Only God Changes People

This is a picture of a foot. My foot, to be exact. And that hand belongs to my husband. This is a picture of far more than a foot and a hand – it’s a picture of redemption.

Thirteen years ago, my husband and I were engaged to be married and I knew I would never get a foot massage from my soon to be husband. He had made it very clear he hated feet, even my feet, because all feet are nasty. Lucky for him, that wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, so we got married anyway.

It’s no secret to most who know us that we have been through our (more than) fair share of infidelity and marital issues in this short 10 years of wedded bliss. In fact, one might say we have been through more than most in this last decade of loving each other. It also isn’t a shocker that my husband and I neither one knew Jesus for the majority of our lives, let alone when we entered into holy matrimony.

Over the last 5 years we have grown much and suffered through much heartache. We were headed to divorce on two separate occasions and we’re only still married by the grace of God alone. In fact, my husband may still be alive by the grace of God alone, and I do not say that in jest. The last bought of infidelity happened just two short years ago.

The details of our trials do not need shared on this platform, just know that my husband’s choices led to us being physically separated for a period of 4 months where we didn’t share a home, or a bed. During that separation we started over, after lots of prayer and many talks; numerous tears and countless “I’m sorry”s; lots of sleepless nights and one BIG “I forgive you”, followed by many little repeats. By the grace of God alone, we started reconciliation by dating, slowly. Eventually we renewed our vows and he moved back home. What does all of this have to do with his hand on my nasty foot?

I do not say this lightly – I could not see past divorcing my husband. I love Jesus, and He loves me. I prayed and prayed and prayed for Him to let me divorce my husband. I mean truly, how much more was I expected to take? There were five years of lies; five years of catching him and forgiving him; five years of heartache; five years of sorrow, and joy. Jesus wasn’t a doormat, and He certainly has not called me to be one. Even scripture justifies my decision to divorce this man who clearly CANNOT be faithful. Right?

Remember I said Jesus loves me, yes? Well I prayed and prayed and you know what I heard? “Stay with him.” Seriously? My response was not quite as eloquent as I would have liked it to be: “Well then YOU have to do something here.” As bratty as I was, He still “did something.” We prayerfully decided to separate, as stated above, and something happened to my husband during our time apart. I will save the details for another time, but the short story is, he learned to appreciate the fact that I was NOT a doormat. He saw that I was capable of carrying on without him, and he was reminded that God was all I needed. In that reminder, he was also reminded that God was all he needed, too. With me out of the way, he was able to seek God fully and completely, because God was all he had.

Fast forward to two nights ago – I was reclining in my chair with my feet up on the ottoman after a long day of raising my children, someone else’s children, and being a wife, friend, mentor, and minister of grace. I was mindlessly scrolling on my phone, and my husband was sitting on the ottoman playing PS4 with our oldest, as it is their favorite pastime. Next thing I know, his hand is grasping my foot in the most loving way I could imagine and I was reminded of a conversation we had while separated.

Jeremy had come over one night after we started dating and we were watching TV on the couch. He was at one end, I was at the other with my feet in his lap. He started rubbing my feet and I was shocked. I asked him why he was doing that and his response was something like this: I have been apart from you for so long that I will touch any part of you right now. I can’t believe I took for granted every opportunity I had to rub your feet and I feel awful I have never done it before now. You deserve for your feet to be rubbed and I would give anything to rub them for you every night.

That all sounds like a man trying to say the right things to get what he wants, yes? I promise he wasn’t, and he didn’t. These were the words of a man God had changed. From that point on, my husband has never been the same. It would be easy for me to get on here and say that our lives are perfect, and all is well, and we have the best marriage ever, but I won’t. We are real people, with real problems, only two years removed from a very traumatic experience. We are far from perfect. We are, however, very different. Both of us. And God is the only one who changes people.

In our time apart, God taught my husband so many things. One main lesson that Jesus tends to hammer home for anyone who is willing to listen, is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27, ESV. Through Jeremy’s surrender to God, God showed him how to love others well, starting with me. This man dies to himself for me on a daily basis, after first dying to himself for God. I firmly believe God would have driven this lesson home at some point, regardless of our separation, but I believe God blessed our obedience and used this separation to really minister to Jeremy and change some major areas in his heart, and mine too.

