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The Double-Heart Necklace

Double Heart Necklace Deeper LoveBy Amanda J. Seymour

People ask me, “Why do you wear a necklace with a heart inside a heart?”  My necklace serves as a reminder that when we seek God with all our hearts, we will find Him.  And He longs for us to care in our hearts about what He cares about.

One day as I was reading the Bible, I noticed a verse which says, “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 12:14)  When we seek the Lord, our hearts become more like His.  We seek to be more loving, kinder, and to do good, not harm.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

Made To Love

Amanda J SeymourAmanda J. Seymour, Th. M. Deeper Love

You were made to love. If anyone tells you otherwise, don’t listen to them. You were made to know the joy of being loved and loving others.

Most people encounter rejection in their lifetimes, starting with childhood. Whether the incident is big or small, each rejection wounds our soul just a little more each time.

After awhile, we come to expect rejection. But we were not made for rejection. We were made for love.

We were made to love and be loved. So if someone in your life is telling you otherwise, whether someone you’re close to or anyone else, don’t listen to them. Listen to the truth – that you were made to love.

Then imagine what your life would look like if you were walking in the fullness of love and rejecting rejection. Doing so brings a freedom of peace, joy and greater love than most people have ever known.

Enjoy the truth today: You were made to love!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” – God (Jeremiah 31:3)

Domestic Abuse

Amanda J SeymourAmanda J. Seymour, Th.M

When I was in my 20s , I became involved in an abusive relationship.  I was in ministry and attending seminary at the time.  I eventually broke free and reclaimed my life apart from my abuser.

A few years later, I met up with a colleague from seminary.  “Amanda, you’re alive! We thought he had killed you!” she exclaimed.

Her comment sent my mind and heart reeling.  If you thought or knew I was in such a difficult situation, why didn’t anyone do anything about it?  Why didn’t anyone try to help?  Why didn’t anyone say anything?

I already knew the answer: most people don’t know what to do, so they don’t do anything.  When people encounter domestic abuse situations, they justify in their minds and hearts that someone else will do something or that she knows better or think she is getting what she deserves…after all, she chose to be with him.  

Most people know someone who is in or has been in an abusive relationship.  It may not have reached the point of severity that mine did, but no matter how much or how little abuse there is within a relationship, abuse is still abuse.  You wish you could help or get help.  You just don’t know what to do.  Whether you are in an abusive relationship or want to help someone in an abusive relationship, I have some suggestions for you.

  1. Join A Support Group

When I left the relationship, I joined a Celebrate Recovery 12 step group for women seeking emotional healing at Fellowship of the Woodlands church. After a few months, they asked me to co-lead the group.   Week after week, emotionally and psychologically battered women would come with come into the group.  And each time a woman shared her story, someone else would say, “That’s what my abuser said to me!”  The tactics abusers use are very similar.  Patterns are predictable.  Once you learn what they are, they lose their power over you.

  1. You Are Not Alone

Even if you feel alone, you are not alone. But your abuser wants you to think you are.  He has isolated you from your friends and family intentionally.  He wants to be in charge of you.  He wants you to think that everyone who ever loved you (friends and family) really doesn’t and he is the only one who does.  He wants you to think you are all alone, everyone else has rejected you, and you have no one but him.  This is not true!  You are not alone!  Many other women have heard similar statements from their abusers.  You may be isolated, but you are not alone.  Many other women have gone through what you are going through – and broken free – and come into fellowship with friends and family who do love them – even after all they have gone through.

  1. It’s Not Personal. Abuse Is Predictable.

Domestic abuse is not personal.  It’s actually predictable. It happens in a cycle which domestic abuse experts call the Power and Control Wheel.

At the time it’s happening to you, it feels so personal. If you or someone you know has been involved and abusive relationship, have you ever thought, I am all alone.  If I told others what was happening, they wouldn’t believe me.  He said all he wants to do is protect me from the scary world because he loves me, but if this is true then why does he hurt me? And call it love?  Maybe it’s the only kind of love I deserve.

If you’ve ever had these questions you were someone else you know has ever asked these questions, I want to encourage you that there is a better way.

  1. Abuse Is Not Love

My name is Amanda. Amanda means worthy of love.  When I was in the relationship with my abuser, I came to believe that no one could ever love, I understand, or appreciate me like he did.  When I left the relationship and sought restoration of my mind, heart, and life, in time I was able to see you again that I was worthy of love, And what he had been claiming was not love.

Love protects.  Love does not make. Or keep a laundry list of wrongdoing and throw it up to you every day and read it recount it to you every time you do something else it doesn’t approve of.  Love does not beat you down – verbally, emotionally, or physically.

Rather, love lifts you up to be your best to shine brightly for the world not to cower in shame and darkness.  Love tells you are precious and it treat you as such.  Love does not batter you emotionally, verbally, or physically.  Love cherishes you and treat you like a precious treasure.  Love does not disparage you. It affirms, uplifts, and encourages you.

  1. Lose Your Fear and He’ll Lose His Interest

If you stop being afraid of him, he will eventually lose his interest in you.  He does not want to love you.  He wants to frighten you.  Your fear excites him.  He is mentally and spiritually ill.  You are not.

  1. Be Honest

The most powerful and transformative moment came for me when I became completely honest with myself.  I admitted to myself that things were really as bad as they seemed.  When I faced the truth of how bad they really were, it was the first step for me of breaking free of the cycle of abuse.

  1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize, Not On The Punches

When you try to break free, your abuser will not want you to break free.  He will try everything he can to tear you down, belittle you, and destroy any hope you have that you can actually live without him.  But you can.  And you must.  You are precious, beautiful, and made for more.  Keep your eyes on the prize: a life of freedom from abuse, filled with hope, joy, love and laughter which will grow and bloom in increasing measure as you find your freedom.  Your abuser will try to throw many punches at you – some psychological, emotional, verbal, or physical.  Take your eye off your wounds and put your eyes on the prize: a redeemed life of hope, love and joy.

I stopped looking at everything my abuser was doing/had done and faced what I had done.  I had let myself be berated.  I had let myself be abused.  I now realized I had what I needed to be free: the ability to make my own decisions in my own best interest – and I would have to trust God with the rest.

  1. Don’t Fight This Battle Alone

You can do it!  But you can’t do it alone.  No one is made to walk this journey alone.  Your abuser wants you to think you are all alone.  But you are not.  When you choose a life in freedom, seeking true love that won’t defile, lasting hope, and security, God knows you need these things and He will help you grow in them and establish life-giving relationships.  All you have to do is ask Him and then be willing to trust Him to lead you.  “Jesus, please help me.  Jesus, save me.”

  1. Cling To The One Who Loves You

When I left my abuser, I found the true lover of my soul: Jesus Christ.   He would never seek to hurt, berate, disparage, manipulate or control me.  He frees me to be me in His love – and celebrates, encourages and rejoices with me for it.  He thinks I am wonderful and what He thinks of me never vacillates.

He is a father to the fatherless, husband to the widowed, and he is the ultimate security and provider.  As you build your trust in him, he will fight your battles for you as you rest in his love.

  1. Hold On To Real Promises

As I sought to claim freedom in Christ, I came across these powerful promises.  They sustained me as I fought to reclaim my life and gave me strength.  May they also bless you and those you love who are dealing with domestic abuse.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[c] he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68:5-6

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.” Psalm 68: 19-20

Questions?  Comments?  Need encouragement?  Email me.  I would love to talk to you.

*It is true that both males and females can instigate abuse and both can be victims of abusive relationships.  This article is written from the point of view of a relationship in which the male is the abuser and the female is the victim.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Who Are The Lost?

cropped-image-12-2.jpeg“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10. Who are the lost?

The Greek Word for lost used in this sentence is apoloomi. It means those who are being destroyed. It also means those who are perishing and those who will die. Often times, theologians focus on the idea of lost the lost as those who are perishing and will spend eternity apart from God if they do not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. While it is true that Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost from being separated from Him eternally it is also true that He came to seek and save those who are being destroyed in the here and now in their daily lives. And that includes both Christians and non-Christians.

Consider this truth:

Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

The thief refers to Satan, the enemy of our souls, our lives, and our intimacy with God. He is a thief who wants to steal, kill, and destroy our hope, joy, peace, faith and love. what many people don’t realize is that all you have to do to get him to stop is to tell him “no” and resist him.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you”, scripture says in James 4:7. In fact, The entire verse says, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” To submit is to yield to one’s admonition or advice. It is a voluntary attitude of assuming responsibility, cooperating, and helping to carry a burden.

