Monday, April 20, 2015

The Miracles We Miss

*Alex Prager "Face in the Crowd" Exhibit
I love this Art Exhibit by the Artist Alex Prager. It is called "Face in the Crowd", and what I find so compelling about this piece is that it forces the viewer to stop their life for a moment and take in the realization that they are not alone. You look at this piece and you notice every detail in the faces, body language, eyes and posture of everyone around you and one cannot help but wonder what each of the people may be dealing with at that moment in their life. There is an even greater sense of ones personal significance when they view this piece because it provides the viewer with the opportunity to see themselves as just a face in the crowd. The viewer will realize within a few moments of viewing this piece that they themselves have become just a face in the crowd as they sought to notice others. This truly is a compelling piece.
In the previous post, "God: The Invisible Man (Click Here), we began looking at the idea of God appearing to be absent in our lives and the seasons of life where His presence is questioned.
Several years back I became re-acquainted with a passage of scripture that  I had memorized as a boy but had completely missed out its depth and beauty.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
Two key words are used here. 1) All thy ways & 2) Acknowledge Him.

"All thy ways" would be everything that I do, everywhere that I go, and everyone I meet.

"Acknowledge" means to search for or discover intently.

So you could read the passage this way.

"In everything you do, in everyone that you meet and everywhere that you go, intently search for God and He WILL direct your path."

When is the last time that you asked your Father, "Why?" when it came to the things that you have seen, or have done, or in whom you have met?

I always try to ask this at the end of each day. "Out of everything that I could have seen why was I allowed to see the things that I saw today?"

"Out of everything that I could have done today, why was I allowed to do what I have done?"

"Out of everyone that I have spoken to, why was I allowed to speak to the people that I have spoken to today at the times when I did?"
Think for a moment about your favorite radio station. You get in the car or at work and you "tune in" to that station right? Now let me ask you, did that station begin broadcasting when you tuned in, or was it broadcasting long before you tuned in? The answer is simple. It was broadcasting regardless if you chose to tune in or not.

God is speaking every single day and it is mind blowing how loud He does this! It is like that radio station. His voice is all around you regardless if you "tune in" or not. He never stops calling out to you.
Let me share with you what God brought to my attention this morning that re-affirmed this truth as well as challenged me with the faces that get lost in my crowd and I believe will challenge you as well. First lets look at a crowd of faces and you are going to be blown away by what you see.
( I am apologizing in advance for the length but I wanted you to get a feel for where the Lord led me to read this morning and I want you to experience this as well)
"Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city; Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two. The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two. The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five. The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve. The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five. The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. The children of Bani, six hundred forty and two. The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three. The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred twenty and two. The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six. The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six. The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four. The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight. The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three. The children of Jorah, an hundred and twelve. The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three. The children of Gibbar, ninety and five. The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and three. The men of Netophah, fifty and six. The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight. The children of Azmaveth, forty and two. The children of Kirjatharim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty and three. The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty and one. The men of Michmas, an hundred twenty and two. The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty and three. The children of Nebo, fifty and two. The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six. The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and five. The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five. The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty.The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three. The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two. The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven. The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four. The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight. The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth, The children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon, The children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub, The children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, the children of Hanan, The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah, The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam, The children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai, The children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of Nephusim, The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, The children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha, The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah, The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda, The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami.
All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.
And these were they which went up from Telmelah, Telharsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel: The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.
And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.
The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty." ~ Ezra 2:1-64
This was a lot and again I apologize for listing all 64 verses. I realize that many of you just scrolled and I counted on your doing so.
"Dan, why did you do that to me? I hate long sections of Bible names!!!" You may have remarked, and you are not alone. They are pretty boring but it was here in this crowd of faces that God showed me one of the most impressive miracles of the ENTIRE Bible!
At first glance, this would never make it into a list of top ten miracles but it is every bit as miraculous as 5,000 people eating two loaves of bread and five fish. It is on the level of a red sea parting, 3,000 people being saved in one day, blind being healed, and the dead returning to life. What makes it so miraculous is that God's presence was right there in that list and you and I missed it!
You read that passage and thought as I have thought, "OK, its a lot of people going back to their home." right? Yes and No.
In the list of people going home, right at the very start of the list you have this ordinary guy named Mordecai. He is in line getting his paperwork processed, gets his passport stamped and then moved along. Unknown to everyone involved with him that day and close to 63 years after this very moment, there will be a young queen named Esther who is troubled about what to do when the fate of her peoples survival rests in her hands. She will turn to her uncle Mordecai and it is this man who will forever be remembered for speaking destiny into play with these words to Queen Esther.
"For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" ~ Esther 4:14 
The miracles we miss are often the faces in the crowd that we look past trying to see God move in more DRAMATIC ways.
Take ten seconds and think about three people that were your Mordecai. Three people who spoke into your life and completely changed your path to direct you where you are today.
Got them?
OK, now think of the very first time that you met those three people. Did you miss them for the miracle that they were?
The miracles we miss are the people we meet and interact with on a day to day basis. No one had a clue on that day of "Home ward bound" moving that this guy would be the one that God used as a catalyst to save an entire nation.
The faces in the crowd that surrounds you call you dad, mom, son, daughter, employee, employer, church member, life group member, neighbor, co-worker, and friend. They interact with you for a purpose and they are just as big of a miracle as a red sea parting.
63 years before the night mentioned in Esther 4, God was already bringing into play His plan of deliverance for the Jewish people. Long before your moment of distress, God had already been moving people in and out of your life to help direct your steps and bring you to a point of deliverance.
"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." ~ Proverbs 16:9
You make plans for what your life will be, but God is using so much to direct your attention to just how much He has planned for you. He will use so many people to impact one life that it is staggering. You want to see God move like He did on the old days? You want to see miracles like those mentioned in the book of Acts? OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!
You will be amazed at the miracles that we miss. Go get lost in the crowd today and recognize how God moves certain people into your life for certain seasons for certain purposes and moves them back out again. Sometimes they stay and sometimes they leave but all the time they are a witness to God's overwhelming and relentless love for you.
Climbing with you,
* The painting above is called "The crowd". I love this piece because it is hundreds of people on the canvas and yet within the contrasts of all of the people, if you really look at it, you will see faces. Look at who God has placed in your life at this very moment. For your apparent good or bad, and know they have been strategically placed to help you become who He made you to be!

