Pursue Love

One of the men I went to Africa with called me.  He wanted to give my number to someone so that I could help them with ongoing computer issues.  He said he wanted to make sure they got someone who would treat them fairly.

Then he said I could not fool him.  The Spirit had showed him the love in my heart.  Behind the exterior he could see it.  I could not argue with him.  What do you say to something like that?  Deny it?  Accept it?  Reject it?  There really is no good answer.

Often times I do not want to have my heart.  I’d rather be a robot.  Then I would not have to worry about being unlovable.

This morning I was in 1 Corinthians 13.  I had read the end of chapter 12 the previous day.  The last verse ends with “And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison.”  A way beyond comparison.  That way is love.

As an aside, the sermon I preached in Africa was about love.  In matters of the heart you do not send your friend, you go yourself.  This is why God sent Jesus.  He loved us and sent His Son Jesus to die so that we might be reconciled to Him.  Love.  Still meditating on all these things.

Then we read the great love chapter.  The Apostle Paul is not talking about the love of a husband and wife no matter how many times it is read at a wedding.  He is talking about the love of the church.  I am nothing without love.  Mindfully, I am fully cognizant that I am loved in this way.  I think I am loved in this way more than most people.  God has always had a hand on my life, even when I was far away.  After He saved me, He shines His love through me more than I realize or want to accept.  And people are drawn to that.  People love me greatly in that way.

We find out in chapter 13 that love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  And we learn a lot more.

Then chapter 14 begins with “Pursue love”.  Again love of the church.  And yet I want it to mean so much more for my life.  I could even convince myself that God was specifically telling me to pursue someone.  Unrequited, no doubt.

So I finished the book, The Path of Loneliness, yesterday.  After accepting loneliness as a gift, you know what we need to do with it?  Give it to God.  I gave it to Him a few times yesterday.  What a relief.  Although, it would return.  I knew it would.  I told Him I would struggle so I needed help giving it to Him again and again.  Elisabeth Elliot used the word oblation.  I had to look that up.  It means “a thing presented or offered to God”.  It is His gift to me and I need to offer it back to Him.

When I first read that in the book, it felt strange.  But everything I have is a gift from God and He doesn’t want part of me, He wants all of me.  I have already given it to Him at least once today.  I imagine it won’t be the last time.

I Am Writing

One of the books I have been in the past week or two is 1 John.  This morning after my first study and HEB, I opened up to 1 John again.  I just looked at it.  I have the first few verses marked up pretty good (in a paper Bible).

Not all passages are marked up like this.  This Bible has only been in minor use for a few years.

So I am just looking at the first two pages and I see the words “I am writing” six times.  Then I see the words “I write” five times.  Then I see a variant of “abide” throughout the book.

What am I to do with all these words?  Keep them?  Treasure them?  Toss them?

I associate a lot of scripture with people.  I find myself just wanting to write them notes about this scripture or that one.  It is both a joy and crushing.  I dream of pouring myself out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of “her” faith (the woman God might give me).  It seems empty pouring into the people I pour into.  In my mind I see dozens of men and women.  I know at least some of them feel differently but to me it feels empty more than anything else.

In my recent memory, it is rare that God doesn’t put someone on my mind as I read the scriptures each morning.  I am compelled to email or text them when this occurs.  Even throughout the day.  And even in the realization of this it still feels empty.  Futile.

This past week I was reminded of my year of faithfulness.  How my year of faithfulness had an impact on a young married couple.  It was scripture God used to make the impact.

I am writing.  I write.  There is no telling with God what will happen next.

Consumes My Heart

A few weeks ago I was given a list of questions to answer.  I did not deliberate long on them.  I wanted my answers to be first time answers.

What one thing bothers you the most about the world?

That was the first question.  My answer was “my sin”.  I was the only one in the group with this answer.  It is difficult to look outward because the problems of the world begin inside me.

There are days when my mind is consumed with thoughts, evil thoughts.  This morning as all these evil thoughts are in my mind I silently scream and ask God to take me home.  I will not have these thoughts when I am home.  I tell Him that I cannot defeat these thoughts.  Half the time I do not even want to defeat them.  Or maybe there are no times when I want to defeat them.  I already feel defeated.