God alone changes people: not time, or pain, or happiness, or money, or provision. God alone changes people. Can God use things to change people? Circumstances, situations, etc? He sure can. But the Holy Spirit Himself is the agent of change – lasting, eternal, forever change. That is the kind of change we want; the kind of change we need. When God comes in and wrecks our lives for His glory, GOOD THINGS HAPPEN. He changes our capacity to love others, our willingness to love others, and our ability to love others. His power in us accomplishes MUCH!

I don’t wish these trials on anyone – but I do pray the God of the Universe, who loves you more than you can ever imagine, would get you to a place of surrender. I pray He wrecks your life in a good way that makes you turn to Him, rely on Him, and rejoice in Him. I am not saying God makes bad things happen, so please don’t email me about that. I do believe though, the God of scripture is sovereign over ALL THINGS and because of that, NOTHING happens outside of His control. And because of that, NOTHING that happens is wasted. And because of that, we can trust Him and His provision in our lives, ALWAYS.

 

One Leg Hanging Out of the Blanket

Sitting on my couch, crocheting an OSU earwarmer, and listening to Big Daddy Weave radio on Pandora: God gives me my next blog entry. I wasn’t seeking Him, or really even dwelling on thoughts of Him, and He invaded my mind and planted this there for me to share with you to bring glory to His name, and His name alone. That’s my King, and yours too. The lover of my soul.

So the song I was listening to during this invasion was this:

One line in the song says something like “Your grace covers me”. When I heard that lyric I got a picture of being covered, nice and cozy, with a great big blanket or comforter. It feels so lovely and warm under there, I’m protected and I feel secure. But then, as the night goes on, I get a tad warm and kick one leg out from under the blanket to cool off. There’s a real comfortable balance between the warm and chilled, and I feel good.

Imagine God’s grace is that big fluffy blanket. He tucks me in, warm and snug, letting no cold air from the outside touch me and taint me. His grace covers me completely and I’m protected, safe, secure. As my walk with God progresses, He searches my heart and pulls up the dark and the ugly. He wants to heal those areas of my life so I can be whole in Him: protected, safe, and secure.

But see, I want to hide from the ugly and ignore the bad. I want to embrace the warm fuzzies and forget the bad ever existed. So I kick my leg out from under the blanket when the hard work gets too hot to handle. In my mind, I cope by ignoring the leg, acting as if the leg is no longer a part of my body. I think the leg is too ugly to be covered by the grace of my Almighty God. I kick it out as far away from the warm, fuzzy goodness as I can in hopes that God, the Creator of the Universe, the Knower of all, will somehow forget it ever existed. If I forget, and He forgets, then it’s gone and never really happened anyway. Right?

But God… He wants to COVER ME completely with His grace. His grace says that “Yes, it happened. Yes, it was bad. But I love you so much that I am going to turn that bad into good for the good of you AND those around you, so that eventually, the bad will be used to bring others into relationship with me.” His grace says “There is nothing too ugly, broken, bad, or just plain yuck that would make me kick you out from under this blanket.” His grace says “There is nothing you’ve done to deserve this grace, it is simply my GREAT and HUGE love for you that makes me want to cover you in this way.”

Does all of this mean that I am always going to be comfortable under the blanket of God’s grace? No. Sometimes it is warm, fuzzy, and comfortable. But other times it’s just plain HOT! I want to kick the whole blanket off and run back to where I came from. But after the hot, after the hard, after the work, I’m grown to a deeper understanding of the blanket itself, God’s undeserved grace that never ends, and in that I’m able to speak His love louder than ever. The heat is good. Real good, regardless of how hot it feels.

Moral of the story? Don’t try to kick your leg (or arm, or head) out from under the blanket. God’s grace covers you whether you’re under the blanket or not. But ignoring the leg will only lead to frustration and a much longer healing process. Get it back under the blanket that God gave His Son for you to have, so He can do the work He wants to do in you. He wants you whole, because His love for you is so enormous. The One who hung every star in the sky is enamored with YOU. Let Him be.

This stuff hurts

Sacrifice.

