Love Came Down

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“Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.”

-George Whitefield

Did everyone have a great Christmas this year? For me, it went very quickly and I found myself, for the first time, with very little to give in return for everyone else’s kindness. It’s a strange feeling, one of undeservedness as well as gratitude. Perhaps I’m still learning how to receive, and I honestly believe that as Christians we must learn this!

When you first bowed your head and surrendered your life to Christ, you received a gift you could never be worthy of, and yet, Christ made you worthy. We cannot give until we have first received. And what have we received? Why did Christ come and why did he have to die?

In my last post, we established God’s agape (unearned) love for us. Now, we take a step further into that great abyss of love, and hopefully, find ourselves falling even more madly in love with the one who brought us into being.

Many will try and sway you to believe in a God who would never bend, would never turn His eyes to man and sacrifice for him. They will say that God orchestrated this whole reality, and free-will is but an illusion. And to those arguments, I charge this question, “why Jesus?” Surely, something needed fixing, surely God could’ve started over instead of sacrificing His Son, or in essence “Himself.” That doesn’t sound like a distant uncaring God, but one who cares greatly about what occurs on this tiny spec of a world–the only one with life as we know it in an ever greater universe. The more I study it the more I realize we are the jewel, the very heart of God in all creation.

So, back to my question, why Jesus? I have recently had the privilege to read C. S. Lewis’s novel, Mere Christianity, which I highly suggest to anyone struggling with doubts of any kind regarding God’s existence, goodness, and ultimately His purpose. What I tell you today I repeat from this great book, and most likely inadequately so. C. S. Lewis is a great writer and Christian, but at one point in time, he too was lost and struggling with the meaning of life. He offers an insight that I am unable to offer myself since I grew up in church and in a believing home, a riper soil for spiritual growth.

However, despite this, I still found this book to be enlightening and faith-building. And so, I will share with you his take on why Jesus came, or more specifically, why God came down in the form of a man.

Upon wrapping up his discussion about God being good and completely righteous (He cannot deny Himself), and us falling away from unity with Him. We see that, even in the Bible, the rest of our story is built upon restoring what has been lost. The Old Testament demonstrates our great need for Christ in that we cannot wash ourselves clean and restore our relationship with God regardless of our striving attempts at righteousness. The law can’t be followed perfectly because we are imperfect.

In the coming of Christ, we see that God has a plan, an answer to our weakness. C. S. Lewis said that the only way we are cleansed is through repentance, and yet, he goes further:

“Repentance is much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing a part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.”   (pg. 57)

We were incapable of true and complete repentance. No amount of blood shed by animals was enough to cover our great transgression, that we sought to become like God. Pride entered our hearts the day Eve listened to the serpent and Adam stood watching. That day, satan pulled man into the very same transgression he was guilty of. Pride was his downfall, and will always be. He chose willingly what we chose naively.

The most interesting thing we are overlooking here is that God in His nature has never needed to repent. So how could He teach us, help us, to do that which He has never done?

God can’t surrender, suffer, submit, or die….man, however, can.

“But supposing God became a man—suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God’s nature in one person—then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. ” (pg. 58)

We can repent today because God is in us. He does it through us and that would not be possible if it wasn’t for Jesus. Lewis continues:

“Our attempts at this dying (repentance) will succeed only if we men share in God’s dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God’s dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man. That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all.”

Jesus was the only way.

The trinity still holds great mystery to us, and yet like God we are 3 parts as well. Body, Soul, and Spirit. The body is alive, the soul is alive, and the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is very much alive. We do not understand it, nor are we really aware of it all the time, and yet it gives us a slight insight into God’s makeup of Father, Son, and Spirit. The greatest difference is that He is well aware of the connection and this awareness makes Him complete. Also, I’m inclined to believe that each aspect or being of God is infinite and unique in that they can be identified by their own characteristics, but let us not confuse the fact that they are still very much “one.”

Love is a consuming fire. Agape love, to me, is the most furious and all-consuming fire of  God. It is that love that brought Him to such great lengths to save us. It is that love that endured more pain and suffering than we could ever imagine on the cross. That believed our free-will to be worthy of such pain and sacrifice….why?

Could you really love a robot, programmed to love you, more than a child who loves you by his/her own choice? God isn’t about slaves or servants…He is all about family and friendship…the very same He shares within the trinity is what he longs to pour out upon us. He is a Father longing to grow His family. Remember…love is a consuming fire. When you love, you share that love, and can’t help but do so.

Aaron and I are getting a new look at this kind of love as we await the arrival of our baby. I can only imagine how great our love will be when the product of that love is in our midst. Not only will our love for each other grow, but also will it stretch and pour out into our child. And In my heart, I feel that is what love is made to do.

May God bless you all, regardless of doubts and short-comings…you are all a reflection of God’s heart and I pray that your hearts will grow and be filled this new year with His great love and in the many years to come. Amen! ❤

 

Agape

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“But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

-Romans 5:8

Searching for a picture that sums up the word, “agape”, is difficult. When we think of love, our first images are rather joyful and beautiful. There are many pictures that demonstrate the love between man and God. But, what about the love God has for man?

It’s easy to love God…He created everything, He gave His only Son as a ransom for us, He blesses us daily, and at the very heart of it…He IS love (1 John 4:7).

