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Archive for August, 2008

God’s Pursuit – The Depth of His Love


One of my favorite authors is Ted Dekker. I suggest
that if you haven’t read any of his books you do so if you like
Christian fiction that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I just
finished a book by him called "When Heaven Weeps" It is a modern day
retelling of sorts of Hosea and Gomar. In the book Jan Jovic is a
Christian author who has written a book called "The Dance of the Dead"
which became the most popular book ever next to the bible in sales.
Everything in his life is going exceptionally well until he meets
Helen, a woman of the street who is addicted to cocaine. Then his life
and world is turned upside down as he falls madly in love with this
woman. A love that has not come from himself but a love that emanates
from God.

Helen had never faced this type of love and she
finds herself going back and forth between Jan ands the man who feeds
her need for drugs. She longs to be with Jan and yet the pull of the
drugs is sometimes too much for her and she makes excuses as to why she
needs to go back to her sin. Yet each time she falls Jan takes her back
and smothers her with love and forgiveness. I won’t spoil the story for
you, but I can tell you that in the end love wins out.

At one point Jan in talking with the Lord about
his feelings for Helen, the pain along with the deep love. The Lord
tells Jan that what he is feeling is but a mere shadow of the love that
Christ feels towards humanity. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 Jan was ready and willing to give up his own life as a
sacrifice so that Helen could be free. In loving someone we must truly
die to self.

All of us at one time or another have been like
Gomar or Helen. We make excuses for our sin. Sin brings pleasure to our
flesh, but true love is never found in it. We keep returning to the
vomit from which we came. Our flesh loves to wallow in it. Then once
the pleasure is slated we return in sorrow to the One who loves us more
than we feel we deserve. The real mystery of God’s love is that He is
always willing to take us back and clean us up once more. In the end if
we are truly repentant, His love will win out.

When I was younger I was addicted to sex and
pornography, sometimes the urge would become so strong that I would
push all thoughts of God out of my mind. I still felt I loved Him and
yet for a few moments of pleasure all thoughts of Him would be lost
from my mind until I would come crashing down. Then came the
realization that I had once again failed in my walk with Him. I hated
it and yet loved it. I hated myself for loving it. There have been
times when I have fallen so far. How could God continue to love me? Yet
He did. Each time He would take me in His arms and remind me of His
love. It is His love and patience with me through it that has set me
free. He never gave up on me even though many times I wanted to give up
on myself.

"What do you think? If a man has a hundred
sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine
and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he
should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that
sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is
not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little
ones should perish.
Matthew 18:12-14

He will always pursue you no matter how far you go. He will never give up on you. If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13 He is the Faithful One. So unchanging in His love for
you. If you are a Christian you have become one with Him. He paid a
very high price for your ransom through His death on the cross.

Mankind is the jewel of God’s creation and I began to see one of the parables about the kingdom of heaven in a new light.

Jesus said; "Again, the kingdom of heaven is
like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one
pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46

I saw us as that pearl and Christ as the
merchant. Christ gave up all in heaven and became a man to purchase us.
Philippians 2:6-8 says; who, being in the form of God, did not
consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no
reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the
likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled
Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of
the cross.
The cross is the greatest act of love ever known. He
paid the price for us at great cost. Can we really truly understand the
depth of this. Sometimes I sit and meditate upon what He has done and
it blows me away. I struggle to understand those who reject His love.
He is the Greatest Lover. The Great Pursuer.

Oh Christ, how great Your love! No words can
tell! No song can explain how deep, how wonderful, how marvelous is the
depths of your passion for us.

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Is Your Worship Genuine?


Here is the question of the week. How many of you give your all in
worship, not only on Sunday, but everyday of the week? I think that if
we poled the church here in North America we would be shocked by how
few of us actually live that way. A life of worship for our King
flowing out from our very being, ignited by His Spirit. We would also
find, if everyone of us is honest, that even in our Sunday worship we
are not being who we should be. We have wandering hearts. Isaiah the
prophet said concerning people like us in Isaiah 29:13;

Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
      And honor Me with their lips,
      But have removed their hearts far from Me,
      And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men

Oh
how we want to look good in front of others. We put on our Sunday best,
put a smile on and act holy when in reality our hearts are far from
God. We have forgetten we are there to honor God and not man. Looking
good and holy may fool some, but it never fools God. We forget that he
is there in our midst. Matt.18:20. We sing the songs, but do we even
pay attention to the lyrics. Are we truly singing from hearts of love
and devotion for our Lord?

Here I am to worship,

Here I am to bow down,

Here I am to say that you’re my King,

You’re altogether lovely,

Altogether worthy,

Altogether wonderful to me.

I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross.

Have
songs like Here I am to Worship become more than a song to us or have
they become just another song sung so many times that it has become
ordinary? Does it provoke emotions in us or does it bring us to a place
of genuine worship? We sang that song last night in both Russian and
English at our joint prayer meeting, and I wanted to soar. My heart
wanted to burst with praise for Jesus and all He has done for us. For
to me it’s a song that brings into focus His deep and powerful love for
us. It has become not just song to me, but an anthem. But there are
other times where even as a worship leader I am just singing the songs
without the devotion and worship that are deserved by Christ. We get
distracted from the reason why we gather together.

It speaks
about the condition of our hearts when we don’t live the lives of
worship that we should. We have let them drift and have lost our first
love. Go back and remember when you first accepted Jesus into your
heart. When all you do was think about Him. When reading His word and
spending time in prayer with Him was the things that excited you most.
Now many of us have to admit other things have crowded Him out. We get
more excited over things. We need to get back to thatfirst love. He is
always there waiting so patiently for us.  We need to have that love
rekindled once more.  And this goes for all areas of our lives. Not
just at Church, but at home, at work, and at play. It has to be all
directed and devoted to Him.

16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do
in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to
God the Father through Him. Col. 3:16-17

22
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh,
not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart,
fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and
not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward
of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Col. 3:22-24

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1Cor. 10:31

When
we try to please men, our rewards are from men and one day will perish,
but when we try to please God and give Him that genuine worship, our
reward is eternal.

Check your heart. Are you a man pleaser or a God pleaser? Which would describe you?