Has God been speaking to you? That’s a question that many believers wrestle with from time to time. How can one know when it is God and when it is just a personal desire or dissatisfaction or something else? How can mortal, flawed and sinful human beings identify the voice of a divine and infallible creator whose thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)? I don’t know how, but I know it is possible and I know that it does happen, because of God’s love for humanity, and his love covers a multitude of sins (John 3:16).
What would you do if someone asked you the same question three times? This is exactly what happened to Simon Peter, Jesus’ disciple. Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love me?” as though to say, this is of utmost importance Simon. It is a question that is equally important and relevant for us today. In the midst of a world filled with God and truth deniers, there is urgent Kingdom work to be done. In the midst of a great falling away, Jesus is once again asking as he did back then, “Do you love me?” If so, then, “Feed my sheep.” And this is love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13:
In 1864, while the American Civil War was still being fought, three young women, Emma Hunter, Sophie Keller and Elizabeth Myers began the custom of decorating soldiers’ graves at a cemetery in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. They wanted to recognize the contributions of these brave soldiers from the village who had paid the ultimate price. Today it has become customary to decorate graves with flowers as a sign of our deep affection for those who sacrificed their lives for us, and for those whose lives have touched ours.
Do you live in a state of constant expectation that God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says, he will do? This appears to be the way the disciples in Acts 9:37-38 lived. In the face of what most humans would consider IMPOSSIBLE, they exhibited outrageous faith; the kind of faith that anticipates the inevitable intervention of the Almighty God. The kind of faith that is completely surrendered to the will of God, whatever that may be. They displayed the kind of faith that invites ridicule.
Leon Morris, a New Testament scholar, once said: “There is no point in accepting Christian teaching if we refuse to let it shape our lives.” The writer of the book of James is more direct. He says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says (James 1:22). And yet believers around the world have turned their backs on doing the word. Instead of letting God’s word shape our lives, we have allowed the influences of our world to shape us.
Where do you turn to in times of trouble? It’s quite a revelation to watch little children interact with their parents. Whenever a little child is in distress, that child will turn towards a parent and look up with lifted arms, expectantly waiting to be picked up and comforted. In such a case, the parent’s most eloquent response is to bend down, pick the child up and hold them close to reassure them. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s love.
Last night I attended the premier showing of the soon to be released movie “Breakthrough” which is based on a true story. After the movie, all I could think to say was “Wow!” What a display of God’s power, and of the unfathomable ways in which he works through ordinary humans and events to affect his divine plan.
The children of Israel had been held captive in Babylon for 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10), when the word of God came to them declaring that God was “doing a new thing;” something they had never seen before. God was doing this new thing right there in the wilderness; in that uncomfortable wasteland; a place where they did not want to be. At the time they must have wondered what he meant.
All around the world, millions of people are looking for love. Some swipe right, others left. Unfortunately, as Johnny Lee reminds us in his song, Lookin’ for Love we often go “looking for love in all the wrong places.” What would you say if I told you there is no greater love than the love of God? As a young child, I often sang a song in Sunday school that went something like this: