How to Read the Bible and Completely Miss the Point!

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”(John 5:39-40 ESV)

Pharisees by Wilmer Murillo

Jesus said this to Jewish religious leaders. As you read the Gospels, it seems that if Jesus had a bone to pick with anyone, it was the religious leaders.

Among the religious leaders in Jesus day, the Pharisees were the most faithful to the law, the most zealous, the most “righteous”, and also the most conservative. They had the entire Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) memorized and were extremely well versed and educated in every detail of the law, the histories, and the prophets. And yet, with all their zeal and Bible knowledge, they were missing the point. They had lost the plot.

If you ever have the chance to see the movie, Matthew – Visual Bible, you should! Bruce Marchianno was brilliant in the role of Jesus. I have read his biography, In the Footsteps of Jesus, in which he shares that his goal was to play every scene as a love scene. God is love, after all, and Jesus is God. The way he portrayed Matthew 23 was so powerful!

Matthew 23 is a rebuke to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He starts out by saying that no one should be called “teacher” or “father”, and that we all are brothers. All are equals in the kingdom of God!

Start at 3:05:00

The “woe to you” portion of Matthew 23 starts out with Jesus saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (vs 13)

Watching him portray Jesus speech to the religious leaders made me both uncomfortable and inspired. What was it that made Jesus so upset and angry? What was at stake that caused this confrontation? What was the big deal?

Would you be angry and upset if someone was trying to seduce your spouse into leaving you? That’s sort of what was happening here, only far more serious. People for whom Christ came to rescue were at stake, including you and me. These religious leaders were misrepresenting God to the people. The fact that God wanted to love and be loved and have us live in love toward each other, was all but lost in all the hypocrisy and hoop jumping and demands made by the Pharisee’s religion.

Legalism

Legalism says that obedience to the law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle in redemption. That seems to be the problem here with the Pharisees. They were careful to dot every “i” and cross every “t” in their efforts to keep every detail of the law in order to win God’s approval, and so save themselves. Yet they neglected love and justice, mercy and faithfulness altogether.

Based on the amount of divine revelation they had thus far, would the Pharisees have come to any other conclusion? How would they have known that it was faith in God’s grace rather than strict adherence to every detail of the law that “saves” us? Here are three things they had:

  1. In Genesis it says that Abram “believed God and God credited to him as righteousness”. So they knew righteousness comes by faith in God.
  2. They had the commands of Moses to love God with their all, and to love their neighbor as themselves. They ought to have known that love was at the center of a life of faith.
  3. They had a conscience which convicted them of guilt. When Jesus said, let him without sin cast the first stone in the story in John 8, not a single one could say they were guiltless. Every last one of them dropped their stones and walked away. Would not guilt drive anyone to God to seek his forgiveness and grace?

The Pharisees practically had the Bible memorized and from sun up to sun down their lives were consumed at every moment with God and his word. They were experts in all-things-God! But apparently the point of a life of faith is not to become Bible experts. In fact Jesus said to these bible experts, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33 NIV)

Did Jesus love the Pharisees? Of course he did! The apostle Paul was an especially devout Pharisee and it is likely that some of these same men who heard his “woe to you” speech were among those who eventually came to believe in him (Acts 6:7). Of course many (perhaps most) who heard his “woe to you” speech that day were the ones spitting on him, beating him, mocking him, and condemning him to a cruel death on a Roman cross just a short time later.

As I read through the Torah I wondered, “Would they get it? Would they get that this is all about love?” Cause I sure didn’t! Even though I went to Bible college and became a “Bible expert” myself, I struggled for years with a self-righteous judgmental religion and ended up loathing myself.

The Scripture that I started this post has echoed in my ears for years. I have spent most my life studying the Scriptures diligently, trying to formulate a philosophy (a world view) that would help me make sense of God and the world, and how I fit with either one. I was fairly content with all my philosophizing… and justifying myself… until I realized that my heart was empty when it came to grace. Empty when it came to love. Empty of life. Empty of Jesus. I was a proud “bible scholar” and the Lord needed to give me a much needed spanking! Thankfully, he did.

Eventually I came to realize I knew nothing at all if I didn’t love, and Jesus is the source of love. We must come to Jesus! The one to whom all of Scripture testifies about.

Jesus is the point! His love is the point! Without Jesus and his love we are nothing. Without Jesus and love we have lost the plot. Without Jesus and his love, our lives become meaningless and empty.

