Day #20

Psalm 119:165-167

As a young seeker, I spent time at a Christian commune with a group of other young people. While I learned much about the Bible, the group unfortunately developed some fanatical tendencies. Strictly forbidding alcohol, drugs, parties, rock music, dancing, and all other worldly vices, but not encouraging healthier forms of recreation, the leaders created a dismal atmosphere. Many turned to food as an escape—it was all we had left! Fearing that trap, I pretty much went on a starvation diet, ending up with a case of anorexia.  

We saw the law of God as strictly prohibitive and prescriptive—as in “don’t do this; do this.” Yet it is, even more essentially, descriptive. In fact, Moses was the first one to codify the law; it existed since the beginning of time in an uncodified form. The law of love had always governed the unfallen universe, from the inside out. Every being lived in a state of continual self-giving, generosity, and joyful others-focus. Angels had no need of a checklist of do’s and don’ts. 

At the same time, love has a form and structure, a moral integrity and boundaries. Like the stalk, leaves, and blossom of a plant hold its life, the structure of love serves its sustenance. The law explains this. Lying breaks trust. Adultery violates intimacy. Murder instills fear which expels love. The law, at its core, is a description of how life and love actually work. 

Understanding this will help us love God’s law as a thing of beauty rather than a set of impossible rules designed to make us fail.  

Jesus said to consider the lilies, so let’s think about flowers for a moment. Imagine a tiny seed swelling in the moist ground. It bursts as a shoot emerges, which, craving the sunlight, finds its way through the soil to the surface. Now it emerges, tender and green, fanning out into stalk and leaves. Then a tiny bud forms, with the promise of gorgeous petals wound tightly inside it. The day comes when the sweet sunlight beckons it to burst open, unwinding slowly in rich, glorious color. That flower is you. God has created you according to a design. He grows you according to that same design. Just as He brings forth the blossom, He guides you into showing forth the colors of love. This is His law of love at work to make you all you can be. 

Heavenly Husbandman, grow us according to your design. Help us to live the law of love, and love the law that shows us how to live. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Lord, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly.” Psalm 119:165-167

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

58 thoughts on “Day #20

  1. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    Wow! I love this meditation! It broke me with tears of thankfulness. A very refreshing and inspiring way to look at God’s law! Designed to help me grow and become the flower of His dreams! The song is absolutely beautiful! My heart is singing and rejoicing! Full of gratitude and hope! I like listening to people and their life experiences because it helps me grow and learn and keeps things in perspective. I love being a Momma and wife. I love painting and giving the finished product to someone to hopefully cheer them up, singing, playing piano, being with my family and praying for my family.
    Peace Everyone

    Reply
  2. Katrina

    Hi Jennifer
    Is it possible to buy a CD with just the meditation scripture songs on it? For me it would be better than relying on my phone. And I’d love to memorize them through song.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Jane

      I thought that would be a great idea too! Hopefully it can happen. If not, or until then you could check out scripturesinger.com to learn scripture through song, although that is an app for your phone. Another option is the group “Trilogy” –they’ve made a lot of scripture music CDs. I agree that it’s so much easier to commit scripture to memory with music.

      Reply
  3. Daniel Parsons

    What are the ways in which God has uniquely equipped you to serve? In other words, how do you love in your unique, God-given way?

    God called me to record the Life Journal Bible Reading Plan for the entire year last year. I had to get a Zoom account for my business and I was able to use Zoom to display the verses and record the video and also an audio file for my Sound Cloud channel. I believe my gifts are using websites to share HIS Love with others. I own 6 domains right now.

    Reply
  4. Rachel

    Hi all! 👋

    God has equipped me with harp playing to serve others. He helped me realize that recently, even before this meditation, and it’s changed the way I think about my performances.

    He has equipped me with this talent, and He asks me to give it back to Him so He can use it to bless others. He doesn’t force me to give it back, He only calls. I’ve become more aware of His calling, and I’m giving it back to Him more and more now. It makes me really glad that I can give my talent back to someone who will use it to the fullest.

    Praise God for His love and investment in me!

    Reply
    1. Jane

      That’s beautiful. I’m glad you are answering God’s calling. There’s so much you can do with harp to bless others. Due to Covid, last December someone in our neighborhood arranged a special “walk around & see the Christmas lights” evening event so we could connect with each other in our neighborhood. We had some great opportunities to connect with people because my daughter sat in our living room in front of the windows and played Christmas music on her harp. We piped the music outside and were able to hand out GLOW tracts and candy canes. God has used her talent of playing harp to provide so many connections that we would not have had otherwise.

