Loving the Faces

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” –Mark 6:34 (NIV)

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is people-watching. Whether it is while taking the public transit in the city, waiting at the airport for a flight, or walking the streets of a foreign country, I am always drawn to the faces of those who I pass by. I often wonder where they are going, where they have been, and what they must be experiencing now. It is this curiosity which draws me to people and I find it both a joy and an honour when people extend the hand of friendship and we exchange our stories with each other. Yet more and more I am coming to see people as souls in need of being in relationship with God their Creator, and that has added a whole new sense of urgency to tell others of the hope which is available through Christ.

Every day we encounter many faces. Some of them we do not know and only see for a brief second before they go their separate ways. Others we know quite well. They are our family, our friends, and our colleagues. Yet are they just faces to us? Are they but mere bodies which we are forced by circumstances to interact with? It is easy to think of people in generalization, where we can nicely fit them into our pre-conceived notions. But when we see people through the eyes of God, we see them as individuals uniquely and wonderfully made with souls that are made to be in relationship with Him. This calls us to a radical love that transcends all boundaries, yet this is a love which we can never work out in ourselves because of our sinful nature. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and have allowed Him to free us of our sinful nature that we are able through His Spirit to see people as how He sees them, as His precious creations in need of His restorative work. With His love overflowing from within us, His Spirit will compel us to show His compassion towards others and tell them of the eternal joy of knowing Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Love From Above

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” –Psalm 57:10 (NIV)

Summer is just around the corner. I felt a glimpse of what is to come as I was walking downtown today. With not a cloud in the sky, the sun shone bright and resplendent; bringing life and colour to the city’s streets. But as I walked under the sweltering heat with sweat pouring from my brow, I was reminded of how beautifully God created the sun and the skies. Every person living on this Earth sees the same sun, and under the same sky goes about their daily tasks. God has placed the sun far enough so that it encompasses the whole world. Yet it is close enough for us to feel the heat it provides and enjoy the warmth of its rays.

In the same way, God’s love is both wide and near. Each person born into this world has been created by His loving hands and He wants all of us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. However, our wilful choice to sin against Him has severed that relationship we once shared. But God is love and in His never-failing love He wants to restore that broken relationship. That is why He sent Christ for us, so that through His death we may be cleansed of our sin and by His resurrection enter into new life with Him characterized by His righteousness being worked out through His Spirit within us. Christ’s offer of salvation through His sacrifice is open to all regardless of who they are and where they have been. Thus, His love is as boundless as the sky for there is no one on Earth who is beyond His grace and forgiveness. But like the warmth of the sun, God wants to show His love to us in a real and personal way. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and allow Him to carry out his redemptive work in our lives, we will be able to feel His love and faithfulness as we continue to abide in Him and entrust ourselves fully to Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

An Eternal Flame

“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” –Song of Solomon 8:7a (NIV)

The concept of an eternal flame has found its place in many countries around the world. Placed before memorial sites it is supposed to be a symbol honouring the legacy of fallen soldiers or representative of the nation’s commitment to remember a significant event in their history. In Japan for example, an eternal flame burns in a memorial park in Hiroshima. Being the first city to experience the horrors of nuclear warfare when it was bombed in August 1945, the eternal flame is to be extinguished only until the complete abolition of nuclear weapons has been achieved. No amount of water can put out this fire for it is constantly maintained and fuelled by propane or natural gas; thereby signifying the unwavering resolve of the people to never forget no matter the cost and work towards the goal it represents.

Is our love for others like an eternal flame? If we are truly honest, we can think of times when our love has been extinguished by the waters of anger and frustration. We allow situations to take control of our minds and snuff out our love, instead allowing our anger to rear its head. An extinguished fire cannot provide warmth and hope to other. Likewise when we have allowed our circumstances to overwhelm our love, we become cold and unable to provide that warmth which people need. It is only when Christ dwells within us that the fire of our love will keep burning despite what we face. When we have allowed Him to enter our hearts, His love will overflow from within us. Nothing, neither situations nor people, will be able to prevent the love of Christ from shining forth from our lives when we seek to abide in Him. With our security rooted in Christ, He will enable His love to radiate from us regardless of what we face, bringing hope and life to others.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.