THE LOVE LIFE!!!

22 Mar

I am so excited to be posting today! I have been waiting for the green light from God to chat about this since the first blog entry—in fact, it is what prompted me to start glimpsedglory—so believe me when I tell you that my entire body is smiling this morning.  I am absolutely giddy at the prospect of writing it down, imagining your faces as you read it, then grabbing hands and dancing down the streets of Jerusalem with you!

I sometimes get frustrated when I am plinking away on this keyboard trying to convey a sense of urgency about the subject at hand.  If you’ve chatted with me face-to-face when I have one of these lightning bolt moments hit my brain, you are very aware that I cannot get the words out of my mouth fast enough. And you’re also aware, maybe painfully so, that God has given me the supernatural ability to get a whole lot of talking done in only one breath. Now in my mind two things are accomplished with this rapid fire chatter:

  1. I’m able to get it all out before my train of thought pulls out of the station without me
  2. You’re kind of trapped until I’m finished.  (If blogs had emoticons, I would’ve put a smiley face at the end of #2.)

But no matter how fast I type I can’t dictate the speed with which you read nor does the blogosphere allow me to keep you hemmed in until my breath is gone.  So I’m just going to tell myself that since you came of your own volition, you’re in it for the long haul and you’ll read to the end.

God confirmed this message in the most beautiful and unmistakable way on January 20, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.  I know the exact date.  I even know the time of day.  It was that powerful and it was that life-changing.  I’m praying that it will be for you as well.  I have shared it with a few Sisters but I haven’t really felt Him give me permission to put it out there for you all to chew on until now.  But even as I sense His blessing and my spirit shakes with anticipation of who He will touch with this, I am asking Him to move me out of the way so it’s just you and Him meeting over this page today.

What I want to chat about in the next few paragraphs is dying to self.  If you don’t travel in evangelical Christian circles that phrase might not even be familiar to you.  To be honest, it has always felt like allusive Christianese to me as well.  I knew it was connected to crucifying my sinful nature and to choosing God’s will above myself but it was just kind of a concept that hung out there without a clear definition.  I knew it was something I was supposed to want to do but since I only had a vague comprehension of it, I certainly had no idea how to do it.  I had no problem understanding that I have behaviors and thoughts that are not Christ-like and they need to go.  So maybe “dying to self” meant to work toward eradicating those things that kept me from looking like my Savior.  Believe me, I could come up with an endless list of things I needed to change about myself, but was that really what it meant? Like a self-help or self-improvement kind of a thing?  Was that what the whole thing was about?  Me making changes in me to show that I loved Jesus?

Even though I operated that way for a quite a while, that definitely was not it. All that lead to was years of defeat believing that I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps and change.  I convinced myself that if I really appreciated what Christ had done for me I would grit my teeth and get rid of all the offensive ways in me.  I would live a holy life. But God just wouldn’t let my spirit settle there.  My mind kept returning to the day I confessed my need for Christ.  I had fully realized that I could do absolutely nothing without Him and yet, here I was, depending on myself to change myself.  It sounds confusing but that was the exact place I lived for many years.  Now don’t misunderstand.  God has poured His grace out on me and grown my faith by leaps and bounds.  He has lavished me with love beyond what I can describe to you but I have always had a kind of off feeling concerning this.  That’s one of the things I love about Him.  He knew I was thick-headed before time began and He chose to love me anyway.

Those are the days, months, and years leading to January 20, 2013. On that winter day, I was reading my Bible and had read about the sinfulness of jealousy, fits of rage, creating discord, gossip, slander, and arrogance.  And as I often do when I’m reading, I said aloud to God, “How am I ever going to get these things rooted out of me? How do I die to this stuff?” and I turned ahead in my Bible from 2 Corinthians to Ephesians.  I didn’t go there with purpose.  I just flipped the pages.  My eyes fell on verses I have read more times than I can count.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself

up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV, 1984)

Read it again, considering the topic at hand.  Do you see the answer that He gave me?  Oh how He takes my breath away!  After years of wondering and asking the question, “Lord, what does it mean to die to self?,” that day –January 20, 2013—He made it clear.  I practically heard His voice, “My dear child, you do not die, you choose to live like me. You choose to love.”  And in that one instance, years of fog began to roll away and it all started to come together.  Being crucified with Christ is being brought to life in love.  GOD IS LOVE.  If I live in LOVE, if I surrender every decision to LOVE, if I give over all I am to LOVE everything else falls into place.  It’s not about what I don’t do, it’s about what I do, do.

Stick with me on this.  It isn’t about not being jealous of another.  It’s about loving someone so much that you only want them to receive good things.  It’s not about refraining from gossip; it’s about loving others too much to hurt them that way. It’s not about abstaining from arrogance; it’s about so loving another’s heart that you can’t be anything less than humble toward them. Oh, do you see it?

