The Door of Opportunity

Dear Ones:

The Lord Jesus speaks to the church at Philadelphia in Rev. 3: 7-8, in declaring that HE opens doors, that no man can shut, and opens those that no man can open.  Paul speaks of an “open door” also in Colossians 4:3, and this in the context of a prayer.  In both cases, the “open door” is an opportunity, whether “in season or out of season,” that the Lord gives, in order for the “mystery of the gospel” to be preached, or the witness to the greatness, goodness, and holiness of God, to be proclaimed.  The issue of the witness, or the proclamation of the truth, specifically the gospel, is of paramount importance, as “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  There must be the proclamation, the declaration of the word of God, in small or great measure, if there is to be true faith born.

Let us go further in our consideration of “open doors,” and this, by looking at them as very real opportunities, not only to speak of the truth, of Christ, but to live the witness, to serve in a very tangible manner.   And again, we do not talk about “greatness of works” here, as Jesus says that even a cup of water given in His name is seen, noted, and worthy of reward.  Paul writes to the Galatians: “As we have OPPORTUNITY, LET US DO GOOD TO ALL MEN, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”  (Gal. 6:10)  What is he implying here?  Most certainly that God will open doors, create opportunities, for us to love and serve others.  The “open door” is the opportunity, to proclaim Christ by word, and also by deed.

Who is the man or woman who would “do good?”  He is that one described in Matthew 24, who is that faithful and wise servant who gives the household food in due season.  He, or she, is ever ready to give that which is “good,” and tangibly beneficial to those whom the Lord gives us to serve.  He, or she, is also that one who is a good and faithful servant, using all his resources, “…according to his several ability…,” to give, to serve, to be to others what they need.

One word about the “frenzy” of Christian service…God has not called us to “frenzy,” the emotional striving to see what we can do.  The true servant is one who is led by, consistently filled with the Spirit.  Our example is always the Lord Jesus.  Though he was never idle, never late, and never early, always “abounding” in the work of His Father, we never see him out of control, driven by need or emotions.  He is steadily,  in dependence upon His Father, doing the will of God, and serving others by the Spirit.  In all of our consideration of service, we must never forget that we are first called to “abide in Christ,” to live in Him, and derive all from Him.  That which we have to give, whether by word or deed, is to be by the Spirit.  Indeed, it is to be BY CHRIST, as we trust in Him.

So, today, since God’s mercies and compassions are new every morning  (Lam. 3:22), let us trust the Lord to open our eyes to see the “open doors,” the opportunities, whether for witness by preaching or teaching, or by tangibly serving others as they have need.  And let us go through those doors in faith, believing God to reveal His glory.  After all, this is the great purpose of giving us the opportunity, to trust Him, to believe Him for the “…King of glory to come in…,” into that situation, into that life.

Love, Dad

“If,” “Then”

Dear Ones:

God is always calling us “out” and “away” from our self-centeredness to life, and liberty.  One of His great, and yet, very simple methods in drawing out our hearts to him, is in His use of the little word, “If.”  How great a paradox, that so little a word, could have so many, and enormous, ramifications in our lives, and in those of others.  For example, the Lord Jesus said, “If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (Jn. 14:23)  Here, based upon the little word, “If,” is revealed to us the mystery which was hid from all the ages leading up to Pentecost, “Christ in us the hope of glory.”  But I am sure that the Lord Jesus, in the context of this chapter, is not just speaking of our union with Him, but of a communion with Him and the Father.  We are looking at the experiential love of the Father, and a communion with the Son and the Father that is based on His permanent presence in the heart.

“If ye love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” (Jn. 14:15-16)  Again, we are faced with this little word, “If.”  But with the consideration of it, let’s look at the “then,” for there are repercussions for the one who responds to the call to engage.  “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (Everlasting).”  Where there is love for Christ, there is the blessing of the Spirit.   The question then becomes, what is the meaning of His “everlasting” indwelling and presence?  What are the purposes and intentions, not to mention, the will of God, because of such blessing?  Certainly more than we could ever “ask or think.”

