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Taken Deeper at Church Camp 2013

taken in my cabin, July 31, 2013The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.  -Zephaniah 3:17

Camp was different this year. Not bad, not at all, just different. Many of my close youth group friends had graduated last year or were unable to come, so I had a lot more alone time than usual, but the first thing I read in my devotions was, I am with you always, to the end of the age, (Matthew 28:20), so I kept that close all week; He even blessed me with interactions with others, along with a little perspective.

Confession time: I am intensely judgmental. I love people so much and I think the Lord has been awakening compassion in me, but when it comes to people who claim to be Christians yet live their lives contrary to Him, I burn with fury. I care too much about Him to let His name be associated with anything besides LOVE. At camp, there are many truly dedicated followers of Jesus, but there are also many whose relationship with Him consists of going to youth group and… well, that’s pretty much it. I used to look down on them. I used to get so angry and ask Jesus why things had to be this way. But during devotions at camp one day, I found this:

God is mighty, and does not despise any.  -Job 36:5

Who am I to look down on or despise anyone? Jesus is the only one who has the right to, but HE DOESN’T. A few verses later, He said, Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing. (v.18) It’s okay to be angry about hypocrisy (Jesus is!), but the minute I start treating people differently because of it, I’ve lost; the love I want to be inside them is no longer being exercised in me, either. After hearing all this, that night I really felt that I needed to pray over some of the very people I’d been judging, and when I did, the things I prayed for were so unexpected, things I had missed. I still tend toward judgmentality, but I fight it now, because I know it has no substance. He is working on me.

That same night, as everyone was being dismissed from the chapel until night games, I was about to leave until I noticed a small huddle around someone I care about. They were praying for physical healing, and because I have always prayed that for him, I joined in. At first I was just praying from afar, arm outstretched, simply because the group was thick around Him. Yet I felt I needed to touch his heart. I inched in, closer and closer, until I saw an opening and hesitantly placed my hand on his chest. The touch was almost unearthly– his entire body trembling, his heartbeat almost musical. I prayed and prayed, but the bizarre thing is that I never really prayed for physical healing; somehow I knew that the Lord had other plans that day. The things I prayed for, again, I never expected this man to need! But oh, did I pray for them! At one point I felt like I needed to look at his face, so I did: and he was wearing the most relieved expression I have ever seen. He was smiling and nodding slowly, his eyes closed. Soon he began to describe to us what had been happening inside him– and he described all that I had prayed for. I didn’t know ANY of those things, it was all Jesus and His heart for him! He then told us that we could stop, that what he received was more important to him than physical healing. I couldn’t shake the gratitude I felt for days afterwards.

I had been singing everything I prayed. I’m not sure if it was a conscious choice or not, maybe both, but I felt the power in it. A few minutes later it hit me: music is my prayer language, one of my spiritual gifts! I cannot tell you how long I have waited to know, and how pleased I am with this answer. If you desire to know what your spiritual gift is, just be patient and open; He will show you when it’s time! If you’ve asked, He’s given it to you.

This story is a little messy and haphazard, but that’s what camp felt like. I am so grateful that I went, and for what He worked in me and my brothers and sisters. Take us deeper, Lord, deeper than our feet could ever wander!

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After the storm, I run and run as the rains come, and I look up…

Yet another lovely visit to the coast last week made of family time, simple adventures to quiet towns, countless rounds of Catchphrase– and a redeemed faith.taken February 19, 2013

Faith is hard. So many have told me that they see faith in me, that it’s one of my gifts, but I just can’t grasp it; I seem to only remember the moments where my faith has been lacking. Still, Jesus continues to whisper to me that yes, I have faith incredible enough to make the enemy hate me and try to steal it from me. He keeps telling me, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. (Luke 22:31 & 32) The past little while has been one of those periods where Satan is trying so hard to steal me. He’s been planting thoughts that are NOT mine, wearying me, blatantly attacking me, and it all hurts. But I remember the promise. I remember that the hardship will end. I remember that He felt all this on the cross when He was tortured and killed for me. I remember that He said there is purpose behind the pain. Sometimes the promise looks cloudy through my eyes, but I always remember it, always see it and hope in it. During my little trip to the coast, I got a glimpse of all this through His eyes.

