It is March 1st. It means that is has been almost a year since the first lockdown here. This last year has had its ups and downs. There are two questions looming in my heart and mind. The first is what happened to the last year? It almost feels like it has been an alternate reality, but in reality it is life as we know it.
Some of you may have had a great year, but for the most part it has been a difficult year for most people. I want to take this opportunity to encourage you that God is there for you. He will never leave you, no matter what happens. God holds us close to his heart and he celebrates with us in every victory, and he weeps with us over every sorrow. He is always present with us. He will never give up, even when we are tempted to. God's love is greater than any other love in this world, and he loves you! When looking back over this year, make sure you look for the moments God demonstrated his love for you in the midst of storms, tragedies and trials. He was there even when we do not recognize it.
The second question looming in my heart and mind is what will this next year look like? I do not know the future, but I do know that God never changes. This means that no matter what happens this next year, God will still be loving us, always present. He is the one thing we can depend on going into this next year. Even if everything else in life shifts and changes, God remains the same. My only hope is that I will be watching for him. Watching for his love seeping into every moment, his peace saturating every painful moment, and his strength raising me up from my weakness. Watching for those moments when he has made his presence known to me in so many various ways. Knowing that God is unchanging whatever this next year holds I know I will make it through with his help.
Special Weekend Message
Thursday, Friday and Saturday flew by in a bit of a blur. Now I find myself here on Sunday wondering what happened to my week. This morning I was feeling discouraged so I went to the one person I knew could help me regain my footing. I went to God.
I have spent time listening to worship (Christian music that directly focuses on God), and my heart was filled with peace. I then let him speak to me. The words whispered across my heart was, "Relax, do not fear. Everything is in my timing, my way, I have you in the palm of my hand and will not let you falter." It is so great to know that he has me, but there are times when I need to be reminded.
This morning I really wanted to share this with you because God is not an idea, He is a person. Remember that when you are having a rough day. He is there to help you through it. You do not need to face it alone.
My cats are awesome! I learn so much by watching how they interact with their environment, each other and us. One of the things that really has stood out the last few days is how defiant they can be. They understand the word "No", yet lately, when they do something they know is wrong and I say "No", they just stare me down, like they are saying, "How are you going to make me?" The next thing I do is grab the spray bottle and I aim it, still defiant stare down continues, it is not until the cool water hits the fur that my precious cats actually stop the show down and run away.
We are so much like them. God gives us warnings when we are following the wrong path, through The Bible, other people and by speaking to us directly, but we stand there almost staring him down with our defiance. We want to do it our way. We want to walk our own path. God tries to warn us against the consequences of our actions, but we keep going. Then when everything falls apart we ask God why he allowed it to happen to us.
Why is it that warnings are so easy to ignore? I think it is because we think we know better, or we just want to do it our way so we keep going down the road. Sometimes I think we will rise above the consequences, but just like the cats get sprayed with water so we suffer the consequences of our actions. I think I will learn from my cats and try to be less reluctant to listen when God is confronting me about something; he has my best interests at heart, just as I do for my cats.
Have you ever received a love letter? I have. I cherish them and hold onto them. I read them again and again. The Bible is God's love letter to you. Do you truly view it that way? Do you cherish every word? Do you read it over and over memorizing the words, embracing each nuance and allowing it to impact you right to the core of your being?
I want this to be my experience every time I open that all too familiar book, but I have to admit there are times I read it out of habit, rather than desire. I need to be reminded of the fact that these are God's words of love to me. Even in the midst of the lineages that seem to drone on, God wants to say something to us every day through His word.
Are we truly paying attention? Are we really engaged? Are we allowing the words to invade our hearts and bring correction and conviction? Do we seek out God's comfort here? Do we seek out his purpose for us when we are floundering here? Do we read the Bible in our darkest moment allowing the light to flood in?
I seem to find my way back to love letters when I am feeling lonely or unloved. Reading those words of love flowing from the pages remind me that no matter how I feel, the reality is that I am loved.
God wants us to know we are loved. In the Bible you will find messages of love, peace, and joy. You will find hope, comfort and wisdom in the words. God loves you so much and his love letter to us is precious. The next time you go to read the Bible, just remember God wants to demonstrate his love to you through the words, let this be your filter as you read... God's love letter to you.
This morning I was reminded that God wants us to invite him into every moment in our lives. I don't know about you, but I know for me there are times when I forget that. I need to invite God into my work, my writing, every aspect of my life. God loves to be present with us.
Take a moment, close your eyes and think about the person you love the most in this world.
I am sure someone came to mind. Think about how many resources, time and energy you put into ensuring the strength of that relationship. God wants to be our first love. I love God, but I have to admit that there are some days when I take him for granted in my life and do not put the effort into our relationship that I should. I want God to be part of every aspect of my life and this means I need to ensure I have given him an open invitation.
My normal response to the challenge set before me this morning would be to beat myself up for letting it slip through the cracks, but this morning I found myself thinking of ways I could change it, remembering that walking with God is a journey not a sprint. I need to make little changes that bring me into closer relationship with God each day, every moment.
Join me on my journey through life's joys and difficulties.