So, yeah, I’m still here, and so is Harold (he’s just playing hide and seek) . Overall, this whole situation with the rapture being close and all does bring good things to light. Here’s a list of observations I’ve made lately…
Pursuing Love // How He First Loved Us Sometimes we need to realize that in order for something new to rise, something old must fall. I’ve heard it said that the only way there can be a beginning is if there is first an end. We’ve all heard the stories of long lost heroes of old who laid down their lives for something greater than themselves; and in each of our hearts we know that something is off. Something is missing.
Pursuing Love // How He First Loved Us
Sometimes we need to realize that in order for something new to rise, something old must fall. I’ve heard it said that the only way there can be a beginning is if there is first an end. We’ve all heard the stories of long lost heroes of old who laid down their lives for something greater than themselves; and in each of our hearts we know that something is off. Something is missing.
Ever wondered what the bible would be like if it were made into a movie? Well if you are content with listening to movies from another room, this is for you. Filled with dramatic musical scores, Hollywood quality effects, and an amazingly impassioned cast; the Word of Promise will take you even deeper into the Word of God!
So, I’ve been in charge of mowing my church’s property way in the backwoods of Arlington as part of my internship, and Thursday was the first legitimately sunny day I had the blessing of enjoying out there. The birds were singing songs of joy, the wind whispered through the branches of our silent sentinels, the sunlight flickering between the leaves: It was beautiful.
As I ran through my routine birds would occasionally come and glide around me, a deer or two would make their way cautiously towards the river, and butterflies hovered over the freshly mown grass, careless and free.
I was seeing God’s love in His creation, His poetry coming to life.
You know, you’re a poem of God; a beautiful and unique poem.
Love is a choice; a choice to completely commit yourself to another imperfect person knowing that together you bring out the best in each other. Love chooses to be “patient, kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not selfish, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… Love never fails.” (1st Corinthians 13)
We are called to pursue Agape love; the unconditional, selfless, sacrificial love of God. The only way we can experience this love is by experiencing a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus. In order to truly love another, you must first understand how deeply God loves you. How else can you hope to give that love back out?
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 HCSB)
Dare to Love Differently
Worship is Praise //
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” // Psalms 100
Raise a joyful noise my friends! We’ve been risen from death, we’ve been fully and completely restored, redeemed in the eyes of God! Paul calls us to Rejoice, and to rejoice always! Perhaps the most conventional form of worship, we are all familiar with singing hymns, praise, and lifting up our voices in unison to honor our God! A time of passionate dedication, humble surrender, and joyful conviction; the desire to shout to the Lord is a response from the Spirit living in us, the desire to be that much closer to the heart of God!
But praise is so much deeper than just singing along with some lyrics. You’re missing the point if you think it’s just the singing portion of service, no, praise is applied in every aspect of our walk.
We need to glorify God with our lives, with our bodies, with our thoughts, our gifts, and everything else you can bring to the table. Have you been blessed with the gift of an amazing singing voice? Glorify God with it first. Have you been blessed with public speaking? Glorify God first. Can you shoot hoops better than anyone in town? Glorify God first. Can you lay waste at Call of Duty multiplayer? Glorify God first. It doesn’t have to be something big, God gives us gifts to serve His purpose. It could be as small as an act of humility when someone compliments you, because we both know God is the real reason you could do it. Heck, give Him credit if you’ve got the guts, I dare you. People will respect your beliefs and you more for voicing them. For instance, I’m good at design work, but I try not to brag about my work. I always look to see if I can use it to serve first. I do parkour, and some of the young guns from church wanted to learn how, so I took them out and discipled them.
Praise doesn’t have to be big, just give credit where credit is due! Worship your Lord with all your heart, your mind, your body, and soul. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humblywith your God. (Micah 6:8)”
Worship is Daring //
Daring, valiant, brave, courageous, selfless, honorable. Worship is all of these and more, and the application is easy to see in our lives. Today I read through the book of Romans. Not just a chapter like I normally do, but the whole thing. Why? Because I felt that God dared me. I just finished Galatians, and God knew my desire was to study another epistle, so He dared me to do Romans. In one shot. I learned so much more than I would have normally, He showed me how all my favorite verses, whether from chapter 2 or 16 were related intricately.
And this all happened because He dared me. I recently went through the fantastic journey of the Love Dare, a book that taught 40 devotionals on what it means to love as Christ loves. It changed me and validated what I already knew in a way that only a challenge and true achievement could. Because God called my heart.
In Romans, Paul calls out the Jewish people for being idle or stagnant with their faith. They were taking their relationship and right standing with God for granted. The Jewish people focused on serving God’s creation, The Law, rather than God Himself. Paul, a former Jewish Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, understood what taking hold of their faith instead of stagnantly trusting the law meant. Paul said, “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is the change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. (Romans 2:29)”
In the same context, we are the Jews today. Us Christians live our lives often only bringing Jesus out when we need Him for prayer or if we get scared. No, as a true Christian we should be walking with God daily, discovering Him in every aspect of our lives. Take a moment to listen to your whisper, listen for the murmur of your heart. That’s the Holy Spirit, calling out to heaven on your behalf. Listen…
Is God daring you?
Worship is Vigilant //
“Be sober-minded; be vigilant. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” - 1 Peter 5:8
I was reading through Luke today, chapter three to be precise. John the Baptist was first making his scene as, well, a baptist. He went out and he exhorted the citizens he encountered along the Jordan river to stand firm and keep a watchful eye towards the coming messiah, saying, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16).” In much the same way, we now stand as modern day “John the Baptists.” Jesus has returned to heaven, and we believe that He is coming back soon. We need to stand vigilant leading as many hearts as we can towards Christ. Don’t worry about when He will come, just believe He will. Be ready for Him. ”But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:36)”
“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. (1 Thes. 5:1-6)”