  • First entering the ocean, the waves are huge and the water constantly overwhelms you. As you get further in, however, the water is more steady, you aren’t as overwhelmed, and you’re growing accustomed to the waves. BUT– sometimes, when it’s stormy, waves will get bigger in the deeper water, too. Maybe my relationship with Jesus is like this.
  • Will you still think it’s beautiful when it’s raining? I heard this question so clearly in my spirit as we drove through the little town I’d loved so much on the way up. In the afternoon sunlight, it was wondrous. However, in the morning showers on the way home, it was dreary. Nothing about the town had changed, only my view of it. What I looked back on and wanted became less important to me when I got it back and it wasn’t the same. It made me wonder if I have the same blessings I’m wishing for, only they’re hidden by a little rain. Is He asking me to see past the rain and revel in what I dream?
  • A few glimpses out the window looked the same as glimpses I would have back home (like a front yard that looked like a friend’s house, and a roadside cross like one on our usual highway), but I WASN’T HOME. I was somewhere else. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought I was somewhere familiar. Sometimes this happens in life, too. Sometimes everything looks so similar, like I haven’t moved, but I could be miles from where I was! In my eyes, everything is okay, when really I am so far from where I should be; OR, everything seems wrong and unmoved, but really I am moving forward. I think the message was a little of both for me that day.
  • I had no clue how close we were to the ocean (we took a few days away from the coast during the trip), but when it was suddenly next to me I was WOWED. I heard, “I’m right here, I’m over the hill! I’m the purpose behind it! You might not see me now, but just wait until you get over your hill! Find me!” This spoke so deeply into me. It was another piece of the promise He gave me that said there was purpose behind the pain: it’s Him. HE is the purpose, and He is worth it all! Now I know what I’m fighting to find! It was also an answer to the prayer I’d been praying through “After the Storm” by Mumford & Sons.

This isn’t my typical story about the ocean, but it’s the loudest to me. My heart was given hope that cannot be stolen that day, and I am forever amazed by the mercy He showed me. I love you, Jesus.

Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair…

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Through The Valley

In the classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, we follow the life of Christian as he makes his long and difficult journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Allegorically, the story is about a follower of Jesus and their spiritual life. This connection allows the reader to enjoy a novel while they learn about themself and gain a bit of understanding.

Perhaps the most significant trial Christian faces on his quest is in the valleys: the Valley of Humiliation, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

As Christian enters the first valley, he fears for his life and wonders if he should turn back– until he remembers there is no armor on his back. His armor will only protect him if he continues to move forward. This is a hidden reminder for us: we are safe as long as we keep seeking Jesus.

Through The Valley     Christian’s fear is not irrational, for when he is a little ways through the Valley of Humiliation he meets Apollyon, the evil ruler of the City of Destruction. Apollyon tries to convince Christian to turn back, but when Christian refuses, Apollyon begins to scream and yell and remind Christian of all the mistakes he’s made on his journey so far. A battle ensues, and while Apollyon wounds Christian many times, he can not kill him. Christian is finally able to use his sword and Scripture so that Apollyon flees from him. Christian then praises God because he is alive, and he is sent leaves from the tree of life which heal him immediately. We can remember this scene when we are being attacked by the enemy: he wants us to turn back. When we don’t, he discourages us and reminds us of all our failures. If we still stand firm, he will hurt us as much as he possibly can. However– he cannot destroy us. If we believe in and declare truth, he will leave us. Truth wounds him. Keep praising God; He will heal you.

