Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Made by Love, with Love, for Love

In light of the upcoming debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, I’d like to use this post to re-share some thoughts that God placed on my mind.  
This morning, I was daydreaming, as I like to do, when I was struck by this epiphany: “Made by Love, with Love, for Love.”  As I thought about it more, I realized that the whole of our existence is summed up by this little phrase.  The more I meditated on it, the warmer and fuzzier and happier I felt inside. 

1)  We were made by Love – Love Himself created us: “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27)!  Can you imagine it?  You yourself were thought out, crafted, formed, and set apart from everyone else on earth by the very hands of Love. 

2)  We were made with Love – “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).  In this verse, the word “fearfully” in Hebrew translates to “with great reverence, heart-felt interest, respect.”  This carries very much the same meaning as when we say, “Fear the Lord.”  It does not mean that we are afraid of Him; rather that we are in awe and have great reverence for who He is.  The word “wonderfully” means just that: “unique, set apart, marvelous.”
3)  We were made for Love – to love God and others (Luke 10:27); to be loved by Him, and to bring Him pleasure, for His glory.  We were made not to love ourselves and our empty passions but to love the One who made us, who is worthy of all our love and praise and worship.  We were made for His good pleasure – not that we are toys or objects of amusement; rather, that we were made to be in union with Him, in a relationship, and He desires for us to do so willingly, out of our love and thankfulness and reverence for Him, our Creator.        

Ladies and gentlemen, I say all this to encourage you and point you toward what truly matters:  Your beauty and worth in and to Christ.
Let me just clarify –
I didn’t always believe I was beautiful or worth anything.  In fact, for a long time, I believed the exact opposite – that I was worthless and ugly.

But God. 
But God pursued me.  Had He not, I would still be where I was.  “[I] love because He first loved [me].” (1 John 4:19)  And we can only love because He first loved us.        

For those of you who doubt or have yet to realize just how precious your life is, these truths are especially for you.
1)       Your life is a gift. 
God didn’t have to create you but He chose to out of love.  Every breath you take is a gift from Him.  “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”  (Genesis 2:7) 
2)    Your life is unique.
You are the only you that there will ever be.  You are uniquely set apart for His glory and special purposes.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jeremiah 29:11) 

3)    Your life is worth Christ’s.
Christ died to save you from your sins.  We have no hope, no life, apart from Him.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

To deny that there is any beauty in the world is to deny the handiwork of a Master Creator, deny the miracle of your own existence, and deny that your life has any purpose.

I am blessed beyond measure by God.  I have a family who loves me, friends who care for me, and an adoring man who treasures me for and helped me see the gift that I am.  That is more than I deserve, and more than I could’ve asked for.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

10 Things To Know About Me

1.  I don't believe aliens/extraterrestrials exist.

2.  I don't believe the world is older than 10,000 years.

3.  I don't believe in evolution or the big bang.  

4.  I don't believe life happened (or happens) by chance.  

5.  I don't believe abortion is right, under any circumstance.  

6.  I don't believe in superstitions, luck, random chance, or coincidence.

7.  I don't believe Christ followers should drink, smoke, or use drugs or foul language.

8.  I don't believe ghosts exist, although I do believe that demons could be responsible for what most people consider "ghostly" or paranormal activity.

9.  I don't believe you can live a homosexual lifestyle and be a Christ follower.

10.  I don't believe that dreams come true without diligence.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Made Me Smile (Again) This Week

This week was my youngest brother Ben's birthday and, while I was writing a birthday message to him, I remembered the instance back in December that not only made me smile but I know must have made Jesus smile, too.  

I was at church helping the cast and crew of the Christmas play by painting a town scene for the backdrop of the set.  As I stood with my back to the kids (my 4 little siblings included) who had made half of the room their playground while the grown ups rehearsed and worked on more set details, I was privileged to overhear their conversation.  

Ben had brought a huge box of his toys (mostly cars) with him and two of his little friends were oohing and aahing over them.  "We're collecting old cars," one of them said.  I heard them dig through the box and then -CRASH - they dumped them all out on the floor.  I kept painting.

"Ooh, this one's cool," the other one said.
"You can have it," Ben replied.
"What about this one?" 
"You can have it," Ben said again.
The boys kept pulling out cars and talking about them.  Then Ben was asked about another car.  His response was slightly different but it melted my heart.
"I love that one...but you can have it."  (Italics for emphasis)

To hear a little boy so willing to give away one of his beloved toys so quickly, so easily, and without a second thought is so rare.  Usually my ears hear the all too familiar words, "That's mine!" and "No, you can't have that!"  Even some grown ups are so selfish and that selfishness is sinful human nature.  We are born with it.  We don't know how to be loving, how to be selfless, apart from God because God is love.  

For Ben to be so selfless with something he loves is of God.
And that, my friends, makes me happier than a smile can express.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

eBook and PDF copies of The Darkest Years Volume 1

I have made an eBook version of The Darkest Years Volume 1 and it is currently on sale in my Blurb.com bookstore, here

As an eBook, it is only available on the iBooks app and is only viewable on Apple iPads, iPhones, and iPods. (Sorry, no Kindle editions yet!  I was disappointed, too!)  You will need iOS 7.0 or later to download the app.

There is, however, a PDF version that you can purchase and download as well, AND you can open it in Kindle!

Print copy $11.99

eBook copy $9.99

PDF copy $9.98