Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bells by Susan L.

  "I am betrothed." Hosea 2:19-20

  And I am stuck with no idea where to start.
  Maybe by breaking down the word, "betrothed" I'll get somewhere. It means to be promised to and held to that promise for a year. In Jesus' day, it meant the bride price was paid to her parents.

  I can't seem to get the songs from the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof" out of my head. It's about a Russian Jewish family with four daughters in the early 1900's. The father struggles to ignore age old Traditions in order for his daughters to be happily married to their loves. He was even forced to break an agreement with the local butcher for the hand of his eldest daughter (set up by a matchmaker). The butcher was older than him! It's full of tender, poignant sweetness; both funny and heart wrenching at the same time.
  He was a father who loved his daughters and was willing to do anything for them. Including breaking the rules.

  If an earthly father can care so much, how much more does our heavenly Father care for us?
  God's Word says it all.

  ""Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. And it shall be, in that day," says the Lord, "That you will call Me 'My Husband' and no longer call me 'My Master.'" Hosea 2:14-16

  I researched the valley of Achor. It was a reference to terrible trials that had happened in the past. It seems to me that it is also foreshadowing Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

  My heart and head feel like they are about to explode. I need to think on this a while longer. For the first time in my walk of faith, I think I can embrace the idea of having a Bridegroom watching over me and waiting for the day we meet face to face. Amen!



Monday, 24 April 2017

I Belong To God, John 17:9 by Susan L.

  Be longing...wanting to be part of something bigger than myself, to be in community and relationship, to be needed and accepted. To belong.
  The devil made sure I always felt my square peg personality would never fit in with others because there only seemed to be round holes no matter where I went. Round hole personalities were ruthless in guarding their territory. Maybe because they were afraid someone might find out they were square pegs, too.
  I learned to lie, to hide my feelings, to be a chameleon who adapted and modified my behaviour in order to be accepted. My true self got lost in the wastelands of the wilderness.
   Oh, I worked really hard at being everything others expected me to be but ended up failing miserably. I could never do enough to earn love and acceptance. It ended with me being cast aside like unwanted trash. For this, I am eternally grateful, because in being rejected, in reaching the end of the great pretending, I have found a better life than I ever thought possible.
  I belong to God, now.
  "You are worth loving," He told me nearly a decade ago. He's spent the last decade showing me why by tenderly and gently unravelling the lies I believed of myself and others and even about Him.
  Because He belongs to me.
  "I (Jesus) will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." Jn 14:18

Saturday, 22 April 2017

I am a Believer, Romans 10:9 by Susan L.

  Yes. Yes. And yes! With a capitol "B"!
  What does that mean, though?
  It means sacrifice because of the One who sacrificed so much in order to reconcile us with God. Hmmm, that line has been used many times to shame fellow believers. This is not my intent. It's not religious sacrifice or even about living according to the "rules". It's not about giving stuff up because I have to. It's about understanding and embracing the calling with which I have been called.
  That calling is the sweetest love song ever. Even if I never changed, Love would be there.
  But believing is about being changed. Not over night. Not right away. That's where grace comes in. We don't ask our children to run before they can walk. God doesn't ask that of His children either.
  The greatest and most difficult sacrifice I have ever been called to make is a sacrificial offering of gratitude. It means praying thanksgiving for the bad things that have happened. I've prayed thanksgiving for the people who did the bad things. I've even been called to give thanks for the devil because without knowing evil, I cannot know good, better or best.
  This opened the door to being truly thankful for the experiences that provided opportunities learn about the love of God.
  Offering a sacrifice of gratitude opened doors for me to discover who God says I am because gratitude is like a pry bar. It give Love a gap to carefully lift the sealed lid of the tomb and uncover all the treasures it holds within.
  Any archaeologist worth their weight unpacks ancient treasures with meticulous care. Everything is photographed, documented, measured and labelled before it is ever moved and shared with the rest of the world. I've watched shows on TV where skeletal remains have been found. The archaeologists treat these human remains with tenderness and respect, honouring the story they tell.
  God is the Great Archaeologist. The difference lay with His Son who can and will make the dead rise and live. If we are willing.
  Why do I believe?
  Because I have learned to be vulnerable. Because for the first time in my life I have zero anxiety. Because my heart is filled with hope and excitement for the future. Because I am no longer afraid of goals. Because the cloud of grief and sorrow that hung over me for so long is gone. Because, even if there are trials in the future, in Christ, they will fall aside and victory will be ours.
  But most of all, I believe because I have no idea how I kept going so long without Him.
  "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."" Rom 9:9-13