I had a very good friend whose life was less than perfect. We’ll call her Becca. Her language was colourful, her habits questionable, her past mistakes regrettable. I invited her to church one time. She scoffed. She claimed the church was not a place where she belonged. She shuddered, not in distaste, but in fear.
“God will smite me the moment I walk through the doors,” she joked.
Of course, if that were true, then God would have obliterated the human race in holy fire and brimstone a long time ago. Becca didn’t realise she was no more terrible than the rest of us. She was no more unworthy than the holiest of saints. She didn’t know that it’s not about brownie points, punishment or perfection.
None of us deserve God's love.
None of us can earn His forgiveness.
But all of us belong in Him.
When we approach Him and ask for forgiveness for our wanderings, He won’t judge the filth under our nails, He won’t condemn us for the sludge in our darkest corners, He won’t smite us for our past. God will accept us as we are. He doesn’t hold back from us. He doesn’t wait for us to deserve His gifts. He doesn’t keep a tally or a scorecard. He blesses us with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3).
Spring in Australia is a wonderful time. It’s a time to open up the house, give it a good clean and let the air flow. New warmth fills our lives, the clutter disappears and everything seems… happier.
Much the same happens when we give of ourselves. When we throw open the doors to ourselves, when we give with a generous heart, then we allow room for our Lord to not only refresh our minds and souls, but to give us even more blessings.
However, when we hold onto things, they begin to stagnate. We begin to gather dust and cobwebs. We then wonder why we find it so difficult to refresh or refill – there’s no room left!
So, give to others freely. Give to others generously. Give them your time, your patience, your kindness, your prayers, even your financial and material possessions if necessary. The rewards are great.
Note: For some time now I've struggled to maintain two blogs. I started my writing blog because I wish to pursue a career as a novelist. This career is taking up a lot of time but I don't wish to quit this blog since writing about faith is also a passion. Therefore, I came to the difficult decision to reduce the number of posts here to once a week so I can avoid burnout.
24To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
This book is a collection of Lucado’s stories taken from many of his best selling books. It’s about the people of the bible, made real and relevant. It’s about God’s power in these people’s lives. And it’s written in a way that makes it relatable and appealing.
At the end of each chapter is a list of questions that can be used for reflection and discussion. So this book can be used as a mini bible study in small groups or on your own.
This book comes across as a “Best of” album and, while it works for music, I’m not convinced it works in a book. I found it a little disjointed at times and the lack of flow between chapters meant I couldn’t read large chunks of the book at a time, regardless of the attempt of an overall theme.
If you’ve read two or three of his books from the list these stories were taken from, then I think you’ll still enjoy it. I previously read five of the twelve books so the feeling of déjà vu popped up somewhat frequently for me which I found a tad disappointing.
Regardless, I found myself reading through the chapters with a smile. Lucado has a knack for bringing the bible stories alive. Through the simplicity of skilled storytelling, he makes great points and teaches God’s word in a way that touches the heart. This book makes a good read, and a good mini study.
How often do you hear, “Love thy neighbour”? How often do you want to do just that but their selfishness makes you want to hold back or their insensitivity makes you impatient? How often do you beat yourself up for failing to be the Christian you want to be?
We all want to do as God tells us but we can’t if we try to go it alone. He gives us the power to be the people He wants is to be. This power is based on love. We can’t give love if we don’t first accept it. I’m not talking about the fickleness of human love. I’m talking about the faithfulness of God’s love. When we let it, God’s love fills us up and overflows in a river of kindness, patience, forgiveness, and mercy.
God’s love is the only love we can rely on. God’s love is a power like no other. It can change us. We no longer need to rely on others to give us acceptance, recognition, or self worth. Our love is born from gratitude towards the amazing things God has done for us.
You’re too young! You’re too old! You aren’t skilled enough. You wouldn’t understand. You don’t have the resources. You don’t have the experience. You don’t have the qualifications. We’ve all heard some variation of, “You can’t!” But what do you do with those words? Do you let them sink in and allow them to stop you from your goals? Or do you ignore them and turn to God for support and affirmation?
David heard those words when he offered to face Goliath. His brother gave him a hard time about it and the very king of all Israel doubted David’s ability to face the giant. “You are too young,” King Saul said to him. (1 Sam 17:33). But these words didn’t stop David. He instead held onto his confidence in God. Because of his faith, he went on to become one of the greatest kings in history.
No matter what we do, someone will oppose us, someone will tell us we can’t, someone will share their doubts about us. But it’s what we do with the words that will make a difference to our lives because it’s all about where we put our faith. Do we trust what people have to say? Or do we trust God’s voice?
A few years ago I went on an exchange program to South Korea. It was a truly amazing experience. One of the church services I attended in Seoul stood out the most. The translation technology had broken so I listened to the entire service in Korean. I didn’t understand a word of it, but I understood the passion for Christ. The whole amphitheatre rang with praises for God. The leaders spoke with genuine fire in their hearts. Their love for God radiated from them.
It was the most memorable service I ever attended because the focus was all on God. I couldn’t get caught up in logics. I couldn’t get lost in interesting facts. I couldn’t wander through inspirational stories. All I had was the wordless experience of witnessing God’s power in the life of that church. The passion was so evident that the speakers would burst into song in the middle of their sermons. Even for them, words alone weren’t enough.
It’s because there are no words for the depth of love God has for us. There are no words for the gratitude we feel for Him. God speaks to us in ways that go deeper than words.
How does God speak to you? What’s the most memorable service you’ve ever attended?