Love Dwells Here

 

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” I John 4:17-19 (TheMessage)

God is love. Not “God has love,” “God exhibits love,” no, “God IS love.” Who says? He did in His word. The scriptures also tell us that when we surrender to Him, accept His finished work of the cross (He became my sin so I could become His righteousness), then He is in us and we are in Him.

John 17:20-24 (BSB), “I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one—I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me. Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

Jesus said that we are in Him and He is in us, that we are one with the Father, just as He and the Father are one. This isn’t complicated. Very simple really.

God is love and He lives in me. LOVE dwells in me.

So I can be loving, I can easily forgive any wrongs, I can show kindness and generosity, I can show the world that God is love. I John 4 says that if we don’t love, we don’t even know who God really is. We have to love! It isn’t just a command from God, it’s who we are.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

Do we take chances when we love? Yes. Can we be hurt when we love? Yes. Will our hearts possibly break? Yes, but didn’t God say that a broken heart and a contrite spirit is lovely to Him.

That’s a heart He can Heal and He can use!

Anything less than complete, lavish, passionate love, is fear. Perfect love, God’s kind of love, that love that lives in us, is perfect!

I know Him. I know His love, intimately and personally. I know without it I am nothing and can’t accomplish a thing on my own. So I accept His love and allow Him to work in me and through me. He is in me and I am in Him.

Love dwells here!

Get Up

God tells Joshua twice in chapter seven to “Get up”, or some versions say “Rise up.” What was Joshua doing? Lying prostrate and asking God “Why?” They had just lost a battle that they thought was going to be an easy one, in fact all of their fighting men hadn’t even gone along to the battle. Even worse, it was the very first battle after they saw the walls of Jericho fall down.

Joshua was perplexed, he was doing what most of us do…lie down and cry out “Why didn’t you come through for us, are you just going to let me die?”

So God patiently explained Himself- Nope, He told Joshua to “Get Up!” He had already given them something to do with very clear instructions. Yet they hadn’t obeyed. God told Joshua they had sinned. When we disregard God’s instructions there are consequences. They hadn’t won the battle at Jericho because of their strength and courage, but because God’s strength! When we obey, He always has our backs.

Are things tough, maybe it wasn’t your fault, maybe it was sin, no matter what, don’t lie and cry. Get up! Repent if you need to, and then get back to the battle. Have you left something unfinished? Get up and do it!

James 1:22 (NIV), “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Book Review for “The Return of the Guardian King” Series- Christian/fantasy

About the books: “Book 1 of Legends of the Guardian King which follows the life of Abramm Kalladorne in his turbulent search for truth and self–a search that will transform him from a sickly, head-in-the-clouds youth to a legendary hero of strength and courage. Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient, mist-bound cities, his journey illustrates how God pursues and how He uses suffering to mold His children into something greater than was ever thought possible.”

My review: The whole series is great! “Light of Edion”, the first book, I read years ago. I don’t remember thinking it was so great, but I had just read Hancock’s  “Arena” and it was a totally different genre (Sci-fi, which I loved). So I re-read the first one again, and just loved it. I borrowed the next two from the library and ended up purchasing the forth from Amazon, because I had to know the end! Great writing, and it goes to prove that an author isn’t stuck in one genre. Hancock has written two Sci-fi (Arena and Enclave), both were great, and this epic fantasy of four books, Light of Edion, Shadow Within, Shadow Over Kiriath, and Return of the Guardian King. I hate to say good bye to the characters. However, like Lord of the Rings, or the Narnia series, I will probably be reading these again. My rating is 5/5 stars. There is no swearing, implied sexual content, between married couples, there is some violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

 

 

 

 

Be Vulnerable

The Israelites had been under the hands of the Medians’ for seven years when the Angel of the Lord came to pay Gideon a visit. He said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” (Judges 6:12) That is a statement birthed from a vision because Gideon was anything but valiant. He was hiding and shaking in his sandals. But God called him valiant.

When we think of a valiant warrior, we picture a big muscle bound man, maybe like Samson, or one filled with courage and who runs to the battle, like David. What we don’t picture is a man who has been put in a vulnerable position. In fact Gideon is so unsure, he asks God to give him a sign, twice.

