If God is Our Father… A Parable

Tessy took one final look at her smiling reflection in the mirror before heading to the front door. The purple highlights in her blonde hair matched the low-cut crop top she wore over a black mini-skirt. Even though her seventeen-year-old body didn’t look like the girls on TV, she hoped her outfit would be enough to keep her new boyfriend’s eyes from wandering tonight. Steven was nineteen and could have any girl he wanted. Tonight, she wanted him to want her.

“Tessy?”

The deep voice of her father stopped her just steps from the front door. Sighing, she turned to face him. “What?”

“You’re not going out wearing – “

Tessy put her hand up. “I know what you’re going to say.”

“What was I going to say?”

“That you don’t like my what I’m wearing, that Steven is no good for me, and that I should spend tonight with you than to go to this party.”

Her father tilted his head. “If you know I disapprove, why are you doing it?”

“Because I like Steven. He’s not as bad as you think. And all the girls wear stuff like this. I wouldn’t fit in if I didn’t”

“I’m your father, not their’s. Fitting in is not what I’ve taught you. Dressing that way is not only indecent, but dangerous. You don’t know – “

Again, Tessy cut him off. “I’ll be fine. I appreciate your warning, but I don’t think it relevant. Maybe if I was younger or went to a bar or dressed like a hooker, but I’m just going to a party. There’s nothing wrong with what I’m doing.”

Without giving her father an opportunity to say anything else, she opened the door and slipped out.

Steven was just pulling up in the driveway. Waving to him, she hurried towards the car. Steven got out without looking at her and walked behind his car. He opened the trunk and reached inside.

 Disappointed that he hadn’t greeted her but curious about what he was doing, she joined him at his trunk. Steven was pulling something out of a crate. She gasped as soon as she recognized the long, wiggling mass.

“Look what my friend gave me.” Steven looked over at her. “Don’t worry. It’s friendly. You want to hold it?”

Tessy backed away, shaking her head. “That’s okay.”

“Come on, don’t be a chicken.” Steven smiled as he held out the snake. “You’re going to love how sleek if feels.”

“Don’t touch it,” came a soft voice next to her.

Startled, Tessy turned to her father. “I didn’t know you have followed me.”

“I –“

Steven’s loud voice drowned out whatever her father was going to say. “Come on, Baby, we don’t have all night.”

“Don’t touch it,” her father repeated.

But Tessy ignored him as she reached to touch the snake. Steven smiled as he handed it to her. Tessy returned his smile as she watched the snake coil and uncoil itself around her arm. It was colder than she expected, but just as smooth as Steven had promised.

Suddenly the snake writhed sharply. Startled, she dropped it, but not before its fangs grazed her arm. “Ow!”

“Hey!” Steven shouted. He lunged for the snake, grabbing its tail as it tried to disappear under the car. Pulling it out, he shoved it back in the crate. Then he turned on Tessy, “How could you drop it like that? It almost got away.”

“It bit me.” She held out her arm to him, but he turned away and slammed the trunk.  Without looking at her, he headed back to the driver’s seat. “You coming or what?”

Turning to her father, Tessy said, “This is your fault. You were supposed to protect me.”

“I tried but you wouldn’t listen to me. You chose Steven’s word over mine.”

His words gripped her heart. “You’re right. I’m sorry. Will you take care of this for me? It really hurts.”

Putting his arm around her, he said, “Come back to the house with me.”

The car roared to life, making Tessy jump. She pulled away from her father. “I can’t right now, but just as soon as I get home, okay?” Without waiting for a response, she hurried to the passenger side and jumped in.

“Be back by ten,” her father called as he stepped out of the way.

Steven backed out and took off down the road, his tired screeching almost as loud as his engine. A few minutes later, they got to the highway and he turned to her. “Ten o’clock? Did he mean that?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Tessy answered. “But don’t worry about it. Whatever time I get home will be okay. I’ll just apologize and he’ll forgive me. He always does.”

Steven put his free hand on her leg. “This is going to be a great night.”

