The Real War…

The Real War

“I didn’t struggle with sin until I got saved.”  ~my pastor

 

Advertisements

How Do I Love?

A question I have been wrestling with lately: How do I love? How do I love people? I mean seriously. Have you ever thought of that? People are tough to love. Can we just be honest here? It’s easy to love people that love you and agree with you. But what about those people that bug you? Annoy you? How bout those people that persecute you and hate you? How bout those that go out of their way to show their disdain for you? That show their contempt for your life? I mean those ones who dislike the fact that you live.

Love (The Beatles album)

Love (The Beatles album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world loves to talk about love. The Beatles sang that song “All We Need Is Love”, and while I would agree, I doubt very much they knew how to do it. Most people I know and those that I see on t.v. or in the news talk about love but know little how to practice it, because when it comes right down to it they can’t love people that differ from their own opinion. If they don’t agree with someone then more likely than not they distance themselves from those people and have no relationship with them whatsoever.

I’ve done it. Let me just confess that here and now. I’m guilty of this sort of conditional love.

We say this, “I will love but from a distance…a far, far away distance. To the point where I can’t even see you or do anything for you.” Is that really love?

The world’s definition of love is off.

I like God’s better. God’s love is personified through His Son. Jesus said, “No greater love has any men than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Yes, Jesus laid down His life for His friends, but did you notice He also laid His life down for His enemies? While on the cross He pleaded with the Father to not lay any charge against those who were crucifying Him.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

I like God’s definition of love better because I was once an enemy of God. God was not always in my thoughts. In fact, He wasn’t there at all til one day He invaded my thoughts and showed me how much He loves me by pointing to His Son.

Oh how beautiful the sacrifice! How beautiful the sacrificial love of Christ that He would die for me!!

It is a real test to one’s capacity to love when faced with people who are unlovable.

I can’t think of a better illustration of this than a story as told by Corrie ten Boom in her book The Hiding Place. After the end of the war, Corrie receives many speaking invitations around Europe and the U.S. One place she frequented was in the former Nazi Germany at a time when the country laid in ruins. She describes feeling a great weight whenever she entered Germany.

After speaking on the love and grace of Christ to the German people in a church service in Munich, a man approaches her. She recognizes the man immediately as one of the S.S. guards who tormented and mocked her and the other prisoners as they removed all their clothing in the processing center of Ravensbruck. At that moment, anger and thoughts of revenge filled her mind. Not a moment ago, she was talking about the love of Christ and now it was like her message meant nothing.

View of the barracks at Ravensbrück

View of the barracks at Ravensbrück (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The man stood in front of her with a different face than what she saw in Ravensbruck. This face was beaming. He stuck his hand out to shake her’s and she says she couldn’t bring herself to raise hers to meet it.

“How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that as you say He has washed my sins away!”

Corrie silently prayed, “Lord Jesus, forgive me and help me to forgive him.”

She tries to raise her hand again and still no feelings of warmth or love toward the man.

Again she prays a most honest prayer, “Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give Your forgiveness.”

In that moment she grabs his hand and a spark of warmth fills her and overflows to him. She is overwhelmed with love for this man who was once her enemy.

In the last page of the book Corrie writes a truth we all need to learn when loving unlovable people. It is not you who can love. It is God’s love through you.

“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

I am no more capable of loving my neighbor without the love of Christ. If I am trying to love people and I find it burdensome, then maybe I’m using my own limited love. If I find myself struggling to love my enemies, then maybe I haven’t really allowed myself to be the conduit of God’s love.

“If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”  1 John 4:12

My prayer is this: That I will abide in Him continuously and His love may be perfected in me for the purpose of being the conduit of His love to a lost and hurting world.

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

I’m a newbie here to WordPress so I am delighted to receive this award! Thanks for the nomination goes to lessonsbyheart. Thank you!!! This award is for small scale blogs on the brink of wide-scale recognition.

The community of support from other WordPress bloggers has been amazing! And now it’s my honor to pass this on!                                          liebster-award

Okay there are rules so pay attention.  🙂

The Rules
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.

2. Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions asked of you, and create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate.

3. Nominate 11 blogs you think deserve to be noticed, and leave comments for them letting them know that they’ve been chosen.

4. Display the Liebster Award logo.

5. No tag-backs.

11 Facts About Me (mmm…)

1. My hidden talent is juggling. 🙂

2. I hate making left turns when driving so I avoid it if I can. Call me Monk.

3. I am an introvert who loves hanging out with her friends for hours but then loves hanging out in solitude for hours also.

4. I do love music although I can’t play any instruments.

5. I’ve mentioned in my page “My Library” that being in a library or bookstore is like a little slice of heaven. Another little slice of heaven: in a garden of flowers. LOVE flowers! All kinds! Just being in Lowe’s or Home Depot’s garden center overwhelms me with pure joy! 😉

6. Jesus is my hero.

7. Who’s a fan of irony? Me!

8. Who’s a fan of dry humor? Me!!!! I do love me some humor with a mixture of wit. A little silly and a little dry. That is my range of humor.

