January 21, 2016

Giving back . . .

Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” (Jeremiah 2:2)

In the summer of 2012, I realized that my love for God was not as whole-hearted as it used to be, so I asked Him to forgive me and restore that former passion. Little did I realize the spiritual war that would follow and the junk that He would expose in my heart.

Today’s devotional reading takes me back to that, and reminds me of this ongoing discipline of loving God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. And it is a discipline. I heard part of a sermon this week in which the radio preacher was talking about love being hard work. He didn’t think so on his honeymoon, but laughed at the change five years later.

Loving God should be easy. He has saved me and blessed me. Returning that love should be automatic, but my old sin nature is so prone to forget that He loves me. I am too easily duped by the liar into thinking that God’s love isn’t real.

Besides, God and I don’t speak the same love language, at least not all the time. I tend to want what I want, forgetting what belongs to God.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

Loving Him is about giving Him what belongs to Him: worship, praise, thankfulness, obedience, and showing love to His people. Instead, I get whimpering because those things are dwindling or missing in my life. How selfish! Chambers says, “There is no joy in the soul that has forgotten what God prizes.”

He adds that it is a great thing to remember that Jesus actually asked for a drink! He is so kind to give me all that I need. Couldn’t I be more thoughtful about His desires? How much kindness have I shown Him this past week?

Right now I feel about as needy emotionally and spiritually as I’ve ever felt, yet these thoughts turn my heart away from me and toward Him. At the same time, I know His grace; when I give back to Jesus the love and kindness He deserves, that almost always turns out to be the answer to my own emptiness.

Bob is improved today. They put his oxygen intake level up to 4 so he is thinking clearly again, even though he is still repeating himself (not normal for him at all). He is still short of breath, but on two types of puffer thingies that are making him breathe deeply . . . and cough. His lungs still “look terrible” but we are hoping they begin to clear soon.  He is one of those guys who thinks if he does the right thing, feeling better will follow, so he had me go buy him an electric shaver so he could remove his five-day stubble. That made him ‘look less grubby’ but he says the ‘feeling better’ part is still to come.

We are very grateful for all the email and all the prayers. Thank you for your kind support and encouragement. I may not answer the calls, but we are blessed by your care.

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