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We had a great day yesterday at ALife! Pastor Jonathan challenged us all to be fully engaged in the NOW of God and to receive the New Wine of what He is doing in our lives. Good enough often resists what God wants to do in our lives today. It is time to treasure the past but embrace the new things of God in our lives and in the earth.
I believe we are in a season of leaves. The leaves reveal the health of the tree. The ultimate destiny of the tree is the fruit that it bears, but for the tree to be fruitful it must also be a healthy tree. Leaves are the covering of a tree. The actions of our lives are a testimony of the health of our lives. Those actions are the outward expressions of the inner being of our hearts and minds. The testimonies of our hearts motivate the actions of our lives. God teaches us in His word that love covers a multitude of sins. I believe that leaves are the testimony of God’s love in our lives that motivates the actions of our lives towards the well-being of one another.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.
Proverbs 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.
James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Our ability to cover the sins of another is a testimony of our love for them. Our love for another is the healing medicine that covers them in their time of affliction. This is a good work of love! This good work of love is only possible if we carry the substance of love that spawns an attitude of mercy and forgiveness in our hearts. This doesn’t mean that we ignore injustice. It simply means that even when affected by the iniquities, transgressions, and sins of others, it doesn’t invoke similar iniquities in our own hearts that become transgressions and sins towards them.
Leviticus 19:17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”
The testimony of the leaves of our lives are testimonies of kindness. Even when our neighbor crosses the boundaries of who they are in a way that infringes upon us or others, we can rebuke them, but we never hate them. The leaves of our lives are expressions of love and life given to another as the true wisdom of life. The works of our lives are works that seek for peace. The expressions of our tongues seek to make peace and to ward off the destructive ways of death. We seek the instructions of God that change our ways to be ways of life that the leaves of our lives might bring healing and not disease to our world.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. 3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. 5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.
As the people of God, we must seek to give soft answers to those who are harsh towards us and others. If we are harsh, we will only propagate anger. We won’t bring healing. We can know the truth, but we must never use the truth to destroy another human being. It is foolish for us to ever seek to destroy someone else. The purpose of truth is always redemptive. We deserved the condemnation we embrace, but the love of God came to make us free. God loved us while we were still sinners. He loved us when we were evil towards Him and others. God cares about the evil and the good. We must always use the words of our mouths and the expressions of our lives to bring life to others. To not be true to this is a perversion to being sons and daughters of a loving Father who always gives life. It is common sense for us to seek to be like our heavenly Father to bring life to our world. It lacks sense to act as those in the world do and hope for life. Whenever we choose a different covering than that of God’s love, we lack the healing necessary for our journey in this world.
Jeremiah 30:12 “For thus says the LORD: Your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe. 13 There is no one to plead your cause, that you may be bound up; you have no healing medicines. 14 All your lovers have forgotten you; they do not seek you; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased.
For the leaves of our lives, the testimonies of our lives, to bring healing to our world there must be a constant and continual growth in our own maturity to be healed in our hearts and minds in every way. The prophet Jeremiah appealed to Israel that their wounds would be healed but they had desired the chastisement of a cruel one for they had rejected the healing medicine of a loving Father. They had chosen other lovers; they had chosen other sources of intimacy than God. The wounds of their lives were not wounding from an unloving God, they were wounds for choosing other sources of intimacy. The iniquities of their own hearts had propagated many sins in their lives. If they had chosen God, they would have found healing medicine to heal their wounds. God’s love covers a multitude of sins, and He heals ever sin-sick soul.
Ted J. Hanson
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