Beginning something new today and arrived greeted by this image. Thank you Jesus, I love this and I can finally see the full circle to You. ❤️

I spent quite a bit of time this weekend reflecting on the character traits of the Heavenly Father. Which was timely given the reason for yesterday as we celebrated our parental fathers. For me it was an even more important time to reflect and be thankful for the guidance our Heavenly Father gives toward all of us.

So I asked Him the question, what exactly are your qualities Jesus? Are they permissive, are they always nice? Or are they strict, harsh at times? The best way I know how to hear Jesus answer is by spending time in prayer, reading scripture, listening to Christian counsel. Then quiet myself enough to observe and notice what the Spirit places in front of me. With as open of a heart as possible.

One of the first devotional topics that came in front of me was this statement: Messages from mainstream culture tell us think of yourself first and do whatever it takes to fulfill it.

Quality #1, Jesus says do the opposite. In order to do that though we need to study what He does and then model that in ourselves. Learn from Him and look for that in others. Will we be perfect in this opposite land? Not always, we’re not Jesus. But we can do our best. Will it be popular? Usually not. Almost always not.

Second point placed in front of me is the notion of lightness. The characteristics of Christ do not exhaust or drain us of energy.

Quality #2, Jesus says His burden is light. Rest and peace are more important than heavy burden. If we have to choose in our lives or faith or actions things that make us weary, tired, exhausted, overwhelmed then chances are we are listening to religion or cultural guidance rather than having a relationship with Jesus.

The next characteristic is confidence. Culture tells us to put confidence in human effort but Jesus says our confidence should be in the Lord.

Quality #3, Jesus is confident. But our confidence points to what Christ has done for us rather than giving ourselves the credit for it. The blessings come from Him.

I asked Him to show me scripture and Jesus pointed me to 1 Corinthians. In the verse Paul states God is in fact harsh and not always nice. Loving yes, but not always nice. The scripture placed in front of me says shed the darkness from ourselves for we are believers.  We do the shedding and God forgives us, he won’t judge us. But we are to also do the shedding among us, the scripture says…do not associate. That’s harsh.

Quality #4, Jesus exhorts, encourages, feeds, cleanses but He also holds accountable. Calls out, challenges.  It is not always nice. Forgiving, loving? Yes. Nice? Not always.

The church service yesterday was a message on parenting in light of Father’s Day which was not surprising. It was interesting because the message was presented within the framework of earthly parenting and how we can be the best parents possible with no instruction manual coming home with these babies.  I’m a parent so the message was obviously very applicable…and humbling. But it was presented for everyone listening because Jesus says we are all one body and therefore we belong to each other. As such our churches children are everyone’s children. But even more importantly, the message was pointing us to an instruction manual…our Heavenly Father and His qualities.

There was one profound point the speaker discussed. It was within a context of teenagers who were all asked about their curfews. All of them except one had a limit their parents set but naturally were all envious of the child without the curfew. When told how lucky they were that they could stay out as long as they want, live up life as much as they want and decide what is best for themselves with no other worries they reacted opposite to the rest. The child replied it’s not that great because my parents don’t care.

We have a Heavenly Father who cares and He gives us an instruction manual. Is there some grey area up for our interpretation? Absolutely. Will some see it differently? You bet. And that is more than okay powered through Jesus. He will bring the people in to our lives to teach us and we will feel the difference. Nobody else can tell us what that feels like for us, look to Jesus and the Christian counsel that hears you. The rest? Okay too. Maybe not for us but that’s okay.

Trying our best to embrace characteristic traits of Jesus is not easy but it is worth it. It is pausing, it is praying, it is observing the opposite.

Quality #5, Jesus displays a combination of love and limits. Which means it’s not just permissive but it’s also not just harsh. It is in fact both, done with an amazing balance.

Lastly, when in doubt we have the Jesus filter test. Take action, point it toward God, pray in all things it turns hearts toward Him. If we mess up but we’re doing that then I would say we are doing our best.

Two other things came to me this weekend. A friend who I haven’t been around in a while mentioned she hasn’t seen my smile so big as it was today. I realized how true that statement is for me. Yesterday I also had someone bring up reading this blog and how inspirational it has been for them. If my sharing the fumbling through of life…the good, bad, great, awful, highs, lows and everywhere in between points one person to Jesus…well it is a risk I’m willing to take.  Telling others about God working in our lives is yet another character trait he calls us to model. And so I pray God will take it where He wants it to go, not because of my effort but because of His!

Will I be perfect? Absolutely not! I’m not ashamed to call out my own messes put through the Jesus filter test. I had a relationship outside of God’s marriage limits. Actually, I’ve done that more than once in my life which happens any time we fill ourselves with someone or something more important than God. And we feel it just like the teenager feels no curfew. But God cares and He called me on it, harshly in fact a long time ago… that right there is not really loving at all.  Yep, I am “that kind” of sinner.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one because Jesus turns mess into message and that my friends, brings hearts to God. Powered by Father.

Jesus answered me full circle. Hence the smile. ❤️

Loved By Grace,