Sadly, the pain is not over yet. There is still the Valley of the Shadow of Death, a worse place than the Valley of Humiliation, darker, narrower, close to hell, solitary; but Christian must walk through it, because the way to the Celestial City is through it. Christian continues to walk, but barely. He hears whispers of blasphemies, thinking they sprung from his own mind; he can’t sway to the right or left or he will fall; he can barely see. Christian has almost perished from sheer pain, when he hears the voice of another in the valley declaring a promise, Scripture. This voice is Christian’s encouragement, and he survives the valley. Looking at it from a distance after he clears it, he sees that his imagination had nothing to do with the danger: it was real, all of it. This is a place we will all walk, as well, if we do not turn back. We must walk through it, because Heaven is on the other side. It’s painful and dark, and it’s all dangerously real, but take comfort! You are not the only one to walk there. Claim Scripture and you will make it through the valley.

This experience, for Christian, was not simply necessary but faith-building. Whenever he endured more hardship on his journey, he would remember the valleys and say, “I survived that. Jesus kept me safe there. He’ll save me here, too.” The valley is a painful place we have no choice but to walk through, but we will survive and gain strength for the rest of our lives. Keep walking, keep declaring, keep hoping.

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The Shield of Faith

Captain America's ShieldFaith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Do we have this kind of faith? I believe completely in Jesus: who He is, what He says about Himself, what He does and has done– all of it. I have no doubts that I believe in Him in that way. The faith I struggle with more is faith that He’ll do what I hope for. I know that He can, that He will if it works within the beautiful plan He has for me, but my constant question is if I’m asking according to His will. I hope and pray that He’ll let me see a friend, for instance; but what if seeing that friend at that time would be harmful to the plan? Should I put faith into those prayers anyway? This whole thing is over-thinking, and I can’t be the only person who does it. Have you ever felt like this before? Like you have faith in Him, but not what you’re asking? I think you’ll be encouraged by this, since I recently was, myself:

THAT’S ALL YOU NEED.

Paul, speaking of Abraham, said, No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:20 & 21) Adding to that, the writer of Hebrews said, By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11) Are you sure that what you’re praying for will happen? Not always. BUT, are you sure that God is faithful? Yes. And that’s what counts. Doubts may come, but as long as you believe in Him admist those doubts, your faith is there.

Faith is the fuel of righteousness. It’s what the righteous man lives by, what gives him humility and compassion, what keeps him standing, what counts. (Verses: Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 11:20, Romans 12:3, Galatians 5:6) Remember that righteous deeds are empty without faith? It comes back around: faith without acting on it is useless. If your faith in Jesus doesn’t instill in you a deep desire to be obedient to Him or to serve other people, it’s as good as dead. James says, Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18) It isn’t possible to have a growing faith that changes things without action. Righteous works are the visible products of faith. Paul even says, Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

Faith was what Jesus prayed for us to have the most. In Luke 22:31 & 32, a verse He has used to speak to me, He says, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. It’s a gift He’s given us. We would never have it unless He did what He did. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17) It’s why we can be so close to Him. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith is a shield. What does this shield do?

  1. It is the first thing you grab when heading into battle. For those who aren’t nerds like me and haven’t seen How to Train Your Dragon a least ten times, the first piece of advice the dragon-slayers-in-training receive is to find a shield if they only have enough time to choose one weapon. The shield is VITAL in battle. Even if you don’t have an axe or a sword or any kind of weapon, your shield not only protects you, but also if an enemy is close enough you can hit them with it. You’ve seen what Captain America can do with a shield! Your faith is the most important thing you have in this battle. If you’re without it, you’re already at a disadvantage. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. (Isaiah 7:9) God calls Himself is our shield, and THAT is why we’re safe! You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. (Psalm 119:114)
  2. It is overall defense anywhere you need it. The other pieces of armor we’ve been talking about, like the breastplate, are good, necessary pieces of armor. Their down side? They can only shield so much. Where your armor is lacking, your shield can compensate. Likewise, faith fills in what’s lacking in your righteousness, etc. You aren’t perfect, and Jesus realizes that. That’s why He came: to deliver what we couldn’t. Don’t be afraid when attacks come if you have faith. You’re covered. We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)
  3. It is power. Faith is what Jesus had in fullness. Listen in to this conversation between Jesus and a few of his followers (found in Matthew 17): The disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it [a demon] out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” I heard once that the word Jesus used for “little” in the original language didn’t mean “small” as much as it meant “short in direction.” Faith is big; how far do you let it go? Love is the reason you have it in the first place, His love for you and now your love for Him. Let love propel you forward. If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (1 Peter 1:6 & 7) Your faith will be tested, but not to worry– you’re safe as long as you stand firm. This is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. (1 John 5:4)

