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Where was God when….?

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Along with the survivor stories we all have, are those from people who do not feel like survivors or have lost loved ones.  I know one person who lost a loved one in the Indiana tornados and several who have loved ones that survived it.  One tornado was <10 miles from the trailer where my son, daughter-in-law, and all my grandchildren live (next to my sister).  I know how quickly life can turn.

Last time we talked about survivor stories, but today I’d like to talk about the other side.

What if it were my family planning a funeral or figuring out what to do with nothing to our names right now?  Would God still be good?  To that I give a resounding: YES!  Believe it or not, I’ve had some pretty awful things happen to me and/or those I love.  Life is like that:  it comes with the good and the bad.  People have a tendency to give credit to God in the survival stories, but often blame Him when the bad things take away life or possessions.

Where was God…

…when fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock was pulled from a mobile home to land in a field some distance away?  Where was God when her mother, father, and two siblings were killed by the same tornado?  Where was God when little Angel let go of life yesterday?  Why this family and not another?

I am not God, so I can’t answer all the questions.  I do know God, however, so I can say this:  God was there.  He was with them as they crouched in fear, hearing the sounds of destruction coming for them.  He was there as those lives were taken and that baby was laid in a field.  He was there with Angel as she drew her last breath and went to join her family.

God has a plan

God loves each and every one of us.  He loves us in a way we may never understand, for His love is beyond understanding.  We never go through anything that God does not know about.  For some of us, that is comforting.  For others, those who do not know God’s love or cannot see it in their moment of darkness, may see it as a reason to blame God for what they see as a curse.

The truth is that we cannot determine if something is a blessing or curse at the time of its happening.  In every one of the tragic events of my life, God has woven His love throughout the experience.  Sometimes I couldn’t feel it at the time, but always, in looking back (or in looking up in the midst) I see Jesus.  He was there, and God’s fingerprints were everywhere.

Where was God when…

One of the darkest moments of my life was when my Mother passed away.  One of the most beautiful times of my life was when my Mother passed away.  What?  How can it be both?

Given 6 months to live after a cancer diagnosis, my mother managed to live 11 months.   Not only did she live that long, she went to WalMart only a few days before her death.  Having seen several cancer deaths, this was an unexpected blessing.  I stayed with them during this time, going home on some weekends to see my husband and daughter, to help take care of her.  We had a great time, one that can never be taken from me, during this.  We were out and about almost every day.  Many times you could find us shopping at WalMart and being silly.  We liked to make up languages to speak just to make heads turn.  There were hard times here, but the time spent together, the time to go over old pictures and hear old stories, the time to prepare — all of these were priceless.

I had gone home when I got the call that Mom was in the hospital.  The plan was hospice, but a football-sized, matastasized tumor in her stomach broke in two and the pain was unmanageable at home.  I was so grateful to have missed this moment with her.  She was in the hospital only a few days.  Watching her die, watching the pain and confusion in her eyes, watching my dad sobbing over her and telling her he’d marry her all over again, all of that was a deep, deep pain.  But through it all, God was there.  All the family was able to gather in her hospital room.  We sang hyms; we prayed; we cried; we hugged; we watched a beautiful woman slip away to glory.  She would not go until my second son was able to make it, so we were gathered around her bed, holding hands, as she escaped the bonds of her body and went to meet her Jesus.  It was awful!  It was beautiful!  It was priceless!

You see circumstances are simply that:  circumstances.  They do not determine much, but how we respond to them, how we look at them makes all the difference.  If I had not been looking for the God, if I had been focusing on the pain, I would have missed a beautiful thing.

God gives us free will and that brings a lot of pain when we choose sin.  But, even in all our willful mess, He came to give us a way to Him – because He LOVES us!  Love isn’t about feelings.  Feelings come and go.  God never goes.  He is always there, even in the middle of the biggest storm.  Look up into the eyes of Jesus. Raise your hand and ask Him to pull you up and walk with you back to the boat.

Do you see God’s hand in the hard times?

How do you feel about this post?  Some of you may feel differently.

Go back to your survival story and look for God’s fingerprints.   Share them here if you wish.

Can you “Praise Him in the Storm”?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

Survival Stories

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A headline on my news feed this morning read, “Survival stories emerge from victims.”  This was in regard to the deadly tornadoes that hit last Friday.  This reminded me that life is often about survival.  Yes, we can emerge victorious from the trials of life, but while we’re in them, we are in survival mode.

