Grace Is... (by Alan Paul Stevens)

Here is a wonderful quote from Alan Paul Stevens, a fellow blogger and friend - check out his blog, Prism of Grace, where he shares his thoughts, poetry and wonderful quotes on the grace and love of God and the finished work of Christ!

I love pondering the grace of God, a subject so rich and vast that I feel I'll never come to the end of all there is to see, know and enjoy of it!  I feel we'll be feasting on His grace for ages and ages to come!  He'll be continuously lavishing His grace on us for all eternity, as we constantly enjoy just living in His loving and gracious presence!  And we'll just be praising Him for the glory of His grace forever and ever! 

It makes me think of the beautiful verse in Ephesians, where Paul is speaking of how we have been saved by grace:   "Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus."    (Eph. 2:7)

Here is the quote from Alan, a wonderful definition of grace:

"Grace is unmerited, unearned and undeserved favor of God in Christ Jesus, a Person not a doctrine nor a teaching but Someone who died, rose and now seated in the right hand of the Father who continually and consistently praying and advocating for us.
Grace brings freedom, liberty, joy, peace, righteousness and most of all intimacy with our Abba Father, it is not something we possess nor take hold of but Someone who has caught us by His loving arms and warm embrace.
Grace has defeated sin, depicted the curse of the law and destroyed self-condemnation and self righteousness… Grace does not start nor work outside of us but begun and deals inside of us."

                                                                                                 Alan Paul Stevens

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 8 - The Law Was Temporal - More Thoughts..

But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law,
To purchase the freedom of [to redeem, to ransom..] those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons].

He came and subjected Himself to the law we chose, came into our legal, performance-based situation, and freed us from it, that we might be recognized as what we truly are, God's sons (not slaves having to earn our way by keeping the rules, but beloved sons and heirs by birth)!

Here is another thought I had about the law and why it came about in history..I am realizing that the law way was never, ever God's way or His nature or His preferred way of relating to us.  Yes, perfection describes Him.  But in relating to us, He always relates by love and acceptance, never by perfect standards to measure up to, never by performance.  He is completely self-sharing, self-giving love.  He is Daddy, Lover, and Friend and not Employer, Judge or Punisher!  Back in the garden, there were two trees.  And Adam and Eve chose the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the tree of law, the tree of judging right and wrong, the tree of self-judging (judging oneself deficient or 'not good enough', measuring oneself, passing judgment on oneself).  God was the Life tree all along, the tree of grace, acceptance, unconditional love and life!  But because we chose the tree of judging and self-improvement to try to meet a standard, a way of performance where we earn our way and 'get what we deserve' (either having to earn rewards or getting punished for failures).

God is all love.  God is always with us, for us, on our side.  God knew we had been lied to by the enemy and had believed lies of inferiority, being made to think we were not already 'like God' and thus needed to 'do' something to 'become like God.'  He knew the frustration and sense of unworth, the failure and sense of alienation this would bring.  He knew this path was a dead end, a path that would unravel our lives, bringing decay and death.  He knew this way would distort our understanding of God Himself and cause us to withdraw from Him in fear and shame, thus missing out on the intimate love relationship that was our right as His created children.  He was not going to leave us in such despair, no! He was going to rescue us from this mental death trap of lies and shame!   Yet this was the way we were thinking now, we were infected with this law/performance/self-judgment He chose to enter into our ways of thinking, enter into our 'good and evil' perspective...He chose to speak our language of rewards and punishment and performance - law - choosing to relate to us on our level, in a way we'd understand..not to validate that way of living but to turn it on its head, show us that it was only ministering death to us, and deliver us out of it!!!

He came down and spoke our law dialect in order to rescue us from its grip!  He related to us by law for a little while because that is what we wanted and that is what we understood, so that He could show us the culprit in our problems was the enemy's lies that made us think we needed law to 'become' or to 'get close' to Him, when the reality was that we already WERE complete and like God, never needing to earn our way but already perfect to Him, accepted and loved and lovable.... and already WERE in union with Him, God being the very deepest part of our very being and our spiritual DNA, our life-source that was holding up our existence and had never left us for a moment!!   Jesus then entered into our way of thinking in an ultimate and radical way...He actually took on flesh and became human!!  He entered into our world in the most radical way, by becoming one of us!  Christ came to show us who the Father is and who we really are - we can see the truth of God's nature and our own by looking into the face of Christ, the God-man!!  He came to remove the lies of inferiority, shame, alienation, and judgment by a 'harsh God' off of us for good so we could be free of this law perspective and enjoy the life tree that was our heritage all along!

