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I stared across the room, jaw open in wonder, as my friend took the stage in a form I had never seen before. Suddenly, my kind and gentle friend was storming into a scene with such passion and emotion I felt for sure he was either going to hit the girl standing in front of him or pop a blood vessel reproaching her.

“Do you think I can choose my face?” He bellowed with his eyes flaming in anger that only intensified as he raged seconds away from the trembling girl’s body.

I breathed a sigh of relief as he put the script down and jauntily walked up to me after the director nodded her approval. “Whatcha think?” He asked, his smiling meeting my face of shock.

“I think I don’t know you.”

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Have you ever known someone for years, then suddenly realized how much of them you didn’t know?

I told you about this moment I had with a dear friend of mine to open up my point:

I knew this guy. We had been friends, talk, and hung out all before- yet right at that moment, I saw a side of him that I could have never even guess was there. One moment I thought I knew every side of this kid, now I realized just how much I had to learn about him.

This is the way I find most of us view God in. We see one side of him and assume that is all of Him.

Growing up I only saw God as this strict fatherly figure. A father who was always there, yet only interested in teaching me lessons. Have you ever seen those fathers on TV shows or in books? The ones who are always present in their children’s lives, yet only really interacting with them when they are giving them a lesson to learn or trying to teach them something.  In the book, Hard Times, the father of Louisa is only interested in cultivating her and her brother’s studies. Everything else, such as quality time, is out of the picture.

I sort of felt just like Louisa did by the time she grew up; I respected my father, but I didn’t feel connected with him. (This is where the similarities end with me and Louisa)

Yet- I have heard people talk and gush about the love and kindness of God, so what was I missing?

I was missing a whole other side of God. In the midst of only seeing God in this way, I missed out on his actual character. I missed out on the core reason God wants to teach me.

I now hold God in the respect of my Father, but I know him also as my lover.

In today’s society the idea of having God as my ‘love’ or ‘lover’ is probably gross. BUT DON’T MISUNDERSTAND!

God being a lover is first brought up in the Bible under the Hebrew word ‘Ahava’, which is translated into two different parts. The two ending letters, which make up the base of the word, mean ‘give’. This leaves the proceeding letters, which mean ‘love’. So the end connection of these two words would be, ‘Love is giving.’ (Excuse me if this doesn’t make much sense- my Hebrew is elementary. Link for the word study will be posted below)

Our God is a giving God, huh? What kind of giving are we talking about?

Let’s do some research:

“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.” Jer. 24:7

God gave us a heart to know Him. His first gift made us in His image (look in Genesis). Meaning He gave us the emotions He himself has- He gave us this longing that can only be fulfilled by knowing Him, hence He also has the same longing to know us.

He wants us to want Him. He longs for us to have a personal relationship with Him! Can you believe it? The Creator of EVERYTHING wants to know ME. I get shivers just thinking of that.

So now we know He gave us a heart longing for a personal relationship with Him, but what does this personal relationship include?

Salvation from damnation is the first thing that comes to my mind, however, what comes after that?

If He wants a real relationship with me, He won’t just save me and leave me.

The story of Hosea shows the outline of our relationship with God. In the story Hosea goes out and marries a harlot. He loves her, she leaves him. She gets into danger, he saves her. He shows her love, she grows restless and decides to seek out something better. Ring any bells? He is always there for her, reaching out to her, yet she is constantly striving to find something more, without giving him the chance to show her what he has for her. But now, now I am done looking for other options and am seeking this personal intimate relationship with God. So what does he have to say about it?

“I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her so she cannot find her way.

She will chase after lovers, but not catch them; she will look but not find them….

Therefore, I will allure her; I will lead her to the desert and speak tenderly to her.

I will give her vineyards and the Valley of Trouble a door of hope,

There she will sing praises as in the days of her youth.”

~Hosea 2: 6-7, 14-15

I skipped some verses only because it talks about what would happen if I was not walking with God, but I am, so they hold nothing but warnings for me. Currently, I am only interested in learning what God wants in our relationship.

