A Love That Refuses To Let Go

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Years ago when I visited my cousin’s church, my attention focused on a small boy and his father in front of me. For whatever reason, the boy was not happy. Not in the least little bit. Even so, his father exhibited a love that refuses to let go.

Because the boy was not happy, he began throwing things. His father told him to pick each projectile off the floor. With reluctance, and no small amount of displeasure, the boy obeyed. Only to throw something else moments later.

At one point, the father picked up the child. He sat him in his lap and wrapped both arms around his son. The more the boy squirmed, the tighter the father’s grip.

The boy kicked, stretched, whined, and fused, but could not break free from his father’s bear hug. After awhile, the father released his grip. He lifted his son from his lap, and set him in the space on the church pew beside him.

No sooner did the boy’s bottom hit the pew, but he scooted away. The interesting thing to me in all of this was, it didn’t take long at all until the boy scootched his way back to his father, placed his head in his lap, and fell asleep.

As I consider this, I think more times than not, we behave like that little boy. We’re not happy with the way our life is going. We start throwing things around. We might pick them up for a moment, only to throw them down again.

Sometimes in the middle of our disobedience, God sets us in his lap, wraps his arms tightly around us, and expresses a love that refuses to let go.

We squirm. We kick. We whine and fuss because we aren’t getting our way. Things are not going according to our plan or agenda. We’re mad, and we don’t care who knows it.

Still, God holds us. And when the time is right, he loosens his grip, places us on the bench beside him, only to watch us scoot away. We aren’t finished being mad. We aren’t giving in that easy.

But there comes the moment of realization, whether we admit it or not, when we know we were wrong. We know we behaved badly and acted like a tantrum-throwing two-year-old. When that happens, we sidle back next to God and he allows us to place our head in his lap once more.

When we fall back on God’s grace, mercy, and love that refuses to let go no matter how horrid we act, we are safe and can rest. We know beyond any doubt God cares enough about us to want what’s best for us. Even when we strain against his grip.

How have you felt God’s love that refuses to let go wrap its arms around you?

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Once I was bitter and brokenhearted. I was stupid and ignorant, and I treated you as a wild animal would. But I never really left you, and you hold my right hand. Your advice has been my guide, and later you will welcome me in glory. In heaven I have only you, and on this earth you are all I want. My body and mind may fail, but you are my strength and my choice forever. Psalm 73:21-26 (CEV)

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well,


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Jesus Break Our Hearts For What Breaks Yours

courtesy pixabay.com

It takes boldness to pray Jesus break our hearts for what breaks yours, but maybe that’s what Christ’s followers are called to do.

Throughout the years I taught at the elementary school level, I set aside a time to read aloud to my class. Every year, except the one I taught in a portable, the class gathered in a specific area of the room for our read aloud time.

I read a variety of books to the class. Historical fiction. Mythology. Biography. Fantasy. Poetry. Non-fiction. Realistic fiction. Narrative non-fiction. Fables. Folk Tales. Tall Tales.  Mystery. Riddles and Jokes. The year I read The House at Pooh Corner I asked Pilot to come in and read the last chapter while I sat at my desk and cried.

courtesy pixabay.com

After one student asked if he should bring the box of tissues to our read aloud area, I knew we should keep a box readily available to pass through the circle in case the tissues were needed. Especially by me.

One year the required reading was Charlotte’s Web. Another year it was The Stone Fox. Tearjerkers for sure.

Sad books weren’t all we read. There were Junie B. Jones books. Bunnicula books. Magic Tree House books, and a whole lot more.

So what’s all this have to do with anything, you might ask. Good question.

Just as I read various books, some of which brought me to tears, I believe Jesus brings various life events and people into our lives, some of which should bring us to tears.

I believe Jesus wants us to feel one another’s pain so intensely that, as Steve Camp says, we can taste the salt in the tears they cry.

I believe Jesus wants his followers to be so moved to compassion for others we do more than simply say, I’ll pray for you. I believe Christ expects us to put our words into action. courtesy pixabay.com

We aren’t all poetry, or mystery, or historical fiction. We aren’t all biography, hard science, or fables. We each have unique stories to tell which make us who we are.

Likewise, depending on what moves us and how God created us, we  respond to others’ stories in different ways.

And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

More than likely the way I respond to others’ needs and do ministry in my life is different than the way you respond and do ministry. Doesn’t matter.

What matters, I believe, is each of us allows Jesus to break our hearts for the things that break his to the point we go beyond saying, I hope you keep warm and stay fed, to actually clothing and feeding.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

If a fellow man or woman has no clothes to wear and nothing to eat, and one of you say, “Good luck to you I hope you’ll keep warm and find enough to eat”, and yet give them nothing to meet their physical needs, what on earth is the good of that? Yet that is exactly what a bare faith without a corresponding life is like—useless and dead.  James 2:15-16 (Phillips)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Are We Living In Laodicea?

