Archive for the ‘Love’ Category.

Light and Love Ahead

 

FeaturedThumb

To him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. Ps 136:16

When they had heard the king, they went their way, and behold the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. Matt 2:9

Christmas is a season of light and joy, when all Christendom celebrates Jesus’ birth. It’s a good reason to celebrate. After all, Jesus’ birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection are the means to our eternal salvation.

However, many struggle to find joy this season. Grief, loneliness, addictions, unemployment, heartache, family problems, illness and a host of other issues rob humanity of the joy of Jesus’ birth. These desert places are difficult and real. Maybe you walk such a desert path this Christmas season.

Consider Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey to Bethlehem. She was very pregnant, riding on a donkey and too poor for amenities that might have made the journey easier. How uncomfortable that ride must have been! They were exhausted, worried, fearful and miserable. Perhaps they wondered if they had made a mistake in venturing out of Nazareth. They must have doubted they were on the right path.

But they were exactly where they were supposed to be. The Old Testament clearly prophesied the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. God’s mercy brought Mary and Joseph to the City of David for a reason. Their difficult place was for our benefit. Their desert had reason and a purpose. Though they struggled, they were triumphant in the end. God confirmed His word with angels, a magnificent star, wise men, a chorus of angels and adoring shepherds.

Your desert place is also part of God’s plan, and you will see the reward if you persevere. Listen to His voice. Pray for wisdom to navigate rocky paths. Trust Him to guide you along your difficult journey. While there is no pat answer or easy fix, remember there is light and love ahead. Look toward the manger where your Redeemer is born. Do you see the shining star? In spite of your suffering, there is light and love ahead. Don’t give up.

 

 

 

God’s Love Running Over with Mercy and Grace

Many struggle to find their identity.  What is it about life that makes us question where we belong?  It’s easy to compare ourselves with others—and don’t we usually measure our weaknesses against the other person’s strengths?  As believers, we know God has a plan for us both individually and part of His Church.  We long to find abundant life.  The hard part is to find our way.

Proverbs 31:10-31 shares a picture of a purposeful, satisfying life.  The  woman (also an example for men!!)  in this chapter enjoys freedom, fullness, sweetness and the radiance that draws others to Christ. Her duties are a lot like ours:  doing the mundane tasks of daily life, working to earn income for the family, and caring for those closest to us.  If you look closely you will see that it isn’t easy for her, either.  She is up early and staying up late to finish her tasks.  She must manage on a budget.  She struggles with spreading her wings to earn a living and yet remain true to her family responsibilities.   Yet through all this it would appear that she is a person after God’s own heart who enjoys a relationship with God that is vital, growing, intimate, real and personal.  Exactly what each of us wants.

No matter what your circumstances are right now, God’s love is running over with mercy and grace for you.  He longs for you to find your identity in Him and to establish yourself in the destiny of His plan for you. Sometimes the wounds of our past hinder this discovery.  Reach towards His love and let Him show you the treasures that await you.  Let Him bring healing to your life.  Then ask Him to show you the first step toward your goal and make that tiny, baby step.  You can do it!

His Stepping Stone ~ Debra Hunter

his.stepping.stone@gmail.com

Guest Blog by Barb Christensen

Thank you, Barb Christensen, for sharing your insights with us.  Our prayers are with you and your husband during this difficult season.

Recently I have had to move my husband, my rock, my lover, my companion, my provider and my best friend to an assisted living home due to advancing dementia. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and we are still reeling under the ongoing aftershocks of this great, life changing tsunami.

But I have finally, after 53 years of wedded bliss, figured out what marriage is all about. It’s about watching the one you love, (the one you stood with before God and ‘this company of witnesses’ and pledged to love through the good times and the bad times until ‘death do us part’), fade from you and becomes a shell of the person he was and your heart bleeds and you love him more today than you ever even knew was possible so long ago.

Through the ups and downs of life, the good and bad times, the well and ill times, the distracted and uncomfortable times, the warm and the cold………you love because you promised you would. Then one day the bottom drops out and you finally figure it out.

A warm, comfortable feeling envelopes you as you realize the fulfillment of the vow, and you have survived and, flooded with a half century of memories, you wouldn’t change a thing! God is so good and He honors vows kept with His provision and His peace. I am looking forward with joyful expectation to what God will do and how He will lead through this all consuming flood.

