Tag Archives: God’s love

Skies of Parchment

could we with ink

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai A.D. 1050

Remembering Love

north face of a mountainKen Gire writes beautiful thoughts on the unfailing love of God in his book, The North Face of God:

I don’t know where you are on the mountain or what put you there. I don’t know how wearied you are by the climb or how weathered you are by the elements. I don’t know how alone or abandoned you feel. I don’t know how disoriented you are or how despondent. But wherever you are and however you feel. I want you to curl up in your tent . . . close your eyes . . . and remember.

Remember your own history with God… Think back on the times when God expressed his love for you. Remember those times? Remember the words he spoke? Remember the way he answered your prayers? Remember the gifts he gave you? The many kindnesses he showed you? The forgiveness? The protection? Remember the love you felt for him, the joy, the tears? Remember how he touched you, embraced you, and led you?

He hasn’t changed. Neither has his love for you. It may not seem to be there, the way a rope around your waist doesn’t seem to be there when it’s slack. But it is there. Paul told us that nothing—nothing—would ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39).

God’s love for us, not ours for him, is the rope around our waist.

It’s a rope that doesn’t fray, no matter how much it is stretched.

It doesn’t freeze, no matter how cold it gets.

It doesn’t fail, no matter how far we fall . . . or how often.

Will You Dance?

Tears of the Savior

The other day, I posted a quotation from The Divine Embrace, a book by Ken Gire in which he likens our lives to a divine dance. At the beginning of one chapter, he writes:

Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who popularized the “God is dead” movement, once wrote in a letter to a friend: “If these Christians want me to believe in their god, they’ll have to sing better songs, they’ll have to look more like people who have been saved, they’ll have to wear on their countenance the joy of the beatitudes. I could only believe in a God who dances.”

What Nietzsche failed to realize is that our God, who is very much alive, is a God who dances. What we Christians sometimes fail to realize is that he is a God who dances with us.

To speak of our relationship with Christ as a dance is, of course, to speak metaphorically. But it is also to speak biblically. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, for example, the father’s joy at his son’s return was cause for celebration — at which, the text says, there was feasting, music, and dancing. In Matthew 11:17, Jesus also uses the metaphor to describe the generation that rejected him. “We played the flute for you,” he told them, “and you did not dance.” Jesus invited them to dance, longed for them to dance, and was heartbroken when they didn’t.

When I read that, it grieved me to think of how many throughout history have turned away from the joy of knowing who Christ truly is because they did not see traces of him on the faces or in the lives of those who claimed to know him.

And I wondered, what do people see when they look at me?

 

You claim you cannot believe

In a God who doesn’t dance

How could he not dance

Who created music

Tuned the universe

From pieces smaller than the atom

To the orchestra of His purpose

 

A tune so deep

One could listen all his life

But only catch a glimpse

Here and there

In a tear

A prayer

A moment of sheer joy

A dream

An embrace

A cloud passing over the moon

These moments that whisper

“There is a song”

 

So dance

With him who holds the music

And dances to the music of your heart

One day you will hear the music

The song from beginning to end

Every faint strain you detect now

Then a glorious symphony

 

Will you dance?

To the music for which your soul

Was created?

 

Will you dance?

To the tune for which

Your heart has cried?

 

Will you dance?

Or will you sit it out?

Fearing that no one else

Hears the music

 

Maybe they are waiting

For someone to stand up

Step out

And show them that he dances

And he taught you how

By placing the rhythm

Deep within your heart

Will you dance?

Not A One-Time Event

PearlThe concepts of service and sacrifice have been a part of my life since I was young. When I moved away from home at 14, I got my first taste of both. At first, though, there wasn’t really much of either service to God or sacrifice. It was more an experience … fun and exciting and new. Learning about God and others and myself. Growing up a little more. Making friends.

When I felt the “call to India” at 15, the concept grew a little more clear, and more poignant. When I was 16 and actually moved to India, and my best friend died half a world away, in my mind I tangibly felt God pull the rug of companionship and kin out from under me. I knew it was for a reason but that didn’t make it easier.

When I was 18, I visited my family for a short time before returning to India, and upon arriving back in India, I suffered from depression for months … and never told anyone how I was feeling. I never felt so alone.

Year after year, experience stacked upon experience. I had my Mount Moriah moments, where I felt too much had been asked of me … yet I received back in return more than I could hope. I also had my Garden of Gethsemane moments, where I asked for the cup to pass untouched.