Friday, April 17, 2015

God : The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man. WOW! What a concept. I remember, as a kid, watching the 1933 film based upon the story "The Invisible Man" by H.G.Wells and becoming captivated by the events of the main character Griffin. If you are not familiar with the story, here is a very brief overview.

A mysterious man arrives at the local inn of an English village during a snowstorm. The stranger wears a long-sleeved, thick coat and gloves; his face is hidden entirely by bandages and demands to be left alone. Shorty after his arrival, a mysterious burglary occurs in the village. Throughout the events of the story, Griffin recounts how he invented chemicals capable of rendering bodies invisible, and, on impulse, performed the procedure on himself. He soon discovers that being invisible is terror to the one who is and dies trying to become powerful enough to reverse the curse of invisibility. While on his "reign of terror" he can be tracked by footprints in the snow, shadows and other means. It is by these means that he is hunted down and killed by the law.

It was an intriguing story and I bring it up because to many, God is "The Invisible Man". He would seem to many to be on a power trip and only interested in forcing His agenda on the world through His "Unseen Hand" in our lives.
The cartoon to the right makes me chuckle because often to us, God seems to be this "Invisible Man" who is waiting for the opportunity to allow pain in our lives.

You have heard the questions before, and you may have even asked them yourself: "If God truly loves me, then why would he just allow __(FILL IN THE BLANK)_ to happen to me?"

Let's be honest for a minute here. If God really did so love the world, then why does He seem to be invisible when people are dying of cancer, starvation, torture, and disease? Why does He allow hate filled people to come to power and inflict suffering on others? Why does He seem so invisible when the day to day struggles knock the wind out of us and demand we carry on as if nothing ever happened?

In the post "Still Holding On: (Click HERE), I mentioned a character of the Bible Habakkuk. (To spare me carpal tunnel, we will henceforth refer to Habakkuk in this blog as "Habby")
Habby was incredible. He was given a message from the Lord that spelled out doom for his homeland and for his friends, family, and neighbors. It was not pretty and Habby was one of the few people in the Bible we know of that "Argued" with God. Habby just flat out responded to God's word with a resounding, "God, that is NOT fair!"
God was going to collectively work on His people behavior through a source that was worse in their behaviour than God's people. Habby just spoke back and said, "God, that is not fair because our upcoming circumstances will be brought to us by people who are OPENLY defiant to you. At least we try to live on both sides of the fence. These people coming to invade us will prosper and that is NOT fair. It is NOT fair that heathen people prosper while your people suffer.