Tessy covered his hand with her own. Relaxing back in her seat, she agreed. “It sure will.”


Malachi 1:6a

A son honors his father and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts…

God was speaking to the priests about offering blemished animals in their sacrifices to Him. But as I look around at Christians today, I wonder if He wouldn’t say the same thing to us? Do those of us who know Him and claim to follow Jesus really respect Him? Or do we take God for granted, relying on His love and mercy to cover our self-centered decisions? Do we fear Him as Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul did? Or are we arrogant because of our status as His children?

Let’s be courageous enough to pray like David did in Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

And to do like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see if whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!


Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,

do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,

on the day of testing in the wilderness,

where your fathers put me to the test

and saw my works for forty years.

Therefore I was provoked with that generation,

and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;

they have not known my ways.’

As I swore in my wrath,

‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

Take care my brothers, lets there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called, “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. Hebrews 3:7-14

Celebrations

We tend to celebrate the days in our lives that mark a birth or change or completion of something. Days like…

Birthday

First day of school

Graduation

First car

First job

Marriage

New home

Birth of children

Retirement

As Christians, there is something missing from that list. Something that should stand out from everything else. Something that is worth more than all of that list put together.

That something is … the day we were saved.

For me, it was April 24, 1977. I can remember it clearly. Not the physical details as much as more, although there’s still plenty of those. But I will never forget the spiritual wonder of meeting Jesus. In an instant I was changed forever. It was the most significant day of my life, and yet, I do not celebrate it.

I don’t really celebrate any day. I’m like the second person described in Romans 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

But I think I might just make an exception come next April.

God is Bigger Than Climate Change

Climate change. Who hasn’t heard the warnings? Higher temperatures, more drought and heat waves, heavier downpours, stronger hurricanes, rising sea levels, widespread flooding, melting ice caps… it goes on and on. According to Wikipedia, climate change “threatens people with food and water scarcity, increased flooding, extreme heat, more disease, and economic loss. Human migration and conflict can be a result. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.”

All of this is serious and frightening.

But God is bigger than climate change.

God made the earth (Neh 9:6, Ps 24:1) and not only knows how to take care of it, but does so according to His will (Job 12:10, Ps 65:9-13, Ps. 107:33-34 NOTE: all cited Scriptures are written out in full at the end of this blog). He also gave us the job of tending the earth (Gen 2:15) knowing full well that we wouldn’t be as good at it as He is. Yet He is powerful enough to correct the mistakes we make, smart enough to know the needs for all generations, and strong enough to control the effects of our ignorance (Job 26:14, 37:13, Is 45:5-7, Matt 8:26-27).

But the truth is, even if we had done a phenomenal job, no matter what we do or don’t do, the earth is passing away. It was not made to last forever (Ps 102:25-28, Is 51:6, Matt 24:35, Heb 1:10-12). God’s plan is to make a new heaven and a new earth once this one has grown old and worn out (Is 65:17, Rev 21:1).

Until then, we can trust God with our future. We can tend the earth in the best ways we know. We can enjoy what He has given us until the new, better earth arrives. And we can rely on Him as we go through the coming storms, floods, droughts, and times of pestilence. We may not be able to fix the earth, the Bible makes it clear that the earth will pass away, but we can be at peace knowing Jesus is with us all the way (Matthew 28:20b, Hebrews 13:5).

What we shouldn’t do is be obsessed with the earth’s condition or to live in fear (John 14:27). Concern is one thing – obsession is another. There is only one thing He has told us to be obsessed with – and that is Him. Instead of dwelling on the earth until it consumes us, let’s get our eyes back on the One who holds the earth in His hands. Let’s dwell on the LORD who dwells on us. Let’s be obsessed with God Most High.

And he said to them, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt 22:37).