9. I AM woman…watch me shop. I love shopping. Especially for shoes. Though my shoe wearing is now limited because of a pinched nerve in my hip. No more high heels unless it’s wedges and they’re not real high. Lord, deliver me so I can wear high heels! Amen!

10. Who’s a big fan of classic movies? Me!!! My favorite actors: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelley, Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Clark Gable.

11. My other hidden talent is drawing. I also dabble in photography. I love crafts…anything creative and crafty I love!

My answers to Lessons By Heart:

1. My favorite color is a toss-up between purple and blue.

2. No kids and no grand kids.

3. My favorite part of the day: When I’m awake which is usually in the afternoon. I’m out of bed in the morning but not awake til afternoon. Although I’ve been doing better lately and feeling like I have more energy.

4. It was my dream to be a teacher when I was a kid. Am I living it now? Sort of. Instead of teaching academics to kids, I occasionally teach the Bible to the adult ladies of my church.

5. My most prized possession is my grandmother’s hoop earrings. She passed away in ’94. Also the picture of my father when he was in the navy back in 1950. My father passed away this passed Nov.

6. My favorite book is the Bible. Favorite book in the Bible: Psalms and Hebrews! I love Hebrews because it’s a comparison of Jesus to other things. The theme: Jesus is better! Amen! Favorite book other than the Bible: What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey. Also The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.

7. I started blogging to publish the works of God that He is doing in my life.

8. Favorite activity:  Laughing.

9. Favorite Bible verse? Depends on what I’m going through. Jude 24 is becoming more and more my favorite though as I get older. “Now to Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. Amen!!”

10. I’ve lived in four different states. Five different homes.

11. If I could live anywhere I wanted, I would want to live in Hawaii. I mean! Have you seen the flowers there??! Gorgeous! I love beauty! What’s that poem by John Keats say? A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

My 11 Questions for you:

1. Give me one word that describes your personality.

2. Pet peeve?

3. What is your favorite place in the world?

4. If you could have super powers, what would it be?

5. Everybody has a little OCD in them. Some quirky characteristic or behavior. What is yours?

6. Favorite book? And don’t say the Bible. That’s too easy and obvious! 😛

7. Why did you start blogging?

8.  Favorite activity?

9. What’s your favorite book of the Bible and why?

10. How many places have you lived (either towns or homes)?

11. Where would you live if you could move anywhere in the world?

My 11 nominees, in no particular order, are (drum roll, please!):

1. http://philbenavides.wordpress.com/

2. http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/

3. http://boyslumber.wordpress.com/

4. http://lynndove.com/

5. http://myawesomeoliveshoots.com/

6. http://daughterbydesign.wordpress.com/

7. http://confidentbrokenness.wordpress.com/

8. http://40yearwanderer.com/

9. http://thelilyandthemarrow.wordpress.com/

10. http://mpullar.com/

11. http://jsparkblog.com/

The Striking Disclosure of God

Tyger, Tyger burning bright

In the forest of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry? ~ William Blake, The Tyger

I love to sit outside once the spring weather arrives and have my quiet time with the Lord. I take out a lounge chair, my Bible, my journal, my devotional book, a notebook, and maybe a book I’ve been reading. The days I treasure the most is when it’s the perfect temperature, 70 degrees, and the sun is shining full force.

One day as I was outside doing my devotions, I looked around me and drank in the loveliness of nature. As I sat there still in my chair, I watched the white petals from the blooming cherry tree float down to the ground like snow flakes as a soft breeze traveled through it. I marveled at the blueness of the cloudless sky and how the radiant sun illuminated the vivid colors of the plush green grass. I became overwhelmed with God’s glory wrapped around me.

Oh the wonder of it all!

English: Cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park,...

English: Cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t it amazing how much you see when you sit still? I can’t help but wonder if this is part of what God meant when He said, “Be still and know that I am God.” If I were not still, I would miss it. I would miss the revelation of God in nature.

One of the definitions of revelation in Webster’s dictionary is “a striking disclosure”. So God’s revelation is God self-disclosing or God revealing Himself to mankind. Theology describes nature as part of “the general revelation of God”.

What does God reveal to me about Himself through His creation? Recently, I would say His beauty and majesty.  As William Blake’s poem talks about the wonder of the fearful form of a tiger, I see the beauty and wonder of God in the hummingbird. Occasionally I will see one hovering next to the petunias hanging over the porch. I watch it with child-like wonder and listen to the hum of it’s wings flapping at anywhere from 12-80 times per second.

Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “I asked for wonder, and He gave it to me.” If I sit still long enough, as I do sitting out on the back deck, I can ask God to show me wonder and He answers by showing me Himself through His creation. This revelation leads me to worship Him, the Creator of all things. The One who sets even the atoms dancing!

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Jeremiah 33:3

May I remember to sit and be still long enough to ask and to see the striking disclosure of God in His creation!