Monday, November 25, 2013

The Megaphone

When was the last time you used a megaphone?  Don't know?  Me neither. I've seen them used by cheerleaders at ball games, but it's not something that I use often, although sometimes I think I need one in order to get my boys to obey... Can anyone else relate to that?

While I haven't used a megaphone lately, God has used a megaphone with me. Yep, you read it right. He wanted to make sure I got His instructions loud and clear.  And His choice of megaphone actually made me laugh out loud. Let me explain.

With two boys, I get to serve as their chauffeur throughout the day to get them to and from school. We often have the radio on and jam to Christian radio stations. Nothing quite warms this momma's heart like hearing my boys sing a duet to TobyMac's Speak Life... And yet I digress.  On this particular day, every time I got in the car, the same song played at some point while I was driving.  I'd say I heard this song at least three or four times.   (Maybe more because I kinda lost track and just giggled each time it came on after a while). Wanna know the song?  Drum roll please...  Love Take Me Over by Stephen Curtis  Chapman. Check it out:

Catchy song, right?  The line that continues to jump out to me is this:

This is what I'm sure of, I can only show love when I really know how loved I am. Then it overtakes me, then it animates me, flowing from my heart into my hands.

Pretty profound, huh?  Knowing how much God loves us... REALLY knowing His love for us... enables us to love others better.  I'm just now beginning to understand His intentional, intimate love for me. And do you know that He loves you intentionally and intimately too?  It's all over the Bible.  Here's just a few verses that demonstrate His unconditional love for us:

Romans 5:8 (NLT)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

John 3:16 (NLT)

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Do you believe that you are loved like these verses describe?  Do you know that Jesus died for you while you were still a sinner?  Did you know that God rejoices over you with singing (like the Love Take Me Over song references)?   God's love for you can be hard to grasp.  Maybe you think you don't deserve this kind of love... and you're right.  None of us deserve this kind of love.  And that's the beauty of it.  We are loved and chosen by our Heavenly Father EVEN THOUGH we don't deserve it!  It's incredible! 
If you have a hard time believing in this radical love, read more about it in the Bible.  Ephesians 1 is a great place to start:  And ask God to help you understand.  James 1:5 NLT reminds us of this:  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  You can pray a simple prayer by saying, "Father God, I know that Your Word says how much you love me, but I don't understand it.  Please give me Your wisdom.  Help me understand Your love for me.  Thank you for hearing my prayer.  In Jesus' Name, Amen."
You are loved by Your Heavenly Father.  It's true.  And it changes your life when your belief in His love moves from your head to your heart.  Do you hear His megaphone of love inviting you to REALLY believe how loved you are?  Let His love take you over... you won't be the same when it does! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Tears were streaming down my face. It's not often that this parenting journey leads to a broken heart, but today was that day. My son, from the confines of his room, yells down, "I'm sorry , Mommy!"  I call back, "I forgive you."  But my heart still aches. And I begin to think about how God must feel when I rebel, when I purposefully disobey, when I choose my will over His. It pierces my soul. I do the same thing to God that my son did to me.

The discipline resulted from a series of small decisions made by my son... decisions to disobey my instructions over and over again while shopping. It became flat out rebellion and as the consequences escalated, his behavior remained the same.  It was his will, not mommy's will. Trying to contain my frustration and wanting to speak life after being convicted about this earlier in the week, I decided to pray continually and ask God for His divine wisdom. And the consequence that popped into my head was extreme. I did NOT want my son to experience this consequence because I knew how hard it would be on both of us. 

With a sad heart, I explained the consequence to my son. There were no more second chances. If he disobeyed one more time, this consequence would come into play. I asked if he understood. He said yes. Two minutes after we had this discussion, he disobeyed again. The consequence was given. Anger erupted in my son, which triggered another series of poor decisions. My heart was breaking. Parenting is tough. 

When we arrived home, his broken heart was apparent. But there was no repentance in him yet. He was angry and in a final act of defiance, he chose to lock me out of the house as I gathered my things from the car. I attempted to open the door, discovered it was locked, and began to cry. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. My heart was already hurting because I knew the consequence was a tough one for my son to swallow, and the fact that he would lock me out when I love him so much and was hurting with him... it was too much for his momma's fragile heart. I demanded he unlock the door. He quickly obeyed. I sent him to his room and cried as I processed the events of the past hour. 

What did I realize?  That I couldn't control my son.  I desperately wanted him to obey my instructions so he would NOT receive consequences.  But no matter how much I WANTED him to obey, I couldn't FORCE him to obey.  He got to choose his response.  And he received the consequence for choice.  Isn't it so hard to watch someone you love make poor decisions when you long for them to receive the blessing that comes from obedience? 

Have you ever considered that God might experience these same feelings?  Think about how His heart breaks when we choose to disobey because He knows we won't like the consequences.  Consider the sorrow He feels as we experience the result of our disobedience.  Ponder how He desperately wants us to obey, however, He lets us make our own decisions.

Can you imagine the pain that God feels when we lock Him out of our lives because we are mad or hurt or angry about our consequences... consequences that we chose when we decided to disobey?  How much do you think it pierces God's heart as He watches us hurt?

And then the conviction came... how many times have I locked God out?  How many times do I run away from His plans like Jonah did?  Or make excuses like Moses, because who am I to do what God's asking me to do?  Ouch!  My son's actions today led to momma being convicted.  Repentance is needed all around in the Snider  house.  And so I'm clinging to this verse today:

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God forgives me completely when I humble myself and admit that I messed up... and God forgives you completely too when you humbly come before His throne and confess your mess.  God doesn't expect perfection, but He does want us to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14:

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land

This grace of God... how He forgives me when I don't deserve it... it blows my mind!  No wonder John penned 1 John 3:1!

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Are you willing to repent when God convicts you?  Have you locked God out because you're mad about the consequences you've received?  Are you ready to unlock the door, just like my son did, so the One who loves you so much can come in?  Do you believe that Jesus loves you... so much that He died on the cross and rose from the dead, all because He wants you to spend eternity in heaven with Him?  Let this song, Come Away with Me by Jesus Culture, wash over you.  Accept the invitation to open up your heart and let Jesus in.  You won't regret it.