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*Special thanks to Shila and Pragna for their encouragement and inspiration*

In And Through

1 John 4 - 12: “No one has ever seen God: But if we love one another God lives in us and His love is made complete ( perfect ) in us”.

Our book cover shows three hearts, the middle belonging to God with us being the connected. How truly amazing it is when realized, we are by God’s choosing, the imitators and reflectors of His heart toward others. Amazing and intimidating, simultaneously! I love the trusted privilege but the size of the task and the responsibility attached can often cause a bead or two of sweat to form on my brow! You see I know me. I know my limitations. Left to myself, this high calling within its daunting context would seem impossible. The good news: I’m not left to myself!

I find it interesting that our scripture states: God’s love is made complete ( perfect ) in us. Well, it being God’s love that’s referred to, it’s already perfect, so how can perfect become more so?

Perhaps we could think of it on these terms: If I build a “perfect” house but don’t move in, it hasn’t achieved its desired result of being used and enjoyed. The house is still perfect but its lack of occupancy leaves it “incomplete”. In fact, somewhat wasted! You see, the goal wasn’t so much to build a perfect house but rather live in a perfect house! And so it is with God’s love. While being perfect it isn’t made complete without our participation and co-operation. His plan has always been to love His creation through His creation. “For God so loved the world”. The whole world!

Back to our good news: It’s not our love on display but rather His, in and through us. God desires to love YOU using His love through ME! Pretty awesome when you think about it!

Getting Out Of The Way

John 15 - 4 & 5: “Remain in Me as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself: It must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing”.

When is the last time you walked by an orchard or vineyard and heard the sounds of branches grunting and groaning to produce fruit? They are both very quiet places while producing much. The branches, understanding their pre-destined role in the grand scheme of things, simply draw from their source of necessary nutrients and bear fruit without effort. What they bare, the world gets to share! But the question is: Who is actually responsible for the fruit. The Vine!

This metaphor that Jesus uses in John, is seldom taught in association with loving one another and yet is perfectly applicable. In the same book of John, the same chapter, and on the same theme:

John 15 - 8 > 12: “This is my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved Me so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you keep my commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you”.

The key to having this divinely inspired love for others as our new natural is our connectivity factor to the Source which includes US getting out of the way and letting HIM flow through us. As written in previous books but worth repeating: It’s the superior replacing the inferior!

John 13 - 35: “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another”.

Why will this love make us identifiable as His? Because this love spoken of is radically different as is reflective of its radically different Supplier! We as branches do not represent ourselves but rather our magnificent Vine, Jesus. Let’s face it, it’s His love not ours that we are called to bear!

A magnificent love that selflessly displayed itself ever so vividly on a cross! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. There’s really only one remaining question to the completion of the equation: Will we “so love” the world as we’ve been loved by God?

Can You Imagine

Can you imagine living life with different eyes. Eyes that have been transformed by heaven to only see as God sees! Wow, that would be transcendently amazing! I want those eyes! I believe I’m supposed to have those eyes! I also believe Jesus had those eyes.

We mentioned the cross. I’m convinced if I so desire, Jesus will give me His sight to see others as He saw them that day. I believe that wherever I go, God’s indwelling Spirit can help me see the person standing next to me as “one” who Jesus knew by name that day and declared: This is for you! I believe “that kind of sight” makes loving others a foregone conclusion.

As previously mentioned: That would be in my opinion, transcendently amazing! To have God’s love blind me to the obvious and reveal to me the glorious in each and every person I meet, is my desire. You see I have a hidden motive. That revelation reminds me of how much I am truly loved by God! Folks, it’s in my best interest! It’s not sacrificial its beneficial!

May I share a little real life story to enhance “the point”. Have you ever had one of those nasty mornings when ”the cloud” is introduced to you first thing as your eyes open. You don’t know where it came from but it’s most certainly there. Such was the case recently, so I went through my high volume, cloud removal, ‘’thank you’s” to God for the day followed with equally high volume singing of my great Lord’s praises. While being slightly helpful, I do believe I heard “the cloud” laughing at me, un-intimidated by my behavior. So what to do, I thought. I didn’t want to waste my entire day with this uninvited, cloud hovering over my heart.