When they finally go to battle, after God had weeded out the 32,000 warriors until there was only 300 men left. Talk about vulnerable! That still wasn’t enough for God. Let’s read about His plan for Gideon’s big battle.

Judges 7:16-19 (BSB), “He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’”

Let me set the stage. It’s dark. Gideon’s men make a circle around the Midian camp held 135,000 trained soldiers. The Israelite soldiers each had a piece of pottery with a candle inside and a horn. When the signal was given they were to break the pottery, leaving themselves totally exposed and lit up. And just to make sure the enemy really took a good look, they blew their horns to attract their attention.

Ok, being honest here. I would probably told Gideon he was crazy when he wanted to fight with 300. When he outlined his big plan, I would have left. Good thing I wasn’t there that day because they won. Were they vulnerable? You bet they were. But God had gone before and placed a dream and the rumor mill in the Midian camp. They were already afraid of Gideon and had never even faced him. When they saw the lights and heard the trumpet blowing, the enemy turned on themselves and were totally destroyed. Gideon and his men never even lifted a weapon… other than the shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”

God wants us in a vulnerable place like Gideon with his candle and horn.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we sometimes get broken. But God uses broken people in a magnificent way. For Glory needs an openness- light needs an openness. Unless there are some cracks in our pot how can the light come through?

He showed us how to be vulnerable, didn’t He?

For what’s more vulnerable than the God of the Universe clothed in humanity? What’s more vulnerable than the Word made flesh? What is more vulnerable than our Maker handing on a cross?

Can you trust Him like Gideon did?

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.” – Walter Anderson

What’s Holding You Hostage?

Nehemiah 9:17 (Net Bible), “They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. You did not abandon them,”

We are all aware of the term “hostage”: when someone is taken against their will and held hostage usually for a ransom, or when a terrorist hold a person to either protect themselves or again to force negotiations. Each one of us was born a hostage. Satan, the ultimate terrorist, held us against our will. Jesus paid the ransom. We are now free to go. If we are still under the rule of Satan, it is purely by choice. We can choose to surrender to Jesus, who only ever asks us to come willingly and never forces us to do anything. Or we can allow things, or the enemy, or our flesh to hold us hostage.

I Timothy 26:5-6 (BSB), “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all — the testimony that was given at just the right time”

What is keeping you from walking free? What is keeping you from surrender to God? Is it your habits, addictions, or lusts? Is it greed, selfishness, or pride? Maybe you feel unworthy, unclean, and unloved and can’t seem to get a grasp on the fact that God loves you, wants you in His life, and made a way for you to live free from every bondage.

Maybe you chose God and somewhere along the way wondered off, like the dog that returns to its own vomit. You have placed yourself back in bondage after tasting freedom. Don’t despair, God has not abandoned you! Turn from that life and turn back to God. He is waiting with arms outstretched.

What’s holding you hostage? The ransom has already been paid. Walk free, walk tall, you are a child of the King.

Ever Onward- Originally Posted March 26th

Philippians 3:12-14 (BSB), “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.”

Life can be tough, struggles long and hard, but as long as we don’t sit down or back up, we are constantly moving through these situations. Going through is the key. Pressing toward the goal is what Paul calls it. Something we always have to remember to do is to forget the past. Forgetting the old struggles, pain, hurts, failures, bad choices, mistakes, and sin. Forget about it. It’s ok to remember God’s goodness, deliverance, and love through those things, but don’t dwell on the ugliness, but on the beauty. He loves you!

We never get to say, in this life anyway, “I did it. I am perfect.” Paul had it right. We haven’t yet obtained perfection. However, instead of saying, “I never will” he pressed on. Ever onward. Forward march. Wagon’s hoe. Forget that your best friend just buried an ax in your back, that your spouse gambled away the house payment, that you fell off the wagon, again. Remember God will give you the strength to take that next step forward. Sure your knees might be knocking louder than a drum solo on a cyberpunk song, but so what! Take that first step toward better, toward sanity, toward, provision, health, deliverance, toward Him! It gets better, this too shall pass.

Grab your boot straps, quite like a man, stand firm in your faith, if you feel lacking in the faith department, ask God to help your unbelief. He is faithful even when we aren’t. There is always hope and help! Stop complaining, blaming, and making excuses. You choose to live different. You choose to let God mess with your life. He will work for you! He is able!

