Bethany's BlogWords of Encouragement

Books, I love to read books. There's always a new story, new information, words put in a new way. Books are full of endless possibilities. As I've mentioned many times, reading is an everyday event for me. I recently finished reading the book of John in the Bible. so good! I love the Passion Translation mostly because it's poetic. Brian Simmons, the translator has a way of flowing words together that resonate deeply with me.  A great example of this is John 3:16. "For this is how much God loved the world-he gave his uniquely conceived Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life."  God sent His Son, Jesus, so that we will have eternal life! Right now, today. "God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!" Jesus did not come to live on earth so he could go around and point out everybody's sin. His purpose was not to condemn us or judge us, but instead to love us. All of us. Jesus himself received a lot of judgement and condemnation because of the company he kept. He hung out with prostitutes, drunkards, people with major health issues, and rebels. He ate with them, walked with them, became involved in their lives. He told them stories.

I think this in itself is pretty convicting. I mean, how often do I hang with prostitutes? Is it in my weekly schedule to go to the local bar and just listen to people? When's the last time I visited the sick?  What about you? How would you answer these questions?  

It can be challenging to love others the way Jesus loves us. I've been praying about it a lot. I can see that one factor that gets in the way is fear. God says that there is no fear in perfect love, I do not have a perfect love. When I consider living a radical life like Jesus did, I know that things are going to have to change. The pages in my book cannot be laced with fear. Fear of safety, fear of what someone might think, fear of inability. The fears can be endless if we let them, right? 

What is keeping you from living love on every single page of your story? Radical, intense love?  

Or, maybe you do, and I admire that. It's a mama bear kind of love that is willing to put ourselves out there for all of God's children. Now, I've been a mama bear before when I believed my children were being threatened. I've also been chased by a real mama bear, and it's no picnic.  When I think of the intensity of those moments, I think of how much bigger, stronger the love of God is for me. HE SENT HIS SON! This is a lot of love. He drove love through all the fear and saved His children so that they could live!  His finger was not shaking up and down at us proclaiming all our shameful ways, no, no. Instead His arms were open wide to us with love. He wrote our destiny in our books with great care and love.

"The Light of God has now come into the world, but the hearts of people love their darkness more than the Light, because they want the darkness to conceal their evil. So the wicked hate the Light and try to hide from it, for their lives are fully exposed in the Light. But those who love the Truth will come out into the Light and welcome its exposure, for the Light will reveal that their fruitful works were produced by God." versus 19-21

How many times do we stay hidden because the fear of exposure overwhelmes us? The Truth of his Light bids us to come to him and be released from the darkness, to let the fear go. I have stayed hidden on more than one occasion because I did not trust that his Light would be safe and free. Once I stepped into his Light and truth, the love of his warmth enveloped me. This is how Light works. This is what he writes in our books, Light, truth, relief from the blinding darkness.

What are you afraid of? Is there something that holds you back? 

Father God, because of Your gift to us, your Son, eternal life is ours! Your love, intense and passionate, has the light and power to drive out all fear. Open the pages of our life and reveal who you are!

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