Ann Lovell

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Friday, May 29, 2015

You have a choice!

Choices matter. Decisions have consequences. Seemingly random encounters have life-long impacts. This is the subject of my newest Bible study, Choices: Decisions that made a difference. Encounters that made an impact. Walk with me through the lives of Eve, Joshua, Samson, Ruth, David and Jesus as we examine temptation, leadership, power over oppression, humility and social justice, seduction and repentance, and forgiveness and redemption. Together we explore choices made, lives destroyed and lives redeemed. 

Through it all, we also see God's defining grace. While our choices sometimes have devastating consequences, Jesus' death on the cross saves, covers and redeems us. The power of His resurrection empowers us to live forgiven and free. "By his stripes we are healed."

It's taken me 14 years to write this study. I've taught it countless times in Asia and the U.S., and I've written, sought feedback and rewritten it more times than I can count. This book is a reflection of my attempts to grasp how God can love such a messed-up people and still use us to make His name known. Wow! What a Savior!

So, I hope you'll read it. Study it. Enjoy it. And let me know what you think of it. We're all in this journey together.

Travel light!


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Sunday, May 24, 2015

When your world is destroyed

God's love never ceases. Aren't you thankful for that promise? And isn't it interesting that such a statement of God's faithfulness and love is in the book of Lamentations, a book that records Jeremiah's great sorrow and mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem?

Even as Jeremiah's world was being destroyed, Jeremiah knew God's love would not fail. He knew God's faithfulness to Israel would never end.

What about you? How has your world been rocked this year, this month, this week? How are you responding? Are you relying on God's faithfulness or are you tempted to give up in despair?

Oswald Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, "God is not concerned about our plans; He doesn’t ask, 'Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?' No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, and nobler men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way. The things that happen either make us evil, or they make us more saintly, depending entirely on our relationship with God and its level of intimacy."

No one likes to have their world rocked, much less destroyed. And it takes a special kind of courage -- the kind only the Holy Spirit can give -- to look up when the world is crashing down. Yet, God's promised faithfulness is real, even when, especially when, we are crawling through those teeth-gritting, mind-numbing circumstances that threaten to destroy us.

What a promise! What a God! What a Savior!

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Travel light: Kathmandu ... and Baltimore

“He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with love and faithful compassion.”  Psalm 103:3-4

I’ve posted a lot about Kathmandu this week — and nothing about Baltimore.

 As a Christian worker who has walked the streets of Kathmandu and met its people, I desperately want the people of Nepal to know God’s love. I feel I can at least help Americans understand that buried under the rubble of last Saturday’s earthquake is a city full of life and fun and color — whose people desperately need Jesus.

As a white Southern suburbanite woman, I desperately want racial reconciliation in the United States. I also realize I have little credibility speaking into race relations in America, even though my heart breaks for Baltimore … and New York … and Ferguson, Missouri, as much as it breaks for Kathmandu.

Anne Lamott wrote on Facebook this week, “How … can one week include Nepal, and Baltimore? If anyone mentions ‘mysterious ways,’ or ‘to every season,’ I will just lose my mind.”

I tend to agree with her. The world turned upside down in more ways than one last week, reminding me of one stark reality:

We desperately need a Savior. Without Him, we are one quake from being covered up, one breath from anarchy, one step from complete annihilation.

As I read Psalm 103 in light of last week’s events, I thanked God that “He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses … For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust” (10, 14, HCSB).  

In weeks like last week, I don't have a lot of answers, but I do have hope. Toward the end of the week we saw disaster relief teams begin to make headway in Nepal. Baltimore officials acted quickly to determine Freddie Gray’s cause of death and indict those responsible.

By God’s grace, the world began to right itself … again.

“As for man, his days are like grass — he blooms like a flower of the field … But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts” (17-18, HCSB).

God’s faithful love astounds me, during weeks like last week when the world spins out of control and in the day-to-day when I realize yet again just how fragile we all are.

“Praise the Lord, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise Yahweh!”

God’s faithful love astounds me.


This week’s reading: 1 Chronicles 11-16, 2 Samuel 5:1-6:23, Psalm 1-2, 15, 22-24, 47, 68, 89, 96, 100-107, 132
Post #18: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God's Word. 

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