Archives For Love

I am hesitant to write this because I am paranoid and convinced (is that possible?) people will take this in a manner I do not intend. Still, the message is heavy on my heart, so I’ll ask you to please read this in the spirit it is intended, which is to further the Kingdom of Christ. It is not my intention to demean the laudable actions of others or to criticize any particular ministry. With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.

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This past weekend I had the thrill and sorrow of attending a concert with about 10,000 other Christians. The love and ministry of the band were evident throughout the couple hours they played. It was an uplifting experience that encouraged and challenged me, and from which I took several action items. One of them was to write this article.

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What is Your Purpose? Christine Caine answered this question when she wrote, “The purpose of our time on earth is to learn to walk with Him, abide with Him, and live through Him – and then share that light with others.” How comforting and refreshing. It takes all the pressure off us. We can let go of everything we were striving to be. We can stop working so hard for all those things we were trying to accomplish. The competition suddenly got a whole lot lighter.

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Our five and ten-year plans just went out the window. But that’s a good thing because odds are we weren’t going to hit them anyway. As humans, we have a terrible tendency of overestimating what we can do in the long term and underestimating what we can accomplish in the next couple of hours.

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Long-time readers know Easter is one of the few times of the year I write something time-specific. My hope has always been the articles on this web site will live for years outside of any context, but be helpful to someone whenever they might come across it. Easter is special. It’s my favorite day of the year. It’s the most important day in history. Christmas may have brought God to earth in the form of a man, but it’s Easter which proved He was indeed God and provided the only way to an eternity of peace and joy in the presence of God.

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As I write this, Easter is almost a month away; when this post first publishes, Easter will have been yesterday. But the feelings I have about Easter are already about to burst from within. Truly it is good to remember at any time Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

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G.K. Chesterton said, “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” Wow. How often do we think of our relationship with Christ as a love affair? It is troubling in my own life to recognize I’ve got a significant way to go in this regard. I love Him. I’m in awe of Him. I’m thankful for His mercy, provision, and protection. But do I possess the kind of white-hot, unstoppable love we associate with a love affair? Do I wake each morning unable to contain my excitement to see and spend time with Him?

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Do I put off going to bed because it means less time spent in His presence? I’d love to be the guy who could answer in the affirmative to these questions, but I’m not. I want to be. In fact, it gets me excited even as I write these words. I want to love God with the love of a love affair, not of some dutiful worshipper.

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I recently heard David Platt share a quote that requires a lot of contemplation. He asked the question, “Is Jesus living in me or through me?” The difference between the two is huge. We live in a culture of casual Christianity, led to believe all we have to do is say a magical prayer and Jesus will come to live within us.

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Even if such teaching were true (and I believe there are compelling arguments to be made it is not), inviting Jesus into your heart is not the point. Unless and until we allow Jesus to live through us, we will be missing out on all the power and peace He intends for us.

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It’s a weighty thing to letdown the God of the Universe. Yet we do it every day. Of course, God in His infinite, unsurpassable, incomprehensible love would never tell us we let Him down. But we know it. We know it in our bones. We know it in our souls. We know it in our hearts. We let Him down. We failed Him. We acted in a way unbecoming of a child of the King. And we’ll do it again.

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The moments following a letdown are sobering and strangely clarifying. We see what we should have done and what we did not. We become aware of an opportunity missed, never again to be revisited. And we’ll do it again. How can this be so?

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In his groundbreaking book “Cross Vision”, Greg Boyd writes, “The way you imagine God largely determines the quality of your relationship with God. The intensity of your love for God will never outrun the beauty of the God you envision… the depth of your transformation into the likeness of Christ will never outrun the Christlikeness of your mental representation of God.” Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father.

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He is at once both the flawless depiction of God and is God Himself. If we have seen Christ, we have seen the Father (John 14:9). Our eyes have looked on the face of God. If we want to know what God is like, we need only look at the person of Jesus. He alone perfectly reflected and manifested the Father. If we have an imperfect mental image of Christ, we will have an imperfect picture of God.

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This is the 1,000th post here on EvenIfiWalkAlone.com. That’s over half a million words, and I admit, a little crazy. When I wrote the first post, I didn’t envision writing 999 more. As I realized I was approaching a thousand posts I had to ask myself, “What’s the purpose of it all?” I don’t write to hear myself talk; I have no delusions of being so interesting. I don’t do it for the money; I’ve never attempted to make a single penny off this site (and never have!). So why do I keep pushing new thoughts out there every Monday and Thursday?

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The answer is, perhaps anti-climatically, because of Jesus. Christ told us to take His Word into all the world. The Internet seems like an efficient way for me to follow His mandate. Beyond that, it’s in hopes of making a difference in a single life. I’m grateful for all of you who read this blog, but I feel I would continue even if there was only one. I would because God gave me the ability to write, the gift to encourage, and the command to share His mission. He’s given a similar assignment to you.

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How do you begin your day? Starting your day in prayer and studying Scripture is rocket fuel for your day and for your life. If you want to know Jesus better, there is no better way than to spend time with Him. If you want Jesus to be first in your life, there is no better way to demonstrate this than meeting with Him first thing every day. Forget your cell phone, forget your email; how you begin your day says much about what is most important to you.

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So many teachers say to make certain you spend time with God each day, but let people off the hook by saying it doesn’t matter when this occurs, so long as it does.  I think this is ridiculous. Being a Jesus person doesn’t depend on you being a morning or night person; it depends on you saying, “I will give Jesus the first of my time, every day.”

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You don’t need a New Year to make a new start, but there is something cleansing, refreshing, and hopeful about the change of the calendar year. A new year presents a clean slate, a fresh palette, and a blank page. New dreams and possibilities dance playfully before our eyes. There are new moments waiting to be lived, new roads to be explored, and expanded heights for us to reach.

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While the temperature in many parts of the world registers a deep chill, our blood boils nonetheless with warm vigor and boiling dreams. These are days that must be more than lived, they must be tasted, held, and molded to form new possibilities. I love a new beginning. It reminds me of what Christ did for each of us when He laid down His life so we might experience a new and better life of our own.

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