Without realizing it, sometimes we submit to the devil’s wicked schemes and carry the wrong burden. We carry the burden of worry, anxiousness, strife, discord, and distrust. These are not the nutritious and delicious spiritual fruit that God wants to give us. They are the fruits of darkness which the enemy is handing us. We don’t have to take them. We can say no!

Resist the devil and he will flee from you!

The mystery of submitting to God is that when we submit to Him, we discover we do not become constrained and constructed, but we become free! Free to love, free to walk in the fullness of joy, free to trust Him instead of worry, to know that no matter what the future holds, He holds the future.

So do not be shaken. Do not let the destroyer destroy you or wreak have it on your mind, heart, soul, or hope.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

JesusThe Christ came to seek and save those who are being destroyed, both Christians and non-Christians. Is your lack of hope or trust destroying you? Is worry or anxiety destroying you? Is your sin destroying you?

All you have to do is turn to Jesus. Pray and ask, “Jesus help me! Jesus save me!” And He will. And as he does, he will invite you to entrust yourself into His loving care for you every moment of every day and cooperate with Him and His will for good in your life as you walk together wth The One who saves you from the thief and his attempts to destroy you.

References: Lost -Strongs 622 Submit – Strongs 5293

Next article: Who Are The Saved?

Spiritual Growth: Who Are The Saved?

cropped-image-12-2.jpegLuke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” What does it mean that the Son of Man came to seek and save?

To seek is to pursue and to be overly concerned. Jesus seeks us. He truly cares for us. He pursues us with His everlasting love.

To save is to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, to make well, heal and restore to health, and to preserve one who is in danger of destruction.

Many people, both Christians and non-Christians, face challenges which threaten to destroy us – and not necessarily physically, but emotionally and spiritually. They threaten to destroy our hope, trust, peace, security, and persevering spirit. Don’t let them!

Jesus came to seek and save those who are being destroyed. While this is often said of unbelievers whom Jesus desires would know him and spend eternity in heaven with him, it is also refers to Jesus’ sought role for both Christians and non-Christians in their daily lives.

Jesus already knows where you are. He knows what you are going through. He is all-knowing. He is pursuing you because He want you to come to Him and let Him save you from your distress.

He wants to keep you safe and sound, to rescue you from danger or distraction, to make you well, to heal and restore you to emotional, spiritual, and physical health. He wants you to partner with Him in this.

References: Seek -Strongs 2212. Save – Strongs 4982

Next Article: Who Are The Lost?

Human Trafficking in Houston: Magazine Crews

cropped-image-12-2.jpegAmanda J. Seymour, Th.M. Deeper Love

My Story

Through the years, young adults have approached me in a grocery store parking lot and asked me to buy a magazine subscription.  Something did not feel right, so I always said no.  One afternoon, a young adult came to my door and asked me to purchase a magazine subscription. I noticed he was on-foot.  I wondered where his car was and why he was walking around our off-the-beaten-path neighborhood.

I asked him where he lived.  He said his grandma lived on the main road and he was visiting her.  I asked her name.  When he told me, I knew we did not have anyone in our neighborhood by that name.  I kept wondering what he was really up to.  I felt like something was wrong.  I couldn’t put my finger on it.

When he asked me to purchase a magazine subscription, I told him no thank you, I was not interested, and asked him to not come by again.  He asked again.  He seemed desperate to make a sale.

After he left, I still had a feeling something was not right.  That evening, I went to dinner with a friend.  When my friend dropped me off at home, I had an ominous feeling.  I didn’t know why.  I went to my room and got ready for bed.

All of a sudden, a white car drove very slowly down my driveway.  A cold chill went up my spine.  “Who is here?” I wondered.

The car blocked my car in the driveway.  A young adult girl got out and stonily walked to the front door.  I saw her through the glass.  Her eyes were wide and glazed.  “Is Dameon there?” she asked.

She was wearing a fur coat and mini skirt.  Yet it was 80 degrees outside.  I told her, “No one named Dameon lives here.  You need to go now.  I have called the police.  They are on their way.  And I am going to get my gun!  You better leave NOW!”

Very mechanically with wide eyes, she said, “But I have a baby in the car.”  I didn’t believe her.  She was very stiff.  Her body language was not convincing.  She turned around and stiffly walked to her car, almost robotically.

