Loving God With All Our Hearts

Dear Friends:

If you’ve been reading my notes you know that I have been reading 1 Samuel, Psalms, and Revelation lately. These daily readings and the things God brings to my eyes and heart are what I write about. I don’t suggest that there’s a pattern or rhythm or reason to anything I write, but it seems like many of you like this; just spontaneous, meandering thoughts that I put into these little blog posts.

The second time I clearly and distinctly heard God speak to me was about 20 years ago. I was supposed to go to Philly that weekend, but after driving to the airport, checking in, and even getting on the plane, I had to return home! The snow was heavy, the flight was cancelled, the meetings in Philly had to be postponed, and I drove home in the snow dejected and flustered and entered into the house alone and in a very depressed mood.
That night I decided to turn on the History Channel for some reason and saw a movie called “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”. It was a 70’s movie about the life of Francis of Assisi, and while  a bit cheesy and melodramatic, watching that movie that night was one of those events that changed my life. Without going into too much detail, what struck me was that Francis was in love with God. And I mean by that a romantic, “I can’t live without you”, “you are the most important being in my life” kind of love. I watched that movie in awe and cried! I asked God, “Why have I never come across a pastor or teacher or professor or author IN LOVE WITH YOU LIKE THIS?! I craved someone to lead me and teach me how to love God like St Francis did! So I asked God, “WHY, have I never met a man like that before?” And for the second time in my life I HEARD Him tell me: You be THAT MAN.

If anything can be said at my funeral I hope that it is said that I was IN LOVE with God and tried to lead others to have the same love! And so the next day I sold my Alfa Romeo, I put my house up for sale and I determined to become a pauper for Christ! I really did! The car was sold quickly, but I never could even get a nibble on my home. But I learned that the point was not to be like Francis—the beggar—but like Francis—the lover!

David was in love with God. And yet, David made many “mistakes”. I find that comforting. Fellow believers might suggest that a man in love with God never screws up, but David’s life encourages me! He took a census — something that God did not want — and 70,000 innocent people died of the plague because of it! And despite his sexual provocations (Baathseba), poor parenting (Absalom), arrogance (the census), and even murder (Urriah) he did love God, was able to see the stupidity of his actions, accept responsibility, and humble himself before God.

The point: He took responsibility, he repented, he tried to make things right and he was in love with His Creator.

God can use a scoundrel; a scoundrel can do great things; scoundrels are able to change; nothing can separate us from the love of God once we have fallen in love with Him. I do not brag in this matter, but I confess that I am in love with Him and whereas I fail to be the perfect man, my prayer is that OTHERS see that I am in love with Him… and seek to fall in love with Him.

Dean Barley

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