Archive | August, 2014

My Father’s Love

21 Aug

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20-21

I received a gift during a very difficult time. I actually received many but this was a special gift; A gift of empathy for our Father.

We see God with such reverent eyes, that sometimes, like a child, we forget His heart. We seek His favor, but have you ever just sat in true sadness for all He endures?

This was a tough week. As I waited for news of a loved one, my heart was filled with a mother’s love and grief over what was taking place. My heart and mind turned to God in prayer but as I prayed, I found myself meditating more on God’s perspective than my own. What I experienced in that moment was so pure, I can’t even put words to it. A small peek at His unending ocean of love, hurt, joy, hope, forgiveness,patience, all wrapped up in one.

A mother’s love is deep and wide and unconditional. We are created in His image. If I have sorrow, imagine His sorrow. We endure for our children. We endure because we love. There is no explanation for this, no word that encompasses the true meaning or understanding of that.

I read the story of the prodigal son. If the father is OUR Father, he is sitting on the stoop just watching and waiting for the prodigal son to return. He had to be. In the story, He saw him from “a long way off” and ran to him, his son. He welcomed him home. He was overjoyed. The son didn’t have to do anything but appear down the road.

He hadn’t arrived yet before the Father was already hugging him. That is our Father. That relief and joy, that we sense in the story comes from deep suffering, waiting, and love.

He waits for us and as soon as we turn our hearts back to Him, He has already met us, hugs us, overjoyed to have us get back on the path that He laid for us. He waits for us to be on that road though. We have to be in His sight. And He longs for us to be in His sight.

As I sat in prayer with my Father, we prayed together for my loved one and for my mother’s heart and I prayed for God with a new empathy for His great forebearance, but also, the pain it causes Him when we suffer, when we choose hardships and stubbornness.

His Love. His love is bigger than my love could ever be. The road is there regardless of whether you ever set foot on it or not. He is waiting, Watching, with His heart so full of love and hope for you.

The second he can see you from a long way off, He will run to YOU! That is our Father. That is Amazing Love.

Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.
’”

Standing in the way

19 Aug

Standing in the way
By Beckie Halaska

Standing in the way of your amazing grace.
Staring from the shadows at the foot of the cross.

I know your words like the back of my hand,
I can bring them to their knees as I cry out in prayer
I can teach a mighty thunder and rebuke in your name

I can’t feel you, find you, hear you.
I am
Standing in the way of your amazing Grace
Staring from the shadows at the foot of the cross.

I see my reflection in the mirror cast with shame
I see your hands through the veil of self hate
The lies are the words that I hear more than all

I am screaming with no sound
I am
Standing in the way of your amazing Grace
Staring from the shadows at the foot of the cross.

You sculpted me from nothing and nothing remained
I was formed by your love, but where are you now?
Tainted by the sins of evil and lies, empty hands clenched tight to nothing at all

I am
Standing in the way of your amazing Grace
Staring from the shadows at the foot of the cross.

You say you love me with everlasting love. Drawn me with unfailing kindness
You see my heart, and know my shame
Reach in and tear open the oozing wound sewn shut

I am
Standing in the way of your amazing Grace
Staring from the shadows at the foot of the cross.

But God: Love me where I cannot love. Speak to my heart where I cannot hear.
Shatter the scepter of lies I give Satan

So I am no longer
Standing in the way of your amazing Grace
Staring from the shadows at the foot of the cross.

Ephesians 5:29, Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 139:13-15, Jeremiah 31:3, Isaiah 41:13, 1 john 4:19, Romans 8:35-39, Ephesians 3:19

Before You Go

5 Aug

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.~ Mark 3:25 NIV

The Church family, like a safe marriage will go through times that simply don’t make us “happy”. I pray that you look within yourselves for the source of that unhappiness before you act on that feeling. In quitting a thing…there is a huge piece of the pie missing. Commitment.

First of all, marriage and church is meant to help us stumble along the journey to become Holy. To mature and grow in our faith and relationship with God. To prepare us to be the Bride/Groom of Christ in Heaven.

Do your interactions and actions towards a solution match your level of energy spent in your unhappiness. (It is important to add that God never intended for people to be abused in a marriage or a church so I want that clear…People need to be safe, in those instances, leave.)

Commitment is something that isn’t about feeling “happy”. It is change and it is boring, it is arguing and crying and loving and liking and giving and refusing to give another inch sometimes. It is laughing and watching and talking and barely speaking. It is human and it is forgiving. It is about staying when it’s tough.

It is about the whole, not the moments. It’s about seeing who we are supposed to be, where we need to grow, where we need to accept and give Grace and Mercy to one another. It is about agreeing to disagree sometimes as long as it is biblical truth. It is forbearance,because we are all so fallible.

It isn’t about the immediate. It is about building a thing. Starting with foundation. Sometimes you need to rebuild the foundation to get it strong again. You may not always want to be somewhere, but commitment is a promise that gets you through to the other side. To another plateau of enriched learning and growth. To new joy and acceptance. Today, most people leave at the most important parts and never fully understand the blessing of working it out.

If you are led in a different direction, if you are not being “fed” at church, happy in your marriage, there are many questions you need to pray about, and seek answers to.

God is very specific about speaking against and dividing a church. I am not a fan of divorce and neither is God.

There are great reasons to leave a church. I am linking several great articles. I encourage you to read, pray, seek to rectify. Honor your commitment or at best, evaluate your commitment.

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

1 Corinthians 4:17
For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

1 Corinthians 10:32
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God–

1 Corinthians 11:16
If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice–nor do the churches of God.

1 Corinthians 11:34
Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

1 Corinthians 14:33
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

2 Corinthians 8:18
And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel.

2 Corinthians 11:28
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

Galatians 1:22
I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:14
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews

2 Thessalonians 1:4
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/148839-how-to-leave-a-church-well
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/07/23/good-reasons-for-moving-on