Paying Attention to the Son

Dogwood blossoms turning toward the sun.

We can’t imagine the emptiness of life without God’s love.
We can’t imagine the fullness of life with God’s love.

So why do we ignore it?

Though we are faithless,
God remains faithful to give us mercy if we will just ask.

So why do we ignore it?

When we are hopeless, dying from the failures and wrongs in life.
We can find hope in the Lord who has triumphed over all even death.

So why do we ignore—God’s love, His faithfulness, and the Hope He offers?

We ignore it when we are distracted by other things
We have ears that do not hear above the noise of this world.
We have eyes that do not see beyond the glitter of this world.
But God sends His Spirit to stir our spirit with conviction for ignoring the Lord.

The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
Go to this people and say,
You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.” Acts 28:25-27

So stop letting lesser things hold your attention,
for they cause you to miss out on all of God’s good things.

The Confusion of Love and Lust

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Tears from heaven

“But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all (1 Corinthians 12:31).” Apostle Paul’s introduction to the love chapter.

Unfortunately, the church has lost its way and often allows politics to lead instead of love. Lust disguised as appropriate behavior has replaced what should be foremost—our love for God. Thus causing a dimming of the church’s light in the world.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Revelation 2:4

Lust seeks to control others – Love seeks to free others.

Lust wants to be served – Love wants to serve.

Lust is self-seeking – Love seeks good for all.

Lust is self-promoting – Love does not boast.

Lust flees from hardship – Love always perseveres.

Lust lies to get what it wants – Love rejoices in truth.

Lust becomes angry when it doesn’t get its way – Love is patient and kind.

Lust seeks to gratify self – Love is willing to sacrifice self.

Lust sucks life from life – Love gives life to life.

The one who lusts becomes like the purveyor of lust. The one who loves becomes like the author of love.

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. Psalm 63:3

Light for the Coming Darkness

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Light on a hill

Where there looms fear,
There is need for drawing close to God.
Where there is no fear,
We invest little in prayer.

Where there is grief,
There is need for hope.
Where there is no sorrow,
We grip tightly to the present instead of Jesus.

Where there is doubt.
There is a need for faith
Where doubt does not exist,
There is little need to exercise faith.

Where there is love and forgiveness,
There is passionate devotion.
Where there is no love there is indifference,
and indifference makes the heart grow hard.

Where there is horrid ugliness
There is a longing for innocence.
Where people accept the grotesque,
There is no desire for salvation.

All the doubt, the fear, the sorrow, the ugliness does not show the absence of God, but quite to the contrary … Shows our need for Him.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world. – Jesus John 16:33

Forgiveness—like rain on parched land

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Rain on Eastern Washington

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  Luke 7:39-50

You can’t see others as God sees them unless you forgive.
You can’t see yourself as God sees you unless you forgive.
You won’t be able to forgive yourself unless you forgive others.
You can’t love others as God loves unless you forgive.
You can’t love yourself as God loves you unless you forgive.
You won’t know how much God loves you unless you forgive.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

We are to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.
We are to love as we have been loved.
Love and forgiveness are intertwined.

How Lovely

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California Poppy opening to the morning sun

Where there is love, life is too short.
And too long where there is none.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Eternity is pure joy where there is love,
And pure hell where there is none.

How little we see—How little we love

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How great is God’s love for us.

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise him enough? Psalm 106:1-2 NLT

“Who can list the miracles of the LORD,” implies we are only seeing a small portion of what the LORD is doing. These miraculous happenings arise from God’s goodness and enduring love. His mighty love holds me even when I cannot see it. A simile for comparing our knowledge to what God is actually doing would be like looking out upon the trees and flowering fields, and all you think is that the lawn needs mowing. But the truth is if we saw life with clear eyes the wonder would blow us away and cause us to kneel in praise to God. That is why the Psalmist says—who can ever praise Him enough?

Fortunately, God’s goodness and love are poured out regardless of our level of understanding. But the ability to enjoy His gift depends on our hearts readiness to receive.

This is easiest to see with God’s love.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 NIV

It is here we fall way short of loving in the measure we have been loved. Jesus calls it—little love.

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Luke 7:44-47 NLT

This “little love” not only chokes our love of God, but makes us apathetic to the pain of those around us. An example is racism. Most people feel they aren’t racist. But our feelings are not the measure here… it is have we loved our neighbor as God has loved us. Our “little love” has resulted in a trail of tears down through the generations, from the cruel days of slavery to the killing of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbury.

If we truly saw the enormity of God’s love in Jesus, and the pain our indifference to others has caused, it would drive us to fall at the feet of Jesus pleading for forgiveness and stir afresh the desire to show His love to our neighbor. Lord, cure us of our “little love”… O who can ever love Him enough?

Love Poured Out

 

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Water pouring out from Colchuck Lake.

Because of God’s love, I have life.
Because of His love, I am forgiven.
Because of His love, I can forgive others and be free to love.
Because of His love, I can lay my past at the alter and leave it there.
Because of His love, when I am lost, He comes to find me.
Because of His love, I know I will never be forgotten.
Because of His love, I know He has ordered all my days.
Because of His love, I know He will give me strength for all I face.
Because of His love, I have a future filled with goodness.
Because of His love, I can pray blessings upon my family, and know Jesus loves them more than me.
Because of His love, I can pray for those I have hurt and know Jesus loves them and will bring about goodness.
Because His love is poured out upon me, I will joyfully worship Him.

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. Psalm 63:3

Hope Ahead

Spring is just around the bend.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

During the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty this verse gives us hope and reassurance. It all turns on love. We can love God because He first loved us. We can trust Him because He is faithful, even when we have been faithless. We can put our hope in Jesus, because His name means God saves (Matt1:21).

I realize that some hurts run very deep (like death in the family), and I don’t expect this verse to miraculously change your tears to joy, but loving God will plant the seeds of hope, and trust… and just knowing there is purpose… helps.

Rightness of Creation

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A beautiful design

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love. Psalm 33:5

I rejoice in the rightness of creation—how it all fits together perfectly. This is another sign of God’s unfailing love.