      Reply
  5. Valerie

    Such important thoughts to remember. I love through cooking and hospitality, and through composing music. Together with my husband, we love through deep conversations with others and through music and design. So thankful that God sees fit to work though us!

    Reply
      1. Valerie

        Oh I didn’t see this right away. My husband just released an album called “Find Us”. I wrote and produced strings for two of the songs, as well as helped with mixing and mastering and general support. The song with the most input from me is “Does He Have Time for Me?” https://open.spotify.com/album/6IgutM4E0xlNsxMoi38iTP?si=0uePEUBBQM2jyCEv-jVfTQ

        I also spent many years arranging for Fountainview, but have since been learning more about composing and producing myself. Here’s one of my tracks from last year, a love-themed one: https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/7QFEaC8dyFVx3MFD6

        Reply
  6. Ann

    I so loved this mediation with the imagery of a flower growing! Thank you so much, Jen, for this lovely visual picture. Our Creator God is worthy of praise! I think servant-type leadership and love of gardening are gifts that equip me as a leader for our church-sponsored community garden.

    Reply
  7. Sarah

    I needed this meditation today. I love the illustration of the lilies. I remember when I was 19 I heard about how people suffer around the world, and I realized when I heard about their suffering, it didn’t move me. But I knew it moved God, and so I began to pray that He would break my heart with the things that break His and that He would fill me with love for people that would move me to do something. From a small child I wanted to be a missionary, but that prayer led me to take the first step to love suffering humanity. Since then He has brought me to S.E. Asia where I have met many of the people He was teaching me to love even before I knew them. Helping others get an education and finding ways to provide for those who have nothing and are in need is one way I share God’s love. There are others, too. I play piano and sing, but I have lost my musical skills somewhat over the past 10 years without instruments and people to sing with. But I’m redeveloping my skills here at school and want to use them to bless others. I also enjoy writing and languages, and I am working to develop those skills to create and translate materials for people who do not have all the resources we have in English. I’m so thankful for God’s gifts of love that He lets us use to make lives better, the both other people’s lives and our own as we share.

    Reply
  8. Shirley Mann

    I think my biggest gift is teaching. My career was teaching high school students, but I have also taught all ages at Sabbath School. I very much enjoy teaching the adult class at my church now. I hope I can cause others to think more deeply about spiritual things, and I know I also learn as I prepare for the class and as the others comment in class.

    Reply
  9. Amy

    I know God has a plan for me but I struggle to see my own gifts. However I keep getting up every day to care for my family and teach my children. I am blessed to be able to do this.

    Reply
  10. Marilyn

    I was in that strict commune. It left scars on my soul. While a huge part of me was embracing the truth as a gift of holy amazing love, another part of me realized I was unworthy. I spent years trying to find my way through the spiritual jungle of dominant views that demanded different aspects of perfection. Hearing this, and remembering when these scars were first made…makes me weep. How deeply I have longed to trust a God that I also fear may reject me in the end. Even writing this sounds messed up and twisted. There are trickles 9f healing coming into my weary soul however. I ask myself, when did love become unmoving? Why did I freeze and halt along the journey? How can I defeat these lies lodged deep into my psyche? But this meditation gives me hope.

    Reply
    1. Karen

      We defeat lies by choosing the truth. Praying for the healing of your psyche Marilyn! Let God hold you, comfort you and teach you His truth.

      Reply
  11. Sharon

    I don’t know. I can give you a list a mile long of everything I can’t do. But what I can do? That was shamed and traumatized into oblivion when I was a child. I’m still waiting for God to bring whatever it is back to life.

    Reply
  12. Kristina

    I too struggle to see my own gifts. The Lord has been showing me that my family is my first and most important mission field! At this stage in my life I am a home missionary, serving my family. Intercessory prayer is something the Lord has put on my heart to do as well.
    By the way I love this explanation of the law!

    Reply
  13. Cheryl

    I’m not sure I have any gifts to share.

    I really appreciate the flower analogy though. It reminds me of the song 🎵 lyrics…

    …He’s the Lily of the valley, He’s the bright and morning star. He’s the fairest of ten thousand, every body ought to know.

