Monday, May 7, 2012

I'll Take you Back.....ALWAYS

I don't know how to explain it
But I know that words will hardly do
Miracles with signs and wonders
Aren't enough for me to prove to you

Don't you know I've always loved you
Even before there was time
Though you turn away
I'll tell you still
Don't you know I've always loved you
And I always will

Greater love has not a man
Than the one who gives his life to prove
That he would do anything
And that's what I'm going to do for you
-Third Day

            I hadn’t heard this song in a long time, but tonight it came up on my Pandora radio station.  I stopped everything I was doing and just listened.  I was filled with peace and joy and a desire to shout of God’s love. Maybe this is my “shouting”.
            It’s hard for us sometimes to even comprehend God’s love.  We never fully will.  If we did we would be in Heaven.  But what we can comprehend is still so unbelievably amazing.  To think that a God, who is Lord of lords, King of kings, knew you before the world even began is beyond incredible.  He not only knew you, but He loved you.  When God was creating the mystical sunrises and sunsets, you were in his mind sitting there admiring the beauty billions of years down the road.  When he created the wonderful taste of a strawberries, chocolate, anything, he knew every person who would ever enjoy them and he smiled. 
            My heart hurts for the people I see today who are drowning in regret and shame at the horror of what they’ve done and think that they do not deserve love.  You have a God who has loved you even before time and He can never love you less.  There is nothing you could ever do to make God look away and stop loving you.  The bible says that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8: 38-39). NOTHING, absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God including your very own sins.  His love is always there.  What happens is as we build up more and more sin, more distractions, more earthly desires and less heavenly aspirations, we cloud up that love of God that once shone so bright in our lives.  His love is still there just like always, but we don’t always let ourselves see it, or feel it.  We think that what we have done, or what we have failed to do makes us unworthy.  We think, “How could God ever love me after I did this…or did that?”.  If you get one thing out of this rambling, I pray that it is this: God could never love you less.  He loves you just as much as he loves Pope Benny.  He loves you just as much as he loves Mother Teresa. 
            The other Sunday, the priest told the story of Saint Margaret Mary and how Jesus revealed Himself to her, calling her to start a special devotion to His Sacred Heart.  She told her superior Priest about this calling and the need to spread the word about Jesus’ great love through His Sacred Heart.  The priest wouldn’t believe her.  She saw Jesus again that night and He told her the same thing. She explained how the priest wouldn’t believe her but Jesus told her to be persistent.  After a couple nights of this same routine, finally the priest said “There is one shameful sin that I committed when I was really young that no one knows about except Jesus.  If you can tell me what it is, then I will believe you.”  So that night, Sister Margaret Mary talked to Jesus and asked Him to reveal to her the priest’s sin.  Jesus replied, “I forgot”.
            Guys, I cannot stress this enough: God loves you.  He knows about your addictions.  He knows about your shameful deeds.  He knows that very thing that is coming to the forefront of your mind right now at this very second, and all He is asking you to do is to have faith in what HE has done.  Believe in the cross.  Take all your sins and get down on your knees and release them at the foot of the Cross.  You will be lifted up by forgiving and bleeding hands of Jesus.
            And I hear you saying, “but what about this world, what about all those who have seen what I’ve done and are standing in judgment over me.  They look at me with scorn and distaste in their eyes and cast me out.  How am I to move on when this world counts me out?”.  Take a look at John Chapter 8.  Jesus encounters a woman caught in the act of adultery.  The people hold stones in their hands ready to put her to death as punishment for her crime.  Then they ask Jesus, “In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. What do you say?”.  Jesus replied, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Wow, they weren’t expecting that one.  We are all sinners, and we all need God’s love and grace.  But essential to this story is what happens next, Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, from now on do not sin any more”.  Being a Christian doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want knowing that God forgives no matter what.  I feel sorry for the man who believes that because in the end he will face the wrath of God.  Being a Christian means knowing that we are sinners, and God will forgive all our sins, but He calls us all to strive to become the best versions of ourselves.  We can mess up, but we best try again harder next time to turn away from sin and turn toward justice and truth. And even if our trying consists of just baby steps, He will rejoice in our efforts to walk closer to Him and allow His love to wipe away our deepest sins and renew our hearts.  No matter what, His love will always remain.
            So….you gotta QUIT doubting the cross.  Jesus was enough.  He conquered all sin and all death.  He conquered all evil with His love for you.  He stood in judgment and all the while being rejected, He thought of YOU.  He carried his cross in complete exhaustion, and every time he stumbled and fell, He saw YOUR face and got back up. Nails pounded into his wrists and his feet and his heart ached for the sin He knew you would commit, but His LOVE for you remain.  He lay hanging, blood pouring down from his most precious face and before giving up His spirit, He saw YOUR face.  I can’t help but think before leaving the tomb, Jesus smiled seeing the hope that you now have available to you if only you would just BELIEVE that His cross was enough.