Tag Archives: love story


25 Aug

John 12:22-28

22-23 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

26 “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.

27-28 “Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”  The Message

Sisters, these were the words of Jesus as He contemplated the Cross. “Storm-tossed” seems a small term to describe the agony He was about to endure but is it not one we can identify with? The storm of sickness, loss, disappointment? We encounter what we often see as the less-than moments in life and we feel tossed about by our situation.  The water may calm briefly but before we know it the waves have crashed over us again and the tide is rising around our necks.

How often do you and I react with nothing but a strong desire to get out from under the waves and crawl up on the beach?  How often do we long to pop open a beach umbrella and simply sit with our toes in the warm sand, to just be done with the thing rather than ache to fulfill the purpose for which He has sent us . . . especially when our purpose might require suffering?

Do I have what it takes to remain in the water even when I can’t see why in the world I needed to leave my comfortable spot in the sand?  Will you and I stay put, no matter how dark the sky becomes or how choppy the waves, and trust Him to be our Rescuer?

Do we have the courage to live with the pain and strain this temporal world so often dishes out to be part of the kingdom story, the better story, the love story of God?  The answer to this question is absolutely YES! with Jesus

The same Jesus who uttered these words, who stood firm in the face of every life storm . . . lives within us. It is He who will provide the ache, the courage, and the holy desire to fulfill our purpose. He will never leave us to face the waves or stormy waters alone.

God held the water back and led His people through without a single foot slipping.  He’ll do the same for you.  He’ll do the same for me. He will hold despair to the left and sorrow to the right; guiding us through on solid ground straight into the arms of Jesus.

And if we stand at the water’s edge and it seems those stormy seas are refusing to part, then we know and we believe with everything we are that our Jesus is going to pull us to the very top of those murky depths and place our precious feet on top of every wave.

Girlfriend, you hang on to Him as that water rises.  And you know, to the marrow of your bones that if that water doesn’t part, if He doesn’t calm that storm with His hand or speak a word to send those waves away, then your Jesus plans to swoop from heaven straight into your circumstance and lead you through in a blaze of glory because Sister, no life storm can take us where the hand of Jesus cannot reach us!

creation swap storm hand Danielle Hartland 1374



His Love Story is Your Life Story

29 Mar


Dear God,

We thank you for the privilege of being together

at this time and in this place.

As your people, we pray that your love

will unite us into a fellowship of discovery.

Cleanse us of everything that would

sap our strength for togetherness.

Unravel the knots in our spirits.

Cleanse the error of our minds.

Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations.

Break down the barriers that sometimes keep us apart

and cause us to drift along without a dream.

As we go from here – Explode in us new possibilities for service.

Kindle within us the fires of your compassion

so that we may not wait too long

to learn to love.

May we be a people with loving purposes –

Reaching out …

Breaking walls …

Building bridges …

Let us be your alleluia in a joyless, fragmented world.

In the name of our Lord, we pray. Amen.

— Champ TraylorCreation Swap Open Bible jesus chiko 11504 RIBBET

This was the opening prayer at a ladies retreat I attended. Isn’t it beautiful? If you skipped it or read it quickly, let your eyes and your heart drift over it again. Unravel the knots in our spirits . . . . Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations . . .Kindle compassion . . . learn to love . . . be your alleluia.

How appropriate for this Easter season that we would encounter a prayer petitioning God for an urgent desire to learn to love – right now, with the Cross of Good Friday directly in our sight lines and the greatest demonstration of Love the world has ever witnessed just over the horizon. How fitting that the words we read appear to describe the full and abundant life, the life of purpose, that Love reached across death and rose to offer us.  Reaching out . . . Breaking walls . . . Building bridges . . . be your alleluia.

Yes Sweet One, Love burst forth from the tomb – He reached beyond the grave and would not be walled in. Love bridged the chasm of sin between the Creator and the created – He would not leave us isolated, hopeless and alone. And He has breathed life into our souls so that we might yearn to live and to love like Him, to truly be His alleluia in the joyless, fragmented world all around us. Is that not what Love living in us will look like if we will but surrender and choose it?

Is that not the very thing the Messiah came for? Not to simply speak love or speak about love, but to demonstrate to us and for us the breadth, the depth and the length of a heart purposed to be Love. A heart purposed to have no discrepancy between word and deed—committed to look on the helpless and the harassed and offer hope. A heart purposed to see with eyes of grace –steadfast in reaching out with the hand of Truth. Oh Beloved, His love knew no limits—it would not be contained that Easter morning and it will not be contained today.

Yet, too often I find that the knots in my spirit choke out the love in my heart and the error of my mind obscures my vision of the truth. The bondage from my vain imagination chains me to fear, uncertainty, and isolation. And I am sapped of my strength to do life by my Sister’s side, by my husband’s side, by my child’s side. I am ineffective as an encourager, a prayer warrior, or a joy deliverer because I am consumed with “the everything” of this temporal life. Sister, I need this prayer– in this season of life and in this time – and may I be so bold as to suggest that you consider your own need as well?

Not only do we need to say this prayer with sincere and believing hearts, but I believe with everything I am that the hurting ones, those who are doing life in the joyless and fragmented world, they need us to say this prayer with genuine desire. They need me, they need you, to ache to be filled with Love so that we will have the tenacity it takes to reach beyond ourselves and grab their hands in the midst of their circumstances. It is urgent for them that we break down the walls and emerge from behind the barriers with hearts full of grace and a renewed purpose to love. And it is essential for them that you and I long to be bridge builders of integrity who long to love the same way Jesus does—with extravagance.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2, The MSG

Girlfriend, if the day is not today to Love like that, then when?

