Thursday, 29 December 2016

Why Did God Send A Flood?

I've heard some people say they think it was awful for God to send a flood and kill all those people. I've heard the same about Sodom too. I've always accepted God's judgement on those people because I know he is wise, loving and just.  Personally, I wouldn't want to live next door to Sodom and I doubt you would either if you read the story. (It isn't about gay people; it's about rape and murder.)

As I was reading Genesis along with a Bible Commentary, I found out there are those who say it may be that God foresaw the inhabitants of the world killing each other off; that their death was inevitable. The original Hebrew could mean that.

The Bible says, "Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth."

Pulpit Commentary

"...while a third, that the end spoken of is the issue to which the moral corruption of the world was inevitably tending (Keil, Lange), does not materially differ from the first."

"has come before me" in the contemplation of my mind as an event soon to be realized" (Murphy), with perhaps a glance at the circumstance that man s ruin had not been sought by God, but, as it were, had thrust itself upon his notice as a thing that could no longer be delayed.

There was one man on earth who was not evil and violent: Noah. If God had not intervened, perhaps the violent people of the earth would have killed him and his family and then each other.

"The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time."
Genesis 6:5

Thank God we cannot say that of the world today. There are many people filled with the Spirit of God yet in the world; there are many people who have not given themselves over to evil completely.

I do see this similarity between now and Noah's day: violence. Violence is filling the world more and more, or at least it seems so. But there is also something new: global warming. The Bible speaks of days of immense heat. Are we going to destroy ourselves as the antedeluvians were going to destroy themselves through violence?

This is written about in Isaiah:

 The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.   Isaiah 24:4-6

"Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane." 
Isaiah 5:16

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, 
and it was given to it to scorch men with fire."   Rev.16:8

One of the last plagues on earth is the sun burning people. God won't be doing it to us, it will be the result of losing the layers above the earth that protect us. It will be the result of the sin of polluting the earth.

What did Jesus say about this time:

"For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."   Matthew 24:21,22

"And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.   Rev. 11:18

"Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.   Psalm 102:25

We are now destroying the entire world with our pollution. Our only hope is in God, who will change our hearts into a heart like his: forgiving, loving, giving and compassionate. Our only hope for a new life in heaven is to give our life to Him who made us and died for us. 

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. 
And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.  
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.   Mathew 24:30,31

We may die before Jesus comes for us; or we may be alive when he comes to save us from a dying planet. We don't know, but we can know him who knows everything and trust him as he leads us. We can find peace and shelter under the shadow of his wings.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Therapy with God.

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."   Isaiah 9:6

This has been a difficult week for our family. My cousin's husband died in a car crash and a loved member of our family is detoxing from heroin. I didn't even know he smoked heroin. I didn't know a person could smoke heroin. I thought you had to inject it. Apparently not.

Needless to say I've been filled with sorrow about both these things. The man who died was around 55 years old. He and my cousin had a wonderful, Christian marriage. They did everything together after their daughter grew up and moved out. They loved to travel and went to Australia, Europe and Alaska. They were going to go to Arizona after Christmas.

The family member on heroin is a young man we all love. He lost his brother 5 years ago, and began using heroin on the anniversary of his death in September. He refuses to go to counseling, which would help him learn to cope with losing his brother, so what can we do? He refuses to go to Narcotics Anonymous and rehab, so his mother moved in with him this week while she weans him off heroin.

I have been praying for everyone and for myself so I won't slide into a depression. But I couldn't sleep all night after hearing all this. I didn't ask God to help me sleep. I just prayed for help for everyone, but I didn't go into detail.

I was feeling pretty grim the next day, and knew I had to do something. I realized I shouldn't just pray regular prayers; I should talk with God about everything in detail so I did. I could feel the weight lift from my heart as I shared my thoughts and feelings.

 I talked with him about my sleep patterns too and how they upset me, because I hadn't been talking with him about that. I've been understanding more and more how I just need to talk with God. Talk, not pray, just talk.

Talking is what you do in Therapy. I always learned something new about myself and my life in therapy, just by talking. I also felt better after a therapy session. I could see the way I should go more clearly.

Isaiah wrote that God is our Mighty Counselor.
I believe it.

He also called him the Prince of Peace.
Yes, he is.

"You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory."  Psalm 73:24

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you."   Psalm 32:8

I must add to this post that when my youngest daughter heard about the young man in our family, she was feeling very sad. She was on her computer, went to look at Pinterest, and on the first page she opened she saw this:
God is fighting for us and our families.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

An Apple Tree and A Lily.

Photo by:  Sarah Stierch Sarah Stierch (CC BY 4.0)

The Song of Solomon is a song of being in love. The man in the story represents God or Jesus. The woman represents those who believe in him. I think the main idea is that we should fall in love with Jesus, that we should be infatuated with him so that he is constantly in our thoughts.

