Deep Roots

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Deep roots to stand strong.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 NIV

There is no shame that the love of God cannot remove.
There is no anger where God’s love cannot bring peace.
There is no hurt that the love of God cannot heal.
There is no dark place God’s love cannot reach.
There is no imperfection that will not yield to the love of God.

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT

Let your roots go deep into God’s love.

Oh, the Love of God

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Safe in love

“Love” is a word used so often that it has lost meaning, and now can mean anything from like to lust. We are in need of a source, an epitome, of what love is by which all love is compared. To help us understand this word, God uses an earthly representation in explaining His love. When I tell my child “I love you,” it speaks of a deep personal affection and commitment. God loves me as His child and that love is very intimate and personal––just for me. It carries remarkable promises of all that God wants for me. This love is defined, and fully shown in Jesus Christ. Nothing is held back, it does not come in a measured amount equal to our response, but comes completely and unconditionally. Even when we are not responding to God’s overture, love is poured out in hope that we will wake up to its presence and receive it.

The most amazing thing about God’s love is that we can receive it fully, even though we do not fully understand it.

…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

Standing Firm

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Pounding Surf

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT

“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.” – Jesus, John 13:34-35 NIV

At the end of time how we have loved is what will count, what will remain.

And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. -Jesus, Matthew 24:10-13 NLT

Don’t let your love grow cold. Let the Word of God help you endure against the waves of hate.

Joy to the Full

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Hawaiian sunrise

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15:11

Every once in a while I am struck with the joy of life. It is not because of the freshness of the mountain air or the brilliant morning sunrise. It is that these joyous moments are but a foretaste of eternal life in Jesus. When I sit down and contemplate why I have such joy, it always comes back to His love for me. The verses just before John 15:11 confirms it:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:9-10

“As the Father has loved Me,” Jesus says, “so I have loved you.” There it is––Jesus loves me deeply.

Part of that love for me is to tell me how I should be. Jesus uses the word command because what He says next about staying in His love is absolutely essential. It is the difference between looking through the window at the Christmas celebration, or going in to sit down to fully partake in it. Jesus is telling us that to have complete joy you have to join in His love:

Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

I urge you to let the Holy Spirit pour His love through every part of your existence and join the celebration of joy to the full.

The Grandeur of God’s Love

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So large it is hard to comprehend

Some things are hard to explain even seeing a picture does not fully reveal the enormity of what you see. The Grand Canyon is one of the most photographed places in the world but no words can describe, or picture convey the enormity and grandeur of that place. You have to experience it for yourself, even then it is more than the mind can wrap around. This is also how it is with John 3:16

I will never fully comprehend the height, width, or depth of God’s love. But, when God blessed me with children, I read John 3:16 with new insight. I looked at my child and cried at what God allowed to happen to Jesus because of His love for me.

To hear ugly words used against your child hurts.
To see your child keep quiet in the face of accusations is hard.
To see your child rejected, causes deep pain.
To see your child in sorrow brings terrible heartache.
The thought of your child suffering is unbearable.
But to stand back and allow your child to die is grief beyond compare.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16

On This Brand New Day

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A brand new day in the Icicle Canyon

On this brand new day what do I most need?

I need to reaffirm my hope is in the Lord and not myself. With His help I can scale the wall before me.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall. Psalm 18:28-29

Along with hope, I need remind myself of God’s faithfulness to His promises (His Word). I can trust in Him.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

And most of all, I need to rest in His love for me.

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

This is what I need. This is what we are given in Jesus. Take a long deep drink of this “Living Water” on this new day.

The Greatest Gift

Blackbird Island

Psalm 36:5

Show the wonder of Your great love,
You who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in You from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye.  Psalm 17:7-8

Even in the cold, God’s love makes us warm.
In rocky places, love gives us a soft place to lie.
His love gives us courage and protects us in truth.
When we do wrong love forgives and leads us to forgive each other.
When there is no time left, there is time enough for love.
Love brings hope even when we are hopeless.
When our lives fill with painful noise, love overcomes with a song.
When we trip and fall, love covers the hurt.
A mountain of anger will yield to love.
When life is empty love will fill the void.
There is no dark place that love cannot reach.
When life appears worthless, love makes it worthwhile.
Fear must leave when love comes in.
Love makes death a brief cry.
Love produces endless joy in the lover and the loved.

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

Merry Christmas

Letting in the Sunshine

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The light of day

In this current culture of obscuring the truth with words (e.g. locker room talk, boys will be boys), I need to reflect on the truth found in 1 Corinthians 13.

Lust wants to possess, to force.
Love hopes for love’s response.

Lust wants to rule, to conquer.
Love brings freedom to the lover.

Lust wants to be served, and uses others.
Love wants to serve.

Lust is self-seeking.
Love seeks for good in the one loved.

Lust lies to get what it wants.
Love rejoices with the truth.

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

Lust leads to self-gratification.
Love leads to self-sacrifice.

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

I may not have stated it all quite right, but I want to point to the one who came to proclaim the truth of God’s love.

The End of the Trail to Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake

When I was young I wished to be older,

now that I am old I wish to be younger.

Life taken for granted is wished away,

until their is no longer room for today.

Ice floating on a lake is a metaphor for human existence “here today, gone tomorrow.” Psalm 103 reminds us of of this truth concerning life so that we might dwell upon what is truly important.

For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, Psalm 103:14-17

Thank goodness the Lord’s love is from everlasting to everlasting. That love anchors each day no matter what comes. It is the living water for our dry days. It is the sun breaking through on our cloudy days. It is what gives us hope when all seems hopeless.  The love of God is the most important thing for each day of my life. It will triumph over my  yesterday, provide joy for today, and be my hope forever, even though I am melting away.

His love is given to us in Jesus Christ that who ever believes in Him will be saved and live in His love forever (John 3:16-17)