Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Passionate Romance

"Love is here, love is now, love is pouring from His hands, from His brow. Love is near, it satisfies, streams of mercy flowing from His side." (Love is Here - Tenth Avenue North)

Wow, those lyrics are so true! In light of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be apropos to write a post about love.

All too often, we look for love from other people; girls are especially guilty of this. And, as Christians who are striving to remain pure for the person we will someday marry, it's easy to act like love is something that's in the future.

Love is not somewhere, someday. It's here; it's now. Jesus Christ is the only one who can satisfy us.

"Why are you looking for love? Why are you still searching, as if I'm not enough? To where will you go, child? Tell me, where will you run?" (By Your Side - Tenth Avenue North)

Jesus loves us. Yes, it's true! He loves you more than you can imagine. He gave up everything for you. Even though we are, by nature, God-hating, selfish, and wicked, God chose to love us and sacrifice everything for us. But His love has one condition. "But," you say, "I'm nothing, I'm a failure. I can't meet any conditions!"

Well, read on. His one condition is this: You must hope in Him. That's it! You must reject any other hope, any other pursuit of love, security, wealth, power, or anything else, and place all of your hope in Him. He is the only hope of salvation, love, and joy. If you cling to Him as the only way to save you from your sins, repenting of all of our sins, rejecting all that is contrary to His word, He will adopt you as His child. He will betroth you as His perfect bride. You will no longer be condemned, and sin will no long have any power over you.

And this isn't some distant, mystical love. Having a relationship with Him is a day by day, hour by hour, intimate romance. If we really believed He was our lover, how would our lives be different? We would daydream about Him. We would laugh with Him. We would talk about Him. We would tell Him everything, and listen with delight to everything He tells us. We would pour over His love letter to us, memorizing it, obsessing over it. We would be so much more joyful!

That's my challenge to you today. Treat Him as you would treat a lover.

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness(alone with Him!), and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there(blessings/tokens of affection), and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt(Coming out of Egypt = Being freed from sin/salvation). And it shall be, in that day," Says the LORD, "That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master, for I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals (idols/sins), and they shall be remembered by their name no more... I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving-kindness and mercy;" (Hosea 3: 14-17, 19) (All of the words in parentheses were added by me, for clarification.)

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day, everyone! I pray that you will have an every growing, passionate romance with the Lord.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hope and Courage to Face Tomorrow

"God, I can't do that again! I just can't!!" I bawled. "I wish I could just erase this day from history."

It had been an awful day. From the time I got up, things weren't going as I had planned. Everything, even the most trivial inconveniences, seemed overwhelmingly difficult. I cried, and then prayed, and got my emotions straightened out. Diligently, I tried to keep my emotions tamed and work on my school work. But, I ended up crying again, and the process started all over.

As the day continued, I eventually got my strength and joy back. Later on, I went to play practice, which I normally love. It started well. While we were working on our choreography, however, I started to get discouraged. I was the only girl (out of about 1o girls) who couldn't do my part correctly. Finally, I started to cry. Yup, I cried. Right there, in front of everyone, I started sobbing. To make things worse, just a few minutes later we were supposed to go on stage and practice with the rest of the cast. Trying to regain my composure, I went into the bathroom to see if my appearance made it obvious that I had been crying. Well, I looked okay, so when I felt ready I started to go out to the stage. I made it about halfway... and then started my ridiculous weeping all over again! I couldn't bear the thought of failing in front of everyone. Exhausted, I sat in a dark room and thought, prayed, and listened to music. Eventually, I went out and practiced with everyone. It was humiliating - everyone could see my tear-stained face.

After the practice, my mom came to pick me up. As soon as I sat down in the car, my emotions sprung up yet again. "Today was one of the worst days of my life!" I told her between sobs. She listened sympathetically as I recounted to her the traumatizing events of my day. When we arrived home, I sat in the car for a little while, praying. This is where the first line of this blog post fits in. I just wanted to disappear, and never have to face the mountain of fear and embarrassment that stood before me.

I went inside, got some supper, and flopped on the couch. Hoping for some spiritual encouragement, I started to watch, "Facing the Giants" (an AMAZING movie!). Wow! It was SO uplifting! God reminded me that He wants me to give my very best - for His glory. The only way to every be truly fulfilled is to be poured out for Jesus Christ. Whether I perform perfectly or completely fail, I need to give my very best and give Him praise. And, I can be triumphant! The greatest success I can ever have is to honor Him. He loves us so vastly... I don't ever have to be afraid of what anyone else thinks of me, and I don't have to be the best. All I have to do is give Him my very best. He's my audience, and He gives me the hope and courage to face tomorrow, whatever it may hold.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Though none go with me

I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia recently, which I had never read before, and I am amazed at how spiritually beneficial they are! I had seen the movies plenty of times before, and there is some spiritual analogy in them, but not nearly as much as the books.

I just finished reading Prince Caspian - the second book of the series. At one point in the book, Lucy finally meets up with Aslan (who represents God). The conversation that follows goes like this:
"Welcome, child," He said.
"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

I love that! There are times in our life when God seems big to us, and times when He seems small. But is He the one changing? No! God is always the same, infinitely awesome God. But as we grow, we get a bigger glimpse of just how awesome He is.

As her conversation with Aslan continues, she tells him about how she saw him earlier, and knew it was him, but the reason she didn't follow him was because no one else believed that it was him and they all went the other direction. She felt like the only thing she could do was go along with the others, even though Alsan wanted them to follow him. But then she realizes (with Alsan's help) that she should have followed him, even if she had to do it alone. Aslan tells her that she must go and tell the others that she had seen him, and tell them to follow him with her. But if they wouldn't follow, she must follow him alone.

Wow, what an amazing analogy that is! Often, God shows Himself to us, and asks us to follow Him. We get excited and tell other people, (as Lucy did) but when they don't believe us and scorn what we have to say, we give up and decide to follow them. God wants us to follow Him, even if no one else is. We are never alone, because He is with us. And in the end, if we follow Him, we find out (as Lucy did, but it would take too long to quote the whole episode) that following Him is the only safe thing to do, and it leads to victory!

Every day I must make the choice to follow Him, through dark and seemingly dangerous paths and unknown territory, even if it means being abandoned and mocked by everyone. His path is not always the easiest, but it is the only one that lead to life!