Relentless by: Peggy

I think age three was my favorite age when the kids were little. They were portable at three. Totally potty trained, they could hang in beyond nap time without a total melt down, and they were inquisitive. I loved the inquisitive stage: everything was a new adventure, a new discovery. It was fun!

You know what I mean: They’d ask a question, like: “Mommy, why is the sky blue?” I would answer: “because that’s the way God made it”.  “oohhh…” they would say, as if they thought I was the wisest woman ever born who just imparted the secrets of the universe to them!  I loved that!

Somehow, though, it seemed that child number three was never satisfied with the “WWIW (wisest woman in the world)” answer. A typical conversation with her would go more like this:

# 3: “Mommy, why is the sky blue?”

WWIW: “ Because that’s the way God made it”

#3: “But why did He make it blue?”

WWIW: “ I guess because that’s his favorite color”

#3: “But then why did He make the grass green if blue is His favorite color?”

WWIW: (sigh)…”Because green is His favorite color for grass”

#3: “ Well, how come some grass is brown?”

WWIW: (bigger sigh) “ Because maybe it needs water”

#3: “If it had water it would turn green?”

WWIW: “Yes”

#3: “well, how does that happen, because my book says the ocean is blue, and the ocean is water, so if the ocean is blue, why doesn’t it turn the grass blue like the sky?”

Sidebar: this is a recall of a real conversation!

WWIW: “God made everything very colorful for us to enjoy. He made the grass green and the sky blue and the water whatever color you want to call it. He made flowers all different colors and the rainbow all different colors. God likes colors. He’s God and can make anything any color He wants, because he wants all people to enjoy colors.”

#3: “well, then if God made all colors, and He made all people, then why did He make some people blind so they can’t see the colors?”

WWIW: (talking through my teeth now) “ok, that’s it! I can’t answer any more of your questions about colors—do you understand me? Don’t ask me one more question about colors! The sky is blue and the grass is green because God said so. That’s it—get it? No more questions about colors!! If you have any more questions about colors, ask Daddy; or Grandmom—just don’t ask me, do you understand?? ”

A moment of silence…then:

#3: “Mommy? I promise it’s not a question about colors”

WWIW: “ sigh…ok, what is it?

#3: “Is God a boy or a girl?”

You get the idea.   She was never satisfied with an incomplete answer, even at age three. All sides of the question had to be investigated and analyzed. She showed no mercy, and took no prisoners. She was relentless. She didn’t stop until she got answers that satisfied her unending font of curiosity. It was frustrating and wonderful all at the same time.

It was wonderful to see this little mind at work in such a unique way. It was frustrating because no matter what, I could never seem to satisfy her curiosity. I was always just one answer short.

When I choose topics for this blog, I always pray and ask God what He would like us to write about this time. The word “relentless” was resounding in my heart and mind. I smiled as I immediately was reminded of the many conversations with that inquisitive mind. I never knew what was in store for me in the weeks leading up to the submission of this blog post.

A dear girlfriend of mine passed away quite suddenly a few weeks ago. We had a history in Christian service together, and I was her Maid of Honor at her wedding 18 years ago. She was a friend, a confidant and a very special person. It was completely unexpected, and saddened me beyond belief.

Five days after her funeral, still reeling, I came home from work to see Jim sitting in a chair, a strange look on his face.‘What’s wrong?” I asked, never expecting him to say: “We have another funeral to go to.”

His lifelong, best friend, the little boy born on the same street as he, only ten days earlier, the one who he grew up beside, raised like brothers, had died suddenly from a heart attack that morning. The man who was our Best Man, our son’s Godfather, the kids’ Uncle John, was no more.

Bam!! Sucker punched again! I didn’t think I had another tear left in me, yet the fountain flowed. I felt inconsolable. Even worse, except for the death of his mother,  I can’t remember ever seeing my husband so sad, and my heart broke yet again, for him.

My job, for which I was hired part-time, suddenly exploded, and, in the midst of two gut-wrenching losses, I found myself working over fifty hours a week.  One week was sixty two hours, another fifty six.

I somehow got a rupture on the ligament of my thumb, was in incredible pain 24/7, found myself wearing a brace, and wound up getting cortisone shots in the thumb joints just to try to gain back some mobility.

And, there was more.  I just won’t bore you with it.

Relentless.

There are times in life when people can be incessant, nonstop, and persistent. This can be a good thing, as we are stretched and grow with our interactions with others. We learn patience and tolerance. It helps us get to really know one another, and we learn from each other.

There are also time in life when circumstances can be punishing, sustained, unabated, and unstoppable. It is what it is, and we just have to go through it. But the results are the same: we are stretched and grow, albeit painfully, and we learn.

Through it all, though, no matter what, we don’t  go through it alone. As relentless as life can seem to be, no matter what the circumstances, the steadfast love of God never ceases.

Do you have a child that challenges you, makes you think you will never be good enough? God is there to say: “ I chose you to be her mother—there is no one better suited in the entire world.” Imagine that! When you bring God into the equation, you discover who you were meant to be.

Are circumstances beyond your control that are affecting your life? Sometimes you just want it to stop. In those times, just look up and change your perspective. Life is life, and sometimes it sucks, but in those times, try to think of the bigger picture. Think of the Lord, and all that He has done. Think of how much He loves you, how He chose you to be the apple of His eye.

I am still sad. I am finding that at times grief wants to overtake me. I fight it. I refuse to give in to that. You see, if I try to rationalize it or figure it out, I am always one answer short.

