This was a few years ago, but I was reading in the Bible where it talks about God being Love. Not just God loving us (which He does, very much), but God actually BEING LOVE, it says in 1 John 4:8 God is Love… I thought “what exactly does that mean?”
How can God BE love? It just didn’t register
So I googled it…. (I mean duh…) what else does one do when perplexed about something!
I am not exactly sure what I googled (maybe “ the meaning of LOVE”) I really can’t remember to be honest, but I found this rather strange article in Time Magazine called the “The Science of Romance” it is a little hard to choke down for various reasons, it gets kinda weird at points, but at the end, after they had gone round and round, wrote 4 pages of scientific studies and research with some of the smartest in the country, here is the end of the article…
“But nothing could convince a person in love that there isn’t something more at work–and the fact is, none of us would want to be convinced. That’s a nut science may never fully crack”
I remember sitting in my bed thinking “SHUT UP” they just explained the science behind romance, relationships, even sex but they couldn’t “crack the nut” regarding LOVE and the next thought that came to my mind was “they can’t explain it, because they don’t know It (capital I) they don’t know HIM, they don’t understand that God who created the universe, created You and I, IS LOVE. No wonder they can’t or even think that anyone will crack the nut of “LOVE” …….
I was dumbfounded… DUMBFOUNDED…. SHOCKED, SPEECHLESS (and for those of you that know me, that is something……) I knew that God existed ever since I was 14 years old, even before that but it wasn’t until I was 14 that I experienced God at church camp up at Lake Erie, in Ohio… I remember….. and now at 35 years old, God is teaching me that He first wants me to LOVE HIM… you see this on bumper stickers “Love God, Love People” because Jesus said this is the greatest commandment of all! But do we REALLY know how to LOVE God? I think we tend to go do things for God and love people, because it is easier, people are right here, we can see them, somewhere in life we were loved by someone and so we know how to love people, but do we really know how to love Love Himself?
I don’t know the answer; it is what God is asking me, so I thought I would write about it. I do think it is a good question to ask God for yourself, do I know how to love You and do I know how to receive Your LOVE, receive YOU who is LOVE….. I am not talking about salvation; I am talking about something deeper, more intimate. a real loving relationship!
And do we try to substitute that Love that we should get and receive ONLY from God with people? Marriage is an expression of God’s love towards us; it was never meant to be a replacement!
I don’t know the answer….. I think it’s a good question for all of us..
What is JOY anyway and why would God tell us in the book of James to “Consider it a sheer gift, when tests and challenges come at us from all sides?” [MSG]
The NIV says it like this…. “Consider it PURE JOY whenever you face trails of many kinds”
I have written a lot in the recent weeks about things such as worry, wonder, trust, staying in the moment, you name it I have been dealing with it and writing about it! Then I went to a retreat this past weekend with a dear friend of mine in ministry Sarah Ott, a very anointed teacher of God’s divinely penned Word! She is the kind of Bible teacher that after the first time I heard her, I wanted to go home, stay up all night and read the Bible, because I wanted to know what she knew, I wanted to know WHO she knew that gave her such peace and confidence in this life. A life that is often unpredictable and sometimes very painful! This, my friends, is a sign of a teacher appointed by God Himself!
I signed up for this retreat 3 months ago, at that time life had its questions, but nothing too overwhelming that I couldn’t “figure out” or work through with a little prayer, a little counseling and some encouragement from friends!
In the past 3 weeks, I have come upon a different time in my life, when honestly some of my biggest fears in life came to stare me right in the face.
All of this would have been completely paralyzing to me if God Himself had not brought me to a place of TRUST and PEACE in HIM…. It is Him in me, not me… I couldn’t do it myself; I could not face all of this myself….. Which brings me to what I learned this past weekend.
Suffering comes in all kinds of packages, nothing is too small. As Sarah said, a paper cut is a paper cut when it is not your finger, but when it is your finger, it hurts. At the same time nothing is too big for our God to handle, either! We should not compare our sufferings (or our blessings for that matter), we simply must endure our trials with the confidence that God is in control, not matter what.
Joy does not consider circumstance, it is not something to be mustered up, it is actually someone who dwells within us, who rises up within us (if in fact you have asked Jesus into your life, if you believe He came to set you free from your sins) then Jesus himself, in the form of a spirit, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you! And Jesus Himself is the source of Joy even in our suffering.
What I learned was Joy is to not worry, not to try to figure it out; we are not ultimately in control. Joy looks above and not ahead, Joy is a deep seated assurance that He is in control and admission you are not!
Sarah talked about when you are enveloped by a trial, pain, to first, give joy an opportunity, see it as an option, as a choice, not a feeling such as happiness, which comes and goes with good and bad circumstances, but to consider, joy, which is a confidence that God is sovereign and able to work ALL things for good!
Joy is not denial of fact, or pain, or suffering, it’s not putting your head in the sand and pretending what is going on is not going on, Joy admits the circumstances but sees Jesus in and through it.
Consider Joy, is considering Jesus (Hebrews 12:3), considering He to be present in your circumstance, knowing it is impossible to consider Joy in many painful, gut wrenching circumstances but instead to know that we can rest in Him and He will do it, do Joy, be Joy in us…. if it looks painful it may be painful to walk through but consider Him to be present, to walk with you, as it says in Hebrews “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, Who [Jesus] for the joy set before Him endured the cross!” the cross was painful, very painful I imagine, but He walked through it, He endured it because it was the will of the Father (Father God) and it was for us. So we would not have to go through anything alone, but we would have the Holy God of the universe, with us through it all.
There is so much more that was revealed this past weekend, so I will write a Part 2 of Consider it Joy soon!
For more information on Establish Her ministry, born out of the scripture 1 Peter 5:10 that says “after you have suffered a little while, the God of ALL grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strength and establish you!”
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Do you ever ask yourself WHY you really do something? As in “have a heart to heart with yourself”…. Digging deep down within and just being honest with you, on a few things?
I think we often, WAIT, maybe I should speak for myself here, I think I often assume the best about myself, my intentions and my reason for doing what I do or thinking what I think……
I found myself here just the other night!
It all began with innocent comparison in my mind, Note: comparison is NEVER innocent! In my mind I was comparing myself to others when it came to a certain subject.
Problem #1: I didn’t catch myself here, in this unwise place of comparison
Which led to Problem #2: I began to find myself comfortable in the Judgment Seat of Christ, judging not only myself but the other people I was comparing myself too.
Which led to Problem #3: I started to condemn myself and let guilt overtake me (not for the comparison. See I had not even realized Problem #1 yet, I had no idea where the “problem” first started) I was condemning myself for not doing what others were doing.
Which honestly led to Problem #4: trying to prove myself to those I was comparing myself too and little did “these people” even know……
………Because it was all in my MIND!
I basically committed 4 sins….in a prettttttttttty short amount of time……
2. Judgment of myself
3. Judgment of others
4. Good old fashion pride….
Whoa, whoa, whoa and whoa……
To say I realized in that moment what true grace was all about, is an understatement, I about fell off my chair when I started to write it out on paper (which is often how I work through thoughts swirling around in my brain) and realized how this simple (seemingly innocent thought) turned into a string of SIN, WOW. All I can say is thank you to God for sending His son Jesus to die on a cross for my sins, past, present and future, not because I am even close to perfect, but because of how imperfect I am EVEN when I am “TRYING” my best…
Feel free to write out your “swirlings” (swirling= thoughts in your head) below!