I HAVE LOVED YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE. Before time began, I knew you. For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms.
When the time was right, I revealed Myself to you. I lifted you out of that sea of despair and set you down on a firm foundation. Sometimes you felt naked - exposed to the revealing Light of My Presence. I wrapped an ermine robe around you: My robe of righteousness. I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. I infused meaning into your mind and harmony into your heart. Join me in singing My song. Together we will draw others our of darkness into My marvelous Light. (Scripture: Jeremiah 31:3, Isaiah 61:10, 1 Peter 2:9)
This is the Jesus Calling entry for today. I laid down before the Lord, asking Him to clear my head, my heart, renew a right spirit in me. I have a big day ahead and it has been a big week - of good, but challenging things. It has been both beauty and pain, but the beauty has (always) won out.
Before I opened my devotional, I simply asked for Holy Spirit to speak: on any subject; with nothing off limits. That can be a pretty dangerous prayer, or at least my secret fear of condemnation told me so (because I am a sinful saint). But there was no rebuke. There was no reproof. In prayer this morning there was no correction, conviction or anything else. It was something even more powerful: Love.
Either way, the Lord spoke through my friend to tell me - even then - He was with me. Now, this morning, as I surrendered, He'd already prepared this Word for me: I was with you even before the foundation of the world. It isn't enough for Him to just let me know He was with me at 6. No, He was with me before. Before....Before anything. I can let go of those private dark places, inviting His marvelous Light in because He is safe, I am secure in Him. I am Chosen. I am Wanted. I am Beautiful. I am Treasured. It's unbelievable I have been all of those things before I ever took a breath!
Love is the most humbling force in all the universe.
That's this week: how hiding keeps us from all the Lord has for us: in our hearts, minds, spirits, relationships and circumstances. Opening the door to let His light shine on those dark places is the best thing we can do. We have to acknowledge and recognize, and then live in the ultimate truth of our faith: He is first and foremost a God of kindness and forgiveness, full of mercy and abounding in steadfast love - rather than this strict taskmaster, waiting to condemn us.
We only condemn ourselves. We only punish ourselves when we don't choose Him. He is not willing that ANY man, woman or child should perish. All the bad things that happen are not His doing. This is a fallen, jacked up world and there is a thief whose whole goal in life is to steal, kill and destroy God's creation. He is especially violent towards the ones who choose Christ and seek to make His Kingdom a reality on earth.
Knowing that reality is (more than) half the battle. The 2nd half is remembering Who and Whose we are. Today is about that remembering, which for me happened after spending the first 29 years of my life choosing myself over Jesus. But He had His moment. One day, He turned my eyes and heart to Him and He has never given me up. How could I go back? With the revelation of this kind of Love for me, I could never go back (permanently) to my old ways. Holy Spirit has me and He is never letting me go. He reminds me of that all the time.
He is the Just Judge and there will come a time when we all have to answer for what we've done. We know it, deep down - Christian or not. There are many other paths to choose, many other ways to go, but Christianity is the only one whose foundational stone isn't us, it is Love.
Christianity is not complicated but it's hard. It's hard because we don't want to give up our own understanding of things. We don't want to stay in the lines God sets - although He sets those boundaries up for our benefit. I know! I struggle all the time with this! That's when reminders like this come up. That's how I know Scripture is real, how God still speaks. The proof of this is in the evidence of my life. My life song is not a dreary, hopeless dirge.
My life, as imperfect as it is, is a song of praise. It is a Love song Jesus and I are singing together. It is a melody He mixes and blends with others that drowns out the call of darkness. I am a Bride, waiting for Her groom. I am no longer an orphan, a widow, a forgotten one.
And I don't want you to be either. He has loved us all with an everlasting love. He is drawing each of us further and further into His strong, warm, comforting arms; wrapping us in the bear hug of His chesed - His loving-kindness.
He is singing - can you hear the song? He wants to sing to you - your very own song. Listen for it today.