The woman in love says, "Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, And his fruit was sweet to my taste."   

I've walked through many forests in Canada. If I had ever seen an apple tree, covered in apples, in the midst of a forest, I would have gasped. I would have felt happy and excited; I would have run up to it, picked an apple and sat down under its branches to eat, just like this woman says.

Trees of the forest are wild things. If you needed to eat in the forest you would have to know your mushrooms, roots and bugs. There isn't much edible there. These are not trees that give nourishment to humans. 

But an apple tree? It is different than all the other trees in the forest. Just as Jesus is different than all the men in the world. He nourishes us and his fruit (love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness) is sweet to our taste. 

What does Jesus say we are like?  "Like a lily among the thorns, So is my darling among the maidens."   Solomon 2:2

He sees us as a beautiful lily that is surrounded by thorns. I found this so interesting. Those who love God, or are wanting to love him, are in a world of strife, sin and chaos. We can be hurt by the thorns of those who don't know God. We are in a precarious state, but as Jesus said, "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."   John 16:33

An apple tree in a forest and a lily among thorns are things that stand out. They are beautiful; they are different; they are our God and they are us.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Violent Dreams and Revenge.

I had dreams last night that I haven't had for a long time. Dreams of rape and violence. Dreams of me shooting the rapists. These dreams are always disturbing and I used to feel sad all the next day and sometimes for many days following.

Just as I got out of bed, I heard in my mind, "How can God allow this to happen to you?"  I laughed, and I'll tell you why I laughed. I recognized that voice. It is the voice of Satan trying to rend me apart from God. But I've learned from Joyce Meyer to speak back to that voice in Bible verses. I say out loud, "The Lord is a shield around me, he is my glory, he is the lifter of my head.
The Lord is a strong tower I run to and I am safe.
The Lord is the strength of my life and my portion forever."

As I quote these words, my spirit is lifted and I look up to God with thanksgiving. Jesus said, "In this world you will have many tribulations. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Everyone's tribulations are different. Yours may be financial, and you wonder why God has allowed this to happen. Perhaps you have lost a loved one. Maybe your husband or wife has left you. Quote the Bible, trust in the Lord and do good. We will never understand everything while we are here on earth. But we will understand afterwards.

Jesus once said to Peter, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 
John 13:7

Jesus said about his death on the cross, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy."  John 16:20

The Bible says Jesus was, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."  If the Son of God suffered here, why do we expect not to suffer? No, we have "entered into Christ's sufferings." Christ has been suffering since Lucifer led a host of his fellow angels, the children of God in heaven, to rebel against God's government. I can't imagine what it was like for the Trinity to lose so many they knew so well and loved so much.

I don't mean to minimize the pain anyone is going through. I know the pain of divorce, death and abuse. But I also know that God has sufficient grace, peace and love for us to go through these things. He walks beside us. He will comfort us here, and at the end of time, he will abundantly reward us with a beautiful, pain-free life in heaven. There, all our hopes and dreams will come true. We will be surrounded by love and beauty.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Dreams of Silence.

I'm having more dreams about my mother. I keep dreaming she is hiding the fact my father was sexually abusing me. Last night in my dream she asked my sister and I to hide the evidence. I don't feel horrible about these dreams. Not like the dreams I had about my father; but I wonder why I have them. I figured I have forgiven her and moved on.

I asked God what I should do about these dreams. He said to just talk to him about my mother's part in it all. I did, and I will continue to do this until the dreams go away.

The reason I have felt no ill will towards my mother is that I grew up in the 1950s. There were no Women's Shelters, no welfare, no help at all for women. My mother was a secretary and I think she was paid minimum wage - no benefits at all, of course. She would never have been able to take care of us three kids. I know that.

On top of it all, my brother had severe asthma. He was always sick. He was in the hospital at least once a year; his medications were expensive; doctor visits had to be paid. If my mother left my father, my brother would have had to go to the county hospital and I don't know how she would have paid for anything else. It was just impossible.

The big memory I have of my mom and me was when I had a growth on my upper thigh. It was so strange looking that I'll never forget what it looked like. It looked like a cauliflower. When I looked it up, when I was an adult, I found out it was a genital wart. They had to burn it off of me and I remember that well.

At the doctor's visit, I remember him examining me in a way I'd never been through before. I remember him speaking to my mother and her answering him. I remember driving in the car on the way home; but I don't remember what was said by anyone. I do remember we got a new doctor after that.

I wish our brains could leave us alone. But I trust God that he made our brains this way for a good reason. I have read we will dream about something until it is resolved. I believe that is true, and I guess that's why I have no feelings anymore about my father and what he did. It took a long time to reach that resolution - but it happened and I'm happy about that. This is just another thing to resolve and I know God will help me.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Greed, God and the News.