Take that first step and when you are weary take the next one. When you want to sit down, stand up. When you want to give up, give in to Him. Move forward. Walk on!

Ever onward. Let this be your mantra.

Hell is Not a Penthouse Party

Let’s get something straight, shall we? There seems to be this whole group of people out there who have this belief that hell is the place to go. They talk about how it’s going to be one big party with all their wild friends, since all of us “small minded bigots who just try to control them” won’t be around to stop them. It will be the bar that never gives the last call, the high that doesn’t fade, and the party that never ends. Everyone can do what they want, when they want, and the master of the party, Satan himself, will be right there with the bong, or the keg, or the pill, or the needle, a couple of hot babes on his arms (that he is more than willing to share and they are more than willing). No rules, no laws, no condemnation, guilt, or consequences. They see hell as the devil’s playground and they just want to play.

Here is the truth. Satan was an angel in heaven. Beautiful and stunning and it is believed he led worship to the God most high. He had it all, except that wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted God’s throne, His power, and the worship of His creations. He loved heaven so much, and saw all the greatness of God…and wanted it all for himself.

Lucifer, the devil, Satan, didn’t leave the confines and laws and rules of heaven and go build a penthouse playground where he could be in charge of one big endless party.
He was thrown out of heaven, he tried to take over, he lost, and was cast out! After they tossed him out on his ear with one third of his crazy followers, he didn’t create some evil paradise to go live and party in. He was cast out to earth. He lives here. And he is pissed off about it. He hates people, all people, tattoos, bible thumpers, sadists, and even Satan worshipers. People are God’s special creation. We were created to be just like God and are loved so much. Hell wasn’t made or created by Satan, it was created by God, AS A PRISON! It was never made for mankind. We were supposed to live forever with Him.

Satan knows that his end is prison forever. All spiritual beings (God, Angels, Devils, Demons, People) live forever. God’s will and perfect way is for us to live with Him in the real paradise. Satan, the slanderer, the deceiver, lied to Adam, the first man and said God was withholding the best from him. When he believed the lie and did exactly what Satan said, and what God warned him not to, all people were put under Satan’s rule. Now we live according to his way. There is evil, suffering, war, murder, rape, abuse, addictions, death, sickness, poverty, disease, perversion, and every other horrible thing you can think of because that’s what the devil mandates here in his territory. This is Satan’s handy work, not God’s. From the day that Adam and Eve listened to the Liar instead of God, (the Truth), hell has been enlarged, to accommodate those who refuse to follow God. And when Jesus died and went to hell, He took the keys from Satan. The devil doesn’t even have the keys to his own penthouse! We choose where we spent eternity. Heaven or hell.
We have two beings fighting for us, they both want us with them. One wants to lavish us in His love, provide for our every need, and provides a place where there is NO MORE SUFFERING. The other wants us to suffer forever WITH HIM. Satan’s end isn’t a party. It is eternal hellfire and damnation. It is eternal separation from God. That’s his punishment for trying to harm God’s special creation, mankind. Every other person, human, who spends eternity suffering there, will be doing it by choice. God doesn’t send a single person to Hell. He never will. They choose the lies over the truth. They choose suffering over peace and rest.

Why!? Because they believe the lie. The one that says, “All my friends are going to be there and we are going to party forever.”

A hypocrite says they love you and then abuse you. A hypocrite has two faces. One that is their true face and one they show the world. Our God is one! One love, one truth, one Spirit. He can’t lie. Ever.

Who’s the hypocrite? The people who find themselves in a mess in this evil world, who turn to God for help, and still have some struggles and issues, yet they keep going to church and they press in to God for strength and hope. Or the one who tries to convince the world that God is bad, Christians are all bigots and hate everyone else, and that hell is going to be one big party? Satan is the ultimate hypocrite. He wanted it all, and now tries to convince us all that it isn’t worth having.
We can’t be perfect. God knows that. It’s not God that whispers in your ear that you are worthless, screwed up, a failure, and unlovable. It’s our enemy that tells us God doesn’t care, that He expects you to be perfect, and that you can never measure up. God says, “I love you.” No strings attached.

Who are you going to believe? Who are you choosing to follow? How do you want to spend eternity?

Isaiah 14:11-17 (BSB), “Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering. How you have fallen from heaven,O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home?”