My beloved is mine, and I am his;
He pastures his flock among the lilies.
~ Song of Songs 2:16

God’s story is a love story. We can read His story in the Scripture, behold it in the seasons, wonder over it in the oceans and maybe more than anywhere else, we can catch glimpses of His great love in our relationships, the completely broken and the less broken ones.

The completely broken ones point the way, even with flaming arrows, to what His Spirit within us wants us to know, and wants us to experience: wholeness. The less broken ones are conduits, vessels and pictures. They are all small love stories pointing to the best love story of all. We are created, designed, for this wholeness, this beauty, this love—no matter how we arrive.

To our peril, we ignore the story. We wander far too near the edge that our Shepherd desires to lead us away from. He tells us where “He pastures His flock”. It is among the lilies. It is among beauty. We have trouble recognizing it often because we have become more conformed to the world, one tiny step at a time, that soon becomes not tiny at all and our hearts are hardened.

We must remember, His story is a love story, our life depends on it. He calls us back to His ways, to His paths because He loves us, He has goodness and beauty and truth for us. No matter what we go through we can live, alive.

Yes, we have a guaranteed “losing” of our lives along the way, to follow Jesus, but it is not the violent death of falling off a cliff. It is the shedding of old shells we were never meant to stay in permanently. It is the way of the “death” of the caterpillars, putting off the old self in order to take flight with the new. This is our next step with the Shepherd Who has called us His own, even before we knew where He pastured His flock.

If what you know about this love story is more broken than unbroken, if you’ve never experienced the small love stories pointing to the best love story of all, never met a good shepherd, pastor, father or friend: take heart, your very need, is your ticket forward.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.”

If this week you find yourself following Jesus through transformation, shedding and dying to what is earthly in you, then take courage and know you are not alone. Our family around the world is literally choosing death, discomfort, and loss rather than denying Jesus as their Messiah or His Word; they are giving up all to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, because they too have found this is a story of love we’re all in. LOVE CONQUERS ALL.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”-Jesus

So, together, let’s: “Put to death…what is earthly in (us): sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these (we) too once walked, when (we) were living in them. But now (we) must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that (we) have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” - Colossians 3:5-10

“Not all of us are called to die a martyrs’ death, but all of us are called to have the same spirit of self-sacrifice and love to the very end as these martyrs had.” -Richard Wurmbrand,

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants”, says Psalm 116. That’s what we remember as we wear The Martyrs’ Cross around our necks and around our hearts. Love conquers all.

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Raynna, for the whole family
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We remember & pray for persecuted Christians all over the world, ponder & praise the beauty of our God and study His word to be rooted & grounded.

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