But not a single sorrow or heartbreak or sacrifice would I trade now, for all that has been given to me in return.

I’m 31, and have a wonderful and loving husband, talented and beautiful children, work that I love, goals I am chasing after with a passion, a home, friends and family nearby. God has blessed me beyond measure.

So that’s a little bit about me and a touch of my experience with both service and sacrifice. That’s why, when I heard the song by Sidewalk Prophets, “You Can Have Me,” it struck a chord deep inside.

If I saw You on the street
And You said come and follow me
But I had to give up everything
All I once held dear and all of my dreams

Would I love You enough to let go
Or would my love run dry
When You asked for my life?

Telling the Father of Love, “You can have me” is not meant to be a one-time event. I ask myself, what would my response be if He once again asked me to give up everything? For some reason, I don’t think in those terms much anymore … I gave. He gave back to me. End of story.

But is it?

Or is that perspective the very thing that so often makes our love for God unmoving? Unconsuming?

May the prayer of my heart be, as the song goes …

I will love You enough to let go
Lord, I give you my life
I want to be where You are
I’m running into Your arms
And I will never look back
So Jesus, here is my heart

A Heart that is Loved

Her sisters were always described with words like smart, talented, talkative, beautiful. She remembered very different descriptive words used on hers … sticks and stones kind of words.

She often looked in the mirror and tried to picture how she would look without the glasses. Was she pretty behind the gaudy frames and thick lenses? Would anyone care?

Make-up soon became her good friend. For years no one would see her until she had first applied foundation and then layered the perfect blend of colors on top of it. The thick specs had given way to contacts and she felt almost normal … but only with the mask.

Then she met him. He told her that she was beautiful.

Still she kept the makeup on and he never saw her without it. But one day he did, and she felt worse than naked. But he still said she was beautiful.

One day, he saw her in glasses. He said they were cute. It took a while for her to believe it … but finally she did.

Finally she realized that love isn’t blind. It sees more than meets the eye. It sees beyond to the heart. And a heart that is loved creates a life that is beautiful.

More Beautiful?

“There could never be a more beautiful you”

Watch the video by Johnny Diaz

Little girl fourteen flipping through a magazine
Says she wants to look that way
But her hair isn’t straight, her body isn’t fake
And she’s always felt overweight

Well, little girl fourteen I wish that you could see
That beauty is within your heart
And you were made with such care, your skin, your body and your hair
Are perfect just the way they are

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Little girl twenty one the things that you’ve already done
Anything to get ahead
And you say you’ve got a man but He’s got another plan
Only wants what you will do instead

Well, little girl twenty one you never thought that this would come
You starve yourself to play the part
But I can promise you there’s a man whose love is true
And He’ll treat you like the jewel you are

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you, more beautiful you

So turn around you’re not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late, you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear, they can all be washed away

By the one who’s strong, can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry, all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light, He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl

That there could never be a more beautiful you

Johnn Diaz – “More Beautiful You”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ks3R2BwyO0

Through Eyes of Love

You might have seen this video, “Real Beauty Sketches,” going around, as it went viral a couple months ago. All I can say is please, please watch it.

The video makes it clear that we are so much more than what we usually see about ourselves. We see the faults and blemishes when others see the beauty.

How much more does God see only beauty? For He looks at us through eyes of love.

The Mirror of the Mind

scalesSome of us are very good at math, good with numbers. Too good, I think. We use a mental set of measurements and scales for everything. In every social setting, in every personal project, in every conversation or meeting, we pull out our measuring tools.

And we always come up short.

Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. Not conversant enough. Not efficient enough. Throughout the day, we keep measuring, weighing, and at the end of the day, we add it all up. Our sum total.

And it’s never enough.

We fall far short of everything we want to do and be. When all the while, we’re using the wrong set of scales. Someone has slipped in and messed with our mental measuring tools, so that everything we try to weigh up always turns out wrong. We look around and see what society considers beautiful, or successful, or happy. When we adopt those false standards, it’s no wonder that at the end of the day, we’re no closer in our pursuit of happiness than we were the day before. Or the day before that.

There is another scale though. It’s unit of measurement I think we rarely use. Perhaps we’re afraid to use it. Maybe because, like the average woman standing on a weighing scale, we’ve got to strip down to step on the scale.

And that’s scary.