Have you ever had a "Habby moment"? God seemed to be unfair and absent from certain events in your life? Tears hit the floor, prayers seemed to hit the ceiling, and "The Invisible Man" seemed to haunt you with a presence that could not be detected?

Habby respond ultimately with a beautiful passage. Chapter three of his book  is Habakkuk’s answer to God.
This is the wild thing about this book. We don’t get a message from what he pronounces to the people on God’s behalf. We get the message from Habakkuk pronouncement to God.

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” ~Habakkuk 3:18
“Father, I understand your anger and I also understand that judgment is necessary…but I still choose to cling to you.”
Judgment is eminent, but I will still cling to you.
As a father, God has shown me more of Himself through this lens than any other in my entire life. I was reading the very next book this morning and saw something so beautiful I could not wait to share it with you.
The book is the book of Zephaniah. (To spare me carpal tunnel, we will henceforth refer to Zephaniah in this blog as "Zephy")
"The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor inquired for him. " ~ Zepheniah 1:1-6

I know what you are thinking, "Okay Dan, nothing about that was beautiful. It actually brought back flashbacks of The Invisible Man stepping on Wonder woman's scale."

Let's look deeper at this for just a moment. Zephy's name means "Hidden by God." Zephy delivered a directors cut message going into greater detail of Habby's message, but the difference was that God used Zephy to explain why He was doing what He was doing.

Zephy was the footprint in the snow if you will for the proverbial "Invisible Man". He was the shadow on the wall that revealed a greater power behind an apparent absence of visibility.

Zephy teaches us two important truths about God.


Habby wrestled with the idea of God's action in his life because they seemed very unfair. Looking objectively, we would probably agree with Habby that God does seem to allow bad people to prosper while good people get messed over and it is very unfair that bad things happen to good people. Zephy revealed that God was in fact present and that He was operating with a purpose.

Just because God seems silent and appears "Invisible" does not mean that He is gone.


Zephaniah was the shadow that revealed God's plan for His people and ultimately all of mankind. (3:10-20)
When I see the shadow of God displayed to His people through this man Zephaniah, I see a message that is familiar to me. It is the VERY message that God has given me to speak out with my life and one that I use this blog to present to the world.


The message of Zephaniah was a revealing of God's divine purpose in the lives of His people. Habakkuk wrestled with what he saw God doing because it did not seem fair, but God used Zephaniah to follow up Habakkuk's struggle with a detailed reminder that He was all about PURPOSE.

"The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
                                                                                                             ~Zephaniah 3:17
 Did you see that???

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee....". The Lord your God has arrived to live among you.

"For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."                           
God was repositioning His people and purging the elements that would resist the repositioning. The nation was repositioned to fulfill prophetic alignment establishing the events mentioned in Isaiah. God was making the path straight for the coming Messiah.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. " ~Isaiah 7:14

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan--The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." ~ Isaiah 9:1,2

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." ~ Isaiah 11:1

"But you, Bethlehem...out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel..."~ Micah 5:2

Then Zephy's words ring true. Look in Matthew chapter 1!!!

"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." ~ Matthew 1:21 (This would be the resting in His love, singing and rejoicing part)

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." ~ Matthew 1:23
 (This would be the "The Lord your God has arrived to live among you." part!!!)

Is God always fair? No. Ask Joseph, Daniel, Habby, and Zephy. If you are in a "Habby" Moment of life where God seems to be invisible, HOLD ON!!! Let me be a Zephy for you and say, "His purpose is playing out right in front of you. He is present with you and everything is going to be OK!"

Climbing with you,

* If you liked this post you would also enjoy these:

 "What Keeps You Kicking?" (Click HERE)

"God's Phone Booths" (Click HERE)

"What a Way to Die" (Click HERE)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What Keeps You Kicking?

I was reading the book of Job a few days back and as always, I found myself being drawn into the story that I was reading.

The book of job does that to it's readers. It draws us in with it's unparalleled honesty and realism. Job was real with everyone who knew him and as we read his story, he in turn is real with us. It is the realism of the exposed human heart that grips us and forces us to take in all that this man goes through as painful as it is to read.

I admire Job because he is so much of what I feel I could never be. This man went through so much and was able to display his feelings and emotions, through every phase of his suffering, with such a rawness and openness that blows me away. He lost everything that he held dear and yet still clung tightly to an understanding that would keep him standing.

