Locked Into Love (reblog)

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

In June 2015, the city of Paris removed forty-five tons of padlocks from the railings of the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge. As a romantic gesture, couples would etch their initials onto a lock, attach it to the railing, click it shut, and throw the key into the River Seine.

After this ritual was repeated thousands of times, the bridge could no longer bear the weight of so much “love.” Eventually the city, fearing for the integrity of the bridge, removed the “love locks.”

The locks were meant to symbolize everlasting love, but human love does not always last. The closest of friends may offend each other and never resolve their differences. Family members may argue and refuse to forgive. A husband and wife may drift so far apart that they can’t remember why they once decided to marry. Human love can be fickle.

But there is one constant and enduring love—the love of God. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever,” proclaims Psalm 106:1. The promises of the unfailing and everlasting nature of God’s love are found throughout Scripture. And the greatest proof of this love is the death of His Son so that those who put their faith in Him can live eternally. And nothing will ever separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38–39).

Fellow believers, we are locked into God’s love forever.

I’m grateful for Your unending love, Father. I’m locked into Your love by the Holy Spirit who is living in me.

 

Christ’s death and resurrection are the measure of God’s love for me.

 

INSIGHT:Christ’s work on the cross to secure our salvation has been completed. With a triumphant proclamation, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus returned to the Father. Now seated at God’s right hand, the exalted Christ continues His redemptive and sanctifying work as our eternal High Priest (Heb. 4:14–16). He is our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1–2; 1 Tim. 2:5), always defending and interceding for us (Heb. 7:24–25; 9:24). Paul confidently writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). No one can successfully bring a charge of condemnation against those who are in Christ (vv. 33–34).

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Obedience in spite of Inconvenience (reblog)

I Samuel 15:22 (b), “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

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This last week in Portland we experienced a snow storm. Well, people from other parts of the country wouldn’t call it that. But it was bad enough for us here to have a hard time with it. The result was many people stuck in traffic for hours on end on the first day of the “storm”. One of the conveniences afforded to us by social media is being able to instantly update every one about our situation. We can also share our inconveniences, frustrations in real time for the world to see! Long gone are the days when you had to wait till you get home to voice your displeasure about the bad weather or poor traffic conditions! None of us like to be inconvenienced and the weather certainly did a lot of that last week.

Several people I know spent 3-5 hours in traffic, in a commute that usually…

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Immanuel – God With Us

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A 21-year-old young woman was pregnant with twins. She had her first child at the age of 17 years and she was looking forward to the arrival of the two babies.

Due to some medical complications, the doctors put her on bed rest while waiting for the birth of the twins. After a period of time in the hospital, she gave birth to two healthy boys. She named one Irvine, the second Ian. Irvine was big, healthy baby, while Ian was cute and smaller.

On the second day after the birth of the boys, the nurse handed Irvine to the young woman to nurse him which she did. Then, the nurses handed the young woman, Ian. The mother immediately recognized that this was not Ian. She told the nurse this was not her son. She knows her Ian – this was not Ian. The nurse told the woman to be quiet.

The young mother began to cry hysterically. The nurse could not calm her and left. It was then that she called her family who suggested that a police report be filed. The police came and began to investigate.

The family began praying for missing Ian. A few days later, a nurse was arrested. She had stolen and sold Ian to a family who was wanting a son. When the child was handled to the young mother, she cried and kissed her baby. she said, “you are no longer Ian. You are Emmanuel. God with us.”

In this Advent season, we celebrate that God is with us. He became real and lives with us today.

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That young woman is my mother.  Emmanuel is my young brother, of whom I am very proud. Emmanuel is now a minister of the gospel. He and Jennifer Masango are Salvation Army officers in the Cascade Division in Oregon.

  • God is flesh amongst us.  He has not left us alone.  He IS God with us
  • Are you lonely?  Are you frustrated? 
  • Do you feel abandoned, rejected, and lonely?
  • Life not working?  Things not adding up? 
  • God will never leave you nor forsake.
  • He is with the broken-hearted, the abused, and the neglected.

You are not alone.

You are loved.

You are precious in His eyes.

He loves you.

He cares for you.

He is with you.  He has your picture in His phone. 

 Scriptures:

  • Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  • 1Samuel 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.
  • John 14:18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
  • Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
  • Romans 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

He Knows My Name

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In 2000, Rutendo and I had the honor of having tea at the late General Eva Burrows’ condo in Melbourne, Australia.  I was thrilled to know she knew my last name.  General Eva Burrows served as a teacher at various Salvation Army schools in Zimbabwe for 17 years.  She remembered the Masango name from Howard High School, where my uncles and father had been her students.

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 I was happy the General of The Salvation Army knew my family name.  How much more comforting it is to know God knows our names.  Isaiah argues that God cares for us so much that He has written our names on the palms of His hands. Isaiah 49:15-16, which says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

This thought of God’s personal, and intimate knowledge of me is astounding. And yet I can’t help but wonder, “What else does God know about me?”

He knows my situation.

God knows my struggles.

God knows my pain.

He knows my sorrows.

He knows my failures.

He knows my fears and anxieties.

He knows my anger and frustrations.

He knows my weaknesses.

Yet, He knows and loves me,

Isaiah 43:1-2 says, “But now, this is what the Lord says—  he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

God loves you.  He knows your name.

Check out the words to the song “He Knows My Name.”

I have a Maker; He Formed My Heart;

Before even time began; My life was in his hands;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXsiWoyjw60

10 Points to Consider When Making Decisions

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  1. TIME.  Give yourself more time before making tough decisions. Avoid making rushed decisions.  Many of us are suffering the negative consequences of jumping the gun. Whenever possible, resist the urge to make speedy decisions.  Good decisions are made when enough information and data are present.
  2. PRAYER.  What is God saying about the decision? Spend time in prayer seeking God’s direction.
  3. BIBLE. What does the Bible say about the situation? Read the Bible.  Seek God’s direction through His Word.
  4. CIRCUMSTANCES.  Watch everything around you?  Are there any doors being shut?  Are there doors uniquely opening in other areas?
  5. OTHERS.  Seek wise counsel from respected, spiritually mature friends, family, church. Involve others because they see things you do not see. They speak from experience and knowledge you might not possess.
  6. MOTIVE. Be honest with yourself.  Why are you making that specific decision? What’s your motive? If your motive is impure, stop.

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7. HISTORY. How do your history and experience affect your decisions?  Have you made similar decisions in the past? What were the results?  Life often goes in cycles.  History often repeats itself.  Let your past inform your present to make sound future decisions.

8. WARNING. Before you continue.  Be sober.  Be wise.  Do you see any warning signs ahead? Are there any red flags you are ignoring?  Considering the warnings will save you from making terrible mistakes.

9. RESULTS.  What’s the result of making any of the decisions? What are you trying to accomplish? Will you be happy with your decision a few years down the line? Wherever and whenever you make a decision, just remember, one day you will have to live with the results.  One day you will have to give an account of those decisions.

10.  TESTIMONY. How does the decision affect your Christian witness? Some decisions are made in the heat of the moment.  Some decisions are made in closed rooms.  The world is watching.  What will they say about our God, based on your decisions? Do your decisions show Christ?

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James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

The words of Eleanor Roosevelt ring true: One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. 

Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway,  p. 143.

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