Unrestrained and often unrequited

Unrestrained Love.

To love someone unconditionally is something that changes your life.  I am not referring to a child or a family member.  To love unconditionally is to love without expecting anything in return and can be a challenge as a human being.  When we love we expect to be loved back.

While on an outreach yesterday, I had the privilege to experience unconditional love.  I was able to witness God’s furious, passionate love by reaching out to others.  Others who may have never experienced someone saying, ‘I love you’ or say that they are beautiful without expecting anything in return.  That is just like God though, He loves us no matter what, knowing full well that many will not love Him in return.  Jesus died on the cross for us knowing full well that many would not believe in His existence, let alone believe that He died because of a furious love.  It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of God’s unconditional, passionate love for people who do not even know Him.  To give them love and gifts without expecting anything in return was a perfect way to experience what it is like to love without limits, without restrictions, without hope of anything in return…true unconditional love.

Remember, Christ loves unconditionally…you and those who do not know Him.

We as human beings cannot love perfectly, but we can know and experience a perfect love, an unfailing and never ending love.  We can also, despite our imperfections, do a simple act of unconditional love (without expectations) for someone and watch the world change one heart at a time.  I know my heart is full, and I wasn’t even the recipient in this case.

**For those whom I may have offended by using God’s love and furious in the same sentence: according to dictionary.com furious also means unrestrained energy….

God is unrestrained love.

A Full Access Pass

I was sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and decided to read Esther again.  I was stopped halfway through chapter one…at the point where King Xerxes is fuming with Vashti and is asking his advisors about what to do.  It lists the names of his advisors and then a certain little phrase caught my eye… “special access.”  Those men had special access to the king.

Of course, God took off with that beautiful phrase in my time with Him.  Esther had special access to the king, because he loved her deeply.  We have special access to the King of Kings because of His deep, passionate, unwavering, never ending, solid as a rock love for us.  We actually have a full access pass to God because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, but do we use that pass?

It was given so we’d take advantage of it and enter in constantly- remember God desires relationship.  Yet, our fear, not our sin, our fear of our sin keeps us outside the inner court fretting about what He will say to us.  Better yet, we stand outside His throne room and try desperately to straighten ourselves out, clean ourselves off, fix anything wrong with us before we go in…and we end up in the outer hallway all our lives instead of where we belong…in His presence.

I encourage you today to bask in His presence, He loves you and your issues don’t bother Him.  Nothing is too hard for Him and as we come to a greater understanding of His love for us…those things fade away, the healing comes, and we no longer walk in anything that is less than His great plan for us. His presence has the power to do that.

Time to use the full access pass, you’ll enjoy all the benefits.

A Love that Protects

January has been named Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day…a large step in the right direction for America.  Maybe it isn’t a coincidence that this comes before the month of “love”…February and Valentine’s Day.

Our culture has a problem with slavery today because it indulges in lust not true love.  The lust after one another has created a dark society of prostituted women and children, women and children forced into pornography, brutality, murder and the complete devaluing of human life and the feminine form.

We could look out to other nations and say, “well we aren’t as bad as they are.”  I’m not so sure about that.  While it is true that women are valued more highly in the US than say, in India or China, we still have a deep lust lurking in the hearts of many and it is only masked better here in the United States than elsewhere.  Did you know that prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, but that Las Vegas is one of the world capitals for traffickers to bring their victims?  Did you know that the prostitution of women and children isn’t just happening in places like Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York City, but it is happening in the small towns of America?  Did you know that at least 17- 18,000 women and children are trafficking annually in the United States?  That doesn’t include those brought into the US from other nations.  Did you know that the average age of entry into the sex trade in the US is the age of 12? THAT’S RIGHT 12!

Lust is a counterfeit of love.  Jesus is pure love and He came to set captives free.

It’s time our culture stops indulging in a counterfeit and goes right for the real thing.

We must stop failing to love one another and begin valuing life as a beautiful thing, not something to be used and tossed aside.  When we begin to love one another and not lust the demand for women and children to be used horrifically will cease.

As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:4- 8 (emphasis my own):

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does NOT DISHONOR others, it is NOT SELF SEEKING, it is not easily angered and it keeps not record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  IT ALWAYS PROTECTS, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE NEVER FAILS…

**All statistics can be found at sharedhope.org or polarisproject.org

He Reaches Out Still

So many of us are satisfied with the status quo of Christianity…God stays where He is (wherever that may be) and we stay here and “admire” Him from a distance, but that is NOT God’s design.  From the beginning of time God has had an outstretched hand.  The Word of God says that He is the same yesterday and today and forevermore.  His plan is shown in the relationship He had with Adam and Eve in the garden.  God sent His son after the sin entered the world and distorted everything to restore us to His plan…His plan of relationship.  A relationship is His blueprint for mankind.  For all eternity our Savior has and will have His hand outstretched to us.

So, as I sit here I pray that I would not chicken out, but would ascend the hill so to speak and go deeper with God.  I don’t want to be like the Israelites who sent Moses and stayed at the bottom of the mountain…scared.

Now, it may be in human nature to turn from God, but Moses is proof (as well as many, many others) that the Holy Spirit leads us on and we experience the truth…that God is waiting, reaching out, longing for us to grab His hand.  So as it is said in the Jesus Culture song…

I’m not afraid…show me your glory.  Grab that outstretched hand.