Knowing His Love

08/03/2010

I’m home today, and it’s a quiet day of rest and prayer. I don’t have many of these days anymore. I don’t need as many quiet days as I did when I first started writing “The Journey” over eleven years ago now. It’s not that I don’t need my times with God as much as I once did, I still do, and I still spend each morning with Him, and then walk through the rest of my day with Him, one day at a time—but, I don’t need the refilling time like I once did. I had many desperate days, times when my heart needed God’s deep loving touch, and when I needed to be alone in His presence just so that His air would fill my lungs again so I could breathe, because the pain was so great I didn’t think I could stand one more minute of it.

On this day, I do rest physically, because I need to. I’m finding, like a lot of us, that I’m not as young as I once was. Eleven years of writing does make a difference. The fifties are not the same as the forties, and I’m sure the sixties will teach me a thing or two also! I am loving the fifties, because it’s a good time in life when the kids are grown and have families of their own. Jim and I can stop in for a visit, play with the grandkids, and then drive on home to a peaceful evening with just the two of us, getting to bed early because we get up with the chickens—actually, the chickens are more just birds singing outside my window.

Normally, a day at home like this and being alone would mean that I would write—and you may say, well, that’s what you’re doing isn’t it? Yes, but I’m also wondering as I write today…do I keep on doing this after all these years? Is it time to stop, or are there still many things that God would have me share with others about the journey of life? I’m really not sure, and so I write today partly about being “not sure” and partly whatever else God puts on my heart…because I guess that’s what writers do, they write down their thoughts so they’re available if anyone chooses to read them. I know that I do go back from time to time and read my own writings, and sometimes it’s good to do that. I surely can see all that God has brought me through. Perhaps you can see the progress on your own journey while reading what I have been writing. Many of you have been with me from the beginning, and you have shared with me along the way how a message will arrive and speak to your heart in God’s perfect timing. I have always been encouraged by you in that way. (Each message I have sent out is on my website at dcshore.com, so if you ever want to reminisce, they are available for you there.)

Many of you have gotten to know me through these messages, and I have made some new friends along the way too. I have many memories of our “conversations” through the years. I also have memories of phone calls that came at just the right time to encourage me to keep writing, as many of the early messages were written through the tears as I poured out my heart to anyone who would listen. One thing I have learned in all the writing I have done is that the memory of a child who has left this earth never fades…they will always be on a parent’s heart and mind, they will always be a part of us no matter how long it has been, and no matter how much healing has occurred.

In the beginning, most of my writing was about the journey through grief. I eventually moved on to write about other things—but no matter the subject, the child I have living in Heaven and the children I have on earth will always be a part of my soul, and they will always enter into my writing from time to time as God teaches me more and more about His love and provision in all things. I seriously doubt that I ever would have written the thousands of pages that I have over the last eleven years without the impact of my children’s lives on mine. I am grateful that they live, and I am grateful that Jesus lives so that an eternity in Heaven is the Hope we have for each day on this earth. That hope is what keeps me going, it is the hope that brings a smile to my face when I wake each morning to the birds singing outside my window.

So, through all these thousands of pages, you have gotten to know me and I hope we have all gotten to know God a little bit more with each message. God has walked me through the fire of loss and then restored my life with His great love, and I know He has done the same with many of you. It’s a process of learning about God, and letting Him lift the heavy load of despair that wants to clamp itself onto all of us in this life. Not all will have a son leave this earth for Heaven, but all of us will go through fiery trials of one sort or another. That’s just life on this earth. That’s just something we might as well get used to because this isn’t Heaven, this is earth, and Satan is alive and well and very, very active in our days wanting to kill, steal and destroy us.

From a devotional I recently read:

For all the things we don’t know about Judas, there is one thing we know for sure: He had no relationship with the Master. He had seen Jesus, but he did not know him. He had heard Jesus, but he did not understand him. He had a religion but no relationship.

As Satan worked his way around the table in the upper room, he needed a special kind of man to betray our Lord. He needed a man who had seen Jesus but who did not know him. He needed a man who knew the actions of Jesus but had missed out on the mission of Jesus. Judas was this man. He knew the empire but had never known the Man.

Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart of Christ.

