The Sweetest Love Letter

Did you know that the Bible is the sweetest love letter ever written? It captivates, it directs, it comforts, it unleashes hope, it validates, it defines redemption, it uncovers grace, and it reveals a love like no other. 

God.

God is love. (1 John 4:8).

BIble with Flower and cross

How is His love revealed? “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.” (John 3:16).

Now that is amazing love!

Want to get to know God better? I promise, He wants you to. And the more you spend time with Him, the more you’ll fall in love with Him. And the more you fall in love with Him, the more you’ll stand in awe, understanding how much He loves you.

One way to get to know God better is by spending time in His Word. His love letter is written for you!

Remember this song? Jesus loves me this I know / for the Bible tells me so / Little ones to Him belong / they are weak but He is strong / Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so…

jesus loves me

But sometimes, we all get too busy to hold the Bible, open it, crave it, follow it, and spend time in it with others or by ourselves. With God and uninterrupted. I admit, sometimes I skip through its pages.

That approach has its place. While in rehabilitation following brain tumor removal, I remember experiencing odd reactions. Surgical brain tumor removal, life support and eight weeks hospitalization was an ordeal. Returning home to twenty continued weeks of rehab was not fun. Nor was it easy. I’d experience “conversion reactions” where my legs felt like they shut down and did not want to move. It was discouraging and bizarre. Apparently my brain was exhausted and not communicating well. I remember my dad (a retired rehabilitation medicine physician) telling me, “Helo, tell your legs to walk.” I thought, You’ve got to be kidding me! 

This was me then. “Hi Helo’s legs, move!” Didn’t work. So I’d sit and rest. At times for 30 to 45 minutes.

I tried the futile “talk to my legs” approach, but it lacked incentive and didn’t work. Then one day, I placed my Bible on a table six feet away from my chair. My goal: get to the table, open the Bible, read a verse at random, turn around, sit back down, and then do it again. Getting into the Word was my incentive. My reward was getting to read soothing, directive, amazing scripture. And it worked!

As time progressed, over several months, I learned the importance of spending “real time” with God. It’s a gift. Unbridled. Unmatched. Uninterrupted. Just me and Him.

And when I did, I began to learn what it means to love God. Really, truly love Him. And how much He truly loves His children. Each and every one of us.

This verse strikes a chord in my soul. It strengthens me. I invite you to let it strike a chord in you.

I love you, LORD, my strength.” (Psalm 18:1).

Time to break it down. It grips us better when we do. Don’t simply glance over it.

Stop and read each word slowly. One word at a time, until you get to His name — LORD. I recently did, and when I reached His name, with tear-filled eyes, I realized how much I love Him and why.

I repeated, “I love you, LORD, my strength.” Then I continued and expanded what I thought.

I need You, LORD, my Comfort.

I seek You, LORD, my Hope.

I want You, LORD, my Soul-keeper.

I lean on You, LORD, my Tower.

I crave You, LORD, my Sustenance.

I hide beneath Your wings, LORD, my Shelter.

I behold You, LORD, my Glory.

I trust You, LORD, my Assurance.

I believe in You, LORD, my Truth.

I applaud You, LORD, my King.

I embrace You, LORD, my Best Friend.

I wait patiently for You, LORD, my Provider.

I ask for Your hand, LORD, my Healer.

I confess to You, LORD, my Confidant.

I praise You, LORD, my Blessing.

I lift up prayers to you, LORD, my Listener.

I will share Your promise, LORD, because we all need to know how much You love.

– Helo 

But my love accolades for You don’t stop there. Perhaps because Your love never ends and neither should ours for You.

Dear God, Thank You for loving us.

Cherished friend, I invite you to take a piece of paper and write, “I love You, LORD, because ________.” Fill in the blank. Once, twice, three times, or more… until it becomes a habit. You can also fill in the blanks when you talk to Him in prayer. “I love You, LORD, because _______.”

Telling God why you love Him will reinforce your faith and strengthen the love-bond between Him and you. That’s beautiful! 

Tell yourself, “I am God’s and He is mine.”

Beloved, HE LOVES YOU! Love Him back.

Hope in Him,

Helo

Reigniting Faith

It was the Fourth of July. Sparklers were held lighting up the darkness surrounding us. Then we looked up. We marveled at the colossal versions of what we held quietly in our hands. Fireworks. Colorful, noisy, captivating fun. We were celebrating freedom, passionately.

single sparkler for IGNITE BLOG

It made me wonder, What if God’s children believed, loved, hoped, trusted … and made His light shine like that? You know, the kind of display igniting the sky and Heavens that no one can miss and everyone stops to take notice of. In wonder. Captivated.

