Every Soul

Every Soul

Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT) You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

It’s been about a year now since I started shuttling our girls to a youth ministry not quite an hour from home. Somehow, the Lord “tricked” me back into serving the youth. At first, I just sat in the back of the room “waiting” since the drive was so long. When I left youth ministry, it was with certainty that I would not do it again. Ministry takes your heart from your body and divides among those you serve. It is vulnerability. It is painstaking. So when the hurt came, it was deep. God has such a sense of humor. Not only was he gently and lovingly prodding me back into service, but opening my heart to love like this again.

I love these kids. They have an amazing youth pastor who has committed her life to them literally, figuratively and spiritually. They are little twigs growing into mighty oaks before our eyes. However, there is a common thread of need in these young people that rises up constantly. Feeling insignificant, they do not think they matter. Even the strongest of our group has battled these feelings leading to depression and discouragement even feelings of suicide. Yes, suicide. The value on human life has been deemed worthless in the world that we live in. Desensitized by media and other influences called entertainment. Babies, yes babies, are killed every single day without a second thought and thrown away like garbage. The elderly, men and women, who invested and produced the place that is now forgotten. Anyone who is different than us or with any perceived limitation segmented and compartmentalized so that the “norm” is maintained. Evil prevails against our world because somehow we have forgotten that every human being is a soul created by the Living God with Great Purpose and Infinite Value.

Perhaps you don’t believe in God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. That is your right. It is part of freedom. God allows us to choose what we will believe. The great thing about truth is that it is not dependent on belief because it exists all on its own. When I was a teenager, mixed with all those emotions trying decide who I was in Jesus Christ, my youth leader shared Psalm 139 with me. I share this same chapter with many young people who struggle with self-worth. I wonder if we could grasp and fully understand just how precious every soul is then maybe once again people would value human life. I am sharing it with you today because you matter. You are not insignificant. You have a purpose. God loves you. He has from the beginning along with every other human being that He created.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.” God created all human life. Even the madman and murderers who plague the earth killing innocent victims and robbing human life. He created every single soul with the same wonderful complexity. His Workmanship is marvelous. What if we all knew it? In your mother’s womb, no matter how you got there, the Lord was with you filling you with opportunity, purpose and creating a plan. In fact, every single day of your existence has been previously recorded. (Verse 16)

God’s Thoughts of you are precious. According to Jeremiah 29:11, they contain a future and hope. Future for this life and hope for forever. We must only find it to attain it. We find our life when we seek God wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) When we encounter the Living God, it is not to find condemnation but our life. The existence that He created for us in the absence of evil in the dismissal of sin. He offers it to us because His Grace is sufficient in our weakness. So it is with this in mind that I would like to remind those who are breathing today, God loves you. He has a plan for you. You can obtain it but simply turning from sin and stepping into His Presence.

For those who do know Jesus, you know all of this. Yet, still may feel insignificant and worthless. How do I know? Oh, it’s tough because you clean up nice. Removing the overt sin from your own life that socially unacceptable in the church culture and attempting to suppress those things that others might condemn you for – you look the part. Walking the walk and talking the talk it all seems to be working well. You are blessed. You are shouting the house down every Sunday. Faithfully attending the midweek service which is really for the super saved. “We” have it all together wrapped up in religion and routine. But do we understand the “preciousness” of His Thoughts have nothing to do with the work we do for Him but the Work that Christ is doing in us? If so, we would open up our exclusive organization and congregation to all people. Our hearts would be set on sharing the Love of Christ to all mankind rather than hoarding it for the “worthy”.

Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT) I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

Last night in a crowded nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a gunman killed fifty (50) beautiful souls. Souls that mattered. People who counted. God’s Thoughts concerning them were precious right down to the one who died caught in the act of murder. It grieved the Lord to see such a slaughter. The tragedy continued in the midst of conversation resonating from that moment. No more guns. No more gays. No more nightclubs. No more this. No more that. Arguments overshadowing the ringing cellphones strewn across the dance floor as family and friends try to reach their lost loved ones. Pray for Orlando popped up all over social media. If everyone could stop for just a moment, just a moment. The reason people continue to die every single day is evil. Evil introduced to this world in the very beginning. Evil is overcome by the Love of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ. The only way that evil will ever be driven back is by His Love permeating our planet. Unconditional love that doesn’t have an opinion but lives with a heart set on knowing God’s Love and sharing it with all mankind. You matter. Your life matters to God even when you are not living what others might call a godly life. Every bad choice grieves the Lord because it robs us of that blessing.

Thank you Lord that I can never escape from Your Spirit. When I am in church, He is there. When I am at home, He is there. When I was running to the dark places, He was there. When I cried out for help, Jesus was there. Why? Jesus knows the value of our creation and worth of our soul. He died for us giving us the freedom to choose to live in the Light of His Love or choose the surrounding darkness. What would happen if we learned to love each other like Jesus?

I John 4:16-19 (NLT) We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.

People are looking for approval. They desire acceptance. Human beings form social groups to create an environment of likeminded camaraderie. Those outside the circle often express differing opinions or lacking commonality feel excluded. Churches are the same thing called a fellowship of believers but each has a “doctrine” of religious tradition and governing rules. Crying out for revival and loving the lost, but sitting in armchair thrones casting judgment on the people in the bar, the man with a gun and the society as a whole. What would Jesus do? I think His Love speaks for itself. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Welcome to the club? There is not a single soul exempt from sin. There is not a single soul that Jesus did not die for. His Grace is sufficient for all of us. If we knew His Perfect Love, we would not feel the need to project perfection but respond to His Perfect Love by loving others with the same passion and grace found in His Presence. If we were not afraid, we would love each other simply because He loved us first. But the truth is we don’t all know, believe or accept the Love of God in all its wealth giving completely freely or we wouldn’t be afraid to give it away the same.

