Love Covers

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 KJV

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. Proverbs 10:12

 The concept of “cover” is actually found in contract law. I remember during Contracts in my second semester coming across this and I could not help but think of our relationship with Christ. I’m going to do my best to try to flesh out my thoughts on this.

Let’s take a Buyer and Seller who enter into a contract over a Thing. Buyer decides that S/he no longer wants Thing and breaches the contract, leaving Seller to try to figure out what to do. Legally, Seller can sue Buyer and try to recoup the contract price for Thing. And while there is no true requirement to do so, the court will still expect that Seller will try to cover for the loss caused by breaching Buyer by attempting to sell Thing to someone else, even if it is for a lesser price than Buyer was going to pay. Seller doesn’t just get to sit around and hold onto Thing, running up a bill against Buyer; he must try to cover the loss.

I thought of this in terms of our relationship with God. Christ’s death granted us a new “covenant” with God. But boy do we breach it! We sin, we fall short, we walk away from God, we lie, we cheat, we steal, we are mean to people and do all sorts of evil, or less-than-good, things. We breach. And yet, God knew we’d breach, so He gave His only begotten Son as the perfect “cover” for our sin.

See, usually, a Seller doesn’t manage to cover the entire amount of the breach. So breaching Buyer will have to make up the difference of what Seller couldn’t get from the original contract price. But for us, Christ’s blood is the complete, perfect cover for our sins. There is nothing left over for us to “pay the difference.” No debt. No balance. His love covers a multitude of our faults.

As ambassadors of the kingdom of Heaven, we also have to extend this cover to others. Peter tells us that we have to have the love that covers the multitude of sins – we have to share that kind of love with each other. We don’t get to say, “Well, Jesus covered your sins, but you still owe me.” 

I admit, I am facing a difficult situation with applying this cover. A classmate of mine, who I considered a friend, has been involved in some really shady, inappropriate behavior. God first warned me of the situation in a dream, and then it was confirmed that very same day by others in my life who knew of the situation and had been on the receiving end of the behavior. I was dumbfounded. And incredibly disappointed. And angry. So angry. I couldn’t look at his face anymore. I hated the sound of his voice. I avoided him at every step. But always, God has sent people and messages to push me toward forgiveness and walking in love.

I don’t know exactly how it will play out. I can’t avoid him forever. And I want to show him the love of God. I feel like it is a fine line to walk to show love and yet not condone his behavior. But the truth is, he knows he’s wrong, without me telling him. We know when we have done wrong. But do we know we are still loved? I didn’t always know that. I have the post about always feeling deserving of punishment. I don’t want to heap that on him. I want to be able to walk in love and forgiveness toward him, so that he may experience the redeeming love of Jesus that covers a multitude of sins.

And so, I am seeking the Lord, that He will teach me how to love like that. I pray that the Lord will speak to your hearts as well, instructing you and guiding you on how to spread abroad the kind of love that covers a multitude of sins, even while it does not condone those sins. Lord, give us Your love that serves as the perfect cover for our breaching hearts!

Joyful Noise

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands

Psalm 66:1 KJV

I love to sing. I have always loved to sing. I have a song for every occasion! I have often surprised my husband by knowing the obscure verses to songs. I just love to sing.

But I am also aware that it is not actually my gift. Oh, I long to be a gifted singer, able to blow the roof off with a powerhouse voice. But that’s not me. And I’ve always been okay with that … until I wasn’t okay with that.

First, I remember in Shreveport, I was asked to sing lead on an Easter song, “No Greater Love.” Yeah. Totally did NOT go as planned. I sounded awful. Could not find the key, stay on the key. I wanted to go home and skip the rest of service. I vowed I wouldn’t do it again.

Then we moved to Germany, and the final pastor we sat under there asked me to start singing. He asked me to sing the song that came immediately before he got up to preach! The first time I got up there, it was almost as if I was mute. I tried to sing, and almost no sound came out. I struggled through the song. And he made me do it, Sunday after Sunday. And I did. And it got better.

And then, I stopped singing.

Sure, I’d sing at home, sing to my baby girl. But I went to karaoke with some of my friends and I was awful. I had even practiced beforehand. But when I got the microphone, it was as if my throat completely closed up and my voice came somewhere out of my head. It was awful.