Instead, I pray Psalm 136: 23 – 26. And I realize, I don’t have to figure it out. I just have to go through it, but I am not alone. And for that, I am forever grateful.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Relentless by Andrea

 I am struggling with trying to get my heart on paper after the events of the past month with the horrific beheadings of innocent American journalists, the cruelest persecutions of Christians, non-muslims and Yizidis in Iraq and around the world. I am tormented over families slaughtered, children’s heads hung on posts in playgrounds, one little boy named Andrew was literally cut in two. Women raped and enslaved by the thousands. Nearly a million people have been displaced and are running for their lives. The most appalling things are being done in the name of a god we do not recognize. Once again, I am forced to ask myself what would I do if I were given the choice of pay, die or convert. Many having no means to pay, they died rather than renounce Jesus Christ. Then I must ask myself, how do I respond in my own heart to these terrorists? What would I do?

     In the midst of righteous anger, I hear my Lord on the cross and He says, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”…. in this one statement, Christ demonstrates what our response to ISIS (Islamic State) should be, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.

     So what should be the response of Christians to radical muslims who behead children, rape women and enslave people… Jesus set the standard. We who know the love and mercy of God must grasp what that love looks like when confronted by the most grotesque men, who hate us and our Lord. These are the same people nailing Jesus to the cross.

     When everything in me says, please bomb those monsters off the face of the planet, I find myself thinking how much they are like Saul. Righteously rounding up the heretics, stoning them to death, imprisonment or death. Convert or die! And I pray, Lord raise up a Saul in the midst of this horror…. raise up someone who knows blood lust and finds God’s mercy. Who will then, with all the zeal of these radical muslims, confront them with their atrocities and offer them Jesus…. this is the absolute relentlessness of God. Our Lord gave everything to save a broken world, to redeem a humanity lost and on a path to eternal destruction. Jesus raised a standard so high, we can only reach it with the power of God within, Christ said,”Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.

     Yes, God is that relentless in His pursuit of a lost and fallen world.  He loves us so much that before the foundations of the world were laid out, He had decided He would come in the form of a man, suffer and die for those who would choose to live out eternity within Him.

     When everything in me wants to see these monsters blown off the face of the earth, I think of a world with a long history of atrocities that pales in comparison to today. Yet, our Lord found  a way to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Even as they tortured and murdered believers who would bring them the good news, Christ loved them, died for them and wanted to share His life and death with them. He still says, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.

     This year, in this country nearly a million babies will die in their mothers womb. Across the globe over a billion have died before their first breath. It will be sanctioned by the government and little is said about it… the greatest atrocities are often the ones that we ignore. No natural disaster, plague or man-made horror even comes close to our sins. I bring these two issues together to say we all have sin, some we consider worse than others. Is there any doubt that the Lord forgives the sin of abortion? No. I can have no doubt that He is ready and willing to forgive these barbaric religious extremists.

     ISIS refuses to be ignored and our nation may need to fight them and many may die. I only ask Christians to pray, not that they get what they deserve but that they seek mercy and receive salvation through Jesus Christ. That same grace He gave to us, I pray he finds a way to give to them. The absolute relentlessness of our Lord’s love demands that we pray for our enemies and believe for their redemption.

May God be merciful, andrea

Relentless by Ronda

So I have been pondering this word “relentless” since Peg gave us this topic in early August. Needless to say, I overthink just about everything. When I hear this word my thoughts go to the phrase “Relentless Bride” that has become so popular with the prophetic art of James Nesbit. This Christian artist depicts the church as a beautiful bride ready to marry her King. The bridal season for the church is a topic of many teachings since events in our daily lives tell us that our King is coming soon. What makes me a little nervous is whether or not the bride is actually “relentless” in preparation for her King?

It would be easy to speak about the church and the areas that need improvement but it may be more effective to just look into the mirror and examine myself as part of the bride. Am I being relentless in my own personal relationship with my Bridegroom? This is where the rubber meets the road! Our faith is more than religion; it’s relationship.

I want to be part of the relentless bride. I want to be prepared with oil in my lamp when the Bridegroom comes. To be ready means I must be relentless in my pursuit of relationship. I don’t think Jesus wants to be unequally yoked. He was relentless in His assignment and obedience to the Father! He was relentless in His desire to please the Father. He was unyielding in His obedience even to the point of sweating blood! So great a salvation He has purchased for us and we out of love for His unspeakable gift should be unyielding in our pursuit of a vital relationship that is demonstrated through our every action. In Him we live move and have our being. Our Bridegroom demonstrated the love of God in every action…we are His and must be inspired to be relentless to fulfill our destiny as His bride.

I have always been partial to the bridal imagery in the scriptures. I relate to it much more than to the Body of Christ. As a bride, we are encouraged to be motivated by love: God is love. As a Body, sometimes I think that the church focuses too much on activity and not relationship. I have had seasons in my walk with the Lord that I felt more like the Body and times now when I feel more like the Bride. I know that the church is described as both in scripture but I do believe that this is part of the mystery of Christ and the church. There are those who are motivated as the body and those that are motivated as the bride. I don’t have any deep revelation on why there is even a distinction in scripture. I do believe that this is part of the deep things of God and that God has His purpose for both.

As we mature in Christ, I want to believe that Christ begins to reveal Himself as the Bridegroom and we respond with a deeper desire to be His relentless bride. It takes a level of pursuit, determination and longing that is characteristic of a modern day bride who is no-nonsense, no holds bar at having a wedding of pure bliss! Truly that is our destiny: a beautiful wedding where we are presented to our Bridegroom without spot or wrinkle. Fulfillment of this destiny will be a result of our relentless

desire for deep fellowship with the lover of our soul. It will be relationship not religion that manifests the “Relentless Bride”.

I pray that each of us relentlessly pursue Our Beloved so that we can be transformed into His image and likeness and fulfill our destiny…a wedding of purely divine

eternal bliss!