I read the New York Times, NBC News and CBC news each day. Of course, I don't read every article; that would take hours. I have dual citizenship and therefore I read a lot of politics and how both the U.S. and Canada are being governed.

Let's face it. The news is usually depressing. Wars, refugees and elections don't lift my spirit. But I've noticed lately the news is making me feel kind of ill. My heart starts hurting then my head and stomach. What I see everywhere is greed.

The worst thing I read about the U.S. is the greed of corporations. They move their operations to other countries and don't care at all about the thousands of Americans left without a job. The thing is, they aren't losing money; they just want to make more and more money. They want to take advantage of the people in other nations like China and Mexico. They want to pay wages no one could live on. The people in China who work in those factories are prisoners - not allowed to leave, working long hours. Many of them commit suicide. And most of us have heard of children in India chained to a wall while they are forced to make goods. I have read the people in Mexico are paid $5.64 per hour.

People who used to make a good living working in factories now work lower paying jobs that usually don't have benefits and a lot of people work a few part-time jobs. Companies have found if they only hire part-time staff, they don't have to give benefits.

The pharmaceutical companies are heartless; they care nothing for poor, sick people. One company was charging so much for epipens that the government had to get involved. I don't know if that is fixed or not, but I did find out a person can get that medication and needles for themselves from their doctor and not have to buy the pen. They were so expensive, only rich people could afford them.

Well, I could cite stories all day long about how greed is making a third world country out of the United States. All the wars since 9/11 has ruined their economy - but hey, that was all about money too. Billions made by Halliburton and who knows who else, and Cheney owns refineries there right now. When ISIS took one of his refineries, I said to my husband, "Watch, he will get it back really fast." And yes, I think it took a week. 

I've got to cut down on reading the news. I can't do anything about these evil people and how they harm everyone. I need to let it go and let God deal with it. He has a lot to say about rich people who harm the poor.

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 
Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 
Your gold and silver are corroded. 
Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. 
You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 
Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields 
are crying out against you. 
The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 
You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. 
You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.
You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you."

What does God say to the innocent?

Patience in Suffering

"Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. 
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, 
patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 
Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. 
The Judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, 
take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. 
You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. 
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

James 5:1-11

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”   Mark 10:23

"Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor and exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine. For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, You who distress the righteous and accept bribes And turn aside the poor in the gate."   Amos 5:11,12

"The Lord is a God who avenges.
O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth;
pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, Lord, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?
They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, Lord;
they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

Psalm 94:1-7

Friday, 2 December 2016

Kingdoms Rise...Kingdoms Fall.

Photo by: Ambenalain

Nebuchadnazzar was King of ancient Babylon. At that time, Babylon was the world's dominant kingdom. It's realm covered most of the known world. 

One night, the king had a dream from God. He dreamed of a large statue made up of different metals. The head was gold, the chest silver, the thighs bronze, the legs iron and the feet were made of iron and clay together.

The story of this dream, and the prophet Daniel to whom God gave the interpretation, is found in Daniel chapter 2 of the Bible. Daniel told the king God had sent the dream to show the future. God used Nebuchadnazzar to proclaim to the nations that the God of the Hebrews was the true God. He did this through two proclamations that were sent throughout the kingdom.

Depiction of statue.

God showed the rise and fall of kingdoms through this statue. Daniel told the king that he himself was the head of gold.

Head of gold: Babylon

Chest of silver: Persians/Medes

Thighs of bronze: Greece (Alexander the Great)

Legs of iron: Rome

Feet of iron and clay: Nations of the world. No one nation would rule the world again.

While gazing at the statue, Nebuchadnezzar saw a rock cut out, but not by human hands, strike the iron and clay and smash them to pieces. This rock was God, who will set up his universal kingdom at the end of time.

We are living in the time of iron and clay. There have been mighty nations after the Roman Empire, but none that ruled the entire world. Britain was powerful, Germany tried to rule the world, and now the strongest nation on earth is the United States, with Russia coming in second and China third. They all have the power to destroy the world with their bombs, if they so desire.

United States

Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. These kingdoms will also fall one day like all others, and the way the world looks right now it could be soon. But God has told us not to fear what nations do. He says he is the one who sets them up and pulls them down. 

The night Babylon fell, Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, Belshazzar, was king. He gave a large party, inviting all the important people and his wives. As they drank, the king sent for the golden goblets that the Babylonians had taken from the temple of God at Jerusalem. They poured wine in them and then gave toasts to their own gods.

All of a sudden, a hand came into the room and began writing on the wall. 

"Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking."   Daniel 5:5,6

No one could understand the writing. The king sent for Daniel and he interpreted the words for the king. 