But I knew something was off with this. I love to sing to God. And when it’s just us and the angels, I sound pretty good. Not amazing, mind you, but it ain’t bad. I began to pray about it, asking God to help me, to give me my voice back. And He answered my prayer!

In January, I returned to Syracuse for my third residency week. In one class, we partnered up and had to present something about our partner. I had to present something interesting about my partner (who is my study/prayer partner) and she had to present something embarrassing about me. I struggled with what to tell her, and I finally relayed those two incidents, right when it was almost time to present. When it was our turn, she begins by saying,

“Tiffany loves to sing.”

She didn’t exactly recite the stories as I had thought, but instead pointed out what I didn’t see about myself. That I probably wasn’t as bad as I thought, as I kept getting asked to sing. My classmates and I all laughed about it, and I caught some good-natured teasing. My professor chose her presentation as one of his two favorites, and said that based on what she said, he felt like he had actually learned some important things about me. And instead of feeling embarrassed or ashamed, I actually felt … free.

I was able to playfully sing with my housemates after class. And my throat didn’t clench up. I got my voice back.

Now, I may never get that powerhouse voice I’d love to have, but I am going to sing for God. Lately, I have been granted bursts of music and melodies that can only come from Heaven itself – it’s nothing I know consciously, and yet I know the words as they flow freely from my lips. And believe it or not, I can often hear angelic backup. I have images and visions that I don’t quite understand. But whatever it may mean, I know this. I love God. I love to praise God. I love to sing for God. And I will use my voice to worship Him. Join me!

Crime and Punishment

When I was a little girl, I got punished a lot. For any and everything. I got beat with belts until they fell apart and my dad had to buy a new one. Who would be the first person to break in a new leather belt? Once he got tired of wearing out his belts, he built a wooden paddle. It broke, too! And so he crafted another one, of solid oak. Oh, it was a beautiful work of art from a master craftsman. He and my mom gave it a name, “Bonding,” because obviously, we needed some quality, bonding time with them, and that’s why we acted up and deserved a whooping. Often, either alone or in concert with the whooping, we’d face what was simply called Punishment. Punishment meant sitting on your bed for hours, from the time you got home from school until bed. No talking, no contact, no nothing.

My room on Cord Street was painted Barbie pink, with darker fuchsia pink trim around the window and doorway. I had a wood bed with a headboard and footboard that always reminded me of the wheel steering a ship, with knobs aperched at the top of each corner. I remember in particular a blue comforter with blue and green stripes. My bed sat longways against the window, and at the space at the foot of the bed my dad had built beautiful book shelves. The door was opposite the window, so that when I sat on my bed I could see into the hallway and across into my parents’ room.

I sat on that bed for many hours. I was not allowed to read or speak to anyone. No one talked to me and they barely looked at me. I would sit there while the light faded from the Florida sky, contemplating whether I should get up and turn on the light. The light was so jarring and would bring attention to me again, so I usually stayed in the dark until I just couldn’t see at all, or they turned on the light in the living room, signaling that it was okay. I stayed there until he or she said I could get up. Once I had done my time, I could rejoin family life. But I knew all eyes were on me, making sure I had learned my lesson and had gotten my life right.

On that bed, I thought of justifications for why I shouldn’t be there, but the thought of explaining myself was exhausting and so I just shut up. I thought of future ways to be better so that I wouldn’t be there again. I remember needing to go to the bathroom so bad, but afraid that I had gone too many times, and so I held it until I’d barely make – or didn’t make it. I still do that. I remember once my dad made me read a passage from the Bible. I was…am…a speed reader and I finished quickly. “Read it again.” I dutifully did. He was sure I had just skimmed. But when asked what I’d read it could nearly recite it word for word.

The truth is, I always believed I deserved the punishment. I believed it was my parents’ way of showing love. After all, those who are loved are punished… wait. That’s not what it says. But I accepted the punishment. I lived in dread so many days. There was always this unspoken – and sometimes spoken – threat in the air that if you didn’t walk the straight and narrow you’d be sent to Punishment. Sometimes I didn’t exactly know what was wrong and it wasn’t always clear how to be able to anticipate it. But I knew I deserved it. I accepted it. And I made a plan of action in my head for how to avoid the situation the next time. Yeah. I still do that.

