Of Overwhelming Love and the Possibility of Creating More Frogs

As I’ve been reading through Isaiah and Jeremiah this week, the concepts of love and forgiveness keep blowing me away. God states all these things that were done by Israel, and that we all have done- not trusting Him even when we have seen so clearly that He is real and trustworthy, turning our backs on Him after He has provided everything we can imagine ever wanting plus some more, looking right in His face and denying that he exists or matters. And, understandably, He is upset about it. Like very upset. He is betrayed, denied, lied to, hurt, used.

Just like any of us would be in similar circumstances.

But He has the power to totally destroy us or turn us into frogs or make our lives horribly miserable or basically whatever He wants. And is totally justified to do so, and sometimes does. (Not the frog part though, I think….lol) And both Isaiah and Jeremiah are full of His threats to do so.

And there a lot of people stop, seeing only the “God of the Old Testament” (who is no different now, by the way….), lots of vengeance and war and things. And they totally miss the point.

Both books are at their heart, a call to repentance and a note of love. I cannot count how many times both books say
“I will restore you”
“Repent and I will enable you to overcome”
“I want to bless you”
“Your country will endure forever and all people will flock to you”
“I love you so much”
And that idea overwhelms me.

Think about it. You have an extremely close friend whom you care for very much. And they go through a hard time. So you give them everything you have- all your food, your clothes, your home. Not just to stay in or borrow. To own. Then they tell you they hate you. Things get bad for them again, and they come back to you, hoping you will help them. So you do. You give them all your savings, even that 401(k) you’ve been fighting to put money in for the last 20 years. They take it, of course, and run off. You don’t hear from them for two years. When you do, they just want more from you and don’t bother to even ask how you’ve been since they last saw you.

And you look at them and say, Yes, I want to help you and I will give you everything I can, but please tell me thank you. I love you, and I want to give you more. And I desire to be closer to you. And I forgive you.

Like that. How can you not love a God like that? How can you not be drawn to someone who will love you despite your open using and abusing of them, who still desires to be with you despite your failings?

Oh, God, how You love us!

When I first started this internship at Hope City, I was wanting to learn how to help others without enabling them. And I am learning that, it’s not about enabling someone or not in their problems. (Of course there are boundaries that need to be maintained. Don’t get me wrong. But I am becoming more convinced that those boundaries are more for that time period when the individual is seeking to overcome their difficulties. ) It’s about enabling someone to love. And the only way that can be done is by demonstrating love, lots of it.

Thank You Lord for the massive love You’ve demonstrated to us in the death and resurrection of Your Son, and the love that You continue to share!!! I am so humbled by all that You do for me.
Enable me to show that love better. Wake us up to our lethargy and wanderings from You and enable us to give as much as we have received from You.

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Christianity vs. environmentalism?

Matthew 12:12 (MSG)

Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!” 

I get so tired of Christianity being seen as a political position, as a religion.  In truth, it is neither; it is a relationship with the Creator.  But, as a ‘political position’ it is often seen as the non-environmentally friendly people, the ones who care just about a God who others see as non-existant or irrelevant….  especially when it comes to the care of animals, to whom are made less important that people.  All sorts of abuse have been and are done under this ‘banner’ of religion.

I feel like oftentimes the above verse is used to justify kindness to people, which it should be, but at the expense of animals.  But, God created them too.  Yes, we have dominion over the animals; we are higher than them.  But we are to care for them, to be good to them.  They are not our slaves or servants.  They are our companions, our providers, our helpers.   They are not test subjects orsubjects for genetic mutations.  They are God’s creation, something to help us see Him and His love for us.  We have been given them to eat if needed, to aid us when we need.  But we should not take advantage of that.  God forgive me for all the times I have!!!  They are His creation, His creatures and they are precious to Him.  As to the least of these, so you do to Me…   I believe as we come into a full relationship with Him, as we begin to see as He sees, we have more compassion; more love for everyone.  Including animals.  All of creation.  If we are to esteem the Creator, we must esteem the created.  Yes, I believe environmentalism is a very Christian thing, and it is a sin that we are not supporting it more.  I should support it more.   But, it must be done, as everything, with our eyes on Him.  All must be done for Him.  We cannot judge the actions of others or make environmentalism our chief goal or our religion.  It should flow naturally out of a relationship with Him.  With the God of the universe, of us all. 

How to achieve such a thing?  Simply by pursuing HIm and only Him.   By living as He did here on earth, with compassion and generosity and love.  Ruled by love.  Not seeking self to the detriment of whatever is in the way, but instead living in moderation and giving to others as needed.  There is no conflict between Christianity and environmentalism, provided it is done in this way.  

Loving people does not exclude loving the world or animals, nor does it excuse our actions toward them.