Tag Archives: God

Filling Your Love Tank

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Ephesians 3:17-18 “be rooted and established in love so that we may have the power to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

God had me thinking about the concept of love recently.  I don’t know if He used last week’s date of February 14th to peek my interest in the topic or if it was just time for me to reflect on how His abounding love has transformed my life.  Regardless, as the hoopla of Valentine’s Day came and went, I realized just how much my image of love has changed.  Believe me, it’s been a long, hard lesson for a self-confessed “love junkie” like me to learn.  Let me explain.

For many years, I looked to those around me to fill my need for love.  I would crave the attention, adoration, or affection of my family and friends; then, however much I received, or didn’t receive, of this love would determine my emotions and subsequent actions.  I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it was like an addiction – one that left me looking to anyone for my next “fix.”  I found myself in a self-centered cycle of sin which, looking back, brought with it many self-inflicted scars.  You see, the pressure I put on those around me (in particular my spouse) to satisfy a need only my Heavenly Father could fill was like putting a square in a round hole – as much as I tried to make it fit, as much as I wanted the love of those around me to fill me up, I was always left with some empty space.  This emptiness would inevitably leave me looking for someone to blame.  Praise God, after much soul searching and mis-guided finger pointing, I found who the guilty party was – me!  I had placed myself in a position where my so-called “love tank” would never get filled, and I knew I needed to make some changes.  Our compassionate God gently spoke those changes to me through His precious Holy Word.

 As Believers, we know God is love (1 John 4:8), and we were created in His image (Genesis 1:27).  Therefore, to experience love is an essential component to our being.  In fact, even a study in Forbes magazine called “The Science of Love” concluded love was more of a “primal drive akin to hunger, than it was an emotion.”  Knowing this, what happens when we run on empty in that department?  I mean, let’s face it, we are sinful people having relationships with other sinful people, and, on top of that, we live in a sinful world – most likely, no one is getting their fill of love purely from those around us.  The fact is, while we were made for love, we were made specifically for God’s love, and only He can fill our alleged love tank.  Don’t get me wrong, as humans, we can enjoy, esteem, and cherish the love of our family and friends, but we are not to rely on it.  We must, as our Father tells us through the disciple John, “rely on God’s love” (1 John 4:16) alone, and trust me, it’s an incredible, unconditional, individual type of love!  

But, there’s even better news – the only prerequisite God requires of His children to experience His amazing love is for us to open up our hearts to Him through our time and cultivate a more intimate relationship.  After all, we can’t truly receive the love of someone without knowing who they are.  The apostle Paul tells us we must “be rooted and established in love (or God) so that we may have the power to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-18).  We can’t grasp the love of our Savior without developing roots where it can grow.  Rest assured, when it grows, you are blessed with the most incredible taste of true love – a love which surpasses this life into eternity. 

How is your love tank these days?  Are you  trying desperately to fill it with the love of those around you?  Or have you found, the only true spiritual gas station for your tank?  I have to be honest, while my image of love has changed over the years, it continues to be a daily struggle for me to look only to God to fill me.   My flesh can be strong.  Without consistent redirection, it can guide me to the wrong fueling station, leaving me with that familiar feeling of emptiness.  Where are you fueling up?  Do you need redirection?  Have no doubt, there is a station close by where your love tank can be filled, and its Attendant is always waiting with a surplus of fuel!

Until next week, making my way to His station and standing at His pump…Katie

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Stepping Into God’s Zone

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2 Corinthians 12:10 “That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Well, He did it again.  God stepped into my comfort zone and challenged me to step out.  He enjoys doing that every now and then to make sure I stay on my toes, because, admittedly – I like to be comfortable.  I’m not fond of embarrassing, awkward, unpleasant or self-conscious situations, and I certainly don’t take pleasure in willingly putting myself in those circumstances.  But God does.  I’ve found it’s where He does His best work.

God took the initiative to confront me through a comedian named Michael Jr. who recently spoke at our church at a special Sunday night service.  His presentation was hilarious, but even better was the message his material brought – step out of your comfort zone and God WILL have your back.  He went on to explain how God had blessed him with this amazing ability to make people laugh.  It was a gift – a gift Michael Jr. knew needed to be shared with those who were hurting the most across America.  So, he decided to step out of his comfort zone and see if his gift could make a difference.  In his words, he decided it was time to stop “getting laughs and start giving them.”  So, on the road he went.

God led him to several different venues – a homeless shelter, a shelter for abused children, a clinic with HIV patients, but one of the places that pushed Michael Jr. out of his comfort zone the most was a highly secured prison facility.  It was where God wanted him to go, but certainly, not where he wanted to be.  He tells the story of walking into the prison, and for the first time on this journey, being scared.  He had no idea what he was going to say to these men.  He began to pray, “Lord, you have brought me here.  What am I going to say to these men who are facing life sentences behind bars?  How can I give them laughter?  How can this gift you have given me affect these men?”  Michael Jr. literally had no material as he walked into the room filled with men who had absolutely no expression on their faces.  He says he stepped on stage full of fear feeling completely alone.  But he wasn’t alone.  God was there, and He had been preparing for Michael Jr.’s arrival.  You see, as Michael Jr. looked out into the audience of men, one man in particular caught his attention.  It was a man with long white hair and a white beard.  Seconds passed.  Michael Jr. says he still didn’t know what he was going to say or how he was going to get these men to trust him enough to laugh.  He then, on a whim, decided to ask the older man what his name was – his answer – “Moses.”  Michael Jr. knew immediately his Lord was not only there, but He had his back!  He finished telling the story in a hilarious way, saying he looked at the man and exclaimed, “Moses, I want you to do me a favor.  Tomorrow, I want you to go to the warden, look him straight in the eyes and say, ‘warden – let my people go!’”  The entire room broke out in laughter, and by the end of the show, lives were changed.  Did you get that?  As a result of his discomfort, as a result of his obedience, lives were changed.  Are there lives around you that need to be changed?  Is God calling you to possibly change your life by doing some work for Him?  Rest assured, you don’t have to visit a prison to make a difference.

