Astonishing Love!

The Story

The divorce was over. 

Since then, Anita had done a lot of things she was not proud of but she had been rejected so long that she was looking for affirmation from anyone.  She used her body to get relief from the words that had played over in her head.  Her ex-husband had told her that ‘no one would ever want her’and she had believed him.  Somehow, now there was vindication.  Everyone wanted her body, but maybe he was right; did any of them really want her?

She had two little children and she was always careful to see that they were cared for, but this last time, when she didn’t know where they were frightened her.  She tracked them down and loaded them into the car.  They stopped at McDonald’s and got hamburgers and fries for everyone.   The drinks she had at the bar before she went home were wearing off.

She drove straight home and put the kids to bed telling them that she loved them.  As she did, she wondered how she would get off this crazy path she was on.  Anita loved her children and knew that the way things were now; she was cheating them of her time and training.  She had given that responsibility to others.

Going Home

When the call came that her Grandmother had died, she left work, picked up the children and put some things in a suit case and began the 28 hour trek to get back home.  She didn’t know it then, but she was headed toward love and freedom.

At the funeral, surrounded by the love of her family and friends, Anita took stock of her situation.  She determined in her heart not to go back to the crazy life she had been living.  She was making good money, but that didn’t make up for the longing in her heart.

Following Her Heart

She quit her job and sold her house over the phone.  She made arrangements with her parents to move in with them until she could get established.  She got a job right away.  Her Sister stepped up to watch the children when she was at work.  She would come home, tired and hurting.  Her bunions throbbing from all the time she was on her feet.  Her dear Mother would get a pan of sudsy warm water and kneel down to lovingly wash her feet.

Love

Her folks never asked questions.  They knew she was different; not the sweet innocent girl who had left their home.  She was worldly and sensual.  It drove them to their knees.  Yet to Anita, they never offered criticism or condemnation.  They only gave love and acceptance.  She was their daughter and they loved her and that was unchangeable.

What Anita did not know was that her Mom was not well, and soon she ended up in the hospital.  The doctor removed her gallbladder and with it 300 gall stones.  Anita had been so self-absorbed; she hadn’t noticed her Mom’s pain.  What remarkable love her Mom had sacrificed to her oldest daughter.

Today’s Lesson:

Anita’s parents showed the love of family.  They accepted her even when their hearts were aching at her condition.  This is a picture of the love of God for His family but it is only a small peek at the astonishing love that Father God has for His kids.

We Have An Enemy Who Lies to Us

Satan and his demons have taught us to believe that everything bad that happens is ‘an act of God.’  We have accepted the idea that God is just waiting for us to make a mistake so that he can lower the boom on us.  We fear Him but we don’t understand that we are supposed to reverence Him.  (That is what the word ‘fear’ means in the Bible – reverence and awe.)

When things are bad, we bargain with Him.  God, If only You will . . . and we make our request and  .promise to be good if only . ..  Father God knows that we can’t be good with our own effort.  He only wants us to love Him by accepting His Son Jesus and then He will change our hearts and our spirits; then being good will become second nature.  It is not about what we do.  It is about Who He is. 

The Truth – God Loves US

  • Every good and perfect gift is from above and from the Father . . .
  • He loves us with an everlasting love.
  • He is good and only does good.
  • He is love.
  • He has promised ‘no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’
  • His love endures forever.
  • We are His family.
  • We are children of the King.
  • He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.
  • He has forgiven ALL of our sin – past, present, and future!
  • He has made us ‘new creations.’
  • Our old life has passed away and all things have become new.
  • Even when the old habits in our flesh act out, He gently nudges us to turn to Him so that He can help us to be free.

We Live Far Below Our Privilege

The Scripture in Galatians 5:1 is haunting.  It says, “It is for freedom that Christ set us free!”  In church, we don’t see many people who were truly free.  Learning how much Father God loves us brings us to that freedom.

If you are struggling, join me in singing, “yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me,  yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so!”  Whenever we mess up, we can know that God’s love is always available.  Go to Him at once and receive His forgiveness.  It is always available.  Then sing that little chorus over and over again, until you begin to understand His astonishing love.

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Vote with God

Jake had always been an avid Republican and had recently joined the Patriot Tea Party.  He was concerned for his country and didn’t want to have it said, “That for evil to triumph, good men had to do nothing. “  He was going to do something.  He went to several Tea Party rallies and respected the message and the people.  They were considerate and polite even when they were harassed by people who saw them as a threat and a nuisance.

His new church had opened his eyes as to how far he had been from God.  He had been busy in his former church, but it was mostly out of a sense of duty and not because he was hearing God’s voice.  It had been a difficult transition.  It was hard for him to let go of his old habits and guilty pleasures.

Pastor’s goal was for everyone to have an encounter with God; to hear His voice and to fall in love with Him – returning to their first love.  Jake tried, but nothing much happened.  Pastor kept saying, “You have to have ‘floor time.’  By this he meant that you had to focus on God and shut out the world.  It hadn’t worked so far, but he saw others who were aglow with the love of God and wanted it too.

This night the worship was especially good and he felt himself drawing near to God.  As He did, to Jake’s amazement God showed up!  He was amazed and sat down putting his head in his hands.  He was lost in His Presence.  The service went on but he was unaware.  The service ended and he was still in wonder at God’s love and that He was available to him personally.

After that night, everything changed.  He had no heart to watch what was going on with politics and began to ask God what He would have him do with his life.   It seemed God thought that was too big and too premature to ask at this time.  So, Jake asked God, “What should I ask?”  The reply surprised him.  “Ask me how you should vote.”

God showed him that he should just go into the polling place and as he looks at the names on the ballot, ask Him.  Jake wasn’t sure he could vote for a Democrat.  God assured Jake that He would show him who to vote for and that he would have a wonderful sense of peace as he looked at the right name.

“Father,” Jake prayed, “Give me the strength to obey what you show me and not fall back on my old ideas.  Oh, and Father, please remember that this nation was founded by people who loved you.”  He was sure that God smiled.

Today’s Lesson:  When you give your heart to the Lord, you are not your own any more.  You have been bought with a price – a very high price.  Jesus gave His life on the cross so that you could become the person you were always meant to be.  You are now a child of the Living God.  He loves you.  He knows already who will win the election and so you might as well find out how he wants you to vote.

I can hear you saying, “But what if the person I vote for doesn’t get elected, will it mean that I didn’t hear right?”  Not necessarily, it just may mean that He wanted to see if you would vote for the person He showed you.  In the long run, it is about obedience and trust.  If you have died to your old self, you really won’t care who He asks you to vote for.  A dead man has no will of his own.