Saturday, May 28, 2011

I love you too, Lord

My best friend sent me a CD of teachings by Beth Moore and as I was listening to it, I was struck by the simple yet awesome message of the phrase "I love you too, Lord." 
We often sing praise to the Lord and so easily the words "I love you" come out of our mouths and yet what do we mean by it. I love my husband...I love chocolate...I love flowers...I love the Lord.  The word "love" can flow through our conversations and never really impact our hearts or lives.
Do we truly grasp the fact that the only reason we can even love God is because He loved us first? Romans 5:8 says it so clearly - "This is the love God showed toward us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us."  Without His wooing, His unselfish and complete sacrifice, there would be no way for us to love Him. We were sheep that didn't even realize we were lost until trouble came! He loved us, sought us, drew us to Him, made us whole and complete, and honored us by adopting us into His family. (John 1:12)  Our sin and selfish choices led us to a different shepherd, one who only wanted to enslave us, but God never forgot us. (John 10:10)  He created us and yet had to redeem us, which He willingly did.  And there is another amazing facet to consider - He could not love us more than He does! His love remains true, pure, & all-encompassing whether we are struggling in sin or trying our best to walk worthy. He doesn't love us more or less based on our performance, Thank you, Lord...In fact there is only one way He could love us less - and that is if He became less than He is! God IS love. God doesn't just love...He IS love.  So any change in His love would be a change in who He is - Impossible! 1 John 4:7 &8   So that leads me back to the awe-inspiring revelation that God loves me with an incomprehensible, amazing, faithful, & unchanging love. God's love begins and ends with Him.   (1 John 4:19!)  As He continually whispers His love for me & shows me His love in a million ways, I can only respond back to Him, "I love you too, Lord"!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What If It Was Today?

I don't give ANY credibility to all of this "end-of-days - 5/21st stuff", but it has caused me to do a little reflecting. While God tells us that no man will know the day or the hour of Jesus' return, He also tells us that each of us has a certain number of days. Today, or any other day, could be my last day down here on earth. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. That's not a morbid thought for me - I'm completely comfortable with the fact that, as the old song says, "This world is not my home; I'm just passing through." And I'm looking forward to being with my Lord & reuniting with so many loved ones that are already there with Him! 
With that all in mind, I have come up with several questions that I need to ask myself on a daily basis in order to keep my priorities in line with what's really important!  Here they are:
1) Am I living each day with the goal of fulfilling God's call for me? Am I doing what He has ordained for me to do in the way He wants it done?  (Eph. 2:10)
2) Am I living in such a way that His light in my life is a beacon of hope for those who are lost, and a source of praise to God for those who are watching me?  (Matt. 5:16)
3) Do the people around me know that I am a Christian and that I am here on earth to be a servant to Him and to them?  (Gal. 5:13)
4) What can I do today to show those people that I love just how much they mean to me?  Who do I need to connect with to encourage, appreciate, or just be there for? (Eph. 5:1-2)
5) How can I live today, every moment, choosing to be grateful rather than demanding, thankful rather than complaining, & humble rather than proud?  (Col. 3:12-13)
If I truthfully seek to live with these questions in mind each day can be a satisfying & wonderful day - and if it is my last one, I pray that I will hear "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a little, so now you will be given much. Come share in the Master's happiness!" (Mt. 25:23)
        "Lord, help me to realize that every day is a precious gift to be used in Your Service. Help me to guard my words so that they are edifying and a blessing rather than critical or negative. Help me to see interruptions as divine appointments and obstacles as redirection. Help me to make choices that please You and direct each step I take so that I am constantly in the place and position where You can best use me. Don't let me waste even one moment on past regrets, unforgiveness, or failure. Let me choose to praise You and enjoy this new day that You have made, living as if it were my last one!! Thank you!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just an Old Hymn??