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Col 3:2.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3


Other Scriptures cited in this blog:

“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. Nehemiah 9:6

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, Psalm 24:1b

In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10

By his power he stilled the sea…Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?
Job 26:14

He loads the thick clouds with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. Job 37:13

I am the Lord, and there is no other ,besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Gen 2:15

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea , and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:26-27

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offering shall be established before you. Psalm 102:25-28

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the Earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, and the Earth will wax like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner. Isaiah 51:6

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

you, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end. Psalm 102:25-27 (also quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12)

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe of your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for you joy. You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothes themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:5-13

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sun was no more. Revelation 21:1

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

As long as the present earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. Genesis 8:22

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt 28:20b

God is Bigger than Food Prices

Food prices are soaring. Some people are talking about becoming vegetarians – not because of their concern for animals, but because of their concern for their wallets. Some people are talking about becoming self-sufficient – growing their own fruits, vegetables, and raising their own livestock – so they will have food when it’s no longer available to them due to price or scarcity. Some people are already doing this. Some people become depressed each time they go shopping, having to decide between what tastes good and what’s cheap – if they can find it on the shelves at all. Other people become shocked or enraged. Anger is mounting. Desperation is climbing. Complaints are widespread, but no one seems to be able to do anything about it.

It’s not just food. It’s clothing, cleaning supplies, toiletries – shelves are increasingly empty and almost everything has a significantly higher price tag than just a year ago. If this continues, as it looks like it will for some time – will we have what we need when we need it?

For many people, the answer is not clear. No one can really predict how long this will last and how severe it will get. There have been numerous guesses, estimates, and predictions. But the truth is, no one really knows the future except God. And He warned us that there would be famines as the end time came nearer.

Matthew 24:3-7 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

He tells us not to be alarmed. How can we NOT be alarmed when faced with climbing food prices without a parallel climb in income?

Because God is bigger than food prices.

In Philippians 4:16-18, Paul was talking about how the Philippians had repeatedly provided for his needs, and that at the time of his writing he was well supplied. These were gifts that had been sent to him from the Philippians and therefore physical items for physical needs. Thus, verse 19: And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus is also talking about physical needs.

God can supply our needs because He is rich! No matter how high food prices go, they won’t make a dent in His treasure house.

We can trust that He will take care of us. He said in Matthew 6:25-33 that He knows we need food, drink, and clothing, and that He will provide them if we seek His kingdom and righteousness first. He didn’t say He would do so as long as prices stay reasonable. He doesn’t care about the prices. His richness has no limit.

If rising food prices has your heart in turmoil, you’re looking in the wrong direction. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will guide you through these times and provide for you in many expected and unexpected ways.

Philippians 4:6-8 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Sidenote One: There is a difference between a need and a want. If you spend your income on your wants – eating out, entertainment, hobbies, name-brand clothing, jewelry, cigarettes, the latest technological toy, a large home, expensive cars, etc. – you may not have enough left over for your needs. And if you are spending most of your money on yourself, God may not give you more. God will provide for His children, but He won’t spoil them or enable their self-centeredness and selfishness. James 4:3 You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Sidenote Two: I keep hearing that we need to be stockpiling items so that we will have them when they are no longer available on the shelves where we live. That’s fine if God is leading you this way, but keep in mind that stockpiling is not hoarding. Jesus expects us to share what we have with others.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he had denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 3:11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Ephesians 4:28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

It may be that He has stockpiling as we are able now in order to provide for our needs later as well as the needs of those who are unable to save up items due to finances or space.


Matthew 6:25-33 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

A Story of Running From God

Christian loved God and professed to follow Jesus. He enjoyed his life and lived according to Biblical principles. One day, God interrupted his life. He said, “Hey, Christian! See those people in high places? Those people who live in the spotlight, surrounded by many admirers? Politicians, athletes, famous people, and other people of great influence? Go to them and call them out for their sins because I’ve had enough of their evil.” But Christian didn’t want to hear that word. He was afraid he’d end up looking like a fool if they heeded his warning and God relented on the disaster He planned for them. So, he ran from God thinking if he blended in with other people, God wouldn’t see him. He found a group that would serve his need. Compromising his values and adopting their values was a steep price which he willingly paid if it got him away from God’s presence.

