Puppy Love

Jesus says that we should love God with every part of our being.  That we should love him constantly with everything we have.  Now that is a pretty big idea.  What does that mean to love someone that much? 
Mark 12:30 NLT
“And you must love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”
Mary Magdalene was a follower of Jesus Christ.  She didn’t just follow his teachings, she loved him.  She was there at the foot of the cross when he died, and she was the first person to witness him after the resurrection.  She was there because being near him was her passion.  She was the first because she immediately went to His tomb after the Sabbath ended.  As soon as the sun rose she was there at the tomb to care for his body.  Her first thoughts were on her Lord and savior.
John 19:25 NLT
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Matthew 28:1 NLT
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Mark 16:9 NLT
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven demons.
Then there is the story of the woman that came to Christ and poured a valuable bottle of perfume over his hair.  Then she knelt down and washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  The perfume was expensive and some considered it a waste of money.  Not a waste, but a testimony of how much she loved her savior who had forgiven her many sins. 
Luke 7:37-38 NLT
When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she bought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
Luke 7:47
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.
I recently became a dog owner.  I have a toy spaniel named Jenks.  My dog is an expert on love.  She demonstrates on a daily basis how to love with everything you have.
She yearns to be with us at all times.  She will lie as close to us as she can.  If we even shift position she will jump up and cover us with kisses.  If I move from the couch to run upstairs for something she will awaken from a dead sleep to follow me.  When she cannot follow, she will cry and keen until I come back.  Even the bathroom door being closed is enough to break her tiny devoted heart.
When we return home from a day at school she will prance around our feet as if we had been separated for years instead of just hours.  She will wag her tail so hard that the back half of her body is shaking as well.  She will run laps around the house to demonstrate the happiness of being reunited with her family.  If I am standing at the kitchen counter, she will sit behind me on the floor and press her nose against my leg. 
Imagine if we pursued God with the same love that Mary Magdalene showed for Christ.  Imagine if we not only gave our money but our heart to Jesus as the woman did.  Imagine if we spent our time away from God yearning for his return constantly.  Imagine if we went to church with the enthusiasm of a little dog, and ran laps all over the church grounds to demonstrate our joy of being in our Father’s house.  Imagine if we wiggled and danced because we got to spend the morning praising our Father, our God, our Savior.  
I think it’s time to love God like a puppy.

Little God

In my Bible study I have recently reached the book of Psalms.  As I have read through the first few chapters I have begun to get a new glimpse of God.  As a culture we like to keep God small.  We like to talk to Him like he is a neighbor, and only really spend time with Him on Sundays and special holidays.  For some of us, He doesn’t even get the whole day because football comes on after lunch, and that is important.
We like having a casual relationship with God where we can talk to Him as we feel like it.  We like to consider the Bible to be a book of wisdom.  It tells us what we should do, but not what we have to do.  We don’t have to obey a small God. We want a small God that we can negotiate with.  We want a small God that we can convince that our sins aren’t that bad.  We want a small God that fits on our bumper stickers, plastic little fish and key chains.
This week as I was reading the Psalms for just a second I understood how really big God is.  He is so big that I cannot even wrap my mind around it.  He is so big that I cannot fully comprehend Him.  In the Bible it says that those who witness the Lord do so trembling with awe.  They fall on their face before him as if they were dead.  I have never trembled in awe of the Little God that our culture has created, but the God of the Bible is more than that.  
Psalm 8:1-4 NLT
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!  Your glory is higher than the heavens.  You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.  When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars that you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?
Psalm 19:1 NLT
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship.  

He is not little.  He is not small.  He is the creator of the universe.  He makes all things possible.  The mountains exist because He decided they do.  He allows us to live our lives and chase our stuff because He wants us to acknowledge Him willingly.  If He were ever to part the clouds and allow us to see Him we would fall down on our faces overwhelmed by Him.  He is so perfect and holy that we cannot exist in His presence.  Once, Moses asked to see God, and to do so he had to hide behind a rock.  God in all his glory was too much. 
He is greater and grander than anything else in existence, and the salvation offered through Jesus Christ has been in place for millennia.  Our lives full of stuff and our work place chase are so small in comparison to Him.  The King of Kings.  The Lord of Lords.  The Beginning and the End.  God is strong enough that He could have just decided that we would love and serve Him, and instantly we would have all complied and never even wondered why.  That’s not what our merciful and loving God did. 
Now consider that Jesus Christ is God, and marvel at all that power in the shell of a man.  Imagine someone that big choosing to be confined into something small and allowing us tiny beings to torture and kill him.  God allowed himself to die to pay the burden of our sins.  Jesus lay dead in a tomb for three days, and then rose to break open the gates of Heaven. 
Psalm 51:1-2 NLT
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.  Wash me clean from my guilt.  Purify me from my sin.
Now look at your Bible.  That little book, sitting unused on a shelf, is the word of God.  The creator of the universe put these words in a book for you to have so that you could know Him.  We can’t bear to look at the greatness and glory of God, so he put it all in a book for his beloved children.  He told us exactly what a sin was, how to be forgiven and redeemed, and the consequences for not accepting His grace and mercy.  He tells us in the book of Revelation what happens to those that choose sin.
Now I have only had the barest glimpse of God’s power and glory.  I have only just begun to understand Him who loves me.  I have only seen a tiny corner of the greatness of God.  Just that little knowledge causes me to hold that Bible in reverence.  It causes me to cherish the holy words in that book and my relationship to God above all other things.  It makes the time I spent worrying about my hair and make-up ridiculous.    
Doing anything but serving this awesome God seems silly.
Psalm 9:1-2 NLT
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.  I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.