I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. To be fired. To be left. To be sent to my bed of Punishment.

And without realizing it, I’d projected that feeling onto God. When I made missteps as a Christian, I was so willing to accept my punishment. I wanted to show God I could accept correction and make a plan to do better next time. It lead to a life of anxiety. I am still healing and recovering.

Friend, it is true that God does offer correction – but it is always with love. His correction doesn’t mean that we are banished to our rooms, cut off from His love and affection until we learn our lesson. Christ, the beloved, only begotten Son of God was given as the sacrifice for our sins. He bore our punishment. And God loved us all so very much that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Yes, we face consequences for our choices. Oh, but we also can receive grace and mercy. In fact, we can boldly come and ask for help and grace in our time of need. And we don’t have to prove anything to Him. God loves you. And He’s not here to punish you.

Today, God invited me to get up off the bed and walk out of my bedroom door. I am a little girl, around 10 years old. The same age as my daughter. I have on a purple shirt and a plaid skort that had been given to us by people in church. Hope Ann. She was one of my good friends growing up. And I am 37 years old, in a Syracuse Law hoodie and fuzzy orange and blue socks. And I make the choice to stand up and walk out the door, past the pain and hurt and confusion and trauma and into the Light and the life He has ordained for me. I’m getting out of Punishment.

Embrace Grace

Greetings in the Name of Jesus!

It has been so very long since I’ve written. Law school, and international moves, and life, and a new job – it all just consumed my time for a while. Now that I’m on a break between semesters, I’m eager to get back to writing and sharing what’s on my heart.

What I really want to focus on today is God’s grace. I was going through an imaginary speech for law school (yes, I’m kind of weird like that) and one thing that came out was God’s grace. And I said (in my head – imaginary speech, after all), “I have learned to embrace His grace.” And that was the end of my imaginary speech, because I got hit in real life by those words. Embrace grace.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

Let me tell you about a time I learned to embrace God’s grace:

We moved to Germany in the middle of my summer semester, and I was taking Contracts and Legal Composition and Research (LCR). I had managed to make it through Japan, Seattle, Tampa, Baltimore, and Germany in less than two weeks. I wrote my first LCR paper in Tampa, soon after we had made it back from Japan. I wrote the second paper in the hotel room in Germany. I wrote the final paper in our still-unpacked house in Germany. But that last paper …. I almost didn’t make it.

I made it through my Contracts final, and then I needed to write my final paper for LCR. I just couldn’t. I was exhausted. I had given all I had and I had absolutely nothing left. I was so spent that I even thought that death would be a welcome reprieve from law school. I wasn’t suicidal, I just felt like I didn’t want to keep living. I dropped my daughter off at sewing camp in another village, and on the drive back I just cried and cried. And then I got home and cried and cried. I told God I just couldn’t do it. I needed Him to come in and help me. I reminded Him that He brought me here for His purpose, and I needed Him to step in and help me. I asked for the Holy Spirit to wrap around me and strengthen me and minister to me. I asked for help.

And then I got up and started writing.

God showed up.

I still had to do the work. But I was suddenly refreshed and encouraged. I had strength and the will to keep going. The words began to flow. I found the information I needed. And I finished. I finished strong – with the help of the Lord.

See, I had come to the end of myself, the end of my own strength. And I told God exactly that. And He showed me just how His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I got a 95 on that paper! I got an A in the class (one of only 2 As that could be given out)! And all of the credit and glory belongs to God!

I have had to think back on that lesson frequently as I made it through my most recent semester. And I made it through! I am still awaiting grades, but I am at peace and I know that no matter what, God’s grace is sufficient and it is well.

It doesn’t matter what you are facing. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen or failed. If you feel like you can’t take one more step or like you’ve messed things up beyond repair, know this: your God loves you. Your God is strong and mighty. Your God knows how to work all things together for your good when you love Him and are called according to His purpose. Your God’s grace is sufficient for you.

Embrace Grace.

Embrace the fact that as a human, you will stumble and fail but in the midst of that, there is a God reaching out to you to help you and sustain you and pick you up so you can start again.