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Uncontained God: My Experience at Church Camp 2012

     I love camp. It’s a big part of my testimony, so naturally it has a place in my heart. I go back year after year because I always go home with something I didn’t have before. This year was the epitome of that. I don’t feel a lot too often, no extremes, so I had to rely on what I KNEW (not what I felt) to experience what I did. And you know what? I think I took away more I could build on at home than I ever have from other events. I didn’t see it as a way to feel better; I looked at camp as a place to find answers. It may have been a low from a feelings standpoint, but it was a mountain top for lessons learned. I’ve told these stories many times already, because they need to be heard. Now let me share them with you.

     It was the third night. We were in chapel, and Pastor Brandon Berg had just completed his message about the Holy Spirit. An altar call was happening for those who had never been filled with the Holy Spirit, and I was part of it. I hear Jesus speaking to me in many ways quite frequently, and I know He works in and through me, but I’ve never felt what I thought having His Spirit in me should feel like– no tongues, no crazy bursts of extreme joy, no healing gift, nothing like that– so I believed I was without Him. It killed me. The previous night I literally ran to Rachel and sobbed in her about it, not for the first time. This altar call was a huge deal to me. I stood there in the crowd as the band played, my hands cupped in front of me, the only word I could muster being, “Please…”. It’s hard for me to cry, but I almost did. I felt like I’d never have Him in me, that what I was doing was a waste of time.

     The boy in front of me started slamming the floor with his palms, screaming inhuman screams. Immediately I knew: a demon.

     My biggest fear is demons. Jesus has helped me face and conquer so many of my fears, but not this one. Can you imagine what I was thinking as youth pastors began to hold down and pray for the boy in front of me? That’s the craziest part: I had no trace of fear in my body. I reached out my arm toward him and began praying for him! I am shaking as I write this because I am still blown away by His overwhelming power! Not only did He calm my spirit so I could pray for the boy, but He saved that boy! He’s free now, full of the HOLY Spirit and carrying a life-changing story! I don’t know how long it took, but God won! The war is real, and this was a victory! And not only did He save the boy, but He protected everyone else. When I was praying for him, a Scripture popped into my head: it was a parable Jesus shared, where He said you can sweep a house clean but unless you fill it with good things the mess will just come back stronger. He got me to pray that the demon would have no one else to enter as I prayed for the boy in front of me, and He answered “yes” to both prayers. I believe He filled everyone in that room.

     But I didn’t know that then. After they carried the red and sweaty but safe boy to a bed in the nurse’s room, a pastor told us to head to the fire pit. We were going to burn our sheets of paper from the first night, when we’d talked about our new lives having no secrets; we were supposed to write them down, but I couldn’t even write in words what I’d done because I feared someone would see. I started to file out with everyone else, but I knew I couldn’t. I knew I was supposed to stay in the chapel. I waited until everyone left, then went to sit on the floor where the boy had been saved. Cross-legged with my hands still cupped in front of me, I started praying and thinking… and hoping. I was alone for a time, but eventually a leader from my youth group, Tiffany, found me. She was the one I confided in that first night, “I CAN’T give away my secrets! No one can know, or they won’t see me the same!”, and she told me if I ever wanted to let them go to find her, no matter what she was doing. She now asked me how I was doing. I told her that I was still empty. She sat down next to me and was silent for a few seconds.