In our day and time, we are apt to make Christianity a very complicated thing.  But we must remember, that even a child can come to Christ, as well as an adult.  God can, and does, reveal Himself to children as well as adults, and sometimes the response of the child is greater than that of the adult.  The result is the revelation of Christ to the heart, by the Spirit, as the “Spirit of truth, ” our Teacher and Guide, even our Keeper.  How much does the Lord desire to reveal Himself to us in this manner, and in ways that exceed our grasp?  It will depend upon the simple words:  “If ye love Me…”  This is the great truth…to know the love of God, and to love Him, to know Him and to make Him known.

And so, let us not “despise the day of small things,” especially, the little word, “If.”  But let us use it as a gripping point in our climb to know God.  May the Lord Jesus enable us to set ourselves, in quiet dependence upon the Spirit, to love Him, and believe Him.  For IF we love Him, IF we have His commandments and obey them, “…I will love Him, and will manifest Myself to him.” (Jn. 14:21)  Is this not true Christianity, to love God, to know God, and discover in an ever-increasing manner, how much He loves us, desires to reveal Himself to us?

Love, Dad

Make It Plain

Dear Ones:

Perhaps one of the great characteristics of our day is that issues, and different matters and subjects, are not clear.  There seem to be so many factors and variables that we get lost in the weeds in regard to discerning the will of God, of being sure that the Lord is speaking to our hearts, and knowing that “…this is the way, walk ye in it.”

Where does one begin in order to have clarity?  In the Christian experience, we always begin with Christ, who IS our beginning.  Ever since that day when, by faith, we committed ourselves to Him forever, He became not only the primary focal point, but the beginning point of life, and the consequent direction and means of living.  Since He is such, is it not reasonable that this God, who is Light, is also a God of clarity?  And can we be assured, even convinced of the way forward, or of a decision to be made?

In Psalm 27, David writes this in his prayer: “…Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a  plain path, because of mine enemies.” (v.11)  All through the Psalms, we find the different psalmists praying the same thing, that God would teach them His ways, that He would guide in judgment, that He would teach in the way that the believer should choose.  Numerous are the promises in the world of God concerning receiving wisdom when asked for it, being led in righteousness for His name’s sake, and being instructed and taught in the way one is to go….and this with the addition, “….I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Ps. 32:8)

When God told Habakkuk to write his message to Israel, He said, “…make it PLAIN upon the tables.”  If there is one thing that Christ is always seeking to teach us it is that He is a God of clarity…of light.  He has called us to KNOW His will, to receive wisdom, to walk in the will of God, in “…all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”  Is this possible?  It is to the one who is willing to do the will of God, and who is looking expectantly for God to answer.  “I had fainted unless I had believed to SEE the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)  The psalmist is a man who is looking intently into heaven to Christ at the right hand of God.  He is seeking those things above, but not in a vain manner, but with the certainty of receiving.   Perhaps we do not receive clarity on matters pertaining to God because we are not expectantly looking…to receive.

“Long as my life shall last; Teach me Thy way.  Where’er my lot be cast, teach me Thy way.  Until the race is won, until the journey’s done, until the crown’s won, teach me Thy way.”

Love, Dad

Spiritually Minded

Dear Ones:

Jesus would very often in His teaching, not only draw a distinction between two things, but in doing so, reveal the deep contrast between them.  For example, He would tell Nicodemus:  “…That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (Jn.3:6)  Paul would use the same method to emphasis the difference between two issues, or matters, but also unveil the absolute opposing nature of the two.  And when it comes to matters “of the Spirit,” there is no greater contrast with those things which are of this world, and which are not.