Embrace Grace.

Embrace the twists and turns of your journey in life, even when it feels like you’re so off track from where you started or where you want to be, for God is with you every step of the way.

Embrace Grace.

Embrace the opportunity to begin again. Embrace mercies that are fresh every single morning. Embrace God’s compassion and love. Embrace God’s perfect strength even in your weakest moments. Embrace forgiveness.

Embrace Grace.

 

I lived.

I came to a startling revelation a few months ago. I lived. I survived the enemy’s attacks on my life. Attacks that came by way of abuse and even attempts on my life from the very people who were supposed to love and protect me.

A gun pointed at me by my father. I survived.

A knife pulled on me by my mother. I survived.

Reckless driving with the intent to take us all out. I survived.

Abuse and trauma so great that my mind blocked the memories. But it comes up in my dreams and in fears that have haunted me all my life. Only my sister has filled in the gaps for me.

I survived.

I should be a disaster of a person. But I’m not. I’m loved. I have a good life. And I have a great relationship with my savior, Christ. I could have died on at least those occasions that have been brought back to me. Perhaps there are others.

I was left stunned with the revelation. And full of joy as well. I survived. And I’m still here. And I know it was for a reason.

I wasn’t going to publish this. It’s been sitting in my drafts since May. But part of loving myself is opening myself up and allowing myself to be vulnerable, to be authentic.

For all of you survivors, may you continue to walk in strength and love. May God continue to keep you. You are still here for a reason, for such a time as this.

37

I’m turning 37 in a few days. And I’ve struggled with that a bit. It’s so close to 40; so far from 20 it feels. Shouldn’t I have my life together now, I think? And yet, it feels like I am just beginning in so many ways.

I’ve made it through 20% of law school. I will turn 40 just a couple of months after I graduate law school. I worry at times – who will want to hire a 40 year old mom and wife? But I know this is what I am called to do, so I keep pressing. I believe that God already has a plan for all of it. I just have to keep walking. And I do. And it’s hard some times. But sometimes – I see how God comes through miraculously, and I think, “I can do this.” And it feels good.

I thought by now I’d be so comfortable in my own skin. Turns out, that skin has gained 30 pounds. And I’m not comfortable. And the weight doesn’t come off as easily as it did before. And my clothes don’t fit. And I don’t run like I used to. And my body hurts in ways it never did. But I remember my classmates and peers who did not make it to this age. I’m still here. I still have a chance.

And yet, I’ve learned to love the look of myself without makeup. I learned to love my own face, with all its imperfections. I can smile at the image I see in the mirror. And that feels good.

I’m still working through the issues of my childhood, but they don’t plague me like they once did. I have come to new levels of forgiveness. And not to say I’m perfect. I’m still a work in progress. But I’m much farther now than I used to be. And I feel myself moving toward wholeness. And it feels good.

I decided that for my year 37, I’m going to love myself. I love people very much. I’m always thinking of how I can grow in that love. But so often, it meant that I neglected myself. I’ve struggled a lot the past weeks with my own self-worth. And I’ve decided to love myself. To take that love that I am so eager to show others and turn it on myself. To forgive myself. And show compassion to myself. To take care of myself and listen to myself. Not that I will become self-absorbed and selfish. But that I will cherish the person that God made in His own image – the one I live with every day. I can look at others and see God and want to love them. But I don’t usually look at myself that way. I know God loves me. And yet, I don’t treat myself as if He does. I beat myself up for every shortcoming and failure. I compare myself to others and feel like I come up short every time. I hold grudges against myself for things I say or do that disappoint me. I don’t honor the temple in which God Himself is supposed to dwell.

So, for year 37. I’m going to treat myself as if I’m indeed loved by God. As if I’m worthy of forgiveness and kindness and compassion and mercy. I’ll never stop loving others. I’m just going to include myself in that for a change.

The Other Side of Love

Hello, again! I feel like I am playing catch up from the last several months when I have not written. The Lord has yet been speaking to me and dealing with me, but I had not taken the time to write like I should have. I am picking myself up and working on my obedience once again.

One of the ideas that the Lord has been dealing with me on has been the other side of love. I know that my mission is to share the love of God with the world. And I know that my naturally rose-colored optimist self took that as some sweet mandate to spread sunshine and rainbows. But God has been pushing me to go beyond that. And it has not been easy for me.

