Relentless Mercy

 

Jesus

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35, 37-38

 

 

“Yes, Jesus Loves me!”  “Yes, Jesus Loves me!”

“Yes, Jesus Loves me!”  “The Bible Tells Me so!”

Jesus with the little children

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

We should believe with the innocence of children, for we are His children

My Personal Testimony and Reason for this Writing.

I am an apathetic Christian.  This is a confession I do not take lightly.  I read books written by these wonderful authors who are truly on fire for God.  I read the Epistles and see how Paul counted his life as nothing, then wonder, “Why don’t I feel like that all the time?”  Oh, to be sure, I have my moments.  But so often the cares and living of this life just wear me down, I get so tired just coping with the day to day drudgery, God gets lost in there and I go to bed, get up, do what I must, go back to bed and before I know it an entire day has passed and I have not spoken to Him once.

Now realize, I am not talking about the bakery clerk or my neighbor or even my husband, I am talking about He who created the universe!  I am talking about a powerful being, one who has so much power I cannot even conceive of it!  I am talking about the One who made me, the One who died on a cross so I could be with Him, the One who, no matter how much I ignore Him, no matter what my sins are, be they purposeful or not, continues to pursue me with that wonderful, sometimes frightening,  overwhelming message:  “I love you, come to Me!”  He is there, calling me, holding out His arms to me.  Me?  “Not now, I’m too busy.”  So glib, so foolish.  Sometimes, when I take a moment to recognize exactly WHO is calling me, I don’t answer at all, instead I hang my head in shame, a tear may drop and meander down my cheek as I say in a voice filled with shame and unbelievable sadness:  “I am not worthy.  If only you knew what I have done.  I am not worthy.”  And I walk away from that offer of total forgiveness, of total agape love, tears running down my face, knowing I am not good enough to be approached by, to look at, and definitely not be a part of His universe.

Have you done that?  I think we all have at one point or another.  After we have said we were too busy or too sinful what happens?  He comes back, doesn’t He?  He calls out to you again, He holds his arms out again.  If you are quiet and listen you can almost hear Him tell you how precious you are to Him, how He loves you exactly as you are, that He knows all there is to know about you.  It is enough to stop you dead in your tracks, to bring you to your knees.  You catch your breath, for an instant you feel the beauty and peace of his touch.   Then the realities of life call you back as a horn blares or one of the kids starts to cry and you run back to that drudgery we all call life.

It’s so weird, if I am talking to someone about Jesus and following Him, my passion is palpable.  Sometimes I even get too intense as I turn from Old to New Testament showing how Jesus has always been with us, how we are in a time of grace that is fast coming to an end, I describe hell, read from Psalms, Proverbs, even Song of Songs so that whoever I am talking to can try to comprehend Christ’s love for us.  I usually give too much information and give it so intensely I make the receiver uncomfortable.

I love Jesus, I love and believe in Him so very much.  Why am I so lazy about spending time with Him?  To a point it is so very me.  I tend to care about and love people from a distance.  I don’t get to close to anyone, not my bestest BFF from school, not my BFF from church.  They usually have to chase me down.  I don’t know why; it is certainly not that I enjoy my own company so much.  More than anything else, I guess it is fear of rejection.  Ok, insecurities.  But I don’t have to be insecure in Christ, did He not say,

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  John 10:2-5

            There is one thing we have forgotten.  We can turn this life from drudgery into joy!  He will lighten our loads, put a spring in our step.  The same chores will be there, but somehow, with Him at our side, they seem lighter.  But we have allowed the cares of this life to eclipse the most important thing of all, our relationship with our God and our Savior.  So, does He walk away and go to someone else?  No!  He is determined, His love for each of us is so deep He does not stop, He does not rest, until as little children, we are enfolded into the loving care of His arms.

His pursuit of us is relentless.  I kind of liken it to something once said in “Terminator” when Kyle Reese told a very frightened Sarah Connor:

“Listen and understand. That Terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

Jesus has something better than pity, He has empathy.  He knows where we are coming from, He understands our pain, our hurt, our hopes and dreams, our temptations, even our sins.  Just like a true lover, He looks past all of it, He sees only the person He loves so dearly He died for them.  You can’t bargain with Jesus, He knows your yesterday, your today, your tomorrow.  Jesus has no fear, there is nothing He needs to fear.  He made it all, He can break it all!.  He will absolutely never stop until you are dead.  Once you have moved to that phase of life, your eternity is set.  He either welcomes you home or says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

Which words do you want to hear?  “Welcome home, good and faithful servant”   or “Depart from me …” .

