Tag Archives: Love

Unbelievable but true

JusJoJan 24 January

If you had told me fifty years ago that one day I would be walking around with a computer in my pocket, I would have regarded it as unbelievable. Yet it is true.

image by Pixabay

Much of the Christian faith is unbelievable. Most unbelievable of all is the fact that the Eternal God of the universe, Whom my human mind can’t even comprehend, should love me. That He should want a relationship with me and welcome me into His family. However unbelievable it may seem to me, it is true. And it is true of each one of us.

1 John 3:1 reads, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! and that is what we are.” (NIV)

I’ve struggled in the past and sometimes still struggle with the personal aspect of this. I can accept that Jesus came to save the world but it’s hard to believe that He came for me. What has helped me is the little word, “whosoever” in the old King James version. I am whosoever. Some translations talk about anyone or everyone.

Jesus said, ” And the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, never reject anyone who follows me]. (John 6:37b Amplified Bible)

My Prayer

Thank you, Lord, that You love me. May this truth sink down from my mind to my heart and take root there, colouring all that I think, feel and do. Amen.

The Correct Protocol

JusJoJan 13 January 2022

I’ve recently watched the movie, “Seven Years in Tibet.” It is the true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian climber who spends much of the war in Tibet in the holy city of Lhasa. There he meets the 14th Dalai Lama who is still a young boy at the time. At one stage the mother of the Dalai Lama explains to him the protocol of being in the presence of such a holy and revered personage. His attitude has to be one of bowed head and folded hands. He can speak if spoken to but not initiate conversation. If he is seated, his head must always to be lower than that of the Dalai Lama. He cannot touch him under any circumstances.

There is usually some kind of protocol for visiting monarchs or heads of state.

Imagine the protocol required to visit the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The Old Testament gives us a hint of this. Only the High Priest was ever allowed to go into the Holy of Holies and then only once a year and only after making a blood sacrifice for his own as well as the people’s sins.

And yet…

“… when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:50-51a NIV).

The separation between God and man has been done away with from God’s side through the blood sacrifice of Jesus.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16NIV)

Not only can we come confidently into God’s presence, we can approach Him as our Father. We can know His love and love Him in return.

Image by Pixabay

The protocol has changed, but only for God’s children. In Revelation we see how a great multitude, that no one can count, and all the the angels, fall on their faces before God’s throne and worship him. (Revelation 7:9-12). The heavenly protocol still exists.

My Prayer

Father God, because I know You love me and I can call you Father, I sometimes forget how powerful and majestic You are. May I never take my relationship with You lightly or fail to give You the glory due to Your name. Amen.

It’s the Love

3 January 2022

It’s not the thought that counts. It’s the love behind the thought that counts.

When my 12-year-old granddaughter made 52 cards which she shared out among the family and asked them to write or draw something encouraging for my daughter to look at for every Saturday in the year, that was love. The gift itself was worth no more than a sheet or two of cardboard, but the love behind the thought was priceless.

The parents who change their lives to make a happy family home for their disabled child, or the wife who puts her life on hold to look after a husband who has had a stroke, do it out of the abundance of their love. Such gifts have no monetary value but they are worth more than gold, more than diamonds.

The woman who gate-crashed the party at Simon the Leper’s house, broke her treasure and anointed Jesus, did it out of love. To the disciples, especially Judas, it seemed such a waste. But Jesus saw the love that was behind the gift. (Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-48, John 12 ;1-8 NIV)

All around us is an abundance of love but we don’t always see it. Our eyes are too focused on the material, the physical.

God has blessed us with so many things.”… God … richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17b Amplified Version) This is just one of the ways God shows the abundance of His love to us. Most supremely, however, “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)

My Prayer

Father God, please attune my eyes to see the love, the love of ordinary people around me as well as the abundant love You have shown and continue to show us. Thank You for your indescribable gift. Amen.

Prayer

This is a prayer by Nicky Gumble.

“Lord, thank you that you use even weak, vulnerable and sinful people like me. Thank you that, although you love me as I am, you love me too much to leave me as I am. Help me to take responsibility for my life and at the same time trust your sovereignty.”

Image by ThuyHaBich from Pixabay

This post is part of One Liner Wednesday.

Christmas without Trimmings

When I was a little girl, we would often have hot dogs or boerewors rolls for supper. We could choose whether to have it with trimmings or without. The trimmings usually consisted of fried onion and tomato, sometimes with grated cheese, or maybe mustard. Quite often the trimmings made the hot dog more messy but added to the enjoyment of it. However, the fried onion and tomato were never a substitute for the meal.

When I got old enough to start making my own clothes, I learned to use paper patterns. The pattern guide would list how much fabric to buy for each size and then at the end it would list the trimmings:- buttons or lace, ribbons or embellishments. These added to the satisfaction with the final product but lace and buttons can never be a substitute for a dress.

Christmas has trimmings and they vary from culture to culture. Some are universal. Time with family is often considered non-negotiable. The media has contributed to this belief that Christmas is not Christmas without family. However it is no more true than the fact that Christmas trees, cakes, crackers and presents are essentials for Christmas.

These Christmas trimmings add to our enjoyment of the celebration. Families forge their own traditions for Christmas. For some it means going to church together on Christmas morning, for others, having waffles for breakfast.

Some of us have had to do without trimmings this year, perhaps because of Covid lockdown restrictions, or geographical distance or the absence of loved ones who have passed away. Some have faced financial difficulties and can’t afford presents in wrapped boxes, or trees, or crackers.

Just as fried onion and tomatoes are not the meal, nor lace and buttons not the dress, Christmas trimmings, as enjoyable as they are, are not Christmas.

Christmas celebrates the fact that God, the Creator and Master of the universe, set His love upon us. He moved the line between infinite and finite so He could be with us. Forever. So that we can be with Him. Forever. He became flesh and for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame (Hebrew 12:2) so that He could remove the barrier of sin that kept us from being able to be with Him, where He is, forever.

No wonder the shepherds left their sheep and raced to Bethlehem, no wonder eastern astronomers followed a star that foretold a king.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23 NIV, quoting Isaiah 7:14)

God with us. That is Christmas. God with me, warts and all, because that’s where He longs to be.

Let us never confuse the Christmas trimmings with the real thing.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday.

Who are We?

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:4 NIV)

We have made amazing advances in technology, communication, medicine, astronomy and other fields of science. We have carried out successful organ transplants, put men on the moon, and have made information available to the man in the street with a click of a button.

Yet, at this time in history, our civil society and economic empires are crumbling because of a virus 125 billionths of a metre in diameter. One thing it has shown us, is that man is not invincible as he tends to think. We act as if we are God. We make the rules and mores. We decide what is fair and what is unfair. As history unfolds, morals and customs change according to the outward circumstances and who’s in power.

The nature of man has not changed, has not improved. Excellent systems are put in place. They all fail because of human nature. Give food parcels to the poor! We have seen how human nature has corroded that noble endeavour! We all think human nature is something other people have. Yet we are quick to confess, “I am only human. This is how I am. This is how my father was, I got it from him.” In this dysfunctional world, we tend to excuse bad behaviour by early experiences of brokenness.

We can do nothing to fix ourselves. All our technical advances can’t save us from ourselves.

However, amazingly, God has set His love upon us and for love of us Christ died to rescue us from sin.

I love the end of Psalm 91.

The Lord says,
“If you love me
    and truly know who I am,
    I will rescue you
    and keep you safe.
15 When you are in trouble,
    call out to me.
I will answer and be there
    to protect and honor you.
16     You will live a long life
    and see my saving power.”
(CEV)