The focus is not on the death.

The focus is on the life!

The LOVE LIFE.

So to me, it doesn’t get any plainer or any better than that and I must share the good news with someone.  I began to tell Brett about it as fast as I could – because he can’t get away from me (another place I would insert a smiley emoticon if I could) repeating the phrase LOVE LIFE to him over and over again.  I cried when I was telling him because I knew that even though I didn’t have my mind fully wrapped around it, God was going to show me!  And then, as so often happens, doubt began to appear at the corners of my mind. I started thinking, “Maybe I am making too much of this.  What if I am misreading this?” And at 3:30 p.m., partly to take my mind off the questions my brain was formulating and partly because I hoped she would call and chat it all out with me, I sent my daughter a text:

“I can’t wait until I talk to you next because I think God showed me the secret of the universe and I am trying to take in what my mind can get.”

Her reply at 3:38 p.m.

“I can’t wait to hear it! I love you Momma!”

There was not going to be a discussion right now.  So, I sat there holding my phone and wondering:

“Lord, does “dying to self” mean living to walk and to talk the Love Life?  Is living in the Spirit living in Love?  To be filled with the Spirit, is to be filled with you.  You are LOVE.  To walk in the Spirit, is to walk with you.  You are LOVE.  This is it!  Not death, but the LOVE LIFE.  Lord, am I making too much of this?”

Please remember, I had not shared a single syllable of this with my girl.  She was 1200 miles away from me and I thought we had finished texting. But at 3:45 p.m. my daughter sent one more text and she attached a picture.  Both are below:

“Momma, I just finished painting this and thought you’d like to see it.”

"LOVE SPEAKS"

“LOVE SPEAKS”

Oh Dear Ones, how the Creator of the Universe longs for us to get the message!  He does not call us to death – HE CALLS US TO LIFE.  Specifically, He calls us to live the LOVE LIFE.  When we LOVE, we imitate our GOD and we walk as JESUS did!  Living the LOVE LIFE is the essence of being holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11:45; 1 Peter 1:16). He has not given us the death sentence of never ending self-improvement.  He has called us to live like we have never lived before—unashamedly in the embrace of LOVE.  Oh Sister, will you live for that today?  Will you surrender to that today?  Will you give up your “pull-myself-up-by-the-bootstraps” living and fully embrace LOVE today?  I pray it is so. I pray it for you and I pray it for me. Oh Girlfriend, let’s glimpse Glory!

27 Responses to “THE LOVE LIFE!!!”

  1. Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I don’t usually do this, but I’m asking you to consider leaving a comment today and let others know what you are thinking. You never know who you may encourage!

  2. Barb March 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    “Lord, does “dying to self” mean living to walk and to talk the Love Life?”

    For years I thought dying to self meant giving up what “self” wanted. And I’m sure it does but I think I need to take it further. I need to live to walk and talk the Love Life.
    Great blog Bun. I don’t usually post but I am enjoying every one of these!

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

      For years me too Barb! But might it be that dying to self means allowing LOVE to live in us? I’m glad they are encouraging your heart. I’m always anxious to hear your thoughts. Notice your blessings sweet Friend!

  3. Brett March 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Oh Wife, I’m so happy The Lord gave you our girl to celebrate with, because try as I might my man emotions do not run deep enough to match yours. Reading this post makes me know that all over again. You are amazing and this might be my favorite post!

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      I think you and your man emotions do a wonderful job of celebrating with me. Oh how I love you!

  4. Ruth March 23, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    While rereading your entry this morning I was struck with the thought that as I choose to become more and more LOVE absorbed I will become less self absorbed!
    He is LOVE and He is the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE. John 14:6 I’m choosing the LOVE LIFE today! Thanks Bunny!

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 23, 2013 at 8:24 am #

      Ruth — As we empty of ourselves, do you think we leave more room to be filled by the Spirit? Your insights always spur me on. Thanks for being such a blessing to me my friend!

  5. Ellen Miniard March 23, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Thank you so much for those words, God has surely blessed you in an awesome way! That is what I need right now. I have been struggling with procrastination for about a year now and need to get over it. Only God can do this for me, and if I let God fill my life with Love, I know I can do it., Thanks Bunny, your are such a blessing. Love you

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 23, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Ellen — You are the blessing my friend! I so pray God will set you free from your struggle! LOVELIFE!!