I was playing the piano and ran across a hymn my Grandma Srack used to love. As I played it, the words just jumped off the page. 
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give. 
I will ever love and trust Him. In His presence daily live!
I surrender all, I surrender all. 
All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all!
All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow. 
Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me Jesus, Take me now!
All to Jesus I surrender, Make me, Savior, wholly Thine.
Let me feel Your Holy Spirit, truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender, Lord I give myself to Thee.
Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy Blessings fall on me!!

If I could truly live All Surrendered, life would be so amazing and wonderful. If I lived in His presence daily, I would overcome all adversity, conquer every fear, defeat every enemy.  If I would forsake everything that is less important than His provision, I would dwell above the stresses that the acquiring and maintaining of "Stuff" demands. I'd be free of competition, striving, & insecurity. If I truly surrendered every part of my life to Him, I'd have continual access to His peace, His joy, and His Love. Lord, let me daily surrender All that I am, All that I have, and All that I desire to You!! In return, Take me, Mold me, & Use me to further your kingdom! 

Monday, May 16, 2011


A close friend of mine was reading a book about how to change your perspective when things tend to be negative, and the word "switch" flashed like lightning to her mind. Since she shared that with me, we have used it often with each other when we find our conversations have turned gloomy or critical. While it's a simple little trick, it has made a big difference. Our society is judgmental and negative...there's so much to complain about. Life can be challenging and often the stress level rises above where we think we can handle it. That's the perfect time to invoke "Switch"...God says not to look at the temporary, but at His eternal. When circumstances seem hopeless, "switch" to the realization of His power. When there's too much month at the end of the money, "switch" to the knowledge that His resources are limitless.  When someone hurts you or offends you by deeds done or not done, or words spoken, "switch" to an awareness that it is the enemy of your soul that is coming against you and not the person you see.  When you fall into temptation and the devil shouts your failures in  your face, "switch" that self-depricating beat-down to the forgiveness of 1 John 1:9 and the knowledge that God loves you no matter what foolish or sinful things you do. In His love He cleanses you and sees you as the beautiful woman you are. When life is hard, "switch" to the comforting peace of knowing that all these things are just bumps in the road, that they have "come to pass" and that soon there will be eternity with Jesus - all the hardships, disappointments, and trials will be over and instead there will be peace, security, and joy!!  "Switch"...empower your thoughts with His thoughts, His Word, and His promises, and let your friends in on the concept as well. Then you will have their help when you need to "switch" and you can help them when they fall into the trap of negative thinking or speaking!  Try it. It works...because Jesus said it would.  ("Think on these things" - Phil. 4:8)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Such a tiny word -"IF"

The first time I heard someone say God's promises are conditional, I was shocked!  God is God. How can His promises be dependant on anything but His own sovreignty?  How can I trust Him if He isn't the same yesterday, today, and forever? 
Obviously, I was looking at it in the wrong way...They are not conditional as far as His power, ability, or even willingness is concerned. However, and the thing we Christians often miss, is that His ability to act on our behalf is predicated on the big "IF". We have to choose to live by His teachings & commands if we want His blessings.  We often want His promises on our terms, in our time, in our way and we don't want to live according to His Word.  That's why the end results depend on our decisions.
If we accept His free gift of salvation, we receive His gift of new life.
If we live according to His Word, He is able to work through us in unimaginable, amazing ways.
If we surrender to Him, He is free to work in us to change us to be who He has ordained us to be.
If we obey Him, He is released to bless us & to bless others through us.
If we confess our sins, He is willing to forgive us and cleanse us!
If we call on Him, He delights in answering us and helping us.
Throughout the Bible we see that God has given us the opportunity to choose. He didn't create us to be robots, or to love Him under duress.  He wants us to come to Him willingly, to worship, to love, to obey, & to serve.  IF we do, He is right there to help, lead, guide, provide, heal, forgive, love, & protect.
A famous quote in a recent popular movie sums it up - "It is not our abilities that make us who we are but it is our choices."  God is ready, able, & willing...IF