The following story is the Scripture that God put on my heart to share to end this post:

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37 NIV)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”   26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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Deuteronomy, Love God and Do As You Please!

St. Augustine once said, “Love God and do whatever you please.”

What do you think about that? I once shared this quote in a sermon and received a few puzzled looks. But it’s true! Think about it. If we love God, would we ever wrong him? The quote goes on to say, “for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” If we love God we will obey God. If we obey God we will love others. So love then, is the key.

It’s All About Love!

Jesus was once asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)

Moses, in his sermons of Deuteronomy stressed love for God and obedience to God:

“Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always… love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul… love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him… love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life” (Deuteronomy 11:1,13,22; 30:20 NIV)

Love and Obey.

Moses was not the only one to stress the relationship between love and obedience. Jesus makes it crystal clear that if we love him than we will keep his commands and if we don’t love him, then we won’t obey him.

“If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth… 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them…  23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” (John 14 NIV)

What is Jesus command? What is his teaching? These next few verses from John’s Gospel really spell out exactly what command Jesus wants us to follow:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15 NIV)

So Loving Others = Loving God?

So to sum up what Jesus is saying: If you love me, then you will obey my commands, my command is to love others. So, if we love God then we will love others.

“This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:2-4 NIV)

The apostle John tells us that we can’t pretend for a moment to love God, if we don’t love others (see 1 John).

My friend shared this quote with me tonight, “We only can love God as well as the people that we love the least”. What do you think about that?

Story time!

After my parents divorce, my brother was living with dad and I, with our mom just three blocks away. I remember as a teenager my brother calling me up one afternoon. He had experimented with LSD with some friends and had a really bad “trip” and was in terror of the demons. He asked me to come over and read the Bible to him. I ran over as quick as I could and I started reading to him from first John.

After a couple of chapters of 1 John I’m thinking to myself, “He is probably bored stiff with this. Is he falling asleep on me?” When I finally finished reading through the whole book he turned to me and said, “That was awesome!” And I knew he meant it. The terror had left him and God’s peace had come.

(Take some time to talk with God today about your love for God and for others. Ask him to show you ways you can show love to those around you today.)

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ps. Francis Chan is a teacher I greatly respect and admire. He wrote a book called Crazy Love which I’d recommend. Here is a video that I think you will find inspiring: Click here for a Francis Chan message (You can download the video and burn it to a DVD, or just burn the audio to a CD to listen to as you drive, but I encourage you to take the time to hear what Francis Chan has to say about our love for others.)

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Jesus  (Matthew 7:12 NIV)

Born Again, Again

Be-Born-Again

I don’t want to handle the word of God lightly or deceitfully – trying to manipulate the text to say what I want it to say – but to simply try to let the word of God speak for itself. I also want to finally get some solid answers to this question, “can we lose our salvation?”

Many believe that we can lose our faith and ability to repent. Does losing ability to repent mean we lose our salvation and seal our fate in hell? Or is it pointing to something else, that we might actually recover from?

Exploring this issue over the past week has become a watershed moment for me that changed the way I think about God, sin, and his discipline vs. his judgement. In my mind the difference between these two blurred and it colored my view and relationship with God with mistrust and suspicion and affected how I lived in the world. Fear still lurked in my heart and dampened my love for others (and myself), my freedom, and most especially my joy. (Joy, as a believer, is our strength and Paul writes that to rejoice in God keeps us safe).

My thinking has changed over the last few days of study and prayer. I took a look at many Scriptures that deal with this issue of “losing salvation” and found that many of them were speaking about a discipline from the Lord that people (may) eventually recover from. This was encouraging to me personally because I had gone through an experience of severe discipline from the Lord. At the time, I did mistake his discipline to mean everlasting eternal condemnation when I shouldn’t have.

God’s discipline is a very good thing! As Hebrews 12:6 says (NLT):

“For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

Hebrews is a book that talks about the discipline and judgement of God. I came to realize that whatever the discipline may be that God gives us, he does it because of his love for us for our good, to save us from our pride, and to bring us to a place of brokenness and humility – where we can receive grace. James writes:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:4-10 NIV)

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

When we are particularly proud and rebellious, as I have been, though it doesn’t please him to do so, our loving heavenly Father must use more extreme forms of discipline to break our stubborn pride and humble us.

When God did this in my own life eleven years ago, I became convinced that He had left me for good. I was doomed. Lost. An object of his wrath and loathing. I feared talking to pastors or others about this lest they simply confirm my worst fears that I was indeed going to hell.

It is a common belief for many to think that if you sin and die before you confess your sin, you will go to hell. But is this the truth? Does his grace only cover confessed sin?

For me, it wasn’t so much that I believed that I had out-sinned God’s grace, but that I felt that I was sin. I could never shake the feelings of self-loathing and guilt and shame about who I was. As I thought about this, a profound Scripture came to mind that talked about how God, in Jesus Christ, became sin on our behalf! God condemned sin in sinful flesh (Jesus) on the cross, so that every last one of us could be free from sin and the eternal wrath that sin brings with it.

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4 NIV)

Besides all that, Paul writes in Romans chapter seven that when we sin, it isn’t us that does it but sin that lives in us. He draws the distinction right there between us and sin and frees our identity from being bound to sin. Check it out here. How awesome is that?

I found that what really happens in most of our lives is that if we persist in disobeying God and chasing after sin when we know better, we are disciplined (sometimes very severely) for it, but that doesn’t mean that he ever takes his love away from us.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8 NIV)

If God has given us his salvation, is it then ours to lose?

Being Born Again

God “gives birth to you” as his child when we believe in Jesus. You then become “born again” into the family of God, as Jesus spoke of in John 1:12 and John 3:3. If God is the one who makes us his children, then who or what could ever take that away? He makes, he saves, and he keeps us safe till the day of redemption. How could we ever cease being his children?

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12 NIV

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again… Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3, 5-8 NIV)

Once we are born again and firmly established on the foundation of Jesus Christ, who can take that away? For Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”” (John 10:28-30 NIV)

For those of us who have embraced Jesus Christ, and are born again, we will one day have to give an account for what we have done with our lives. Paul writes that everyone’s work will be tested with fire:

10 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” (I Corinthians 3: 10-17 NIV)

Who of us want to barely escape through the flames into “heaven”? Who of us wants to completely miss our purpose in life and have all of heaven shaking their heads saying, “What a waste! They could have had it all but instead they squandered their inheritance on some cheap thrills”.

As Jonah once said, “Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” And the bible is clear, all sinful pursuits are idolatry.

Consider the story of the Prodigal Son. He squandered all his Father’s inheritance on partying and prostitutes. But when he has a change of mind and returns, the father throws a huge celebration and gladly welcomes him home. Jesus says that “all of heaven rejoices when one sinner repents”. (This includes you too – not just sinners out there, somewhere).

Hebrews 6 and 10 are difficult passages to wrestle with and I still don’t pretend to fully understand them. Yet, I think we ought not to hinder the intended effect and working of God by just explaining them away, as some do. Let them speak for themselves. I believe that the Holy Spirit will be faithful to shape our character and lead us into all truth and into the good news of the saving power of Jesus. We must not be cowards and just avoid it all until we die, (pretending it isn’t there until it is too late, and so possibly suffer enormous loss) but grapple with the truth, pray through it, discover the truth, pursue Jesus, faith, and righteousness. And like Jacob, WRESTLE WITH GOD!

We don’t need to somehow fear that God really jinxed himself and the cause of his Kingdom by what he chose to include in this holy book he wrote. Jesus tells us that all God’s words lead us to eternal life. Should we avoid difficult or hard passages altogether because someone might come away thinking that they lost their salvation?

I read today of 42 youths being mauled by a bear when the prophet Elisha called down a curse on them for mocking him. I had a friend who pointed to that story as the reason why he rejects God. “I can’t trust in a God who does that,” he would say.

Why did God include that story and thousands of others that cause us such discomfort? Why didn’t he portray himself in a better light so that my friend wouldn’t have refused to believe in him?

My wife and I were talking about how we seem to have more loyalty to other humans, no matter how wicked they are, than to the God who made humans. And think about it – he makes them pure every time, doesn’t he? Ever met a wicked baby? So if these humans grow up to be utterly corrupt and wicked and the God who made them says they are worthy of judgement and judges them, then who are we to judge God for that? Rather, it ought to cause us alarm that we permit things in our lives that are also worthy of judgement. But history shows us that a great many people we thought irredeemable, God redeems and makes them a trophy of grace. Take the Apostle Paul for example – murderer of God’s people to greatest Evangelist who ever lived!