The wonderful thing about this is that survival is possible.  People can go through horrible life circumstances and emerge, not unscathed, but often better for having gone through the experience.  No, not everyone will survive and not everyone will thrive, but the indomitable spirit of human kind often emerges through hardship.  This is true of those going through the experience and those who seek to help them.

Upon hearing about the tragedies of loss and death, many people stepped up to help.  People see the need, have compassion, and put their hands to the task in whatever way they can.  In all the mess going on in our world, it is good to see that people still care about one another and that survivor stories are still alive and well.

 

What can we learn from the tornados and other life experiences?

  1. Things don’t matter.
  2. People matter.
  3. Life is short.
  4. Time is not promised.
  5. Say I love you now.
  6. Don’t count on tomorrow.
  7. Don’t wait.
  8. Human need transcends our differences.
  9. Character is exposed in the hard times of life.
  10. You can survive hard things.
  11. You don’t have to survive hard things alone.
  12. God and much of mankind will stand with you.

 

I have survivor stories.  In fact, I have many survivor stories.  I call them “God Stories” and collect them in my faith scrap-book.  They remind me of the things that matter, and that my God is always there, even in the darkest night.

This is my challenge to you today:  Do you have survivor stories?  How has hardship brought you to a better place and revealed your character and/or the character of God?  You can share in two ways:  1) Share your story in the comments. or 2) Share your story in a blog post and share your link in the comments.  It can be about anything, not just tornados….     You may also share other lessons we can learn.   I am looking forward to reading your stories. 🙂

 

My tornado God story: 

In 197?  a tornado struck Franklin, Ky, where I lived at the time.  I was reading, laying on my mom’s bed and looking out the window, when I saw a black wall coming toward  us.  I ran into the Living Room where my Father was gathering my Mother and siblings.  He had us lay on the floor with his arms over us.  At one point, the roof of our house lifted up and slammed back down.  Later, we discovered that a large tree in our front hard had cracked and fallen on the roof, holding it on.  All around us was devastation, but our house still stood.  Some say coincidence, but I know it was God’s protection.  Why us and not others, that is not up to me.  However, I am glad allowed us to come through it unscathed.  My parents, as pastor and wife, were able to go out and help others recovering from the same storm.

Fast forward a great deal to a time I was heading up to my step-grandmothers.  Things kept happening to keep me from leaving when I wanted to.  I was half an hour late leaving.  Up north, driving through the outer parts of a tornadic storm, I come across some devastation where a tornado had gone through 1/2 hour before I got there.     The same thing happened Friday.  Had I been much later heading home, I would have been in danger on the highway in hard hit areas – with two grandkids in the van!

 

I have learned that God’s timing is important.  Impatience plays no part in waiting on God, even though we think it does.  Just goes to show that we are not as ‘in control’ as we think we are:)

CB: Why me mentality

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All of us know people who struggle with this.  Some of us may be one of these people.  All of us struggle with it at times.  This mentality looks around and sees what is going on with others.  The person then looks at his or her own life and makes comparisons.  In the comparing, his or her own life usually comes up lacking in some way.  We could also call this the “grass is greener” effect.

Valentines day was a good example of how this mentality can pervade one’s thinking.   No honey bun for Valentine’s Day?  Poor you, sitting there all alone with no one to say ‘I love you’ and give you sappy presents.  Your loneliness must be harder to bear than that of anyone else’s.  {Sorry if this hits anyone in the solar plexis, but I had to pick something for my examples.  We’ll get to the others later.}

 

Lies believed by the alone at Valentine’s Day:

►No one cares about me.

►Valentine’s Day is for lovers; if you don’t have a love, I am a loser.

►This day was created just to point out how alone I am.

►Other people’s joy somehow effects me by comparison.

►If no one reminded me that I am alone, I wouldn’t feel this pain and loneliness.

 

Truths to counter the lies:

►It is definately not true that no one cares for you.  [God and probably at least a few people care deeply about you.]

►It’s also not true that others don’t care that you hurt.  They may be looking at the outer package and your inner hurt may not be as evident as you think.