Recognize this song sung in Sunday schools everywhere? “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…” It’s been around since 1920! The words are simple, yet strong. Composer Harry Dixon followed the theme found in Matthew 5:16:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Not only does this song tell the world that God’s children should want to make His love shine, it goes on to say, “Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m going to let it shine.” And later… “Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine… let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

But how do we keep God’s love shining? I think we need to keep it ignited by believing. Sometimes this means reigniting it. Especially in our world today where there is so much darkness displayed by lies, hopelessness, doubt, indifference, anger, and hate.

Perhaps we need to display His love by rekindling it instead of focusing on the world’s attempt to extinguish God. In case you’re wondering, our Heavenly Father is omnipresent and powerful — and will never be extinguished. Still, as His children we need to let others know how much He loves each one of us, because we all need love. Showing it to others makes that little spark turn into a light that authentically shines. Bright.

Let us not extinguish God’s presence, let’s ignite it, sharing who God is. Everywhere. With everyone. If we all made our Light shine, more people would come to know our Father. And more people would understand how much He loves them.

How do we let our light shine? 

Ignite truth. 

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6). Now this is freedom. Freedom everlasting. Through His loving sacrifice we are forgiven and made new. In Him we can find hope, redemption and grace. Unmerited yet everlasting.

Ignite hope.

Hope begins with a prayer. When hopeless, pray more. If you want to quit, by God’s grace quit giving up! Remember, God can take shattered moments and create blessed ones when we let Him handle the restoration. Look up and let God’s love captivate. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

Ignite trust. 

Trusting God with your all, means letting go. Giving it up. Letting Him take your burdens and self-imposed control. When you do, recognize that you’ve just given your all to the Almighty! Stand back amazed, because you just ignited trusting Him. That is faith unleashed. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5).

Ignite bold faith. 

Choose to believe. Igniting your faith boldly reveals something different. Something captivating. Someone different — because He is love.  A love found in no one else. It’s that contagious faith destined and determined to make a difference. It brings joy to the joyless. It’s compassionate faith not just talked about but walked. Ignite it! Share it. “Now faith is the confidence of what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1).

Ignite prayer. 

Hope and faith begin with a prayer. Prayer means talking with God. And you know what is so amazing about your Heavenly Father? He listens, all  the time! In fact, He already knows what you’re going ask or talk to Him about, before you even open your mouth! He may not answer everything exactly the way you want Him to. He doesn’t work like that. He is wise. But He never closes His ear to you. So keep on praying. “Pray without ceasing.”                    (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Ignite compassion. 

Help others. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). Time to remove the spotlight focused on ourselves and reach out to someone else. Generosity will come back to you ten-fold. Promise. Give big. Give what you can. A smile, time to listen, buy the groceries for the person in front of you or behind you in line. You never know if you’ll need it yourself someday. But if you can now, go out of your way and do something kind for someone else. Watch how good it will make you feel. Especially when you expect nothing in return.

Ignite peace. 

Ever had a moment when you got angry or grumpy and someone loved you in spite of your momentary reckless behavior? It softens it right? This world needs peace. Attaining it will likely take strong and powerful God-driven leadership. But for many of us, we don’t have that kind of influence or commanding authority. We can only ignite peace in small portions. But I think peace has a contagious and beautiful component. So ignite it and know that authentic peace comes from Jesus. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Ignite love. 

The Bible says, “Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14).  Wow! Love is contagious and if we all ignited love and followed this instruction, do you have any idea what a change we could all bring to this world? I’m jumping up and down just thinking about it!

Ignite joy. 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).This isn’t always simple because at times life isn’t easy. But even in the midst of anxiety, sorrow, challenges, and adversity, we can find a glimmer of hope — a little sparkle. Bring God into that dark place and ignite joy! “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19).

Ignite gratitude. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”                    (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Complaining is contagious but so is the opposite including thankfulness and gratitude. Time to ignite thankfulness, recognizing everything He has done and will do for you and His children.

I could keep going on with igniting so many different areas of our lives… but this article is running out of room. And I need you to get off your computer, stop reading this, and start igniting your own life.

Before you go, sing to yourself, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine….” And if you don’t have a good voice, no worries. Sing it anyhow. Sing it loud and ignite the presence of our Father our Light in this dark world.

Hope in Him,

Helo