But God saw and sent a great wind upon the land and there were mighty storms – earthquakes, wind storms, fires, droughts, pestilence – so that the people’s lives were in danger of being destroyed. The people cried out to all kinds of things seeking a savior. New age practices, pagan gods, crystals, social activism, political actions, religious observances, and fortune tellers were called on night and day. The people even gave up basic necessities and rights in their effort to survive. Nothing worked.

Meanwhile, Christian ignored everything. Focused on his own needs and desires, he was no longer awake to the voice of the Lord and was unaware that the storm was anything out of the ordinary. When the people brought his attention to it, he recognized what was going on but remained silent until the people figured out that the storms had something to do with him. At that point he admitted he was running from God. The people, seizing on this ray of hope that they would be able to stop the storms, grilled Christian until they finally asked point blank, “What do we need to do to stop it?” Christian, knowing he had to directly confront the consequence of his action, told them that he would have to die to himself. Maybe then, God would relent.

But that made no sense to the people and they refused to accept Christian’s way; instead, they continued to seek their own way to end the storm. Eventually, when it was clear their efforts were in vain, they did as Christian said. They freed him to go do what he needed to do. Instantly the winds were stilled. The people were amazed at the power of God and turned to Him with fear and trembling. However, it wasn’t over for Christian. He had to spend time alone with God until his stubborn pride was broken and his attitude was realigned with His. Humble and sorry for having run, he returned to his life.

God again spoke to him, “Hey, Christian! See those people of great influence? Go to them and call them out for their sins because I’ve had enough of their evil.” This time Christian obeyed. He spoke to everyone he could, warning them if they didn’t change their ways, God was going to bring disaster upon them. He was later dismayed that everyone believed him. As the result, the leaders and celebrities believed the Word, humbled themselves, and repented. And sure enough, God relented and no disaster fell on them.

Sound crazy? Like a fairy tale? Not to Jonah (see the book of Jonah in the Old Testament).

The Bible says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). What if one of the reasons the story of Jonah was written was to give us insight into a side of God we don’t hear preached about very often today? What if by compromising with the world, blending in instead of standing out, we Christians have brought down the storms that blow around us? Maybe not entirely, but certainly our rebellious disobedience to Biblical teaching has a far-reaching consequence. And maybe, if we who call ourselves Christians humbled ourselves, repented from our compromises and rebellion, and obeyed His command even at the cost of our lives, would God intervene and calm the storms that rage across the world today? Would that result in the leaders and celebrities believing the Word and calling for the repentance of everyone in their circles of influence?

It’s an interesting thought.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Terror on a Snowy Road

All I could see as I slowly eased my car down a rural highway was white. From the field on the left, across the road, and to the field on the right lay a solid, unbroken blanket of snow. I was alone at the moment, but what if other traffic joined me? All the road markings were hidden under the snow and I had no idea where the lanes were. I decided to follow the tire tracks left by an preceding vehicles and hope for the best.

At first, I drove very slowly, but as I became more comfortable, I began to increase my speed. The road was smooth, and my 4-wheel drive was doing an excellent job maintaining traction. Besides, we would never make our destination before dark if we had to drive the whole 350 miles at 30 MPH.

Everything was fine for a few minutes, but after reaching 40 MPH, I felt my tires slip and we began sliding sideways.

“What do I do?” I asked my husband as terror filled me. I gripped the steering wheel with both hands as the back end of my car slid in increasingly wide swerves. I had heard about fishtailing, but this was the first time I had experienced it. Living most of my life in Florida meant having no experience with snow, and I couldn’t remember which way to turn the wheel.

“Take your foot off the accelerator,” my husband said, trying to be calm.

“I already have,” I responded. “Should I step on the brake?”

“Maybe,” he said, then got quiet. I knew he must be praying.