I wonder if the author of Hebrews writes what he writes in chapter six to expose and weed out the rebels at heart… I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, he does offer some hope and he doesn’t seem to think that what he is writing applies to you the reader:

4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”

The author of Hebrews has higher hopes for them than this! As his next words reveal:

9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Do you see what is going on here? He says to you the reader, I have high hopes for you because of the love in your lives that display the activity of God in your life.  Love is the evidence he points to. This is the evidence of God in our lives that we truly have been born again and the Holy Spirit is at work in us! After all, love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said that the world will know that we are his followers if we love each other. Which leads us to the question:

Do we have that “love for others” in our lives to point to as evidence of being born again and that God is in our lives?

Test Yourselves

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:

5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.

If we are his children, born of God, then the Holy Spirit’s job is to work in us to will and do of his good pleasure. (Philipians 2:13) The Spirit is the one conforming us to the image of Christ and there ought to be the evidence of love in our lives because he is the love poured out into our hearts when we truly believe in Jesus.

“God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:4 NIV)

But what if there isn’t any evidence?

Perhaps, then, you need to be born again just as Jesus said to the religious leader Nicodemus. Perhaps your even a pastor of an evangelical church and you need to be born again and have God’s love implanted in your heart by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps as a Christian, you need to be born again, again. God is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings!

Born Again, Again

(this is an article I wrote a while ago)

I was something of a daredevil when I was a kid. I would swing from ropes, make my own zip lines from old wires and ride down them hanging on a pulley 30 feet up into a tree, I would scale dangerous cliffs and race down mountains jumping from rock to rock – that sort of thing. One of my earliest daredevil misadventures happened when I was seven years old.

One day I was riding my banana seat bicycle, trying to do tricks on my bike while standing on the seat. I was not looking where I was going and happened to look up just in time to see the back end of a boat parked on the street. The ensuing collision knocked me unconscious. The next thing I knew I was at my front door held by some strange man as he was ringing the doorbell. My mom opened the door and the man asked, “Is this your kid?” My mom freaked, asking me how many fingers she was holding up and if I knew my name. All I knew is that I was feeling queasy and was secretly enjoying all the attention.

Later at the emergency room I was still feeling nauseous and I puked – which they say is a good response after a concussion. I felt so good after vomiting that I told my mom, “I feel like I’ve been born again, again.” She was quite amused by that.

Jesus once said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

If I am being honest, from time to time throughout my life I have found myself asking whether I still need to be born again. When I find it difficult to impossible to love even the most loveable people in my life and my heart and actions are saying, “You’re so selfish!” That is when I reevaluate, and ask the most basic questions:

“Am I even “saved”? Have I yet to experience what Jesus was talking about? Have I been born again?”

If this is the case, then I am ready to start over. To be born again. Because honestly, if what I thought I knew for the last 25 years isn’t really working for me, it’s time to abandon that and find out what does work. Most times I hardly feel like a “new creation” and it would be impossible to say that my life is one that is marked by love. It takes courage to say this… especially for someone who has “been in ministry” for the last 13 years.

Last Sunday, the pastor was talking about receiving a new heart from God. He mentioned the time when King David prayed in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit in me.”

Was David “not saved” when he prayed this? Clearly he had been on a journey with God for some time. And as I look at my own life I too can say that, yes, I have clearly been on a journey with God for some time.

So what is going on here?

I believe that for some of us, we need to be “born again, again”. We need a fresh start and a clean slate to move forward on our journey with God. We need to pray what David prayed and get back on track with the life God intends.

But what if you have been in ministry or even have been a pastor most of your life (like Nicodemas was) but you know deep in your heart that all you think you know about God isn’t producing the love of God in your life? You need to humble yourself and realize that you must be born again – start from scratch and live by God’s Spirit living in you with His love becoming the source of the love flowing from your life.

In other words start depending on God at work in you and forget about depending on yourself. It’s not the end of the world to realize you need a fresh beginning – how refreshing to know this is available? All that will suffer is a bit of your pride, but you will have so much to gain.

So as I took communion that Sunday, I paused for a moment saying to God, “I receive my new heart.” And now I simply trust God to work it out in me. That seems to work pretty good I have found.

Prayer:

Lord Heavenly Jesus, Give me a fresh start today. Fill me with your love. May my life be marked by your love.

Take some time to talk to God about this. Ask him to change your heart if you are lacking love in your heart and to fill you with his Holy Spirit and then wait in His presence expectantly for his reply.

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