Monday, March 8, 2010

“Love is a Very Powerful Thing.”

Over my life I have found that there is nothing more powerful than love. I have witnessed parents love their children through sickness, tragedies, celebration, disappointment, failures, and triumphs. I have watched couples overcome huge life obstacles because of the love they hold for each other. Sadly enough I have also observed individuals do tremendous harm, destruction, and damage under the name of love. Either for good or for evil, love is a very powerful thing. Love can cause us to continue on, when we normally would have given up. In Luke, Jesus tells us three parables about love. The first parable tells of how the seeking shepherd travels into the wilds to bring home the lost sheep because love is not gooey, otherworldly, and removed from reality but it's logical and practical, and, because of that, sometimes hard. In the second parable, the old woman and the lost coin we see another wonderful quality to love: Love is persistent: This woman in Luke 15 loses a coin and looks...and looks...and looks until she finds it. When she finds it she rejoices with her friends. The third parable tells of the loving father whose young wayward second son went off to a far country and whose life ended up in a downward spiral until he came to his senses in a pig pen and turned back towards home. It tells us that no matter how far we have traveled from God there is always a way back home because of God's love and the cross on which God's only begotten Son, Jesus, died in our place.In each we are reminded that love is persistent. Love does not give in or give up. Even when times are hard, God promises to love us not matter what.
In his novel, The Testament, John Grisham paints a powerful word portrait of one man's surrender to God's will. Nate O'Reilly, a disgraced corporate attorney, is plagued by alcoholism and drug abuse. After two marriages, four detox programs, and a serious health crisis, Nate acknowledges his need for God. Grisham describes the dramatic transformation in these words: With both hands, he clenched the back of the pew in front of him. He repeated his list, mumbling softly every weakness and flaw and affliction and evil that plagued him. He confessed them all. In one long glorious acknowledgment of failure, he laid himself bare before God. He held nothing back. He unloaded enough burdens to crush any three men, and when he finally finished Nate had tears in his eyes. "I'm sorry," he whispered to God. "Please, help me." As quickly as the fever had left his body, he felt the baggage leave his soul. With one gentle brush of the hand, his slate had been wiped clean. He breathed a massive sigh of relief, but his pulse was racing. Perhaps like Nate, you need to make a list of things to bring before the Lord. When you do, you will find Christ waiting and ready to hear and forgive. Take it from Jesus Himself, "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents/changes."
See ya in church but until then love one another and take care of yourself and your neighbor.
Shalom, Tommy

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