His grace keeps me, protects me so often.  One of my big desires, which I have discussed before, is the desire to destroy others.  My mind tells me if I can destroy people then I bring them down to my level or below me.  Yes, I realize this does not make any sense logically but thoughts like these are not logical or rational.  They are raw.

After the thoughts arise, I try to find where they came from.  It is an interesting study in the dynamics of thought patterns.  It has always been a futile endeavor except for knowing that the human heart is deceitful above all things.

Even now as I write this and try to talk to God, the thoughts are trying to consume me.   So easy Paul.  No one would know you let this slip or voiced this idea to cause a cascade effect.  Simple words.  I fear even in attempting to encourage others sometimes that it is done with the idea that it will destroy a third party.  *sigh*

Enoch walked with God and then he disappeared because God took him.  And then he disappeared.  It seems God taking me home is not in His plan for today.

Something Valuable

I was filled with great joy earlier this morning when someone told me that they had value.  Those were not the exact words but it was an amazing statement coming out of this person’s mouth.  They do not see their own worth and so they allow themselves to be treated poorly in life.  

I had told this person how much I valued them previously but over the past few months I made extra effort to repeatedly tell them how valuable they were to me.  They would say they understood but I do not think they accepted it.  When they said those words, I made them repeat them for me.  This sort of effort is not easy for me but I knew it would be worth it.  I must keep pushing forward in this area of my life.  Giving people words of affirmation even when I find no value in those words myself.  Strange.

That joy did not last long.  I feel like I crash easier after a joyful feeling.  Yes, I realize that going up on a scale and then falling back to “normal” may feel like a crash but I rarely feel like I fall back to that level.  I feel like I fall below that level.

There is no solution to that.  We cannot stay on peaks forever and valleys are valleys for a reason.

It is so cold that I want gumbo for lunch but I’ll just have a sandwich instead.

Here Begins…

I was introduced to a poem recently.

In that book which is
My memory . . .
On the first page
That is the chapter when
I first met you
Appear the words . . .
Here begins a new life

Dante Alighieri

I had to hunt it down after hearing it.  I had to write the words on paper to feel them.  I had to recite the words to know them.  I had to memorize the words to make them a part of me.

117 Psalms

It is a particularly small psalm.

For great is his love toward us

Those words are so beautiful and sweet to the ear.  And the grace to know these words is a wonderful gift.  One we do not always receive.

It seems like a good prayer – give us the grace to know how great your love is toward us.  Amen.

Words She Wrote

I saw a draft post just now.  Words she wrote about me years ago.  I did not read the words.  I did not need to.  I remember them.  Part of it has to do with being all things to all people.  That’s love right?  Being all things to all people…

How else can you serve them unless you are what they need?

I’ll begin here with saying I have not fallen so do not fret.  I am trying to fall but I doubt I will be able to succeed.  I created a few scenarios of life.  I reminded myself, as best I could, that it matters not.  Scenario one was quickly dashed.  Scenario two equally dashed.  I may have just deleted the second one.  I do not recall if it was the second or the third.

I wrote the above two days ago.  I am still trying to fall.  Still failing.  *sigh*  Grace.

I wanted to read more this weekend.  I wanted to accomplish more.  I accomplished little.  I did finish a book but I was mostly done with it when the weekend started so it doesn’t really count.  I needed to think upon things.  I needed to pray for a miracle.  I prayed quite a bit.  I cannot accomplish the task set before me without God which has made me quite desperate.  But not desperate enough.  :/

I think about time and the future requirements.  So much seems like it needs to be happening soon and yet what?  Me.  Excuse.

Yes, I tell myself I need the weekend to recharge.  My mind does not always accept this idea.  Hmmm, does it ever.  I suppose.  I cannot hide from even my own intensity.  I scare myself.  I pray.  The mind wanders.  Back on track.  Off track again.  Align this.  Align that.

The eyes.  I wonder if they are really that color.