     “Maybe,” she said, “He just filled you differently. Maybe He did a long time ago.” I know that now. I may not have felt anything extreme, but somewhere along the way I asked the Holy Spirit into me, and He came. I want you to know this: He can fill you and you might not even know! If you’re like me and you don’t feel too much anymore, but you’ve begged and begged Him to enter you, and no matter how hard you try you can’t feel Him there, let peace overtake you. He’s there. We’re a unique bunch, but we exist, and He gives as just as much as he gives everyone else. Jesus has told us that our hearts are deceptive, and we’ve believed Him, so He’s teaching us to rely on HIM and not what we feel. If you’ve asked Him to fill you with His Spirit, believe He has! Look for the fruit of Him in your life, and you’ll see Him.

     After that, I asked Tiffany if I could tell her my secrets. She answered, “If you’re ready.” I knew I was, and I told her. We both ended up crying, and she spoke into my situation and prayed for me. I expected to be so shame-filled once she knew, but I wasn’t. I realized that I was free from or dealing with all I’d told her, that those things didn’t define me anymore. We went down to the fire pit, where almost everyone was about to leave. I stood in front of the fire with my paper, wondering how to throw it in so no one would see me (silly Tessa, I know!), but when someone next to me tossed theirs, I felt better about being late. I tossed mine, and– it landed in the ashes, away from the fire. I was FURIOUS! I thought, “Are you kidding?! My secrets aren’t going to burn away?!” I stared at it in my anger. Then something amazing happened: it began smoking. It caught fire anyway. It burned slowly and painfully. Jesus would take my secrets from me, no matter what, and He gave me my own little miracle to prove that to me.

     That insane night ended for me right before I fell asleep. I was lying in my bunk, cuddling my stuffed poodle in the dark. Back at the chapel, before the boy started screaming, I was knocking in the air on a figurative door, begging Jesus to come out to me. I thought He never had, but in the few seconds before I fell asleep an image flashed before my eyes, not even a second long but clearly able to be seen: an open door. He told me, “I’m out, Tessa. I already was. You’re knocking on an open door. I’m right here.” I then fell asleep. I drew my open door the next day while hanging out with buddies at the art tables all afternoon.

     I found joy inside me. It was there, but I didn’t recognize it because I had the wrong picture of it in my head. I had some great, deep conversation with Judy, another youth leader, about many things inside me the next day, and we discovered that ever since Jesus saved me, I’ve been looking for the same feeling I felt in that moment. NOTHING in this life will compare to that! I have to stop looking for joy in one specific form and instead see it in all its different glories! I hope this has touched you in some way. If you doubt God’s power, if you think you’re without Him even when you’ve begged, if you wonder why you don’t seem to have any joy, I hope you are comforted and opened by this story Jesus wrote for me. The theme of camp this year was “Uncontained”, and I don’t think they could have anticipated how telling that would become.

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I Want to Know You

Song of Songs 5:10-16–

SHE

My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand. His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven. His eyes are doves beside streams of water, bathed in milk, sitting beside a full pool. His cheeks are like beds of spices, mounds of sweet-smelling herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh. His arms are rods of gold, set with jewels. His body is polished ivory, bedecked with sapphires. His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

