Thursday, December 31, 2009

Touching others...

(In a post last summer, I wrote a little about the Five Love Languages, as written about by Gary Chapman in The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.  I explained how I found myself wondering if they apply to our relationship with God. This is the last (I think) in what has turned out to be nine posts as I've explored this topic.)
Love Language: Physical Touch
Physical Touch is the last love language on my list. I think this love language is unique in a special way...and perhaps that's why the devil has worked so hard to pervert it.

But the truth is that a physical touch made in the love of God is a very powerful thing. It can, in some miraculous way, affect a person on all three levels: physical, mental and spiritual--breaking down the barriers that we put up to protect our hearts and even bestowing spiritual gifts. Perhaps the very power of a physical touch is why those made in sin are so devastating.

When I started this little series thinking about my own love languages, I thought of the connection between physical touch and God's love and I remembered how I often envision myself curling up on the lap of my heavenly Father...experiencing His spiritual touch and equating it to a physical touch. That's how I thought of God touching me. But, you know, that's not a physical touch. That's an imagined physical touch.

Jesus gave physical touches all the time when He healed people. Parents brought their children to be touched by Him. He laid His hands on people all the time, and almost always touched those whom He healed.

How can we receive His touch now, though? That's the question I posed to God. For answer, He reminded me of a trip I made last summer.

We went to my aunt's wedding last July, and I got to see lots of family that I hadn't seen in years. I came back feeling so loved by God. I wondered why, for I'd enjoyed the little vacation and seeing family, but I didn't see why that would make me feel like I did--simply loved! Then, in a fraction of a moment, I saw all the hugs and handshakes I had received from numerous aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmothers, and God spoke to me. "Every one of those hugs was from Me, for the love they have for you is a small portion of the love I have for you," He said.

How does God give us physical touches of love? The simple answer is: through His body.

Think about it. If a part of my husband's body touches me...his hand on mine, his foot pressing mind under the table, his forehead against mine...he has touched me. If my best friend wraps her arm around me in a hug of greeting, she has touched me. If someone uses any part of their body to touch you, they have touched you.

What does this mean? If a member of the body of Christ touches you, you have been touched by God.

Last night, just as God whispered this to me, my daughter began coughing like crazy in her bed in the other room. I listened and sighed that she hasn't gotten rid of the last of this cough yet, and I instantly began praying again for her. But I stopped the moment I prayed the words, "Please touch her." What had He just shown me? My mind jumped ahead. "So, Lord, why are my touches in Your name not always accompanied by healings the way Jesus's were?"

Perhaps the answer seems obvious. Jesus's physical body obeyed His commands at least as well as your body and my body do, for the Bible says nothing about Him having seizures or suffering from paralysis. Yet...we, His body on this earth...don't.

Perhaps this is how the devil has so successfully warped and twisted the beauty of a touch made in Godly love...twisted so badly that the vast majority of the world has absolutely no idea what it would even look or feel like...because only the smallest fraction of His body is following His leading even half as well as your average human body.

Here's what I want to know. Am I an epileptic part of the body of Christ? Am I paralyzed finger or a stuttering voice? I'm afraid so, for the channels of communication that run between me and my Head don't function as I know they should.

Here's another thought. What if this is another reason why Hebrews says we shouldn't quit gathering together with other believers? For if we're never with other members of the body of Christ, we can't experience the blessings of His physical touch.


I feel like this post is quite short and almost totally vacant of the hope and inspiration that I prefer God to give me for my blog posts...yet I feel His call upon His church for 2010. Will we draw closer to Him and truly become His body?

So many are saying that the time is short until He returns. I do not know if He will return shortly or if there are still many scenes left for the world to play. Yet I do sense in my spirit that the time is short for those of us who claim His name to make a choice.

So many of us, in so many areas of our lives, have been part of the church of Laodecea that was neither hot nor cold. I believe that the reason He said He would "spit them out of His mouth" is because when we claim to be part of Him but do not live for Him, we are instead actively portraying Him falsely to the world that needs Him so much. We portray Him as a epileptic god, a partially paralyzed god, or a god that does not know what his right and left hands are doing.

He is not that, though...He is an all-powerful and all-consuming God! He needs His body to portray His power and glory in an all-consuming way, that we might bestow the touches from Him that He longs to give, both to them and to us! And the time is short for us to become filled with the fire of His Spirit and get rid of our lukewarm-ness.

I am excited for this next year. He has done more inside me this past year, I think, than all of the years previously...even though I seem to recall saying this before! Time is moving faster, for He is doing marvelous and amazing things. So I will close this year out with a simple quote from C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

Aslan is on the move!
...for God is on the move!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One of "those days..."

Yesterday, I had one of “those days.”

You know they’re like. Nothing seems to go right, and somehow all the little things that didn’t go right affect you more than the things that did go right. And even though you’re sure that more went right than wrong, it’s all you can do to think of even one of them.

By the time afternoon came, I was snapping at my kids, fighting a headache, and just plain tired of being frustrated. As I dashed out the door to the Post Office, I called my husband for some encouragement, for I know that when I get like this, his loving and patient voice is always ready to assure me that it's fine if I don't get everything done...to tell me he's sorry...and to just generally help me put things in perspective. And he did, again.

But you know, even a loving husband can do only so much. The problem was in me, with my heart...and only my Savior and my Lord can totally meet my needs.

I waited through the long line at the Post Office, looking worse than I ever leave home looking, but just not caring...and God gave me a clerk whose kindness and helpfulness was truly a gift from Him. (Plus, it seems that any time you're sending gifts and cookies to soldiers overseas, everyone is eager to do their little share and help you, which is special. We appreciate you, soldiers!)

Anyway...then I got back in the car, and God did one of His miraculous-moment-things. I heard no words, I saw no vision...yet suddenly, between the time when I pulled on the car door handle and when I sat down behind the wheel, I was overwhelmed with how blessed I am...just because I've been given a husband who loves me, three beautiful children, a church full of friends...and most of all, because I have Him. My Lord. My Savior. My Rescuer. My Light. My Joy. My Healer. My Strength. My Peace. My Righteousness. Because yesterday was certainly a reminder that I have none of those without Him.

I knew what to do. I turned on a songlist full of my favorite worship songs and began praising Him who is my All in All...and it never ceases amaze me how quickly I feel His everything flooding my spirit and renewing me. It took the devil all day to tear me apart and drag me down with little nothings...and it took my Savior only five seconds to restore me. He is so good!

And then "Moment Made for Worshiping" came up on my song list, and I was reduced to joyful tears. The words were simply the perfect echo of what I needed to reaffirm.

"Somewhere in the distance, I remember yesterday...
Singing 'Hallelujah,' full of wonder, awe, and praise
But now I’m just wondering why I don’t feel anything at all.

This is moment made for worshiping
'Cause this is a moment I’m alive.
This is a moment I was made to sing
A song of living sacrifice
For every moment that I live and breathe.
This is a moment made for worshiping."

It's as simple as that. This is a moment made for worshiping, simply because this is a moment I'm alive to do so!

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I know I've said it before...that the times when we don't feel like worshiping Him are the times when we most need to. Yesterday was such a poignant reminder that it's not God who needs our praise in those times. We are the ones that need it, for in those times, more than any other, we need to open the door that allows the gifts of His presence to flow into our spirits.

He is so good! And He is so faithful, for His love for us is boundless and never ending and encompasses everything we'll ever need.

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