God's way was never law, was it!  His way was always love and grace!  We can see everything in history, in scripture, and in our lives from the foundation of love, union, acceptance, and grace!!  It is all about a relationship of just BEING with our Father, not a performance system of earning/being judged by our DOING....It really is all about love, not law!  His wider story has always been a love story with us..the smaller story of the fall, the failure to keep the law, the cross and redemption from sin's hold, that is a wonderful story, but the story it tells - of fallen people being rescued from sin and lies - does not tell the wider truth about us, that we are the perfect and lovely beloveds of God, the sons of God who had rights to the full inheritance all along!  God's reference point has always been something outside of our history here on planet earth.  Our smaller stories have always been wrapped up in His larger story:  the story of a Papa loving His perfect children, a Lover overwhelmed by His beautiful Beloved, A Friend sharing life with His equal!

God has truly and in the deepest way NEVER really related to us through law and performance!  He has ALWAYS related to us from a place of perfect innocence, acceptance, union, and love!  That is where He has had us since before time began, no matter what our smaller stories were saying here on earth!  Nothing we think, say, do or even believe could ever change that!  He has kept us safely in innocence and love in His heart and mind, In Christ Himself, (the logos or original thought/word of God) all along!  His original thought about us has always been love and acceptance,  union and relationship!  We were found in Christ, located in Him before we were ever 'lost' here on earth, and so, to God, we were never really 'lost,' were we?  He always had us in His heart of love, no matter what played out here on earth!  He has ALWAYS been grace and love, not grace sometimes, law sometimes!   God didn't change in character or attitude from one covenant to the other..what changed was our perception of Him and ourselves and our relationship!!  God showed us through Jesus that our relationship has always and ever been based on unconditional love and forgiveness, not ever truly on law and performance!  WOW!  It is blowing my mind and coming real to me in such a new way, a deeper way, that He has always been about love and grace!  It is so good to see everything through the eyes of God’s love! To see it through the lens of relationship and romance and friendship, and not ever performance!

God Heals Our Hearts With His Unconditional Love

There are so many wounded people in this world..perhaps we could say that each of us has wounded places, places where we've felt rejection or loss, pain or loneliness, unworthiness or shame.  I know that in my own life, my shame and low self-worth caused me to have trouble loving both myself and others.  I would sometimes lash out at others as a result of my pain and feelings of loneliness and unlovable-ness.  However, my prickly attitude and sometimes bitter or judgmental ways didn't offend God or put Him off in the least.  He simply kept on loving me, right where I was, never demanding that I change or 'shape up,' never judging or condemning fact, I remember one time I felt I heard God crying with me in my fear and pain!  He just kept loving me, loving me, loving me, washing over me with gentle waves of love and acceptance like endless waves upon the seashore, soothing and sweet, till I started feeling loved, started feeling healed!  His love truly is a healing force, the strongest in the universe!  And being loved by Him in such a real and unconditional way, I was able to love and value myself and others.   People who know that they are accepted and valuable are able to accept and see the value in others!

To me that means that when someone is acting in an unloving, legalistic or judging way, it means that they just don't know yet how loved and accepted and valuable they are! That makes me see myself, my sometimes unloving or self-rightoeus actions, and also others and their sometimes critical actions, in a new way.. God looks beneath the surface actions and sees us all as little children just crying out for love! And He knows that His love will heal our woundedness and give us the acceptance and worth we crave, so that we won't be judging ourselves or comparing ourselves with others and thus, judging them or lashing out in pain and loneliness anymore. But even if we didn't stop doing those things, He would still love and accept us and delight in us just the same! THAT is also such a healing thing! We need to know that we are fine before Him and cherished right now, as we are, in our self-condemnation, in our critical and judgmental attitudes, in our lashing out and coping mechanisms! If we are loved and embraced then, at our lowest, we really are loved unconditionally and forever - that is just what we have been looking for all our lives, that is the only thing that will feel the deep need of our heart, that is what makes us finally and truly feel SAFE!

We are accepted, taken in, included, loved, safe no matter what! This is the gospel!

This good news is the most healing and life-transforming message in the world, for it fills our deepest need to be loved and accepted and valued! Once we find out how loved we are, we can relax, we are okay, we feel the pain start to subside, we are not alone, we are accepted in our mess, we don't have to be perfect, we are embraced, we are special, we are safe..and we can start to see others that way as well and let them off the hook - they don't have to be perfect either, they are okay even in their mess as well, noone has got it all together, we are all special anyway, we are all equally valuable, we are all His dear children, we are all one in Him...judging goes out the window when acceptance flows in! Everything else melts away in the presence of the One who is Perfect, Unconditional LOVE! Thank You, Papa! I love the way You heal our hearts with Your grace and love!

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 7 - The Law Was Temporal

  • "Christ is the end of the law.."    (Rom. 10:4)

    This is a hard thing for me to write about because I feel I don’t fully understand why the law came about. That is my honest feeling. I can see how God used it to highlight the problem of lies that Satan had trapped us in (which brought about sin - unbelief in who we really were and unbelief in who God really is), that through the law was the knowledge of sin, so we could see the damage sin was doing and how it was so foreign to our nature and needed to be dealt with and eradicated from its hold upon our minds. I can see how it was a protective measure, to keep people from doing tons of harm to others (for example, I think of how a murderer is put in jail and that stops him from killing more people, so it protects those people from the effects of his confused mind). I can see how it was a temporary measure that was only in place till the real solution to the sin problem, Jesus, came! I can see how what the law failed to do – restore the spontaneous and life-giving relationship with God that was always our birthright and always still there, though not accessed or enjoyed by people in their confusion over their identity – that how what the law failed to do, Jesus did, for He wiped away the lie and its effect and we could see the union we’d always had with God again, we could feel comfortable approaching Him, seeing that we really WERE the beloved of the Father all along! I can see all that at least a little bit. But I do feel that there is so much more to understand about the law. At least I am beginning to understand that I am truly free from the law, free from obligation, requirement, penalty for messing up, having to earn my way, etc.!
    Right now I will just focus on the new law, the law of liberty, the law of Christ, knowing that this law tells me I am free, tells me who I really am, never condemns or pressures me, doesn’t highlight sin but instead highlights my innocence, shows me Jesus’ face and makes me realize His face is a mirror and I am reflected there, so I am just like Him! This law tells me I am just like Jesus and can do as I please, for all I really want to do deep down is love people, just like Jesus wants to do! What a relief to find out one’s heart is good and pure and lovely, just like the heart of Jesus!
  • I feel so peaceful, and I know it is because of Him teaching me me closeness to Him and identity in Him, that of beloved child, and that He is taking care of everything. I need do nothing and no effort of mine is required, what a relief. I read a post on Facebook recently, “God is going to materialize your new creation identity without your help.” So often in the past I tried to help God and it was just futile and exhausting! How good to know my ‘help’ isn’t needed, and that by simply BE-ing myself, I am naturally living the supernatural life of a new creation – He just oozes out! I realized that God NEVER meant us to be under law and effort, hard work and labor, He designed us humans to function from a position of constant rest! It amazes me that He simply shines forth when I just AM me! He is so wonderful the way He has designed us. Law was never the focus, the tree of knowledge of good and evil (hard work and labor – isn’t what how Francois du Toit says is the meaning) was never our true way to live. We were designed as so ONE with God, with Him being part of our very being, so that He effortlessly shines forth by just us simply being! Didn’t Nelson Mandela say we were made to express the glory of God that is within us – that is so beautiful, all is already within each person, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed and expressed – Love is a Person, in us, as us, through us! HE is truly ‘who’ we are!!
  • Thinking more about why the law was given, I read somewhere an idea that has been percolating within me and wanted to share it here. I thought of how, when a person does wrong to someone else, they can feel guilt and that they ‘owe’ the other person or need to somehow make it up to the other person, they may feel a ‘debt’ to that person, and the one who can release and help them is the person they have wronged – if the victim is able to forgive and sort of ‘let them off the hook’ so that they owe them nothing to make up for the wrong, then the person feels really released from the burden of guilt and is freed.

    So maybe God gave those many laws to cover as many sins as He could as officially being against HIM and now it would be that when a person sinned, they sinned against not themselves or others or just vaguely did something wrong (so that it was difficult to find release from the pain and guilt they felt), but they sinned against God Himself. (I think of David saying, “Against You and You only have I done this sin.”) If the sin was against God, then God could be the One to help them and release them from the guilt and feeling of ‘debt’ caused by the sin. Jesus came and even summed up all the law under “love God and others” and thus swept up every sin in a lump under those commands, thus making everything ever done wrong as something done against God, so that God in Christ could take away the feelings of guilt from sin and set men free! It brings to mind the verse “He has shut up all in disobedience that He might have mercy upon all.” He made every single act of inferior identity a sin against HIM through the law so that HE, being the one wronged, would be in the position to forgive and could free us from the guilt and condemnation and shame we’d feel, free us from the feeling of ‘owing a debt’ to make up for the wrong.

