Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Compelling Love

It was love that compelled me that day at the Ace Hardware cash register.  I don't mind telling you this story because there was nothing about it that my flesh would have chosen; therefore, I can't boast.  The man checking out in front of me couldn't get his debit card to work.  As he went to his car to get another source of payment, God whispered over me that I should pay for his items.  I quickly paid for his items as well as my own and walked out of the store, never knowing his reaction to God's love on him.  I was simply a vessel of grace, and I knew it wasn't about me at all.  The truth is, I would have rather spent the money on myself.  I assure you the pineapple candle on aisle 9 looked way more appealing than his sack of tools.  But, the God of love compelled me to do something different.

After my sister shockingly passed away seven years ago, I was the recipient of such grace-moments.  Stranger after stranger knocked on my glass door, arms heavy laden with poppyseed chicken casseroles, pot roast, and brownies.  They didn't know me from Adam.  It must have been the love of God that compelled them to sacrifice their money, time, and comfort zones as they boldly brought me nourishment at a time my soul was starving. Those strangers are now friends and I am so glad they listened to the nudging of the Holy Spirit to reach out in love.

It is love that compels people to save up money every month in order to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I know families that budget this item every month so that they can pack not just one but hundreds and hundreds of boxes in the month of November.  These people will more than likely never meet the children who open their small gifts.  These people will probably never be thanked.  It is simply the love of God that ignites a fire in these shoebox packers to get the gospel message out to as many children over the world as possible.

I don't know if you have noticed, but the days are growing dark.  Evil is lurking everywhere, it seems.  I see it in the foolish choices of our national leaders.  I see it in a nation that wants Planned Parenthood's funding to continue, despite the evidence of babies being murdered, chopped up, and sold off.  I see it in a teacher who flunks a young student because she refuses to deny her Christian faith.  I see it in an Iranian Nuclear deal that vows to wipe the apple of God's eye off the planet. I see it in the firing of a high school coach, all because of his post game prayers.  I see it in a Bishop who wants to remove all of the crosses from church because they might be offensive*** to Muslims. 

Just to clear the confusion:  we are not a Christian nation anymore.  We are now a nation that persecutes Believers in Christ.

How on earth did we get here?  It was a slow fade, like the beautiful sunset that quietly disappears over the horizon.

The days are increasingly dark.  But, there is still a flame inside of us.  When night hovers with an oppressive choke, God's light will shine more brightly.  He will use us as conduits of His love.  Everyday, we can put aside our flesh and our comfort zones and ask how He might love through us.  It's the compelling love of God that will indeed win this dark battle.  All the powers of hell will never conquer God's true church.  Love well, dear soul.

"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."  John 13:35

***As a side note, yes the cross is offensive

"The cross declares how dire is our condition apart from Jesus. It announces how deep the sin goes, how profound the rebellion is, how impossible is our plight apart from Help from the outside. There’s nothing we can do, no effort we can exert, no law we can follow.

The message of Christ crucified says you’re an absolute failure in relation to what’s most important. The horror of killing the Son of God points to the horror of our condition. The badness of Good Friday is a tribute to the badness in us.

The cross embodies some of the most offensive things possible you could say about someone in relation to God and eternity. This gruesome death Jesus died, you earned it. The hell Jesus endured, you deserved it, forever. The shame he underwent, the scorn, the disrespect, the hurt — all these are as suitable to us sinners as they’re unsuitable to the sinless one." David Mathis

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