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Love & Relationship – 2018-03-21

We are created for love, for relationship… for many of us, there is that place in our soul which hungers for significance and value to our lives and our relationships… a voice which longs to be heard and understood on a real, deeper level… there is that place in our hearts which desires and longs to feel we made a positive difference in the lives of others.

Superficial and dysfunctional relationships create a greater void rather than satisfying those desires. We can throw all our time, heart, effort and money into them, but unless there is a healthy relationship in which time and relationship are reciprocal, it only increases the void rather than satisfying it.

Just as that void, that hunger cannot be filled with superficial relationship, it also cannot be filled with busyness, with food, with activity, with drugs, with alcohol, with electronics… These are like throwing a smoke bomb into a black hole – it might momentarily cover the hole with a smoke screen, but the void is still there.

This void is often where addiction lives… it is the pit we fall into. The heart so often wants what it cannot have and so we chase a lie rather than living the truth. The lie creates much pain and conflict in our hearts… we may pour every ounce of ourselves out, but when little or nothing is returned, it only leaves pain… and superficial, false smoke screens are nothing but a lie to cloud the truth.

Jesus said in John 16, “6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

The truth is that not all of our relationships honor God. The truth is that sometimes we need to walk away or put up strong boundaries in unhealthy one-way relationships.

The truth is that Jesus always is THE way… a companion on our journey who lovingly takes us through healing to healthy, from a lie to truth, from worthless to a child of the King…

Sometimes we forget all that.. the enemy repeats those lies and failures of the past… sometimes he even uses the voices of loved ones because those are the most piercing. It is not uncommon for these voices to speak loud and clear when we are on the brink of an amazing part of the journey.

But there is always the truth… the way… Jesus.

The visual I had yesterday was when I walked down the pct and up the back of the property. It is very mucky after rain melted all that snow. I kept slipping, getting stuck, and my feet were soaking wet as the muck and water poured over the top of my shoes. Finally, I reached a point where I could I cross over to the rocks.

Those negative relationships in our life often drain our heart, resolve and energy and prevent us from moving forward… pruning is painful. But if we do not prune that which drains our energy and resources, then we merely exist and are not able to produce fruit…

Why do we so often choose to stay on the mucky path instead of clinging to the rock – to Jesus? It is so hard to maintain a forward progress if we do not leave that ick behind and cross over. But that is the trail we know and we often revert back to what we know, no matter how painful or undesirable it is… striking out on a new trail can be intimidating. Sometimes we need to choose new friends, new relationships to help us find those new paths and let go of those that insist on keeping us on the mucky path. Sometimes we will not move forward to a new path until we are
battered and bruised from slipping in the muck… pain is an amazing teacher… pain reaches out for healing… pain reaches out for prayer… the tears from our pain reaches out for Jesus… and He loving gathers those tears into His precious bottle… those tears are the jewels He treasures because those tears cleanse our heart. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can persevere and move forward step by painful step until we reach the solid rock, solid footing.

Let’s face it, storms come, some times we have little choice but to face the rain and resulting puddles.

WHY do we face affliction if Jesus loves us so much?
Take a journey with me for a moment…
Deeper Still:
I was contemplating Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

The visual came to mind of sifting grain… if you do not sift it, remove the rocks, you are likely to break a tooth on it when you bite into what should be sustenance. Sifting, refining is not pleasant, but it is purposeful.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

Psalm 66:8 Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard,
9 Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.
10 For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 8:
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Jesus is the word, the truth – not the lies of the enemy and the past
Jesus is the way… the way out of the muck and onto solid ground, and He pulls us out of the muck as many times as we reach out for His loving hand.
Jesus is life… not just existing, begging for leftovers, but LIFE, full, complete life.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10