Stepping out of your comfort zone has many different facets.  It can be the more obvious physical step of faith – serving at a local shelter, volunteering in your community, going on a mission trip, or befriending someone who is different from you.  However, stepping out of your comfort zone can also be an emotional step of faith – letting go of anger or bitterness and allowing joy to dwell, offering forgiveness in what seems to be an unforgiveable situation, allowing peace to reign in a season of chaos, or being kind to those who are cruel.  Both types of steps require spiritual courage, and both can be difficult.  After all, it’s scary when we step into the unfamiliar territory of what I can only call the “God zone.”  God’s zone challenges us.  It makes us rely solely on His power, and that can be frightening.  Remember when Moses was called by God to save the enslaved Israelites, he exclaimed, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (Exodus 4:13). Even the Apostle Paul was scared to step out of his comfort zone as seen in his letter to the Corinthians, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).  When God calls us into His zone, we subject ourselves to rejection, disappointment and hurt, so our flesh pulls us in the other direction.  But God wants us to put our insecurities into His mighty hands.  He wants us to celebrate our weaknesses instead of running from them so that His power may be made perfect.  Both Moses and Paul saw this incredible  power first hand.  In fact, as a result, Paul gave us some words of wisdom when we doubt our ability to step out of our comfort zone, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

If we want to experience the magnificent power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is essential for us to step into God’s zone and out of our accustomed one of comfort.   God will be there waiting for us.  Remember, when we make that courageous move, He WILL have our back.  May we hold each other accountable in making those steps of faith.  For as a result of our steps, lives will be changed – and that life may be our own.

Until next week, desperately trying to take a giant step into His zone… Katie

The King’s Water

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John 4:14 “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This past summer, my husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to take our children on a mission trip to N’Soko, Swaziland, a small country bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa.  It was a life changing trip in so many ways, and the experience continues to affect my walk with God each day.  While we were there, we had the amazing privilege of spending time with local widows and children, many of whom are orphans as Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.  Although the women and children are desolate, poverty-stricken and desperate for a nurturing touch, their inner spirit screams with enthusiasm for our Lord, and it was completely refreshing to see.  In addition to their passion for God, they also possess a love and servanthood for one another that was overwhelming.  Being there, I felt as if I was witnessing what the body of Christ is supposed to look like – it was in its purest form.

As I transitioned back to my “real” world in the States after this trip, it took me a while to process everything I had seen.  I kept wondering, despite their despicable living conditions, could the children and women in Swaziland I came to love be more blessed than me and my family and friends are here?  I knew it was a crazy and irrational thought.  After all, each day they are faced with obstacles of pure survival – simple, every day runs for us to the grocery store for food and medication are unfathomable fantasies for them.  Still, this illogical thought continued to be one I couldn’t seem to shake.  Why did the impoverished people we left thousands of miles away seem to have more of God’s precious Holy Spirit than I did?   I knew I needed to reevaluate my walk with God and my walk with the world.

One of my biggest problems as a follower of Christ is learning how to follow Jesus’ words of “not belonging to this world” (John 15:19).  It is something I struggle with on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis!  I long to be salt and light, yet I feel as though sometimes, I’m just blending in with the scenery around me.  Anyone relate?  I forsake the responsibilities I have to honor Christ and, instead, hold onto the deceptive lies of this fallen world.  I become like the people of Judah whom the Lord spoke of to the prophet Jeremiah, “my people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2:13).  Jesus tells us over and over again in the Gospels that He is that living water.  Are my daily choices creating cracks in my personal cistern?  Is that why I sometimes feel drained of His living water and subsequent power of His Holy Spirit?

I began to recognize the people I encountered in Swaziland do just the opposite of me – they deliberately renounce the world in which they live and cling to Christ.  They don’t have the luxeries my life and those around me have.  They, quite literally, only have Jesus.  He is the eternal hope that their life here on earth isn’t their final destination.  They certainly “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6); and as a result, the Lord has blessed them with the kind of water Jesus refers to when He is speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well.  In the gospel of John, Jesus tells the woman “everyone who drinks this (world’s) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).  This is a verse I must remind myself to claim as truth in my spiritual walk!  Unlike my friends in Africa, my life here is comfortable, pleasurable, and secure, but these blessings will never quench the thirst of my soul. For I was created in the image of my King, and only His spring of living water will satisfy – only His spring will bring me wisdom, knowledge, and true joy.

As I close today, I leave reflecting on the lives of those believers who are truly suffering in the body of Christ.  May we kneel at our Savoir’s spring in honor of them this week, so that the King’s water may fill us and splash onto the lives of those around us.

Until next week, sipping a glass from the King… Katie