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IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – March 26, 2020

IBC Women’s Ministry Blog – March 26, 2020

Abounding Love

By Jodie Montgomery

 

1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

I am feeling the self-induced pressure of writing something profound, encouraging, not about the virus and relevant to the virus, compassionate and right. I probably don’t have that in me, but I write as I love you, even though we may be unknown to one another. One of the IBC pastors encouraged me to keep things as “normal” as possible. So I get up, I go to His Word, I contact my loved ones, I consider those that may appreciate a call (particularly a zoom call), I cover my workload (from home now), and I pray.

 

As I continue in His Word, I realize anew what I discovered about Bible study when I first embraced study as a regular routine in my life. God gave us His Word that we might know Him and have life. His Word guides me in living well in whatever circumstances I am in. He is that good. My study this morning, Jude by Jackie Hill Perry, provided this insight: God is willing to say the hard things if that equates to us knowing and believing the truth. “The truth might hurt sometimes, but it’s what sets us free.”

 

When fear abounds in our world, we may be haunted by – if, due to fear, we will fail to do what is right in the moment. We may fear that we will not be brave at the right time. That may mean caring for the well-being of a loved one, sacrificing our needs to provide for another, asking for help when our resources are depleted, mourning a loved one, suffering pain or illness ourselves, refusing isolation when only asked to social distance (yes, ruining this for the introverts)… Reading Jude reminded me that God has given His beloved mercy, peace and love. If His called are abounding in these blessings of mercy, peace and love, we will be brave. We will contend for the truth with boldness and compassion. We need to abound in Him.

 

I cherish that God refers to His children as beloved. I was so encouraged by this endearment that for a few years I produced a newsletter for women’s ministry entitled Beloved to remind women we are dearly loved by God. I look at God’s references in Jude as His beloved and I receive this guidance:

 

Jude 1-3 To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

 

Jude 17-23 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,  that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting;  save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

 

This is a time for us to show mercy, to speak peace to the fearful, and to love. At my home I’m experiencing more family meals, a greater appreciation of good health and health care professionals, a greater appreciation of all that support this nation’s infrastructure and economy, thankfulness for companies and individual groups that are putting resources behind producing what is needed to fight this pandemic, enjoying my backyard and walks in the neighborhood, and advancement in serving others through online resources. I’m learning to live in the moment, appreciate the simple things like deep breathing, and to rest in Him. Some days the learning is more challenging but I have the most excellent Master. God bless and keep us close.