The typing never ends, folks. While waiting for things to happen from one network to the other, I thought I’d go ahead and lay down some thoughts in advance for this coming Sunday. God-willing, I continue down this path of typing beyond the daily quota I set for myself – a thousand a day – so I can be ready for more and more Sundays I spend sharing the Gospel at church.
I mean, as I said in my previous post on WordPress, if I could schedule posts for my social media accounts for photography and for the church, surely I could be a step or two or five ahead when it comes to the messages I want to share every Sunday. Indeed, may the Spirit continue to lead me where my trust is without borders. And as I write, may I walk upon the waters, enjoying your presence all along. Yeah that’s not how the song goes, but what I did mention is a huge factor to the success of this endeavor of typing ahead of expected – It’s to be enjoyed, every step of the way.
But for now… let’s talk about this coming Sunday, for starters.
Last week being the day before Valentines’ Day, I thought I would share on the story of Saint Valentine, or Valentinus. The point I had, now that I recall, was familiar to what I had to say about our overall message for the year 2022:
Derived from Psalm 22, I said that we may be intimidated by the problems and issues we have in this lifetime, but we will always, always go back to giving God the glory and praising Him, because, as the second half of the Psalm goes, God saved us, He satisfied us, and not only did He do this for us but for our families as well. Bottom line here is that this reality may be shake us, but we will always be overwhelmed by Jesus Christ.
I shared on Valentinus and his legacy, pointing out that Valentines’ Day is on February 14 only because Valentinus was beheaded on February 14, 269AD. And to be honest, right here, I couldn’t remember what I shared exactly, but I will try to pull it up from memory. I remember saying something to the lines of how I accept that we ought to be ready for persecution, just as Valentinus was… and there we go. It’s not primarily up to us to prepare our minds and beings for the ravages of this reality that are to come, but just as we appreciate Psalm 22’s message of God saving and satisfying us, we would do just as well to understand this infinite love bestowed upon us. In our understanding it is my belief that it would be inevitable for us to burst out in song, just as my own father sang so many years ago to my mom:
“If anyone should ever write my life’s story
for whatever reason there might be,
you’ll be there between each line of pain and glory,
’cause you’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
It’s clearer to me now. We may be troubled day by day by the real risk of losing our lives because we enjoy Jesus Christ, just as our brothers in the earlier days of the church were. Or, we may have troubles closer to those we encounter in this day and age, which may not necessarily be as in-your-face as lions in the Coliseum, but as twisted and as internally agonizing as mental self-abuse and non-stop thoughts of insecurity and self-condemnation. One thing in common between back in Valentinus’ time and today is that the enemy has not stopped in stealing from us, killing us, and destroying us.
But praise be to God, because our Savior and His finished work are all we need, not only to stand to the fear and pain of death, but to thrive in awe and wonder of the everlasting love alive in us, now, until the end of time, and beyond.
And there you go, now I remember. I quoted 1 John 3, where the apostle details that it wasn’t us who loved God, but it was God who loved us first. In the first Sunday of February I mentioned Psalm 136, where the Holy Spirit continues to sing to us, even when we are out of tune, that God’s love endures forever.
Last Sunday, I sang that Christ is the best thing that happened to us – not because we loved Him, but because, even in seeing all we would be going through, whether we were in the age of Valentinus or living today, it was God who loved us first.
The Holy Spirit sings, His love endures forever. And the Holy Spirit sings, He loved us first.
Truly and indeed, it is as the Psalmist says in Psalm 32:7 (NIV):
“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.“
The ESV says ‘You surround me with shouts of deliverance.’ The NLT says ‘You surround me with songs of victory.’
As we continue down this February, we’re going to keep drawing out more love songs from the Holy Spirit.
I thought I’d share this: While I was writing this week in particular, I’ve been sharing a thought I myself have been meditating on and trying to update, clarify and refine. It goes as follows:
You lead others by leading yourself.
You lead yourself by being yourself.
You be yourself by living to learn.
You live to learn and learn to live.
You learn to live, and communities form.
It’s a set of thoughts which I believe draw the connections between leading, living, and learning, and how it all ties in with being. In our living and being ourselves, we learn, we draw others in, and communities to lead are formed. Or, when we lead, we learn more about ourselves, and as we learn, we lead. Ultimately, leading and learning form an endless cycle, and everyone grows.
This is in stark contrast with the way things were for us, before we let the Gospel of grace transform us. We see it in Isaiah 53:6 –
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Once we were unable to lead, we have gone astray.
We were unable to learn because we turned our own way.
Finally, we were unable to grow, because of iniquity.
The first part of Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. So in other words, we weren’t anywhere near the supposed endless cycle of growing, and leading and learning; No, we were in a downward spiral of dying, being lost and prideful.
We had no chance of properly leading or learning, because of our iniquity. But wait! It says it differently, didn’t you notice? ‘the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’
Who did the Lord lay our iniquity on? Friends, in His perfect timing, the Son of God was born as one of us, and in laying His life down, He took our iniquity – No, friends, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says He BECAME our sin; He BECAME our self-righteousness, and He BECAME our being astray…
He BECAME our sin, so that we would become His righteousness.
And, friends, that’s who we are today. We are righteous, therefore we grow, and therefore we learn, and therefore we lead.
I think I’ll leave things like this for now. I want to rest.