►Valentine’s Day is for love, true, but not just a lover type of love.  {Regardless of the reason it was created, it has become a time to spend lots of money so the stores can make a profit.}

►Just because it is a special day that brings joy to some, their joy has nothing to do with you.  Comparing to others, especially when you don’t know their circumstances (only seeing the surface), brings two things:  envy or pride.  Which one depends on which side you are on.

►Should others go around with mopey faces all day just because you are lonely on this day?  Would that really make you feel better?   (add bible verse about sharing joy sorow********)

►If Valentine’s Day makes you sad, it’s not because of what happens to other people on this day; it’s because of what you’re telling yourself/dwelling on on this day.

 

 

 

Seeing beyond the surface:

There are others hurting just as bad or worse out there.

► Consider the one whose Valentine has left to give valentines to another.

►Consider the one who finds out that her Valentine is giving valentines to another while giving Valentines to him/her as well.

►Consider the one who lies beside his/her Valentine, but is just as lonely if not more, because the love has died or they’ve grown apart.

►Consider the person who has never had a Valentine to remember.

►Consider the one who has just lost his/her Valentine to a senseless death.

 

As always, I could continue, but I hope this is enough to make the point:

We cannot compare our insides to someone else’s outsides. ~unknown

~*~

What to do

When we catch ourselves looking at the grass over the fence or thinking “why me?” or “why not me?”, what can we do?

1.  Stop comparing our insides with other’s outsides.  We have no idea what’s really going on in that house.

2.  Look at what we’re telling ourselves.

3.  Change what we’re telling ourselves.

4.  Do something for someone else.

 

I bet there are other hurting people out there, even in your world.  The best way to turn a “why me” into a “why not me” (who am I not to have problems) is to do something for someone else.   Do you know people in a nursing home who have lost their Valentine to death (if they ever had one) and have no one to brighten their day?  Go visit and take some time to give them joy for a while.  Do you know a recently divorced person or someone who is going through marital issues?  Send them a card to say you’re thinking of them/praying for them.  Do it anonymously.  There are so many people out there who would love to have love shown to them on this day and every day.  If you want to cut your own pain, give the love you so desperately want away.  I guarantee you it will return to you a hundred-fold.

When you find yourself falling into the world’s biggest pity party, go look deeply into the insides beyond other’s outsides.  You will feel better about yourself and your life.  Life is hard for everyone, and we should not feel that we get all the pain while others don’t or that we deserve better.  From a Christian standpoint – we all deserve Hell.  Anything we have above that is a gift and a blessing.

 

How to get love:  give it away!

                                       As always, I appreciate your feedback.  This was not meant to hurt anyone, it was just an example and not about anyone specific. 

The challenge:  Have you ever shared love and found out you felt differently about your own hurts?  If you have share the story.  You may either share in the comment box or on your own blog and leave a link back in the comment box.

If you have not done this, or would like to do it again, feel free to try it and share with us in the same way as above.

Sharing love is a great perspective changer – agree?  -disagree?

If you post a link in the comments, I will multiply the love by sharing 🙂

How Firm a Foundation

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This week I have hit the boxes – the boxes in the bat cave my garage that have been there since we moved here, awaiting a fire my attention.  No, these aren’t the first boxes I’ve gone through, but when you move from a two-story home with full attic and full basement to a one-floor ranch with a crawl, you have to figure out what to do with all that crap treasure.  So? you say?  I found a real treasure a box I have been looking for for awhile (we’ve been here 5 years now).  It contains things from my childhood and other treasures I have collected (like my youngest two children’s first hair cut hair.)  I found some things that belonged to my mother, who passed away the week before we moved here.  AND, I found a poem I had written to my father – who knows when.

This would be special at any time, but last Tuesday my dad slipped, fell and broke his hip.  In fact, he broke the ball off and had to have the leg stretched back into position to prepare for surgery on Monday.  This is not the first time my father has been in the hospital with serious issues.  In fact, it’s par for the course in my life.  He has genetic pancreatitis, and nearly died several times during my childhood.  He was burnt pretty bad once and has been in major accidents.  And that’s just the beginning.   It’s not been easy to face his mortality, and yet he outlived my mother.