What is a sacrifice? Here’s the Webster’s definition:

1:  an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially :  the killing of a victim on an altar
2:  something offered in sacrifice
3a :  destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
  b :  something given up or lost <the sacrifices made by parents>
4:  loss <goods sold at a sacrifice>
Anyone who knows Jesus knows the word “sacrifice”. We hear it all the time. We read of it often. It’s a part of our repertoire. But while using this word, do we really know the significance it carries?
Take a look at the third definition above. Did you read it again? Destruction or surrender of something (someone) for the sake of something (someone) else. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice who died for our sins. Right? His human body was destroyed for our sake, for our freedom. He was beaten, mocked, spit upon, flogged, ridiculed, belittled, and killed for our sake.
When I say “our” (above), I mean every human being who will ever walk the face of the earth, and that means you. The Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 5:15 “ He died for all”. Jesus was sent as a perfect sacrifice for the ENTIRE WORLD for all of history. He died so that we MIGHT be saved: John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” He died for me. He died for you. He died for the ones who hate Him. He died for the ones who beat Him. He died so that I MIGHT be saved by His grace. It was worth it to Him.
That’s a sacrifice. A life. A holy God coming down into filth and wickedness, became the sin of the world throughout all of history, and then He died, so that I MIGHT come to know His saving grace. That’s a sacrifice.
How will I ever repay God for the sacrifice of His Son? I can offer Him all kinds of things to try and even the score. I can wake up real early and read the bible. I can pray for 5 hours a day. I can serve at every church service in every way imaginable. I can offer to help every single person that asks for help. I can cook and deliver meals to every one of my sick friends every time they’re sick. I can go to bible study every night of the week. I can give away all of my stuff. I can eat really healthy and workout all the time. I can treat my husband like a king. I can never raise my voice to my children. I can memorize the Torah.
None of those things are a sacrifice. A sacrifice hurts. A sacrifice requires blood. A sacrifice is a life. His life ended so that I could have eternal life with Him. The only way I can repay Jesus is to give Him my life. The rest of that verse from above (2 Cor 5:15) is “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” Want some more?
Galatians 2:20, 21 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
1 Corinthians 15:31 “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
Romans 7:4 “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
Colossians 3:3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Jesus is a radical God of radical change. Radical change happens when I allow that God to enter my life. I can’t let Him in when I’m do do doing. He changes me when I surrender the sacrifice of my life to Him. His life for my life. That’s how it works. When I lay Crystal down, that’s a sacrifice. I lay down my wants, my needs, my desires, my dreams, and I give it all to the Creator of the universe. I give Him my life because He gave me His, freely.
Do you need a touch from the Lover of your soul? He longs to speak into your life and fill the holes in your heart. He satisfies, He fulfills, He completes. Only Jesus gives us what we all long for. He accepts us as we are. He loves us where we are. He sees us as His prized possessions and He only wants good for us. He wouldn’t have died for junk. He died to save the ones He loves, His people. That was a sacrifice. He wants a sacrifice from each and every one of us, and sacrifice hurts. Does what you’re offering God hurt you to let it go? If it does, the blessing is huge! Surrender your heart, and watch Him work. Jump in.

Canceled Debt

Colossians 2:13, 14

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Does that make you want to shout? It does me. Wooo hooo that’s good stuff right there! If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, and you believe He died for you, and He’s the Savior of your soul, and that scripture doesn’t make you wanna shout, then there’s a problem. Perhaps you don’t understand fully what Paul is saying in this passage. Perhaps you have a hard time understanding scripture in general and all the words just run together. Perhaps you’re not fully aware of how wretched you were before Christ’s blood was spilled for your sin. There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to shout after reading that scripture, but the fact remains that if you know Jesus as your Savior, you SHOULD want to shout!

Let’s look at the scripture and break it down a bit.

“When you were dead in your transgressions…” Before I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior, I was dead. I was living in a world controlled by Satan, doing his bidding everyday, and was completely unaware. The truth is, I was created by a Holy, loving God, and I had sinned against that perfect God. That sin created separation, it fractured our relationship, and I was eternally separated from my Creator. There is nothing I could do to restore that relationship. There is nothing I could do to get closer to God. There is no change in my behavior that could have made God love me more, for He already loved me as much as He could. But where sin is, Holy cannot be. I was a wretch and sentenced to death for my transgressions.

“…and the uncircumcision of your flesh…” In the old Testament, Jews were to be circumcised to show their allegiance to God. It was an outward symbol that they were God’s people. In this statement, Paul is referring to the time when I didn’t know Jesus. Before I was marked as His…

“…He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions…” The “He” in this is Jesus. When I was dead, Jesus made me alive with Him. How did He do that? My sin had eternally separated me from my Father, God. So how did Jesus make me alive in Him? By forgiving my transgressions! Jesus, the Son of God, the Holy One, the only righteous man to ever walk the planet, the One with no sin, DIED FOR MY SIN.

