What Would You Do For Love?

PhotobucketThe Holy Spirit asked the two men standing before him, “What would you do for love?”

Neither of the men gave an answer because neither knew exactly what the question meant. Love? To love someone or to be loved by someone?

The first man had always thought of love as something you could acquire by giving. He thought to himself, as long as I have something to give, people will love me. It had always been that way. The more he gave, the more people “loved” him for it. His earliest memory was his father hugging him tightly when he had given his father a drawing he had made of the two of them hunting. He remembered that hug, how tight it was. How safe he felt in his father’s arms. He had somehow equated love with the “giving” of that simple picture. Sometime later his parents divorced. He didn’t see much of his father after that. Over the years he would wonder if his father’s hug was his way of saying he loved his little boy or was he saying “goodbye”. When the word “love” was mentioned, that is what he would think of. When he gave gifts to his wife, children or friends, they would hug him. And in return, he would hug them tight. But sometimes at night, when he lay in his bed before falling asleep, he would sigh with heavy tiredness. A tiredness which often came from the feeling that he had no more to give and wondered when he would be able to rest.

The second man was not sure what he was being asked? Do for love? Was this a trick question? Love? The word love conjured up the emptiness. Nothing. A heavy void. He knew what the dictionary said, “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person”. He had looked it up one particularly lonely day. It actually listed thirteen other definitions as a noun and five as a verb. None of which he could personally relate. He had decided a long time ago that “love” was a figment of peoples imagination. That it was strictly a temporary lapse of reason. He had made that decision at a very early age when he overheard one of his social workers talking to his new foster parents about him. They spoke in whispered tones but he could hear every word. “He just needs someone to show him some love, he’s had a hard time of it, his mother died young and his father nowhere to be found.” He remembers very well his foster parents’ idea of love. Everything was great at first. For the first time in his life, he had his own room, with his own bed and dresser. He could close his eyes and still remember the smell of the new clothes and shoes that were in “his” closet. He liked his new home. The ‘fosters’ were nice, at least until they brought home the “baby”, then it was like he became invisible. It was a matter of time until he was taken back to the boys home. The day they drove him back was the very day he decided that it had all been a figment of his imagination. Love, poof, it’s gone.

The silence was deafening waiting for the two men to answer.  The Holy Spirit wasn’t quite sure if they were going to answer.  God had wanted them to know why they were here.  He wanted them to specifically know that He loved them so he was here to make sure they got the message.

He looked directly into the eyes of the first man and he said, quietly but firmly, “The answer is for you, you do not have to do or give anything to receive love, there is love that is freely given to any who would ask,  the Lord says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It was the last word the man’s eyes opened wide.  How did he know what I was thinking?  His heart was beating a thousand beats a minute.  This can not be possible, how did he know I wanted to rest?

He turned to the second man and said, “The answer for you, love is real and exist.  Love knew you before you were born, love knows the very number of hairs on your head and has seen you all the days of your life.  Love wants to adopt you and become your Father.  Love has built a home for you and is waiting for you there.  The Lord loves you with an everlasting love and has sent His only Son to die on a cross for you.”  With those words, the man’s heart was pricked.  What did he mean, wants to adopt me and be my father?  How could he know that I was an orphan?  Why do I want to know more?

Both men sat looking forward not realizing what the other man beside him was seeing or thinking. They did not know each other.  They each sat among a crowd of strangers listening to the words coming from the man behind the pulpit. He was speaking about love.  A kind of love neither had ever really known nor understood.  As God looked down over the crowd He could see the two men sitting there.  Each lost in his own thoughts.  He hoped and prayed that today would be the day that they would finally know L-O-V-E.  That they would finally know Him.  He waited patiently at the door of their hearts, then He decided to knock.  

The first man heard the knock. At first, he didn’t recognize it. He was still thinking about the word rest, had the preacher really said that?  He thought to himself,  “That is what I need, that is what I have been asking for.”  And then the knock got louder.  And then before he knew what he was doing he opened the door.  At that very moment, a peace washed over him.  His weary body let out a sigh.  For the first time ever he could breathe.  He could answer the question now, what would he do for love.  “I will rest and trust in the One that loves me, my Savior, Jesus!”

The second man heard the knock but was not sure what it was or what it meant.  He was lost in the thought of actually knowing his father. He was always looking for him in the face of every man he thought might be the age of his father.  And now those words were ringing in his head, “he wants to adopt you and become your father”.  The knock got louder.  What if I am not good enough?  The man speaking from the pulpit shouted, “You do not have to be good enough, He loves you just the way you are!”  That startled him from his thoughts, what did he say?  The knock turned to a pounding.  He then realized that it was God wanting him, knocking on the door of his heart, wanting to come in, wanting to be his Father.  He reached for the door and without thought, opened it.  His heart exploded into a thousand pieces. And as he tried to gather himself from the sudden overwhelming warmth that came over his body, he could feel tears on his cheeks.  Tears?  Where had they come from?  What did this mean?  For the first time in his life he knew a home, he knew a father, he knew love.  He could now answer the question, what would he do for love.  “I will accept the love of my Father and I will learn to love others as my Savior does!”

