Monday, November 05, 2012


Who can explain the insanity of true love? Love is of God, and it is infinite. Love is sovereign. Love is apart from reason; love exists for its own reasons. Love is not according to logic; love is according to love. Thus it was for Hosea, for he was playing the part that God has played with you, all of your life, and with me.

The pursuing love of God is the greatest wonder of the spiritual universe. We leave God in the heat of our own self-desire and run from His will because we want so much to have our own way. We get to a crossroads and look back in pride, thinking that we have outdistanced Him. Just as we are about to congratulate ourselves on our achievement of self-enthronement, we feel a touch on our arm and turn in that direction to find Him there. “My child,” He says in great tenderness, “I love you; and when I saw you running away from all that is good, I pursued you through a shortcut that love knows well, and waited you here at the crossroads.” 

We have torn ourselves free from His grasp and rushed off again, through deepest woods and farthest swamp, and as we look back again, we are sure, this time, that we have succeeded in escaping from Him. But once more, the touch of love is on our other sleeve and when we turn quickly we find that He is there, pleading with the eyes of love, and showing Himself once more to the tender and faithful One, loving to the end. He will always say, “My child, my name and nature are Love, and I must act according to that which I am. So it is that I have pursued you, to tell you that when you are tired of your running and your wandering, I will be there to draw you to myself once more.”

When you see this love at work through the heart of Hosea we may wonder if God is really like that. But everything in the Word and in experience shows us that He is.

He will give man the trees of the forest and the iron in the ground. Then He will give to man the brains to make an axe from the iron to cut down a tree and fashion it into a cross. He will give man the ability to make a hammer and nails, and when man has the cross and the hammer and the nails, the Lord will allow man to take hold of Him and bring Him to that cross; He will stretch out His hands upon it and allow man to nail Him to that cross, and in so doing will take the sins of man upon Himself and make it possible for those who have despised and rejected Him to come to Him and know the joy of sins removed and forgiven, to know the assurance of pardon and eternal life, and to enter into the prospect of the hope of glory with Him forever. This is even our God, and there is none like unto Him.

-Donald Grey Barnhouse

Friday, September 21, 2012

Read To Love

I found these ads recently and thought they were funny.

I especially liked the one about the family.
Even though the answer should be the happy family in the bottom row, I couldn't help to think perhaps it could be the family on the top row for our day and age.

I'm not sure if these ads would spark a reading craze if they were used today, but it did make me realize we all need a push in regards to reading. Not just reading any book, but especially THE book (a.k.a. the Bible).

I asked our group a week ago why we struggled to pray and I was really glad a lot of us shared different things that hindered our prayer lives. Honestly, I wanted to rattle off answers that seemed pretty simple to me in response, but I had to stop myself because if it were really that simple, wouldn't we all have already discovered it? We wouldn't have needed that discussion in the first place because we would have known the answer.

Perhaps that's what led me to start reading, "Christian Basics: An Invitation to Discipleship", by John Scott, which is pretty much a Christianity 101 kind of book for new believers. The chapter devoted to "Bible Reading and Prayer" caught my attention and he does a great job explaining how those two disciplines go together:
"If these times of quiet waiting upon God are to be balanced, they will consist of Bible reading and prayer - in that order. First, we listen to what God may have to say to us through His Word. We ask Him like the boy Samuel, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:9-10). And we seek to imitate Mary of Bethany, who "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said" (Luke 10:39). Then second, we speak back to Him. There will be much to talk about, especially after He has spoken to us. It is like the swing of a pendulum. It is a two-way conversation, by which our relationship (even friendship) with God matures." (pp 86-87) 
After reading that I realized why there wasn't a simple "do this and you'll be fine" kind of answer to the struggles with prayer.What John Scott says in the end pretty much sums it up: we do all of this in order to build relationship with God.

Meaning we don't do these things because we know it's just the right thing to do and just simply "do it" won't solve the issues that we all face. If we were to just focus on praying, it would be clearly a one-way relationship in which we just say a bunch of things to God and hope for the best but that's not a relationship.
We need to know the God we speak to and we need to hear from Him.

I tend to be a listener, but if a friend told me, "Ok, so you're just going to listen to everything I have to say and grant whatever I want since you're my friend and by the way, you're not allowed to talk back to me."
I wouldn't think that would be much of a friendship, let alone any kind of relationship with another person.
God made a way for us to hear from Him and the best and surest way is through His Word.

If we're serious about having a relationship with God, there's really no way around it: we have to read His Word.

After reading the Word to hear from God, then we can speak to Him through prayer. Eventually that will start looking more like a relationship than us just thinking that we've done our Christian duty.

I know I struggle to keep up in all both areas of Bible reading and prayer, but I've come to realize when I read the Word more, my prayer life is strengthened because I come to know God's ways and His Word confirms and gives me hope for the things to come.

We read His Word because we desire to know the One who has saved and redeemed us.

Read to build and fortify that relationship of love.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Complain That You Cannot Believe?

I was talking with a disgruntled youngster this week after one of his friends shared their testimony and the Gospel with him. He refused to accept it because of the usual arguments: religion is a crutch, how can you be so sure, etc.

