Fall is by far my favorite time of year. I think that feeling stands for 99% of Americans. The weather is perfect, the leaves become beautiful, football is playing in the living room, there are PUMPKINS! everywhere you look. (I love pumpkins).
Fall is my least favorite time of year. I can't go a day without thinking about home. See, winter is easy. Every morning that I wake up and my car isn't lost in the snow and it's above 34 degrees, it's a good morning and one that I am thankful to be in Arkansas instead of Iowa. But fall is rough.
Fall sometimes goes by the alias of "Harvest." A word that makes me think of INDIANS! (I love Indians) and pilgrims and farmers of course. Harvest is the best time of year in Iowa. It's usually 'light jacket weather.' The crops are all in, so the fields are empty. I can just feel it. My worn blue jeans, my soft jacket, hair in a pony tail, the wind nipping at my face (not freezing my skin off), running through the bare fields, being careful not to trip on a stray corn stalk. Heading for the pond with my cousins, to throw rocks, or shoot guns, or fish, or on a rare occasion...touch the electric fence.
One day we were bored so we went to the top of the hill and stood in a row, holding hands, while the leader oh so cautiously tapped the electric fence. Then giggled with joy and screamed with pain as the shock flowed through each of us. Only to find out later we were just mere yards from the source head and lucky to be alive. Maybe that's why were all smart, we zapped electricity through our souls.
I could go on all day, literally, telling stories about my family.
The other reason I love fall is because usually everyone comes home. I mean the two families that actually moved out of state. My family goes back about 5 times a year, we're addicts. My uncle Grant lives in Arizona, he likes to come home in the fall. And that's why fall is so great, we're ALL together, all of us, my whole family. That's when everything feels right, when I can finally feel at home.
If you can't tell from my previous blogs, I have an unhealthy obsession with Iowa and my family. I mean there's love and then there's an obsessive need. It's not good because apparently it isn't going to last forever. Which is weird because it's all I've ever known. But people will pass, land will get sold, things that are now won't be in the future. Then my platform of need will shatter and my heart will probably be broken.
In Iowa there is love, happiness, wealth, health, joy, peace, gentleness. When I'm having a bad day at work, or at school or I'm mad at someone, I go to Iowa in my mind. Sometimes it takes everything in me to stop myself from just going there and getting away from my situations. It's like a safety net.
We all have safety nets. People or places we turn to, long for when we're having a hard time. Our homes, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a husband/wife/fiance, memories of a deceased loved one. We're all looking for the same thing. Love, comfort, safety.
We're all looking for the same thing because we were all made by the same Creator. We're longing for and trying to create things and situations that are abundant in His Kingdom.
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is in another place."
His Kingdom isn't in Iowa. Although, we often long for our earthly homes, they are not the true source of comfort.
Think about this though, you don't desire things unless you already know what they are like. We long for things we've known.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart."
We've known God's Kingdom. That's why we desire it, because we've had it. Its weird huh. Our earthly minds only remember and have knowledge of here, of earth. But we've had God's Kingdom, we've been there, we've known it. Or we wouldn't all be longing for the same things, longing for the Kingdom, longing for the comfort and the safety net we've already known.
Think about it like this: I long for Iowa, because I've been there because I've known it, because it's my home. I don't long for California the way I long for Iowa. I've never been there, I don't know what it's like. I've heard things about it, but that's not enough to give me the same kind of longing for it.
Alright, so what can we do? We have this desire for His Kingdom, but we're stuck on earth.
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There it is," because the kingdom of God is within you."
...and has made us to be a kingdom...
You can quit searching, if you're saved you have the kingdom of God. Right there in the red letters, it is within you. Cool huh. You just have to access it, tap into it. Let God fill those longings. And don't worry because you are not alone. We are all after it, because we were all made by Him. His Kingdom is in you, He is in you. Seek that and you will not be disappointed.
Ever since I figured out I was seeking Iowa the way I should be seeking the Kingdom, God has filled my life with joy and peace, contentment and health. Everything that I once sought in Iowa and my family I now have overflowing inside of me and I am 526 miles away from them.