God smiled and said, “Holy Spirit, well done, well done!”

written by Michelle M. Padilla 11/18/08

Galatians 5:16 Pictures, Images and Photos

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
and he with me.

Revelation 3:20


Between The Fires!

I wanted to write something about the events of this past week, I have so much on my heart to say…but I have not been able to put it into words…after praying about it, the Lord spoke to me about something I think he wants me to say about His love. In spite of what is going on around us, the chaos of the world and the fear of the unknown…we must as Christians remember that God is still on the throne.  He has written our story and we know who wins in the end.  We must keep our eyes on Him, trust Him and renew our commitment to follow Him by living out what He teaches in His Word.  To love God with all our hearts, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves!!!!  The Lord inspired me through a bible study my pastor gave last Sunday evening.
May the Lord speak to you….Enjoy, Shell

Matthew 26:33-35, 69-75
John 21:1-19

Last Sunday night our Pastor did a lesson on the love of God, from the vantage point of Peter, the disciple.  He read the passages of Peter telling the Lord, he would never let him down.  Jesus, himself informed Peter that before the cock crowed the next morning, Peter would deny him 3 times.  Peter tried to argue with Jesus, telling him he would die before he would do such a thing.  Scripture tells us in a matter of hours, he did exactly what Jesus said he would do while trying to be inconspicuous in the wrong crowd around a fire, in the cool of the night. 


So much happened in those hours, Jesus was betrayed in the garden and taken captive.  The disciples scattered and hid.  Jesus had been crucified and laid in the tomb.  Later, they had discovered the tomb was empty.  He was gone.  What happens to Peter in the days following?  Where was Peter?  What do you think was going through his mind? Do you think the last conversation with the Lord consumed his minutes and hours?  Do you think his denial of the Lord replayed in his thoughts?


Jump to the scripture where Peter and the other disciples are fishing on a boat, not catching a thing.  They are weary, hungry and I bet, frustrated.  Then someone speaks to them from the shore “Have you any meat?”  Then he told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat, they caught more fish than they knew what to do with.  So when John questions if it is the Lord speaking to them from the shore, Peter jumps into the water and heads to the shore as fast as he can go.  As our Pastor pointed out, it was ironic, the very next time Peter meets with the Lord was at a fire.  Don’t you know that might have brought back painful, regretful memories for Peter?  But did the Lord bring that up?  No, in fact, he asked Peter a question.  It was that question that connected the two events by the fires.


Personally, I had not really thought much about the time between the fires.  It was at the first fire that he betrayed the Lord.  I can only imagine that he was filled with guilt and remorse at the realization of what he had done.  And fear.  But much later after his Lord died a cruel and unfair death, I am sure, there were feelings of great loss and doubt. 


What do we do when we have fallen into sin and then back into “old ways?”  Aren’t we frustrated, angry with ourselves, remorseful?  Don’t we wish we could make it all right again, take it all back?


Don’t you think Peter, jumped into the water because he could not get to the Lord fast enough?  To make it right, to say he was sorry, to ask forgiveness?  What is amazing is Jesus is just sitting by the fire, cooking up the fish, inviting them to dine, accepting, no condemnation, no I-told-you-so.  He did ask Peter a question.  It was a question directed at Peter’s heart.  The Lord knew the answer.  Why do you think he asked him specifically “Do you love me?” Why do you think the Lord asked him 3 times? 


I think He was driving home the fact that He would use Peter to feed His sheep, the message of hope, forgiveness of sins and ultimate love.  How could Peter have truly understood what He was to pass on to others unless he himself had not been in a place to experience the hope of cleansing, to receive that forgiveness of his sins and finally to come face to face with love?  The guilt, the remorse, the loss and frustration of the past days melted away with the realization that he was staring into the face of the man who had died for the very sins he committed at the first fire.  And here, at the second fire, he witnessed what His Lord’s death stood for, the ultimate love of God. 


Between The Fires!

It was between the fires, that my heart changed

 From sin to forgiveness, I had to learn,

That he loved me no matter what,

 Love through grace that I didn’t earn.

I had to feel the regret and loss

the desire to hide, hang my head

 Before I understood what His dying

Meant for me, standing in my stead.

It was between the fires, that I came to know

The companion’s guilt, remorse, and fear,

He took them all upon himself

Sacrificed through death, my record clear

 I had to see for myself, face to face

What would send Him to bear?

Sins of the world, including mine,

In the Cross, when love hung there.


Poem by Michelle M. Padilla 11/05/08

May you all be loved and show love…
Grace to you,