“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

“But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

“This is the inscription that was written:
“Here is what these words mean:
Mene : God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel : You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres : Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.i      Daniel 5:18-30

I believe God weighs each nation on the scales of justice. When evil is rampant, as it was in Sodom, as it was at the flood, then God will act to put a stop to it. God had shown the Babylonians over and over again how powerful and loving he was. Now a new nation would take over, and God would work with them through Daniel to show himself to these new people. 

I see the United States as coming into judgement. For many years, morality has been cast to the ground. Not only cast down, but laughed at. This has become especially apparent when it comes to sex. 

Then there is the opposite side of the pendulum. People who say they are Christians, yet act like they hate those who don't agree with them. There is a middle group. These people go quietly through life believing in God and doing good for others. If they are persecuted, they don't get angry and strike back. They just keep working for the Lord and waiting for his coming.

Some Christians, want to unite Church and State. They think this will mend the country. They think God will be pleased with this and I can understand that. Unfortunately, every time Church and State are united there is persecution of those who don't believe the same. This will happen in the United States if they amend the Constitution in order to pass religious laws.

I'm not sure if there is anything worse than persecuting good people for their religion. That is what they did to Jesus. The church leaders joined with a Roman Governor and nailed him to a cross. He was teaching things the leaders thought were blasphemy, things that put them in a bad light.

After Jesus, they started killing more believers. This happened again in the Dark Ages with the Catholic Church that tortured and burned those who believed differently. Then the Protestants persecuted the Catholics. Quakers were persecuted by other churches. Mormons were persecuted. Now ISIS is killing everyone who won't join their brand of Islam.

What can we do when it feels like the world is falling apart? Trust in God and do good. That's what Jesus did.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.
The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
But the wicked will perish:
Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

Psalm 37:1-20

Monday, 28 November 2016

Toxic Family and Christians.

Toxic people are those who belittle and demean others. They make those they are with feel bad about themselves. What does God want us to do about these people if they are in our family? Should we stop all communication or should we carry on seeing them while they treat us in a horrible manner?

In my opinion, we are not called by God to hang around with toxic people. But there is an exception to that; if someone in your family becomes ill, I think we should go help that person, no matter what they have done. I think that is part of the commandment of honoring your parents. And if we show kindness and mercy towards a sister or brother who is ill, it is a powerful witness of the love of God.

So, unless illness is involved, I would stay away from toxic people if they make you feel bad. If people in your family are toxic and it doesn't bother you, then go ahead, be with them. This is a personal decision.

Here are some Bible verses that address the issue of being around toxic people. I hope they help someone.

Jesus said, "Who are My mother and My brothers?"  Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers!  "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."  Mark 3:33-35  Jesus said this when his family had come to where he was and wanted to talk with him because they had heard he was insane or full of the devil. The chapter does not say if Jesus saw them or not, it only records his answer to those who told him his family was looking for him.

"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!"  Psalm 1:1

"I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites."  Psalm 26:4

"I did not sit in the company of revelers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone, because your hand was upon me, for you had filled me with indignation."  Jeremiah 15:17

"But He (Jesus) answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."   Matthew 15:14

"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them."   Romans 16:17

Monday, 21 November 2016

Love that Sacrifices.

“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him."  Isaiah 53:6

Every good parent loves their children more than themselves. I remember the day my daughter, Sandy, was born. I held her in my arms and was overwhelmed by a feeling of love and responsibility. I realized I could not just live for myself any longer.

Sandy was so little, vulnerable and innocent. I was not a Christian when that day began, but I became one as I looked on her face. I asked God to help me raise this tiny human. I knew I would mess it up if he didn't help me. So, it was my baby daughter who brought me to Christ. I've always told her this. 

Her, and her sister's happiness was always more important to me than mine. Sometimes when they were very sick, I would ask God to take their sickness and give it to me. He did that only once and I remember being so grateful to have the pain off of them and put on to me.

When I have sinned and feel bad about myself and guilty, I remember God feels the same love for me as I do for my children and grandchildren. No matter what they do, I love them. 

"Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. 
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."

Isaiah 49:15,16

"...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." 
Hebrews 12:2

What was the "joy set before him"?  It was knowing his suffering and death would save billions of people who would come with him to heaven when he returned. It was joy because he loves people. He loves you and he loves me. He loves us more than he loves himself. 

Jesus was willing to go through terrible physical pain and humiliation. but not only that, he took sin upon himself and the Bible says, "he became sin." How that felt, we do not know, except that he sweat drops of blood and in his agony, he said to his father, "Why have you forsaken me?" 

His father had not forsaken him, for the Bible says that God was in Christ on the cross. But Jesus felt forsaken - all alone. He did not know if he would see his beloved father again. 

I remember once, my grandson told me that God couldn't love him because he had done so many bad things. I said, "Craig, God loves you even more than I do."  He knew the depth of my love for him, and I think he took to heart what I said because he began to pray to God after that.