The Love of God

Photo by: Cody J. Haines

By: Carole L. Haines

The Love of God is as constant as the Sunrise

Each morning it finds its Vestibule

rising at the Summons of God

hastening to its place of splendor

reflecting on the clouds, oceans, lakes and rivers

changing colors with every passing moment.

Nothing can stop the rhythm of its rising

The Love of God is irrepressible, pursuing us relentlessly

 His kindness leads us to repentance, turning us around

Gently guiding us like a flock of sheep,

tending our rebellious wounds, festering with regrets

His love does not depend on our performance,

It’s not fickle like the audience of men

The Love of God has chosen us as His focus of affection

Not because of who we are, but simply Because He is love

His love cost the greatest price, but we did not have to pay it

His love was paid for by Himself, by His Son

His love cost Him everything, it costs us our belief

He calls us to believe, to trust, to follow, to hold steady

To let Him be our Guide, Our Lord, Our Reason

Yes, the Love of God is steady as the rising and setting of the Sun

And I rise each morning knowing I am loved

We want to see Jesus

by: Carole L. Haines

20 Now some Greeks were among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 So they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested of him, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”

22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied to them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

24 “I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop.[g] 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:20-26)

We want to see Jesus; this is what we should desire to hear people say to us.  We don’t want to have people gather around to hear or see us. We want them to see beyond us, to the One who inspires our teaching, our songs, our writing, our art. We want people to come to us, as these Greeks came to Philip, and say, “We want to see Jesus.”
When I looked up the meaning of the word ‘See,’ I was intrigued by one of the meanings; to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit.
Imagine interviewing Jesus. What questions would you ask Him? What would you want to know? Our lives should leave others wanting to see Jesus, to meet Him, to interview Him; not us. I don’t want people to ask me how I learned to sing, or write, or paint. I want them to ask me about Jesus. I want to disappear, and He is all they see.
Jesus tells us, 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

In such a way. Yes, I need to let my light shine in such a way, and only in ways, that people see beyond me and what I do, straight to Jesus. I want to learn the grace of being hidden, while still being seen. I want people not to ask about me, but to ask about Him, to come to me and say, “I want to see Jesus.”

The Transformed Mind

by: Carole L. Haines

I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder in my late 20’s/ early 30’s.  I was paralyzed with fear sometimes, even as a Christian.  But God began a journey with me that has led me from Fear to Freedom in Him.  He saved my life by saving my mind.  Here’s a small glimpse of that journey.

As I cried out to God, from the place of mothering three small children, about how afraid I felt of people and caring for our three young ones, I came across these verses:

16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:16-19)

I sensed God say to me through this Scripture, “My perfect love is the only thing that can free you from fear. My love for You is so perfect that it casts fear out. You can’t get rid of fear, Carole, but I can cast it out as you fill Yourself up with the knowledge of my love.” So, I devoured all the Scriptures I could find on His love and began to grow stronger and less fearful.
Next, I began to see just how racing my thoughts were. I came across the Scriptures that said:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (1 Or. 10:3-5)

“Lord”, I said, “how can I possibly take thoughts captive when they are racing through my mind like an out of control train.”  I asked the Lord to please slow down my thought processes and help me to learn to capture them and bring them under the obedience of what His Word says.  A friend told me once that just because I thought something, didn’t make that thing true. So, I began to examine my thoughts and line them up with God’s Word said instead. I learned to replace my false thoughts with His truth. I learned how to Study the Bible Inductively and devoured Bible studies on every subject that I struggled with.  When I didn’t know something, I would go to the concordance and look it up in the Scriptures and just eat up what God said to me.  It became my passion. The more I was in His Word, the more I changed. I began to Believe Him above what I thought or what others said about me. It’s been a journey I have been on for close to 30 years.  About ten years ago, I sensed from the Lord that I should write down all that He was teaching me. So, I did, and then one thing led to another and I found myself starting a blog, to encourage other believers. That’s when was born.  I have been writing what He gives me ever since and just publishing it there. Who knows who I reach, but to encourage one believer a day is still 365 a year, so it’s been a wonderful outlet for me.  Hope that story blesses you. 

Keep Your Head above your heart

By: Carole L. Haines

Been healing at home from a recent fall where I hit my head. Nosebleeds have been the order of the day, pretty much every day, sometimes several a day. People give lots of advice when they hear you are sick.  The best advice was given to me by my own husband, “Keep your head above your heart, honey!” As I began to think about the Spiritual implications of that statement, it reminded me of the many verses about the heart in the Bible.  The heart means:

  1. heart (of man)
    1. soul, heart (of man)
    1. mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
    1. inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
    1. conscience
    1. heart (of moral character)
    1. as seat of appetites
    1. as seat of emotions and passions
    1. as seat of courage
      The Word Heart occurs 726 times in 677 verses in the NASB
       (Blue Letter Bible).

We are told many things about the heart in Scripture. It can be hardened or softened, drawn close or led astray. It can be reflective or prideful,thankful and joyful; broken or despairing.  As I was reflecting on all this, a few verses came to my mind.

Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? (Psalm 56:8)

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-8 (HCSB)

There is a part that I play, and another that is God’s, in keeping my head above my heart.  I am to fill myself with His Word and truth, so that when emotionally charged situations come my way, I can respond with wisdom instead of with knee-jerk responses.  I wish I could say I have mastered this, but I still have so much to learn. This business of keeping my head above my heart is really difficult, but I am not where I used to be with it.  I have grown much and by God’s Grace, I will continue to grow and transform into the Christ-way of doing things, Learning to act instead of just react when my heart is emotionally charged is part of the maturity God is growing in me.  How about You? Are you trying to keep your head above your heart in the circumstances of life?  God has promised that He is the one who began this good work of transformation in you, and He is the one who will complete it (Phil. 1:6).  Rest in Him and let Him grow you up into all aspects in Christ. He will teach us all to keep our heads and our hearts in the right place as we grow in Him each day.

An Honest Life

by: Carole L. Haines

God has been speaking to me a lot lately about honesty and transparency. He’s been dealing with deeper issues inside of me. There are things He is seeking to work out of me, as He transforms me more and more into the Image of Jesus.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

When we think about a caterpillar in its cocoon, or a baby in the womb, there’s a lot of mystery there, a lot is unseen. We just know that a baby transforms continually until it is ready to be birthed. We just see a caterpillar in a cocoon that comes out as a Beautiful Butterfly, but the process is quite mysterious, just how it all happens.

I think our transformation in Christ is like that. We are in a state of hiddenness with God, as He remolds us into the Image of Jesus. So much of it is a mystery, and we are often confused by what He is doing. Like being under anesthesia as we go under the Great Physician’s knife, He is doing a miraculous work in each of us. When we feel convicted of sin, our tendency is to want to run away, hide it, stuff it down. But the amazing thing about God’s revelation of sin to us is what He asks us to do with it, once we see it in oursleves.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

An honest life, truth in our innermost parts. Revealed truth from God’s Word about who He is, who we are, and how to view everyone else. That’s what I want, it’s what I need. Run to Him, not from sin. Take what He reveals and run to Him so You can recieve mercy and find grace to help you in your faith and transformation in Christ.

Time alone with God…interrupted

by: Carole L. Haines

13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14)

 His cousin John had just been beheaded. John’s head had been treated as sport to be mocked and displayed in Herod’s palace. Jesus had grown up with this boy. They were both announced by God before their birth, their mother’s went through part of their pregnancy together.  They were both prophesied as being special envoys of God to the world.  John Himself reveals that He didn’t know Jesus was the Messiah until the day of His baptism.
29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’31 I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.33 I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’34 I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

All Jesus wanted to do after John’s beheading was have some time alone to grieve him. This beloved, childhood companion was now gone.  They had a bond that was close, I believe.  But Jesus’ grief got interrupted. The people followed him, seeking healing and wholeness.  Jesus was not angry but felt compassion for them and healed them.  Then He sought time alone again and sent his disciples ahead of Him in a boat, while He stayed behind.

Jesus is our amazing example of how to respond when life is hard and all we want to do is go off and be alone for a while.  He treated the people who needed Him with compassion and love.  He did not scold them but received them openly and with healing in His hands.  God will provide us with the time we need apart, as we trust Him with the time He has us ministering to others.  Being a pretty extreme introvert, I would like to spend most of my time alone, but that is not God’s call for me.  He provides what I need without excusing me from His Kingdom Work.  He is perfect in His understanding of what we need and is drawing us close to Himself in the quiet times as well as in the busy times.

Share this:


By: Carole L. Haines

My son has often expressed that some of his favorite characters in movies and stories are the ones who are conflicted. You can tell they want to do good, as succeed at times, but they also have a dark side to them that is unpredictable and scary.  The Bible has characters who express this as well. They are aware of their dark side, but long to do right and be holy. David and Paul are two great examples of these kind of Characters. Paul expresses it this way:

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.  (Romans 17:8 NASB)

David expresses it another way:

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.
Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
(Psalm 86: 1-2)

David reveals himself as needy, conflicted, weak; yet also as godly and trusting in the Lord. Too often I think we feel guilty when this conflicted nature shows up inside of us, but it was right there inside of two of the godliest men who ever walked the earth.

When we see this inside of ourselves, often we try to cover it up, like Adam and Eve did, with fig leaves and hiding from God.  But God calls us to do something else when we feel conflicted like this. 

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
 (Heb. 4:12-13)

The Word of God examines us, it reveals things about us, such as our motives and intentions. We are then told that nothing is hidden from God’s sight, so running and hiding like Adam and Eve tried to do, if not only futile, it’s defeating the purpose for which our sin is revealed to us. So, what do we do? The next verses from the above Scripture tells us exactly what to do.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 12:14-16)

We still run, not from the sin; but we run to the throne of God, to our Great High Priest. Jesus the Son of God.  We need to look at one another through this lens of truth.  When your brother or sister in Christ seems conflicted, pray for them, acknowledging the same plight within yourself. When we embrace this within ourselves and train ourselves to run quickly to the throne of Grace whenever we feel its grip; we can be used of God to help others learn to Run toward God, instead of away from Him when conflicted.  So, let us come boldly, together, with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may, together, receive mercy and grace to help each other in time of need. lsdu