The Power Of Love

On this the 4th Sunday of Advent – I thought it appropriate to talk about the power of love.

Life happens – and sometimes it is filled with hurt, pain, and disappointment. Broken relationships and shattered dreams can leave us full of worry, angst, and skepticism. We avoid people and situations to protect ourselves, but we are really missing out on what God has for us. If we allow our past experiences to fill us with these destructive feelings, we block our hearts from the fullness of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Christ, we are admonished/encouraged and even commanded to be filled with the Spirit daily. If we refuse to let go of the hurts of the past, we will never be able to experience the fullness of God.

We all have pasts – but the beauty of Calvary is that we get to live as new creatures whose sin has been cast into the sea of forgetfulness, as far as the east is from the west. We not only neglect the fullness of Christ in us when we hold on to our pasts — we also neglect people around us who would benefit from His love flowing through us. If you decide to forgive those in your past who have hurt you, God can, and He will trade beauty for those ashes — He can, and He will restore what the locusts have destroyed.
I have had deep hurts in my life – and they left gaping open holes in my heart. I was on my way to becoming unloving and unlovely. I didn’t want anyone to be close to me because I wanted to ensure that my heart was safe. I thank God for my dad and my beloved Lloyd because they loved me and helped me get to a place where I was willing to give God my heart. I decided to trust God with those past hurts, and I forgave every person who breached my trust. I really forgave them! I hold nothing against them and have no animosity in my heart; in fact, I pray for them to experience the blessing of God as I have.

Open your heart to receive and walk in God’s abundant and powerful love because He can, and He will turn it all around for your good and for His glory. God is love. God loves you more than you can fathom. Ask Him to help you to receive His love and then ask Him to fill you to the full with His love, leaving no room for anything else in you. He will make you complete in Him. He will plant your roots deep in His love and make you new. Let His Love Fill You! His love is genuine – unfailing – pure – absolute – powerful. Accept His love – and He will give you a brand new life.

CENTERED ON CHRIST by Dr. Vernon Grounds

CENTERED ON CHRIST – Dr. Vernon Grounds

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Opinions differ markedly as to how far left they are. In any case, we mustn’t forget that all truth comes from Him who is the truth. And I honestly don’t know how one with precision establishes the center of orthodoxy. I’ve never forgotten the woman captured during the Spanish Civil War who, when ordered to position herself politically (right would mean conservative; left would mean liberal), replied, “I stand at extreme center.” That’s my own position too. . . provided I’m allowed to decide where the center is located.

This Christmas letter, which I hope to keep on sending out as long as possible, affords me the opportunity of sharing inspiration and insight from some of the towering individuals who have impacted my mind and heart. Oddly, they are sometimes viewed with suspicion (more often wrongly rather than rightly) because of their allegedly left-of-center theology.

Well, here’s what Karl Barth wrote as he reached his 50th milestone.

Now one knows that everything is at stake. Old age is coming  nearer and with it what comes at the end of old age—if it does not come suddenly before then. For anyone who still has time and a goal to reach, this can only mean that everything and everyone become more sharply etched: the problems and needs of one’s own position and career, as well as those of the world around, are felt more keenly. One is moved to a prudent haste, to a certain mild but dogged intensity in both work and talk. Now is the time when everything seems to be extremely serious, as indeed it is. One has to decide whether the gift of this short life also involves a responsibility and whether one has properly understood this responsibility, for all one’s stupidity and perverseness. There is also the question whether despite one’s own unfaithfulness, one has accepted this responsibility gratefully as a sign of the free grace of God.

Those, mind you, were Barth’s reflections at 50. They are far more pertinent for myself heading rapidly towards 84!

 -VCG, 1997

By Faith

In order to embrace a God-given future, we must trust and not waiver in our belief – despite what we see or experience.

We live in an age where we want promises fullfilled now. No waiting; no delays — we want what’s coming to us NOW — just like the prodigal son. However, we must remember that God is an eternal being. He eists outside of time. His promises are eternal also – they exist outside of time.

It is our faithful obedience and service to expectantly believe the promise will come even if it is our resurrected future.

There are many blessings He will grand us now – but if not NOW — will we still believe? If He heals now — if He heals in heaven — we must choose to rejoice either way! I’m speaking from my own personal experience. When my mother had this unexpected bleeding stroke … my cry out to Him was for healing and life. When my best friend, Barbara, was diagnosed with cancer … my cry out to Him was for healing and life. My Ghana mother, Beatrice … healing and life. My dear friend, Francis … healing and life. And what I had to return to truths … they were all believers in Christ and worshippers of the Almighty God! They were all healed completely and are living life eternal! The tears that came were real! But if you talk to me face to fact about any of these dear ones – you will see that all that I feel is gratefulness, thankfulness and pure joy toward The One who gets all glory and praise from me about the beauty of the lives they are living now!

Our heavenly future is greater, for we are only sojourners in this foreign place.

O Lord! please help us to understand that as partakers of Your gift of salvation, we have been given eternal life! Help us to grasp the gravity of this great promise – looking ever toward the eternal, heavenly future that is laid out for us. Help us not get caught up in the now!!