Paul, in addressing the Corinthians, wrote the following concerning “wisdom:”  “…We speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet NOT the wisdom of the world, nor of the princes of the world, that come to nought (nothing)…but we speak a wisdom of God in a mystery, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” (1 Cor. 2:7)  He goes on to say that none of the princes of this world knew the truth of this “mystery,”…otherwise they would not have crucified the “Lord of glory.”  Now, what does he mean by this?   Simply, there is an enormous, opposing difference between the “wisdom of the world,” and the wisdom of God.

He makes another statement that should motivate us to seek the Lord even more than we do:  “…the things of God knoweth NO man, but the Spirit of God.” (v.11)  As in the case with Nicodemus, we are faced with that which is impossible with men, not only to know, but also to experience.  Without the Spirit of God, and His ministry to us, we are “flying blind.,”  we cannot see, nor understand.  But wonder of wonders, with respect to these “things of God, ” “…God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit.” (specifically this refers to those things which God has prepared for the believer…).  However, the ministry of the Spirit is presently active, in that, “…we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might KNOW the things that are freely given to us of God.” (v. 12)  Question:  What does God desire to reveal to us of Himself, and those things which are of Him?  Is not to be spiritually minded simply to be at the feet of Jesus, being taught by the same Spirit that anointed and filled Him, that we might KNOW the things of God.  The apostle Paul sums the matter up in declaring that “…we speak (things), not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (v. 13)

In considering this matter, let us always remember that, in our consideration of the a life lived, walking by the Spirit, that TRUTH is the great guide.  Paul told the Corinthians, “…I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding.” (1 Cor. 14:15)  Here is a balanced man, utterly dependent upon the Spirit of God, who has taken Him to BE his teacher, but at the same time, is using every faculty to know the truth, as it is in Jesus.  The ministry of the Spirit is always in conjunction with, and in perfect conformity with the objective truth of the word of God.  The question then becomes:  How much am I willing and desirous to learn from Christ by the Spirit?  I dare to say, we have a very small idea of what He desires to reveal to us of Himself, His ways, and purpose.  So, let us take the Spirit of God as our teacher, to lead us into all truth.  Then shall we follow on to know, not just about the Lord, but to KNOW His life, power and purpose.

Love, Dad

By Revelation

Dear Ones:

Christianity is just another religion, unless there is the intervention of God in the life, family, church…nation.  When God told Moses that He would not go up in the midst of Israel because of her rebelliousness, He meant in part that there would not be the manifest presence, the manifest blessing, which was the distinguishing mark of God’s people.  The witness was not in their “confession,” but in His revelation.

Again, when Israel was very low spiritually, and “…the word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open (frequent) vision.” (1 Sam. 3:1), there was no distinguishing factor of His manifest presence.  But when Samuel came on the scene that changed.  “And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord REVEALED Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” (1 Sam. 3:21)

When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, he spoke frequently of “revelation.”  In speaking of receiving the Gospel, he said that he was not taught it, nor received it by man, “…but by the REVELATION of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 1:12).  With regard to his conversion, and the Holy Spirit coming to dwell in his heart,  again he would write:  “…When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to REVEAL  His Son in me, that I might preach Him…” (v.15-16)  Lastly, with regard to being led by the Spirit, he would write:  “…And I went up (to Jerusalem) by REVELATION…” (Gal. 2:2)  The point here, as in the case of Samuel, is that God reveals Himself by the Spirit, in and through the word of God.  He not only opens up the meaning of the truth to us, but reveals how that truth applies.  But perhaps the point that changes us more than any other is that He reveals Himself in the heart…”Christ IN you, the hope of glory.”  There is, in the knowledge of His indwelling, all that we need for life and godliness…all is IN Christ, and we are IN Him.

So, let us pray as the Apostle prayed, that God would give to us individually, that “…Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…”  It is then that the heavenly comes to earth, and the reality of His presence begins to be unveiled.  It is in the very manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit, the fruits of Christ’s life, that the revelation is given to the church to edify her, and to the world, as a witness to the fact that God does indeed dwell among men, even in their hearts.  Our God is the God of revelation, personal,  powerful, and present.

