Category: Faith

Everything concerning the foundations of our faith in Christ

Behind every gift is a giver

This morning I was reading from John 6 where Jesus, you were talking about being the bread of life. First off, these people just like many of us today, were looking for you because of the bread that you had given them and not for anything else. It’s amazing how many of us, including myself come to you firstly because of our needs. Physical, financial, spiritual, it doesn’t matter. The point is that we are drawn to you because of your ability to provide and meet such an immediate need. But the true joy and experience really comes when a person like myself realizes that meeting my needs is only the teeny tiniest of the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to enjoy in relationship with you. The comfort and peace is irreplaceable, almost indescribable.

Gift boxes
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net

To know now that knowing you is actually the goal, how wonderful is that. I remember growing up and thinking it was all about making heaven. I used to think that eternal life was something to look forward to and that it somehow kicked in when we took our last breath. It was the afterlife insurance of some sort. But my Father, how wrong was I? To know that your true goal is to be known by me and to know me freely. Of course you already know me. David made that clear in his words that I cannot get away from you or from your knowledge of me. But there is a new depth that occurs when I freely let you in, when I understand that your love and approval is a constant in my life and not a requirement for your love. When strivings cease, life begins! Now that’s a tweet!

Striving
Image courtesy of ddpavumba @ freedigitalphotos.net

That’s why you said to seek first your kingdom, your way of doing things. It’s not about what we can get. When you revealed in Matthew 6: 25-33, you were letting us know that it wasn’t about what we can get – food to eat, clothes to wear, shelter for our families. No! That is already taken care of in you. But to get a hold of that, we have to be IN you. We have to learn how to let you lead, you rule, you be the head of our lives. I have to be a yes person to your leading and your spirit. I have to let your kingdom come in my life. And then, all those other things (the food to eat, the clothes to wear, the shelter over my head), they will be added to me because you being who you are, already know that I need them. Wow!

Abba’s Response: I enjoy loving you so much. That’s why my word says that I inhabit the praises of my people. I live in that place. When my love is accepted and received, my glory shines. Giving is who I am and my essence is in freely doing that, freely being good to my children. No strings attached. That is why I said in John 6:29 that

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

The only work I have given to my children is to believe that I am who I say I am and I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek me. I honor it when people recognize my existence and then desire and pursue knowing who is behind the very creation that they enjoy. If I already gave that much to you in my creation, if I gave it all to you in my Son, how much more will I give to you when you receive and believe me. My giving is not conditional on people’s reception. The whole world already enjoys my gifts, whether they believe or not. But there is a depth of life and rewards and gifts for those who choose to get to know me. The whole purpose is not to come for the reward but to recognize that I am a good God, I am a good Father, and my joy is in blessing my children.

That’s what eternal life is. Imagine you leave a trail of gifts for your children at Christmas. At the end of that trail is a door. When that door is opened, it reveals your existence, the revelation that you are the source behind all the gifts. But what they haven’t even figured out is that behind you, you have prepared a room full of goodies that their minds cannot fathom. Your one desire is that the trail of gifts leads them to you so that you can love on them, take care of their every need, and just let them get to know you. The goal is about the life you have in store for them – together.

The problem however is that some of those kids get stuck on gift 1, or 2, or 3 or 30. They never make it to the door. They stop looking because gift 5 is so cool and it takes so much of their attention and time. They indulge in it so much that they don’t even question or choose to explore where the gifts came from in the first place. They aren’t willing to stop playing and keep exploring to see who the giver behind the gifts is. They totally miss the purpose and point of the gift trail in the first place and sadly, they never even realize that there is a giver with a room full of gifts for them! They don’t realize that the gifts are only a reflection of the love that you have for them. The whole point of the trail is to demonstrate your love for them.

Trail
Image courtesy of lkunl @ freedigitalphotos.net

Explore! Live! Keep picking up the gifts! Let it lead you to me! Let me love you! Let me show you the person behind the gifts. Let me show you that there is so much more to enjoy. But let me show you that it was never about the gifts. The gifts are all for you but it was never meant to be about the gifts. It was and is meant to be about getting to reveal me to you. There is a giver!

You are worth much more than you know!

Did you know that you are actually precious, worth more than life to someone out there? It’s so easy for us to feel like we are so small and not worth anything to anyone really. How many times do you think “I’m sure they only care because of what I do for them?”

Okay, even if your self esteem is flying off the roof, it is still so easy to feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things. For example, there are estimated to be more than 7 billion people on this earth right now. I don’t know about you but maybe cause I am teaching my little ones numbers right now, 1 is sooooo very tiny compared to 7,000,000,000. The other day, my big girl asks me “Mommy, what’s the biggest number you can count?” What’s your answer to that question? Really think about it, not just theorectically, but practically, how far can you count?