When we take off the coverings, we feel exposed. Vulnerable. And all we see are the blemishes, the parts of ourselves and our nature that we don’t like. But the way the scale reads is this:

You on one side, with everything you don’t like about yourself — faults and fears, mistakes and mess-ups — magnified in the mirror of your mind.

Jesus on the other side, with everything perfect and good — forgiveness and friendship, grace and guidance, light and love — which he offers freely to everyone.

It balances perfectly. Because you are more than what you see and know and feel and fear. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are beautiful.

Lose your set of measurements.

And take on His.

The Worth of One

The Good ShepherdAuthor Ken Gire writes about the shepherd that sought after the one lost sheep when he still had 99 safe and sound. From a business perspective, it doesn’t make much sense; it is more reckless than anything. But from the perspective of the one sheep that is lost, while it still might not make much sense, it means all the world to be found and carried home again.

I have had a hard time understanding why the shepherd would leave the ninety-nine that were safe for the one that wasn’t.

Think through this with me. If we owned a business, how much would it affect our balance sheet if 1 percent of our inventory was lost? … True, it has worth–1 percent isn’t zero. But would it not seem vastly more prudent for us to watch over the secured 99 percent and write off the fraction we may not be able to recover? Protect the vast majority of our assets and we cap our minimal loss. Or, chase that 1 percent and risk losing everything. How could that not be needlessly reckless? …

Another hard-to-fathom factor is the length to which the shepherd would go in order to find the lost sheep. In the story, Jesus said he searched until he found it. Which is to say, the shepherd did not give up.

Would darkness deter him? A scornful sun, a sudden storm? Wild animals? Robbers? The treachery of the terrain?

None of these things would dissuade him.

Why?

For the one lamb that was separated from him … for that one, the shepherd went to the edge, and beyond.

Why would he go to such extremes? He goes after the sheep because it’s his … because he loves it.

How much?

Enough to sacrifice his life for it.

Although I’ve read a number of Ken Gire’s books, and all of them are deep and amazing, I don’t think any of them took me to the point of tears so many times as this one titled Relentless Pursuit. Ken Gire says in the prologue:

This book is about the heart of God and the lengths to which his heart goes to find ours, to bundle it up in his arms and to carry it home. It is written from the perspective of the lost sheep. As such, it’s not a book for the ninety-nine who are safe as much as for the one who is not. That lost part is surely not the whole of who you are or the whole of who I am, but it is a real part nonetheless.

That this lost part is pursued by God reveals our worth.

That it is relentlessly pursued reveals how much.

I’m not a business-minded person, so I have no idea what percentage of loss an investor will just write off. I’m not a shepherd, so I have no idea how far the typical shepherd will go to find a lost sheep.

But I know there are parts of me that have strayed, parts of my heart that have been lost and found … and other parts that are still in hiding.

I also know that, no matter how small that part, or no matter how far it has strayed, the Good Shepherd seeks until He finds it, and carries it home in His arms.

Just Some Wandering Soul

Am I more than flesh and bone?
Am I really something beautiful?
…I wanna believe that
I’m not just some wandering soul
That You don’t see and You don’t know
I wanna believe …
That I am someone worth dying for

A wandering soul. A life, spend on the side of the journey’s road, pack on back, thumbs up, waiting for a ride.

But where?

Who knows? “Anywhere but here” perhaps. Always somewhere else. Hoping that happiness might be just around the corner. Purpose. Meaning. Hope. Love.

Have you ever felt like, deep inside, you were that hitchhiker on the side of the road, trying to find your way somewhere, but never really sure where? Or why?

I know I’ve felt that way. Sometimes even in the midst of a project, surrounded by purpose, held up by love … I’ve still felt like that random wandering soul. Nameless. Alone. Always on the outside looking in.

Maybe it’s for a reason. So that we don’t get too comfortable in this fleeting land that passes like scenery from the highway. So that we will seek after another home … a heavenly one.

But no matter how we feel … random, wandering, unknown … we are never alone.

You’re worth it, you can’t earn it
But the cross has proven
That You’re sacred and blameless
Your life has purpose

 

 

Purpose. That thing our heart seeks after, even when we don’t know why. Because deep down, we know we are here for a reason, and our lives are incomplete until we find that purpose … and live it.

 

 

You are more than flesh and bone
Can’t you see, you’re something beautiful?
You gotta believe …
That you’re not just some wandering soul
That can’t be seen and can’t be known
You gotta believe that you are
Someone worth dying for