Is it so easy to love us? What have we given? What could we ever do to earn the love of God?

Nothing.

That is the heart of agape love, it cannot be earned. It is freely given and always involves the sacrifice of the giver… and a painful sacrifice that is. It’s a love that thinks not of itself but only of others and their betterment.

Out of the “Four Loves”,  agape is the least emotional.

An example of this would be discipline. Remember the verse, “He who spares the rod hates their children?” (Proverbs 13:24). A selfish love would spare the rod in order to keep the peace. An agape love would risk their own peace for the sake of their children. That child may be angry with you for stopping them from “having fun”, but ultimately you are teaching them how to act so that someday they will be successful adults who know right from wrong and lead good Godly lives.

This love meets no personal desires like Eros (romance/sexual), Phileo (friendship/brotherly), and Storge (familial/motherly), it is merely sacrificial. And this love cannot be perverted as the other loves can because they involve desire and when desires are not controlled or are warped by satan, they become purely selfish.

God is Love, but all loves are not God.

What I mean is, when God isn’t in His proper place in our hearts, in other words, the “throne room”, then something else always takes His place. Satan can’t create anything new, he can only pervert what God has created, or in essence, was meant to be “good.” The Godly structure of marriage, family, sex, and “love,” can all be twisted when we replace God in the throne room.

People fall under the lie today that because God created it, it ALL must be good. God created us and yet are we ALL good? Today’s definition of love, therefore, isn’t quite what God’s definition is. God is Love, but He is also righteous and can’t deny Himself. His love is different than many of the warped loves we/satan have created.

That makes the argument, “if it’s love it must be from God!” invalid.

I say this only as an explanation or warning, that we should look to God and His Word to know what things are and what they are not, and not look to the world…which is ever-changing and very much self-driven since it’s king is the Devil.

Agape alone stands the test of time and the rise and fall of humanity. God is agape and that is the kind of love we should seek and value in our lives. In fact, that is the only kind of love we should die in the name of! Christ died not for himself but for all of humanity. It wasn’t glorious, it wasn’t honorable…he died a criminal’s death and suffered beyond fathom, enduring the ridicule, stripped bare and beaten beyond all recognition.

You see, God came down and become a man for us. Never believe that God the Father is apart from the Son! When Jesus came down, God came down. And in my next post, we will look at why this is so important, and why it was necessary.

Until then, God bless you and may He continue to lead you into a better understanding of His great Love. ❤

 

Looking Back

Looking back on the year, I can’t help but ask, “what year?” It blew by so fast. And just as the Lord said on New Year’s, as the ball dropped and I found myself laughing with Aaron..this would (and was) a year of laughter.

We began the year with our favorite and shortest anniversary vacation yet to Florida. It was the best three days in which we actually had the money to enjoy it. Though I left severely sunburnt, I couldnt stop smiling. Again, this was the Lord’s word manifested.

Our church remodeled the sanctuary (we had been having service in the fellowship hall) and by Easter we had our first service in the beautiful historic “church.” Strange as it was considering this is the first real church building we’ve had service in, it was truly a blessing and honor to worship in a place created for such. God’s blessings and joyful laughter again.

Our finances were the best they’ve ever been. With Aaron working as a manager on a farm/fertilizer business and me working at a window factory, we were not only blessed but able to bless others, which truly made us happy. The Lord was smiling down on us, and we were in awe.

Among the many more joyous moments and times of great laughter, I can’t help but think about the last few months…after all the blessings, and God’s favor on us….now…a baby. I honestly feel rather speechless, and satan has tried lately to squash our peace and joy.

Our finances have plummeted, our sump pump broke during a heavy flood, the heat went out in my car, our electricity burnt out, I’ve battled morning sickness for 3 full months, our pellot stove motor stopped working (we very much need this thing to work), our well is contaminated with iron (no clue how) which is turning things orange and makes the water taste like blood! Somehow there was a misshap with taxes so we owe an additional 200 on top of over 5,000 we’ve paid so far, And I’ve contracted a bad cold just as I was feeling a bit better with nausea, I’m on day 5 of it and still struggling.

Funnily enough, I just found my basment flooded again due to a pvc pipe that came lose and disconnected putting our new sump pump through a workout. It was then I realized now was the best time to write my next blog, having not had wifi for several days I’ve really missed typing and sharing my journey.

This is week 14 in my pregnancy, and the baby is healthy ❤ despite my cold and everything that’s happened, God has kept the most important thing safe. And of course, I know everything else is in His hands too…it just gets overwhelming in the moment.

God is still good, and see! I carry the truth, it’s growing within me as I speak. You know…times of trials are not from God but they do have a knack of building our resolve. Testing the very things we’ve always said we believed. Aaron for example, learned at the beginning of our marriage that God is provider. Now, though we struggle financially he doesn’t have this fear…why? Because God’s proven Himself faithful..now we don’t just know He’s provider because we read it in the Bible, we “know” because we have experienced it time and time again.

We will continue trusting and believing…and laughing at satan and his petty attempts to break our unshakable hope ❤ a hope that came down and walked among us…his name? Jesus.

Things will break, money will come and go, illnesses will try to trip us, the rain will fall, and some nights will be cold, but some of the greatest blessings the world has ever seen came out of such times.

On a cold rainy night…our savior was born.