“…having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us…” How could one man’s death forgive all my sin? Not only my debt was forgiven, but the sin of the World was atoned for that day (John 1:29). Jesus’s death paid the price for my sin. His death bridged the gap between my wretched self and my Holy Father. Jesus’s death “canceled out the certificate of debt”! The debt that I owed, my sentence was death, was canceled by the death of Jesus. He was Holy and righteous, spotless and pure, and He became my sin and died my death. That death canceled my debt. The decrees that were hostile to me, keeping me in bondage and death, are gone!

 

“…and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” What has Jesus taken out of the way? My death sentence, sin, has been taken out of way. It has been nailed to the cross and it died with Jesus. So now, my way is clear. The way to what, you may ask? The way to God! I have direct access to my Father, no more hindrances lie in my path. Death has no sting, sin has no pull, and the path to righteousness is clearly laid before me.

Why oh why are we called to walk “by the Spirit” and to cling to righteousness? So we can be better people? So we can get a pat on the back or a “Best Christian” sticker? Or maybe it’s so God will love us more? No. Absolutely not. God didn’t send His only son to die for me so I could have a “good life” and He certainly didn’t do it so He could love me. We are called to walk in righteousness, to die to sin, to walk by the Spirit, to bring God glory. We are to show the world the love of Christ by showing them the transforming power of His blood. The blood poured out at Calvary was life-giving, live-saving blood. It was the sacrifice of all sacrifices, so that the entire world would know the love of God.

This scripture is telling us that anything that could stand in the way of us fulfilling our duty (showing the world the love of God) has been taken out of the way and has been nailed to the cross. It is not there anymore! I have absolutely no excuse, no valid reason, why the love of God doesn’t flow from me into others. I should exude mercy and grace and forgiveness because of the mercy and grace and forgiveness that’s been poured over me. We all should. I was a wretch, dead in my sin, when Jesus reached into my junk to love me. He reconciled me to my Father and stands there pleading my case as I type as my Mediator. He poured His Spirit into my heart to allow me to walk by it, holy and blameless, to bring glory to my Father and show the world His love for them.

The love that God has for His people is huge. And there is nothing we can ever do to change the amount of love He has for us. God’s Son didn’t die so He could love us, He died so we could have a relationship with our Father, our Creator in Heaven. He died so that the world would know of his undying love for His people, and be given the same gift of relationship with Him. He died so we could be free and love others with that same, undying love. We are free, no longer slaves to sin, because Jesus canceled our debt, He paid the price. But now we have a purpose and that purpose is to share His love, that forgiveness, to the world. It’s our duty. It’s our job. And he has removed the obstacles, we have no excuse.

Matthew 22:36-40New American Standard Bible (NASB)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Was Christ really resurrected?

“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” 1 Cor 15:12 (NASB)

The Gospel message: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor 15:3,4

All Christians, as proof of the title, believe that Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried in a tomb, and three days later He rose again. This is the crux of our faith, right? But some, dare I say most, don’t walk in a way that shows this belief. I know there are days I don’t. What I’m referring to, specifically, is the resurrection part.

Christ died for all sin: past, present, and future. Then, He was resurrected by the Spirit of God three days later. We are forgiven of our sin, because Christ died, and we’re then resurrected by the Holy Spirit to have new, abundant life in Christ. We are not only forgiven, but we are NEW CREATIONS. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Cor 5:17. We are new in Him, with the Spirit of God dwelling inside us. He empowers us to live a life free from sin and death. That is what the resurrection does.34859-A-New-Creation

So do we, as Christians, really embrace that? What does that mean, to embrace that truth? Are we new or not? I am new. I am made alive in Christ and am no longer dead in my sin. I am made holy and blameless in the sight of my Father because of the blood of the Lamb. And, I can walk upright, a new creation, because of the resurrection of Jesus. I have been resurrected by the Spirit of the living God, and I am called to walk in that truth.

Part of walking in that truth means we believe that our brothers and sisters have also been forgiven of their sin and resurrected by the Spirit of the living God. We believe they can walk holy and blameless in the sight of their Father because of the blood of the Lamb. They can also walk upright, as a new creation, because of the resurrection of Jesus. When we are unforgiving of our brothers and sisters in Christ, when we hold their sin over them, we risk taking that truth away from them. If we can be forgiven by Christ, they can too. And if Christ forgives us, He forgives them too.