    I don’t know if I even shared that clearly. But it is a thought I had about why the law might have come about, as an act of mercy to ultimately bring about release and forgiveness – the sacrifices were the shadow of this release that ‘covered over’ the sins till ultimately and finally they were obliterated through Christ as the true release from our sins, feelings of shame, and feelings of needing to ‘owe’ something to make up for sin.

    It is like He saw that sin would bring these feelings of separation and inferiority to the extreme and He in love and mercy devised a plan to sum up every sin under the umbrella of being ‘against God’ so that He could take care of them all at the cross! He let Himself be the victim of all our crimes, so that He could take the powerful place of the one who could release us from guilt and set us free! The victim of our cruelty is the one who can set us free by releasing us from any ‘debt’ we feel to him or her. Jesus as the victim of our crime brought total forgiveness! I love the picture Andre gives of Jesus rising from the grave and walking out of the tomb with His arms stretched out to embrace His killers! He said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” – Wow! He realized that we had lost track of our identity and didn’t know what we were even doing! He never lost sight of who we were and drew us into His embrace, getting rid of all the shame and unworth and guilt we felt. He didn’t see us as bad and guilty and dirty, but we did, and He came and submitted Himself to our messed up ideas and deeds so that He could show us who we really were and banish the guilt and thoughts of unworth and ‘owing a debt’ forever! We were living by performance, so He kindly entered into a performance based system with us in order to pay off any ‘debt’ we thought we owed and forgive any sin that we felt so guilty of, and he even kept all the performance requirements for us on our behalf so that our need of perfect performance was satisfied by Him on our behalf! And through dying to that law way, He freed us from the performance system and laid it to rest in the process!

Our Winter Wonderland

Here in the Southern USA we are getting a rare winter snowstorm, and because we get snow so rarely, it always feels magical when it happens!  Everything is turning into a wintry white wonderland!   (To us it's a blizzard, but I know for you that live farther north it must look like only a little snow dusting!)  I thought I would post some photos of the lovely snow, and my dear hubby kindly helped me do so..  Above is a picture of a snow laden oak in our front yard..
Behind the house is the backyard and a wonderful little wood where I love to walk with God and also with our two youngest children.  This picture shows the view in the backyard looking toward our daughter's playhouse (which she received from the Make A Wish foundation, very special to us) and the woods beyond..

Hope you have enjoyed the window into our little world here in South Carolina!  Feel free to share about your location if you so desire...I would love to know where any of you wonderful members our little blog family are located...No matter what , I hope the weather where you are is also beautiful today! 

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 6 - What Went Wrong?

"He has put eternity in our hearts"..."Christ in you, the hope of glory!"   (Ecc. 3:11, Col. 1:27)

I read something humorous on facebook recently: A girl was going through the airport check-in, and she was asked, “Was anything put in your luggage without your knowledge?” Now how would she know it was there if it was done without her knowledge, lol..

I started thinking about this and realized that when God created us He put something (Someone!!) in us without our knowledge! Now the mystery is revealed – Christ is in us, the hope (sure expectation) of glory (God’s presence manifested)! If Adam had known what had been put in his luggage at creation, he would never have eaten of the knowledge tree, because he would already have known that he was full, complete, perfect, and one with God, being made of God Himself and having the dear and precious Christ within as constant companion..but ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” – not knowing everything that he was, and not believing his Daddy that all was well and nothing was lacking in him or in his relationship with Him, Adam partook of the knowledge tree and the rest is history…yet it is truly HIS story, for His story is so much bigger than our messy story! Our story is really a bad dream and HIS story is what’s real! We fell into believing lies about separation and inferiority and lack, but HE always knew the truth…HE was still in the luggage, no matter what terrible turn we took on our journey, no matter what dark alley we ended up in!
And with the incarnation, He sprang forth and revealed Himself and showed us that our story was the dream, His the reality, and we were only ‘going all the wrong places’ in our minds, while our true self was safe at home with Him in eternity all the time!