Love, Dad

 

 

Unstoppable

Dear Ones:

It seems to me that there were two critical factors which could have stopped Jesus from going to the cross.  The first pales with respect to the second.  When Jesus spoke openly of his coming crucifixion and death, it was an individual from his inner circle who declared:   “Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.” (Matt. 16:22) The Lord’s answer:  “Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (v.23) There is no doubt that there was sincere love and concern coming from the heart of Peter.  And there is no doubt that the Lord Jesus loved His disciples, as He declared.  But in a moment of weakness, a moment when the enemy would take advantage of the faults of those closest to the Lord Jesus, there was the quiet appeal to Him to “save Himself.”  This He would not do, as He was “born crucified.” He would not be turned aside.

The second, and most certainly the most significant factor which could have deterred Jesus from going to the cross, occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It was there, in his absolute loneliness (apart from the presence of His Father), that the “cost” had to be embraced.  Scientists tell us that when one “sweats drops of blood,” it is indicative of intense internal turmoil and anguish.   And such was the experience of Christ, whose holy nature, and physical state, recoiled at the cup He was called to drink.  Mrs. Cousin once wrote in a hymn:   “Death and the curse were in our cup, O Christ, ’twas full for Thee! But Thou hast drained the last dark drop, ‘Tis empty now for me.  That bitter cup, LOVE drank it up, now blessings’ draught for me.”

It was written of the Lord Jesus that He set His face to go up to Jerusalem.  His resoluteness was such that his disciples even feared him.  How is it that He was so focused, so acutely sensitive to the temptations of the enemy, and strong enough to overcome in Gethsemane, endure the cross, overcoming all the abuse, and resistance?  I see but one answer…He loved His Father above all else, and upon the Love of His Father, He depended without reserve.

Love made Him sensitive to that which was contrary to His Father’s will and purpose.  Love made Him not leave the field of battle in Gethsemane, for the Father’s sake.  Love for the Father would enable Him to overcome His enemies by declaring, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  And lastly, Love would entrust His all  to the Father by saying, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.”

Indeed, death and the curse were in our cup…that bitter cup…LOVE drank it up…for the Father’s glory first, and then for our blessing.  Let us trust God for the same love, so that we too shall be unstoppable in our pursuit of His pleasure and glory.

Love, Dad

Peace In Babylon

Dear Ones:

An old hymn declares:  “…stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed.  Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”  In Isaiah 26:3, we read:  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Was it possible for Daniel, and those believers in Babylon, to know the reality of “perfect peace?”  I dare say it was, and it can be our experience today, if we follow the well-worn trail given to us by those who have gone before.

We have already dealt with the necessity of rejoicing in the Lord always, praying without ceasing, and giving of thanks in all circumstances.  These are prerequisites for Paul’s declaration:  “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  From Isaiah’s writings in the eighth century, through Daniel’s exile experience in the sixth, up through Paul’s prison epistles, we find that the reality of the pervasive, and “guarding” peace of God is indeed a constant river running deep, and available to every believer.  But how are we to know this peace?  Let’s look at Daniel’s path.

When Daniel was faced with lions in the 6th chapter of Daniel, we find him to be an older man, perhaps very old.  The lessons he had learned along the way, in the context of Babylon, first under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, then his godless son, followed by Darius the Mede, are essential to our faith.   Primary is his personal, individual devotion to Christ, which he maintained by worship and prayer.  Even though confronted by the possibility of his death, he would not be kept from 1. kneeling before God three times a day, 2.  Praying, and offering his supplications, and 3. Giving thanks unto God.  The discipline of devotions prepared his heart and mind for all else.  He would keep the Lord before him, the Eternal King, before whom he would bow, and submit the entirety of his existence.  Then he would pray, believing, seeking the Lord’s face.   In chapter 9 we read, “…I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes…”(v.3)  But then, he would always remember that every good and perfect gift, even life itself, comes “…from the Father of lights with whom there is no shadow cast by turning,” the God who is perpetually good.  Therefore, this man is kept in his heart and mind.  And when Darius comes to the lion’s den, with the lamentable question of whether Daniel’s God has been able to save, him, Daniel will answer:  “O king, live forever…my God hath sent His angel.” (6:22)

