Holy Week Theme: Love with No End

For me Holy Week is a time of reflection. For the past several weeks I’ve been struck by the depth of God’s love.

Love motivated God to create a plan for my redemption.

Love was the reason he sent His only son to take my place.

Love was why Christ willingly laid down His life.

Shine On Us Performed by Avalon
Words and Music by Michael & Debbie Smith

Lord, let your light, light of your face shine on us.
Lord, let your light, light of your face shine on us.
that we may be saved, that we may have life
to find our way in the darkest night.
Let your light shine on us.

Lord, let your grace, grace from your hand fall on us.
Lord, let your grace, grace from your hand fall on us.
that we may be saved, that we may have life
to find our way in the darkest night.
Let your grace fall on us.

Lord, let your love, love with no end come over us.
Lord, let your love, love with no end come over us.
that we may be saved, that we may have life
to find our way in the darkest night.
Let your love come over us.

Where’s God?

As I was pursuing Twitter I found an article by Ann Voskamp about where is God when life seems to fall apart and bad things happen. One thing I’ve wondered myself sometimes and here from others is why is God letting this happen to me. Why isn’t God just fixing the problem so I don’t have to suffer or have pain. Truth is that pain is part of life, life isn’t always going to be perfect and being a Christian certainly doesn’t mean life is going to be easy. As much as I might not like it God might just have a purpose for the hard times in my life.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  Romans 5:3-4 English Standard Version

Oh and back to the article that you really must read it.  Here is one of my favorite quotes:

Faith is this unwavering trust in the heart of God in the hurt of here. Ann Voskamp

TDZ Retrospective: A Masterpiece

Posted April 14, 2013.
057 I made this Piggy bank as a gift several years ago. When The Big Guy was a grad student I was able to use the studio in the student center. The studio was run for and by students. The prices were good plus it was convenient.

I worked on Piggy for several hours until she looked just right. She was so cute. Everyone in the studio agreed Piggy was adorable. Piggy was left to be fired and finished. I was really excited about my masterpiece. When I create things there is a sense of pride in my work especially if I create it as a gift for someone.

062When I returned a few days later to pick up Piggy and some other pieces I was disappointed to find that something had gone wrong in the firing process.  Piggy was perfect except for little dent marks on top.  The student manager offered another product on the house. She went off on a long explanation how Piggy was to blame for the problems. It was hard to “fire” Piggy and that no one ever made piggy banks. Instead she kept offering me a cute panda or elephant “piggy bank”. She didn’t understand why I didn’t want a panda or an elephant. They weren’t the same. Dejectedly I set Piggy at my workspace and selected another piece. The manager started to take Piggy away. When I stopped her, she was amazed that I still wanted a damaged product like Piggy. Well of course, I wanted Piggy she was my creation. I invested time into Piggy.

057Many times we are like Piggy. We were created for a purpose.  However we have gotten messed up with dents and dings from life. It doesn’t mean that God wants to throw us out. He wants to redeem, re-purpose and even use life’s dings for our good.

Like Piggy God can still use us. We use Piggy to collect spare change. All of the spare change is donated to missions, World Hunger Day, Operation Christmas Child and other charitable causes.

 

TDZ Retrospective: Dogs and Cats

Posted November 27, 2011.

The Big Guy and I have an ongoing debate regarding the superiority of dogs over cats. He is one of those who has been duped into believing cats are better than dogs. (I know kind of hard to believe from a guy who’s school mascot is a beautiful collie.) Anyway we were walking on the beach and saw several dogs with their people playing in the water. He commented that a cat would never do that or be found on a leash. His reasoning was that cats are too smart and independent to walk on a leash. I commented that because they weren’t willing to walk on a leash cats are restricted to a small domain, while dogs could explore a big world. He explained that cats are the rulers of their domain (a rather small domain) and are too independent to conform to an owner.  A dog’s willingness to be trained and led opens the door to exploration and adventure of a huge world. A dog knows that someone else is in charge. A dog also knows that his/her human will provide all of the necessities and more. A dog will be able to spend quality time on adventures with his/her human. We had a dog Polly who would get so excited every time the word leash was even spelled. She knew that the leash meant going somewhere with her humans. Polly loved spending time with her humans.  She so desired spending time with her human that in the mornings she would eagerly wait outside my door for my mom to say it was time to wake the little human up and start the day.

As humans we are often like that with God. God wants us to be a dog. Willing to submit personal freedom to Him. Yearning for quality time with Him. So many times we are more like a cat and want to rule our little domain and spend time with Him only when it suits us. Like cats we fail to realize that surrendering personal freedom and time will open the door to great adventures. Are you a dog or a cat?

TDZ Retrospective: Love Not Fear

love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. — Issac Watts

What if our response to God was motivated by love and not fear? Instead of being afraid of hell or being zapped by a vengeful distant God, we would be overwhelmed by the depth of God’s love.

God’s righteousness demands a penalty for sin. However, God’s love provided a path of redemption.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11, New International Version, ©2011)

Personally, I remember being drawn to God by a strong desire for a relationship with God rather than avoiding God’s judgment. I wanted a relationship with him. If we are motivated by God’s love for us then serving Him becomes something we want to do rather than have to do.

TDZ Retrospective: Fortress

Castillo de San MarcosOriginally posted January 9, 2011.

Built between 1672-1695, the Castillo de San Marcos is still an imposing structure.  It was built by the Spanish to protect the town of San Augustine. It was constructed from coquina and built in a star shape. Despite numerous assaults and the town changing hands the fortress was never conquered.  One purpose of the fort was to provide a place of refuge and shelter during enemy assaults for towns people. During one attack by the British each day the Castillo was bombard by cannons from ships. Each night the Spanish troops would remove cannon balls from the fortress walls.  Each morning the fortress showed no visible damage.

As Christians, we have a fortress that is stronger and safer than the tick walls of the Old Spanish fort.  God wants to be our refuge when bombard by the enemies attack. Of course, God’s desire is to have fellowship with us in the times of joy and celebration as well.

 

Castillo

1 I love you, LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me

6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears

Psalms 18:1-6 NIV

TDZ Retrospective: Rest

Originally posted January 16, 2011.

The Big Guy's feet

I took this shot of the Big Guy or rather his feet. The Big Guy  was relaxing after a long day of traveling. As I was editing the picture I remembered a book I discovered during college. The book is  Principles of Spiritual Growth by Miles Stanford.  One of the principles that was a rather strange concept for me was that of rest.  As my tagline indicates I have ADHD and rest isn’t really easy for me. Even if I’m sitting down watching TV I have to do something.

Before reading the book I had heard a lot about doing things for God, the faith, church, etc. but little about resting in God. I was familiar with Psalm 46:10 “”Be still, and know that I am God…”  I just didn’t get the concept of resting in God. Standford explains it ““True activity is that which springs out of, and is ever accompanied by, rest. It is only as we know what it is to be ‘still,’ that we are ready to ‘go forward’ ‘We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go’”.

We need to take time to rest in God. Meditate on His word, listen to Him and even that dreaded getting still in God’s presence.  I really struggle with even the thought of being still, not because I don’t want to spend time with God but rather that my brain is always in hyper-drive. It is as if just being still is a wasted time. In reality rest is needed.