Sweet and Sour
Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying, 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.' Jeremiah 31:3 WEB
There is a saying that you can catch more flies with honey, than you can with vinegar. Yet when I was growing up in the Bible Belt, most of the things that I heard about God were seasoned with vinegar, sort of like: 'God does love you, but He will kill you if do not do what I said.'
Over the years, I have learned that God is not like that at all, but that people will create their own version of god, then want you to bow down to the god that they created, much like Nebuchadnezzar did (Daniel 3:1). The only way to know the difference, is to know His word.
While Jesus was ministering on the earth, the pharisees condemned Him for not teaching His disciples to follow their traditions. Some of the disciples did not wash their hands up to the elbow seven times before eating (Mark 7:1). This was just a man-made tradition that had been passed down through the generations and taught alongside the word of God, as if it were from God. The problem was that it wasn't.
In my own life, it has taken years to weed through that baggage, and I still find pieces that don't belong now. For some reason it is easy for us to believe the lie that God is mean, or that He is mad at us. It is much more difficult to believe that He truly loves us, that we are forgiven, that we can now come boldly before Him, but this is the truth that scripture teaches.
The first time that I read the Bible completely through, I was most amazed by what was not in there, and sometimes by what was. So we have a choice: to believe what we have been told is in the Bible, or look for ourselves and see what is actually in there.
What is in there is this: God loves us with an everlasting love, and that love never changes based on your behavior. He does not love you more when you think that you are good, or less when you think that you are bad. He draws us with His loving kindness to get us to turn to Him. When you fall, get up, He still loves you. When you come to know the Lord, you will only find sweetness, compassion, and unconditional love.Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your unconditional love. Help me to filter out the traditions of man and to focus on actually knowing You and Your word. Teach me the things that I need to know. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
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