God is love. I know that to be true. No matter what we have done, God loves us. He does not love our sin. He does not love our disobedience. He loves us.

God is also righteous. And because He loves us, He will not allow us to continue in unrighteousness.

For whom the Lord liveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:6

Throughout history, God has sent prophets to proclaim His good news AND His judgement. But He did not judge just to punish people and wipe them out. Always, the intent was to bring people to repentance, so that they can once again be in right standing with Him. Sin separates us from Him, and must be banished from our lives so that we can enjoy fellowship with Christ.

And sometimes that requires chastening. Sometimes that requires someone we love to tell us about ourselves. And sometimes, we tasked with sharing His love are sent to tell others the truth, so that they may come to repentance.

As a parent, I know that my job is to help my daughter grow into the woman God called her to be. That means that I shower her with love and mercy and goodness – but I also correct misbehavior. I do it in love, and I make sure to communicate that to her – but there are some things that are not acceptable in our home. There are some things that I must correct if she is to be a good citizen of our world and a good witness for Christ. I know some of the calling God placed on her life before she was even conceived. Because I love her, I have to guide and correct her along the way as the Lord gives me wisdom.

And so God does with us. We are His children, and He knows the fullness of what we will become. But He also sees our misbehaviors and sins that will keep us from fulfilling those callings. Because He loves us, He corrects us. If He did not care, He would allow us to just continue doing whatever we wanted.

About a month ago, I was given the opportunity to speak on the fourth Sunday. I did not know what the Lord wanted me to speak on and wrestled the entire week prior. Well, correction. I knew, I just didn’t want to say it. The Lord had been dealing with me about envy in the body, and I knew it needed to be called out. I did NOT want to be that person! I tried to reason my way out, that it was not my place, etc etc. But God told me that if I had been tasked with bringing the message and His word, I was the one to do it.

I knew despite my misgivings I could not be disobedient. And I said what He told me to say. I remember crying at the beginning, because I still did not want to say it. But He took over, and I pray that whoever needed to receive it, received it. I received it for myself, for sure!

But the point He kept trying to make is that sometimes bringing the message of His love means calling out sin. It means saying the hard things to someone – not to offend them, judge them, or hurt them; but so they may come to repentance and be saved! If I claim to love my brothers and sisters, but I refuse to share a word that can make the difference in their lives because it is uncomfortable, then I am not operating and walking in love. And likewise, I hope that someone would share a word with me that would help me, whether I liked how it felt or not.

Now, I certainly cannot control how the message will be received. But I do believe that if God sent me at a specific time to a specific person, that He has prepared their hearts to receive His word. And certainly, there is a way to deliver His message in love, going to my brother or sister

speaking the truth in love…

Ephesians 4:15

And so, I am learning to embrace the fullness of love. With God’s love is the mandate of righteousness. Of course, we need His help to live holy, and it is Christ’s sacrifice that imputes righteousness to us. But we must not willfully engage in sinful behaviors and poor choices, thinking there are no consequences because of God’s love. It is because of His love that He will not allow such things to continue in our lives.

When chastening comes to you, I pray you receive it with an open and repentant heart, rejoicing that God obviously loves you enough to ensure that you do what is necessary to grow into all He created you to be.

God loves you!

Trusting, or I’m Still Learning…

Greetings! It has been so very long since I have written. I just finished my first semester of law school, and already the summer semester has begun. But I want to purpose to make the time to share what God has done and continues to do in my life.

Law school… nothing really prepared me for the journey ahead. I knew it would be busy. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be time consuming. But I really did not know the extent of that. Which is funny – because in Torts we learn that as long as something is foreseeable, the extent of it does not have to be foreseeable. And now, I cannot unsee “law” wherever I go and whatever I do. (I even dream it!)

Anyhow, I am thankful that I serve a God who is my ever-present help in time of trouble. Getting to law school tested my trust. And I thought I had learned my lesson. But, apparently, there is still much for me to learn! Getting through law school is an even greater test of my trust in God than I imagined it could be.