Jesus died for me when I was still a sinner. Not only that, but he sought me out when I was a stranger. I didn’t know Him, I didn’t want to know Him, so I certainly did not love Him, but he came after me! He wooed me. He never gave up on me. He never stopped pursuing me. He kept on, and kept on, and kept on, until I finally surrendered. He died for me when I was the worst of sinners. He extended His never-ending love and mercy to me when I hated Him. I didn’t, and still don’t, deserve any of it.

If Jesus did all that for me, how can I hold any forgiveness from anyone else? Whether they deserve it or not, He gave it freely, and so should we. Reminding our offenders of their sin against us keeps them in the bondage of that sin. They aren’t “new creations” when we’re constantly reminding them of their failure. How can they be? Have they not been forgiven and resurrected? Let them walk as such! They are forgiven by Jesus, who are we to say they’re not? They have been raised from death to life, new and abundant life in Christ, who are we to say they haven’t?

Forgiveness. Edification. These are Kingdom things. They are not possible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We can forgive the unforgiveable because He empowers us to do so. We can build each other up, instead of tearing each other down, because the Spirit enables us to do so. Who reminds us of our sin? Who continues to pull us back to “death”? Who lives to steal our hope and joy? Who tells us lies about who we are and forgiveness? Satan. We’re Kingdom people, so let’s do Kingdom stuff.

Don’t hold sin against one another, regardless of the sin.

Forgive the unforgiveable, Jesus did.

Thank God He Doesn’t Rely on Me!

One of my favorite attributes of God, my God – the Christian God, the Father of Jesus and Creator of the entire Universe, is that He’s sovereign. When I was new to the faith, shortly after Jesus had succeeded in wooing me, I would hear this term and really didn’t know what it meant. When used as an adjective (to describe someone or some thing), the term SOVEREIGN means:

2sov·er·eign

adjective \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən, -vərn also ˈsə-\

: having unlimited power or authority

: not limited

: having independent authority and the right to govern itself

My God has UNLIMITED power AND authority. I am so happy that He is NOT LIMITED. I love that NOTHING affects His power and authority. NOTHING! No matter what I do, no matter what you do, no matter what happens, HIS power is still the same. And because He is good, and only good, that means NOTHING will affect HIS goodness. And because HE loves us, nothing we can do will EVER change HIS love for us! Nothing. He is immutable (unchanging).

I cannot affect God. I can do nothing to change who He is, ever. The attributes that He possesses are His and will remain the same forever and ever, amen! His goodness, His love, His righteousness, His holiness, His mercy, His grace, HE IS UNCHANGING. I am so glad that none of Him relies on me.

I am human and I screw up. If God took away His love for me every time I screwed up, where would I be? Where would God be? He’d be human, wouldn’t He? I can never bring Him down to my level because then He would cease to be God. And if He’s not God, than who am I? I am who I am because He made me perfectly. To take away anything from Him would take away my purpose and my meaning. I only have purpose because God created me to have purpose. He created YOU to have purpose too.

Do you know the purpose of/in your life? Do you feel like you’re just wandering around aimlessly, trying to figure out why you’re here, on Earth? Even if you’re unaware of your purpose; even if you’ve denied God and His existence in your life, in the world; He still loves you with an everlasting love. That love will never cease, it will never lessen or diminish, it will never be less than the day He created you and the day He close His Son to die for you. There is NOTHING you can do to change His love for you. So you might as well embrace it, eh? It’s not going anywhere.

Doesn’t a God like that deserve our praise? Don’t you think He deserves our worship? The fact that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21)” is the best reason to worship anyone, ever. Because yet while we were sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8), the  ultimate sacrifice, He deserves our praise. Because when we denied Him, and refused Him, and yelled and spat at Him, He still loved us enough to become our sin and nail it to the cross, He deserves our everything. It’s the least we can do; it’s all we can do.

We can’t obey ourselves into relationship with Him. We simply seek Him, and He will draw near to us (James 4:8). We were created for relationship with God, not because He needs us, but because life is NOTHING apart from Him. God is God regardless of us, regardless of me. He needs nothing from me to continue to be God, and He needs nothing from you to continue to be God. And for that I am extremely thankful. I cannot mess this up, EVER! And neither can you.