    Reply
  14. Jane

    At first, I couldn’t think of anything so I prayed that God would reveal the answer. Then I realized that when people are in crisis and they come to me with open hearts regarding their concerns I find myself saying encouraging things to them. Sometimes I even surprise myself with things that I say because it wasn’t anything that I carefully planned out. It seems that the Spirit is somehow able to work through me to bring comfort to people. I praise God whenever He is able to do this because I really have a heart for hurting people and want to see them find the abundant life that God desires to provide for them and to help them find the “giftedness” He has given them. That is probably my biggest passion. Other ways I enjoy serving/loving include: praying with people, singing, writing, coordinating events, and creating productions that will hopefully inspire people and draw them closer to God.

    Reply
  15. cree

    I gave me this joy of cooking for others 🍲 and being able to help them in any practical way that they need 🧹🚙 🛒. He also helps me identify 🔍 what people need & helps me find them 👀 . He helped me discover that I geek-out with anything related to logistics, spreadsheets, and planning activities 🤓 📋 📊 😁

    I am grateful for His grace —to equip and use a faulty person such as i 🤍

    Reply
  16. Megan

    My gifts are creativity (art & design), helping, and in more recent years, empathy. I rarely find myself using the first two now, because of exhaustion. The third is something I’m getting to exercise more and more since the pandemic. I try to listen reflectively and refrain from unsolicited advice, because I have been scarred by that in the past. I’m very sensitive to the value of just being ‘present’ (when my health allows it). Nowadays, I’m perpetually stuck between what I want to do, and what I’m able to do (which is a shadow of what might actually be possible). I try to break things into micro-tasks to get things done, yet always come up short. Anyway, that’s how it is.

    Reply
      1. Megan

        Thanks Jen. Not yet, as I don’t have a website right now, but some of it is on my Instagram (@mde.j), starting back in 2014, and then posted here and there.

        Reply
  17. Ann

    I feel God has called me to serve Him as a nurse in a rural clinic. I enjoy caring for people. I pray that people see Jesus through me.

    Reply
  18. Karen

    Prayer is so powerful. I started a prayer ministry in 2018 and it is still going by the grace of God. I am praying for you all and that God will speak his comfort and truth into all our brokenness so we can heal, praise Him and save others.

    Reply
  19. Sandy

    God encourages me in many ways, the safe healthy friendships I’m developing, when He helps me voice my needs without being harsh or angry, when the knot in my stomach goes away after meditating, when I’m walking and I allow myself to be still and silent nothing playing in my headphones, In so many little ways it’s hard to explain. Sometimes it takes looking back to realize that was God. 🙏🏽🤎

    Reply
  20. Sabrina

    One of the ways I love is through connecting with people on a deep level, listening to them, empathizing with them, and giving them a safe, no-judgment space in which to talk.

    Reply
  21. Mel

    Hello, I thought I had posted on this one already, but I don’t see my comment so I’ll try again. Recently I’ve baked a lot of bread for others who are in need. I am also really blessed to be a kindergarten Sabbath school teacher. God’s given me a passion for sharing about healthy cooking too! COVID has really taught me what a gift it can be just to call someone who is lonely too and see how they are doing!

    Reply
  22. Tara

    Loved this meditation! I like to open up our home to our students and staff who need a home away from home. My husband and I love working with teenagers and while I don’t have any biological children, a lot of these kids have a very special place in my heart.

    Reply
  23. Vanessa

    I know that God has given me the gifts of hospitality, listening, and mercy. That is my service, and I’m thankful for my gifts!

    Reply
  24. Ericka

    i just often attach to people. and i always try to think about people in the best light i can – i try not to assume the worst, i try to figure out what an individual might be going thru or feeling if something is wrong. as a group, i tend to group people in good/bad kinds of groups, but on an individual level, i just try to figure out the WHY in who they are or what they do… i just try to love people as they are because we all come from hurt in one way or another and that affects us in good or bad ways… i feel like im not getting my words out right. anyway.

    Reply
  25. A J

    What are the ways in which God has uniquely equipped you to serve? In other words, how do you love in your unique, God-given way?

    I have the gift of administration. I enjoy to organize and support weekend retreats for youth and women’s ministries. These events have been blessings for me to be a part of and to share with those who attend.

    Reply

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