Many Explosions

Well last week I got a $5,000 grant from Best Buy – courtesy of God.  It was confirmation that I should move forward on one of my projects.  The manager of the local Best Buy stopped by with her husband to visit.  I’ll get a big check.  That will be fun.  Working on people to help with this.  There is a lot that will go into this.  My heart was bursting with joy because of all this.  I promise I fell on the ground and worshiped the Lord so many times.

Another business meeting this weekend to finalize employment and hopefully, eventually, partnership.  Looks like everything is on track still for January 2nd open but God will really dictate all that.

I found out dates for the trip to Niger and have approval from Kara to take the kids (one schedule to confirm).   I get to talk to the kids tomorrow.  Blaine wanted to go from the beginning and Kristen has wanted to go since we had lunch with the missionaries and their kids.  She loved their kids.  Hopefully they still want to go.

I can put Kristen on the new business bank account.  That was good news for me.  This is the new business we are starting together.  I will take this slow – to the best of my ability.

Supposed to have lunch with someone with another business idea.  Maybe this week but if not, eventually.

One of my other partnerships is moving along.  I got the credit card processing application approved and entered into the website.  I have not setup the plans or anything like that but I think we are going to just start with one plan and move forward from there.

All that to say, my mind has been working much more than usual.  I keep praying for peace and He keeps providing it.  He loves me so much.  I wish I could just give people a drop of the love He has for me.  An everlasting love.  I know this is not a normal season for me but I will accept it.  And maybe my head won’t explode until after my heart does.

The Edge of Forever

The City on the Edge of Forever…

He stops himself from saving her.  She dies so that the world will return to the way it was.

I remember the sadness.  The heart hurts, aches.

Oh, I knew the pain was intense if I could feel it.  So I prayed for you.  I knew it was your pain because it was so familiar.  I almost shared the prayer with you but had to refrain.  The next night you told me of the pain you were suffering.  I did not need to know the details because they would not change the feelings.  I told you I would pray more and I did.

Is it always the same?

I was reading a book and continued to be awed by God’s grace.  I could not help myself.  Acknowledge and glorify the God who created the heaven and earth.  Joy beyond understanding.

I do not want to see you.  I do not want to feel your pain.  Yet it to is a gift from God.  I do not know if this sadness is my own.

Recently God gave me the word “creation”.  I kept trying to put the pieces together but my mind could not.  After reading a different book, more words came to mind.  Words that could be combined to create real ideas.  Ideas for advancement.  It is a beautiful thing to get this.

There is still more to read.  More to accomplish.  More to push forward on.

I would love to fall tonight.  Into the deep sadness.  I wonder if God would let me…

A Big Idol

One of the big idols in my life was (is?) family.  Prior to my divorce I had made family my god.  After my divorce, God opened my eyes to this.  He continues to open my eyes to this idol (and others) in my life.

The past few days I have been going back to basics.  I suppose it started with a podcast on Sunday about the Lord’s prayer.  Or was that Monday.  Yes, it was Monday.  I have seen the spark in my heart and pleaded with God to fan it into a flame once again.

This morning as I was reading Psalm 7 and not too impressed with my options for praying, I read the first verse of Psalm 8.

LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.

This reminded me again for at least the second time today that God should receive all the glory.  I told you the basics.  Hallowed be Your name, Lord!

Then people came to mind and I see their problem with the family idol.  It is so obvious that I’m not sure how I missed it for all this time.  [Yes, I realize that part of the reason I have been blind is my lack of caring for people over the past few months.  I have plenty of my own problems.]  But now that I have seen it, how do I, in love, tell people to examine their lives for this idol?  When I say people, I mean many people flashed before my eyes.   Even now they continue to enter my mind.

One of the meth girls I know had a baby earlier this year.  CPS has been called on her many times by many people – even random people seeing her abuse the baby.  She does not have a home.  She lives with random people, jumping from place to place.  CPS can’t catch her – she jumps to the next place as soon as CPS learns where she is.  I do not know where she is.  All I get are the stories.  It is sad.  Last night’s story…more of the same.

So we pray.  Pray for babies.  Pray for parents.  Pray for families.  Pray for God’s glory above all else.  Pray for His glory to be made known in all things, in all situations.  Hallowed by Your name, Lord!