In the beginning of the book of Revelation, the apostle John records Christ’s words regarding Christ’s letters to seven churches. In Chapter 3, Christ’s letter is to the church at Laodicea.  This city, about forty miles east of Ephesus, has been called the “city of compromise.” The Laodiceans tried to be neutral regarding their faith, giving no real commitment to following Christ.

Laodicea was a place of great wealth with a prosperous center of banking. It manufactured clothing made from the wool of black sheep raised in the area. It was a major center of commerce situated on trade routes.

It was a place of science and literature. It boasted in having an excellent medical school. In fact, the Laodiceans developed a salve using Phrygian powder which cured eye diseases.

Although the Laodiceans boasted in their wealth, fine black wool garments, and salve to cure eye diseases, Jesus condemned them. He said they were really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

They were spiritually poor in the midst of their worldly wealth.

Jesus suggested they buy from him gold made pure in fire so they could be truly rich. Buy from him white clothes so they could be clothed and cover their shameful nakedness. Buy from him medicine to put on their eyes so they could truly see.

The Laodiceans built an aqueduct which brought cold water from the mountains. By the time it reached them, the water was lukewarm. Likewise, in a valley nearby were hot springs. As boiling water was brought to the city, it cooled on the way and was only moderately warm.

Neither hot nor cold.

I like ice cold tea. I don’t like it once the ice melts in my glass. I also like hot tea. I do not enjoy it once it cools and grows lukewarm. Perhaps you can say the same about food or drinks you enjoy. We want them one way or the other. Not something straddling the middle.

So I wonder. Are we living In Laodicea? Are we walking around like we’ve got it all together? Saying we’re rich. We don’t need anyone’s help, including God’s.

As was true with those living in Laodicea, it is true with us today. A life of compromise and lack of commitment to Christ does not appeal to Jesus. It makes him want to spit.

Neither hot nor cold.

Unaware of spiritual poverty and blindness.

Clothed in darkness, not light.

I don’t believe any of us want Jesus to spit us out because we’ve let the fire that once burned bright for him grow dim. Perhaps we need to get rid of lukewarm attitudes and turn up the heat in our commitment and relationship with Jesus, so our eyes can truly see how he desires us to live.

And then live it.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 I know what you do, that you are not hot or cold. I wish that you were hot or cold!  But because you are lukewarm—neither hot, nor cold—I am ready to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich, and I have become wealthy and do not need anything.’ But you do not know that you are really miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.  I advise you to buy from me gold made pure in fire so you can be truly rich. Buy from me white clothes so you can be clothed and so you can cover your shameful nakedness. Buy from me medicine to put on your eyes so you can truly see.

 “I correct and punish those whom I love. So be eager to do right, and change your hearts and lives. Revelation 3:15-19 (NCV)


You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Neither Hot Nor Cold

“Did you know grilled cheese sandwiches don’t have to be burned?”


“Grilled cheese sandwiches don’t have to be burned. I had one for lunch. It wasn’t burned, like yours always are.”

My son, Pie, had just returned from a day of working at the home of fellow church members, as part of his youth group’s efforts to raise money for a youth trip.

I’ve reported on this blog before, I am not a cook. Like Walter Brennan, on the Real McCoys used to say, No brag. Just fact. Still, having Pie remind me of one of my many deficiencies, especially one that impacted what he ate, made me cringe.

My way of cooking was to turn the heat all the way up. Never considered a medium. All or nothing. That’s the way it was. (I’m using a past tense verb here, but should probably amend it to say, it’s not that way, all the time, anymore.) I’ve grown to love burnt toast.

This reminded me of something the apostle John wrote about in Revelation.

Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.”  Revelation 3:14-18  (The Message)

Maybe we’re walking around like those Laodiceans. We think we’ve got it all together. We don’t need anyone’s help. But, God’s ready to spew us out. We’re neither hot nor cold. God’s ready to be done with us, because we’ve grown stale. We’re unaware of our spiritual poverty and blindness. We’ve got the outward conformity thing going on. We look pretty good. But what about our spiritual maturity? How are we doing in that department?

So, as I try to remember to moderate the temperature when I grill my cheese sandwiches, I need to never forget to keep the fire of my striving to be more Christ-like, turned all the way up.

I don’t want God to spew me out because I’m stagnant. What about you? Do you need to get rid of a lukewarm attitude, and turn up the heat in your relationship with Jesus?

I wish you well.



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