Daily Devotional

Today I am going to do another take on my bonus podcast from last Christmas Titled – 3 Men Wise. I am borrowing from the 3 wise men of the Christmas story to talk about the 3 “Men” in my life who have added to my understanding of love.

The first man who taught me about love was my father.
I learned from him the bond between father and child and that Life – Love is apposed.
There are other options to God’s plan for our life. There are forces of destruction, internal and external that seek to separate us from God’s love. The primary tool of destruction being the double barrel weapon of doubt and deception. In the first 2 chapters of Genesis, God CREATED! He created the heavens and the earth. The stars, the light, the seas and mountains and beasts and trees. He created us and the perfect Garden for us to live in. ALL of this Creation, HE did! A great masterpiece of work.
And with one question from the serpent in Gen 3:1, the first barrel of destruction was fired – DOUBT? “Did God really say…?”
All of that creating from God and with 4 little words…destruction is so easy while life is hard.
And once the opening of doubt is formed from the first barrel of destruction – BOOM, the second barrel.
Deception. Eve said I was DECEIVED! In other words, I was tricked into believing a lie.
I was very close with my father. I knew he loved me although I don’t think he ever told me. We had a special relationship formed through a split home at a very early age. I visited my dad on weekends and holidays. I was his only child and he wanted to be with me more than anything. But Life – Love is apposed.

If uncorrected, the double barrel weapon of doubt & deception can lead to ultimate destruction.
My father died a homeless man on the streets of Las Vegas, taking his own life because he believed a lie about himself.
That it was too late for him, too much damage done, no way to repair what he had broken.

What I learned about love from my father – was that love is a choice, and it has REAL consequences. The offer is made to accept and live in God’s love, but we must choose it. Deut 30:19 says; “God sets before us Life and Death”. It’s up to us what we choose.
Will we believe God’s truth or the enemy’s deception?
God has done His part. He has SENT His love to us this Christmas. What will we do with it?
Choose life, choose love. I wish my father would have and I miss him very much.

The second man who taught me about love is my son. My boy, my soldier who is just a few days from returning home from South Korea. I learned from my children the bond between a father and child.
I believe the closes we will come to understand God’s love for us, is our love for our children. As a VERY imperfect man, I would go through hell and back to rescue my children. HOW – MUCH – MORE – our Perfect Father? I am currently going through this with one of my children. If she only knew how much I really loved her… she would not be on the path she is on.
If we only knew how much God loves us… we would not go astray.

What I learned about love from my son – is that love is a strength, not a weakness. A necessary component of love must be tough love. That as a father, I must be strong enough to let him fail. To let him fall and skin his knee and pick him back up to try again. That it’s not my job to protect him from life, but to prepare him for it. If I am concerned for his character over his comfort – what about our Father for us? It helps me to see why He lets life touch me. It’s because He does love me, not that he doesn’t. My love for my children (just as our Father’s love for us) should be a source of strength for their life. Giving them confidence to go forth into a hostile world and chart their own course.

Our love for our children can only go so far in explaining God’s love for us thought, which bring me to the 3rd “Man” in my life that has taught me about love.

I’m talking about Tank, the ‘man’ dog. I love tank and heaven knows his ‘mom’ loves him. And tank is a smart dog. As smart as they come. But his comprehension of our love for him can only reach his level of understanding. He doesn’t like baths. Every time we bath him a little bit of him dies inside. He can not comprehend why we would torture him so. There is a disconnect between our love for him and his understanding of that love.

If there is such a disconnection between me and my dog, how much more between me and the Creator of the universe? Is it possible that His love for me is beyond what I am capable of comprehending (like Tank)? Definitely! Is it possible I fail to understand His work in my life when in fact, I just need a bath? Yep.

What I learned about love from tank the ‘man’ dog – is trust. The offer of love from the Father, requires trust. Trust that while I might not understand, while I might not see His hand on my life – I trust Him.

Remember the serpent’s double barrel weapon? What is the answer? What is the cure for doubt and deception?

I know God’s offer of love for me. Do I doubt sometimes? Yes, I just choose to trust.
I know love can be hard and the lessons tough. Do I like it? No, I trust it.
I know God’s plan for my life. Do I fully understand? No, I trust.

If we go back full circle to the Garden, where trust was broken, we see what THE gift of Christmas is all about. It is an offer to trust again. We putting our trust in Him to make a way we can not.

I will close with a quick prayer for you and your family this Christmas.
I pray this isn’t just another day for you. I pray this isn’t just another Christmas for you. I pray you open your heart to the love that is offered to you. The love that was SENT to you from the Father. The most precocious gift He had to give to pay a price we could not.

May you
Choose love, choose life that is set before you today.
May you
Give and receive tough love keeping us on the path of life.
May you
Accept there are things beyond your understanding.
May you
Replace doubt with trust, choosing truth over deception.
May you
Live in the confidence that you are loved by the Father, set free to live the life you were Created for.
Merry Christmas.