Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I’ve been taught all my life that God is ever-present, all-powerful and never changing. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. While I have been taught this, I don’t truly live my life in light of this knowledge. Consider this list of things that I know about God and stay the same no matter the circumstance:

God is love.
God is good all the time.
God offers salvation to everyone.
God will forgive 7 x 77.
God can move mountains and water.
God can do what He wants, when He wants with or without me.

With this knowledge I should be living my life with confidence knowing that God is in control and has a purpose for my life; I don’t do this though. Oftentimes I let my current circumstance or strongest emotion dictate my outlook and perspective each day. My inability to live life in light of God’s unchanging nature really struck me though when I read the following excerpt from Choosing God’s Best:

“(Max) Lucado tells about the time his two-year-old daughter fell into a swimming pool and almost drowned. Fortunately, a friend saw her and pulled her to safety. ‘The next morning in my prayer time’ he says, ‘I made a special effort to record my gratitude in my journal. I told God how wonderful He was for saving her. As clearly as if God Himself were speaking, this question came to mind: Would I be less wonderful if I had let her drown? Would I be any less a good God for calling her home? Would I still be receiving your praise this morning had I not saved her?’”

Wowsers, Max is right. Is God any less powerful when something doesn’t happen like we expect it to? Is God any less generous when we can’t keep up with the Jones’? Too often I find myself living up to worldly benchmarks. My standard for evaluating how good my day was if I was in a good mood all day or if I had to do anything difficult. Wow, when I type that it sure sounds really shallow. I am a daughter of the living God, and I know without a doubt that His character is not shaped or influenced by the world. He is good, awesome and powerful regardless of the day-to-day struggles and emotions I encounter. Why then do I allow myself to only live up to my worldly potential? I am limiting my life for God because I am so short sighted that I can’t even remember that God is good all the time regardless of what happens in the present.

I ask for God’s ever present spirit to shake me up today so that the first thing I think of is how consistent and good and present He is in my life. Having a good hair day, or not getting cut off in traffic don’t influence whether God is good or not. He does influence my reaction to events like these though and I can choose to have a godly outlook or a worldly outlook. I pray the same for you—remember that the world doesn’t affect God’s attributes. He is the same good, loving, and generous God in good times and in bad. I pray that I might choose to honor God’s will in my life even when I don’t understand why or how it is being enacted in my life knowing all the time that God is unchanging in His goodness, mercy and desire to mature me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Love defined: a conscious choice that is maintained by will and strengthened by habit

Understanding God's love is something that is often on my mind--it is another characteristic that I struggle to wrap my mind around especially when it comes to pairing it with God. Yesterday while reading Choosing God's Best, I read a chapter that discussed love in the clearest way that I've ever known:

"True love is a decision that is consciously made. It is as much an act of the will as an emotion. Love is a sacrificial commitment...Christ showed ultimate love by His commitment to die on the cross. His choice to die was based on His love commitment, not a feeling. No feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity or even to last at all. That's why love isn't just a feeling but a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit."

God's love for us is this--a conscious choice maintained by His will. If I were in God's position and my love were simply an emotion, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be loving my children as consistently and mercifully as He does--my emotion (love) would probably go out the window after the 45th time my children sinned the same way. Are you with me? I know we are not on the same level as God so comparisons like this aren't totally valid, but I wanted to put it in perspective.

Applying this concept of love to my life becomes eons easier when I can apply it in concrete terms of a choice that I can make. Emotions are so fleeting anyway--in my case my emotions tend to be delayed making it harder to consider them in any decision making process. What kind of "love choices" do I make on a daily basis? I often times choose to love myself above others even in the simplest of ways. My mind is often crowded with questions and insecurities that focus on my comfort and my security. I think love is illustrated in our lives when we put other's best interest before our own. Or maybe when we sacrifice something that we want for something someone else wants. These decisions can be quite simple and easy to maintain over time, especially considering that we get to make the choice.

I pray for God's help this day to make godly choices when it comes to loving others. Because my emotions are primarly self-centered and self-seeking, I ask for God's help in consciously choosing to serve others by loving them. I pray for God's help in making these choices a habit with my family, my friends, peers, strangers, students and yes, even the crazy parents that I have had to deal with this past year. Love can be manifested in simple ways in our lives and given both directly and indirectly to those around us. I pray that I remember that Jesus is more than enough for both of us, so I don't have to worry about "what about me?"

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Before reading, please note: when I start writing these my intention is not to actually address my readers because I want these to be more reflections from my heart, however I’m gonna break that unspoken rule today.

I want so badly to be captivated by, in love with and consumed for my Lord Jesus; I can never seem to wrap my head around this concept though. I have this huge road block in my head that doesn’t allow me to make a clear connection between what these actions look like when manifested in my life. I know that when you’re in love with someone you’ll do crazy things that don’t make sense to other people and I guess the same would be true of being in love with Jesus so much that it makes you appear crazy to other people. Imagine how much this concept is magnified though when talking about God.

After an honest evaluation of my heart though, I know that I’m not living crazily for Christ. I guess you’d probably describe my lifestyle as more of a fondness or affinity for God. I actually don’t even know if that’s accurate. If you’re reading this, take a look at your own life be very honest with yourself. How often do you think about God in a day? Even better, how many times in a day do you deny yourself a selfish desire so that God’s will for your life may be honored? I know that our relationship with God doesn’t come down to numbers and statistics but I am trying to get you to look at your heart in an objective way rather than rationalizing your way out of this. I do the same thing—I’m not that bad of a person you know? I’m usually nice to people, even first thing in the morning, and I only gossip on occasion. See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m always letting myself off the hook because I place a cap on my ability to live for God based on worldly benchmarks. I hate that about myself. I know the only judgment that matters is God’s so I should only evaluate my heart in light of that knowledge.

After evaluating your heart, think about what you’re doing that might illustrate your passion and zeal for God. Is your life an unmistakable portrait of a God-centered life? Sometimes? Only on Sundays? Our lives aren't meant to be lived in a compartmentalized fashion where we only chase after God with abandon when it’s convenient. At the very core of who we are, we've been designed to live a pure life in pursuit of God’s purpose for our lives. I know that our lives are not about “doing” enough for God but on the other hand, think about how you are honoring God’s love and sacrifice that he patiently, persistently and consistently showers upon your life.

I pray for your passion, your heart and your unquenchable thirst for God’s living and breathing word. Run after him….even if you don’t know what it looks like. If you’ve even the slightest glance of God you’ll know that He’ll be tickled if you do because He knows your heart.