I admit that I am a perfectionist. I believe in working hard and giving my everything. I do NOT like to settle for less than 100%. But I am being convicted about whether I am trusting in God or myself. Am I relying on my own strength and understanding, or the divine Spirit of God?

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

I am thankful for having a praying sister, who is not afraid to tell me the truth about myself as the Spirit speaks to her. One day as I was belly-aching over some struggle or other, she firmly told me, “Take your hands off of it.” God brought me to this place. I know that I am in His will. And I “say” that I trust Him, but my actions and indulging my fears do not reflect true trust. I humbly accepted the admonition, because I know it’s right. I have not been operating in trust.

The Lord gave me specific commands on rest days during my studies, but I think I know best and need to power through to get everything done. And when I have been obedient and followed His study plan, I have achieved everything and it seemed easy! But to my over-achieving self, that seems not fair. Surely I must work! The problem is that I wanted to be able to say that my hard work led to the result. But when I work on my own strength, I am frustrated, I can’t focus, and things seem to take twice as long. My hard work was NOT leading to a great result!

Sigh. Lord, I repent for thinking I know better than You.

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

Zechariah 4:6 KJV

So, I am picking myself up once again and laying down my will on the altar. I will trust God. I will trust His plan and His will for my life.

My brothers and sisters, trust Him – even when it seems counter-intuitive to your own plans and understanding. We must trust that He knows best for us! After all, He is the only one with the whole picture – we only see in part. Trust Him with all your heart, and watch Him work miracles on your behalf.

Thirsty

Greetings in the Name of Jesus! It’s been a long while since I’ve written – law school is even busier than I’d imagined. God has been blessing me and helping me, and I am grateful every day for His continued move in my life. We serve a mighty God!

Around the last week of December 2018, the Lord put on my heart to go on a words fast, where I examined the things I say and also the things I don’t say, but allow to swirl and remain in my mind. In addition to that, He also led to me fast from all beverages except water. I called it my “words and water fast” even though I wasn’t entirely sure how it all tied together.

One day in prayer, I was seeking God to understand what this need for water meant. I began to search my concordance for all references to water. And then, the scripture, that they who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled (Matthew 5:6), dropped into my mind, and I began to search for thirst instead.

I found myself in Isaiah 55, and the Lord began to speak to my heart. The chapter begins with the call for those who are thirsty, to come and drink water. Then, it goes on to admonish us for wasting our money on frivolous wants instead of our true needs. I thought of the IG culture – doin’ for the gram. We’ve got people posting and posing, stuntin for the gram for likes and followers. And for what? Because they are thirsty. It’s become a joke – He or she is just thirsty. But really, it isn’t a joke. Because we are all thirsty for something.

We may feel an emptiness, a longing within us. We try to fill it with likes and followers, with new clothes and gourmet food and exotic travels; with lovers and friends and frenemies. But deep down, that thirst can only be filled with the living water.

And where do we find this living water? We’re not the only ones who are thirsty. People in the Bible were “thirsty” too. The woman at the well was thirsty, and she sought to fill it with men. It didn’t work of course. The rich young ruler wanted only to fill his thirst with his riches. It wasn’t enough. Those people – among others – were able to meet the fountain of living water Himself. But what about us?

Verses 6-7 show us how to quench that thirst. We must seek God. His mercy and pardon toward us is refreshing water to our souls and spirits.

I have always loved verses 8-11 in Isaiah 55. But this week, God opened my eyes to see it a little bit differently. The theme of water trickles throughout the chapter, but really flows in these verses.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11 KJV

Rain – water in its liquid form. It meets the immediate need. Snow – water in its solid state, frozen. It meets the future need. The snow melts slowly into the earth, filling the water tables underground and the rivers and lakes.

I like to look at the structure of the way words are written. The two verses are analogous, and we can draw parallels. The word is like both rain and snow. It meets an immediate need – the rhema word in season. It also signifies a solid and lasting promise, it is water that goes through all the stages – solid, liquid, and vapor – the logos word of the Bible.

Shall not return void – rain and snow don’t just go back up to the sky in the same form. They may go through the water cycle, before only what’s left – the vapor – returns. The vapor is what is left after water has done all it can do. Our lives themselves are but a vapor. And so with the word of God – it will not return back to Him in the same way it went out. It is fulfilled/processed when it comes back to him.

