I cannot even begin to comprehend a love that is NOT based on my performance or my successes in life. I simply don’t understand this love that is unconditional. All human love has some sort of attached agenda that is based on success in the workplace, in society, in the bedroom, or in relationships in general.
This love that is so foreign to all that is human nature is surprisingly based not on my successes but on my FAILURES. It’s true. God know that it is my own awareness of the brokenness that has filled my life that drives me into the arms of His sacrificial love. I need not be fully aware of every one of these individual failings. God is Omniscient. He knows. But, I am told in Scripture that each past and present and future sin, shortcoming, or failure has been stamped with “Paid in Full” by the One who so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son (John 3:16). This Christ is the One of whom Moses and the prophets foretold would come and pay to the death for a debt that did not belong to Him. He came not to be served (though He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords), but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28)
Does this idea make you uncomfortable? What stirs within you when you read this? Is it possible that you are also struggling to comprehend this kind of love? Have you been burned for the last time where human love is concerned? There are really only two answers here. You will either dismiss this God and refuse the offer of His unfathomable love, or you will intentionally search Him with all your heart because your heart knows that there is no greater love.
Masquerade of gypsy fortune-tellers
Come one by one
Gazing into their crystal balls
As if to find the answer
To that all-important question
“What’s for dinner tonight?”
Am I the one you seek, or do you seek another?
(Jesus may this moment be speaking this to your emptiness)
Who else but a mother and Jesus
Can satisfy our bellies and our souls?
Satiety may be found
In the world’s kitchens
I believe that God is preparing for us an eternal dwelling place that will be so magnificent that He could not allow us to imagine such glory here in this world lest the focus of our desire be on the place of heaven rather than the presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
The hope of heaven is not that we will finally be free of all sorrow and pain that we have endured in this life, but rather to see with the eyes of our heart the Calvary where Jesus took the scourge of pain and death from us and exchanged it for His righteousness. The hope of heaven is Christ Himself. He made it possible for us to escape eternal separation from God so that we will someday eat from the tree of life. Indeed, we do eat of that tree, which is Jesus . He is the First fruit of His Father, He is the Door to the Father, He is Living Water, the Bread of Life and He calls us NOW to “Taste and see that He is good.” (Ps. 34:8a)
Yet, we are “soul-journers” in a dry and desert place. We thirst for what we do not have and we chase away the things we do not want because they cause us pain. Read the sign. It says, “Pain and sorrow are not welcome here”. It is written on the faces of all humanity. But none of us escape it. What encouragement we find in Scripture where we read, “These light and temporary trials are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18). If only we believed it. Then we would realize that though we are hungry, that hunger is good because it points us to Christ who wants us to enjoy the bounty of His table. Right now, in the midst of our suffering.
Loneliness has become my winter friend. During the cold and dark months I often try to escape the clutches of that beast that threatens to take me to a dark and dreary place; bitter, unforgiving and desolate. Normally, I despise loneliness. I hate how it makes me feel. Recently, I had an encounter with loneliness and decided to stop fighting it. I began to pay attention to my emotions; when my feelings of loneliness were particularly strong. One evening I was alone in my house, thinking about the difficulties of this life. I decided to put on some music about heaven, knowing the hearing of it would act as a balm to soothe my weary soul. Minutes into my music, I found myself feeling overwhelmed; despairing over the aloneness of my heart! So I turned up the music and sang at the top of my lungs, tears streaming down my face. I felt anger over the loneliness but I was also aware of the intense feeling of joy! That’s when Jesus spoke peace to my waiting heart. I began to laugh because of this beautiful gift He had given me. This is what He wanted me to know: Loneliness is not the enemy. My loneliness is for Jesus! My loneliness is a good gift from the only One who can truly satisfy that need of my heart. So, I can invite my winter friend into all the seasons of my life because my loneliness is but a reminder to me of my unquenchable desire for heaven where merely seeing Jesus face-to-face will end all feelings of loneliness forever. Come, Lord Jesus. Come!
Traversing roads of encumbrance
Winding steeps of despair
Articulating the verbiage of depression
To a world that does not care.
Raucous cries from one beast to another
Emancipate me from this dark bitch night
Yawning is the abyss into which I have been cast
O God, rescue me that I would take flight
Into your waiting arms.
Sexual Intimacy with…God?
Imagine this: You are alone with Jesus in your secret place; let’s say… a waterfall. There is a soft mist spraying from the gentle falls, tumbling over the mossy laden rock-ledge where you are standing together. You are clothed in only your skin, facing your Beloved. Jesus drops His robe and reaches for your hands to pull you close to Him. He whispers in your ear, “You are the most beautiful of all my Father’s creation.” He steps into you and you feel the warmth of his touch and the tingle of His embrace. You melt in His arms as your tears gently fall on His chest. You are overwhelmed by His desire for you and feel absolute joy in His intimate presence.
I’m sure a few eyebrows shot up at the suggestion of this imagery. Some Christians may in fact, be very disturbed with this visualization. If so, I invite you to pause and try to think differently. I, like you, have become accustomed to thinking of Jesus as the Lover of our Souls. This is how we were educated in our churches and in our religious schools. Pay close attention to the words of the hymn written by Charles Wesley:
Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let You go.
You’ve taken me from the miry clay,
Set my feet upon a rock and now I know
I love You, I need You.
Though my world may fall,
I’ll never let You go.
My Savior, my closest friend,
I will worship you until the very end.