But strangely, I had no desire to move either of my feet. Instead, I focused on holding the steering wheel, turning it as best I could, thankful that there were no other cars on the road this early in the morning, and praying that no other cars would show up. As the back end of my car slid from one side of the road to the other in ever increasing arcs, each time coming closer to the edge of the snow, I also prayed we wouldn’t end up stranded in the middle of one of the fields that surrounded us. “Lord, please stop this car in a safe place.”

After what felt like an hour but was probably less than five minutes, my car slowly came to a stop in the middle of the road. Trembling now that the experience was over, I turned to my husband. “Okay. I can check fishtailing off my list. I never want to do that again.”

He laughed and agreed. “Better stay slow until the sun has a chance to melt the snow off this road.”

More cautiously than before, I touched the accelerator and started moving forward. No longer concerned about the time it would take to get to our destination, I was content to drive the entire 350 miles at 30 MPH if necessary.

As I inched down the road, I puzzled about how, despite my lack of experience, I had done everything right. Or maybe it hadn’t been me. I couldn’t explain why I felt no need to move my feet, nor how I was able to keep the car from spinning out of control. It had to be the Lord. He had been in control when I wasn’t.

I’m still in awe today, four months later, of how God had kept us safe on the almost deserted snow-covered road in the middle of nowhere. He is an amazing God!


Psalm 91:14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Psalm 5:11b and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

Take Off Your Shoes (an analogy)

Photo by KOREAN JH on Pexels.com

She entered His house, excited to see her Father. She hadn’t gotten far when she heard a soft yet firm voice. “Take off your shoes.”

“What?” My shoes?” She looked down at her feet. Picking up one foot, she admired the tan sandal from different angles. A wide brushed-leather strap securely covered her heel and wrapped around her ankle and was held closed by a shiny silver buckle. Narrower straps crisscrossed over the top of her foot like a hug. She sighed. She loved these sandals, and she wanted to show them off to her Father.

But now she was being told to take them off. Why? They looked clean enough. She hadn’t stepped in anything. She could understand if the room had been carpeted – rugs are easy to get dirty and hard to clean – but she wasn’t standing on that. This floor was hard and smooth like giant flat rock.

“But they look so good on me,” she protested. “They are so comfortable. And they even look like me, don’t You think?”

“Take them off,” the voice repeated.

Sighing, she bent to obey. As she tugged off first one sandal and then the other, she noticed the dust that coated them. Hmm… she hadn’t seen that when she had looked at them just minutes before. Looking even more closely, she saw that the sandals were actually covered with imperfections. There were small scratches in various places, one seam was beginning to unravel, tiny stones were trapped in the tread, and there was a crack in one of soft soles.

Funny how from a distance they had appeared perfect, and it wasn’t until upon closer examination that she could see their real condition.

“And the socks,” came the voice.

“Oh, I thought you wouldn’t notice them since they blend in with my skin.” Reluctantly, she pulled them off, dropped them near her sandals, and approached the huge chair where her Father was sitting.

Feeling naked and vulnerable, even though it was just her feet that were bare, she stood before Him with her head bowed. “I’m sorry about the sandals. I didn’t realize they were so dirty. It seems the more I try to make You proud of me, the more I mess up. I love You. You are more important to me than anything else.”

“Daughter, it’s not just about the dirt. When I look at you, I want to see you. Leave at the door everything that doesn’t belong in here – from the false sense of identity you put on and the comfort you wrap yourself in to the dirt that clings as you walk in the world.  They do nothing but get between us.”

She thought she understand. It wasn’t what she had that made Him love her. It wasn’t what she did or didn’t do. It was her that He loved and wanted to be with.

Looking up, she saw the incredibly warm smile on His face, the love in His eyes, and the invitation in His outstretched arms. Without a second thought, she leaped up into His embrace, and sighed with contentment as He pulled her close. There was no better place than this – and worth way more than a pair of soft leather sandals.


1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Isaiah 59:2a But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God…

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My New Book Is Here!

