a punch & love

Well its officially the end of summer break for us.  Tomorrow we all go back to school - I must say I am ready for a return to our normal routine.  Being at home a good part of this summer has let me know that I might never be a stay-at-home mom.  I tip my hat to all of you who are, but cleaning my kitchen three times a day has made me somewhat crazy.  I cannot imagine doing that and running after children also.  I digress because that is not what this post is about.

This past week has been an incredible time of seeing God provide for Candace and my everyday needs, and it is truly amazing to see Him intervene in our lives especially when we fail Him so constantly.  Unconditional love is something that still blows me away especially when that unconditional love comes from the God of the Universe.  But I just had one of those "aha moments" I suppose - I pray that God providing for "the little things" in my life never stops being a big thing in my life.

I recently learned a working definition of exalt - which is to make something or someone big, to make a big deal of someone or something.  I love putting actions and pictures to words in my head, so anyways my life is to exalt Christ - to make a big deal of Him.  The way to do that is to live a life that reflects Him, and get ready for it.  Something I was punched in the gut with this morning - love, love God and love people.

1 John 4:8 states quite simply, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."  Then double punch comes from 4:12, "No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."

We are called to love, and the double punch is that people cannot see God even though they are looking for Him.  They are to see evidence of Him in the way we(disciples of Christ) show love to EVERYONE! Can we have a running, screaming fit on that one?   Maybe you just need to raise your hand, whatever suits you.  When I heard this from our phenomenal Pastor - John Stockstill, this morning I wanted to stand up and scream "YEAH" but then quietly sit back down because... well, wow!  John(our pastor not the disciple who wrote 1 John) said, "the distinguishing marks of a disciple should be how well you love."  This love is not just for those people who are easy to love but this love is for those who you, or I, or society would deem unlovable.  Hence the double punch and the quietly sitting back down embarrassed because this one comes with a list of names and issues a mile long.  How can I hold others to this standard when I have a problem loving someone just down the street, perhaps in my own family?

The problem is that I am not holding people to standards - God is holding all of us(me included) to these standards.  So in order to exalt Christ with my life, I must begin working on that list.  And just off the top of my head I should probably start with trying to see these people the way God sees them because He does love them like He loves me - no matter how many times I fail or offend Him.

So this is just what is going on with me, and I hope the Word of God punches you in the gut because truth sometimes hurts, but it is the pain of discipline that is God refining you and me. Our church posts the videos of the messages online so I will link the website here if you would like to check it our for yourself.

As always I leave you with,

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