Sunday, November 09, 2014


Have you ever been in love?

It's easy to fall in love. But is it possible to fall in love and stay in love forever?

Most of us want to believe it can happen, and that it can happen to us. That's the compelling start off point for a message from Andy Stanley. It's compelling because it's true: we do want to fall in love and stay in love forever. Me too! I love my husband Al.  I thank God for Al, for his love for me and the wonderful godly man he is.

But then yesterday, we had an off night. Al was tired and went to bed early because he had to go to work later that night, but for me, it's still a Saturday night. I am left lonely, sad, and wondering: God, is this all there is, really? I am a woman who craves excitement, romance. Where did that go? Was it ever there? Was this the wrong man?

Satan is so sly. I was in the car yesterday afternoon with my daughter. The car radio was switched on to her favorite station, playing was a song called "Closer" by Ne-Yo. In it, a sweet-voiced man talked about his woman:

 Turn the lights off in this place
 And she shines just like a star
 And I swear I know her face
 I just don't know who you are
 Turn the music up in here
 I still hear her loud and clear
 Like she's right there in my ear
Saying come closer, closer...

And I just can't pull myself away
 Under her spell I can't break
 I just can't stop 
 And I just can't bring myself no way
 But I don't want to escape
 I just can't stop

 I can feel her on my skin
 I can taste her on my tongue
 She's the sweetest taste of sin
 The more I get the more I want

That is it, I want someone to feel that way about me, to sing this song to me. At age 59, with wrinkled hands and graying hair, I still want this!  I can feel the desire down to my toes. That is the love I long for even now.

So I sleep and dream about an old love, cloying, wanting to come closer to me. I wake up, shake myself, wondering, where did that come from? It was so long ago. A cup of coffee and my Bible revives me this morning. It was my own longing taunting me. God reminds me of His purpose: to perfect (sanctify) me, to heal me, to protect me with these verses: 

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it...
The Lord is faithful, who will establish and guard you from the evil one. 
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Thessalonians 3:3)  

The evil one wants us to be dissatisfied with our spouses. The evil one points out the imperfections in our loved ones and tells us we deserve better. The evil one tempts us with the sweetest taste of sin. He wants us to feel unable to break away from our longings.  

On the other hand, God desires that we cover a multitude of sin with love. God desires unity, sacrifice, humility. He instructs us to treat others as if they are more important than ourselves. God also wants us to be closer to Him. He longs for us, draws us, never with an evil intent, but with the purity of infinite, merciful love. The decision to accept God's love is a choice we make. He never forces, or seduces, or beguiles us.  The Holy Spirit give us self-control to protect us from the power of sin. He sees us as we are, our wrinkled hands, our graying hair, our sagging bodies, our sinful desires, and He says we are beautiful. He says we are His. 

Jesus winked at me today during our church's worship service. He arranged for the worship team to sing this better version of the song "Closer" from Hillsong:

There is no life without You
 You have all that we need
 Where You are every fear is broken
 And the darkness must flee

 Closer and closer we want to know You
 Reaching out,reaching out
 Here in Your presence we want to go deeper
 In Your light come alive

 There is no one beside You
 You alone are enough
 You fling the doors of Your heart wide open
 And we are lost in Your love

 To You we will come running
 In You we find belonging
 Your love is all that can satisfy

Jesus, You alone are enough! As my husband and I stand together to worship You, as we face You, desire to grow closer to You, our love becomes complete and life-giving. 

The wanton desires of my foolish heart still lurk within me. No man on earth fulfills my girlish dreams perfectly. But You, beloved Jesus, complete me beyond anything I can hope for and imagine.  

As we depend on Jesus for fulfilling our deepest desires, we are freed to love others with selfless love pouring our of our spirits from the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can perfect us. But He will. And He will save us from the evil one.

That is worth praising Him about!

Andy Stanley talks about "Staying in Love" click below...

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