The unfathomable mystery of God is that God is a lover who wants to be loved – Henri Nouwen
What follows is excepts from a book I am writing “Wholy Wholeness.”
Pastor Avery continued, “what if God is bound by not tampering with human free will yet doing everything possible to love humanity into choosing goodness which is a result of having a relationship with God.
We choose (free will) to have faith in a God that yearns for an intimate relationship in the present and future to come, that shows up in creation.” Pastor Avery eyes lifted toward the cloudless sky as geese flying in formation passed by. “Within us (Holy Spirit) and in others (Godly people). God is all around us, isn’t that true love?”
With that both Avery and Pat sat very still hearing the rustling wind in the trees, watching several leaves take flight and dance nimbly on their journey earthward spinning and turning eventually coming to rest on the green grass still wet with dew on a beautiful fall morning. Pat imaged God as the tree, wind, and grass. The leaf was Pat, whether on the tree, in the wind or on the ground. God was with (and for) Pat and Pat was free to choose for God. God is a lover who wants to be loved.
If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
God is for you in 2023 – are you for (loving) God?
Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day — January 1, 2023
Epiphany — January 6, 2023
Martin Luther King Jr. Day — January 16th
Pursue Jesus — and Your Passions
If you struggle with making and keeping resolutions, you’re not alone. It can be discouraging to focus on what you’re doing “wrong” and all the difficult changes in store. Yet January offers great opportunities to listen to God’s direction. After all, Jesus came to give us abundant life and wants us to pursue him.
As you review the previous year, ask: What brought me joy? How did I grow? How did I help others? What did I do that no one else could have done? Whether your list includes spending time outside, mentoring or coaching young people or making crafts to give away or sell, continue doing what brings you joy. God gives us each unique gifts and circumstances, so live passionately for him this year! —Janna Firestone
Another Year for God
Another year is dawning; dear Father, let it be,
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of service, of witness for thy love;
Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be,
Wisdom from MLK
I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love. —Martin Luther King Jr.
I suppose when we wake on January 1 the world will look the same. But there is a reminder of the Resurrection at the start of each new year, each new decade. That’s why I also like sunrises, Mondays and new seasons. God seems to be saying, “With me you can always start afresh.” —Ada Lum
Time for a Spiritual Assessment
“Hardly anything else reveals so well the fear and uncertainty among [people] as the length to which they will go to hide their true selves from each other and even from their own eyes,” says A.W. Tozer. For insights into who we really are as Christians, the theologian proposes “rules for self-discovery.” According to Tozer, “we may be known” by these seven things: what we want most, what we think about most, how we use our money, what we do with our leisure time, the company we enjoy, who and what we admire, and what we laugh at.
The “wise Christian” will find other tests, says Tozer, but these are a starting point to reveal if our desires and priorities conflict with God’s will. “Our self-judgment is almost certain to be biased and imperfect,” he adds, yet there’s “every good reason for us to work along with the Holy Spirit in his benign effort to locate us spiritually in order that we may make such amendments as the circumstances demand.”
The goal of authentic Christianity is a love [that] escapes from a closed circle of spiritual self-indulgence, or even self-improvement, to become absorbed in the love of God and other [people]. —Richard Lovelace
“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” —Martin Luther King Jr.
January Mission of the Month: Family Health Partnership