No matter what life threw us, my dad, a Baptist Minister, taught me some valuable lessons in how he handled it.  He taught me:  Life is not about circumstances, it’s about how you deal with the circumstances;  Put God first and all else will follow;  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE; and so many more things.  He taught me about God and how to have a relationship with Him.  He taught me about faith through example (stories to come in future posts?)  He was not perfect, but he is my dad and I love him.

As I pack and prepare to head down next week for his surgery and recovery, I wanted to share something I found in that treasure trove from the bat cave.  This may be a post you pass over, and that’s ok, it’s really for my daddy.  This is a poem (didn’t say it was great) that I wrote for him who knows how long ago.  I’m guessing it was in my teens.  I want to share it with him and with anyone who wants to read it.   There’s nothing like the influence of a daddy – whether through his presence or his absence, the things he teaches by doing or the things he teaches by not doing.  He is one of the most powerful influences in a person’s life and often shows us our first picture of God (good or bad).   I love you daddy.  We’ll get through this one too.

Thank You Dad

I thank you Dad for all the times

you’ve been there just for me.

The times when I was hurt or tired

or longing to be free.

I thank you for the walks we took,

the times you stopped to play,

For all those times you let things go

to be with me each day.

Thanks for coming through for me

when I thought all was lost.

I always knew I could count on you

no matter what the cost.

But most of all I thank you Dad

for bringing me up right.

For teaching me of Jesus who’s

the way, the truth, the light.

I know it’s your example then

of what a dad should be

That brought me to my heavenly Dad

who’s waiting now for me.

So thank you Dad you’ve always been

a shining knight to me

And I think you’re the greatest Dad

that ever there could be.

I love you Daddy!   Angie

copyright 2012

(Grams forgive the punctuation/grammar issues – I left it as I found it.)

Communication busters: How do you treat those with whom you disagree?

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Today I read a post from a man I “met” on facebook and admire greatly.  It got me thinking, and I want to share it with you.  His first line:
As we’ve discussed before, how often do we or others tend to dismiss others (now-a-days calling them dumb or stupid or worse) if they disagree with us, especially about issues we are passionate about?  I frequently run into people on the internet who will absolutely act like I am the worst person in the world because I have an opinion they disagree with.  So what?  Do you agree with everyone you know?  If you are hanging out only with people who agree with you, you are in big trouble.  We need others in our life to debate with over the issues.   For the Christian, it is even more important to beware of this tendency.  God gave us free will, so we have the right to be wrong.  He may not remove the consequences for our choices, but He will not force us to jump on board either.  (See the discussion on freedom in Part V of the It’s all about the heart series.)
What God sees
God looks beyond the bluster and sees the heart.  If the person is genuine,  their belief system doesn’t make them horrible people.  God loves us in all our sin, and He wants us to show that love in how we interact with those who disagree with us.  That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them.  It does mean we need to treat them with love and absolute respect.  We all have many parts to us.  We all have flaws.  We all believe things that are not true or that others believe are not true.  Instead of tossing a person out as ‘unworthy’ because of something you don’t like, love them anyway and agree to disagree.  My favorite verse, Romans 5:8, says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  If God loves us in all our sin, we must show love to others as well.  God loves sinners.  He doesn’t like sin, but He does love sinners.  I, for one, am SO glad He does!  Sometimes finding common ground can help us see beyond the conflict to the heart of this person.
“While we were  yet sinners, . . . .”

How can others see Christ in us unless we show love?  We do not have to agree with someone to love them.  We do not have to approve of their opinions, values, beliefs or actions to love them.   True love shows respect, even in the midst of the most extreme disagreements.
What do others see in you?
When people interact with you, do they see something different?  Does the love of Christ shine out in how you treat them?  Or, do you give them reinforcement that Christians are rabid haters?  Even taking Christianity out of the equation – do you show yourself as a person worthy of respect by treating others with respect?  How do you feel when others respond in rage to everything you say?  How do you feel when others call you names or curse at you because you don’t believe as they do?  This is a good place to trot out   apply the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  We also need to be aware of the minimize mine/maximize yours effect and keep our own backyard clean not spend all our time criticizing the leaves in the neighbor’s yard if ours is full of garbage.
Be a diligent seeker
If we have in the back forefront of our mind that our goal is to bring glory to Christ, not to win an argument, we should do well.  As a Christian, you may be the only Christ others see – you want to come as close to the real thing as possible.  Even if you are not a Christian, you represent yourself and possibly others.  What others think may not be important to you, but you don’t want to drive away those who could enhance your life.  Character, integrity and honor are characteristics everyone should strive for.   For the Christian, it is even more important to represent Christ in a way that draws others instead of turning them away.
What it’s all about

