Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Revisiting the Marina's Kitchen Table Archives - #2

I recently found the hard drive of all my first posts, writing in a Yahoo Group called Marina's Kitchen Table. It was the same thing as here, but perhaps a little more devotional in writing, as I leaned hard on God during a really difficult season in life. 

I'm sharing those first writings again, as we make another move, and I anticipate my time at the computer to be more focused on getting the work done on that handbook on Missionary Care. 

I hope that you enjoy these entries as much as I do. I have NO idea where this journey will go, as I was as irregular a writer then as I am now! :)  Some things never change! 

Be blessed!
Marina
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Someone Loves YOU!!

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great that you  will never understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of  life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 NLT

For each of us, there is a different reason that we came to Christ. Some have grown up with a relationship with Jesus. Some find themselves in awe of God, the Creator. Some of us just want to be loved, and we realize that the only love that will not disappoint is the love of Jesus Christ.

To me, the Bible is a love story. We were created in His image, to have fellowship with Him because He loved us. In the New Testament, our Savior is born a child (and who doesn’t love a baby?) only to grow into a man that gives his own life for our sins…out of His great love for us.  Sacrificial Love.

In Brennan Manning’s book  The Ragamuffin Gospel, he tells of his historical findings while in the Deep South. The phrase “born again” was seldom, if ever used in the Christian community. However, it was commonly said that “I was seized by the power of a great affection” to describe the personal breakthrough of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Mr. Manning continues, “These words describe both the initiative of God and the explosion within the heart when Jesus, instead of being a face on a holy card with long hair and a robe with many folds, becomes real, alive, and Lord of one’s personal and professional life. Seized by the power of a great affection was a visceral description of the phenomenon of Pentecost, authentic conversion, and the release of the Holy Spirit. The phrase lent new meaning to the old Russian proverb, “Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured.”” Well, AMEN!

The love of Jesus  is what drew me to Him. The motivation of my young, promiscuous life was looking for unconditional love. When the search left me broken hearted, broken bodied, and depressed, I cried out “IF there is a God, he had better meet me here, because I don’t want to live any more!!” Surprise of all surprises, He met me there. It was no longer my way, because my way didn’t work. I was finally willing to accept His love and His ways. It was still with a struggle that I learned what He had to offer me, and that I would have to change my ways. He was patient (and still is!) and continued to teach me, the whole time showing me His perfect unconditional love. I learned that He doesn’t expect us to come to Him after we clean up our lives, that is a job that He cherishes. Like lovingly rebuilding an old house, or restoring a classic car, He removes the layers of what doesn’t work, or what is broken down, and replaces it with His new way, His new part, His new heart. Slowly we mend. Sometimes I would think that the old way was better, and He would gently pick me up, clean me off, and remind me that I am worth so much more now. He changed me from the inside out. I was seized by the power of HIS great affection.

So now I have the disease called Jesus, and I don’t seek to be cured! I am addicted to His love, pure and perfect. I am willing to wait on Him, for Him, and with Him. I desire to infect as many other people as possible with this disease, so that it becomes an epidemic. I am willing to allow it to change my whole life. I expect that it will change, and I can trust Him with it, because HE LOVES ME!!

Do you desire true love? Well, let me remind you…
There IS someone who loves you very much. He gave His life for you, and He desires to spend eternity with you. Every moment of every day He desires to spend with you. To tell you secrets and share His vision of the future He is planning with you. He wants you to love Him more than any other thing, and expects you to spend the most important parts of your day with Him. He is hurt when you do things that disappoint Him, but He is always willing to forgive you. He loves the sound of your voice. He loves to hear your dreams, your desires, but loves it most when you are willing to listen to His dreams, His desires for your life. He has written you a book, and it He loves when you read it, as it allows you to learn more of Him. He knows that the more time you spend together, you will become more like Him. Only then will you be able to love others the way that He loves you…unconditionally.

If it were an earthly person that this was about, most women would go crazy!! To think that there was a man out there who wanted these things…writing me books, spending time with me, listening to me?? It would be a dream come true!! The fact is, that He does exist. He does love us this way, and that is what our heart longs for. The only problem is that we expect that longing to be filled by a person. Imperfect, broken, yet what every romance novel leads us to believe is the only solution. Fall in love….it will satisfy all your longings….NOT! Only Jesus’ love will fill those longings. He made us with a hole that can only be filled with Him. When we allow ourselves to fall in love with Him, we are then made whole. We are then seized by the power of a great affection. It changes us. We are His, willingly surrendering our wants for His needs.  Only then we are made complete.

That is where my journey began, with the search for true love. It has led me on a wonderful walk with Him. Oh, there are valleys that have been dark and difficult, but I have not ever been alone. There have been times that I have chosen my own path, refused to walk in His ways, and I have had to suffer the consequences of those choices.  Still, He has never left my side.  He has shown me the beauty in those valleys, and the glory of the mountain tops. Just as each season has its' own qualities, I have things to learn in each season of life. I have experienced true love. I have been loved. I have loved. I will love, with His love in me. I am seized by the power of a great affection. This is what love is all about.

Blessings,

marina