MY ONE TRUE LOVE

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Well we are well into another season of weddings here in the Maritimes. My son Thomas was among those who made their wedding vows. There was of course the jitters before the wedding showing but once the ceremony was complete there was joy on the faces of the new married couple.

I think most couples think, as they stare into the eyes of their loved one believe there is no one else who could satisfy their heart like this person. They believe that this person is the only one who has my heart and for a time it may be true. Time has a funny way of changing things though. Initially there is great care in guarding this all important relationship, but then time rolls by and you begin to relax your efforts. Perhaps it is the money you need to pay for the new car that has your attention. Children come along and they require lots of time and thought and usually right now. The one thing that was most important to you both gets lost in the pursuit of the things “we need” in life.

Marriage is under attack in the earth today. Sexual desire’s outside the marriage are no longer things to be resisted but promoted. Sexual sin has been deemed not to be sin and has been reclassified as natural. The internet has made this particular sin to be readily available. Recently in the news there was a web site hacked that was set up for married couples wanting to have sex outside of their marriage. It was all supposed to be secret but opps it was exposed. Once our attention is no longer given to protecting the marriage relationship and having it valued greatly then it is doomed to break down. In my earlier years I was baited into becoming successful if I did this, that and the other thing. I believed I was not okay as I was but needed to turn my focus on things that “would make me” a real man!! Well as you can guess it lead me to a failed marriage and a broken heart. That turned out to be a lie that has cost me everything. Fortunately life was not over.

Many of us have the same sort of beginning with our marriage or covenant with God. We start out so excited in this new relationship and can’t believe that God could love a wretch like me. This is amazing! The God of the universe has chosen me, loves me, and He walks and talks with me! Oh how sweet it is as the late Jackie Gleason would say. Just like marriage we can become familiar with the love of our life and so we start to move on to other things in our life that we need. Perhaps it is the praise of people you need to make you feel better. Wow as I type this I am struck by that phrase, “ to make me feel better”. When we break the gaze of our God and look out there to find something to satisfy something in us we are headed for trouble. It may not even be outside of the church world. Maybe it is a subtle as needing to lead worship, needing to preach or leading the charge at a bible study. These are all good things but if they are being done to satisfy your own need then it becomes a snare to you. I for one know I have fallen in a few of these things.

Is your need to be loved not being fully met in God? Are you not being “made to feel” like you are special? These are things that I have struggled with and if I am being honest I still do then you are vulnerable to the enticement of this world. This covenant with the Lord under the blood of Jesus is also very much under attack. If your eyes are no longer staring into His eyes then you are in a place where your oil is running low in your lamp and it might just go out. It isn’t too late for me or for you either. Here is a scripture from 1st Samuel that may speak to you as it did me.                        1 Samuel 7:3 Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”

Lord my mind has pondered and figured out what I need to do and so I pray that you would change my heart so it’s one desire would be you and that my life would truly flow out from this, In Jesus name I pray. And so as I move forward with the rest of my day this will occupy my mind as I find myself ……Just Thinking

Hannah

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HANNAH

I was reading today about the story of a women called Hannah and I was impressed with her character. Her life had been one of failure in the eyes of her culture. Her husband loved her dearly but she was unable to have children with Him. He had another wife as well and she was able to do that and she tormented poor Hannah because of it. This woman was powerless to change things and she was grieved in her heart and wept openly. Her husband tried to comfort her but his comfort was not able to fill the hole in her heart.

Have you ever felt powerless in an area of your life? Well for me I find that I am powerless in my relationships with my children. It seems that on my dad’s side of the family in particular that family relationships are a total disaster. I think my dad only speaks to one brother. He is alone most of the time and trusts only in himself. Sometimes I worry that I do not possess the skills to be that” great dad” that says just the right thing, has all the right answers and brings comfort to his kids.

I have met other people who’s children want to hand closely with them as they must have done something right to get that result. I envy them as that just naturally seemed to flow in a gift of parenting. After I was around 20 years of age I seemed to become angry and never wanted to spend time with my family at all. I was walking in my father’s footsteps without even realizing it. I think my kids are pretty great and they are doing fairly well and better then many.

Hannah finally went to the altar of God and laid her burden down there. She was accused of being a drunk because of her weeping. When she shared her story with the priest then he came into agreement with her prayer. The thing I found do remarkable was that she stopped her weeping, sadness departed and she again started to eat. That is really a great picture of faith. She left it with God knowing He would do whatever was right as He is good. There is only one who can make the impossible happen. I was struck last week by a verse in Isaiah 37: 21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22 the Lord has spoken this word against him:

Those words continue to ring in my mind “ Because you have prayed about….” I too can pour out my heart to the Lord about the thing that causes me such grief and then walk away without the burden as it is now left with Him. Him who loves and is able and that is what I find myself……. Just Thinking    

I WILL FOLLOW YOU

Things are changing very quickly in our world today. Technology and the Internet have put our world into high gear. Many career paths require you to prepare for the job in high school and then University. When you choose your career, you begin to train by taking the courses you need in University. The debt for training can sure add up and then when you graduate you search and hope you can gain the entry-level position. If you are lucky enough to find your position you may soon discover that this is not what you want to do in life. The question then is, “how can I leave this job with 60000 + dollars of debt needing to be paid?” The essence of who you are as a person becomes less and less a factor in how you will spend the bulk of your time on this earth. Many of our youth are burning out before they finish University as they are trying to shape themselves into something they are not.

