The Great Loyal Love of God

Dust-articleInlineOne of the sections of the Psalms that I enjoy is Psalm 103.  The Psalmist describes the Lord as being compassionate, merciful, patient, and demonstrative with His “great loyal love.”

As you read the verses below, notice the ebb and flow as the author builds on the foundation he’s laid:

The Lord is compassionate and merciful; He is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. He does not always accuse, and does not stay angry. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; He does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve. For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers. As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers. For he knows what we are made of; He realizes we are made of dust.

Because the Lord is compassionate, merciful, patient, and He has a “great loyal love:

  • He does not always accuse.
  • He doesn’t stay angry.
  • He doesn’t deal with us as our sins deserve.
  • He doesn’t repay us as our misdeeds deserve.
  • He removes the guilt of our sin.

Why does God do this?  It’s because it’s His character to do so, but there is another reason:  He knows who you are—a fragile pile of dust.   When you fail, God could sweep you up and toss you aside, but He is compassionate, merciful, patient, and He has a “great loyal love” for you.

On your own; in your frail strength; and in your confused wisdom, the best you can do is to make a mud pie out of your life.  Then, when the storms of life come, you’re just a muddy mess.  You’re like the prodigal son who wallowed in the pig pen of life and ate the swill and hog slop with the rest of the pigs.

But, like the prodigal,  something wonderful can happen that will change your life.  You can remember that the Father is compassionate, merciful, patient, and He has a “great loyal love” for you, and you can go home to the Father’s house:  “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers. For he knows what we are made of; He realizes we are made of dust.”

Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

WK-AV921_COVER__DV_20101110182743One of the more remarkable stories of World War II, was chronicled in Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  This book by Laura Hillenbrand tells the compelling story of the life of Louis Zamperini.

As I was thinking about the events of this week, I reflected on Zamperini’s life which underwent a dramatic change when Louis’ plane crashed into the Pacific ocean.   As the subtitle of the book says, Louis’ story is one of survival, resilience, and redemption.

  • He survived 47 days afloat on a raft in the Pacific ocean
  • His resilience enabled him to make it through his POW experience
  • He found redemption after his post war life began to crumble and his marriage was about to fail

Over the course of his life, Zamperini experienced several life-changing events.  Perhaps the most important change occurred  when his wife convinced him to attend a revival being conducted by a young evangelist named Billy Graham.

During the sermon, Louis was reminded of a promise he had made while adrift on the raft and about to die of thirst.  Louis had promised od that he would serve heaven forever, if he could only be rescued.

The heart of Louis was stirred when Graham said:  “When people come to the end of their rope and there’s nowhere to turn, they turn to God—no matter who they are.” Louis thought to himself: “I made thousands of promises on the raft and in prison camp. He kept His promises, but I didn’t keep mine.”   Louis went to the prayer room and made a confession of faith in Christ, and said: “While I was still on my knees, I knew my whole life had changed . . . I felt this perfect calm, a peace. The Bible calls it the peace that passes all understanding. I knew then that I was through getting drunk, smoking, and chasing around. I also knew I’d forgiven all my prison guards.”

Louis Zamperini discovered the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17:  If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Through this verse, Louis learned the power of redemption and forgiveness.  He also realized that God was giving him a second chance to keep his promise and to make the most of his life.

Why not give God the chance to change you through a second chance?

 

Note: Zamperini was 97 when he died in July of this year.

Are You Brusque, Pushy or Condescending?

pusypeopleYesterday, I posted in this blog about a principle from Philippians 2. Since then, my thoughts have centered on the word “condescending.” This is due in a large part to some work done by Nic Subtirelu, a linguist at Georgia State University.

The idea behind the word “condescending” is this:
• A person with authority is abusing his/her power
• A person has an attitude of superiority in the way he/she interacts with other people.

Jesus did not think He was superior to others—He knew it; yet He willingly humbled Himself. Through His actions and attitudes, Jesus paints a stark contrast in bold strokes and with the vivid colors of humility and service.

His humility is seen in Philippians 2: “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.”

In a loving act of humility, Jesus “emptied” Himself. He laid aside all prestige and praise, and left the fragrance of heaven to be born in a stable thick with the pungent smell of dung.

This King of kings and Lord of lords was born, not to be served; but, to serve others. Alive in Him was the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:8-9); yet, He walked down the ladder of glory, so He could be hung up on a cross. This was no display of condescension—it was an act of redemption.

Condescending people are full of themselves, and deep down inside there is a gnawing emptiness. The redeemed are full of God, and deep within them is the knowledge Christ’s love. In which group are you?