For the joy of knowing and experiencing You, thank You, Papa God!
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“When you have a relationship in need of repair, the first key to improvement is to examine your own heart. Look at your own heart; remember who you are and who God called you to be. Did the Father call you to be angry? to be bitter? Or did He call you to be loving and forgiving?” — Max Lucado perpetual calendar for 7/25/99
“Patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other the way Christ Jesus wants.” (Rom 15:5)
“…No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin…it’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin…Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test. For this is the original message we heard: we should love each other.” (3:6, 9-11 MSG)
When I’ve worked with the public in various settings, You’ve allowed me to observe many kinds of people, Lord. As I read this portion of Your Word, a scene keeps coming to mind — not a particular one, but the kind I’ve seen repeatedly. There’s a child going wild on a sales floor as a mother looks on. You can see it in her face for a moment, “Is THAT really MY kid? I KNOW I didn’t raise her to be that way.” But the question doesn’t remain, for the mother loves that child, even when she disobeys. She reaffirms to herself, “Yes, this is MY child. And I’ll continue to love her no matter what.”
Father, too often that scene plays out before You when it comes to my life as Your child. I act and react to life in ways that don’t resemble “the God-begotten” birthright I received when I surrendered my will to Yours. That “simple test” mentioned in this passage is one that I can often fail, simply because I allow the pressures of this life to turn my focus self-ward instead of others-ward. I become a naval-gazer, wrapped up in having to get done what I have to get done and sometimes even taking all others’ actions toward me in an overly sensitive way.
You have called me to follow You. You have walked a path of love and forgiveness. You call me to walk the same. You promise to walk that road with me. You offer Your hand of strength as I take each step along the way.
I’ll take Your hand, Daddy. It’s got to be You with me and the Jesus in me that 1) changes me from being self-seeking to self-sacrificing, that 2) transforms me from whining to knowing I’m loved deeply, and 3) believing You’ve reached out to me genuinely to form me into one who loves eagerly and reaches out sincerely. Oh! I remember being that kind of person in the past, but many changes, many of life’s encounters have been allowed by me to alter me. I’m thankful, Papa, that you accept me as I am AND that You refuse to let me stay that way. I need You to be the changer of me…transform me daily until I am just like Jesus. Amen.