  6. Kim March 23, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Love, Love, Love your blogs!! and today’s is no exception! The person that seems to be loved most is ourselves 😦 but He tells us to “Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself”… I so “DO” want to Live a life filled with God’s Love but the “DON’T” life is all to often present….. Thanks for the challenge to live a life Love so that all motivation and acts are fueled by His love to me and others. Thanking and praying for you and all that are touched by His words and message through you…

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 23, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Kim — Putting the “DO” over the “DON’T” gives it a whole different perspective for me! Might I be beginning to understand what the apostle Paul meant when he said whatever I lose, I count it all gain? Oh I pray He continues to open our hearts to the “DO” Miss Kim! Thank you for your prayers for me and those who might stumble across these words. Can’t wait to study the Word face-to-face again! Be blessed today.

  7. christine billips March 23, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Well, the tears started midway through and overpowered my eyes when I got to Britts painting! Tears of love no less! Thankyou for referencing those scriptures. I’ll be resting there for a bit! His love takes my breath away.

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 23, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Resting in the palm of His LOVE is exactly what you need today Miss Christine! His affection and His attention are firmly fixed on you and your crew. Much Love to You Sister. (And can you even believe the volume with which He confirmed that! And that it got to be Britt who sounded the trumpet!!!! Oh, I love Him)

  8. deanaschaffer March 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    All of your blogs are awesome, Bunny. I know they are truly touching me when I get goosebumps! Total goosebumps today and always! Thank you for your words.

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Isn’t He something Deana? Believe me, I had glory bumps for days after it happened. Hope life is well for you all and thank you for your kind words. Enjoy His blessings!

  9. Kim F. March 25, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    God is so good! He gave me the thought while I was reading this (even though I heard it personallly in one breath from you :)) that if we fill up with Love Life there is no room for self life. Being obedient to Him takes care of it. There is no work on our part to get rid of that self part. It is totally Him in my life! Woot Woot! And of course since I am memorizing James verses 1:22-23. Be DOERS not just hearers. Thanks Bun

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 25, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      And the obedience is of no benefit to Him. He put the boundaries in place for our own good! But I still, all to often, act as if I am doing Him a FAVOR! Thanks for sharing the “air” with me Sister! Praying blessings on your James study!

  10. Kathy Harrison March 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Hello My Dear Sister in Christ! Thank you for the post. I too have been asking the same questions and wondering how holy can I be, What sacrifices do I make? How can I be more like Jesus? And on and on and on…….then the Lord gave me Colossians 3:3-4 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with Him in glory. So, thank you for the LOVE LIFE post. I pray that we can daily show our life with love in every circumstance of life.

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      How blessed we are Kathy to have such a hiding place. It makes me think of Psalm 119:14 — He is our hiding place and our shield, our hope is in His Word. I had never crossed from the Old into the New on that path before so I thank you for spurring me toward Him. Praying we both know the victory of living the LOVE LIFE!

  11. beautifulbedlam March 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Oh Mrs B! Could any circumstance have been more lovely? Our God working awesomely and connecting our pins in the map as He always does. This was a wonderful, wild, triumph and exactly the reminder I needed of that great revelation. Thank you Momma. I love you 🙂 (see you can use smileys in blog stuff lol)

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Beautiful Bedlam — I don’t know what I would do without your beautiful chaos in my life. I love you so Girlfriend!

  12. Loretta March 27, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    I just LOVE reading your blogs They are very encouraging and recommend them to everyone! Thanks so much.

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Thank you so much Loretta. Please leave your own thoughts as well. You never know who you will be encouraging on the journey! Blessings to you Sister!

  13. bn1984 April 9, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    I reread this this morning, In the quietness of the morning with no kids talking in a crowded vehicle.. This is just what I needed to hear, I have been stuck in a rut, feeling so sorry for myself, because of long hours away at work, feeling forgotten from family and hiding away in my selfish sorrows. Thank you again for Re-breathing the truth back into me, I need to push myself aside, and love. Not because it’s the right thing to do, because God instructs me too, and promises me great reward for doing so. Love you.

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger April 9, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      I cannot tell you what you mean to me my sweet Sister and Friend. The piece of my heart that belongs to you is rejoicing in your growth and aching as you try to navigate life as a soooo busy Momma, wife, and nurse. You are a servant through and through. He WILL BLESS you! Oh yes He will! Love you

  14. Darcy Wiser March 26, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Bunny this is a message like no other. We all tend to get “caught up” in our every day lives and the struggles that surround us. Thank you for sharing and making us take a second to believe for sure! There are many days that I ask why, why and why again. I can only believe that God has a greater plan. God Bless!

    • Marilyn (Bunny) Biddinger March 26, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Darcy — you have more challenges in life than most of us will ever know. You keep believing Him to be good — He will not disappoint you. Praying for you and your family to see Him in obvious ways and feel His presence mightily. Blessings to you Sweet Sister.

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