and never reach our potential...OR we lift our chin and ask, "I wonder what miracle God is planning here?"

You see, there's always a miracle.  In the exact right time, there is always the perfect miracle.

Look at Joseph. Years in prison - forgotten in prison - but one day the Pharaoh happened to have a dream, and his servant happened to hear of that dream, and that servant had happened to previously been in jail with Joseph, and he had happened to have a dream in prison, that Joseph had happened to interpret, and so the servant happened to tell the king of Joseph, and Joseph happened to be able to interpret Pharaoh's dream, so Pharaoh happened to make him second in command of all of Egypt, happening to fulfill a dream God had given Joseph years before.


Or was God orchestrating every detail to perfection in Joseph's life so that at the peak time everything slipped effortlessly into place?

Maybe, right here in this uncomfortable place that seems so far from where you're going God is crafting a miracle.

And just maybe that miracle will change your life.

And it won't be coincidence.

But don't get impatient...the delay just means you haven't reached the perfect time yet.


And you know what that means...'s means your miracle is still coming.

Aug 12, 2012

My Pledge

There is a great desire in all of us for relationship...especially a marriage relationship. It's a God-given desire, and it is a good desire. But as a Christian single, we encounter many pressures. From the church-world, everyone wants us to get married almost as bad as we want it ourselves. Our friends want to set us up. The world thinks we're crazy to keep ourselves for the one God chose for short, it's hard to wait.

I recently came across a pledge that I wrote the year I graduated. A pledge for my future husband.  It encouraged me once again to remember what it is that I am being patient for and convicted me to uphold, still, the same firm standard that I did then.  If you are single and still waiting for match God has for you, don't grow weary in well doing. Don't give into the temptation to settle or to bend your standards because the waiting has grown long. Remember that that promise of God is that we WILL reap if we do not lose heart.
I will wait for you, the man who is waiting for me.
I will be patient though it be years.
I will be ready though it be tomorrow.
I will not run ahead of the Lord’s plan; I will not lag behind His desire; I will not be distracted from His will.
God’s purpose will be my all-consuming passion.
I will love Him more than I love you; and I will love Him more than I love the dream of you.
I will let no impatience hold me back from the destiny the Lord has for me.
You are part of that destiny.
I will wait, but I will not be idle.
I will be giving myself constantly to the call of God for myself in faith that as I do I will also be preparing for our call as husband and wife.
I will be steadfast, unswerving, unwavering, undeterred. I will be committed to God's charge to me as a woman and as a Christian.
I will keep not just my body, but my heart pure and unstained from the affections of any other.
I realize that emotions may come and go within both of us, but my decision to give my whole heart will happen only when the Lord releases me to love you.
I will not allow heartbreaks in my past or hurts that I have suffered to affect how I relate to you.
I recognize that God is the Healer of my heart, and when He heals, He heals completely.
I will not hold you to account for the actions of others, nor will I withhold my trust and affection in anticipation of you making the mistakes others may have made.
I know that there may have been failings before you came to Christ.
I pledge myself to complete forgiveness, realizing that "everyone who is in Christ is a new creation...all things have become new."
I will lay any of my own failings under the Blood of Christ so they will not have any ground in our relationship.
I pledge to you that the day I say “I do” I will harbor no regrets.
I promise that the day I give myself to you I will come to you as a whole person ready to run, hand-in-hand with you, into our destiny.


It has been a prayer of mine for many years to see a revival in my lifetime like the revivals in the past. I read stories of the Great Awakenings, the Welsh Revival, the Layman's Revival, Azusa Street, and the rest and my prayer is, "God, do that here!"

I attempted to sit and write about the ingredients of revival, but as I began to read the promises of Scripture and the stories of revivals past I found it impossible to try to clinically lay out a series of sure-fire steps to revival.

I read of the young man in the Hebrides at a prayer service called by two elderly ladies who were concerned about the lack of young people in the churches. The young man said, "It seems to me to be so much humbug to be praying as we are praying, to be waiting as we are waiting, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God." And then lifted his hands asking,"God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure?" At that moment the power of God fell on that place and a revival began that completely transformed an entire community.

No preacher delivered a convicting sermon that all heard, no great evangelist organized a crusade. The Spirit of God swept, with no human help, through the towns and villages. Farmers in their field came under conviction of sin in an instant and fell to their knees to repent. Drunks in the pub were struck with the weight of their sin and got on their faces to cry for the mercy of God.

No, my friends, I cannot spell out any ingredient of revival beyond what God promised in the oft-quoted verse in Chronicles, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land."

It seems the important thing - the only important thing - is for you and I to have the same heart as that young Scotch man. "God, are my hands clean? Is my heart pure?" For when you and I are revived, we become conduits of revival. When we, the people of God, consecrate ourselves to holiness and are convicted of our  sins, we open the heavens over our communities for God to convicted of sin. But until you and I are revived, no amount of studying, of organizing, of waiting, of wanting will pave the way for revival in our generation. Until we, Christ's church, are holy our culture will remain unrepentant. That is the simple way of it.

If I want revival, I must be revived. So God, bring a revival...and start it in me.

Aug 3, 2012

Today's Cross

"Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

This verse has been often on my mind lately and cause me to stop once more and examine my daily life. Today have I denied myself? Am I carrying my cross?  Then I ponder further: What does it mean? What is my cross? Because I am not suffering, does that mean I am not "bearing my cross"?

The Cross of Christ means so much more than suffering. Anyone can suffer, but the cross is more than that. The Cross is ultimately about obedience.  When Jesus requires us to take up our cross, He compels us to dare to obey. Philippians 2:8 speaks of Christ's own obedience to the point of death. It is His footsteps we walk in.

Notice that when Jesus says to deny ourselves, to carry our cross of obedience, He does not speak of just the "important." He said, "Daily." He talks of the habitual tasks, the moment by moment decisions, the little things.  He asks me to deny myself by denying my "right" to do whatever I want. He asks that I be a slave to His will (hard words for our pride to handle).

We often find it easier to obey in huge life decisions, but often we forget to inquire the will of God in the small, common-place areas, too. Yet, this call to follow Christ is a consuming thing. Every decision from here on out must be focused on one goal. Isn't this what we committed to in the first place? From the time I wake up in the morning to the time I lay my head on my pillow at night, I am in the service of Christ. What He tells me, I must do. Where He commands me, I must follow. There is no aspect of a Christian's life that God's authority does not reach.

I encourage you, find out what the will of God is. Right now. This moment.
In your thought processes, does He approve?
In your motivation, is He priority?
In your words, are they the words He wants you to say?
In your spare time, is He still in charge?
Do you speak to the people He wants you to? Do you do what He wants the way He wants it done?

Don't just not do what He has forbidden. Take another leap of obedience and take time to find out what He WANTS you to do right this moment.