God loves you unconditionally. He has always loved you and offers you his love forever. His love is not tied up in fickle feelings or warm fuzzy emotions because you did something cute, funny or for that matter brave or heroic. Right in the middle of your mess, right where you are and just as you are, God loves you. Even if you see yourself as a failure, even if you’ve completely turned your back on God up to now in your life, God does not love you any less … and he could not love you any more. God is love.
A dad doesn’t love his kids because they do great things or because they can do circus tricks, he loves his kids because they are his children. Let’s face it, even when kids make a mess of things, and get into trouble a good father still loves them because they are his child. And if we, as human parents can love our children, in spite of their mistakes, won’t God, our perfect Heavenly Father love us even more?
I don’t know about you, but I love to watch a TV show called, America’s GotTalent or Britain’s Got Talent. Back in the spring of 2009, a lady named Susan Boyle took the stage for the first time. If it were merely for her looks or her outward appearance, you might actually wonder if a person who looked like her would ever get anywhere. Compared to the other contestants, she was … plain-looking … strikingly ordinary.
Some of the walking trails have finally opened in our town and I’ve got to tell you how much I appreciated getting out and going for a short walk. It was early in the morning and there were no other people on the trail. The warm, springtime sun was pushing its way through the trees and the sound of birds followed me everywhere. As I stopped to catch my breath at the top of my path, I couldn’t help but feel like the air that I was breathing was filled with the presence of God.
I read a story this week of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117-138 AD. On one of his travels through the streets of Rome, a woman called out to him for justice. His immediate response to her was, “I have no time for your concern.” The woman in desperation cried out, “Then cease being Emperor”. Immediately Hadrian ordered his chariot to stop and called the poor woman to come near and heard her concern.
In this time of “waiting for life to get back to normal”, many people are passing the days by doing jigsaw puzzles. When it comes to jigsaw puzzles, we all know that in order to get a satisfying outcome, you need all the pieces. Life is like that too isn’t it? Most of us spend our days and years trying to put everything carefully together … our job, our family, our friends, our home, and perhaps some vacation time if we have any time left. We struggle and work hard, hoping, somehow to create a some kind of picture out of all the scattered parts.
Lamentations 3:22-26, Luke 9:18-26, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Corinthians 15:53-57, John 6:68
In preparation for Communion, I took some time to think about the cross where Jesus died. The cross in Roman times was designed for one thing. It had no other use and no other purpose. It wasn’t used as a threat … or some kind of torture device. It certainly wasn’t some kind of first century jewellery. The cross was for one thing and one thing only … DEATH.
After my first year of Bible College, I got a job at Brick Making factory in my hometown of Mississauga. I was on the night shift removing broken and melted bricks that didn’t survive the furnace that was designed to make them hard.
The men I worked with were pretty rough guys, and they used to laugh at me and tease me because I a Christian and wanted to be a Pastor. At every break my co-workers would taunt me and it gradually became more and more vulgar.
Last December, I went to visit with a friend named PJ who is struggling with the SIDE EFFECTS of advanced Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. As much as today, he is a man characterized with considerable peace, joy and self control, this was a particularly difficult day for him as he struggled with his pain. I asked him what lessons God was teaching him lately. PJ’s immediate response was, “Pastor Andrew, I’m losing control.”
Hebrew 2:9-18, Hebrews 4:15-16
I read a story this week about a seven-year-old boy named Jimmy who had to have his left arm amputated due to an accident. As you might expect, learning how to adjust to his new situation was very difficult.
Before he returned to school, Jimmy’s teacher wanted to help his classmates to understand how difficult the normal activities of life were for Jimmy. So one morning she told the other students in the class to keep one arm behind their back and do everything else for the day, including recess … with just one hand.
John 16:33, Ephesians 3:14-21
I recently read a story about a missionary wrote a newsletter to thank his supporters for being “prayer warriors.” Unfortunately, he made a minor typo typing and called all his generous supporters, “prayer worriers.”
It made me stop and think … am I a prayer WARRIOR (a brave, experienced soldier of the faith) or am I a prayer WORRIER (an anxious man, troubled about real or imagined troubles).