Perhaps you are one of the ones who end up with a career that you are happy with. With hard work and dedication you climb your way up the corporate ladder into a high level management position. You are well respected in the workplace and have one of the nicer offices and large numbers of staff answering to you. You have a company car and you are flying here and there in business class and it seems as though you have arrived. Meanwhile back at home the beautiful spouse of your youth ( or perhaps it is the wife who has become the success story) is having difficulty with the 3 kids, the car is acting up and pool has a leak. The baby is crying and needs a diaper change while supper is cooking. You are no longer an executive in this place nor are the family members bowing to your commands. You are now a servant to these people and they are demanding. The question is “ Who is the real you?” Are you husband/wife and parent of 3 or are you an executive that has acquired a spouse and 3 children who should be supporting you in your important role?

Life is made up by our choices that we are making everyday. Are you seeing the importance of those seemingly insignificant choices or are the choices you make designed to “ give you some space”? If you plant those seeds now you needn’t worry about them growing. In a few years you will have all the space you want. The road of success may find you in your final years sitting alone. It is a sad time to discover that your goals had been reached but you have nothing.

Perhaps you are the one who was able to adapt to the position you find yourself in and just get through the workday so you can socialize with friends after the workday has ended. It seems great for a time but your friends come and go and as you age your desires and needs begin to change. There comes a point where we all take a breath and wonder “ Where is it that I am going?” You have been in the race a while and your forget where this race was leading you too. It must have been somewhere great or you wouldn’t have entered it…. Would you? Lots of us change career paths at this point or change spouses or change where you live to get that “fresh start”. And they’re off! Yet again, on a new path that will lead to happiness this time.

So what options are there? What if you found out that God was real and that He had made himself available for you? What if all the pressures you have of making choices and decisions of life when you have no idea where those choices are going to take you could be handed over to the very one who created you with a plan and purpose and had the ability to satisfy your heart. Rather then finishing the race with a heavy heart of regret you have joy and hear the words “ Well done!” Well this God really does exist and He sent His son to open the way for you to know your Father.

Psalm 139:1-9 says “1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!

If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.

If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.

            If you are tired and thirsty and are not sure where it is life is leading you anymore then I encourage you to stop at the well and drink deeply. He will give you life giving water and will take the time to share with you even if others will not. You haven’t burned this bridge, regardless of how many you have burned or mistakes you have made up to this point. It’s not too late to change life and to get on the road that was prepared for you long ago. Rather then trying to figure everything out and knowing all things ( Good luck with that) just follow the one who is willing to lead you. Trust in Him to know the way and just follow. And so that is what I find myself, sitting in the mall and ……… Just Thinking

Intimacy

Well it seems that life has been busy lately as I’m sure it has been for many of us. Summer time is the time where family’s gather together from far and near. It is the chance to catch up on what is happening in the lives of loved ones and hopefully deepening the relationships. It brings to mind a word that I hear so tossed around so much of late and that word is Intimacy. You would think that we had this intimacy mastered, but do we? There are a number of definitions for the word that describes a type of relationship with someone close. I found this one that I very much like. Intimacy is closeness with another person, like the intimacy that develops between friends as you tell one another your life’s story and all your secrets and dreams for the future. In spiritual circles you hear lots about intimacy with our Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Now for me I don’t believe that I have personally taken this type of relationship with God too serious. Perhaps I have even been a bit flip. This isn’t like feelings of love that can be me having those feelings for another who does not feel the same towards me. This is real and has been forged between two persons through investing time with each other. Trust is something that paves the way for intimacy to happen. Much like a marriage there must be trust between the two for you to have real intimacy. Trust replaces the need to have walls erected around your heart and that enables the other person to truly know you as you are. You willingly make yourself vulnerable to that other person. We all desire to be loved and particularly loved for the real you and not the you, that was created to make you desirable to another. I guess that is a topic for another day. So I can say that I have many friendships in my life but I have far less relationships that I could say we have intimacy. Even in the relationships that I do have intimacy there are levels of depth that differ between. Obviously I have only one relationship that is intimately in the physical sense but who have I made myself most vulnerable too? Well the right person to have that depth is with God. I believe that as I willingly reveal my heart to Him that He in turn will also reveal more of His heart to me. This is where you can ask yourself: When was the last time you made yourself vulnerable to God? When was the last time He revealed His heart to you? Do you even care to know what is in His heart?             My honest answer to the above first two questions are “ I don’t remember.” I know that last question I haven’t even asked for a long time but know before I answer that I must carefully consider this one. So the answer to the questions leave my level of intimacy at best to be shallow. I guess this is one of the things I like blogging with the Spirit Of God along side of me. I never know where He is leading me but I do trust Him. So now that this is revealed it really shows how my prayers are also off track. I have been in the deeper places and have returned to the shallow with God. What would that look like in a marriage? Well I would say that the trust between us would have also diminished and that walls would around our heart towards each other would be the natural flow of things. Would not our spouse not feel the retreat and feel the abandonment? Would they not sense if you were now wooing another in your life rather then you? And would it also not cause them pain? So would not God also sense the departure of your heart from Him and would it also not grieve Him? As you cab see I am a man with more questions then answers. I am also a man who has grieved the heart of God, Him being the very one who has promised never to leave me or forsake me. I read this scripture in Amos 3 this morning which started the ball rolling. Verse 1 “Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel—against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: 2 “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.”             In the 4th chapter of Amos it describes some of the things that the Lord “punished” them with and then this same response from God. “But still you would not return to me” Like the story of the Prodigal son there is a Father who’s heart is broken until the son returns back to Him, and that my friends is what I find myself……… Just Thinking

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