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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Great Big Valentine Love

Valentine's Day is a day of reflection and expression. A day set aside to think about the people in our life that we care about. It gives us reason to pause for a moment in our busyness and ask the question: "How much do they mean to me?"

For the ones closest to us, our hearts may immediately bubble up with emotions. They mean more to us than our words can even fully express. Our whole hearts are wrapped around them. 

"How can I express it?" we ask ourselves.

We pen our love letters. We draw or paint our sentiments. We spend more money than we even have, to show just how much we love them. We go out of our way to make sure they know how deep our love goes. We are not afraid to sacrifice. 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV)
Consider now, what God's thought process is when He reflects on how much we mean to Him? How much YOU mean to Him?

He sings His Love Song over us on a daily basis. He paints the sky with His artwork everyday to proclaim His Love. He spent it all. He gave His only Son, for God so loved the world so so very much! He went out of His way and continues to do so as He pursues each of us on an intimate, personal level.

How much do we mean to Him?  

We wouldn't be able to handle it if He expressed it all at once. He needs all of eternity to show us just how deep it truly goes. 

And so the question comes to us, as well. 

"How much does Jesus mean to me?"

Every answer will sound different. Some will shrug their shoulders. He is just a symbol to them. Some will avoid answering. Their self-condemnation is too great. They fear more than they love. They do not know that they can be free by simply saying yes to receiving His Love. Others will say they have never thought about it. And still others will say they have never even heard of Him. 

But some... Some will not even be able to put it into words as tears fill their eyes. For them, Jesus has become their everything. They know the depth of Mercy they have received and they realize they love Him only because they allowed Him to love them first. They said yes to the greatest Valentine's Gift anyone could ever give. Jesus means everything to them because without Him, their lives would mean nothing. 

So, I ask you this Valentine's Day: How much does Jesus mean to you?  

                       We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 NIV)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Dance

He kneels down, putting His Hand over mine and the Sponge.  I labor in His Kitchen daily.

"Come away, my sweet one," He whispers in my ear, as he lifts me from the Earthly Floor. "Come with me."

His arms enfold me as He sways to the music that only He and I can hear. I feel the rhythm and move in sync with Him. I'm reminded in that moment why I said yes to Him in the first place. I'm reminded again that He remains my First Love.  

He has no agenda. He only wishes to be with me. He reassures me that I don't need to try to entertain Him. My fellowship alone brings Him great Delight and Joy. 

I feel the pressures of life fall lifelessly to the Earthly Floor. I can't remember what I was even worrying about 5 minutes ago. His eyes mesmerize me and all I can think of is Him. 

He slowly turns. We move as one. I realize He's a Hopeless Romantic. There is nothing I can do to ever make Him leave. I'm free to be myself with Him. He is in love with every inch of me. 

Then I remember the Earthly Floor. 

"I must get back to doing," I tell Him.

But without a word He holds me closer and twirls me around to the beauty of the Song. Joy envelopes us as we spin and spin. He holds my head steady as we twirl in waltz time. 

"Where are my enemies?" I think. "Where are my accusers?"

They are silenced. They are terrified. I am hidden in the arms of the Most High. They can not find me. 

"Lord, how I long to stay dancing with you forever, but the Earthly Floor is so demanding."

"Remain in my Love, dear one." He reassured. "Your labors should never separate us.  Our Love is your Fuel. It IS possible to Serve and to Dance at the same time."



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wrestling For The Bill

It's probably happened to many of us. You go out to lunch or dinner with a friend. You have a great time laughing, talking, eating and drinking. And then the server brings the bill to your table. Maybe even before the bill is placed on the table, you both reach out your hand to take it from the server.  Your friend is able to put his hand on it first, but you grab the other end of the bill anyway. You both look at each other and smile, knowing a tug of war over this piece of paper is about to begin. 

"I got. Don't worry about it." he insists. 

"No, I got it this time.  My treat." You respond. 

"No really. It's fine. I already planned ahead to pay for it." your friend says, holding his ground. 

It becomes obvious to you. One person will have to be the humble reciever while the other pays the bill. In that moment, you wonder what's harder: to pay the bill, or humbly receive?

Your friend reaches out his other hand and places it on the check and your hand. He looks at you and smiles and says, "The truth is, I paid for this meal in advance. This paper is not a bill, it's my receipt."

God invites us to daily meals with Himself. (He is so eager to fellowship with us!) And though we may come and enjoy every moment with Him, we may still feel an obligation to 'pay for it' in someway.  But every time we come, He reassures us that there is nothing we need to do to earn it or 'pay into it'.  We begin to realize that simply receiving can be the hardest thing we ever do in our relationship with Him. 

Let God foot the bill in your life. Stop trying to pay for it yourself. The price is more than you can even afford anyway. Simply receive what God has said, humbly receive the word planted in your heart. He not only can afford to pay the bill, HE HAS ALREADY PAID IT!  There is nothing more that you can even contribute.  Just a "thank you" will do. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blood Relatives

There's an understanding, for the most part, in the western culture. Friends don't pay each other's bills. Even best friends have an understanding that they are not obligated to financially support each other. But with family members, it's different. Parents not only should, they are required by our law to support their children up to a certain age. 

I'm so glad to have a friendship with God. But if I only view Jesus as my friend, I may be tempted to think that I must still take care of myself and have an "every man for himself" mentality. But I am more than a friend to Him. I am also the Father's daughter. Because of Jesus' work on the cross, we are now Blood relatives. And because I am His child, He takes personal responsibility for me.  I will never 'grow out of' being His kid. He promises to watch over me now and FOREVER. 

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalms 55:22 NLT)

For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly. (Psalms 37:17 NLT)

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NLT)

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:1-8 NIV)