Posted in Different Scriptures, Different Thoughts

A Word of Love

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” (John 1:14a)

      During this season of Advent, we purposefully pay attention to the way God reveals His Love for us by sending His Son, which John refers to as the “Word” of God. Literally the “theo-logos”, the theology of God, which is Love. There are so many things we can say about this – and so many things have actually been said, written, and sung. Many of the words have been beautiful. Some of the words are more reflective of the commercialization of the holiday season overall. Yet still – so very much has been put into words. (This is often why I write poetry.)
I remember when our kids were infants (or still learning English). They would quietly mumble, make all kinds of noises, or even wail to vocalize the thoughts and emotions churning within.  Often as I held them, or sang near them as they slept I would sing the words of Irving Berlin’s “Just One Way to Say I Love You” which ends with the lines:

“I love you, and yearn for the day –
the day when you’ll say ‘I love you’.”

      Sure enough, when they became old enough to speak (and ask a million questions), there would be those melt-worthy moments when they would choose, unprompted, to say “I love you.”  It meant so much, and even as they’re teenagers now – still does.

I also remember some of the final conversations we had with my dad.  I remember how thankful I was, while living and serving in Hungary, to be able to fly to Michigan during his final moments.  Even in the midst of chaotic lock-downs and makeshift hospital procedures, I was allowed to sit with him.  I told him I loved him, and felt the squeeze of his hand letting me know he could hear me.  It meant so much to be able to put my words out there, and for them to be received in love.

Wanting to share a specific word, and to have it received by others is a human experience that reflects the heart of God who shares His Word. We see this heart and desire reflected, for better or worse, in the millions of social media accounts & blogs (this one included).  In the past, I’ve often written off the desire to “go viral” or build up large amounts of followers as one that could never have redemptive roots or ends in mind.  But as we focus on how “The Word became flesh…”, we can begin to see how all of these words flowing from so many minds and hearts are a global testimony that by its’ very existence, proclaims the God whose heart we have been created to reflect.

Before this is used as a theological defense for pursuing a career as an “Influencer” however, I would suggest that every good thing can be twisted and dis-ordered.  Every word that we share finds itself ordered rightly only when/as it is offered in submission to the ways and Kingdom of “The Word” which is Love.  This will not always (or usually) result in applause or an increase of followers.  In fact, scripture warns that we may often expect the opposite (Luke 6:26).

Still, in the gracious heart of a Father God who listens to our collective voices, we can imagine something similar to a Father who holds His infant.  He is so very patient and kind, as our words are not always reflecting of His nature or His invitation.  The baby cries, often unintelligibly, for that which she knows not.  She simply wants to know her needs are met, and that she has a source of comfort available.  He patiently sings to her in response, “I have Loved you, and yearn for the day – the day when you’ll say ‘I Love you’.”

I pray God grants me even a portion of such a heart, as I long to Love those He loves, as He Loves…

(Happy Christmas & Christmas-tide to you and yours. May we receive & join the Living Word.)

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“We are making pianos.”

“In the third chapter (of 1 Thessalonians) Paul prays, “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love, one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you : to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father.” He is not praying for something that has been done or for something to be done for unconverted souls, nor for something that is impossible to have done now. And in the fifth chapter he is still praying for the same thing, and that it may be done now. We give you Scripture texts that need not the least twisting or turning to bring them to bear upon this subject. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”

This doctrine is not of man, but is taught in the wondrous words of the Son of God, when He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with an thy heart, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,” and is taught in the catechism: “The chief end of man upon the earth is to glorify God, that he may enjoy Him forever.” Amen.

Noiselessly, stone upon stone, grew this great temple of God, built of stones made ready before they were brought. “There was neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building.” So is the house on high built of “lively stones,” ”a holy priesthood,” the eternal temple of our God. But the quarry is not a quiet place. There is heard the sound of hammers and chisels. There drills are ringing, and workmen shouting and running and sweating. There goes a blast, and there a great ledge of rock comes thundering down. The quarry is a place of business, and there is the noise and whirl of eager activities, as souls are excavated and fitted for the symmetries and the symphonies of heaven.

A man who had never heard a piano before was so thrilled and enraptured with the wondrous melody that he started off to find the piano factory, expecting there to be ravished by the many, mingling strains of music. But he found only the whirl and buzz of machinery, the rasping sound of saws, the clatter of hammers, the patter of hurrying feet, and dust, and din, and stroke, and shout, with which the work went on. Wait a while; nor chide the din and rush and shout; we are making pianos.

But these “lively stones” after they brought into line, are to be polished. A short time since they were shapeless hard-heads or rough boulders of granite. You can see your features reflect in the massive pillars that rise in front of the court house in Chicago.

God polishes with life’s tests and trials until His saints shine.” – Vivian Dake

These words were just a small part of a message preached by Vivian Dake, Free Methodist founder of the Pentecost Bands in the later 1800’s, as he spoke at a Presbyterian church in Attica, IN. These “Bands” of 4 young men or women were being sent out all over the United States, Europe, and Africa. One of the “Pentecost Bands” of young women sent out by Dake in 1889 was a vital part of founding the Free Methodist Church here in Champaign, IL (originally in Urbana, IL, 1890). Led by Rena Brown, what they found here in Urbana was a famine, as mentioned in Amos 8:11, “Not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

We pray that our lives can be used by God to protect against such a famine returning.  Not only that the words of Scripture would be read aloud & heard, but may they be lived out and actively transforming lives by the power and New Creation Life of the Holy Spirit – setting all people free from that which wounds and oppresses, bringing healing and redemption as it bears fruit for the Kingdom of Jesus.

To read more of the life, ministry, and writings of Vivian Dake, click here.

Posted in Different Scriptures

Psalm 1

Psalm 1

Blessed are those who know Your Word
The Way You’ve died to reveal
Happy are these who, by such things
Become Your Will to heal

They who are not followers
Of ways the world has shown
They who bear Your Spirits’ fruit
From seeds Your Word has sown

They are like trees near water
Like solar cells near sun
Lives that soak and also proclaim
The Truth, Your Kingdom, come

Not blessed by mere proximity
But blessed as they draw in
Your present gracious Love for us
Offered again and again

Today, may I not only come
To know that You are near
May I know You as source of Life
Not only God to fear

Watch over me, Lord Jesus now
I breathe slowly, Your breath
That Love which conquered all unlove
That Life which conquers death