“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the spirit of truth.” This passage is from the 14th chapter of John. Christ is speaking of the Holy Spirit.
I’ve always struggled with acceptance. I’m afraid I always will. I think one of the greatest fears humans experience is the fear and painful sting of rejection. It keeps many from stepping out of their comfort zone. It paralyzes us with fear.
Those that step into leadership positions, either by a calling or through their own ambition, immediately become targets for their own shortcomings and those of whatever it is they are leading.
The church is one place where acceptance should be found. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Many have walked away hurt, confused and bitter because they have been looked down upon or treated as inferior.
What a terrible thing it is not to be accepted for who you are, regardless of how others think. It is okay to disagree, it is not okay to judge, dismiss or take humanity from those that we disagree with.
Not being accepted is hurtful and causes anxiety. Having said all that, true acceptance can only be found in God and his grace. There are areas within our souls that cannot be touched or healed by others. That healing and acceptance can only come from our triune God.
It is frustrating and not fair to ask of others only what God can provide. Even having been a pastor for almost two years I still struggle with this.
Author of Incomplete
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
For this reason. For this reason… and what reason is that? Paul had just written that he was the very least of all the saints and it was God’s grace that was granted to him to preach the boundless riches of Christ.
For and because of God’s grace, it is that for that reason that Paul’s knees bow before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. God’s grace is the reason.
Salvation by grace through faith. This unlimited treasure of grace. Let me ask you this question, do you allow yourself to be full open to receive grace? Are you able to fully receive it and extend it to others?
I am guilty of this. I am guilty of not taking the time to reflect on all that God has done for me and taking many times for granted. I am guilty of being closed off to grace at times and of trying to do something to earn it.
Maybe you have done the same. Gone through a time of spiritual dryness or struggle. Trying to balance the demands of ministry, family, your own spiritual growth and for those of us that are bi-vocational, a full-time job as well. Too many things to get done, allowing little time to reflect on God’s work in our own lives.
Paul was a man that suffered many hardships for the sake of the gospel. He became a servant according to the gift of God’s grace. As we all know Paul wasn’t always a servant for Christ. He persecuted Christians and tried to extinguish the early church. God’s redeeming work and grace took a man that killed Christians and made him a man that would help save them.
Paul is the most prolific writer in the New Testament. If grace can change a heart that hard, what can it do for each of us? What each one of us are capable of. For this reason, for the saving grace of our God, my knees bow before the Father.
Pastor Shawn LaRue
Author of Incomplete
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.” Luke 15:11-13 (The prodigal son)
I see myself in the parable of the prodigal son, and maybe you do too. He was young and brash with a desire to live life in the fast lane. He couldn’t wait for his father to pass. He needed his inheritance now.
After his father grants his wish, the young man packs his belongings and heads to a distant land. He squanders his money on fast living. He hits bottom, so much so that he asks a farmer to hire him to help with his pigs. He is so hungry that what the pigs are eating looks good to him.
Many of us haven’t sunk to this level physically, but how about spiritually? It is when we are at our weakest, hungriest, coldest and in terrible pain that we cry out to God for mercy. The prodigal son returns home and begs for forgiveness. His father waits for his return and rejoices when it happens. Much the same way our heavenly father rejoices when we return to him, he forgives us of our disobedience.
When living out all the desires of the flesh falls short, when you can’t find joy or happiness, turn to God.
Pastor Shawn LaRue
Author of the devotional, Incomplete
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.— 1 Corinthians 13:4–7
In order to love, you must offer your heart to someone else with the knowledge that there is nothing more precious you can offer. You must reveal all your faults, flaws, shortcomings, and things you don’t like about yourself. Being vulnerable is difficult and something most of us go to great lengths to avoid. When we weep, we often run for cover, not wanting others to see us that way.
Love is risky and dangerous. Love can say no, turn its back, and walk away. That story belongs to many; it is our story. It happened in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve turned from God and disobeyed. They had everything except for one thing, and they couldn’t resist. The ugliness of sin and the endless desires of the flesh take our focus from God. But it is God to whom we must return.
There is risk in love. But it is precisely what we are called to do, what we were made to do. Those intense feelings about those close to us give us a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
Pastor Shawn LaRue, shawnlarueorg.wordpress.com
Thanks again to Bnv for allowing me to be a guest blogger.
For what it’s worth,
and for what it may be,
I say that you can be charcoal,
stripped to black –
– only don’t let them see.
A. R. Frederiksen is a recurring guest blogger here at BnV, and her own writing blog can be found here, where she dabbles in flashfiction/poetry and reflects over the, much elusive, ABCs of writing.
Shall I Sing in Sweetest Clamor
Harkening Thee to The Glory of Day?
Shall I Listen to the Lark’s Pure Chatter,
Spinning Gold From Flaxen hay?
Shall I Weave this Tapestry
Of Eloquence and Finest Speech,
Ignoring the Twinkling Light Afar,
The Simple Implication it Begs to Teach?
Tear down the injustice of captive fear!
Break Free from the harbingers of gloom!
Plant Sweet Roses in Aspiring Daylight,
Where Petals Fragrant shall Blushing Bloom
And Stand in Awe at Love’s Fair Season,
Bluster and Barrows insignificant falling,
While the Nighttide Sings in Harmony
And All of Heaven’s Truth is Calling.
Beautiful Original Artwork by: Lady Symphonia
When listening to my Father’s call
the world attempts to use disguise
to lead me into my downfall
when lies are truth and truth are lies.
The Gospels lift me up to soar,
and daily mind and heart restore.
The words of Jesus free my thoughts
and bring me back to God’s embrace
to focus on the things I ought;
on love, compassion and His grace.
He came not to condemn but save
and all my sins expunged, forgave.
Abiding in the Spirit shows
me how to be and how to live.
Christ’s light from Living Water flows;
this fact holds no alternative.
The truth from fruit’s essential seeds
is God’s great source from which He feeds.
Because I sustain nourishment
from my Savior’s bread of life,
His voice of love is sweet assent
which melts and calms the daily strife.
God always is my Number One;
His wisdom never is outdone.
So say your truth, but I know His.
I am to open heart and hands,
to welcome all, and more than this;
to care for orphans, widows and
to reconcile the world, employ
God’s grace and wisdom, love and joy.
“I guarantee this truth: every believer has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” (John 6:47-48)
“For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who cares for the truth hears my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)
And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)