I took the time to think about eternity the other night.  I just finished an article about what heaven is really like.  I was trying, as best as my finite mind can, to grasp the idea of eternity.  For some reason I pictured hell.  The burning, the pain, but what eclipsed everything was the total absence of that love I have felt all my life.  Jesus was nowhere.  Nowhere.  Then the horror fell on me.  This pain, this aloneness was never, ever, ever going to stop.  There would be no rescue, there would be no gentle voice calling to me, just the horrendous screams of others who were also there.  Behind it all was the almost maniacal laughter of the lost one himself, Satan.  This would never end.  I couldn’t even begin to grasp what that meant but I knew after ten thousand years of this pain, it would continue, for another ten thousand, and another ten thousand after that and for the first time in my existence I felt a total loss of hope, I came face to face with complete and utter despair.  Then I realized I had put myself in this position.

All I had to have done was say “Yes” when Jesus would call to me and hold out His arms, but I was “too busy” or too cool to give him an answer.  Now, NOW I understood why He had been so relentless in His approach.  He knew what my future would be, He has tried oh so very hard, but me and my “oh so cool” free will chose and chose very poorly.  NOW I understood, when it is too late.

I woke up from my reverie, cold chills ran down my spine.  I prayed desperately, as a drowning woman, “Please God, oh please, don’t let me go there.  Oh please, forgive my sins.  Oh please take my will, take all of me, don’t let me go.  I am so scared, I know I should go there.  Please, please, please don’t let me go there.”  I almost sobbed the words out.

Jesus came, He comforted me, held me in His lap, reminded me how easy it would be to start my day with him, easier yet to end my day with him.  Heck, I don’t even really enjoy the stupid TV shows I watch and my puttering on the computer is just a way to pass the time.  Why not put all that wasted time into Him?  He was right.  So what do I do now?  Watch stupid television shows and putter aimlessly on my computer.

So, I am not proud to say it but I am an apathetic Christian who needs to be turned on, plugged in and tuned up.  I thought to look at the relentless mercy, grace, and love Jesus offers us, of His Relentless Love and as we begin to better understand, and truly fall in love with the true Master and Maker of the Universe.

So, that is my story.  I read Genesis and see how from generation to generation humankind was more interested in their here and now than in their Creator.  So we from what I can see, even with the benefit of the New Testament, we have not grown a whole lot.  What is real, what is necessary for each of us to have the peace in our hearts and souls that we crave is not through things, or stuff, or that new car, or promotion at work; it is getting ourselves right with our Creator.

It is my simple hope that this testimony brings some closer to Jesus Christ, to a saving walk with our creator and savior.    As relentless as His love is for us, we must be as relentless in following Him, in spending time with Him, seeking His wisdom and Grace.

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A Fortress is My God

Image result for a mighty fortress is our godCan you see it?  That great stone fortress?  It is there; I just need to keep my eyes on Him, my mind and heart in His Word and It is there.  Mighty and strong in the distance, the sun sparkles like diamonds on those great stones, and I know once I reach it I will be safe from the harm and temptation, the evil and pain of this world.  I must keep striving and as I race, running with all my might.  The fear begins to leave, and as I look around I see I am flanked on either side by mighty soldiers!  They are tall and mighty, they fight off the enemy and shout encouragement to me!  A new strength flows through me; I am renewed!

As I reach the ramparts of the fortress, I see so many others calling encouragement. The prayer warriors from all over.  Their prayers sent the soldiers; their prayers sent encouragement and strength to my soul!  As I stayed true, even as I began to faulter, they prayed and prayed on.

My God is my mighty fortress!  He is my rest, my portion, my safety, my strength.  I turn and see the horde of evil that pursued my beaten back by that army of God.  The Lord is there, His arm about my shoulders.  “It is good you are here, loved one.  Rest and refresh, regain your strength for soon you will once again join the good fight.  As I sink into the couch, I find His Word sitting on a table next to me.  Beside it one simple glass of water.  I open the Bible, sip that wonderful, life giving water and I hear Him, in the distance.  “Give your burden to me, loved one.  Take my burden for it is lighter and shared by many.”

I slip off the couch into a deep rug and on my knees, confess my sin.  In simple humility I share my joys and fears, My sins and my blessings.  I share my sorrows, my hopes, and my dreams.    And in that sweet hour of prayer, my rest from the real world, I again begin to feel that overwhelming love. It is hard to realize how much He loves me, but He does.  My breathe catches, it is so hard to breathe with the intensity of His love.  As I rise from the floor I see that fortress fall away,  my comrades are there, still fighting the good fight.