Once we enter into relationship with Jesus, NOTHING can pluck us from His hand. That is a forever relationship that will only end if we deny it’s very existence. And even that denial would not, will not, stop the love God has for you. You are loved whether you want to be or not. You are loved whether you believe you are or not. You are eternally loved, by the Perfect One who called you into existence. Life is so much more abundant when you walk like that’s true.

Blessings, Crystal

Come thou fount…

While singing a familiar song in church this weekend, God chose to speak to me personally regarding a specific lyric I’ve belted out hundreds of times before. Many Christians, and non-Christians alike, are familiar with the popular song “Come Thou Fount”. The opening verse is this:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never-ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love.

The words above strike a chord in my heart like nothing else can. I hear the familiar drum beat (our church performs the King’s Kaleidoscope version) and my heart skips a beat. Singing to the Savior of my soul, the Healer of my wounds, the Redeemer of my life, is one of my most beloved things to do. And this particular tune is a personal favorite. But this Saturday night during worship, God struck me when I sang the fifth line: Teach me some melodious sonnet. When walking with Jesus, He is constantly teaching us a song to sing to Him, is He not? What’s my song about right now?

The first four lines are speaking about God’s blessing, His grace, His mercy, and praising Him for all that. The fifth line, the singer (me) is asking God to teach her a song. She’s saying “Continue to teach me of Your blessings, grace, and mercy.” In other words, never stop blessing me, having grace for me, and showing me Your mercy. All of those treats make up the song in my heart for my God. And His word tells me that those things will never stop, which means I should never stop singing of them!

It all ends with God’s “unchanging love”. Isn’t that what it’s all about? He loves us so much that He blesses us. He loves us so much that He has never-ending grace for us. He loves us so much that His mercy will never run dry for those who love Him. And if all of that is true, how can I ever stop singing the song He’s written on my heart?

Each of our songs will be personal, based on the specific blessings, grace, and mercy God has for us. He is so very personal that we’d be silly to believe He’d give us all the same song. Some songs will be joyful and loud, others will be slower and somber, but all will profess His blessings, grace, and mercy.

Do you know what “melodious sonnet” God’s written on your heart? If not, try to remember who you were before He invited you to walk with Him. That’s always a good starting place for me. His love for us is never-ending and unchanging, so should our praise to Him be.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and all of this sounds like gibberish to you, it’s quite possible I just didn’t articulate my heart very clearly. But it could also be likely that you’re reading this and haven’t yet “tasted and seen that the Lord is good”. If this is the case, and you want to know Jesus in the way I write about knowing Him, please comment or contact me privately. I would love to help you get the know the Man who’s stolen my heart, because He wants to steal your heart too.

Here’s that video of the song above, in case you need a little filling up:

Much love and blessings,
Crystal

Are you in love?

love

I’m in love. News to you? Shouldn’t be. See, I’m in love with God. And because I’m in love with God, everyone everywhere who knows me should be aware of that. It’s kind of mandatory that I shout from the rooftops my love for Him. One should never question whether a Christian is a Christian. The love we have for our Jesus should ooze from our pores. It should flow into every conversation we have. It should consume our every waking thought. That love we have for Him should overtake our lives in such a way that no one could ever question our allegiance.

Does all this sound a little crazy? Perhaps a bit radical? It is! The love I have for my Savior is crazy and radical. Wanna know why? Because His love for me is crazy and radical. His love for me is immense. His love for me is huge and more real than any other love EVER. I can only love Him because of how He loves me. That’s it. So if I didn’t understand, or try to understand, His love for me, then none of the first paragraph would be true in my life. I could say I was a Christian and I could still walk around this world with hate in my heart. I could say I was a Christian and some people would never know it unless they heard me say it. What sets me apart from the rest of the world? The love of God. It’s not anything I’ve done or anything I will ever do. It’s the simply, complex love of God.

My Jesus became my sin, He became the sin of the world, and then suffered a horribly painful death. My sin, your sin, the sin of the world, died with Jesus. It’s gone. My slavery to sin has been demolished. It is NO MORE. My debt, to my perfect and Holy God, a death sentence, has been PAID IN FULL. The death that I deserve to die for sinning against a Holy, Perfect God, has been accomplished. Because Jesus died for me, I don’t have to die. And because Jesus died for me, my God sees me as Holy and Righteous. Because Jesus died for me, I am covered in the blood of His sacrifice forever, never again to be trapped in the bondage of sin. IT IS FINISHED.

