Sunday, December 4, 2011

God is love...means more than I thought.

The first week of Advent seemed to be filled with getting rid of the garbage that so easily piles up in my heart. Everyday it seemed that I was dealing with learning to see my need for a Savior more and more.
This week has already taken an amazing turn - it seems that everywhere I look I am overwhelmed by the love of God. A friend posted on my last post and said the word that it brought to mind was "Tenderness" - and that's exactly what I am seeing. The tenderness of our loving Father and I am overwhelmed.

On facebook someone shared a youtube link of Christopher Duffley singing "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord" and I sit in tears. Today I am overwhelmed by the love of God for each of us....for me.

As I thought about "love", I remembered a sweet little old lady we used to go to church with, Mrs. Katie. Mrs. Katie was a hoot; we never knew what she was going to say. Of course, in our youthful stupidity, we often didn't realize just how wise this tiny little lady was. She'd say things like, "I just realized something - God is love. Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm." We'd just stand there politely and smile. I'm pretty sure inside I was thinking something like "Duh!" I did mention I was a lot younger then - and I thought I was a whole lot smarter than I was. In fact, the older, I get the stupider I realize I truly am, but again - that's a blog for another day.

Three simple words - "God is love." Today I think I started to realize just how smart Mrs. Katie was.

While waiting for everyone to get ready for church this morning I happened to pick up an old copy of Discipleship Journal. I was already thinking about the Journey to Advent and the turn it had taken. (I really like this stretch of road a whole lot better by the way!) Anyway, back to the Discipleship Journal. The first article I turned to was by Dan S. Baty called "Love Supreme," an article about God's love. What really caught my eye was the scripture reference he used, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I have heard that verse a thousand times focusing on how we are to love others, but if God is love (1 John 4:8) then this passage is a description of God!

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

New International Version (NIV)

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails....

I know there is no way I can cover that entire passage in one blog, so it may be that it shows up throughout this week. For today, I'll focus on just the first part: "Love is patient." I don't know about you, but I sure am glad God is patient with me. I've said before, I'm glad I'm not God because if I were, I'd have probably zapped everyone by you're glad I'm not God, too!

God is patient, giving us chance after chance...telling us over and over again. I still remember a pastor saying to me, "God not only knows the last thing He told you, He knows the last thing you understood." The Bible puts it this way:

2 Peter 3:9

New International Version (NIV)
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance

When I think of this passage, I remember a book I read a few years back called The Shack. Now, I'm not into debating the theology of this book - I'm not nearly smart enough for that. There is one part, however, that really stuck with me. The following is a review I found online and it explains the passage far better than I could. The full review can be found at and it's by Rachel Musgrove. (Link to full review)
"Jesus directs Mack to a cave like entrance, which Mack unsteadily enters into. He comes to a chair sitting in the middle of an open space which he sits in, waiting for something to happen. As he did this, a beautiful Latina woman appears.
She begins a barrage of questioning that intentionally lead Mack down a path of his judgment. She asks him of repentance and then informs him that he will be the judge of God and the human race. She peels back the layers of Mack with a brutal honesty until Mack finally confesses that He’s angry at God.
The questioning goes on until the woman asks Mack to choose 3 of his children to go to hell and the other 2 to go to heaven. He screams at the woman that he can’t, he won’t make that choice. He offers himself in their place. The woman smiles and says, “Now you sound like Jesus.”
God is love....Love is patient. In the words of Mrs. Katie, "Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm."

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