Today, let us set ourselves by His grace, to rejoice in Christ, pray without ceasing (remain in an attitude and disposition of prayer…), giving thanks in all things.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, setting Him ever before us, to trust in Him wholly.  Then we too shall not be moved, and know His peace, the peace that is Christ’s perfect peace, the unexplainable and indescribable peace of the God of peace.

Love, Dad

If You Love Me, Love One Another

Dear Ones:

The Apostle Paul wrote several tremendous prayers in his epistles, one of which is found in Philippians 1:9-11.  It is very interesting to note the parallels in Jesus’ instructions on prayer, and those found in Paul’s, are very similar.  Both men are facing the possibility of death, Christ facing his crucifixion, and Paul being the prisoner of Nero. There is therefore an urgency, and importance of “last words” to those they are addressing.  There is a common theme in these “last words,” and it has to do with loving one another.  For Christ, the command is clear:  “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn. 13:34)  Paul puts the imperative in the form of a prayer, a prayer for the Philippians, but also a pattern that the Philippians can use in praying for themselves and others.

The first aspect of this marvelous prayer of the Apostle concerns the quantity of love, “…and this I pray, that your love may ABOUND…in knowledge and in all judgment.”(Phil. 1:9) What does he mean by this?  Just as we HAVE the mind of Christ, being in union with Christ, we have also the love of Christ.  But this love is multidimensional.  Not only is it powerful, gracious, gentle, and self-effacing, but it is intelligent, and morally/spiritually astute.  In every situation, concerning every person, the opportunity presents itself to love, but with a love that is applicable, and effective for the moment.  For this we need “knowledge” and “in all judgment.”  Our motives may be right in facing a certain need, or ministering to certain people.  But our “knowledge” may be wrong.  True love knows and discerns HOW to love others.

Look closely at the Lord Jesus to see how He loved.  It is true that the ultimate expression of His love for us was His willingness to suffer and die on the cross.  However, He loved all during His ministry.  That love was “explained” by His different words addressing every individual, and circumstance.  To the paralytic, He would declare that he should take up his bed and walk.  And yet, the first issue that was needing to be dealt with was the forgiveness of sin.  To the woman with the issue of blood, and who just wanted to touch the hem of His garment  to be healed, the word was, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made the whole.”  To Jairus, whose daughter had died, came the words, “Fear not, only believe.”  In all of these circumstances the love of Christ for men, women, and children is expressed, but in a very intelligent and appropriate way, howbeit, sometimes very different.

Just as God does not make photocopies of us, but only masterpieces, the love of God and its multiple applications, cannot be mimicked, or photocopied.  Every opportunity is a call to trust the Spirit of God for the abundance of knowledge and this in all judgement, and decision-making.  The Lord thus enables us to “…approve things that are excellent.”

So, today, may we love one another…but appealing to God for the knowledge and wisdom to discern the highest and best for all.  It is as we pray, and trust God for this ABOUNDING knowledge and wisdom, that it will be given.  Then, we too will be able to love with the love of Christ in an appropriate manner that will meet the needs of those around us, and this, “…unto the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:11)

Love, Dad

 

Between Now and Eternity

Dear Ones:

It has been likened unto a race, and a fight.  It has also been described as a walk and a state of mind and heart.  It is that period of time between the present moment and the moment when we will be ushered into the presence of God, and time will be no more.  And to a certain extent the opportunity that we have on earth to glorify God will be over.  I say, “…to a certain extent,” because we do not know the effect of our present existence.  With regard to Enoch, though he had died, yet his life, works, and manner of life speaks still.  I have often marveled that the woman who poured precious oil on the Lord’s head prior to His crucifixion, would receive this commendation of the Lord:  “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial to her.” (Matt. 26:13)  The disciples were indignant at what she had done, for their “value system” was not that of the Lord Jesus.  So, we come again to our opportunity, this time for which we have been put on this earth.  How shall it lived, spent, used, …and according to what standards?  Shall it be in accordance to the value system of Christ?