The world’s mentality is often:  please me!  For the Christian, however, the mentality and the driving force should be: please Christ!  The picture I chose for this section is “God’s Garden”, and it was chosen for a reason.  We are all part of God’s garden.  He planted us, sustains us, and harvests us.   Plants tend to grow toward the light, and we should do the same.  If our face is always turned toward the sun/Son, as we seek the warmth of His love.  Just like a child seeks to please the parent, we seek to please our heavenly Father.   We need to remember the other flowers are watching too, whether from the church garden or the worlds. None of us are perfect, but we can do better than what is often found out there today.  It’s about that diligent seeking.

A huge thank you to Al Hartman for your inspiration for this post and permission to quote you.

Do you treat people with respect and dignity, even when they don’t agree with you?

Why do you think this is important?

How do you handle it when others treat you with disrespect?

Why do you think people treat others who disagree with them with disrespect?

If you are a Christian, what have you done to reflect Christ?

What are some things you have seen Christians do or say to reflect Christ (+) or gave Him a black eye (-). 

It’s all about the heart, Part III

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In case you missed them:   All about the heart, Part 1    All about the heart, Part II

Often my “Christian” posts are a part of my study for teaching my 7th, 8th and 9th graders in Sunday School at my Church.  The same is true with Part I of this series, and follows the posts about feeding the flesh and purity.  Today I used this blog loosely as my lesson.  You see last week we learned about Purity – what it is, why it’s good for us, etc..   After class, the students were all in the hall listening to a joke that was questionable.  I’m not sure they even understood why it was questionable or why doing this right after a lesson on purity would bother their SS teacher.

The trial of “Joke Teller”   

Our first activity of the day was to put “Joke Teller”, a former student who can handle being an object lesson, on trial.  We talked about what would make the joke “wrong”.  They immediately understood that it’s off color nature was not good.  It took a while to pull out of them, however, that the joke uses the Lord’s name in vain twice.  (See the 10 Commandments)  Once they understood what that meant, it was easy to lead them to a guilty verdict, not just for “Joke Teller” but for themselves too for listening (and retelling).  The joke may not seem such a big deal to many, but it was an object lesson opportunity this teacher could not pass up!

Line? What line?

Where’s the line?

For our next activity, we divided into three teams.  Each team had yellow electrical tape on the end of a table as close to the end as possible.  The goal was for each team to compete to be the one to get their car closest to on the tape without going over.  The three winners then faced off for an over-all winner.  We then discussed part of the ways we push disobedience (as per Part I) where we try to go as close to ‘the line’ as possible or even push our toe over it.  One point I wanted them to understand was that when we walk on the line all the time, it’s very easy to fall over the line.

If you can’t see me, I’m not guilty

Our next activity involved a game where a student was blindfolded and placed in a chair.  One at a time, other students were given a chance to try to steal a treasure from under the chair without

undercover

getting caught.  The seated person could use hands and feet and movement to try to tag anyone sneaking around them.  If a ‘thief’ was tagged, he or she became the owner of the treasure.  Then we broke down the next items on the list of ways we disobey (per Part I) by sneaking and thinking that “not caught” is the same thing as “not guilty”.   We used driving as an example (even though none of my students are drivers yet).  I asked them, “What happens when a person is driving along (over the speed limit or not) and they spot a police car?”  Answer:  “Slow down!”  Question 2:  “What does the person do after they get over the hill and away from the police?”  Answer:  “Speed back up!”  {Come on, you know you’re all guilty 😉 }

 

Integrity is what we do when no one is looking

Too many of us fall into the mentality that our ‘hidden’ faults aren’t that bad.  One danger here, aside from believing we can cross the line if no one sees us, is that we often tend to judge others for their failings without considering the extent of our own, especially the ones no one else knows about.

Did it ‘stick’?       

I get it already!

I sure like to think it did this time.  Games are a great way to get across to young people as object lessons.  At the end, as I was winding down and bringing them to the conclusion of the lesson, the students each had two coins in front of them they were not allowed to touch (fake ones).  The idea was for others to try to take the other’s coins without getting caught.  That didn’t happen, but as we talked, a couple students started to do/say something not right, and I saw them thought-check themselves.  For me – that’s a win!