Oh what a relief to find out what was with me, in me, part of me, making up the real me, all along – Christ Himself! We are so close we are one..I was never lost, never missing anything, never inadequate, never alone, never separated, never inferior, never lacking, never an orphan, never unwanted, never shameful, never a mess…I was always with Him, in His arms, His precious and innocent little child..and Christ had been in me all along as my true nature, as the One I’m made of, as the One I’m united with forever in perfect fellowship and oneness..oh how good to have something put in my luggage way before time began, and to be rescued from those lies and to wake up and find this treasure within, where He had been all along..No matter where our thoughts have taken us, no matter how dark everything seemed to be, the truth was always that we were and are His adorable and perfect children, dwelling constantly in the light of His presence and love…

So what does this tell me about temptation? Adam didn’t completely know what a perfection he was or the fullness he had, the oneness with God and how perfectly he was created with the DNA of God Himself…he didn’t know WHO was in him, and that he already was all he needed to be and had all he needed to live…he didn’t know he was God-like, an expression of God’s very nature and being in an earthly body! And so, he was vulnerable to temptation and to believing a lie of inadequacy, needing more, not being enough, not being close enough to God, not being like God.. As Andre Rabe says, if he had known all this, he never would have eaten of the knowledge tree, it would have been so obvious!

So that means that the only thing that makes temptation attractive is lack of knowledge (ignorance) of what and who we ALREADY have, and what and who we ALREADY are, and the perfection that ALREADY exists in our relationship with Him! Jesus came to show us the truth – we look in His face and see ourselves there, and we realize all that He has, we have; all that He is, we are; all the depth of oneness He has with the Father, we have!! And no ‘sin’ appeals for we are so full of this knowledge that we are just satisfied and drunk with His love and presence in wonderful that HE has brought us to know ourselves in His face..and now we can say we know ALL things in our spirit..and we can look forward with hopeful expectation that one day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as waters cover the sea…and all flesh will see and remember and return to the Lord, who never left them (short trip!)..Wow, thank You, Daddy, and thank You Jesus for setting us free from the darkness, which was ignorance of the wonderful to know as we have always been known!!

So how is the darkness dispelled? Not by focusing on the darkness, fighting the darkness, or thinking of the darkness as ‘real’ or ‘strong’, but by turning on the light/opening my eyes in the light that I’m already in! I open my eyes and it’s not dark anymore, and I realize it never really was, the darkness was a nothing, and I’ve been standing in the light with Jesus all the time…so instead of being afraid that the darkness will swallow me or that I’ll give in to temptation, I am able to just sink into the light that I am already in, joyfully finding that the darkness has no substance when He is present, and He is always present in and around me!
No matter what went ‘wrong’ when Adam/I was trapped in lies, something was RIGHT all along: my relationship with Him and my own self, made completely all right in His eyes and kept that way in the spirit realm, in Christ, through it all!.. I feel like God is saying He wants me to just look into His eyes and see that look of complete and perfect love and adoration that is there, with nothing amiss, and to just see that I am – and have always been – his innocent and precious and perfect little daughter, so loved and cherished and held – THAT is reality, THAT is what the light shows to be true, THAT is the story God is telling about me and Him, THAT is eternal truth, THAT is the expression of His heart toward me forever!

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 5 - Who Is Man?

We have been talking about who God is, who He has been since before time began...and way back before creation, we discover that not only is there a truth about who God is, but a truth about who we are, for we were there in God's heart before time began!

'He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.'   Eph. 1:4

"For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen."   Rom. 11:36 

From HIM are all things - we are from God!!  Our origin is eternal!  Our origin goes back before Adam...our true and original origin is in the heart and mind and thought (logos or word) of God Himself - in Christ the Word of God!  He has had us in His heart since before time began...we pre-existed in God, in His heart, in His thoughts, in Christ!  Wow, what an origin!  And I've been created in His very image, the image of love, not sin!!  God is my true source, not Satan or even Adam!  God's nature is my true nature, not sin or evil!  God chose us in Him - in Christ, the Eternal Word, God Himself! - before the foundation of the world!  As Francois du Toit says, He found us in Christ before we were 'lost' in Adam!  What does this tell me about man?  Who is Man?

I think I have struggled for a long time with my self-concept. I have ‘felt’ or believed that I was not worth much, just an inert vessel or tool God ‘used’ for His plans, that I was inherently bad, etc. Yet now I find out I am in His image and likeness – I don’t fully understand all that that means, but the biggest thing it means for me right now, the thing that has changed my whole self concept and given me such fresh hope, is that since I am in His image and likeness, I am like Him! HE is loving, good and kind, He is of infinite value, He is a Person worth knowing – so I am the same way! I think the aspect of it all that impacts me the most right now is that as He is good, I am good..I was made very good…everything God does is good and perfect..I am His very good girl! I am not inherently bad or evil at the core, but inherently good..I do not naturally long after selfishness or wrong, I naturally long after loving people and trusting my Daddy! That is who I am by nature, at the core of me – I am a good person, just like my Daddy, made that way by Him…