However, after speaking with him, he admitted that the real reason why he didn’t want to accept the Gospel was because he wasn’t ready to leave the worldly life he’s been living. Many times, the reason we have such a hard time believing is because we don't want to accept God's commands to forsake a certain sin in our lives.

This reminded me of something I read from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and I believe it applies to believers and unbelievers alike. He said:

You complain that you cannot believe? No one should be surprised that they cannot come to believe so long as, in deliberate disobedience, they flee or reject some aspect of Jesus’ commandment. You do not want to subject some sinful passion, an enmity, a hope, your life plan, or your reason to Jesus’ commandment? Do not be surprised that you do not receive the Holy Spirit, that you cannot pray, that your prayer for faith remains empty! Instead, go and be reconciled with your sister or brother; let go of the sin which keeps you captive; and you will be able to believe again! If you reject God’s commanding word, you will not receive God’s gracious word. How would you expect to find community while you intentionally withdraw from it at some point? The disobedient cannot believe; only the obedient believe.

Even with all the doubts this young one had, he still knew the responsibility of being a believer of Jesus Christ. He knew that surrendering your life to the Master meant you had to live in obedience to Him. He knew that he had to undergo the Lord’s discipline. He knew that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). He knew the cost of being a believer and he didn’t want to be another person who fakes it till they make it. He knew if he’s going to give his life to God, he’s wants to go all in. He wants that fruitful faith.

So, even though he did not accept Jesus as his loving Lord and Savior that night, I was comforted to know that God is not finished with him. There will come a day when he’ll realize there’s nothing more satisfying than being in the hands of a good and loving Master who probably isn’t the God he originally envisioned.  
Though he only had a partial understanding of what being a believer costs, it challenged my own walk with the Lord.  And I was glad that God used him to spark that desire to get back into the Word. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


So I was at the Guitar Center today with Jane to check out cajons.
For those who aren't familiar with what a cajon is, it's a percussion instrument that pretty much looks like a wooden box, seen in the picture.
I've heard others play it during worship services and seen videos of people using it and I thought it would be nice addition for our worship times.
Of course, someone would have to learn how to play it and Jane kindly volunteered to do it but she wanted to test it out first before purchasing anything.
Thus, that's how we ended up at the Guitar Center but neither of us knew how to play the thing.
She was youtubing and seeing if she could learn on the spot but alas, it sounded like someone just hitting a hallow box. (No offense, Jane.)
After a while Jane ended up saying, "I wished there was someone here to play it so they can convince me to buy it."
And that statement made me pause for a moment because she wanted someone to come and show her how this instrument can be used to it's fullest potential and with that, give her the hope that one day she would be able to play like that.

Sometimes, our lives are like the cajon.
There's nothing special about it and we hit it a couple of times but all we ever get is dull sounds that make more noise than music.
But then we realize there was the Master Musician who came before to show us how our lives should be lived and heard the music can be produced through it.
If we only allow Him to teach us through knowing who He is, our playing will create more than we could have ever possibly imagined because we will sound like Him.
Perhaps others watching will take note and contemplate if they should allow the Master to play their cajon's after they see and hear the potential through our lives.
I don't know about you but I'm going to practice playing the cajon and I don't mean just hitting a wooden box ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Did You Hear That?

I watched a YouTube video of an 8-month old baby who was born deaf hearing for the first time. His response to the first time hearing anything, let alone his mother, was just delightful wonderment and joy. He stopped sucking his pacifier, looked at his mother and beamed with bliss.

Looking at his response, I wanted to see what other people with cochlear implants did when they heard the world for the first time. It was amazing. All of the people I saw smiled and laughed, and some of them even wept in pure joyfulness. They were in absolute awe because they could actually hear themselves breathing, talking, and laughing for the first time. They could finally hear the sounds of the world and the voices of their loved ones.

I couldn’t help but think about what we were like before we met God, and what it’s like during those silent seasons we sometimes journey in thereafter.

There are moments in a Christian’s life when we feel deaf. It’s like the world goes mute. We can’t hear our Father's voice or the cries of the people around us, and the sound of praise just doesn’t seem to have any effect on us anymore. Or even more extreme, we are deaf to our own breathing, laughing, and speaking. 

What I found interesting was that even though WE may be deaf to God, the sounds of the city, and the voices of our loved ones sometimes… THEY will ALWAYS continue to resound and speak regardless of our deafness. It would be incredibly foolish to believe that someone would just stop talking to their deaf child or friend just because they knew they couldn’t hear. The world goes on! The cars, the police sirens, the sound of wind and rain, of people walking, shouting, talking, laughing… it all goes on.

It was a reassuring reminder for me that God is always speaking to us even if we don’t look and respond back to Him. He waits. He hopes. And He finds a way for us to hear again. I believe it is God’s desire to unstop our ears to hear His sweet voice again. I know that whoever experiences that loving touch will look up to God; stand up in complete awe and become floored with an overwhelming joy.

I'm praying that the Lord touches you in this way today brothers and sisters!

“People were overwhelmed with amazement. ‘He has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’” Mark 7:37