The true bedrock of Job's understanding throughout his trial was revealed after he was handed a crippling question. Life has a way of doing that to us doesn't it? Handing us the crippling questions that draw  answers from within us we did not know that we possessed.

In chapter one of Job's story we see everything he held dear allowed to be taken from Him and in chapter two, his health is removed and Job lies naked and destitute. His one source of earthly strength, his wife, comes to him and asks him a question that I believe anyone of us would ask Job. We pretend that we have all of the "spiritual" advice permanently locked in our minds however we are not in Job's place. It is easy to say what we would or would not do in a given circumstance when we stand outside of the fire but I believe we would at least think this question if not ask.

"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." ~ Job 2:9 

You have to listen to the question but what she is asking and stating says what we think in our "Job moments".

"If God really loves me, then why did He allow ___________?"  (Fill in the blank)

"If this is the best that God can treat you after all you have done for Him Job, then just give up and die." Before we are too harsh to judge Mrs. Job's advice to him, remember that these were her children that were taken and it was her financial security that crumbled along with her husbands health. Look at something Job says to his friends when they get on his case for speaking out of his pain.

"Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?" ~Job 6:26

WOW! "Are you going to condemn me because I impulsively cried out of my desperation"?

Job's wife spoke out of her pain and hurt and we would do well to remember that people speak out of where they are. When God moves you to intercede in someones life, don't take their painful responses to you personally because they are revealing to you just how much they need you. God knows what He is doing.

Job goes on to speak with his friends who all basically say the same thing. "This is happening because of something that you have done."

Through all of the emotional struggles that follow each conversation Job had, I kept going back to that question and statement that his wife made.

"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." ~ Job 2:9
"If this is the best that God can treat you after all you have done for Him Job, then just give up and die."

Job goes on to curse his birth, question his life, and even think about his death but he never tries to end things.

My question is why? What kept him kicking? What did he know that allowed him to look his circumstances in the eye and keep breathing? Did Job know something that could help us in our "Job Moments" and if so, what did he know?

The answer blew me away!!! I have read this story so many times and yet somehow I missed it.

Look what I found!!!

"Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost."
                                                                                                                 ~ Job 13:18-19

Did you see that?

"This is my case, I KNOW that I am righteous. Who can argue with me over this? If you could prove me wrong, I would stop defending myself and die."

Job did not give up because Job never faltered in his understanding about where he stood with God.
There is a law of sowing and reaping. There are painful consequences to wrong actions, but there are also GOD ALLOWED circumstances that shake our world to it's foundation. There is a difference between the two.

Job had done nothing wrong and he knew it. He also knew that God loved him in spite of the circumstantial evidence that seemed to say otherwise.

I am not sure who this post is for but if you are having a "Job moment" in your life please let me speak into your spirit for just a moment.

Your relationship with God is NOT determined by your FEELINGS, rather it is settled on FACT.

You and I can say the same thing that Job said when it comes to the God allowed circumstances in our lives. Read this passage and read it slowly. Take in every word as you read.

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." ~ Romans 5:1-5

If you are His child, you are at peace with Him. Why does God allow things that devastate our comfort zone and our plans? We may never know and certainly not at the time we go through it, but He is aware and His allowed circumstances are not His punishment. He made peace with you on the cross and you signed that peace treaty when you accepted Him, by faith, as your savior.

What kept Job kicking is what keeps us kicking. A firm understanding that His ways are higher than our ways and that His thought are higher than our thoughts. It is an understanding that it is His purpose, not His fairness that dictates the circumstances in our life.

He has always been about purpose.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ~ Ephesians 2:1-10

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" ~ Phillipians 1:6

Not every bad event in your life is chastening or satan, sometimes the "Job moments" are simply God's sovereign purpose at work. It is going to be okay, and He is not mad at you. He loves you and is at perfect peace with you.

Climbing with you,
~ Dan

Friday, April 10, 2015

How To Fall In Love With Anyone In 90 Seconds Or Less

Yes, the title to this post is 100% true!

By the time you finish reading this post you will be able to fall in love with anyone in 90 seconds or less, so before you continue reading this you need to ask yourself if that is something that you really want to do?

Before we go any further we need to establish the true definition of love because love is a term that has been seriously hijacked by the world and twisted in both its meaning and definition. Here is listed the Webster's Dictionary definition of the word love.


a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
: attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
: a person you love in a romantic way
1 a (1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties love
for a child> (2): attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>

b: an assurance of affection love

The sad reality is the fact most people would not need the Webster's dictionary definition to have automatically come to the definition it provided. This word's definition has been programmed into us from the time that we are children through the movies, television, magazines, advertisements and songs that we take in through our ear and eye gates. Love is nearly always associated with a physical feeling or emotion when in reality, God spells out what the TRUE definition of love is.