Rain and snow watereth the earth – It shall accomplish that which I please. Watering the earth is sustaining life; refreshing. God’s word sustains us and refreshes our souls.

What does it accomplish: And maketh it bring forth and and bud – new life. Our lives are made new, new creation when we are born of the water and of the spirit.

What does He please: That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater – sustenance. Sustenance for those who sow the word to others. Each of us has a responsibility to sow the word – into others, and also into ourselves! Farmers sow seeds to sustain their own families and to feed others! The word of the Lord is quick and sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)– it cuts both ways, but it feeds both ways too! I know that many times, when I am speaking words of encouragement to others, they are the very words I myself need to hear. And in saying them, I’m blessing myself just as much as the other person. The water of the word helps those seeds that are sown to take root in our lives and to bring forth fruit.

So I have been thinking: what am I thirsty for? Am I thirsty for the approval and admiration of others? Or am I truly thirsting after righteousness? Those of you who have ever experienced true thirst, the only thing that can really quench it is pure, clean water. Soda, tea, coffee, juice won’t do. You need water. My prayer is that when I find myself doing things that make me look thirsty for the things of the world, that I will really examine myself and turn that longing into a longing for God. For we are promised in Matthew 5:6 that if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we will be filled.

And as for the words aspect, well, input-output. If we are thirsty for the things of the world, it absolutely affects our speech and the things we allow to come out of our mouths and sit in our minds. But when we are thirsty for God, for righteousness, and when we are seeking to be filled with living water, then living water will flow out of us; righteousness will flow out of us in the things we say to ourselves and to others. At the feast in John 7:37-38, Jesus cried out that we who are thirsty can come to him, and if we believe on him according to the Word, out of our belly will flow rivers of living water. We must be filled with the water so that it can flow out of us to others who are also thirsty. Then they will see that there is a source, a fountain from which they too can be quenched.

When you are truly thirsty for God, for the things of God – only the living water will do. The sugary drinks of this world, though tasty for a moment, will stick in your throat and leave you unsatisfied, full of empty calories and craving for more. Let the living water that can be found in God’s Word satisfy your thirst.

May God bless you in the name of Jesus!

 

 

The Trap of Unworthiness

Happy New Year! I pray you are enjoying the blessings of the Lord in this new year.

In my prayer time this morning, I was really struggling. Law school has officially started, and I am flying out tomorrow evening to make the long trek from Japan to the east coast of the States for my first residency week. It’s funny – since the time I’ve found out that I got accepted, I’ve really kept the news quiet and have not shared it much with those around me. Sure, I’ve shared it on this blog, but with the exception of my sister, none of you actually know me, so it feels … safer.

I told myself that it was because I did not want to come off as prideful or boastful. And I admitted I wasn’t ready for some people in my life to rain on my parade and somehow make me feel bad about this occasion. But this morning, I had to really get to the root of my issues. I don’t actually feel worthy of such a blessing. Who am I that I should have this privilege and experience? I mean, I look around at the lovely Filipina ladies in our church who came to Japan to work for three years so they can support their families back home. They do such hard physical labor for what most Americans would see as very little money. They send most of their money home, keeping only about $100 for themselves each month, with which they must take care of all their necessities. And yet they are so kind and full of joy and they are faithful in church each week! What makes me think I deserve this kind of opportunity over them?

I know, “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt). And God really dealt with my heart this morning. No one of us deserves anything, no one is inherently better than an other. But for whatever reason, God gave each of us our own unique abilities and purposes, our own roads to travel. According to His will, this is the road I have been given to travel. It is not any better or any worse than anyone else’s; it is just mine. Stay in your lane, Tiff. So, I will not compare myself to anyone else, for better or for worse. I will accept my lot with gratitude, looking unto the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), that He may get the glory out of my life.

We were each purposed for such a time as this. We each have a heavenly assignment and an eternal destiny. Ultimately, the goal is for Christ to get the glory! So, I will gladly proclaim the marvelous works of my Lord. I will walk forth fearlessly, keeping my eyes on Him.

May you live out your own purpose fearlessly and with thanksgiving. God is yet worthy of all praise and glory! Love and blessings to you.