Why The Hallmark Kind of Love Fails

There are several standard plots in Hallmark movies.  They are far from realistic in some ways, though I can’t help watching them often, especially this holiday season.  These movies represent typically a woman longing for unconditional love.  She finds different kinds of love through the course of the film.  We all cheer in the end at what the man and woman both find, and truly it’s an “Awwwh, I want that moment” for most women watching,  but let’s a take a look at the Hallmark kind of love.   

The Hallmark Kind of Love     

  1. It is friendship love that falls short of the deepest desire for enduring true love.   

In practically every plot we see the longing of the woman to be married to a perfect prince, to sweep her off of her feet.  In the beginning of the movie we see that she’s so in love with the idea of marriage, that she stays in a relationship with the perfect guy.  He doesn’t “ruffle her feathers” about anything. He doesn’t challenge her. He is so much like her in his personality, goals, and interests, that there’s really no adventure or tension in the relationship. She’s been with this guy for a long time, not seeing that he is really not what she needs to be with the rest of her life. She doesn’t realize that loving someone and being in love with someone are not the same.  She only really has “friendship love” with her boyfriend.  The boyfriend has to be the one to break up with her, often right at the moment that she thinks he is going to propose to her!! She is mortified.  After the relationship ends, the Hallmark girl is hoping to find true love, but is often a bit jaded, and not sure it will ever happen for her.

2. It is romantic love that is based on feelings. 

When the girl meets a new guy who is nothing like her last boyfriend,  she often clashes with him. He might get under her skin in some ways because he does not totally agree with her on some things.  However, the more she’s around him she becomes more and more attracted to him. They start to develop some friendship intimacy and she is actually kind of taken off guard by how much she starts to like him. He falls in love with her, and she falls in love with him through some really beautiful life experiences. They find that though they are different, they really enjoy being with each other.  Then, there’s some kind of complication that causes her to either run from him or him to run from her. A friend or family member talks them into running back to each other because they know that they have found true love. They talk through their differences, he explains his heart for her, and it all works out beautifully because they both “feel” ooey-gooey after only knowing each other often for only a few weeks! 

Who doesn’t want to feel ooey-gooey and in the euphoric state of being in love?!  We all do!  We all want that, but that kind of love is nothing like the love of God, which never, never, never, fails.

Why do we need the unconditional love of God?

  1. His love is committed to us for eternity. 

Since I’ve watched so many of these movies I have begun to realize how many analogies there are to our relationship with Jesus as the lover of our souls. We have often been mesmerized and “in love” with the world or a person, only to find the world or the person dumping us or letting us down and leaving us. We feel as if we will never find anyone who will truly love us.  However, the love of God is committed to for eternity.  He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  We are yoked to Him in covenant when we have made Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord of our lives.  Covenant is not broken even with death.  He doesn’t break His covenant of love even if we run away from him for weeks, months, or years.  He is always waiting with open arms.   That’s a powerful love.

2. His love transforms us into better people.  

The love of Jesus will come running after us, even if we are running from it.   He is not like any other lover.   He is gentle, kind, and has many qualities that we don’t have. He challenges us with new ideas and new ways of looking at ourselves, our lives, and other people.  He even “ruffles our feathers” a bit because we don’t always think that what He thinks is right, but we can’t help but be intrigued by His suggestions, ideas, and sense of adventure!  When we begin to give our heart to Him and open up to Him, and start trust Him, then His love transforms us.  

3. His love is always present, every minute of the day and night. 

In every human relationship we can not always be with that person.   They are not present every second of the day.   Well, His love is always near.  After Jesus died, God sent the Holy Spirit as our counselor to live on the inside of us.  He is present at all times to teach us all things we need to know.  To comfort us, support us, calm us, give us joy, every minute of the day – and EVERY TIME we call out to Him.   What kind of person can be there for you like that?! No human being on the face of the earth can or ever will be able to do that.

There’s been some seasons in my life when I think I got so focused on the cares of this world that I stopped connecting with the love of God.   And sometimes when things weren’t going right, just like the Hallmark girl, I ran from being in the presence of my Lover and no longer was listening to what He had to say to me every day.    I’m not currently in a relationship with a man on this planet, so as a single I have to stay connected to His love, or I become lonely, hopeless, depressed, fearful, and even angry.    Oh, but when I do stay connected with that love, I look at my singleness in such a different way, and I am fully alive, fully aware that I already belong to One who gave up His life for me.

He’s waiting for you!

Maybe you’re the Hallmark character who has run from The One who loves you. Maybe you are in a season where you are upset with your first love, Jesus.  He is waiting for you with open arms. He wants your heart again. His love for you is everlasting and unconditional.   You may need to start wherever you are, even if your life is a mess because you have left Him out of the picture.  This time really give Him your whole heart and soul.    He will never leave you or forsake you.  I promise, you will not be disappointed.

 In the movie I watched last night the couple at the end had to re-introduce themselves to each other.    Maybe you need to say, “Hi, Jesus, it’s me _________________. I need you in my life.”

He’s waiting for you.  Your First Love is waiting.  And this man is full of unconditional, agape love.  He never ever gives up on you. He keeps no records of your wrongs.  This man has written your name on the palm of His hand and knows how many hairs are on your head.   This man gave up His life for yours.  This is way better than the “Hallmark” kind of love.  No comparison, period.

Jeremiah 29: 11‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Song of Solomon 2: He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Song of Solomon 7: 10 I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me.

When All That He Is, Meets All That We Are


1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!

2It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

3It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forever.   Psalms 133:1-3 (NAS)

 

For some reason this just stood out to me today in my devotion time.   The part about the precious oil coming down upon the beard and coming down upon the edge of Aaron’s robes.I went to the Jesus ’17 Conference in Orlando on Saturday night.   As probably several thousand people worshipped and praised and just soaked up the presence of God, asking Him to not pass us by, to get to know Him in a way we haven’t before…the glory of God fell.   I can totally relate to the oil running down all the way from his head to his toes, for that is essentially what the glory of God feels like when it is manifest in a place where a congregation is corporately worshipping the Lord and crying out for more of Him.

When we first started the service, I didn’t feel very connected to the Lord.  I felt tired.  I felt expectant for a move of God, to a certain degree, but I felt tired from life.  Overwhelmed from just allowing the pressures of life to bother me.

There came a point in the service that Michael Koulianos was just talking about all of the crazy things that are mentioned in the Bible that many Christians from various Christian circles judge, criticize, and reject as something that God wants to do or does do in this time.   He mentioned men’s bones rattling and great prophets being struck down on their faces for hours, etc. and how that was all “Bible”.   I began to think about the Red Sea parting.  Paul getting bitten by a deadly snake and him shaking it off.   People being raised from the dead.

And what do we want now as the Body of Christ?  Do we want to please religious people and go on with just experiencing one side of God and not crying out for revival in this nation and revival in our hearts?

I don’t.  I want revival.   I want to see this nation turn their hearts to the Lord.

He longs for us to cry out for more of Him.  To know Him in a way we never have before.   To behold Jesus like we never have before.

I needed it that night.  I need it every day.

I heard myself crying out the prayer for God to not pass me by, just as Michael said, even though I at first wasn’t feeling a single thing and felt borderline numb.   I just began praying in the Spirit in tongues during the service.  I did this for awhile, while other people were going to the altar to surrender their lives to the Lord.   And then all of a sudden a wave started coming over me….It was like I was laughing and crying at the same time.   It was a belly laugh up out of my spirit that felt like it was releasing junk from my soul.   And while I was laughing and crying all at the same time I started hearing the Holy Spirit release words of deliverance over me.   There were several things I don’t even think I realized that I needed deliverance from, but it was like He was snapping His fingers and things were just breaking off.  Every tie that bound.  Every little and big weight that had been trying to press on my mind and steal my faith in the promises of God in my life.  Every little lie that had been trying to make me into an anxious ball in the last few weeks, just fell right off.   It was like a cathartic  counseling session in which I didn’t even have to tell Him or anyone what was bothering me, it was like He went – zap, zap, zap, break, break, break, release, release, release!

I have been so very honored to have had quite a few of these types of encounters with my Jesus in my life.   I’ve grown up in this.  I mean meetings where the glory of God was so thick, I felt like you could cut a knife through it.  Once I encountered that, I didn’t want to go back.  You will pass up all kinds of other events to go these places where you know hundreds of people are all going to be crying out for the same thing.  That’s my life.   And just when I  think it can’t get any better in the presence of the Lord, He brings me into a whole deeper level.  Into a new dimension of His glory.

What is the glory of God? You may be asking this question if you have never experienced it before.   Well, I’m not going to do a Bible study for this today, but I am going to explain to you that really the manifest glory of God is like when Jesus steps in the room and walks down the aisles and every person wanting to be touched, gets touched.  Healed from physical sickness. Delivered from mental illness. Released from chains of all kinds.    It’s when all that He is contacts all that we are.

I’ve heard Pastor Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Texas talk about how the manifested glory of God can be compared to when a millionaire is present in the room and just sitting there, and when that millionaire is not only present in the room, but is handing out gifts to every person waiting for a gift.  Expectation is the key to encountering God in this way.

Michael Koulianos, who headed up the entire conference,  talked about being obedient to do whatever God wants you to do to really encounter Him in a way that you never have before.   Whether it’s giving up sleeping so long every morning to be with Him, or laying down a job or a relationship, or a position in ministry, there’s generally something we have to surrender and sacrifice in order to get to that place where we encounter God in the way that prophets of old did.   And even so, we really can encounter God in a way that they never have, because we now also have grace.  We don’t have offer physical sacrifices to the Lord to pay for our sin before stepping into His throne room.  We can just enter in because the shed bled of Jesus confirmed His covenant with us, allowing us to enter His presence any time of the day or night.   Yes, sometimes we very much need to repent before we can enter the glory, but if repenting for every sin was the key to entering the glory of God, we would never enter it.    We often don’t know what we need to repent for until the Holy Spirit unveils every hidden place in our hearts that has shut Him out.  We have to expect and want Him to do this, though.

When you encounter His glory, you will not be the same.  You really will not be the same person. I have felt so much fatigue for several weeks and Sunday morning I woke up a different person!  And today, Monday, the world felt completely different than the last several weeks.

We don’t have to go to a huge congregation of people to come into contact with all that He is.  We can experience it in our very own prayer closets as we surrender to Him and come with great expectation.   It’s in the presence of the Almighty God that troubles vanish and hearts are mended.  Vision is given for life.   Purpose is birthed. Wisdom is poured out.  Healing is manifested.  Miracles take place.

Dear God,

I want more.  I want so much more.  Bring on the oil, Lord, may it drip down every day from my head to the edges of my robe, so that I can go forth and bring hope, healing, and the Truth about You that I have found in your presence into the world that so desperately needs it.   Set me on fire so that all everyone in my path feels the warmth of Your love and power.

The Transforming Power of Music

Ever heard a song and it instantly turned your blue day into sunny? Ever heard a melody and it made you remember something that you didn’t want to remember from the past?!  Ever heard a lyric and been so inspired that you instantly made a bold decision about your life?  The answer for me is yes, yes, and yes!  Music has so much power to transform us.

How does music transform us?  First of all, it can transform the way we look at ourselves and our own lives. Music is one of the most powerful forces on earth because it can move the soul.  Music can define, inspire, comfort, energize, and bring joy or sadness. It can cause us to reflect on life and process what is going on in our heads and hearts.  It can get into our head and change our mood. In fact, catchy tunes can get in our head and not get out for days!

I sometimes crave the emotional high that certain songs bring me.  I can play the same song for weeks every time I need to be energized. I have a playlist of exercise music that, I promise you, makes me have the best workout every time!  It’s almost like an addiction. It is a “substance” that provides a high, but without the negative side effects. Seriously, for a musical person like myself, it is a necessity, not just a commodity for my own emotional well-being. I am a much happier person when I am listening to music or singing.  Music even provides an escape from the awful realities of life.  It gives me the opportunity to open up my soul in a very profound way.  When given over to moments of sadness or heaviness, nothing else can do quite what a song can do for me. However, is it the music itself, or is it the words in the music that has the power?   It’s really both.

I listen to plenty of songs that are just fun or romantic, being the musical theatre lover that I am, but a lot of the songs that I play or sing have words that serve the purpose of extolling and exalting God. I sing songs that take my mind off of the circumstances of my life and take me up to a higher place above it all. I feel transported into a new dimension, one in which I feel the heartbeat of God and His unconditional love towards me.  Singing to Him and about Him brings encouragement to my heart. I begin to let go of all fear and trust Him that He is working all things together for my good.  No matter how ugly the circumstances, my faith rises, and I believe that God’s glorious power is working in my life to sustain me and change things for the better.  The dark cloud lifts.  The happy chemicals in my brain are released, and peace is mine.  Awhhh.

This kind of experience with music is worship. In the Greek language “worship” or  “proskuneo” means to “kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.” *   So, I am essentially  lavishing love on my Master, only to receive an outpouring of love right back. It’s a win-win situation. To be consoled, counseled, and loved by The One who formed me in my mother’s womb is so amazing. It is like no other experience on earth. Truly.

Though this is an amazing experience, it is not always easy to make myself choose to worship God. Life can hard sometimes.  People can, too.  On the very day that I am so tired and so emotionally exhausted that I just want to go to bed or watch TV, I often decide to push past my feelings and worship God.  Every time I make myself worship the Lord thru singing, I enter a domain that I don’t want to leave for awhile.   A few minutes can easily become a few hours. These worship experiences in recent years have become the absolute deepest times of intimacy with my God.  Just when I leave an experience in God’s presence and think “how could it get any better than that?”…it does. The next time it is better. Deeper. God comes in time and time again and engulfs my heart with His magnificent love in way that words can’t describe. He speaks to the very parts of my heart that need healing.  I am transformed into a different person.   I can walk in great peace and joy even in the middle of the most challenging situations in life.  This is my secret place and it is just where everything makes sense.

If you have not experienced an outpouring of God’s love, I encourage you to pursue Him and watch Him in turn pursue You.  He is chasing His beloved for intimacy and pleasure. As His creation you are His beloved. Turn your affection towards Him, and He will lavish unconditional love on you and you will never be the same again.

I would like to share some powerful songs that are my favorites.   You can be transformed, too.

It Is Well – Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

A Little Longer – Jenn Johnson & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

Amanda Cook feat. Steffany Gretzinger – Mercy (Worship U)

You Make Me Brave – Amanda Cook & Bethel Music (Official Live Music Video)

Bethel Music – Album – You Make Me Brave

* http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/proskuneo.html