Do you trust that God loves you? Everybody says, oh yes, I’ve known that for a long time. Then just watch the way they live. There’s so much fear, so much anxiety, and so much self-hatred.
Faith is a code to accept that Jesus knows my whole life story, every skeleton in my closet, every moment of sin, shame, dishonesty, degradedness darkening my past. Right now he knows my shallow faith, my feeble prayer life, my inconsistent discipleship, and he comes beside me and he says, I dare you to trust.
I dare you to trust that I love you, just as you are and not as you should be, because you’re never going to be as you should be.
This is how much...
...God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.--John 3:16-18
Why do some things stay in your memory, totally unremembered, for years, and then pop out! suddenly sending you whirling back decades to exactly how you felt when you experienced the thing originally? The book was long gone and forgotten. Then a copy appears unexpectedly in an unlikely place. And instantly you’re at Pop and Goldia’s for the weekend and you can sense the peace of their home and hear Lawrence Welk on the TV and the mourning doves cooing outside and feel the beige sculptured carpet under your elbows as you turn the pages and ask Goldia, what does that say?…
I’ll bet she’d like to stop there. They were going thru Memphis anyway, and it wouldn’t be much out of the way. Her older sisters loved the guy and she grew up with him as part of her life and times. They’d seen one (or two?) of his movies together. Would you like to stop at Graceland on the way? She paused, thought for a second and said ok. This made him happy—because it made her happy.
I’ll bet he’d like to stop there. He’d asked her if she wanted to on their way thru Memphis. After the guy died, he bought and listened to some of the old albums. He gained an appreciation for how the guy’s raw talent developed so quickly and for how a nobody can suddenly become a cultural god for a generation. She wouldn’t have called him a fan (like she used to be) but he asked, so he must be interested. So she said ok. This made her happy—because it made him happy.
It was hot as they pulled into the parking lot. You didn’t really park near the mansion. You had to take a shuttle from the car to the property across the street behind the famous musical gates. A crowd of Elvis fans—yikes. But he kept his mouth shut. He would love her like Christ loved the church.
She was tired from the ride and didn’t feel like going on a slow crowded tour. But she didn’t want to mess up his good time. Would you mind if I stayed in the car? I promise I don’t mind. You go have fun.
What? But this is for you! For me? It’s for you! Why would I want to see where an old dead singer used to live? Because you like him!I’d rather go to a home where someone really important lived! Me too! It didn’t matter who said what, they were both saying the same thing. And laughing. Thirty years together and they still weren’t communicating. Or were they? After 5 minutes in the parking lot, they were back on the road, still laughing.
Dennis Kozlowski may have proved that. So how much DO you really need? Hundreds of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses was not enough. There was still a $6,000 gold-thread shower curtain out there. I once heard a missionary answer the question, what’s the biggest problem in your village? He said, materialism! and had to explain; the ones who have two chickens just have to have three, and the ones with a thatch roof just have to have a tin one. A wise man warned that putting your hope in wealth is arrogance, and that if you’re eager for money you can pierce yourself with many griefs:
Kozlowski, 58, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs as his wife quietly sobbed from a bench three rows back.
I’m maybe as big a goal-setter as there is. But more and more I’m getting a healthy suspicion of them. Here’s one reason:
“But given enough time, something sinister often invades, and the goals begin to haunt their makers. If we reach the goal, we conclude that "God is blessing." The next assumption is "God is in this program," and before long we are serving the program instead of the Lord himself. People and institutions begin to corrode when fleshly zeal is tied to spiritual goals. We pastors have a propensity for launching our crusades with righteous intent and then fueling them with carnal energy."
My longing for predictable and measurable was poked when I got this in the mail.
He looked stronger. And older. He’d been back for about a month. He said, I’ll never complain again. After 12 weeks of that, little irritations seemed minor. Every day had been unpredictable; you never knew what was gonna happen or what would set the drill instructor off. Once, the DI threw his letters from home and kicked his Bible. The mental was worse than the physical. He said it reminded him of The Truman Show; you were convinced the DI was crazy, yet you had a sneaky suspicion you were living in a designed world and in some way it was all planned out.
He remembered the sign, Freedom has a taste for those who protect it, that the protected will never know. He cried when they saluted the flag on July 4 and that made perfect sense to me because the country was founded with a big fight with soldiers willing to sacrifice everything and now he was part of that heritage.
He thought what they were really up to was getting you to a place where you would obey without question or hesitation. I thought, how much more… I was grateful that he had been abused and learned to take it so that if it ever came to it he would face abuse so that I wouldn’t have to. And, I thought, how much more…
They made him a squad leader, which meant you eat last and you get punished when your guys mess up. For some of his guys it was probably hard watching him get punished for their mess-ups. They would know that if he wasn’t punished, they would have to be. And, I thought, they don’t realize what they know. How much more…
"Have you ever thought of the Father dealing with you not as to what you are in yourself, but as to where He has positioned you in His Son? Have you ever thought that it is the affections of the Father's heart which flow down to us where we are, seeing us in the Son, not in our poor wretched selves? What we are in the old man is not the thing to scan, but what we are, and where we are, in the Son; and what there is in the living affections of the Father, who has raised us up together with His Son, and has given us all heavenly blessings in Him." -George V. Wigram
...this light and power that now shine within us--is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
--2 Corinthians 4:7