Those of you who have been with me for a few years may remember my “Letters from Someone Who Loves You” series. Well, I tweaked them and they are now published in a book that can be purchased on Amazon!

Sorry, but the free preview button does not work. This book is not available on Kindle.

I have some other books on Amazon also, mostly children’s books.

I am so excited and hope that this book touches many hearts!

And It’s Not by Boat (an allegory loosely based on a dream)

Emily stood on the shore with her eyes searching the sea. Somewhere on the other side, a place she had heard about but never seen, existed. In between her and that new land was a vast sea.

Her heart felt drawn to that land. There was something special there. Something that would fill her with peace and joy like nothing she had ever experienced on this side. She had read that there was no evil there, no pain, no tears, no torment, no depression, no loneliness, no fear… it went on and on. And this place, too wonderous to describe fully, would last forever.

Even more important, there was a someone there. A king. She had read about him, too, and longed to be with him. In her heart, against all common sense, she knew he loved her and invited her to be his wife. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did as firmly as she believed the land existed. And she wanted that with all her heart.

But between him and her was the sea.

There was no way she could swim across its vastness. She had tried. The gentle rolling waves hadn’t been a problem, but they didn’t stay that way. Sometimes storms had exploded around her, enclosing her in the turmoil of crashing waves before casting her back on shore. Each time as she lay in the wet sand gasping for air, she had vowed she wouldn’t try again. But then would come that sweet call.

Even if the storms hadn’t been there, she’d have had to face the life-threatening dangers that lurked beneath the surface. And without a doubt, she wouldn’t have had the stamina to make it all the way. She thought of herself as a good swimmer, but no one could swim across an ocean.

No, she needed another method to cross the barrier between her and her betrothed.

She noticed other people on the shore looking in the same direction. And moving through this crowd were people handing out differently colored brochures. Curious, she reached for a blue one when it got close enough.

Want to cross the sea? We can help. We have the largest boat with the longest history of success. Come join us. We can get you there. Contact RCC at RCC.org.

Hope rose in her. A boat! And a big one at that, which meant many people believed this boat could do what it promised. Joining her faith with theirs, she took out her phone. But before she could open her browser, someone handed her a pink flyer.

Come check out our newly updated speedboat. Built for travel, this baby can get you all the way across the sea before the other boats leave shore. Smaller means more personal attention as you travel to your dream destination. Call 1-800-WOF-GMYM to reserve your spot today.

Oooo, that sounded even better. A fast trip would mean facing less storms. She began dialing the number but stopped when she was handed yet another piece of paper, this one yellow.

Forget the rest, sail with the best! Why chance fuel shortage or motor problems on your way to your future? We have the biggest, sturdiest sails ever made. Let us help you get where you want to go. Send a message to us at TT@OTR.com for more information.

Beginning to get confused, she looked at the three papers in her hand. Were they all right? Could they all get her there and it was just a matter of which made her feel the most comfortable? She almost didn’t want to take the green one being offered to her now.

Solar powered is the way to go! No chance of running out of fuel when you travel by the power of the sun. We have state of the art panels in sufficient number to make us the fastest, more reliable way to take you wherever you want to go. Contact us at mibto.com.

Which to choose? After considering the pros and cons of each, she decided to go with the speed boat. The faster she got there, the longer she would have to enjoy the presence of the one she longed for. She made the call.

A week after setting out, she was beginning to wonder if she had made the right choice. With no covering, everyone was sunburned and wet. The wind blew forcibly, drenching them with the spray created by the front of the boat as it cut through waves. And the worst thing was – no matter how fast they went, they never seem to put distance between themselves and the other boats she could see scattered across the sea. Could she change boats?

Shading her eyes from both sun and spray, she scanned the sea for a likely candidate. She immediately spotted the large one that had been featured on the blue paper. The more she thought about it, the more she wanted to get on that boat. It had a large passenger section below deck. No sunburn. No wet clothes. It might be slower, but it would be more comfortable.

“Captain, is it possible to change boats?”

“Sure, which one do you want to get one?”

