A while ago, my dad was doing some research into our family’s history and origins, which he then passed on to my siblings and me. He added an image of our surname’s coat of arms, which includes the motto “Fidelissimus semper”—Latin for “always faithful.”
I like the sound of that. I wonder where that motto originated, and whose story inspired it. God’s Word has a lot of good to say about faithfulness, “A faithful man will abound with blessings,”1 to start with.
As you take time to be filled with Me, I always replenish your resources. The more you give Me of yourself, the more I can give you of Myself—My love, My power, My anointing, My gifts, My insight, My wisdom, My blessings, My strength, My provision, My protection, My creativity, My intelligence, My contentment, My joy, My peace.
All these things are part of My goodness. All are yours for the taking and can become a bigger part of your life, day by day. As you get to know Me better and learn to receive from Me more clearly and directly, you can have more and more of these wonderful gifts and treasures. They grow and multiply within your own heart, and spread into the lives of others whom your life touches.
I don't love you for what you are or what you aren't. I don't love you for who you are. I don't love you for how much you do or how well you do it. I don't love you for how little you sin and mess up, or for how much you do the right thing. I simply love you—no strings attached. That truth may be hard to grasp, but once you do, everything in your life will take on new meaning and new depth, a new reality. You are complete because you are loved. You are free because you are loved. You are able to love others truly because you are loved completely and unconditionally.
I didn’t decide to love you based on your love for Me or on what you do for Me. I loved you before there was any of that, before you took your first breath.
A friend and I happened to walk past a cinema just as several movies ended and hundreds of people flooded onto the sidewalk. One man stood out in the crowd—literally—and he was walking straight toward us. He must have been seven feet tall and had the athletic build of a basketball player. As I turned to tell Abi what I was thinking, she ran up to him.
“Francisco, let me shake your hand!” she said excitedly. “No, let me hug you! You are doing such a good job! I think your team will win the championship!”
I once attended a meeting where a 16-year-old boy sang several gospel songs, and as he sang, his face shone with joy. I learned later that he had grown up in a horrible home environment. From the age of 12, he had been forced to steal to support his family, and within a year, he was also stealing to support his own drug habit, which his life of crime had led to. He had been arrested and spent years in and out of juvenile correctional centers. But one day, some young people met him on the street and led him to receive Jesus, and his life was completely transformed.
Something that I find particularly wonderful about Jesus is that His life-transforming gift of salvation is freely given to anyone who simply asks for it with a sincere and believing heart. One’s level of understanding of Christian doctrine may be minimal, but if the heart is hungry, if it is seeking a relationship with God, then the heart will find God—clearly, definitely, and freely—through receiving Jesus as Savior. Salvation is simple; it’s a gift. You reach out, receive it, and it’s yours.
I was 20 when I first read the gospels. That was also when I began to form my own thoughts about God and Jesus. Until then my beliefs had been sketchy at best and based on things I'd heard others say. The truth was that I’d never given the subject any real thought.
As I read, most of it was so new that it made little sense. I didn’t understand it, but it drew me in a strange new direction. I couldn’t say I believed it, but I wanted to. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a world where miracles actually happen, where wrongs are challenged, the weak and downtrodden are defended, and love has the last word? Things Jesus said, like, “If you abide in My word … you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,”1 kept me going back for more. I read all four gospels and started over at Matthew.
I have come to realize that God takes His time. Perhaps that comes from being eternal. He has all the time in the world, so why should He hurry?
God is an investor, not a speculator. He doesn’t “buy” something today with the intention of “selling” it tomorrow. Sure, He wants to get high returns on His investments, but He can wait a very long time if need be. He invests in people, and He doesn’t seem to mind the time it takes for that investment to pay off. Knowing the future also comes in handy, no doubt.
God instructs us to be meek and humble in our dealings with others …
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.—Ephesians 4:2 NLT
Try your best to please God and to be like him. Be faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle.—1 Timothy 6:11 CEV