I wanted to share the purpose of some of my recent posts for those who care to know.  You each get to make your own choices and suffer your own consequences.  I hope we’ve all learned something as we’ve walked through this together.

How important is integrity to you?

What are some other ways to show these concepts?

Do you think “not caught” is the same thing as “not guilty”?

What do you think of this series and is there anything you would like to see here?

Are there other questions or concepts you feel I could explore with my class?

“Does He Ever Write Back?

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“Watching my little buddy today and he found my Prayer Journal, and as all three year olds do asked, “What is was?”  Told Him it is where I write letters to God.  Very seriously flipping through the pages he asked, “Does He ever write back?”

A friend of mine posted the above on facebook a few days ago.  Her “little buddy” is a 3 year old named Logan.  He is an adorable little cutie that thinks of my friend as a grandma.  Isn’t it funny what kids say?  Little Logan hit the nail on the head.

He sent us the first love letter 

Thinking about this, I have to say how blessed we are – we already have His letter!  He wrote it long before we were born and left it for us to read while He’s ‘away’.  Imagine treating a love letter from your significant other like you treat the Bible.  Some of you will be able to bow out here, but most of us struggle to keep in the Word, reading it, studying it, learning it, and especially applying it.  We often have the urge to do so, but we let life get in the way.  If we really valued this love letter, sealed in the blood of Jesus Christ, we would have a passion that cannot be denied to be in it with every second we could.  Instead, how many can raise their hand to say, “I often have to make myself read the Bible.”  (Or, my Bible is seldom cracked open, much less read.)                                                                                                       But God commendeth His love toward us….(Rom. 5:8)

Intentions    

We often have good intentions, especially after a particularly good sermon, after a revival, or after some other thing lights our fire for the Lord.  But it doesn’t take long for the flame to burn out.  We go back to not doing anything because we’re too ‘busy’, or we trudge along, dragging one foot after the other to do our ‘duty’.   We even want to do it sometimes, but habit takes over and relegates the love letter to the bottom of our ‘to do’ list.

The Helper – NOT!

One issue is lack of commitment.  Another is lack of discipline.  I’m sure there are many more, but there’s also the fact that the enemy, Satan, does NOT want you to read it.  He does not want you to stay close to the love of your life (yes, I mean God).  He is a deciever, but he’s a clever deceiver who makes the counterfit look really good.  One thing my dad always used to tell us when we couldn’t sleep:  “Pray, read the Bible, or witness to the Devil, you’ll be asleep before you know it.”  Sadly, that is true.

Passive Christianity  

Christianity is not passive.  It is a vital relationship with God, and it requires sacrifice and work to maintain.  Just like marriage relationships, one must work at it.  In a passive marriage, the couple will drift slowly apart and wake up one day wondering what happened to the marriage.  It’s the same with our relationship with God.  He gave us a passionate, detailed love letter for us to read while He’s “away”.   What would you think if you gave your sweetie a love letter and he/she just said, “Oh, that’s nice,” and tossed it in a drawer unread?  Passive Christianity is not Christianity at all.

Passionate Christianity

Instead of passive Christianity, it is imperitive that we move to passionate Christianity.  Treat the Scripture like the valuable love-letter it is.  Seek to get as close to God as you possibly can and then put things in place that will help you get there.   It will require discipline; it will require sacrifice; it will require an intentional life, given over to your Love.   Remember back to the first time you fell in love?  You wanted to be with the person all the time.  If you couldn’t be with them, you were together on the phone.  Love letters were cherished and read and reread and put in a special place.  The pulse skyrocketed when he/she came in sight.  You get the picture.  If this is not your relationship with God, it’s time to get that love letter out, caress it, read it, study it, reread it, memorize it, treat it like the priceless treasure it is.

Are you passionate about God and the things of God?

Are you passionate about your Scripture reading/study/etc., giving it top priority instead of letting it collect dust all week?

Do you want to please Him or do you just do the minimum requirements to call yourself a Christian? 

What are some steps you can take to go from passive Christian to passionate soul-mate of almighty God?

Was there a time when you had more passion for the things of God than you do now?  What happened?

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