As I am waking up to this idea of original innocence and being created with a good nature, not a sinful one, I am suddenly finding myself more loving toward others, for I am seeing that there is no ‘good us’ and ‘bad them’ – actually, we are ALL the good guys here, we ALL want God deep down, we ALL want to love, and the bad guy is the enemy/accusation that lies to us to try to get us not to see this truth, trying to suppress the truth of our goodness with some foul lie/delusion of unrighteousness! And Jesus came and set us free from the bondage of these lies, set us free to be ourselves – the glory and expression of God on this earth, enjoying all His fullness and presence within our very being! And flowing out of our being! The earth will be filled with the goodness and glory of the Lord..I see that when people wake up to their goodness and righteousness given through original creation and reclaimed/declared triumphantly through redemption, that glory is going to just glow forth from them and cover this earth, rivers of living water coming not from outside somewhere but from inside, within us, where goodness and love and joy and LIFE has been, all along, for we are made of all that by being made of God Himself! We are made of God, how beautiful, how intimate, how tender, how delightful, how VERY GOOD! It gives me such peace to know I am good deep down and always have been…

My origin was never out of evil but out of goodness, purity, light, God Himself! I heard in a message (by Rudi Louw) a wonderful explanation of this, using the metaphor of the vine and branches. He said it is not that we the branches are foreign entities that are trying to somehow attach ourselves to the vine and work up some kind of ‘connection’ or attempt to feel we belong – NO! He said the way that we are branches of the vine is actually that we GREW OUT OF the vine! I am a branch of the vine because I grew out of Him!! Just as Jesus said He came forth from God the Father, I too came forth from Him, He is my source and the root of my being….and there is no way to tell where He ends and I begin…in fact we are so IN each other that we are ONE here in this body of mine! I am still trying to wrap my mind around these truths, for I have seen myself so separate from Him in the past – but really, I was never separated from Him, I was always connected to Him and in Him, and He in me. I have always been His child, His branch, the expression of His being, the manifestation of His thoughts! It is so wonderful to know I have never been apart from Him and never will be…there is no way anyone or anything could ever separate me from Him or His love, oh what a blessed relief…to know Him in me and me in Him is completion, it is satisfaction, it is joy, it is rest for my soul!

Patrick's Poem: "You Are.."

Here is a wonderful poem our very own Patrick (Woolly) wrote about how God is everything to so wonderfully expresses how much Papa means to us!  I'm calling it "You Are.." for I don't know the title and feel that sums it up so well, as it is filled with thoughts about who He is!  Hope that is okay with you, Patrick!  I'm putting it here for all to enjoy:

"You Are..." 

You are the light that shines within me.
You are the song that soothes my soul.
You are the life that lives within me.
You are the One that makes me whole.

You are the gift that fills my present.
You are the answer to my past.
You are the secret of my future.
You are the Truth that holds me fast.

You are my every inspiration.
You are my courage in the night.
You are the hope that holds my head high.
You are the thought that sets me right.

You are the glory of the sunset.
You are the myst’ry of the stars.
You are my first and last and all between.
You are the peace within my heart.

You are the comfort brought by others.
You are the kind words of a friend.
You are the secret in a stranger’s smile.
You are my rainbow’s end.

You are the Love that burns within me.
You are the Love surrounding me.
You are the Love I can depend on.
You are my Love, Lord, eternally.

by Patrick

Jesus - the Perfect Picture of Who God Is

“Jesus is the most accurate translation of the Bible… Any idea that we could have had of God that is unlike Jesus would not be true about God! In Jesus the forgotten Father of the human race introduces Himself to us again as our only true Father. There is only one true faith…what God believes about us!” (Francois du Toit...from his book, The Logic of His Love, pg 3)

I love this quote because it shows me Jesus came to reveal the face of God, the truth about God, the real nature of God..and He revealed that He is Love! He heals the sick, hugs the children to his heart, feeds the hungry, talks with prostitutes, welcomes cheating tax collectors, raises the dead, forgives his murderers, doesn't retaliate, doesn't judge, freely gives up His life for all, calls us friends and tells us God is our Father who welcomes us always, who throws parties for sinners, who joyfully gives us the kingdom inheritance! Jesus showed us the face of God, and it's a smiling face! He showed us the heart of God, and it's a tender heart! He showed us the nature of God, and it's a kind nature! He showed us who God really is: our loving Father!
May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14