James 4:8 "Come near to God and He will come near to you..."
She is just a doll! Fair, pretty with a smile that could steal anyone's heart; her name is Deepika, four year old daughter of a couple who pick up garbage from residential quarters. She was untamed, dirty, extremely rebellious and arrived at our Abide Angel Home like a dirty puppy. She refused to speak with me for nearly a month and slowly God broke the ice.
As soon as she arrives, I would oil and comb her hair, splitting it into two halves and tying it up like pony tails, wash her and powder her up. She would sit on my lap and feel thrilled with all the love that is lavished on her; rain or shine, she would promptly come to our Abide Angel Home early in the morning before 7 am, standing at the gate with a twinkle in her eye and coyly smiling like a rose. All she wants is a cuddle from me and to pop up on my lap, that was enough for her. Many of the kids at our Home are close to me so I took this love for granted, until recently I knew the depth of the little doll's love for me.
Recently, when I found Deepika harshly hitting another girl, I corrected her and also gave her a slight thrashing. Again, the next day, I found her behaving rudely with another little one in the school; yet again she received some blows from me. In the evening, when the kids were about to leave, I found Deepika restlessly looking at me, trying to make eye contact with me and the moment I looked at her, she ran like wind and hugged me. I was shocked! There was no sign of anger at all! I whispered in her ears not to behave rudely again, she nodded obediently and the next day morning I found her again standing by the gate at 7 am with that same smile like 'fresh air!' She wakes up at 5 am to come to school that early, while kids of her age are fast asleep in the bed. The smile, the twinkle in her eye and the love that was written all over her face for me had not diminished one bit!
Friends, this afternoon after I came home, I locked up my prayer room and sobbed at His feet! I thought of the love of Deepika for me and asked God if I love Him that much and that way! Whether there is crowd in the church or not, whether I receive 'raving reviews' of my ministry or not, whether people throw stones or flowers, whatsoever, I want my love for Him to keep intensifying and rising no matter what! Without any 'why Lord' I want just 'how much more can I love you Lord' to fill my life! I write this portion with profuse tears! The astounding love of the little doll has just moved me! If only we could respond to God this way, it would be lovely!
Friend, how do we react when we are disciplined by God? Many stop attending church, cease to pray and there are heaps of people who would abandon the Bible in the top shelf but be active on Facebook, narrating the story to the entire world -- EXCEPT TO GOD. Are you there? When the job is in jeopardy, believers would complain and murmur against God, rather than searching and checking out their lives. Please remember, problems and sufferings are God's way of drawing our attention towards Him! Are you listening? Turn to Him, amend your ways, rectify your wicked ways, humble yourself, get help with fellow good believers, find out a good church and start attending. There is no other short, easy route! He is the only way!
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Contributed by Rick Warren on Sep 22, 2008
God wants us to love him passionately, with all of our heart. Using Mark 12:30 and Romans 12:11, Pastor Rick looks at a list of passion killers, things that rob us of joy, and teaches us how to reignite our passion for God. The service ends with communion