WARNING: What you are about to read is a very graphic picture of what true love is and the word used for love is it's original word, Charity.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

What makes this passage so beautiful is that it provides us with the right picture of what love truly is and if we have the right picture, then we can have the right perspective from which we can base our own expressions of love.

I find an interesting passage in Matthew where the disciples are asking Jesus about what can be expected in the last days, and most you reading this are very familiar with portions of this passage. You know it, but you may have missed something that I had always missed when I read it before.

"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" ~ Matthew 24:3
Jesus goes on to outline in detail some things to expect that include a list of activities that sound very familiar to our world's events: wars and rumors of wars, nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.
Then He begins to address the His people in specifics that make us uncomfortable. The Jews saw this in the holocaust and today's events seem to echo the early stages of that terrible event years ago.

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." ~ Matthew 24:10 
Then Jesus begins to speak of the rest of the world again. Pay very close attention to what is coming down the pipe and ask yourself where you see this happening.
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." ~ Matthew 24:9-12
The last phrase really hit me. Because of sin in the world, love for others will grow cold.
Because of the effects of sin on people, the desire to show genuine love for them diminishes dramatically.
After all, who in their right mind would want to love a homeless drug addict who would do or say anything just to get another fix? Who would want to reach out in love to a family in need? They made poor financial choices so they deserve to "pay the piper" right? How in the world can a God loving and dedicated Christian really be expected to show love to someone who is living their life in total contradiction to God's word?
"...And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
                                                                                                               ~Matthew 24:12

Because of the fruit of iniquity that is manifested in our society we make excuses as to why our love should wax cold for people who do not seem to be "worthy" of it don't we.

"I'm not giving that bum at the side of the road a dollar because he is milking the system"

"She made her bed, she needs to lie in it and I am not helping her until she admits how she should have listened to me on the first place."

"He knows what he is doing is wrong."

"I don't care how many times they ask me, I'm done with them."

"They are choosing to live in sin."

"They are foolish with their money, how dare they ask me for yet another bail out?"

"...And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
                                                                                                               ~Matthew 24:12

Who is it in your life that you say, "I could never love that person?"

We all have them right? People that seem to make it impossible to love. People whose names and the thought of our love do not seem to connect together right?
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
                                                                                                          ~ Matthew 5:43-45
 There are so many scriptures which lay out the reality of the idea that true love (1 Corinthians 13) is the natural by-product of a Christian to others. Not only is the command given, but 1 Peter reveals how it is POSSIBLE for the Christian to have this true love for others.
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." ~ 2 Peter 1:3-4
 As I read this passage, I notice how we have been given the DIVINE NATURE and this new nature at salvation is the key. Look at the full passage and see just what we now have the access to as a Christian.
 "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." ~ 2 Peter 1:5-11

 This is not something I need to strive to attain or force myself to display. This is something that flows naturally out of the Christian and if these attributes are not seen in the life of a Christian then the reason of an attitude of blindness to what we have been given. Notice the words, "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
Our lack of focus on what Christ did for us results in us living not from the Spirit but rather living from the strength of our flesh. The "flesh" is simply operating out of my own resources. We walk in the Spirit so as to not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The Christian who is walking in the Spirit is able to naturally dispense true love for even the most "undeserving" of people. 

 So if we are told to love others and given the ability in our new nature to love others, how do we love others when we don't feel like it?
We consciously shift our focus from our feelings to our facts! Here is a short 90 second exercise that when practiced will transform your opinion of love.
 "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." ~ Psalms 139:14
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." ~ Ephesians 2:10
 "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."~ Psalms 103:14
 "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." ~Proverbs 16:9 
 " And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: " ~ Colossians 2:10
"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." ~ Mark 2:17
"That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." ~ John 3:15-16
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." ~ Matthew 5:14-16
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
                                                                                                                         ~ 1 Peter 2:9
I promise you this short exercise will transform your love life! Bible memorization is great, but it is useless if you do not take the time to MEDITATE on what you MEMORIZE.

We need to KNOW what we KNOW.

Climbing with you,
 * If you enjoyed this post,  I would like to reccomend:
 "Why I choose to no longer invest in people": Click Here)