By Pastor Barry Wood
I have been a Christian for almost 44 years. I’ve been a pastor for 29 of those. It still amazes me how little I know about the God I have committed my life to serve. Recently I have been studying the Bible for insight into God’s love and how he wants me to love. The results of that study have refreshed my soul.
It’s not that I don’t know the things I discovered; I do. But in the course of busy life and distractions, I have discovered that I really need to work on my love relationship with God. I’ve been teaching about God’s love in our church and every time I walk up front to share, I realize just how much the Father is drawing me to himself in a new way. He wants me to experience his love in ways I haven’t seen before and he wants me to love him in ways that I have forgotten or that have been lost in the shuffle of life.
It seemed the more I studied and the more I taught, the more confused I became. I wasn’t feeling differently toward God, nothing warm and fuzzy. It just seemed like I was being filled up with information. My soul was filled up with tinder that needed a match to light the fire. The match came in an unexpected way.
One day, I was out walking for exercise. I usually walk five or six miles and often listen to worship music while doing it. I put my earbuds in that day, loaded up the music on my phone and pushed the random play button. The first song in the queue was one I’d never heard. As I walked and listened, the Holy Spirit began to light fire to all the things I had learned.
The song is called, “Endless Alleluia.”* It spoke to me about waking up each morning, lifting my eyes to God and having the first thought of my day be about him. It said that even in the ordinary, day-to-day life, there are miracles around me all the time and those point me to God every moment. It reminded me that this life is short but there will come a time when all is completed, and I will literally be in the presence of God. Finally, it said that at night when I lay down and close my eyes, I will cling to God and my final thought of the day will be about Him.
I must have played that song ten times during my walk and many times after that as I allowed the Holy Spirit to let those words burrow into my heart and stick. It was then that I was able to cry out to God and tell him that from this time on I want to live my days acknowledging him, thinking of him, and being careful to watch for his incredible love for me in the ordinary. When I see him in the ordinary, it becomes extraordinary.
This simple thing is revolutionizing my love life with God. I know he loves me, but I sometimes miss his loving acts. I know I love him but haven’t practiced spending quality time with him every moment of every day. I want God to be the first and last thought on my mind every day. One day, I will tell him those thoughts face to face.
Brian Johnson & Cory Asbury
2017 Cory Asbury Publishing