Matthew 18:12-14 (NLT) “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.

“It is not my heavenly Father’s Will that even one of these little ones should perish…” Not one. Not even the radically religious zealot who died with his victims. It all goes back to the beginning when God in His Awesome Supremacy and Complete Sovereignty decided to create you and I knowing that our life would demand the sacrifice of His Son. He still thought that it was worth it. Such love will never be found in this world, it is ruled by darkness and evil. We are called to be the Light of the World. To share God’s Love like light. Yet there are so many obstacles. First, we must accept the Love of God for ourselves. Do you know how much God loves you? If so, love will be expressed through every orifice of our life – God’s Love is uncontainable. Are you looking for one more to love? When God’s Love and Grace overtake us, it kicks out the soapbox of opinions and megaphone messages concerning the heat of hell and significance of sin to express a love that requires both arms and feet as we go to those who are lost, hurt and dying.

If the massacre had occurred in a church last night, would you have responded any differently? Would you have gone to that place to offer support to the families? Would you have gone into your prayer closet to pray? Would it have changed your response? Jesus always leaves the ninety-nine for the one. If a gay couple walked into your church, how would they be welcomed or would they feel like social outcasts? If a homeless man sat by you, would you even shake his hand or invite him to dinner. If a tweaked out drug addict came into the House of God, what would be our response? See we think we know the Love of God but until whosoever will let them come is the motto and movement of our churches – evil will continue to prevail. We cannot change the world. Prophecy is coming to pass. Jesus told us that love would grow cold and sin prevail. I am not here to change the world. My sole mission and purpose in life is to know the Love of God and share it with every single beautiful soul I encounter. Those who are family and friends. Every acquaintance and chance encounter. Yes, even my enemies. Perfect love casts out all fear.

John 3:16-17 (NLT) “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

God loved the world. He gave His Only Son – Jesus – so that everyone who believes in Him will not die but live forever with Him. Eternal life is not based on my ability not to sin anymore. Every single sin that I have committed or will in the coming days compromises my soul. There is no hierarchy of sin. God finds it all detestable. He cannot tolerate a single sin so Jesus paid the price for our sin. Stop acting so sanctimonious and let’s get real. We are not morally superior but have a depraved heart given to sin and darkness. It is a daily fight. The only way that I overcome sin in my life is to love Jesus more. Religion didn’t work for me. My relationship with Jesus made all the difference yet I still mess up. One sin is enough to demand my very life. I, too, struggle to forgive and pray for these people who commit such atrocities yet it is imperative that I do.

Romans 5:20 (NLT) “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.”

I was created with a beautiful soul as a Masterpiece by God. It is in me. It is in you. You have a purpose and plan containing a future and hope to be discovered in His Love. The more that we part ways with sin the more of this wonderful life that is experienced. Enough about me? If I am not happy with the world that I live in, I should probably get used to it because according to God’s Word – it is on a pathway to complete and total destruction. However, this world is filled with beautiful souls that Jesus decided were worth dying for. He sees every single creation of a human life as important. We must value human life, too. We must love all people even those hidden in mother’s wombs or nursing homes who have lost all cognitive thought. We are to love those who are different. Those who make us uncomfortable. The ones who cut us off in traffic and cuss us out in line. Christians must stop using God’s Word as a weapon and turn it into a net. Becoming fishers of men requires drawing all men to Christ not the one’s we think are worthy. Every last one means something to Him.

Love is not a noun. Love is a verb. So maybe if we swallowed our pride and need to feel superior to roll up our sleeves and distribute God’s Love and Grace to others…all others. Stepping down from our high horse to help those who have fallen to get up walking with them arm in arm through their trials straight to the Cross. Maybe just maybe…we could make a difference. Could it be that if grace abounded in us that that there might be a revival? What if the doors of our churches were opened a little wider? What if we scooted over to make more room giving up our cherished seat? Love is outside of our comfort zone but not beyond our reach. These tragedies will continue. The closer Jesus is to His Return as He closes the distance between Heaven and earth, evil will press. There will be violence. There will be heinous and senseless acts. The only difference the church can make is to express a love greater than the prevailing evil. To abound in grace and generosity tearing down the walls between congregations and barriers from the world. We have a job to do.

In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” The greatest tragedy is not when someone dies. If they know Jesus Christ, it is a step from imperfection to immediate perfection as sin is completely removed and they live in His Presence forever. We miss them but they would not come back for a second. The real tragedy is when someone dies forever without hope. Do opinions really matter in that moment? I don’t think so. Life is precious. God made it to be that way. Every single soul matters to the Lord. Hebrews 11:31 talks about the faith of Rahab the prostitute. Not the former prostitute, but the prostitute. It doesn’t tell us that she gave up her profession but that she had faith. Who am I to judge the faith of another? Am I tainting the Fruit of the Spirit in my own life by judging others and their life? Please Lord examine my heart. I want grace to abound in my life to every soul.

John 15:12-13 (NLT) This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

Friends, I have said it before and I will say it again. We are all in this together. We are God’s Children. It is His Will for all to be saved even though not everyone will. There is not greater love than when we lay down our life for another. To be pushed out of our comfort zone and beyond all conditions to love others just as they are because that is how Jesus loves us… that is how He loves me. Love each other the same way I have loved you. This is God’s Will for your life expressed by His Son. Stop overthinking it. Just do it. Stop analyzing others. Love them. Stop being political and be radical in love for all mankind. It is the one and only thing that Jesus has required of us. Why not try it? You are significant. You have resurrection power inside of you. Let it out. God made you to be a masterpiece displaying His Love for His Glory.

Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 

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