“The big one over there,” she pointed.

“Are you sure? It’s big and clumsy and moves very slowly.”

“It seems to be going as fast as you. I’m sure.”

The captain wasn’t thrilled, but motored up next to the big boat. A plank was lowered to help her cross and within minutes she was waving goodbye to the speedboat.

The relief of the shade was delicious. She sat on one of the benches, closed her eyes, and savored the dark coolness. Yes, this was much better.

But a month later, she decided it wasn’t. She didn’t like being kept in the dark, and whenever she surfaced to ask the sailors about their expected arrival time, they always answered the same way. “We don’t know, but we’re moving so we should get there eventually.” She could see the same boats each time she looked out across the sea, and the horizon never seemed to be getting any closer. At this rate, she would never get there. Time to jump ships again.

As time went on, she continued to jump from ship to ship, but no matter which one she was on, even though it appeared to be moving, never seemed to get her closer to her destination. She did notice that some of the other boats seemed to be going in circles before disappearing behind her. Other boats zipped and zapped from one direction to another as they avoided the larger waves. And still others were stranded as their power failed them. At least one ship had overturned. Good thing she had left that one before it sunk.

Discouraged that she would never get there, she sat with her head down, careful to keep lower than the sail when it swung by her. As bad as it was sitting out in the sun again, getting knocked overboard would be worse. Suddenly she heard a sound coming from the sky. Looking up, she spotted a helicopter heading for a distant boat. She watched as it lowered itself for a few minutes, and then headed for another boat. No one she asked knew what it was doing, and most didn’t care.

She continued watching the helicopter as it flew ever closer to her boat. Finally, it hovered over her boat as it had done with the others.

“Anyone want to go to the land across the sea?” a friendly man’s voice boomed over the splash of the waves. “If so, come on up.”

“We’re already heading there,” one person said.

“So you think,” the man’s voice answered. “But you won’t get there by boat. You need me.”

“Why?” another person asked. “What’s so special about your way?”

“It’s the only way to cross the chasm between the sea and the land.”

Everyone looked at each other, Chasm? It didn’t make sense. There was no chasm between the sea and where they had come from. How could there be one between the sea and where they were going? The people began to discuss the idea.

“I don’t believe it,”

“I’m fine where I am.”

“But what if he’s right?”

“There’s no proof that he’s telling the truth.”

“This boat has gotten us this far; it will get us the rest of the way.”

“He’s up there while we’re down here. We can’t see what he can.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. He just wants all the attention.”

“Well, anyone taking me up on my invitation?” the man in the helicopter called, breaking up the discussion.

Most people shook their heads, but a few stood up. “I want to,” they said. “What do I have to do?”

“Reach up,” the man answered. “I’ll take it from there.”

Emily didn’t know who to believe. The people who seemed so sure of themselves, or the man she had heard but not seen? She looked at the ones with their arms raised, standing firmly in their decision in spite of the laughter and ridicule being directed at them. She felt the urge to raise her arms, too. Should she give in to it or ignore it?

While trying to decide she watched as the helicopter lowered even more, and a strong arm reached down and grasped the uplifted hands. She watched as people were pulled up and into the helicopter.

“Anyone else?” said the man. “You may not get another chance.”

Not being able to make a decision, Emily did nothing. She was surprised at the regret she felt as she watched the helicopter rise and turn towards the elusive land. On its back was written two words: The Way.

One day not long after the helicopter had left, she heard the captain yell, “We made it!”

Emily stood up and looked in the direction he was pointing. A golden glow rose in the horizon, promising the fulfillment of their efforts. Relieved, she sat back down. It had been a long journey, but they had been right. They had made it on their own.

Suddenly the captain cried out, “What in the world is that?”

Jumping up, she stared where he was pointing. Instead of seeing endless hills of waves, the sea had flattened out. It was as if the waves had just ended. And between the flatness and the golden glow was a wide line of darkness, as if there was nothing there. No water, no shore. Just emptiness.

