Monday, January 7, 2013

Live A life of love

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Looks like another 6 inches of snow!

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

I awoke to more snow this morning. I am happy that I don't have to go out in it. I am starting to feel a bit better from the flu bug that I caught over the holidays. I'm still not very motivated to do much at this point. A couch, a blanket and a book or a movie still seems to be plenty of excitement for my day. I did manage to get the Christmas decorations put away and will keep trying to restore order to my house. This is kind of odd for me I am generally energy in motion looking for a place to happen.

I find myself thinking about yesterday's sermon from James 1 by my friend and pastor Rob Bryceson. He was saying that often we are asking the wrong questions when we face hardship and trial. We want God to tell us how to go around troubles or be done with them. Our questions tend to be about how to solve or end this present difficulty we are facing. "We want God to make our lives easier and more comfortable". He said we should be asking God what he is trying to show us about our faith. Here's the link to a great message. 

So I think this is a season of resting but I continue to struggle with it. As Rob pointed out at one point in yesterdays message. Farmers don't plow all the time. There are seasons of plowing and then planting, and waiting and harvesting.  I like to be busy and to be on a big mission or project journey. I have to ask myself why is resting so hard for me. Why does it threaten to un hinge me at times. I think it has to be tied to my self worth and the notion that I am only valuble when I am producing or busy doing. I can intellectually wrap my brain around the idea that my value is not based on what I do but its hard for me to really live and accept fully. Clearly it is an area that tests and tries my faith. Its not that God is not big enough or capable enough. I am the weak link in the faith equasion. It's more on the side of me needing to feel significant or special or some how valuable.  I suppose there is a part of me that still feels un loveable because I want to question why I am loved rather than just recieve love. Todays verse seems all warm and fuzzy but when I look at how Jesus loves me it seems hard and full of sacrifice and pain.  I look at the 30 lashes that ripped the flesh from his back and sides. I think of the cross he had to carry up a hill while bleeding from that beating. I think of the large nails, and a crown of throns and the jarring pain of the cross being set in place.  The verse today says to be immitators of God. Immatators of the God who left all that was comfortable and glorious in heaven to come reconcile us to the Father by giving his own life. This is love - and I am supposed to some how immitate that love. I gotta say it stretches me. I found this beautiful video called This is Love. God's part of the equasion I can see that - its my part that I struggle with. How on a daily basis do we imitate a God who has loved us when we were unloveable, undeserving, undesirable....
How do I pick up my cross and follow him? Maybe some of it is in how I choose to treat the unloveable, the undeserving, the undesirable. How I choose to treat that person who rubs me the wrong way, and says and does all the wrong stuff. Can I forgive those who have hurt me, betrayed me, speak ill of me, those who don't believe in me, dissapoint or who offend me. Jesus does all that and so much more for me and for you.

Lord help us to see more clearly how we can be immitators of you. Help us see how we can in daily practicle ways live a life of love. May our prayers rise as a fragrant incence before you. Thank you for those times of refreshing in your presence but help us to not get stuck on the montain top when there is work to be done, at your side in the valley. Help us to see the dark places of this world where your light needs to shine. Help us to have the courage to go to those people in those places. Love it seems is about laying down ones life for the sake of others.

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