What I found: When I first read today’s passage, I thought, “Wow, how shallow can you get? She just talks about the surface of Him!” But after a while it dawned on me: we are just like her. I don’t mean that we are superficial, and I’m not saying she is, either; what I mean is that we can only scratch the surface of who He is. God is infinite, surpassing us in all areas, yet we tend to think we know everything about Him. We know with our heads that we cannot possibly know everything about Him, but for some reason we act like we can and DO. We latch onto the things we have learned about Him, and that is the picture we have of Him. Now, before you start thinking, “Oh my word I don’t know God at all how can I trust Him now AAAAAH!”, let’s destroy that thought right now. You CAN know God! If you are seeking Him, you know what He needs you to know right now. It’s okay not to know everything about Him! First of all, we don’t have the ability to know everything about ANYTHING, let alone someone like Him, so He wouldn’t ask us to. He knows how little we can comprehend compared to Himself, and He doesn’t look down on us because of that. He asks us to seek Him; that is our job. You discover new things about people you are close to every day, and getting to know Him is like that. Secondly, scratching the surface of who He is, is much different from hardly knowing a normal person. When we don’t know a person very well, we know what they look like, a few personality traits, and maybe a quirk or two– things we have glimpsed. When we catch a glimpse of God, we don’t see His clothes, or His hair, or the way He walks; we don’t hear His laugh, or feel His hands, or learn what His favorite color is (but I bet He loves all of them and can’t choose!); we get a peek at HIM, who He is inside, because He doesn’t put up a front! There’s nothing on the outside to distract from the inside. Other things might distract us, but when we learn something about Him, we can be sure of it! He is trustworthy, that’s one of the first things I learned about Him, so we can love Him without fear! Keep pursuing Him, and you’ll learn more and more reasons to love Him. A word of advice: test everything with Scripture. For example, don’t think He is condemning even if you feel like He is. He promises in the Bible that there is no condemnation in Him, and you can be sure of it! One more little thing: I love that the girl in the book said This is my beloved and this is my friend. That’s how things should be, in our relationships with people and with God.

That’s what I got from today’s Scripture! What did you find?

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The Door

Song of Songs 5:2-9–

SHE

I slept, but my heart was awake. A sound! My beloved is knocking. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.” I had to put off my garment; how could I put it on? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them? My beloved put his hand to the latch, and my heart was thrilled within me. I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the bolt. I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer. The watchmen found me as they went about the city; they beat me, they bruised me, they took away my veil, those watchmen of the walls. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am sick with love.

OTHERS

What is your beloved more than another beloved, O most beautiful among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you adjure us?

     What I found: I found a masterful portrait of myself in this; there’s a date written by it in my Bible. I’m sure you’ve been there, too, so let’s take a closer look into ourselves, the what and the why. This part of the book is one of the deepest to me. The first sentence sets the tone– that even in weariness, our hearts long for God. No matter where we are or what’s happening to us, even if we don’t realize it, our desire for Him is so deep. We need Him, and not only because He sustains us physically, but He fulfills us emotionally. I heard once that immaturity says “I love you because I need you,” while maturity says “I need you because I love you.” I think that our side of a relationship with God usually starts with the former statement. We commit our lives to Him and try to love Him because we know we need Him. However, when the relationship begins to mature and grow, we realize that we’ve truly fallen in love with Him, and that creates an even greater need inside us. There is such depth to this part of the book, this is only the beginning! Has God ever suddenly awakened you to Himself? Where you realize right then, after such a long time, something He’s been telling you? In the case of the girl in our passage, He woke her up to tell her that she shut Him out and left Him out in the rain. And He spoke words of love over her even in this! God does that! No matter what He says, it always comes with an “I love you.” Okay– we know she loves Him and was eager for Him. So, why didn’t she let Him in? Didn’t she just open up to Him in the passage right before this one? What changed? Little do we know that she hesitated for the same reason we do: she thought she had to be perfect for Him. She forgot that His love is pure, not based on what she does. She became so consumed with keeping His love that she forgot to revel in it. Are you there? I have been there many times, and when I’m honest with myself I know I will be again. The good news: He will always knock on my door and speak truth over me. I have to be sure, in those moments, not to do what she did in her first response: she left her part for Him to do. It’s crazy when you think about it! God does so much, even more than the human race can see all together, so when He asks us to do something, it is so little. BUT, it is still the job He entrusted to us, and important. He just wants you to open the door to Him, to let Him in. He’s ready, but will only do what you let Him. Still: while you may choose not to let Him in sometimes, you will never, EVER lose Him. Never. When you think He’s gone, He’s not. Don’t look for Him in the world; look for Him right where you are, because that’s where you’ll find Him. Open the door despite all fear, let Him inside you. Ignore all voices but His. Don’t let them tell you that He isn’t worth it. Don’t listen to the doubts when you know in your heart what is true. God is there, knocking at your door, because He wants you.

     What did you find in our passage today? About yourself? About God?