The Solution to Everything

Sometimes, certain Christian music can land on my spirit in a way that shows me how close the Lord and His Spirit are to me. A song that focuses on the character of God and His love for me transcends past my self-protected shield and targets the softest places in my heart. Does this happen to you too?

Yesterday on social media, a national speaker recommended a song. It caused me to research it. Then watch it. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings, “I Love the Lord.” Their soulful style pierces the depths of me, cuts through my shame and guilt, and affirms my love for the Lord. Praise His Name.

The song was written in the 17th century by Isaac Watts. And when I wonder about that era of time, what was going on then, I conclude, as Solomon says, “nothing new is under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That means nothing is new, nothing. The same human nature has existed all this time, and Isaac, for whatever reason, was making a claim that, in spite of this fact, he loved the Lord.

The test of the Christian life is loving the Lord through the hard and challenging times. Each challenge can purify our hearts and make us more like Jesus, or we can choose to allow bitterness to creep in and like a tarnished, silver spoon, be unusable and dull.

If we long to be faithful to God, we will learn through it all to love Him, not the outcome of our problems. We let Him mold us, and we learn how to keep fellowship with Him through spiritual disciplines, instead of keeping Him at a distance. We learn our need for Him is far greater than whatever our plea is at the time. It is His love, His character, and His faithfulness that help us in our weakness and temptation.

We learn as Habakkuk proclaimed in his suffering, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18).

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For me, as I continue through all the bumps and bruises of life, the unexpected disappointments, the spider webs in my face situations that I can’t get rid of, I realize I still love the Lord. I have learned that loving the Lord is no longer my challenge but is my solution to everything.

I LOVE THE LORD

I love you, Lord; you heard my cries,
and pitied every groan;
Long as I live, when troubles rise,
I’ll hasten to your throne.

I love you, Lord; you bow your ear;
you’re ever good and just.
Then let my heart feel no despair!
Your power has all my trust.

If you behold me sore distressed,
you bid my pains remove;
I’ll turn my soul to you, my rest,
and witness to your love.

Isaac Watts 1719

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1-2

©Valerie Rumfelt

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Love Big

cathal-mac-an-bheatha-208192-unsplashAre you dreading Valentine’s Day? Expectations of an upcoming Valentine’s Day are looming as the day approaches. We long to be on the receiving end of any gesture of friendship or love. 

Last year, I took a class where John 12:1-8 was studied. Let’s see if the following thoughts can help you with your expectations and save you some hurt and disappointment.

In this passage, we find Jesus reclining at the home of Lazarus; Mary is near Jesus. Martha is serving. 

Readers of this story have a higher view of Mary because of her outward display of devotion toward Jesus. She gave all she had to worship Jesus and show her love to Him. This story is about one who loves big.

It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the One Jesus had raised from the dead.

A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among the people at the table with Jesus. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”

 


What lavish love Mary displays.

Have you shown this kind of love toward Jesus?

Do you know how to love that big? 

Compared to Jesus, we all fall short of loving big. 

        I don’t believe that people can love big if they haven’t fallen in love with Jesus.

When we fall in love with Jesus, our focus changes, and obedience to Him is first. We can enjoy His presence in our lives. We will do things we previously wouldn’t have done. Our actions marked by faith in the One

  • who has our back
  • who will see the purity in our hearts AND
  • who appreciates our selfless motivation and sacrifice

We live for the audience of One.

Loving big means we care more about what God thinks than how another human will receive or perceive our love. This is huge in preventing unnecessary pain. Please remember this part.  Now on with the story!

Judas’s weakness was that he cared only for himself. When he tried to deceitfully make a point about Mary’s love toward Jesus being misguided, the selfishness and darkness in his character were exposed.

The difference between Judas and Mary is stark. Judas cared only for himself, but not only that, he attempted to garner favor for his position by pulling in the poor as his cover. Acting in this way, Judas reveals his true colors. 

Jesus, of course, was the one concerned for the poor, most of all. The fact that Judas tried this tactic with Jesus present exposed even more unfavorable and repulsive traits about Judas. close up of figurine

Mary, on the other hand, is generous in her expression of love. To be clear, it was a display. Unabashed, Mary seems oblivious to the dark character sitting near her in Judas and still displays a lavish love for Jesus using a lavish product. She is one to admire and esteem.

Jesus knew both hearts, of course, and welcomed Mary’s love and worship while penetrating the darkness of Judas with a direct command to leave Mary alone.

This story thrills me. Jesus, a man willing to fellowship with friends and foes alike. And ready to defend the pure in heart, willing to receive a lavish love, and appreciate the sacrifice. Yet, in a few words, He exposes the motives and forces of evil sitting near Him.

This story gives new meaning to true love and can give you another reason to let Jesus love you and your heart. Your heart is safe with Him. Focus on your relationship with Him this Valentine’s Day. Celebrate your relationship with Him if you know Him.

Here’s an opportunity for you to try this Valentine’s Day. Why not write Jesus a love letter thanking Him for who He is and remembering how well He has loved you?

Mary held nothing back, and she’s a worthy example of one who had so richly experienced the love of Jesus and was eager to love Him.

Jesus is the answer to a dull and jaded heart. He’s the only One who can help us love lavishly. Usually, this shows up best in how we love our neighbors under our roof and around us. Jesus rewards a pure heart every time. A life of devotion to Him is a life marked by devotion to Him.

This Valentines Day, don’t hold back. Spend time with Jesus. Give Him your heart. Ask forgiveness for holding any part of it back from Him. Doing this will enable you to love big.

Let Jesus protect your heart.

We see in this story, He surely will.

©Valerie Rumfelt

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