romans 8

Abba, I belong to you

abbaAbba, I belong to You. Abba! I have allowed the fact I can address You with such intimacy and tenderness to become far too plain and pallid. It has been years since I have allowed myself to wonder and gawk at the fact You have given me a spirit of Sonship by which I can address you as "Abba Father!" (Rom. 8:15)

I have known for too long or too familiarly that "Abba" is the equivalent of our English "Daddy". I have known that children would slowly learn the term Abba to address their father with an intimate tenderness. I have known it was and has been a scandal to the pious and righteous that you would be addressed with such intimacy.

That You who created this world out of the power of your voice, You by whose beauty and glory the Grand Canyon is dwarfed, You who hold all things together in life-sustaining precision, would ask to be addressed in such tenderly intimate terms has truly become too common and plain to me.

This is my confession and my repentance today. May I recognize and rest today in the wonder of the intimate spirit within me, who can address you so tenderly as my Abba!

To me, God is Good.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 I am more and more convinced that what we think is "good" will almost never be the same as what God thinks is good. In fact, more often than not, we will question most things as to whether they are good at all, but most of the time we use a metric for defining "good" that is based on feelings and thoughts of an eternally narrow definition. God works all things for good of those who love Him, and it will be so according to HIS purposes; not mine.

But if I truly love God, I KNOW that God will work this together for my good as He defines good. If I love God truly and with all of me, I KNOW God...IS...GOOD to me. That is not to say God is only good to those who love him, it means that those who love God know God is good; that to them, God is good.

Separated from love: part 2

It is painful enough to know we have convinced ourselves of this, that God does not love us when we sin or screw up, but there is something even more painful to me.  It is even more painful that out of our inability to understand this we have spilled over into the world around us.  We are convinced that our actions and decisions can separate us from God, and we have enforced this ridiculousness on non-Christians around us.  We have convinced them that God does not love them because of their sin and life decisions. Something is heart-breakingly wrong here!

One of my students did graphic design for some extra cash in college, and one of his bosses was a night club owner, author, and homosexual.  He had been putting the finishing touches on a book, and he asked my student to read the manuscript.  My student had told me a lot of the things he saw in this book.  The book is quite autobiographical and reveals a lot of this man's ideas of God.  His main thought and belief is that God hates him.  He is convinced that God hates him.  He doesn't mention Christians hating him; he is convinced that GOD hates him.  God has completely removed his love from this man as far as he is concerned.

Where does he get this concept?

Likely he gets it from God's people who themselves seem to be convinced (see yesterday's post) that you can be separated from the love of God, and if they believe THEY can be separated from the love of God, then surely so would homosexuals.  So some make signs and scream from megaphones.

But lets be frank; we don't need signs and bullhorns on a street corner do we?  We are capable enough in our minds and comments to condemn homosexuals, drunks, whores, prostitutes and democrats to separation from God's love.

Why do we do this to people?

It appears that we do it to ourselves as well.  We have convinced ourselves that we can be and often are separated from the love of God.  This is crazy enough that we have convinced ourselves of this, but it is breaking my heart that we have convinced the homosexuals, drunks, sluts and divorced of the same thing.

The TRUTH of the matter is:

God doesn't hate 'fags', whores, sinners, or you...

His people do.

Separated from love

I once heard a speaker read through Romans 8, specifically the passage asking us, “What can separate us from the love of God….NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.”  He went on to speak maybe 2 minutes and posed the question, “Now dialogue with me for a couple minutes.  What kinds of things separate you from the love of God?  What things separate us from the love of God?” Hands went up all over the place!  Everyone had an answer.  “Sin!” “Temptation!” “Peers!” “Choices!” “Expectations!

I was dumbfounded!  We just read the passage 2 minutes before.  Had we already forgotten?  Did we really understand the first time?  I could not believe it.  We had just stood up and read aloud as a community in one voice that said, “NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.”  Why is this so hard for us to believe that we forget a pointblank reading of it 2 minutes later?

Something is terribly wrong here!

We are convinced that so many things can actually separate us from the love of God.  Yet, in a rare instance, the Bible is finely black and white on this issue.  We have convinced ourselves that we can separate ourselves from the love of God.

I am of the mind and heart that we can be separated from God, but we cannot be separated from his love in a million years.

Living out here in California has separated me from my family with most of America between us.  We all make choices and decisions that the others do not like.  So granted, I am not as close to my mom, dad, and brothers as I used to be.  We have been separated by geography.  We have been separated by growth and life decisions and choices. Does my mom love me less than she ever did?  No!  Does my dad remove his love from me? Of course not!  Have my brothers disowned me?  No!  They all still love me, and I still love all of them even though we are separated.  Nothing can separate me from the love of my family.

Yes, our sin separates us from God.  Our choices will sometimes place a hole, a distance between God and us.  The less time I spend with God results in lost intimacy and connection.  I can become disconnected and even separated from God.



I wonder why that is so hard for us to understand.  I took me years to realize the difference and its so simple.