Okay, so 7 billion, but that’s just as of right now. If I go by the conservative estimate that the world is only a little over 6,000 years old, and people have been around since the very beginning. If we assume that the growth has been exponential since the very beginning, I think it will be easy to assume that there has been more than 14 billion people in existence since creation. Still feeling significant?!

Psalm 8:4 (AMP) What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?

What I love the most is that all of that doesn’t actually matter because the Bible tells us that God’s mind is FULL of us. He knows the number of strands of hair that you have. That means that he knows when one falls out or a new growth begins. Do you even know that much about yourself? I know I don’t!

Matthew 10:30 (AMP) But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

I know it’s easy to think that God might be too busy with everything else (ever wonder what that everything else is) that he doesn’t really have time for you but think again. He is seriously, desperately, madly in love with you and that’s the truth!

Marinate on that today and hopefully, the obstacles that seemed to loom over you sometimes can shrink to the minute reality that they are!

You are loved…handcrafted!

I’ll confess. I loved Whitney Houston. I have loved Whitney since I was little, 5 or 6 years old. I wanted to sing because of Whitney. My whole desire to sing was born from watching her sing.

Whitney Houston (courtesy of whitneyhouston.com)
Whitney Houston (courtesy of whitneyhouston.com)

I love the lyrics from her song, “You were loved”. The chorus goes like this:

You were loved by someone
Touched by someone
Held by someone
Meant something to someone
Loved somebody
Touched somebody’s heart
Along the way
You can look back and say (mm)
You were loved (yes you were)

Okay, this post is not really about Whitney (though I could talk about her for a while). That’s not really what this is about. For most people, there is some truth in those words. We can relate. We may have grown up in loving homes, or had a caring teacher. Mom and Dad may have been affectionate in showing their love for us, or not! Most of us have loved someone, even if we later thought they didn’t deserve our love. We’ve been there for someone and they’ve touched our hearts along the way. I grew up in a loving home. Of course, we had our own share of issues, but I knew my family loved me, especially my dad. I was a daddy’s girl. I was the first girl after two boys. I enjoyed my dad’s attention and affection. I enjoyed being doted upon. I was loved!

For others, you may not have felt loved. I am very aware that life may have been hard and just difficult and void of love. I know there are people who did not ever experience any display of love, at least, not in the obvious way many may have experienced love. I sympathize and really wish I could change every sad story. My heart aches when I think of children who have no awareness of love being extended to them. If you ever want to get me to tears, all you need to do is show me some injustice or a situation where a child is unloved. It breaks my heart!

But there is good news even for the one who feels unloved. There is someone who loves you more than you can imagine. You are loved! You are cherished! You are thought about constantly by someone who is completely taken by you! He’s loved you, loves you and always will. It’s Abba. He dreamed you up before he created you. I love reading the account of creation in Genesis. It talks about how God created everything by speaking it into existence. “Let there be light”, “Let the waters be separated”… and so on. But when it gets to the part where he decides to make man, he does something totally different. It talks about him first of all making us in his very own image!

Wow! He wanted us to be like him, look like him, act like him! But the part that intrigues me the most is that when God made man, he got his hands dirty. He picked up the dirt with his own hands, shaped and molded Adam to be just the way he had envisioned. He didn’t speak man into being. Now the evidence is clear that it wasn’t a lack of ability as demonstrated from earlier creation. No! He chose to make man with his own hands. His own hands designed Adam’s arms, his ribs, his chest, his nose, his lips, his eyes, every last detail was handcrafted by God!

By Antilived (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons
By Antilived (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever carved wood? I remember woodworking class in high school. I enjoyed it for all of 30 minutes. It is tedious work. It takes time, detail and care. You have to first saw out the wood (and we did not have power tools)! You then had to chisel slowlyyyyyyy. This was more tedious if you were making something curved! After hours or even days of doing that, then you had to sand it to make it smooth. I remember my teacher sending me back to sand at least 3 or 4 times because when I thought I was done, he apparently had higher standards for me. Then we had to polish the pieces to give it that shine of a finished product.

See, I had to do all this to get a good grade. The thing is that God didn’t have to. Now, just put yourself in my shoes for one minute. If I had the power to speak my project to life, em, you may love woodworking and all, but I on the other hand, would have exercised my verbal creation powers. I would have run to the nearest bathroom and called my project to life like that!

