1 John 3:16

19 01 2009

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

-1 John 3:16-18

 

For many of us, the first memory verse we every learned was John 3:16…and with good reason!  However, have you ever taken a look a 1 John 3:16?

 

Throughout the bible, we are instructed to love.  In verse 16 above, God clearly defines love for us; He loves us so much that he gave up His son to die on the cross for our sins, and Jesus willingly allowed himself to be crucified for our sins.  If we say we love someone, but are not willing to sacrifice of ourselves for them, we are being hypocrites.  Love is mentioned over 500 times in the bible…I think God is trying to tell us something.

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Your Will

10 10 2008

I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” –Psalms 40:8

What is your number one desire right now? A raise? A new car? A new relationship? Now, more than ever, our number one desire needs to be for God. We should be longing for him, hungering for his word, and thirsting for his spirit to fill our soul. And the best thing about making Him our number one desire is that His number one desire is for our love! When we walk in His desire for us, He fulfills all of our greatest desires! Go ahead, try it out…call upon the name of the Lord and watch how He will multiply the blessings in your life!

May He give you the desires of your heart and may all your plans succeed” ~ Psalms 20:4





Savannah’s Story: Love amidst Loss

10 10 2008

We just returned from Savannah Clark’s home-going service: a celebration of life and the mourning of the tragic loss of a 17 year old gone too soon. How was it that someone that was such a light and encouragement in the lives of so many was herself plagued with never feeling good enough or loved enough?

As her youth pastor, Kieron Shape, elaborated, “We can’t belabor ourselves by asking, ‘Why weren’t we there? Why weren’t we aware?’ Instead we need to rest in the fact that the Good Shepherd was there.” Even though her peace was taken from her through deception, She was still redeemed for eternity. The Good Shepherd was imploring her not to be deceived, but the thief is masterful in trickery and destruction. Though Jesus came in through the front door, Savannah left the back door open, and that was where the enemy of our souls was able to reach her.

Savannah’s father, Ian Clark, even said, “I will never be the same.” He prayed that his heart would always remain broken so he would be softened to the needs of those around him. He admitted that this act was wrong and hurtful to all who love her. Though God himself was grieved by her decision, He was still there. (Heb 13:5 – I shall never leave you nor forsake you). Mr. Clark implored the young ladies in the church not to be swayed by the pull of the world and its focus on external beauty rather than the heart.

Walking away from this morning and reflecting on the past week, I’ve realized something very important:
We’re of no use to others unless we take care of ourselves
By no means am I saying to be selfish instead of selfless, but if we continue to pour out without being poured into, we will inevitably run out of steam. I heard an interview with Phil Vischer this morning on the radio. The founder of Big Idea and Veggie Tales, Phil was deemed one of the top 10 people to keep your eye on in global religion in 2000. By 2003, he had lost it all and found himself in bankruptcy court. To quote him directly, “I made the work I was doing for God more important than my relationship with God.” Because he was so busy with his ministry, his personal devotions suffered, his family suffered, his relationships suffered and ultimately, his company failed and because the noise of his life drowned out the quiet whisper of God. How can we ever expect to help others live a godly life unless we ourselves are sitting at the Master’s feet daily?

Our prayers go out to the entire Clark family and the church and friends that surround them. Savannah’s oldest sister, Brittany, works with Ricky and has even watched the kids for us. There are three surviving sisters and we pray they will follow the call to stand up and step out for God, even in this troubling time.





God-Shaped Hole

9 09 2008

God-Shaped Hole

Have you ever thought about earrings. For me, they were a much coveted reward that was unattainable until I reached the age of 13. Then, for some reason, my mother agreed it would be cool if I got two piercings in my left ear and one in my right (remember, we’re going back to the age of parachute pants and jelly bracelets people).

Fast forward nineteen years later. Most people I know now are not aware of my “wild child” status since my second hole in my left ear has long since closed up. See, somewhere between college and “oh my, what am I going to do with the rest of my life” I decided the double piercing in a single ear might not be what every company desired in their ideal candidate (not that I jumped into the corporate world all that soon after graduation, unless you consider dancing the “Crazy Signs” while working for Club Med in the islands ‘climbing the corporate ladder’. Luckily for me, the gradual lack of use caused the hole to close up and my ear to return to normal.

Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or somewhere in Mayberry, you’ve surely seen the tribal inspired plugs that some of today’s youth are wearing. From the little I know, these ‘earrings’ start out small, but by gradually increasing the size, the hole gradually stretches and grows, resulting in HUGE holes in the ears. Unfortunately, kids that walk the same road as me and decide a few years down the road that look isn’t working for them have a harder time reversing their predicament. Though the growing process was a gradual one, the end result prevents reversal in the same gradual process.

Aren’t our lives like that as well? We may over-eat little by little until we wonder why our clothes don’t fit anymore. Or we dabble in questionable relationships until we find ourselves in a predicament we promised we would never get into. Or our quiet time with God dwindles to the point where it is non-existent, creating a hole so big it seems nothing could ever fill it.

The good news is that no medical procedure could ever fix such a hole in our life; the only answer to close that gap is GOD. We rationalize that if we gradually got ourselves into trouble, we can gradually get out of it, when in fact we need to surrender ourselves to God for radical life redevelopment!

Don’t be fooled into thinking you can fill a God shaped hole on your own; before you know it, you’ll be looking through a hoop instead of a peep-hole. Expose yourself to God alone and He will not only heal your wounds, but they will be erased in the new creation that will be you!