Refreshed and strengthened from my time in the safety of His love, I draw in a breath.  Just before I plunge once again into the struggle against sin, the struggle against the evil one, I look up and utter a thank you, “Thank you, Lord, for loving one such as me.  Thank you, Lord, for believing in me and for loving me.  “

Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Worship?

Of late, the term Freedom of Worship has been gaining popularity.  So, is Freedom of Worship the same thing as Freedom of Religion?  You guessed it, I am talking about the First Amendment.  I do not know if you realize it, but many of our rights have disappeared, especially during our present administration.  We have lost a lot because Barrack Hussein Obama believes he knows what we need better than we do.  Basically his decisions are based purely on his own personal agenda.  Anyway, that is a blog for another time.

Let me explain the politically correct meanings of Freedom of Worship and Freedom of Religion.  Freedom of Religion is exactly what it says.  The freedom to believe what you want how you want.  This implies a particular world view.  For instance, the world view of someone who embraces the Islamic faith is different from a person who embraces the Christian faith, which is again, different from an atheist.  This is the freedom expressed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

The concept of Freedom of Worship is a new term.  It refers to what an individual does in his or her place of worship for an hour or two a week.  This does not dictate actions outside of that time of worship.  It implies a global world view as the act of worship, according to the individuals who coined the phrase does not impact actions once outside of the room, church, temple, etc.   Are you seeing the difference?

Freedom of Worship means that, in my case, I give worship and praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every Sunday, but on Monday I follow the world view and actions set forth by my government.  Thus I will support Planned Parenthood, if I am a service provider I make no distinctions that would be biblical in any way.  You see, biblical decisions and actions would ONLY take place during my worship time or in the privacy of my own home.  The teachings of Jesus Christ could not impact my actions outside of my church or my home.  This I would not live and act with a Christian world view but with an Obama world view.

So, by a clever use of words, our Freedom of Religion, as guaranteed by our First Amendment, is wiped away.  Those in power would say no, we do not understand, we still have Freedom of Worship.  We would be offered re-education classes in human rights, sensitivity, and non-discrimination so we could be “welcomed back into the fold” so to speak.

You may ask, why this differentiation is so important.  There is a huge difference between these to terms.  Our forefathers came to America to practice their faith in God as they chose.  The Pilgrims, actually Quakers, had a specific belief in Jesus Christ, more Calvinistic than the Church of England and this formed their world view.  You see, one’s belief in God dictates their actions in their life.  For instance, compare the world view of an atheist, a Muslim, and a christian.  The atheist has no higher power to be responsible to, no set of morals to live up to other than the laws of the state and his own viewpoint.  He believes in the relativism of right and wrong and will say that what is right for one person may not be right for another, all is relative to the situation and the individual.  On the other hand, the Muslim is controlled by the Q’ran.  His treatment of family, friends, eating habits, business practices, worship are all found in the Q’ran.  His world view is dictated by his religious belief.  The same goes for the Christian.  The Old and New Testaments of the Bible shape the Christian’s behavior not only in church and with his family, but in the real world.

If this nation were to adopt a Freedom of Worship policy, Christians would be forced to accept abortion, sale of fetal body parts, even the purposeful harvesting of fetus…..heck, BABIES, for their pieces and parts, Christmas would be gone and something else would be in it’s place, Easter would become Bunny Day or some such thing.

Those are not the only ways we would be affected.  Books with a religious theme, be they fiction or non-fiction would not be found in book stores,  Publications from only world-based publishers and authors would be available.  Children would receive worldly teaching with regard to sex education and birth control.  Chaplins in any organization would become mental health workers.  Think of other basic changes;  in court, who would you swear to?

Fodder for further thought … Our liberal leadership has already discounted, ignored, “modernized” our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution; history is being rewritten to suit the post modernistic philosophy of relativism; today’s students are being taught that capitalism is bad and socialism is good, the list goes on and on.  At what point will we, as citizens of the United States of America say ENOUGH!!!!  When will we stand up and honor our founding fathers?  If you read, I mean READ the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and it becomes evident that these papers as well as the Federalist Papers are as applicable today as they were when they were written.

We have a choice, remain free and stay vigilant and protect our freedoms or lay down and let narcissits like Obama tell us how we can live.