But God had that choice. He used it in other things. But when it was time to make people, he opted for the longer, tedious, dirty, labor intensive option! He wanted to enjoy the process. He wanted to be involved in every detail. He handcrafted us for his pleasure.

I’ve got much more to say about you being loved but for now, I just want to soak this up for a while!

Abba’s Daughter

Taste and See!

Female Chef Serving Chocolate Shake - stockimages
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are some Bible verses that never get old to me. Psalm 34:8 is one of those. I have been meditating on it lately and every time that I chew it over, it brings a smile to my face.

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him…Psalm 34:8

I just love it. It says to taste. What comes to mind when you think of tasting. I may tell you about my favorite meal. One of the foods I have enjoyed since childhood is fried plantains. I love fried plantains. Those who know me well know that I cannot resist a good, ripe, and rightly cooked fried plantain meal.

By Charles Haynes [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Charles Haynes [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I remember in my college days, my mom, knowing that I loved fried plantains, will keep the ones that she had for me. She rarely ate them herself but she would buy them for me. She would then call me when they were so ripe, they were on the verge of going bad. For those who watch their sugar intake, this may not be the best idea for you. You see, by now, the plantain is as ripe as it will ever get. Any more ripeness, and it’s death to the plantain.

Mom would then call me and tell me to come over and get my plantains before they went bad. Other times, she would cook them up with some rice or fish or something else she knew that I liked. That was one excuse to go home weekend after weekend.

Now if I tried to describe the taste to you, you can only use your imagination if you’ve never had fried ripe plantain. It’s sweet, it’s succulent, it’s even better (for me at least), when the edges are just a bit chewy! However good my descriptions may be, NOTHING beats taking a bite of the plantains yourself and tasting it!

Wow! The bursting of fresh, new tastes hitting your tastebuds at the same time. The sweetness that had been trapped inside the plantain exploding in your mouth. The succulent bite of the chunky middle and the perfect chewiness of the edges. Okay, so I am aware that some of you may taste it and not like it. But my point still stands, tasting beats being told!

Well, King David, in Psalm 34:8 is inviting you and I to not just hear about God’s goodness, but to step out and taste of it. He wants you to experience God for yourself. You may have heard about God at Sunday school when you were a kid. You may have heard about Jesus on your college campus. You may even know a lot about him from attending church or from reading your bible casually. But today, I challenge you to take a further step with God. Taste! Experience him for yourself. Talk to him, listen to him, dare to believe the things that he promises in his word, let him love you.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Truth vs. Reality


Okay, so it’s so easy to live in reality. The moment we settle our minds on how something IS, it can be a struggle to believe otherwise. Isn’t that why we say “seeing is believing”? Now, the problem with reality is that it is based on each person’s perspective. That is, if I think something happened a certain way, then that’s reality for me. This is regardless of what anyone else perceives as reality. A group of people can observe the same event and end up with multiple differing realities. For example, making $30,000 in America may make you feel poor but it the middle of the Sub-Saharan desert, you may be treated like royalty with that kind of dough!

That’s bothersome to me. Reason being, we can all end up with differences, not just in perspective, but in occurrences. And it does happen. In all honesty, this is the cause of most of the arguments I have with my husband. (Now, I know you don’t argue with your husband, right?)

What I love about God’s word is that it’s truth! It doesn’t reflect my own perspective or any one else’s but God’s! When he says that I am blessed, that’s the truth, regardless of how I feel or what the circumstances look like. 1 John 4:17b says:

“because as He is, so are we in this world.”

Now that’s comforting…because I don’t always feel what He says I am. But my feelings and perspective (or reality) are only secondary to THE TRUTH. I’m no longer concerned about getting a fuller picture, I have the ultimate truth available to me.

Overwhelmed? Exhausted? What's God gotta say about it?

Today was just one of those days that didn’t quite start the way I wanted it to. I woke up tired and already felt like I could crawl right back into bed. It just started out as one of those days where you question your own abilities to handle everything God has given you.

Can I really be the kind of wife he’s enabled me to be?

Can I truly mother my children the way he equipped me to?

How about that career that my heart constantly longs after? Am I able? Can I still pull off those dreams and at the same time handle everything else including being a wife, mother, daughter, friend?

Can I just crawl back into bed and pretend that it’s not quite morning yet?

I wish I could just say that I snapped out of it before my feet hit the floor. But no!

A few hours had gone by until I finally let that inner voice remind me of his promises that are always Yes in Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Let’s meditate on this verse this week.

Just the first part today – He’s talking to me and probably you. Those who are tired, worn out, tired of a set of rules that leave you almost lifeless!

I can sure testify of being tired of the have-tos, need-tos, must-tos. I just want to live a life full of power.

Are you with me?