Life Outside the Boat


October 2013

God, Love and the Transitive Property

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Who has never heard this verse? Pretty much anyone (on this continent anyway) has heard this at a wedding, hanging in a plaque on a wall, on Pinterest… We see this verse consistently. Almost to the point of not even noticing or maybe even ignoring it. Especially anyone who has been jaded by “love”. Romantic or otherwise. But it is funny how a verse I know better than most, have memorized and was even read at my wedding can all of a sudden jump out and adopt a new meaning in my heart that I never even thought about. The theme of my study lately has been “Hearing from God”….not necessarily on purpose but it just sort of happened that way. As much as I may want or think I need to study something else, this is what I have no choice but to focus on as it is the theme of the newest sermon series at church and also of the book my bible study is doing right now. Apparently God wants to talk to me.

So, as I was opening my bible and notebook to surrender to this fact and go back through last Sunday’s sermon notes, I pulled out my bulletin and it had been shoved right into 1 Corinthians 13. Not noticing at first that my bible was just laying open to this page, I start journaling to God in my notebook about Jeremiah 33:2-3 (the scripture from the pastor’s sermon) “This is what the Lord says, He who made the Earth, The Lord who formed it and established it – The Lord is His name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Now, I am not one to normally just let my bible fall open and try to find something there, I am usually pretty intentional and plan what I am going to read, but as I was writing my thankfulness to a God who speaks and for “teaching wisdom and understanding” I looked over at my bible laying open to the “Love Chapter”, I wonder what more God could possibly have to say to me in these few verses?? I know them, they are “written on the tablet of my heart”…. What is it??


I proceed to humor God (I firmly believe that he is humored by us pretty regularly) and begin to write out verses 4-8. Love is patient, kind, and so on… There I was looking at this verse on paper wondering “What now?” Then I pull up the thesaurus and start writing synonyms to all these words…

Love: is humble, polite, respectful, graceful, forgiving, calm, makes happy, soothes, is joyful, bears no malice, overlooks, liberates, stops blame, grants pardon, justifies, joys in authenticity, always defends, shields, takes under wing, is optimistic, always works hard, keeps on, is determined, holds fast, persists, pursues, stays the course. Never breaks down, never declines, never aborts, never backslides, never slips and never loses control.

As I finish this, still wondering the point, I looked at the bottom of my journal page and the there was 1 John 4:16. It took me three pages of synonyms to get me to this particular page, but there it was. The point.


God is love.

Love never fails.

God never fails.

God is humble, polite, respectful, graceful, forgiving, calm, makes happy, soothes, is joyful, bears no malice, overlooks, liberates, stops blame, grants pardon, justifies, joys in authenticity, always defends, shields, takes under wing, is optimistic, always works hard, keeps on, is determined, holds fast, persists, pursues, stays the course. Never breaks down, never declines, never aborts, never backslides, never slips or never loses control.


Thank you Father, for who you are. For love. For grace. For being more determined than I am…speaking over my noise and my plans. For drowning out my agenda. Thank you for loving me, for being love, for never failing. Jesus you are love, you are truth, you are the word of life. Thank you for giving us human beings the capacity to love and be loved. Let us not miss love in all its fullness. Let us know love that is humble, graceful, joyful, determined. Love that liberates, pardons, justifies. Thank you that you not only told us that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friend, but you did it. (John 15:13, John 3:16) Thank you for modeling true love for us. Let me follow your example.

Since apparently it is my “thing” to add a song…


For the Sake of the World

I know I promised a post about “One Thousand Gifts”, but I’m still chewing on that one. So…here is a little revelation I pulled from one of last month’s entries in my journal….

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14

“Ask and it will be given to you…” Matthew 7:7

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

All these promises. So true and so powerful! But I have always thought that these meant that whatever I claimed “in Jesus name” would happen. Then when things didn’t happen, my response was doubt. Unbelief. Anger. And finally, fear. Where was God? I needed a miracle. I needed an answer. I needed a powerful manifestation of these promises. Why. Wasn’t. He. Listening!? Why did I read stories of people being healed, restored, delivered, set free all over the world, but nothing changed for me? I knew that it was written that Jesus “bore our sicknesses, and carried our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17), that “…By His wounds we are healed.” I claimed, I plead, I commanded, I casted out, I called forth. Nothing. Nada. My circumstances not only remained, but intensified. Until one day…

Revelation comes in so many different ways. Our Father knows the language of our heart. He is the one that designed “the love languages”. He knew what it would take to make me hear him. Facebook. 🙂 A friend posted a link to a song. One I had never heard before. Ironic, because it was by my favorite band? But that day, I heard it and it wrecked me…

“I’m laying down my life.
I’m giving up control.
I’m never looking back,
I surrender all.
I’m living for your glory on the earth.
For the sake of the world, burn like a fire in me…
For every tongue to confess that you alone are the king.
You are the hope of the earth.”

What!? You mean this (day, life, blessing, healing, miracle) isn’t about me? But God, I had been praying “in Jesus name” all along, is John 14 not applicable to me? Why doesn’t “my healing quickly appear”?? (Isaiah 58:8) “For the sake of the world”?? This made me ask: Why have I been petitioning the throne over this? What is my motive? If what I asked for happened right this second, would I be any different than I was 2 years ago? Ugh…

“Whatever you ask in MY name…” Lightbulb! All this time, I had been saying “in the name of Jesus” but I had been asking in my own name. For my sake. To make my life easier, more comfortable, happier. If being in Christ makes me a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), then it changes my motive, my cause, my purpose to His motive, His cause, His purpose. So also does my request change. When I pray in Jesus name, it is for His cause, His glory.

So here I am, no longer waiting for my miracle. Do I have any doubt that one day I will walk in complete freedom from sickness? None at all. That miracle happened over two thousand years ago. It’s done. So how do I explain these circumstances? Healing is easy. In Matthew 8, Jesus healed the servant of the Centurian without even going to his home. He said the words, “Go, and it will be done” and it was done. Heart transformation? That takes time, effort, surrender, casting of crowns, trust.

A.W. Tozer said, “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.”

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that God ever does anything “evil”. It just isn’t in His character. But I can say with confidence that sometimes our perspective, our feelings, our circumstances lie. Sometimes, if we feel under attack, this may just be the heat of the refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:2). The spin and smash of the potter’s wheel (Isaiah 64:8).

“The degree to which I allow God to keep breaking me, is the degree to which He will pour out His miracle.” -Christine Caine

My circumstances cannot change who I am. My identity is sealed. I have already been ransomed, redeemed restored, set free, healed, made new. This means that I may have days of doubt, days of anger and frustration at my circumstances. Days where I just want to go back to my “comfortable” existence. Days where I take my eyes off of Jesus and all I see are the waves and the wind. But then He rescues me and reminds me whose I am and that He will be faithful to complete what he began. (Philippians 1:6)

John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. (not comfort, not security, not wealth, not health, not happiness….peace.) In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

My prayer now is this: Thank you God for who you are. Thank you for your goodness and your mercy, your love and your healing, your peace and the transforming work of the cross. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me….grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Burn in me for the sake of the world. May my life reflect your love. Holy Spirit move in me as a display of YOUR goodness, not mine. In Jesus name.

I heard a sermon recently by my hero of faith, Christine Caine about when Jesus fed the 5,000. I want to point out in Mark 6:41, Jesus “gave thanks and broke the loaves”. The theme: thankfulness and brokenness preceded the miracle. But that’s getting into my “One Thousand Gifts” post…. 😉

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