Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: REFLECTION (10/10/19)
- TITLE: Love Deeply
By Marlene Custer
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Reflecting on the past years, I grabbed my Bible and found Isaiah 46:4 (NIV). God promises, â€œEven to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.â€ That is an encouraging thought!
As I pondered on a relevant challenge, three action steps came to mind. Loveâ€”now that was definitely on our minds 56 years ago. Is it still relevant today? I have learned through the years that love involves much more than we thought about then. In his first epistle the Apostle Peter urges us twice to â€˜love deeplyâ€™. Deeply here means very intense, extreme, immeasurable. I think we have no trouble loving our children and grandchildren deeply. But how about that annoying neighbor or the church gossip, or the homeless person we meet on the street. Jesus said this is how all men would know we are His disciples, if we have love for one another. Yes, I would encourage a deep love for others.
Second I would challenge my classmates to forgive unreservedly. We have all lived long enough to be hurt. Perhaps it was a careless word, or someone questioned your motives, or worse, they hurt your child or grandchild. Recently, I saw a quote that said, â€˜The most influential person in your life is the one you havenâ€™t forgiven.â€™ Does refusing to forgive make that hurt better or worse? My husband, John, has an amazing testimony of healing that took place when God helped him forgive someone that had betrayed his trust. Looking back we see that God took that wrong and used it for good.
Having worked along side of Bible translators from all over the world, we have heard numerous accounts of whole villages being transformed by the power of forgiveness. Jesus taught that we must forgive others if we want God to forgive us. Thatâ€™s reason enough to just â€˜let it goâ€™!
And third, I challenge each of us to savor Godâ€™s Word daily. Savor means to enjoy to the fullest. Who wouldnâ€™t enjoy sitting down with God and having a conversation. When we read Godâ€™s Word we are allowing Him to talk to us. Yet we so often neglect that great privilege. Psalm 119:105 (NIV) declares, â€œYour Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.â€ We not only need light to guide our physical feet, we need light on our spiritual path. An added benefit is as we immerse ourselves in Godâ€™s Word, loving others and forgiving them becomes easier.
So, what would I want to say to my former classmates? I would say, go from here with a new determination to love deeply, forgive unreservedly, and savor Godâ€™s Word daily. And never forget His promise that He will sustain you.
NIV 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Peter 4:8, John 13:35, Matthew 6:15
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