We learn this timeless lesson from the betrayer. Satan’s best tools of destruction are not from outside the church; they are within the church. A church will never die from the immorality in Hollywood or the corruption in Washington. But it will die from corrosion within—from those who bear the name of Jesus but have never met him and from those who have religion but no relationship.

Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart of Christ. Let’s make it our goal to know… deeply. Max Lucado

As we mature in our Christian faith, we begin to understand that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. That’s why getting to know God is vitally important. But what exactly does that mean, and what exactly does it look and feel like as we get to know God in the personal relationship that we talk about?

I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods.
Psalm 135:5 (NIV)

Most of us know that the Lord is great, and that the Lord is greater than all gods. We would not argue that for those of us who believe God’s Word, the Bible, but to know that God is great doesn’t really help us to know Him personally, does it? So, how do we get to know Him personally?

I heard a story the other day: A person went to the store to buy a drill so they could attach something to the wall at home. The question became, what did they need? The answer I heard was, “They needed a hole in the wall.” It’s a clever answer because naturally our mind goes to the fact that they needed a drill. This answer takes us one step past what seems obvious, to their real need, the hole.

In thinking about this, I want to go past the obvious in, “getting to know God,” or “the drill,” to what is really needed in this situation we find ourselves in, building a relationship with God. Maybe it’s in realizing a desire to even get to know God in the first place? And where does that desire even come from? We don’t really want to have a relationship with someone if we have no desire to know them. The desire to know someone is to realize that they even exist in the world. So do we first have to admit to ourselves that there is a God, and that we desire to get to know Him because He is there?

When we want to get to know someone we have realized exists in this world, we make it a priority in our life, don’t we? We take some deliberate steps in that direction, either by calling them, or writing to them, or being in the same place they are so that we can talk to them. I remember years ago wanting to get to know a woman I was in a small Bible Study group with. She seemed nice, I was new in town, I desired a friend, and so I asked her to have lunch with me. Little by little, we got to know one another. Now we are great friends! I made an intentional choice to get to know her once I was introduced to her…once I realized she existed. To get to know God, we’ll have to make Him a priority in our life, choose to focus on Him once we’ve been introduced to the possibility that He is there, and invite Him into our life. Choose to spend time with Him.

Our priority most days seems to be just making it through the day in one piece—so we’ll attach a prayer onto the beginning and the end of our day just for “good luck.” We’re purchasing the “drill” to get the job done, but what we’re not realizing is the main point of the story is not the drill or the hole in the wall, it’s the attachment that needs to take place. God wants us to know that what needs to be attached is us to Him. By making time with God a priority in our day, we are focusing our thoughts on who He is, and in that we’ll discover His love for us, and when we discover that He loves us because His love is filling us, then we’ll start to want to love Him back. His very Word says that we love, because He first loved us. Being in a relationship with our Father will become the desire of our heart. When we are offered the purest most unconditional kind of love we have ever experienced, who of us would reject that? God’s love is the glue that keeps us attached to Him.

Charles Stanley, July 18th:

A personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ has the potential to be more intimately satisfying than any earthly connection…Making a firm commitment to know Him is the first step, which takes priority above all other matters…Once we resolve to follow diligently after the Lord, our next step is to spend time in His Word. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and His plan for the world…God is pleased by followers who make it their goal to deepen their relationship with Him…Dedicating time to knowing and experiencing God is a critical step toward a satisfying walk with Him.

God can always take us deeper than any wisdom of man…past the drill, past the hole, and to the attachment that needs to take place in our lives. God is the cleverest of all, because after all, He created cleverness!

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory
on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
John 17:3-4 (NIV)

We must remember that our needs will come to an end, but Jesus Christ will remain forever. If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, we’ve missed a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we’ll spend eternity. Let’s invest time in pursuing intimacy with Christ. Then we can enjoy the benefits of that relationship forever. Charles Stanley (May 13th)

We’re all so busy praying and trying to drill a hole in the mound of things surrounding us that we can miss the great opportunity we have in prayer to get to know Jesus and His love. Do most of us KNOW that Jesus loves us? Really? And do most of us KNOW that we love Him? Really? I read this in one of Beth Moore’s Bible Studies:

“One of the biggest and least addressed obstacles to truly love God:
Thinking I already do when, truth be told, I really don’t.”

