He Loves Us Anyway

Good morning. It is Monday, February 9, 2015. 56 days until Opening Day; only 11 days until pitchers and catchers report!

Today’s word of the day is ad deliquium, an adjective. “With reference to a bloodletting procedure: to the point at which the patient feels faint or faints (from loss of blood).”

Today is Stop Bullying Day. You know, bullying takes a lot more forms than people think. It’s more than just one kid taking another kid’s lunch money. What a lot of people may not realize, is that it even goes to the point of posting something on Facebook to try to manipulate a lot of other people to re-post it or “like” it. “Press like if . . . ” “Share this if . . . ” And sometimes, bullying even comes from the pulpit. Sad, but true. It’s one thing to preach truth. It’s a totally different thing to try to bully people into accepting something or reacting in the way that you think they should. So, yeah. It would be nice if everyone would stop the bullying.

I think yesterday was a pretty good day. Rachel came over, and after we had lunch, she and Christi had a nice long conversation about a lot of things while I sneaked off to the study and played Dragon Age for a while. I don’t know if any life-changing decisions were made, but I know they had a good time. After Rachel left, Christi and I watched this week’s Big Bang Theory, then went to bed.

It’s Monday, again, so we’re back to work. But I’m trying to approach things with a better attitude this week. I’ll let you know how that goes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

Psalm 16:4-5

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Searcher of Hearts.”

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Mark 2:8-12
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
John 2:23-25
Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
John 4:27-30

Psalm 139, one of my favorites of the all of the Psalms, begins with a description of God’s knowledge of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! (Psalm 139:1) The Son of God has the same ability to know people. As we might say in our culture, “Jesus sees right through us.” He knows everything about us, down to our inner thoughts, and, yes, our motives.

The Gospel writers gave us a glimpse into this knowledge as they described a few incidents involving Jesus and the people around him. He did not fall prey to the popularity of his contemporaries, because he knew how fickle their hearts were. He knew that the “political enthusiasm” for this itinerant miracle worker would wane.

The Pharisees, with their hardened hearts, did not fool Jesus. He saw through their phoniness, just like the pages of an open book. More interestingly, the adulterous woman at the well did not flee when he exposed her past to her. Instead, she courageously owned up to her past, even to the point of running to the village and telling everyone there about this man “who told me all that I ever did!” Her honest confession “moved the whole town to believe in Jesus.”

There are two different reactions to the knowledge that Jesus knows everything about who we are. We can “recoil in fear because Jesus knows us or we can enjoy the security and comfort of his acceptance of us in spite of who we are.” In a way, it’s amusing, because if any human knew the things about us that Jesus knows, we would be devastated, wouldn’t we? How would that elder at your church feel if he knew how you really feel about him? Jesus knows, but he accepts you and loves you anyway.

“Realizing that Jesus knows all about us drives us to confession and repentance.” Or at least it should. We all fall short of the glory of God, at least once a day, and we can’t make this up. We cannot repay our debt. Jesus knows everything about us, yet he still paid that debt for us. Check out Romans 5:8. . . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Don’t you just love those two words that begin the verse? “But God . . . ” Two of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture. But this verse sums up everything we are saying here. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us! He didn’t wait until we got better!

Jesus continues that work within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He sees into our hearts, knows every thought, weakness, inclination, and motive. Yet he loves us unconditionally, anyway. “Jesus sees us, knows us, and loves us, in spite of everything disclosed by his searchlight. Day by day we move on, not in terror that we will be found out, but in relief, praise, and thanksgiving because Jesus welcomes us into his arms.”

Father, I praise you that you have searched me and known me. I thank you that Jesus sees all of me, knows my thoughts and my motives. I am glad that I cannot hide anything from you. All the things that I am afraid of other people finding out, you already know! And you have accepted me, loved me, even died for me. I can walk in freedom because of this. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” If I think about this too much, I am overwhelmed. Nevertheless, I ask you to keep it up. Search me, Lord. Test me and see if there is any deceitfulness in me, any wickedness; and then eradicate it! Drive it out with your holiness. Fill me with your Spirit, so that there is no room for impure motives and thoughts. I pray that I might be a good representative of your Kingdom today.

I pray for this day, that we would have safe and smooth passage to work and home today. I pray for our work day, that all will go well and we will get whatever we need to get done today. I pray for Stephanie, that she will feel better today, as she seems to have come down with what I had last week. I pray that the residual congestion from what I had will move on out. I pray for Christi today, that you will give her light and illuminate her circumstances that she would know what her best course of action is. May we always do right, and always do no harm.

We all know (or at least think we do) that people would recoil in horror if they knew the deepest recesses of our hearts. Well, Jesus knows. And he loves. How he loves.

Grace and peace, friends.

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