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Monday, February 17, 2014

The Love of the Father

I awoke to another gorgeous layer of snow that morning. What a winter we've had! More snow storms in one year than I can remember for a long time! I was intentional about receiving love from God on Friday and keeping my mind and heart fixed on loving Him. I didn't expect it to be anything big, just simply...love.  But then I was taken by surprise, to the point of tears welling in my eyes. I was not awake for more than 2 hours when I received a very direct answer to something I had been praying about for weeks. It was something that in my human mind seemed quite impossible and I was tempted to get discouraged and be put off...but I kept going to God with belief and trust on my knees, knowing His heart is good and His will is faithful.

It was the day we celebrate love...chocolates and hearts, and as my friend's five-year-old son exclaimed, "love is all about lollipops anyway!" I wore my red, pink and periwinkle heart socks and hand-crafted pink scarf my friend made with such kindness. I baked goodies for my nieces and nephews and watched an over-rated romance movie on Valentine's Eve that made this word's view of love seem so complicated, selfish, and confused. But in all the clutter of snow and hearts and hugs and lollipops and romance or lack-there-of, may we never forget to wake to God's love. To be aware of blessings, our eyes opened to His miracles and the prayers He answers. I fall into the trap of taking the little things for granted- gifts straight from the Father's heart to His child. I want to be in a constant state of expectancy, anticipation, hope, wonder, and gratitude, to receive...

the love that casts out fear,
the love that covers a multitude of sins,
the love that came first, in order to teach us how to love,
the love that cleanses my heart,
the love that makes all things new,
the love that promises good,
the love that can never be taken away,
the love that sees beauty and dignity in every human being,
the love that infuses humility and honesty into the fabric of my soul,
the love that awakens my senses for things eternal,
the love that is never stagnant, but always causing miraculous change and growth.

I pray that the flame of the Father's love burns within your heart, igniting miracles this cold winter season; yes, this cold that is seeming to last on and on.  I pray your heart takes on the shape of His heart, receiving the good that He desires for you and overflowing with gifts of love to those around you.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Throne of My Heart


A few weeks ago something was off.  Just a check in my spirit.  I couldn't quite pin what it was...until one night. I was lying in bed and my thoughts drifted into some kind of subconscious prayer, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I saw my heart, and it was like a throne. And on that throne, the true King had been removed, and I had sat myself upon it...and I just did not fit.  That throne was made for One King alone, and anything else or anyone else that might try to sit there would never reign with true authority, love, or justice.  My life would be askew if that throne was not occupied with it's rightful owner.

So I prayed. I just asked Jesus for forgiveness...for how I had let myself push Him off and how I had tried to take over this throne of my heart without His Lordship. And it was so simple and beautiful. He just took His place again, with humility and mercy over me. I fell fast asleep and woke up with a restored spirit.

In the weeks that followed, this image has hung with me, like a sweet picture captured in my soul to remind me that when I try to, or even accidentally, begin to push my King off the throne of my heart...I must go to Him and invite Him back, because my life only operates well with Him there.  With Him there, I find peace, contentment, purpose, and calling. I find love welling up and overflowing. I find all of my life, as chaotic as it may seem, fitting so splendidly and perfectly in this spiritual puzzle that God has arranged and put together.

Another night, I picked up sweet Corrie Ten Boom's book, Tramp for the Lord, and I was hit again with this image as she referenced Revelation 2:4, "But I have this against you, that you have left your first love." The book is a composite of her missionary travels after her survival during the European Holocaust.  She tells of sharing Jesus in faraway lands, risking all to share the love of God with hurting people around the world.  In this particular chapter, she was taking a sabbatical of rest in Uganda. After her year of Sabbath was over, she and her ministry companion prayed and let the Holy Spirit lead where they would go next...but Corrie felt tired and stubborn. She did not want to go.  She had her own plans in mind- good plans they seemed.  But, God wasted no time in reminding her of this passage in Revelation. She called it an "arrow [which] penetrated my heart."

"I had lost my first love. Twenty years before I had come out of a concentration camp--starved, weak- but in my heart there was a burning love: a love for the Lord who had carried me through so faithfully--a love for the people around me--a burning desire to tell them that Jesus is a reality, that He lives, that He is victor...And now?...I had lost my first love."

But this appeal in Revelation does not end in verse 4.  There is hope! Verse 5 declares: "Repent and live as you lived at first. Otherwise, if your heart remains unchanged, I shall come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."

Corrie testifies, "I confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness. And the same thing happened that always happens when I bring my sin to God in the Name of Jesus: He forgave me.  Jesus cleansed my heart with His blood and refilled me with the Holy Spirit."

Thank you, Corrie, for reminding us of this truth!

Then...a few days later, I received this text from a friend as I was reading and praying in the morning:

Morning Caitlin! Just this...
From St Augustine:
“It is not physical beauty nor temporal glory nor the brightness of light dear to earthly eyes, nor the sweet melodies of all kinds of songs, nor the gentle odor of flowers, and ointments and perfumes, nor manna or honey, nor limbs welcoming the embraces of the flesh; it is not these I love when I love my God. Yet there is a light I love, and a food, and a kind of embrace when I love my God — a light, voice, odor, food, embrace of my innerness, where my soul is floodlit by light which space cannot contain, where there is sound that time cannot seize, where there is a perfume which no breeze disperses, where there is a taste for food no amount of eating can lessen, and where there is a bond of union that no satiety can part. That is what I love when I love my God.”

And once again, I saw the throne of my heart so clearly, and just asked God to occupy it and please, please never leave.

Two days ago...I had the opportunity to sing a song of reflection during Communion at my church. I like to say we can't go wrong with hymns, especially ones dating back through the centuries. I sang a classic, penned by young Robert Robinson at age 22 in the year 1757, called "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

The third verse pierced me with truth and conviction in my heart once again:

O to Grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that goodness like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, Lord take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.


Indeed, prone to wander I am.  Dear Lord, I lay before You my heart. Please take it. Seal it. Reign upon it's throne now and forever more. And when I try to take over the throne of my heart, will you remind me of Your presence and love, drawing me back to You upon that throne?