    “When you  pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the fire kindle upon you. For I AM the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…..”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Isaiah 43:2-3a Amplified Bible

 

The Right Man for the Job

The King planned an important mission.  It would mean the rescue of many, a life saving venture to bring great glory. This mission would answer prayers, bring deliverance and reap eternal rewards.

“Whom shall I send?”  His voice boomed over the valleys.

“I’ll go, my Lord,” Strength said.  His chest puffed with importance and he flexed his biceps in excitement. “Choose me.  I’m in the prime of life.  I promise not to fail.”

The King shook his head.  “You’re not quite right for this assignment,” He said. “There are giants to slay in other parts of the kingdom.”

“I’ll go,” Religious said.  She folded her hands in piety and gazed downward in an attitude of respect.  “You heard my vows.  You know I will go wherever you send me.”

The King shook his head and smiled.  “I have need of you in other places,” He said tenderly.  “This job is for someone else.”

“I’ll go,” Intelligence said.  He clutched several diplomas and wore a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows.  His hair stood out in disarray, and wire rimmed glasses rested on the tip of his nose. “I have degrees in logic and administration.  I’ll put together a plan to achieve your goals quickly.”

The King shook his head. “Thank you, but I have need of you in other places.  This mission requires different skills.”

“I’ll go,” Bravery said.  He curled his hands into fists and took the posture of a boxer.  “Bring it on!  I’m not afraid of all the devils in hell.”

The King shook his head again.  “Your bravery is needed elsewhere.  I have need of someone with greater courage.”  He scanned the valleys, hills and streets of the cities.  He knew just the person for the job.  His eyes rested upon an ordinary looking man named Simple, well past the prime of life, slightly balding with a middle-aged paunch.

“Will you go for me?” the King said.  “I have need of you.”

“Me?”  Simple said. “You’re mistaken, my lord.  I’m too old!  You know my failing health. You can’t possibly mean me.”

“My son,” The King said, “The strength of man is a useful gift, but it often turns into pride.  My kingdom is built upon humility and the wisdom that comes with age.”

“But I have failed you many times,” Simple said.  “I have broken many promises to you.  Surely you are mistaken.”

“This time will be different,” the King said with such tenderness that Simple’s eyes welled with tears.  “I will go with you each step of the way. You will not go alone.”

“But I lack education and training,” Simple said. His voice cracked and tears filled the grooves in his cheeks. “I am afraid.  Surely there is someone better suited for this task.”

Simple’s expression of anguish caused tears to well in the King’s eyes, too.  How much the King loved him.  Their relationship had grown over years of early morning prayer times.  The King knew the man’s heart, knew his dedication and genuine sweetness.   When the King looked into the man’s heart, He saw all the attributes He himself had planted within him.

“Your weakness is your greatest treasure,” the King said and placed his hand on Simple’s shoulder.  “It forces you to depend upon Me alone.”

“Are you sure?” Simple said.  It seemed the King’s touch left a burning mark on his shoulder, not unpleasant, but hot as fire.

“It is in weakness that My strength is revealed.”

They spent the rest of the morning strategizing for the mission.  “You must not neglect our early morning sessions,” the King said.  “I will give you marching orders for each day.  As you follow them, you will achieve the goal.”

“It sounds too simple,” Simple said.  He thought for a long moment and then grinned.  “I think I’m your man.”

“I know you are, Son,” the King said.  “We’ll do it together.”

 

Prayer by Charles de Foucauld

In my office I have a poster in front of my desk with this beautiful prayer of abandonment.  It is most appropriate during these final days of Lent, and I thought to share it with you.  I hope you are blessed by it as much as I have been.  Candace

 

Father,

I abandon myself into your hands;

Do with me what you will

Whatever you may do,

I thank you;

I am ready for all, I accept all.

 

Let only your will be done in me,

And in all your creatures-

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

 

Into your hands

I commend my soul;

I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,

For I love you, Lord,

And so need to give myself,

To surrender myself into your hands

Without reserve,

And with boundless confidence,

For you are my Father.

 

Charles de Foucauld