First off he states he will ‘block my path so I cannot find my way’- the way I see this is that God knows that the only way we can be saved is through Him. Therefore, He steps in to save me, again. Because, even as a follower of God, I still sometimes want to go out on a mission to save myself. Self-reliance and feminism is taught to many girls and I certainly have a hankering to proceed in that lifestyle. However, that is not true feminism, nor what God wants. He wants me to lean on Him. He knows that in me trying to do everything myself, I will end up hurt, so he takes his gentle but firm hand and builds me boundaries. He cares enough to say, ‘no, see this beautiful rose hedge? Don’t go past it. The thorns will hurt you if you try and the lifestyle beyond it will hurt you even more than that.’

Next He says, ‘She will chase after lovers, but not catch them; she will look but not find them….’

Oh how well He knows a girl’s heart! I long and crave for the affection of a guy- what girl doesn’t?

We all want to be swept into a whirl wind of romance. I’ve always pictured something like the Notebook:

Allie: Why didn’t you write me? Why?

Noah: It wasn’t over for me.

Allie: I waited for you for seven years. And now it’s too late.

Noah: I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you every day for a year.

Allie: You wrote me?

Noah: Yes.

Allie: You…

Noah: It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over.

That scene is flooded with burning passion, feelings of lost hope, anger at what she thinks is lost, and his aching desire at showing her it isn’t lost.

How many of us would love to be the Allie at that moment? (I raise my hand)

Now image God is Noah (meaning we should probably switch out Ryan Gosling for the voice of Morgan Freeman and a picture of God, you know the one where he has that huge white beard and is teeming with power?) The passion Allie has during this confrontation stays the same though. We feel heartbroken and angered that we haven’t heard from God in so long.

We ask why over and over again, trying to spit out in anger hoping for him to be roused as well or at least be silent long enough to prove He isn’t real.

But He is and this is what He has been saying to us all along.  We ran, He waited for us to stop. We looked, He called out for us. We listened, He spoke. We felt too broken to be rebuilt, He picked up the pieces and built us up stronger in His arms than ever before.

He has been calling out to us, not just as a teacher, but as a lover. Someone who will be with us through thick and thin, constantly giving and never straying. We just have to discover this relationship with Him.

“The King is enthralled with your beauty; honor Him for He is your Lord.” Psalm 45:11

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Face it, we mess up a great deal; people mess up a lot. And when we mess up or someone else who misjudges or didn’t consider others before themself at a moment, which affects us… We find it hard to forgive them if it hurts us. Jesus and his disciples had this situation come up many times, and with Easter just around the corner, Jesus himself forgave us for this wrongs we did; one being when we crucified him on the cross.
Now, in one situation, “…Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?'” (Matthew 18:21 NIV). Peter poses a good question, because we all can admit that forgiving (and apologizing) is hard; as it requires a change of heart and mind, and people tire of it (forgiving) when people wrong them a lot (an example of a character in this senario would be a sibling). So what should we do when people hurt us? Forgive them, right? Yeah, but people, including myself, go by a little saying, three strikes, you’re out. seems appropriate, right? Three chances, then they are out. Peter asks of we should forgive people up to seven times. Well “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times,'” (Matthew 18:22 NIV). “Seventy-seven times” means seventy time seven. If you do the easy math that’s four hundred ninety times. What Jesus is basically saying is “always forgive” there’s no time limit to how many times we should forgive.
Think of this: what if God hasn’t sent his son to die on the cross to save us from our sins? All I can imagine is a war-torn hell as our world. If God had not forgiven us and sent his son, were we’d be is inconceivable. So the next time someone hurts you physically or emotionally and they apologize (or not, reguardless) always forgive them. It’s what Jesus did for us. We are in his debt, here’s to helping us make up for what we never could accomplish. With Easter coming around the corner, too think of how Jesus died a ravaging and painful death so that we could have eternity with him; of how he forgave us for everything we did wrong; he loved us so very much to do something like that… To die a death unknown to us.

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