Do not these verses portray a flesh and bone human being, desiring, worshiping and loving the Savior and being loved by Jesus in return? He made our bodies as well as our souls. The first breath we took as infants outside the womb, was a God-given gift of physical life. Jesus created and desires this kind of intimacy with His creation. Not just our souls, but our bodies, which will one day be resurrected, as is His own. Our bodies are important to Him. In Scripture, our bodies are referred to as “The Temple of God.” (I Cor. 6:19-20) His Spirit literally lives inside us.
Now, suppose in our visualization we begin to imagine the intermingling of our spirit with Jesus’s Spirit. Since Jesus’s Spirit is the Holy Spirit, third member of the Trinity, this is already a blessed fact with each believer because they, too, possess the same Holy Spirit. What a great mystery is this unity with the Godhead that cannot be severed! We, as Christian believers are one with the Triune God. To meditate on this fact alone is certainly nothing short of mind-blowing!
Let’s suppose, once again, that in our visualization we begin to have erotic thoughts. What now? Do we shove them away, thinking them to be unholy or sinful? Sex with Jesus? Can that possibly have its place in our thought life? The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5: 31-32 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and His church.” If I am not mistaken, Paul is using the analogy of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife, to describe the relationship of Christ with the church (all believers). Many of us get so caught up with the first part of that verse, dealing with the oneness between husband and wife, that we forget the verse is really about Christ and His intimate thoughts regarding oneness with His church, His Bride. So, if Paul can use this analogy in His sanctified imagination, why can’t we?
I think, at times, we limit ourselves because we are thinking from the perspective of broken and sinful human lives. There are no longer boundaries in our expression of our sexuality in this world. But when God first created sex there were definite and very good boundaries. When God created Adam and Eve, He made them gendered and He blessed their sexuality and the expression of it. He commanded them to have sex. (I doubt whether they fought Him on this idea!) It was a very good idea. In the context in which God created sex, it is meant to bring pleasure, awareness, and is the most tangible way to give one’s entire self sacrificially to their mate. It is a form of transparency between two people who give themselves to the other like nothing else we can experience on earth. It is meant to remind us of our own desire and longing for God, and for His desire and longing for us. The fact that our sexuality has been corrupted is not a problem for God. It is a problem for us. The shame of what we have done to push God out of our lives is what keeps us from enjoying Him in every way possible–even sexually.
When I am alone, and in need of comfort, the assurance of God’s presence and closeness; I believe it is right and good that I have intimate thoughts of Him and the marriage to come between Christ and His church, of which I am a member. Did we not dream of those days before our own marriages here on earth? Did we not think of the wedding night and the many days to follow, where we would enjoy the loving attention and delight of our spouse? Where we would reciprocate all that our spouses gave to us? These thoughts are pleasing to a God who created human beings to love and enjoy the intimacy of sex for a lifetime, so why not think intimate (even sexual) thoughts with the God/Man who promised to return so He could wed His Bride.
Most of my adult life, I wouldn’t have dared to entertain this kind of thinking. I would have thought it to be evil, sinful and lustful. The fact that I would even spark the idea of having sex with Jesus, even though He will someday be my husband, would not have occurred to me. If it did, I would not have been able to share it with a single soul. I surely would have been excommunicated from my church. It was in therapy where I learned to visualize, breathe, and allow awareness to become the focus of thoughts that could calm my troubled heart and turn me to the only One who could satisfy my every need. This is still a work in progress and always will be, but visualizations such as this, will help me during the dark days when I realize that as a bisexual Christian woman, I have God-imposed boundaries on the expression of my sexuality. He knows, He loves, He cares, and He alone will be my husband, my lover, my friend.
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Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.
My life, my mind, my truth.
a bipolar blog
Thoughts from Kelly Needham
REFLECT. UNDERSTAND. LET GO. BE IN CONTROL.
Blogging The Language of the Heart
my journey from self-absorption to doxology
"Eye Fly High"
A Writer Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder (Bipolar, Peripartum Onset)
I think, I write, I think I'm right.
('cause caffeine is known to solve problems of the world)
Welcome to the appreciation of Australian birds and the love of birdwatching, sharing bird sightings, photographs, personal experiences and helpful information.
POETRY, RANDOM THOUGHTS AND STUFF LIKE THAT....
Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell
Defending the Gospel in an Age of Skepticism
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4:23
Table of Contents Digest
Encourage ... and build up one another. 1 Thess 5:11.
Walking In My Purpose
Weddings, Marriage, and Relationships for Christian Women
God's Word is nourishment for the soul. These are nuggets the Lord has given Jack Garrott, a missionary in Japan
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." - John 10:27
......the Lord's love is with those who fear Him.......
Chaplain, Christianity, God, Ragamuffin
putting stuff from my head into yours
Faith | Life | Society
Homo Unius Libri
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A Blog About the Bible, Books, and Beating People Up...
Writing what you need to read
Live life love.
sacpros.org is devoted to breaking down the barriers which prevent access to mental health services by providing easy access to available services in the community
Discovering the Gift
Becoming the oil and wine in today's society
True Power Plant Stories
in a generation of degenerative beauty queens, all I've got is food for thought.
For when the rhythm changes in the middle of your dance.
Bipolar consumes our family
Posting things that matter........... to me.
THE MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS BLOG
Hope isn't an emotion, but a daily choice. Keep choosing the path of hope.
The Blessed-Based Business. by Jennifer Engel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.