If this is not the season to be the alleluia, what season will be?

Every day and every season is our day . . .our day to LOVE.

If the Father has called us to His side and we know Jesus as our Savior then the Spirit, who is Love, beats within us. He is our promise that until we see Grace face-to-face, until we look Love in the eyes – He will empower us to live beyond our limited, cautious love. See, Sister, no matter what life circumstance we face, no matter what hurt we have endured, no matter how certain we are that our well has run dry He is our guarantee that Love is surely alive and well within us.

We may run out of energy to love others—He does not.

We may not have what it takes to reach out—He does.

We may have come to our limit—He never will.

Oh Beloved, we need to shout the alleluia at the end of each one of those statements, fall to our knees and praise Him that there is an end to us! Because when we arrive at the end of ourselves – that’s when Love truly lives.

And, our Jesus, the One and Only – who perfectly lived, died, and rose to Love –desires not only to give love to us, He longs to give love through us. See, Sweet One, when He rescues us from death . . .

we become His living love story.

creation swap heart in bible Marian Trinidad 7896 ribbet

We leave our knotted spirits in the hands of the One who loves us.

We follow His lead, leaving our negative imaginations behind.

We hang on His every Word,

watch His every move,

so that we can learn to love extravagantly.  

And every day, every moment, every season brings us closer to our happy ending . . .

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:

Trust steadily in God,

hope unswervingly,

love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love. Creation Swap God stories Chris Bearing 12933 1cor

1 Corinthians 13:13, The MSG


A Giant Love Story

7 Jul

I love reading the Old Testament.  I always have.  My Aunt Shirley used to have these children’s Bible books at her house that were filled with the Old Testament accounts of the larger-than-life events God chose to record from that period of History.  I can still bring the artist’s rendering of the scenes to my mind and feel the pages that recounted the mother of Moses placing him in the basket of reeds to escape death.  I can see the book lying open on the floor of her living room that drew me into the life of Hannah and made me feel so sad when she left Samuel with Eli. And I can recall the drawing of Delilah as she tried to coax Samson’s secret from him.  I doubt Aunt Shirley had any idea of the impact those children’s books would have on me, but I am convinced that they are one of the things God used to stir my heart at that young age.  Know what? I still love reading about those faith giants.

Noah laboring to build the ark.  —  Genesis 6

Abraham faithfully walking up the mountain. – Genesis 22

Jacob wrestling with God. – Genesis 32

Moses standing on Holy Ground.  – Exodus 3

Rahab dropping the scarlet cord.  – Joshua 2

Gideon fighting with a few.  – Judges 6

David choosing the stones.—1 Samuel 17

Elijah pouring the water. – 1 Kings 18

And the list goes on and on and on.  I am just as enthralled with them all now as I was when I was small.  But now when I read about the events in their lives, I’m reading the Book that gives the full account.  Not just the beautiful shining moments but the ones tarnished by human nature as well.   So not only do I know that Abraham was a man who trusted as he walked up the side of that mountain with Isaac at his side,  I also know he was a man who lied and slept with a slave girl.  I know now that the same Moses who rose to lead the Israelites was a murderer who ran away to avoid the consequences.  And David, who stood to face the giant, was an adulterer and a murderer who wanted to hide his sins from God in the worst way.

All of the giants of faith, every single one of those everyday people, led insignificant, messy, imperfect lives. And yet, He chose to display His love, His grace, and His power through them.  Apart from Him, their stories would have gone unchanged, been unremarkable.  Jacob would have remained a deceiver, David an obscure shepherd, and Rahab a prostitute. It was God who made them different.  It was God who wrote the extraordinary excerpts of their ordinary stories.  He was the Author who penned their significant moments and transformed their lives.  It was all Him—because the story, the history of it all—is His.  It’s His story.

Girlfriend, it’s still all Him and it’s still His story, but may I ask you to believe today with everything you are that His pen has not gone dry?  He is still about the business of writing the most extraordinary excerpts on the pages of ordinary lives – OURS.   Our imperfections do not scare Him.  Our insignificance does not deter Him.  And our messiness will not dissuade our God, who does not change, from swooping down from heaven and transforming our lives.

Now, from our chronos perspective in this very messy, very imperfect world, His story is still unfolding and we may find ourselves wondering where the giants of the faith have gone.  But make no mistake Beloved, they are here.  Oh, they are here.   I know this to be true because I see them every day.  I see them marching out to their mission fields in nursing scrubs, company shirts, and work uniforms.  I see them mowing a sick neighbor’s lawn and bringing a meal to lighten someone’s load.  I see them coming alongside a grieving family, offering comfort, and holding a hand. And yes, I see them putting Old Testament story books into the hands of small children and planting seeds of faith.

I see His wonders.

I see His miracles.

I see His LOVE.

And Sweet Sister, don’t you know . . . . it looks just like you.

Yep, you’re the one.  You’re the giant of faith He has raised up for this place and this time.  He has written His Name across your heart.  He has chosen you to display His grace and His glory.  Don’t you doubt for a moment that His story has always included you and it has always been one Giant Love Story. You know I used to tell my students that “authors always write to be read.”  Thinking about that now,  I don’t think “The Author” is any exception.  I might go so far as to say that the concept is absolutely Biblical.

Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you.

Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit;

not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—2 Corinthians 3:3 MSG

%d bloggers like this: