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You Feed Them

January 22, 2013

Matt 14:15-16

15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” NKJV

 

How many times have I read this and not seen it? Thank You, Holy One for giving me ears to hear and eyes to see this encouraging word today.

 

Before Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, before the power of Holy Spirit was sent to seal and remain in each believer, Jesus told the disciples they were capable of providing nourishment for 5000 men as well as the women and children with them. He told the disciples to feed them—as though there were no reason why they couldn’t.

 

When they explained to Him why they couldn’t, He showed them how they could. He took what they had (which was small and not near enough), the five loaves and two fish, and He:

 

1.)    Looked to heaven

2.)    Blessed them (the loaves and fish)

3.)    Then He began giving out as if it would be plenty—and it was. The disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.

 

This tells me that humanity still had so much more power than we (or they) thought—even before Jesus’ work was done to restore us to our original state and position as descendants of Adam (before the fall). In fact, His sacrifice positioned us better than our original state, for after His sacrifice, all our sins—the sins of the whole world, past present and future—was forgiven. That means we are in a better condition than the first Adam because he always had the potential to sin before sin was forgiven by Jesus’ sacrifice. Though we still have the potential to sin, if we do it is already forgiven. All we have to do is believe it.

 

But even before that marvelous work Jesus did, we (humans) had the power to bless and provide through blessing. That is evident to me now through this story. This knowledge drives me to better understand what it means to “bless.” This story also tells me something today that I didn’t know before. It is possible—even godly—to bless more than people and God. Jesus blessed the bread before He broke it and gave it out.

 

The Strong’s dictionary defines the Hebrew word most translated bless as an act of adoration. The most basic meaning is to bow the knee. God demonstrated adoration entails more than just bowing the knee. It is love beyond affectionate feelings and displays. Real love, love such as God is envelops our whole being and purpose for being. “God blessed them and said, be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth with more just like yourselves and rule over it and the seas and the creatures of the first heaven.”

 

What God did with His blessing was to empower those He blessed to accomplish all He designed for them to do with joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. In that process, they were empowered to bless and benefit others. This is what Jesus demonstrated for us in this story.

 

The Strong’s dictionary defines the Greek word translated blessed in this passage in Matthew as to speak well of, to thank or invoke a benediction. Jesus, with His blessing empowered bread and fish to become all God intended it to be and provide in the proportion required. That bread and fish looked small in comparison to the need, but with the blessing, it was more than enough.

 

Adam and his wife were small in comparison to the world they were commissioned to fill and rule, but with God’s blessing (empowerment) they were more than enough.

 

This gives me a new perspective on my own possibilities. I am so small as to seem like nothing, but walking in the power of God’s blessing, I am more than enough. Joined with others walking in the power of God’s blessing (church), we are more than enough to benefit the world we live in. How very encouraging.

 

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to complete the work You began in me. Thank You for Your blessing that empowers me to be and accomplish all You intended. I love You too. Amen.

2013 Will Be My Year of Grateful Meditations

January 14, 2013

Num 21:4-6

4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

 

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, and there is no water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

 

6 And Jehovah sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. ASV

 

 

“. . . this light bread.” Manna. The bread sent from Heaven to sustain them, to nourish them, to bring them out better than they came in – became light bread to them. The New American Standard version of the Bible translates this as “miserable food.” The meaning is the bread from Heaven was lightly esteemed, of little value and unsatisfactory to the people complaining.

 

During the forty years Israel ate this “light bread” their feet did not swell and there was none feeble (sick) among them (Ps 105:37). The word translated feeble in Psalm 105 signifies weakness or failing (falling) because of weakness—lack of strength. It doesn’t mean failing here because Israel failed multiple times, so it implies a physical weakness or lack of strength.

 

Because of the manna, Israel had none sick among them. This light bread kept them free from sickness and disease. It was food that descended daily from Heaven and is a type of Christ (John 6:48-50). Jesus said, “I am the bread of life – this is the bread which comes from Heaven that you may of it and not die.”

 

It is recorded in this passage of numbers that because the people loathed the gift of God – His form of provision – serpents began to attack them and many died. They loathed  (lightly esteemed) the bread sent to keep them healthy and so their healthy bodies died in the wilderness (place of unbelief and trial) because of the serpent’s venom.

 

I note that those serpents were not foreign to the wilderness, they were a normal part of it. Serpents are native to the wilderness and desert, but prior to the souls of Israel loathing the bread from Heaven, they either were not bitten or if they were, it didn’t affect their health. This is crucial for me to understand and believe because Jesus said He is the bread that came down from Heaven. I have to understand what He intends for me to gain from His being my bread from Heaven. This journey of faith for me is also filled with potential of a serpent’s attack.

 

The cure for the serpent’s bite was for Moses to lift a bronze (signifying judgment) serpent (representing the thing cursed) on a pole (a type of the cross of Christ) and for the people to look on it. Viewing the cursed on a pole would give (or, give back) the people life.

 

Jesus said, “As Moses lifted the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15).

 

Why did Jesus typify Himself with a serpent on a pole? He hung on a cross as the one bearing the curse. Jesus absorbed all our sins and the curses that came upon mankind because of sin. Jesus bore all our curses so we could be as He is (1John 4:17) – the blessed and beloved of God. Jesus became a picture of a cursed creature so we could become the picture of God’s beloved child.

 

I choose to let this knowledge change the way I think.

 

It was the soul of the people that loathed the manna. It was the soul (inner person, mind, will, emotions, intellect) that longed for something else – more specifically, what they’d had while in bondage. It was the soul of the people that led them to speak evil against Moses and God. They saw themselves (inner man) as deprived and lacking. They saw not the health and vitality God had provided for them, but they saw lack of substance (meat). That impression of the soul gave entrance for the serpents to attack them. The serpents were already there, just as Satan is already here as I journey toward God’s good plan for me. However, the serpents had no power over them until they allowed their souls to become impatient and discouraged and their mouths followed their souls by talking about it. They spoke what was abundant in their hearts (inner man) (see Matt 12:34; 15:18).

 

2012 was a tough year for me. I felt like I was in the wilderness, and like Israel, I too allowed my soul to lead me to speak wrong things. I longed for things more than I remembered the good that God has provided for me. I’ve repented. I’ve turned around, I determine to look at what Jesus paid for me to have and walk toward it and never again allow my soul to lightly esteem what His life means to me. I declare 2013 is the year of grateful meditations for me. I look on the Messiah, lifted on the cross and I am healed, saved and delivered. I forgot for a while, Jesus, but now I do this in remembrance of You. Amen.

 

 

More On Blessing

May 8, 2012

The Blessing: Acts of Adoration

Gen 1:26-28–Then God said, “Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life — the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals.”   So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them. God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals.” (New Living Translation)

God blessed them. The Hebrew word used here is barak. The most basic meaning of this word (remember, the Hebrews wrote in pictures) is “to bend the knee, to kneel.” Strong’s dictionary says it is “an act of adoration.” God’s act of adoration toward mankind was to benefit and empower them.

The thing about God is—when we bless Him by demonstrating our adoration for Him, it also benefits us. Yeah. He’s that good.

Jesus told us, “The words that I speak are what the Father has said, and I do the works I’ve seen the Father do” (Jn 12-15). I think it would be advantageous for us to understand how God chose to bless us and do what we see Him doing. In Genesis 1:28, God blessed them by saying. He told them of their power on the earth. “You have the power to multiply yourselves and fill the earth and subdue (conquer) it. You have the authority I’ve given you to rule over the fish, birds and all animals.”

By telling them of their design, God empowered them to accomplish all He designed them to do and be. God made this earth and the entire universe. From the terminology He used in the blessing of the people made in His image and according to His likeness, the earth was not already subdued.

Prov 25:2–It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.

 

I love to discover hidden knowledge in God’s word. God built a garden and placed the man in it. By definition, the garden was a hedged place. This is a very important note. It is a mystery for us to discover. The Hebrew word translated “discover” here means to penetrate and to examine intimately. In doing so, we find treasures that help us to live the abundant life He desires for us.

The definition for the Hebrew word, garden used in Genesis means it is a place hedged and enclosed. By contrast, in the third chapter of Genesis, we see that the serpent was a “beast of the field.” Again, by definition, we can see things that are concealed. The field is the opposite environment of the garden that Adam was placed in.

That speaks volumes to me.

The serpent did not belong in the garden—he was a beast of the field. The “field” here is defined as open (not hedged) and wild (not ordered like the garden).

The garden represented mankind’s relationship with God. The field represented the environment that was subject to the authority of mankind but had not yet been conquered. Jesus said of His disciples, “They are in the world, but not of the world.” I believe the garden was the intended starting point for Adam to be in the world, but not of the world. Instead of letting the serpent into his environment, Adam was to go into the serpent’s environment and take authority and subdue it to the glory of God. Sounds like the commission Jesus gave us, doesn’t it?

That was the blessing. The blessing was to know God’s design and possess the ability to accomplish it. The blessing is to see the actuality of God’s plan and walk it out just as surely as Jesus did. He called Himself the Son of Man much more than He called Himself the Son of God. Why? To show us God’s design for humanity who are His children. To show us that because He laid down His life, we are empowered to be sons of God as He is. His life in us gives us the right to speak God’s words concerning all and to release God’s power over the devil to benefit people.

So, how do we bless as God blessed?

The first thing is to know the plan of God. The plan was that we and the people we intend to bless are His image and made according to His likeness. We bless by going about doing good and healing all who are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38) because that is what God has said to do. We bless by speaking God’s good intention toward people. It is not about saying what people want to hear, but saying that which God has spoken concerning them. It’s about us seeing the oppression of God’s enemy on the object of His affection and moving to remove it. In doing this, we demonstrate the goodness of God which draws people to repentance. Blessing in this way usually entails speaking. Jesus went around “saying” God’s will. “You are healed.” Or, “I am willing.” Or, “I am the truth and the life—no one comes to the Father accept by Me.” He spoke the answer to their problem by saying what He heard His Father say. He witnessed the resulting health, assurance and salvation by doing that which He saw His Father do. We bless by doing the same things.

Jesus rebuked the disciples for trying to keep the children from coming to Him. “Don’t stop the children from coming,” Jesus told them, “for the kingdom of God is made up of such as these.” Then what did He do? He placed His hands on them and blessed them emphatically!

I believe if we will learn to speak as Jesus spoke—that which we know God has said—concerning people, we will see much more fruit. I believe God wants to prune the evil speaking from our vocabulary and teach us to speak His way so people are empowered to change and make changes around them. I believe we are in the world, but by design we are supposed to subdue the world and not acclimate to it. I believe that is still possible because my Father said so.

I am blessed and as God impressed me a few weeks ago, I speak blessing over my family. I believe it releases the power of God to intervene in their lives. I am seeing miraculous changes in my husband as I’ve conformed to God’s way of speaking concerning him.

I invite you to join me in making 2012 the year of blessing our families. In doing so, I believe we will subdue the earth around them and empower them to see what God designed them to be and choose it. Some people simply have not made the choice because they haven’t seen the possibility. Our words paint pictures in their hearts and minds. What pictures are we creating for them to see?

I want to hear from you. How are you changing your words? How are you blessing? What affect is it having?

The Blessing

April 5, 2012

The Blessing

April 5, 2012

Learning What It Means To Bless

Tonight at sundown Passover begins. Passover marks a new beginning.

On the first Passover, God instructed Israel to take a lamb without defect (symbolizing being affected by sin) for each family. If their family was too small to eat all the lamb, they were to share a lamb with their neighbor. They were to keep that lamb with them and care for it the days beginning on the tenth and ending on the 14th of the month Then the whole community would, at the same time—sundown—kill their lambs.

They were to apply the blood to the mantle and doorposts of their home. Not on the threshold to be trampled upon, but on the top and sides of their doors. They were to roast the lamb and eat all of it, letting none go to waste or ruin. If they couldn’t eat it all, they were to share with another family or burn it completely in the fire.

God instructed them to eat it while dressed for travel. This was the beginning of a new era for Israel. They were leaving Egypt and all that Egypt represented to them—slavery, poverty, insufficiency, fear and dread, inferiority. Well, you get it.

The blood represented their covenant with God. Because of this covenant, Israel would be spared when the angel of death came to collect the first-born of every family. Because of this covenant with God, Israel would walk out of that nation a free people with their children intact, their health, the wealth of their persecutors—it was a new beginning for them.

This Passover represents the same thing to me and to my family. It is a new beginning for us. This morning I felt a deep impression to study blessing, what it means and how it affects those who receive it. I believe God wants me to initiate it for my family in a way I haven’t yet done—beginning today. Just as Israel came out with health (no feeble among them) wealth (Ps 105:37) and freedom, so do we. In this season of new beginnings we walk away from fear into faith, we walk away with health provided by God. We walk away from poverty, insufficiency and lack into God’s design for us. This season we walk away from what we were to what God intends us to be.

I believe this word is for all who have found themselves in Christ—delivered from the world by the blood He shed at His passion. I believe this is our season to see the affects of that Passion manifest in the natural realm. I believe this new season is one of recognized redemption, reconciliation and restoration for those of us who believe Jesus was the One sent by God to pay it all so we could have it all—all things pertaining to life and godliness—all things richly to enjoy. It is time for us to understand what it means to be a blessed people. It is time for us to begin blessing each other like we never have before because it is the season of blessing recognized.

Since it is the first place I find the word, bless, I began my study in Genesis.

The first chapter of Genesis shows us how God blesses.

Gen 1:22 – And God blessed them, saying, “be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

All through the Bible we see God blessing by saying. He used words to generate the power to cause the effect. The word bless means to empower. To take the meaning to the full extent intended, I believe it means empower to accomplish God’s design. He wanted the creatures He created to prosper and increase in number, so He blessed them to accomplish it. There are several instances in the Bible of how blessing has purpose and power to accomplish.

For instance, in the 9th chapter of Luke, Jesus wants to feed the more than five thousand men gathered to hear Him speak as well as their wives and families. He tells the disciples to feed them which sends the disciples into a panic. The most they can find is a few loaves of bread and a few fish. Not enough. Not near enough.

What does Jesus do with the not enough they have?

Jesus gives thanks to God for His provision and blesses it. By His blessing what was not enough it became more than enough. In fact, they picked up twelve baskets of left-overs. The Greek dictionary says that the meaning of the word translated “blessed” is to “speak well of.” It is where we get our word, eulogy. But Jesus didn’t reserve His eulogy for death—He spoke it to produce life for the people gathered there. That’s what I believe the people of God need to start doing. Don’t wait for people to die to speak goodness concerning them. Speak it now and see the life God intended to come into them and change circumstances.

Jesus didn’t just say nice things about what was not enough, He was empowering the insufficient meal to become what they needed and more. God always provides more. He never  just gives us what we need, He is above and beyond because He loves extravagantly.

Understanding this about the blessing also helps me to understand why Jesus said for us to, “bless them that curse you and pray for those who insult and/or slander you.” If we bless them, they can’t help but to change. If we speak the blessing over them, it opens doors so that God can come in and empower them to become what He designed them to be—friends and brothers. Paul said the same thing: “Bless them that persecute you, bless and curse not.” (Rom 12:14).

Beginning today, I am going to speak the blessing over my family. I will journal and post the results I see. I invite all who are the household of God to join me and let me know what results you see too. Last week our Pastor blessed us as a congregation–he spoke the blessing over us. I noticed something after that. I noticed that the people left church smiling. None of them had their heads down, but walked out of there feeling blessed. I felt it–and I liked how it felt. It planted a seed in me that became a deep impression from God to do the same thing for my precious family.

The Lamb of God has provided us with a new season to experience blessing and to give blessing.  Let the Church arise to her calling and God’s design for her. Let’s use this opportunity to full advantage to bring about His design for all of us. Amen.

Kernel of Faith

September 16, 2011

Hi,

I’d like to introduce Staci Stallings. She is a guest blogger at Grace For His Life. Let’s hear what she has to say about faith.

Kernel of Faith

By:  Staci Stallings

I don’t know why but I’ve been thinking a lot about that mustard seed of faith that Jesus says we need.  It really, honestly doesn’t seem like much, does it?  In fact, a mustard seed is about this small .   Got it?  That period is the size of a mustard seed, and Jesus says that’s all we have to have.

But how can that be?  When things come along that look SO big, how does that mustard seed help?  In fact, doesn’t it seem more likely that in the face of an overwhelming obstacle we would need FAR more than that little, tiny nearly nothing dot?

After much reflection, here is what I think Jesus meant.  That mustard seed of faith is not what will get you through the storm.  It is the seed of faith that allows you to cry out to God in the midst of the storm.  It is that seed that says, “I can’t do this!  Please, God help!”

Think about it.  Without that seed, you would continue to try to do it on your own, and you would fail.  Without that mustard seed, you would sink with no help of finding the surface or the answer to your problem.

But with that seed, you have God on your side.  It doesn’t mean that you have to somehow gather and deploy the strength to do it.  It means that you know enough to trust God to do it!

See, I used to always think that God was up there tallying up my life–the good went on one side, the bad on the other.  Somehow not only did I have to make the good outweigh the bad, I also had to make the good be REALLY good in His eyes.  And I never quite got there.

If I made a 96, it should have been a 100.  If I helped out for an hour, it should have been two.  If I put my all into something, there was some part of it that could always have gone a little better if I had just worked a little harder.

I wasn’t going on God’s strength, grace, mercy, and peace.  I was trying to go on mine, and I was miserable.

Now, I realize I never have to do that.  All I have to do is have enough faith to recognize that I can’t but He can, and then be willing to let Him step into the equation.

It’s much better this way.  Much.  MUCH better.

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from.  Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again.  Every title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.  Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works:

 

http://stacistallings.wordpress.com/

Spirit Light Books–The Blog:

 

http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com/

And…

Staci’s website

 

http://www.stacistallings.com  Come on over for a visit…

You’ll feel better for the experience!

Connect with her on Twitter: @StaciStallings

 

What Will We Do With The Power Given Us?

September 7, 2011

Prov 18:21–The  tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its  fruit. NIV

Words have the power to produce. Are our words producing life or do they produce
death? Will our words lift people up or tear people down? Will our words benefit
the corporations we work for, the nation we live in, the people we are called
to influence—or will our words condemn them? Will our words glorify God, who
created all, or will they activate and empower God’s enemy? Will they open
doors of blessing or close doors that God intended to be opened?

Every word matters. Jesus said every word had better be spoken with purpose and
intent to fulfill—just as God’s words are, for we will be judged for every word
we speak without purpose or intent (Matt 12:36). Why?

That seems a harsh word for Jesus to speak. Why is it so imperative that we judge every word before we speak it? Because our words are seeds—they will be planted in the heart of the hearer—whether that is our intent or not. And every seed planted produces a crop, including those “idle” words we sling out for fun or jest.

Jesus told a parable: “The Kingdom of God is like a man who sows seed on the
soil. He goes to bed at night and gets up next day and the seed sprouts up and
grows—how, the sower does not know—but the seed has done what seeds are
designed to do when in contact with the soil (Mk 4:26-27). There will be a
judgment/harvest for all the seeds we’ve sown on hearing ears and willing
hearts. It is the power of the seed—whether we understand it or not.

Isa 55:10-11—As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. NIV

God tells us through the prophet Isaiah, that every word He speaks has purpose. His
words will produce a crop and it will accomplish what He sent it to do. He made
us in His image and according to His likeness (Gen 1:26). Our words matter. Our
own words will be judged and they will produce a crop. Are we speaking life or
death? Are we speaking prosperity or failure? Are we speaking love or fear?

Our words are seeds and though we don’t know how—they do what seeds do. They
produce a crop.

The same is true for the words we expose ourselves to hear. Do we watch the news
that gets revenue from the fear they produce or do we focus (meditate) on what
God says is truth? We can look at the sponsors for the programs we watch and
know that the programming is geared to generate revenue for that sponsor. We
know the “slant” major media takes is that which will sell the world
something. Are we buying what the world is selling?

The politicians are selling themselves during this season. Their words are geared to produce a reaction in the hearer—fear that medicare will not pay the doctors, fear that if that guy is elected, the tax bill will grow and the business sector will move to yet
another foreign nation that offers lower taxes and less government involvement
concerning pollutants. All of these are words geared to produce a crop. Are we
willing to harvest from this crop? Will we allow the words of the world around
us to take the seeds of God’s word planted in us (Mk 4:15-19), or will we
refute the words of the world with God’s word that accomplishes God’s will,
purpose or intent?

If we don’t train ourselves to hear with wisdom and filter each word with
understanding, we can be deceived. Don’t be deceived. Be aware that each word
spoken has a purpose or it is idle, as Jesus said, and worthy to be judged.

In a world of technological amazements, we are surrounded by words, and those
words are seeds designed to produce a crop. Perhaps the intended crop is
comedy, but when planted in a heart that has been abused produces prejudice or
offense.

But that’s another blog.

What Love Is And Does

September 3, 2011

1 Cor 13:4-8  Love
is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no
record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It
always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never
fails.

I’m not sure how it happens or why, but so often as we begin
a serious walk with the Lord, we become convinced that we must do everything
right. Perhaps it is when we hear Jesus’ words, from the King James Version of
the Bible, quoting, “Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is
perfect.” (Mt 5:48). I remember as a new believer, I really struggled with
that one. I had never been anywhere near perfect in any area of my life—let alone
my whole being. I almost gave up. I almost stopped trying. How horrible to live
one’s life trying to be perfect (by our definition) when we could never
possibly achieve it and get to the end only to hear, “Sorry kid, you
failed here and here and here . . .

I remember reading those words and crying. The God who knows
all things, is everywhere at once—all the omnis—did He know who He was talking
to here? Be perfect? Really? Me?

And so I struggled. I ached to be perfect. I became very
strict with myself and with my kids. We would
be perfect. If it killed us we would do it because that is what Jesus said
was required. Right? Or is it?

What I did not see until after I spent years struggling and
failing—after my kids had become angry and discouraged—what how the scripture I
quoted was part of a conversation Jesus was having about – of all things –
love. He was talking about loving those who don’t love you. He was talking
about love as the Father has and does love. Those that hate you? You love them.
Those that use and abuse you? You pray for them. This is how the Father loves.
This is how the Father loves us. Isn’t that amazing? All those years that I
tried so hard to hear the words “well done good and faithful,” and I
never heard them because I was never perfect.

I tried to “be holy as the Lord God is holy.” Like
the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, I set myself so far apart from the world there was
no way I was going to reach them. I’m ashamed of that. I have repented for it.
I regret some people only remember me that way. I was separate but I wasn’t
holy—and when I’d hear sermons about holiness to the Lord, I would know I’d
failed. Again. And I would walk away from church with my head hanging down in
shame. Perhaps I’d said a wrong word. Maybe I’d watched something on television
that I shouldn’t have. Or I could have struggled with jealousy or impure
thoughts—there were the presumptuous sins and the secret sins I had to worry
about. At any rate, I never felt like I had achieved “holy.”

Well, I’ve come a long way, baby! And love has brought me
here.

And do you know what the stepping stone to this new
revelation was for me? I saw another scripture.

Heb 4:15-16  For we do not have a high priest who is unable
to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in
every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the
throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to
help us in our time of need.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way we are—every way—and yet He
did not sin. His love for us was so great, that He refused sin on our behalf.
He refused sin because it would have kept Him from fulfilling His mission to
save us from sin. That, my friends, is love. That is what love does. It is my
opinion that only with love so deep, wide, high and long are we able to resist
sin that so easily besets us.

I no longer pray for help to resist sin, but I pray for more
love, deeper love—love for my Savior and love for the people He has designed me
to reach with the gospel. I know the love is in me, because He shed the love of
God and all its latitude, longitude and length of days in me (Rom 5:5). His
love, the love that He resisted sin with, the love He gave His life with, the
love He rose from the dead with—it’s in me. He has provided all things
pertaining to life and godliness (2Pet 1:3) through our knowledge of Him.

The more I know Him, the more I know His love for me the
less I worry about being good enough. No, my main goal is to be love enough. It
is love that never fails. It is love that started me on this journey—we love
because He first loved us (1Jn 4:19)—and love will take me to completion,
fulfillment or purpose,  or perfection
which is what that word in Matthew 5:48 means.

Our God is patient. He is kind. God does not envy or boast.
He is never proud or rude. He is not self-seeking but lays down His life
seeking us. I am grateful that our God is not easily angered and keeps no
record of wrongs—but sends them as far as the east is from the west. Our God
hates evil that harms us and rejoices in truth and sends it our way so we can
rejoice with Him. He always protects us and trusts us with His Spirit in us. He
always hopes/expects us to finish as He did and He never gives up—ever. He
never leaves us or forsakes us, even when we fail or just don’t get it. I am a
testimony to that.

Blessed be the Lord God who is Love. Amen.