It was time to bring out the heavy artillery! LOVE! So I prayed: “God I’m getting really annoyed with this cloud, so I’m getting dressed and going for a walk to the grocery store. If You would kindly orchestrate me meeting a perfect stranger to “love on’’ with your love, I’d appreciate it. If You could see your way clear to make it a lady that would even be better”.

Well, my prayer went something like that but you get the idea! I already had learned: When you least feel like doing it, is when you most need to do it! My Lord’s cross taught me that!

It’s interesting, when you pray like that you are in ‘’eyes wide open” status to see the answer. And there she was in all her glory, standing directly behind me in the check-out line! Thank You Lord!

A magnificently beautiful brown skinned lady of about eighty years of age wearing a perfume that was absolutely intoxicating. She had eyes full of life as if being unaware of her number of years spent on planet earth.

I leaned over ever so gently with a hand on her shoulder and asked if she would allow me the privilege of paying for her groceries. She agreed with thanks, I did, and the cloud disappeared!

Silly you might think or no more than coincidence perhaps. Well, consider this: It could have been a two hundred and fifty pound man behind me thus putting my one hundred and thirty pound frame in serious jeopardy.

But I was specific when I prayed and God delivered a lady! And not to forget: The cloud did vanish! It would seem clouds aren’t comfortable around God’s love in action. The bible states clearly that “God is love” and I truly believe He honors those who choose to love by answering their silly prayers!

God also delivers “humor” at times: The cashier asked me if I would mind waiting for her shift to end. Evidently she needed to pick up a few things!

God has made it that “loving’’ is the antidote for many of our emotional ills. It’s very high on His list of priorities and rewarded as such. But it all comes back to our Vine Jesus who imparts sight to us branches enabling us to see others as being made in God’s own image and reacting to them accordingly. They are all valuable in His sight which should be our sight!

“In and through”. If it’s only “in” then the purpose is defeated. May both be obviously present in my life Lord Jesus, thus making Your love complete and perfect in me.

Recently while listening to one of my favorite communicators Louie Giglio, he paraphrased this scripture from Ephesians 5 - 13: “Do not get drunk on wine which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit”. Louie’s paraphrase: Be under the influence of the right influence.

When doing so, life has a certain tangible and recognizable ‘’flow” of being obviously pre-planned and pre-ordained by God. Who’s to say what my new lady friend was dealing with in her own personal life. Who’s to say if she may have also had a cloud hovering over her heart that God wanted removed. Perhaps my cloud was imparted to me by God to get me out of my home and into that grocery store. I know this; She left with a wonderful smile. Perhaps she needed to know she was loved and noticed as being important!

Folks, there’s nothing more spectacular that seeing God love another through you. If you’ve never tried it I would strongly suggest you do. In time it becomes addictive behavior in the best of ways! Walking “under the influence of the right influence” in love, is an incredible lifestyle.

My Ministry Into Our Ministry

Mark 6 - 38 & 41: “How many loaves do you have He asked?” “Go and see”. When they found out they said, “Five and two fish”. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to His disciples to DISTRIBUTE to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all”. ( Five thousand plus, were fed that day! )

In the biblical story of the “fishes and loaves”, I so clearly see three dynamics in play to achieve the desired completion of the heavenly orchestrated equation. The young boy GAVE what little he had, our Lord then MULTIPLIED it, and the disciples then DISTRIBUTED it.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus, after the multiplying didn’t say, “Come and get it”. What He did say was, “Everyone find a place to sit on the grass and I’ll bring it to you, through my own”. Folks, He loves to involve us. He loves to make us matter! We are blessed beyond measure to be written into, His stories! Just imagine: Invited by Him to participate in His plans for others!

From the inception of the idea of writing books to be made available to “all freely”, there has never been a moment when I haven’t been aware of its ministry context. I could easily be seen as the “young boy” in the story. Jesus has most certainly multiplied my meager offering to Him.

So may I invite and encourage you to be a distributor of that which He has multiplied, thereby elevating “My Ministry” into “Our Ministry”, thus completing “His Ministry”. There’s something about that idea that sounds “perfect” to my heart!

We all have friends, family, work mates, school mates, etc. I’ve included a simple directional on “how to find” the “fishes and loaves”. Please feel free to share “what you eat” with others. You have no idea where it could lead to! That young boy’s mother could never have dreamed, what that little lunch she had prepared for her son on that fateful morning, would produce!

Thanks in advance. Bill Taylor

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