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By His Stripes We Are Healed

April 15, 2019 1 comment

Jesus Christ in the holy cross

of black and blue and red
of gashes and slashes and stripes
of hits and harm and hurt

He stumbles and bows and falls
He crumbles and bends and kneels
He gasps and cries and moans

for healing and helping and teaching
for blessing and loving and keeping
for hoping and holding and saving

Isaiah 54:4-5
A Devotional Poem by Luana Ehrlich

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What Love Is This?

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

nativity1

God’s love for you can never be restrained.

It bursts forth in smiles
from a cattle stall.

It shouts out in praise
from the heavenly host.

It cries out in anguish
from an old rugged cross.

Abounding–It’s Not About Basketball

November 12, 2015 Leave a comment

NOTI’m not a big fan of basketball—nor do I plan to become one. As it stands right now,  I’m barely able to keep up with the game of football, which is the one sport I do love. However, I do know the basics of basketball and most of the terms used in the game.

In basketball, to rebound is to gain possession of the ball after it bounces off the backboard or after an unsuccessful shot. The player grabs the ball for himself and either takes a shot or passes it off to another player.

I thought of the word rebound the other day as I was reading Psalm 103:8:The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

I’m aware the word “rebound” and “abound” don’t mean the same thing. In fact, they’re nearly opposite in meaning, and that’s why I thought of rebound when I read abound.

To abound is to have something in great abundance, to be richly supplied. So, to be “abounding in steadfast love” is to possess plenty of never-failing love. That’s how the Psalmist describes God’s love for us—there’s plenty of it, in fact, there’s a never-ending supply of it.

God’s love is always abounding and never rebounding. He never takes back His love, never takes it away from us to give it to someone else. That’ why His love is labeled a “steadfast love.”

There’s also a purpose in God’s abounding love and grace toward us. Paul explains it in 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

God expects our love to be abounding toward others even as His love is abounding toward us And, like God’s love, it should always be abounding and never rebounding.

I Don’t Love You

October 23, 2015 Leave a comment

I don't love youThe words, “I don’t love you,” have to be the most hurtful words ever spoken. As human beings, we are born with the desire to be loved. Whether it’s romantic love, family love, brotherly love or even self love, God gave us the desire to be loved and to love God, others, and ourselves.

Love comes from God. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7).

Because human love is so flawed by sin, none of us can ever love ourselves or another human being perfectly. In the same way, until we receive our glorified, perfected bodies, we can’t love God perfectly.

God has no such hindrances. He loves perfectly. On three different occasions, the prophet Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel that he was greatly loved by God. “I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.” (Daniel 9:23). The same thought is expressed in Daniel 10: 11 and Daniel 10:19.

How sweet those words must have sounded to Daniel! How would you like to hear those words for yourself? Well, you can.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-5:God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ.”

God’s love is on display for us in Romans 5:8.But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Like Daniel, God sent word to us that we are greatly love. He sent  His Word in the form of His Son who demonstrated how much he really loved us by paying the penalty for our sins by His death on the cross

Accept His love. Bask in His Love. Know His love for all eternity.

A Bar Full Of Blue

May 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Download imageIf you would have asked me the moment I made my commitment to Christ if I loved the Lord, I would have said yes. Of course I did. Now though, as I look back on it, it’s hard to measure that kind of love. That’s because I know more about Him now, so I feel I love Him more. My relationship with Him now, as compared to when I first came into a relationship with Him at the age of six, makes that initial claim of loving him seem as nothing.

I was thinking about this as I sat in front of my computer watching a new program get downloaded. A pop-up box dominated the screen with a line of text assuring me that the process of downloading was taking place.  Even though I wasn’t able to see it, I was supposed to believe it was going on in the background.

To help me visualize the progress of the download, a long bar appeared in the pop-up box. It was clear with no color showing, but because I’d done this before, I knew that as the software elements were added to my hard drive, the bar would begin to fill up with blue. The colorization would begin on the left side and gradually make its way over to the right, culminating in a solid blue bar. Once that happened, success! The download was complete, and I was encouraged to begin using my new program.

How the blue download bar related to my thoughts about my love for Christ is easy to describe but hard to explain. Picture the clear bar as the moment I accepted Him as my Savior and the bar completely filled in with blue as knowing Him fully and loving Him perfectly. Now, sixty years later, what kind of progress can I see on the blue bar? Practically none. Perhaps a little sliver of blue on the far left-hand side. Nothing more.

However, like the message on the pop-up box, God’s Word is continually reassuring us our lives are being changed and the elements of our sanctification are being added. Though we may not see any progress, we must believe the message. Then, as we wait patiently for the download to be complete, one day we’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23).

One day, the download will be complete, and we’ll be able to use our new program.

In the meantime, be patient and keep reading His Message of hope.

 

There Should Be A Better Word

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

words 3I often play a word game on my iPad called Words With Friends. It’s very much like playing Scrabble, but, unlike Scrabble, you can try as many combinations of the letter tiles as you want until your word is accepted. Sometimes, you randomly arrange the tiles, and a word you never knew existed  is accepted. (Out of curiosity, I often look up the definitions of these words, thus justifying the “educational value” of playing this game.)

But, there are many other times when I arrange the tiles into a nice-sounding word and discover that it’s not a real word. When that happens, I’m frustrated and sometimes think, “But this should be a word,” or “That’s such a descriptive-looking word, it should stand for something.”

When I’m reading the Bible, I come across a slightly different frustration, but it still involves a word describing a concept.

It happens when I’m reading about what God did for me in sending His only son to suffer the punishment I deserve. The Bible calls this “love.” Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Yes, this definitely encompasses the definition of  love, but it’s so much more than this. That’s why I long for a better word, a more descriptive word, a word that is not used every day, a word that is exclusive for such an act as this.

Paul often uses a variety of words to expand on God’s “love” for us in such a sacrificial act. Titus 3:4-5 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us . . . according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (Emphasis mine)

After some meditation, I decided there is an all-encompassing word for God’s love after all, and it goes beyond “love” or any other related word.

It’s the word, “JESUS.”

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