Acknowledge the earthly place or thing you treat as the Kingdom, seek God and He will fill your safety net far more than anything this world has to offer.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
God's love has been on my heart lately. I guess that's probably a pretty good place for it to be.
At my job, I come in contact with soooo many people. Growing up at a private school in Iowa I didn't realize there were so many people on the planet. And I definitely didn't realize how many people are hurting, even more so how many Christians don't really understand how much God loves them.
New Christians, religious-bound Christians, lifelong Christians, recents converts, pastors, disciples. I may be wrong but I honestly believe that no one really fully and completely grasps the depth of God's love for His children.
Children. That's a key word here. I think often times we accidentally bypass the idea of God being our Heavenly Father.
That concept is so easy for me to understand because my dad and I are the best of friends. He's my hero. I never ever doubt his love for me. But maybe you haven't had the perfect All-Star dad. Maybe you haven't had a dad at all. Maybe it's been so long since you've been with your dad you've forgotten what it's like to have a relationship with him.
This is where our God fills in the gaps. This is where His love is more than enough to carry us through the heartaches our earthly dads may or may not have caused.
John 1:12-13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Hello! Cool! If you've received Him, you are His. And nothing can change that.
Another topic that's been on my heart lately. Maybe because people up at work have been talking about it, maybe because it's reflected in my own life.
Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or future, nor any powers, neither height not depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Have you sinned? Do you sin on a regular basis? Yes yes yes. I probably sin every day of my life. Who honestly doesn't? Sin has outliers. Thinking a mean thought is a sin, murdering someone is a sin.
Sin is sin. Thinking a mean/vulgar thought and committing murder were paid for with the same price. Death. Sure they have different consequences here on earth, but in the end, sin is sin.
Anyway, back to the verse connection here. As that verse states, nothing can separate us from God's love. God will always love you. He will love you if you're a Christian or if you're an Atheist. You CANNOT escape God's love.
Connect like this. When I lived at home, there were times when I might've bent the rules...a lot. Maybe I stayed out 4 hours passed curfew. Maybe I got pulled over twice in the same night. Maybe I lied on various occasions. All of these sins, I sinned against my dad.
Did he love me any less? No.
Did it make blessing me a challenge? Yes.
Did I maybe feel like he loved me less at times? Yes, when I was sitting in my room grounded.
Did his love for me ever change? No never not once.
If anything he loves me more than he did yesterday.
1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
God's love for us is unfathomable. Whether or not you're perfect. You can't change God's love. However, you can alter how it is displayed in your life. Sin makes it hard for God to bless us. The same way my dad isn't going to give me $20 for some movie tickets the day after I stay out all night.
Sinning is inevitable. That's why we're called humans. If we didn't sin, we wouldn't need a Savior.
We've already established that sinning does not stop God from loving us; however, sin is unhealthy for our relationship with God. It makes it hard for us to feel God's love. I don't know about you, but I need to feel God's love for me. I need to connect with Him everyday. Sin blocks that feeling, that connection. Sin blocks His presence. Sin makes prayer hard, which in turn makes connecting with God hard. Sin makes it hard to figure out what God is calling us to do. And worst of all as I stated above, sin makes it hard for God to bless us. And while I'd like to be noble and say I don't need anything, I do. I need God to bless me. I want Him to bless me with earthly things. I need him to bless me with His presence.
Sin prevents that. But......
The best part of the whole thing is...how easily we get forgiven compared to the people in the Old Testament. Since the price was paid on the cross, all we have to do is ask for forgiveness and for help to change our ways.
How cool is that. Not only does God love you more than your dad does, He cares so much about you, He sent His Son to die FOR YOU. So that you can simply ask for forgiveness and His help. So that all of the horrible things you & I do, every mark we get against us, none of it can keep Him from loving us. No matter what. As a Christian your eternity with Him in heaven is a sure thing. It's a promise.
So no matter where you're at in life. No matter what sin you're dealing with, God is there. He wants to help you through it, so just let Him.