What?!! Yes, she says that when we really love someone, we know it by the way we feel. If we don’t feel the loving relationship we have with God, perhaps it’s not really there. Now, we’re talking about our love for God, not His love for us. He loves us!! Always! But on our side of the equation, we may highly respect God. We may be grateful to God, worship God, serve God, but still not really love Him. This is what Beth Moore was teaching, and I was listening… Beth went on to tell the story of her return home one night after doing a conference. She was wondering why God loved her so much because she was overwhelmed with all the blessings in her life that she was experiencing, and she begin to tell God once again how much she loved Him. God gently told her that from now on when she wanted to tell Him that she loved Him, she was to say, “I love You too,” because whenever she felt moved to tell God she loved Him, it was only because He had first loved her. She was simply returning the love to Him, it wasn’t originating within her.

When we realize that we have no capacity to love without the love of God that fills us first, I think we will begin to realize that without God, there is no love. And when we realize that, we will begin to recognize and know His love in a deeper and more impactful way in our lives. We will begin to know Him because it will be His love that draws us into a relationship with Him. He will woo us to Him, and we will begin to trust Him as never before. This is vital in our walk with God, because then no matter how dark it gets, and it will get VERY DARK during certain times in our lives, we will know that our Savior is with us in that darkness, and that His love will never leave us because He is our Best Friend, and He loves us unconditionally at all times.

God’s Word, is his love letter to you. You won’t necessarily hear God speak out loud,
but you can hear what he has to say through his eternal dialogue with humanity.
Max Lucado May 13
th

When you know someone loves you, and you are discovering that you love them, don’t you thrill to see their written word to you? Don’t you wait for the mail to arrive, or the email to pop up in your inbox, or to see a message personally written to you on FB or your text? We should thrill with God’s love letters to us in His Word in the same way. If we don’t, then perhaps we aren’t taking them personally enough.

The other day the verse, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God…” was running through my mind and I was starting to get it. The God of the Universe was telling me not to be afraid because He is with me. He is with me! He is watching over me. He is in control. He is. Believe it. And it started to sink even deeper into my soul…puny me has a great God caring for me. I am not to fear… Those are facts that need to be meditated on, to be absorbed, over and over again because this world tries to drown them out under the pressure we can feel in our day.

Perhaps we don’t realize that God’s letters are there for us, to speak to our hearts of His love, to heal our churning emotions, to quiet our spirit when it is disturbed. God’s Word was written for us so that we would know Him and know His love. If our Bible has dust on it, it’s been much too long since we’ve opened a letter from the Lord.

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will
ever believe in me through their message. John 17:20 (NLT)

Jesus knew we would be here on this day, looking for His message to us. He knew about the attachment we would need in our lives just to get through each waking day. He felt the frailty of this life in human form, and the temptations, and the loneliness. He stayed connected to His Father during His time on this earth, He prayed often. Jesus was also praying for us when He walked this earth, and He continues to be our voice to the Father in Heaven, pleading on our behalf. He does this because He loves us, as does the Father, and the Holy Spirit that resides within each believer. Let it be the desire of our hearts to love God “too.” Let it be the desire of our heart to read His love letters to us, often, to talk them over with Him, often, and to get to know without a doubt that we are loved.

I read once, “How do we not doubt?” The answer was: “Don’t.” I know it seems like we should, I know it seems there are so many questions we should ask, so many rabbit trails that our minds should go down searching for Truth, but haven’t we all done that until we are worn out if we have been a believer for years? Wouldn’t it be easier to just, “Don’t.” To just stop doubting and believe? Sure, we should check it all out when we are a new believer, make some comparisons, line Jesus up with any other god and see that He is the One True God, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and then there comes a time to stop all the unrest and just Trust. Put all the doubts aside, shut down the rabbit trails, and stand firm with confidence on God’s solid foundation of Truth.

Let’s feel His love flowing into our lives and live in that love, loving Him back intentionally. In that intention, we will come to know our Savior because He will become a priority in our life.

And what about me continuing to write…? Well, I’ll rest in the Shadow of the Almighty, trusting Him if and when He puts more messages on my heart. It seems He has more to say through these fingers on this keyboard. On this day, at least!

Until we meet again,

Diane