I have died with my sin, and it’s gone forever. But my Jesus rose again! I have been born again, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, to live this life to the fullest. My Father not only demolished my sin but He gave me everlasting, eternal life, through His son Jesus. My life is devoted to Him, the One who paid my debt. I will live everyday for Jesus, never being able to repay the gift He gave me, but hoping others will accept that very gift salvation. It’s the best gift I’ll ever receive.

I am in love with the Lover of my soul. He is my Creator and my Savior. He is my Rock and my Refuge. He is my Redeemer and my Healer. My God loves me with an everlasting love. My God created me perfectly and loves me dearly. I am His beloved and He is mine. This kind of love is unconditional. It is the only truly unconditional love I’ll ever know. My God’s agape love is huge. His love is larger than any circumstance this world can throw at me. His love sustains and provides.

God’s love for me is the same as His love for you! The exact same! It’s so simple, the love of God, and so unfathomable. It’s a Holy love. He loves you as if you were His child, because you are. You are an heir to the throne. You are royalty, with royal blood. You have a Heavenly Father and a Holy Spirit and a Blessed Redeemer. You can have heaven on Earth now, right now! Sweet surrender is all that’s required. Surrender to the King, admit that He knows infinitely more than you, and ask His Spirit to enter your heart. He will radically transform you with His radical love. His crazy, radical love is real, and it’s here, now. Take it.

Inspiration

I’ve been pre-occupied and this blog has definitely not been my priority. You know what is though? Glorifying my Jesus. I can do that here! So, consequently, this blog should be a priority. Amen? I’m going to try to make it such, and if it’s God’s will, I will be successful!

I’ve titled this entry “Inspiration”, though I’m not quite sure why. I sat down to write, with no apparent agenda, and that title came to me. We’ll see how this unfolds. The title will, undoubtedly, be accurate since I’m sure it was divinely inspired.

If you’ve read ANY of my blog posts (within the last 2+ years), you should know that I love Jesus. I am so in love with the redeemer of my soul that I can’t help but write about Him and what He’s done, and continues to do, in my life. He is amazing and His love for me is so incredibly great. How could I not share His wonder with you!?

God is God, no matter who I am. He is God no matter who you are too. Do you believe? Do you think I’m a nut? Either way, He’s still Him. His existence does not depend on your belief, or my belief. God is the Creator of the Universe whether we acknowledge Him or not. Isn’t that incredible?

I love that NO MATTER WHAT I do, He’s still Him. That means that His love for me is always the same. It doesn’t ebb and flow like the waves of the sea. He doesn’t love me less when I love Him less. He doesn’t love me more when I’m having an especially “holy” day. His love for me outnumbers the stars in the sky every minute of every single day. And it doesn’t depend on my belief in Him either! You know what that means? His love doesn’t depend on YOUR belief in Him either. That same great love He has for me, He has for you too. Ha! I love it. It’s such a foreign concept to the world, this true unconditional love. We have no idea what it’s like to love like this.

I love my children, like a lot. I love them so much that I could not bear to think of living this life without them. I didn’t know how to love before I had them. Truth. But, my love for them is not purely unconditional. I like to think it is, but it’s not. Your love for your children isn’t either. Or your spouse. Or your parents. Or anyone else you think you love. It’s not unconditional. Our love, our human love, always comes with conditions. Let me explain: When my son does something so ridiculous it infuriates me, I don’t stop loving him. I don’t. I will always love him, no matter what. I’m sure most parents would say the same. But, if he stopped loving me, and turned his back on me completely, never to return or reach out at all, there would come a point where I would stop pursuing him. I would always love him, but I would not always run after him.

God will NEVER stop pursuing. God will NEVER stop chasing. God desires for ALL PEOPLE to come to know Him. You may turn your back, you may reject him, but He will NEVER stop loving you. His love is NOT dependent on your love for Him. Ever. That’s unconditional. That’s the love my Jesus has for all His people.

This love, the love of my Father, inspires me to love others differently. Because of His never-ending love for me, I love others in a new way. I’m no longer self-motivated. I no longer have an agenda. I don’t love others out of selfish ambition. I simply love God’s people because He does. I don’t deserve His love for me. Not one bit (see previous post, Dec 2013). But He freely gives it. If He does, why can’t I? You don’t deserve His love either. But He freely gives it. Why can’t you?

Love today, regardless. Regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Regardless of whether you feel like it or not. Regardless of whether you want to or not. Just love, because He first loved us. You’ll be surprised how easy it becomes.

With love, Crystal