Monday, April 28, 2014

Of Love Notes and Never Forgetting



I keep a running list of love notes.

God’s love notes.




Because unless He keeps telling me He loves me, my human heart stops believing it.

I stop believing it, because I can’t fully comprehend His love. 

His love is greater than my mind can wrap itself around and deeper than I can grasp.

So I keep reading His love notes.

Over and over.

Unless I do, His love gets lost in the incomprehensible. And I fail to believe it.

I forget that no one loves me as He does. Not one ounce of hatred exists in His heart toward me. No warm, fuzzy feeling could ever properly express His love.

And my human heart wants it to be warm and fuzzy.

It wants to feel loved. It wants His love to be a feeling.

But it’s greater than that.

His love is a reality of tenderness that acts—that stoops down in His greatness and fills every corner of our existence with His familiarity and presence.

His love is actions on our behalf that we didn’t ask for. And action we don’t deserve.

His love toward us is actions and gifts we will never deserve.
                Eternal life.
                A place in His family.
                Sins forgiven.
                Penalty paid.
               
His love isn’t fleeting circumstances that feel like a warm, fuzzy feeling from Him.

His love will carry us into eternity and keep us there.

His is love we didn’t deserve. He loves us with a love we could never comprehend.

So I keep reading His love notes.

Again and again.

Because unless I do, I forget. Because I don’t understand it.

It’s too high and incomprehensible.

It’s that amazing.

Constant.

Undeserved.

It’s a love He doesn’t want us to forget.

Because unless we are loved by Him, what kind of love would ever be enough?


“Unto him that loved us . . .
to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5,6)



Monday, April 21, 2014

Balcony People


We all need balcony people in our lives.

The kind of people who cheer us on, give us a fresh perspective, notice the specks and the planks (because they've already dealt with their own), and who aren't afraid to speak the truth in love.

"Balcony people are people who help me remember the big picture in my life. They're sitting on the balcony, after all, and have a much better view of my life than I do." ~ Lina Abujamra (Stripped: When God's Call Turns from 'Yes!' to 'Why Me?', p. 200)

Last week, I saw one of my balcony people.


Grandma Rosemary


Her 91-year-old wisdom born out of constant communion with the Lord has been my comfort on many occasions.

Her words have sometimes hurt--because they've been the tool of God to chisel.

And her unconditional love has convinced my heart over and over that God's love is real.

Once when my heart had been in turmoil and my tears were all she had to read, she called me with words I will never forget: "For the past three days, I have done little but pray for you."

Her balcony perspective prayed. And kept praying.

Her balcony love convinced me of God's love.

Her balcony presence in my life has given me the courage to step across the stage of my life and know I am never alone.

We all need balcony people in our lives.

The kind of people who could share the stage, but don't.

Those valuable people in our lives who watch with love and prayers and who are content to be a simple tool of God to mold and comfort and cheer and keep our focus upward.

"Balcony people don't just show up in your life. You've got to cultivate them over time. You've got to be intentional in finding them. You've got to pray for them. And once in a while, you've got to be a balcony person for them too!" ~ Lina Abujamra

Do you have some balcony people in your life?

Are you a balcony person for someone else?


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Invisible Hand

Thrown into a mud hut, stripped of their outer garments and holding their baby tight, Betty Stam and her husband John wondered what the next day would bring.

They had given their lives for China. Now, China was giving them up.

For them, heaven would be their next stop. The mud hut their last resting place on this earth.

Somehow Betty knew.

But what about her baby? At 3 months old, what would they do with the baby? How would she be cared for if she were spared?

Before she was dragged away with her husband to their martyrdom, Betty wrapped little Helen in warm blankets and snuggled her deep into a sleeping bag.

By faith in the invisible God, Betty hid her three-month-old baby deep in His capable, protective hands.

For 27 hours, Helen slept. For 27 hours, the invisible God cared for Helen, while He brought her parents Home.

Oprhaned but not alone, Helen was discovered by a Chinese pastor.

Because her mother hid her baby by faith.

". . . as seeing him who is invisble (Heb. 11:27)."



Betty reminds me of Moses' mother, Jochabed.

Imagine the faith it took to make a little basket, place her 3-month-old baby inside, and leave him on the Nile River, while all of Egypt was under an edict to kill every baby boy that was born.

Like Betty Stam, Moses' mother trusted an invisible hand to care for her three-month-old baby.

And He did.

Jochabed must have taught her son this trust.  In Hebrews 11, we're told Moses lived by faith ". . . as seeing him who is invisible (v.27)."

Many times throughout his life, Moses stepped into the unknown, trusting the invisible God.

Many times, Moses watched God's invisible hand work where he never could.




Our God doesn't have hands and eyes and a being we can physically bow down to, as centuries of people have always wanted.

Instead, by faith we see the work of His hands.

He convinces our hearts that He can see.

We have story after story of God working in the midst of His people.

By faith, we see Him working in our midst.

Day by day, an invisible hand is working, guiding, guarding, moving in such a way that only eyes of faith can see Him and trust Him.

Betty Stam.
Jochabed.
Moses.

These all lived by faith ". . . as seeing him who is invisible."

Can we entrust our lives and the lives of the ones we love into the hands of this invisible God?

We can.

Will we?

"The LORD, thy God, in the midst of thee is mighty." (Zeph. 3:17)


Click here to listen to the lesson about the fearless faith of Moses.


Hand image courtesy of Imanee/freedigitalphotos.net

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Hidden Place



Remember when Jesus said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow”?

He was teaching His disciples a lesson on trust and anxiety and leaving worrisome things in the hands of their Creator.

But how do lilies grow?

In a hidden place.

Right now, winter is passing into color, and a brighter world is springing up out of nowhere.




But where did this color and beauty come from?

From the dark. 

In the hidden place.

This beauty and color and life out of dormancy is springing up from the dark.

From a hidden place.

Oswald Chambers once said,
               “We imagine we are to be always above ground, shedding perfume and looking beautiful; or being continually cut and put into God’s show room to be admired, forgetting altogether that we cannot grow and be cut at the same time. We cannot be lilies unless we have spent time in the dark.”  (Still Higher for His Highest, p. 46)

We could never hope to be a source of joy and life and blessing until we’ve spent time in the dark.

Unless we’ve been in the hidden place.




I was there when these tulip bulbs were planted—small, round balls of hope buried deep in the dark for a brighter day. Buried deep in a hidden place, bearing up under the snow and cold of a different season, yet sharing life today.

Life buried deep in a hidden place will always shed joy and life and hope for others.

Because the hidden place of life in Christ is a place of peace and growth we could never experience any other way.

“Consider your hidden life with God,” Oswald Chambers also said.

That hidden life will bear up in the darkest seasons. That hidden place will always grow life that can’t be ignored.

Your hidden life in Him will bless others.

He will bless through you as you lie dormant in His embrace continually and contentedly.

Living for Him. Loving Him. Seeking His face. Resting in Him.

In the hidden place.

“Your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)


[Congratulations to Sharon Robertson, a new subscriber -- winner of Craving Grace!! Thank you to everybody who entered and for your kind comments.]