With a sinking heart, Emily knew by not making a decision, she had made the wrong one. She along with everyone else now faced the consequence of rejecting the only way to the shore that they each desperately wanted. It was too late.

Or was it? What if the helicopter came back one more time? Maybe if she waved her arms and called out, the helicopter man would notice and come back to rescue her.

It was worth a try.


What do you think? Was she rescued – or was it too late? Is it ever too late to be saved? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

What Does It Mean When the Bible Says God Loves Me?

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God loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so.

Words to an old children’s song. But what does it mean? (For the condensed answer, skip down to the blue Takeaway at the end.)

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines love as…

Strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties [love for a child]

Attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness felt by lovers (in love)

Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests [old schoolmates]

Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion [love of the sea]

The object of attachment, devotion, or admiration [baseball]

A beloved person [hello, Love, good to see you]

Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another such as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, brotherly concern for others

a person’s adoration of God

a god or personification of love

an amorous episode

the sexual embrace

a score of zero (as in tennis)

to hold dear

to feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness

to like or desire actively, take pleasure in [love playing the violin]

to thrive in [roses love sunlight]

to feel affection or experience desire

Basically this is saying the definition of love changes based on how it’s used.

So, what does the Bible mean when it says God loves us? All of the above? Some? None?

I did a quick word study of a random sampling of verses that used the word love. Here’s what I found.

In the Old Testament:

    Deut 6:5 … love the LORD… with all your heart

    Is 43:4 Because you are precious in my eyes… I love you…

    Jer 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love

the word used for love was ahabtik: to have affection

In another Old Testament verse:

    Ps 36:7 how precious is your steadfast love…

the word used for love was hasdeka: kindness, piety, reproof, beauty

In the New Testament:

   1 John 4:16 … come to know… the love that God has for us… God is love…

   Eph 2:4 … his great love for us…

   1 John 3:1 … see what kind of love the Father has given us…

   Rom 8:39 … separate us from the love of God…

   1 Cor 13:2 … but have not love…

   Rev 2:4 … you have abandoned the love you had at first…

the word used for love is agapen: affection or benevolence; specially a love-feast

In other New Testament verses:

   1 John 4:20 … If someone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother…

   John 13:34 … a new commandment… love one another just as I have loved you…

   Rom 9:13 … Jacob I loved, Esau I hated…

   John 3:16 … God so loved the world…

   Matt 22:37 … love the Lord your God with all your heart…

the word used for love is agapo: to love, wish well, to take pleasure in, long for, denotes the love of reason, esteem. Perhaps from agan; to love.

And in another New Testament verse:

  John 16:27 …the Father himself loves you because you have loved me…

the word for love is philei: from philos; to be a friend to (an individual or an object) i.e. have affection for, specially to kiss

I think what surprised me the most was the word used in Deut 6:5. I would have thought to love God with all our heart would have a stronger word than ahabtik: to have affection.

I was also quite surprised to find the word love in John 16:27 where Jesus says the Father loves us because we love Him means to be friends with, have affection for, specially, to kiss. Friends? I know Jesus called us friends, and Jesus and the Father are one, but I never thought of myself as a friend of the Father. And kiss? The Father kisses us because we love Jesus? What a heartwarming visual!

The rest of the words for love are applied to “us” and “the world”. As a follower of Christ, I am part of “us” and “the world” so those apply to me. If you are a part of “us” and “the world” you can apply them to yourself, also.

Takeaway:

What does the Bible mean when it says God loves me?

God has affection for me.

God is a friend to me.

God kisses me.

God is benevolent (well-meaning, kind, desire to do good) towards me.

God has given me a love feast (a banquet or gathering of persons to promote good feeling, restore friendly relations, honor a special guest, etc.)

God wishes me well.

God takes pleasure in me.

God longs for me.

God esteems me.

Isn’t God’s love for us amazing!

Which definition impacted you the most? Comment below. Comments help keep me motivated to write and sometimes teaches me new things. I truly appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave one.