“Live out of your heavenly Father’s love for you and you will live out how Jesus lived.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 20, 2023
A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. John 16:32
The winter has its unique beauty and wonder…naked trees expose bright moonbeams that illuminate distinct, darker shadows painting the night. Snow blankets once vibrant, noisy green grass with a quiet hush. Peaceful, yes…yet for some a feeling of aloneness, closed up from community, wondering “Am I worthy of love…do I matter?” There can be a harsh winter of the soul that yearns for the warm love of approval to reveal a clear path of purpose. A special relationship can cool from a lack of love but can be warmed in an instant. Love is ever present in humble, hard circumstances…where with Jesus you are never alone…yes loved and not alone.
Facing a winter season of His soul, Jesus was able to live out of the love of His heavenly Father. He was facing the end of His life on earth. Though rejected, betrayed, beaten, and falsely accused…Jesus knew He was not alone. His life had been a living sacrifice of God’s will. He was motivated by love and now His death would illustrate the same sacrifice of love. Humbly, holding on to hope, with peaceful calm…Jesus knew His Father’s love would sustain Him in His lonely season of suffering. Being blessed as beloved at His baptism remained His real identity. Jesus lived out of being loved by His heavenly Father, by waiting in hope and rejoicing in trust.
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you” (Psalm 33:20-22).
Winter seasons of life can feel cold and lonely. You may be in pain over a fractured relationship or a physical ailment. The blessing of having children may feel like an overwhelming burden in your current stage of life. Financial worries, a distant spouse, and fragile faith can all contribute to not knowing how you will make it through today…with worry hanging over tomorrow. Trade your feelings of shame by saying out loud what others may know, but don’t feel your permission to bring up. Your vulnerable self will build a bridge to other hearts who struggle with similar issues. Move toward being loved when you feel exposed, and trust acceptance to bring healing and the security of being in the company of those who care. Warm up by the fires of true love.
Most of all, move toward the love of your heavenly Father…live out of His love for you. Henri Nouwen describes your belovedness as it relates to Jesus and His experience with the Father’s love, “I know now that the words spoken to Jesus when he was baptized are words spoken also to me and to all who are brothers and sisters of Jesus. My tendencies toward self-rejection and self-deprecation make it hard to hear these words truly and let them descend into the center of my heart. But once I have received these words fully, I am set free from my compulsion to prove myself to the world and can live in it without belonging to it. Once I have accepted the truth that I am God’s beloved child, unconditionally loved, I can be sent into the world to speak and to act as Jesus did.” Live out of your heavenly Father’s love for you and you will live out how Jesus lived.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
Heavenly Father, by faith I lean into your love so I am able to love others as you love me, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider being vulnerable with a caring community that can love you through your fears and disappointments.
Rachael Lampa Feat. Toby Mac: Perfectly Loved
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