Paul tells us that the race that he was running was a “certain” one, and one in which he did not “beat the air, ” or just fight in an indiscriminate way.  It was purposeful, and disciplined.  He was focused upon it, and the issues at hand, were very clear.  Hence, he is running this race “to obtain,” or to win.  What?  It was to hear those wonderful words from Christ’s lips, “well done, ” and “welcome home.”  He was looking down the corridor of time, his time, at that moment when he would enter forever into the unfettered presence of His Life and King.

Another aspect of this “opportunity of time, ” is that of looking through the eyes of the soldier.  Here is a man who is not tangled up in the affairs of this life.  He is free in mind and heart to love Christ.  He has risen up, and as the hymn puts it, “…put his armor on, standing in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son.”  So, to sum up, the race has been engaged in, and the battle embraced…all weights have been cast aside, all entanglements have been shed.  The purposeful opportunity is grasped, and the heart leans forward towards the objective.

Question:  Was the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ head in a race, in a battle?   She was indeed, for though we do not see a “powerful” individual accomplishing “greath things” to be noticed, she overcomes the opinions of the other disciples in order to worship Christ, and to demonstrate her thankfulness and love to Him.  What does it mean to run the race and to fight the fight?  It means that love for Christ is paramount, not only as the means to reach the objective, but it is that reward of heaven to the soul.  This is what counts for eternity.

“Love through me, Love of God,  There is no love in me, O Fire of love, light Thou the love, That burns perpetually.”

Love, Dad

 

Love, Cold or Hot?

Dear Ones:

In speaking of the last days, the Lord Jesus makes a statement that is very sobering:  “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12)  If there is one thing that is absolutely central to the Divine Purpose and Will, it is that the love of God be revealed, proclaimed, lived, and given.  He (God) loved first, He loves all, His love is everlasting…and the greatest evidence, and highest revelation, of the character of God is the love of God.  So, how is it that we come to the last days with such a declaration concerning love growing cold?  The answer has to do with the nature and capacity of true love.

The Apostle John tells us that “God IS love.”  This love of God gave all in the giving of His Son.  This is an undiminished, unchanging, everlasting love…there is NO variation or shadow cast by turning…the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Then WHY will love grow cold in the last days?

In the book of the Revelation, the first letter that the Lord sends to the seven churches is addressed to the Ephesian church.  It is a church that is impeccable in doctrine, and zeal.  But there is a single, and most significant flaw…the Lord declares:  “You have left your FIRST love..”  The consequence, “…remember…whence thou art fallen, and repent, and to the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5)  The point is simple:  Our highest duty, privilege, and charge, is to attend to the worship, and communion with Christ, because from Him alone comes the blessing, even Life.  His way is first and foremost in the sanctuary, in cultivating this love for Him.  It is ONLY out of such a love relationship with Christ, that HIS love is known in and through us.

Scripture declares that in the last days, “…iniquity shall abound.”  All we need to do to short-circuit our fellowship and love of Christ, is to allow sin to creep in.  Often this is due simply to the neglect of aloneness with Christ.  Worship, according to the truth of His word, and utter reliance upon the Spirit, is essential if we would love Him as we ought.

In recognizing that God’s love requires a love of its kind, and that it is only BY the Spirit, let us take heart to realize and grasp that the knowledge, experience, and overcoming power of the love of God, can be known in the smallest and grandest manner, by first loving Christ, walking with Him, communing with Him.  “Coldness” may surround us, but it does not need to overcome us.  Let us tend to the essential of first love of Christ, then we shall know His overcoming love in life and service.

Love, Dad