God's Love: 'New' Every Day
For February, the month we celebrate our love for each other on Valentine's Day, I couldn't think of a better verse keeping with my theme of 'new' for this year, 2019, than this one from Lamentations that speaks to the wonder of God's perfect love for us!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23
Something 'new' for the Bealls this February was something that may become a new tradition for our family - we invited the whole clan for a family Valentine's Day Celebration on the weekend after Valentine's Day! (left - photo of part of the table) We celebrated with a meal, some games and some crafts for the grandchildren, and I hope all enjoyed it and felt loved and appreciated, and connected with what God has given us as a biological family. Although we are largely what God made us to be, in our God given personality and genetic make-up, I also think family can have such a profound and shaping influence on us as well, and we can be grateful the Lord uses it all, the good and the bad, to make us who He wants us to be. As we grow through any challenges and as we are grateful for the blessings, we mature in Christ. As we are grateful for and stand on the unconditional and forgiving love God has given us, in our families we must also allow God's spirit to enable us to do no less for each other! We want our imperfect families in Christ, to be a reflection of Christ in how we support, serve, love and forgive one another - the world is watching! Not that we are performance oriented in our 'should be like this' behavior, but rather by His glorious grace poured out on us, we can live differently than our flesh beckons us to. Christ living in and through us, is the difference, not our own efforts.
Now a few thoughts on the verse above -
His love 'never ceases'
As we journey on, here on earth, living inside of the dimension of
time, things are always changing - children grow up, (pictures - our two oldest grandchildren about 8 years ago, right, and today, below - wow seems like yesterday when we took that picture of them playing Bernie's trumpet and bugle!!), styles
change, social issues change, opinions change and we must grow and
adapt and make decisions about how, in Christ, to respond to the change, and
how the most recent changes affect our presuppositions of the
past. God has given us absolutes to stand on and we need to apply them wisely as we address new issues. This can be disturbing depending on what the latest new
train of thought might be, or it can be exciting as we trust God
on His throne to lead us and to rule and reign and continue to work all to good
for those that love Him!
His love 'never comes to an end'
People on earth are born and die, our time on earth will come to an end,
seasons of life come and go, but how reassuring that God's love never
comes to an end! He is our advocate through it all, through the
times we can see Him clearly, and through the times we don't feel His
presence as strongly, His love is always there and never ceases none-the-less. This is in contrast to 'love' in the world which seems to come and go, with many celebrities in and out of marriages as the years go by.
His love is 'new every morning'
Never ending, yet new every morning! Not only does our heavenly Father's love never cease, at the same time it is also new every morning! Every day as we awake we can ask God to show us his love and presence in a new way! As the sun (or clouds) rise on a new day, we have a new chance to move forward in Christ into our future, at the same time having eyes to see and enjoy the special moments and blessings in the present.
'Great is your faithfulness!'
Amen and amen! When we take the time to think about it, we can often look back even on the most difficult circumstances and see God's faithful hand - although I do believe there are some situations that we might not see fully the benefits of until heaven, and we must believe it by faith even though we may not see it clearly this side of heaven.
Instagram: A 'New' Way to Keep in Touch!
We are planning to try using a 'new' instagram account - the account was actually created almost a year ago(!) - so it is not actually new, but actually posting and using it will be a new thing for us this year!
The name of the account, Echo Of A Tune, is from a CSLewis quote that I love -
...For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited."
~ C.S.Lewis - The Weight of Glory
You can find the whole quote here.
For me this quote sums up our lives here as being a shadow of eternity - made up of experiences that create in us a longing for heaven. To me the quote that the phrase represents describes how when we encounter beauty here in any form, it is just an echo of something our Master has created and sealed in heaven. We have to be careful not to make idols of those things because they are just here to be a reflection of and lead us to Him. So in my life I am always trying to see and capture that, because to me it is like a secret language from God, that is 'hidden' in everything beautiful, everything redemptive - which is where the harder life stories fit in and can be beautiful also, in story and literature, in artistic form, and in history (which is HIStory). I believe it is all just a foretaste as well as a reflection of what He has for us ultimately when we fully know and are fully known by Him in heaven. I think when we long for things, long for perfect relationships, or perfect communication, or perfection in creation, we are actually longing for something God has put in our souls, to lead us ultimately to our need for Him.
So in addition to keeping you up to date with Bernie's excursions and events, my goal is that our instagram, through family, through music, through history (with Bernie), through all things beautiful and all stories redemptive in nature, will reflect that idea, in the hope that it encourages people in the faith, and even also inspires even those outside the faith to consider Him.
Eventually I hope we can have an instagram account specifically for Dan and his creations, but for now we will keep it all together and I will be the one posting content. I might need people to be patient with me as I navigate the use of this account - the first social media 'invention' I have ever used!
If you have any advice or tips or cautions for me based on your instagram experience, on thinking up hashtags and things like that, please let me know - although I am sure once I start using it, hopefully a lot of it will be intuitive.
Feel free to follow us even if there are not, as of yet, any posts! That will let us know how much interest there is.
I thought some of Dan's handiwork might be good for one of our first posts - (although it is not there yet!) The star design in the center of the photo above is a design from the famous origami artist and author, John Montroll. Dan, based on John's design, created stars with additional points as well in the circle around the center star. :) Each of these fairly intricate stars is made from one perfectly square piece of paper!
The Heaven's Declare: A 'New' Perspective
Speaking of Daniel's origami stars got me thinking about stars - the stars in the heavens are certainly one of God's creations that is amazing to fathom! If we are to believe astronomers, new stars are born and others die even now, in the living and moving universe that God created. God used the stars to communicate the arrival of Jesus, and they have been used over thousands of years in night navigation to keep ships on course.
Jesus himself identifies himself in Revelation as the bright morning star -
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches.I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. ~ Revelation 22:16
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork." ~ Psalm 19:1
(sorry if the picture left is a bit cheesy - but to me it was an interesting capture a few years ago when Bernie and I were biking near sunset - maybe it can reflect how God's love and light, the bright morning 'star' can illuminate our minds and give us joy in our journeys?)
To tie it together (stars and the idea of 'new' and God's perfect love) - sometimes getting outside at night and gazing up at the vastness of the universe that God created, and seeing the beauty of the night sky and the bright stars and planets, and the constellations that we see as the earth moves through their vastness, can help put our little lives here on earth in a new and better perspective. Maybe as you ponder the vastness and beauty of all God created, all He has said is 'good', you will be able to trust God to enable you to stay on course in your life as well. If he keeps the planets in on their paths, how much more-so can He keep you! God made all of this! And He made you and He loves you! May you feel His love, His presence, and His power, new every day of your earthly life, no matter your circumstances, until we all kneel before the throne some day when we get to worship Him together in His heaven!! What new things will we find there?
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him!" ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9
To close, I hope, if nothing else, that my writing this month helps you know and feel God's never ceasing yet always new love for you, and that His love equips you and energizes you to live your life with faith and hope, and to love others with that same love He has given you!!
A question for you: What new things are you trusting God to be and do in your life in 2019?
May He lead you and bless you beyond your imaginings this year!
With much love,
~ Linda for the Bealls