I watched her walk to the car.  As the car drove away, I saw another person driving the car.  It was the silhouette of the magazine crew guy who came to my house earlier that day.  Had he come to case my house?  Was he coming back to rob me?  I wondered.

I wanted to make sense of what was happening.   So I prayed and then sat down to the computer and started researching.  I found the following articles which are included below.

They shed light on what magazine crews are about and how they work.  I was surprised to learn they are another form of human trafficking, labor trafficking, and the recruiters lure vulnerable young adults into mag crews by giving them promises of an exciting career with travel, fun and good pay.

A Typical Ad

A typical ad looks like this:

All-Star Promotions Recruiting Ad

ADVENTURE TRAVEL: New York, Philly, Florida. Are you: 18 years of age or older? Free to travel to exciting cities and resort areas? Motivated, outgoing & witty? Exciting US firm has 10 immediate openings for sharp guys and gals to work in a fun co-ed environment! We offer 2 two week paid training. Transportation furnished, return guaranteed! For an interview for this great opportunity don’t delay – call Miss Jenkins toll free today: 1-866-686-0037 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

http://edumacation.com/AllStarPromotions

This ad was taken from All-Star Promotions, a magazine crew sales organization that recruited lots of young adults to sell magazines door-to-door across the nation but did not fulfill the subscriptions.

Mag crews target young adults who are looking for a job with good pay, adventure, and fun.  They often target young adults working at McDonalds or other fast food restaurants and students.

Once they recruit the young people, they lure them into being trafficked by giving them drugs, alcohol and treating them harshly with violence and threats.  They drive sales people from state to state.  And they do not pay them well.  In fact, they hardly pay them at all.  And the young people become desperate and sometimes try to commit robberies.  I saw all of these symptoms the night the magazine crew came to my house.  And once I learned the truth about “Mag Crews”, I was deeply saddened to know these schemes are out there.  If someone is trying to recruit you for door-to-door sales and you feel like something isn’t quite right, don’t fall for it!

Articles

To learn more, read these articles:

“Human Trafficking; Mag Crew Kid At Your Door Could Be Victim” Al Jazeera http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/24/human-trafficking-victim-mag-crew-kid-at-door.html

“Trapped Into Selling Magazines Door-to-Door” – The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/trapped-into-selling-magazines-door-to-door/388601/

“Sales Crews, Peddling & Begging Rings” – National Human Trafficking Resource Center https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/labor-trafficking-venuesindustries/sales-crews-peddling-begging-rings

“For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews” – The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/us/21magcrew.html?_r=0

MagCrew Movie

http://www.magcrew.com/

Human Trafficking In Houston: Modeling Scams

cropped-image-12-2.jpegAmanda J. Seymour, Th.M. Deeper Love

My Story

One day when I was 17, my phone rang and I answered it to find a man and woman on the other line.  “Hi.  We are calling you because you filled out the modeling agency form at the mall and we have selected you to participate in our modeling agency,” the woman said.  “We just want to get a few more details from you.”  She asked me for my name, address, phone number, and other contact details.  Then the man said, “What’s your hair and eye color?  Okay.  Now we need to get your sizes.  What’s your dress size?  Your shoe size?  And your bra size.”  I answered their questions. But I hesitated to answer the last one.  “We are asking for the swimsuit modeling,” they said.  So I told them. “GREAT!  You are EXACTLY what we are looking for!” the man said.   I was flattered and excited at the thought they had selected me for modeling.  But I also had a slightly creeped-out feeling about the whole thing.  I felt that something was not quite right about it.  But I was not sure what it was.  “We will call you back in a few days with further details,” they said.

A few days later, the phone rang.  This time, only the man called.  “Hi.  This is Robert,” he said.  “I have been thinking about you and how beautiful you sound.  We need you to meet us at the hotel with the other contestants.  Can you come meet us this afternoon?”  I told him no.  Something didn’t feel right about it (but I didn’t tell him that).

He called back the next day, “You sound so beautiful.  Will you come meet me at a hotel?  Just come meet me.  I know you are 17, but no one will ever know.”  At that point, I told him no and requested that he not call again.

He called a few more times.  Each time he called, I became more adamant.  I went from “I cannot meet you.  Please do not call me again,” to “I WILL NOT meet you.  DO NOT call me again,” to “DO NOT EVER CALL ME AGAIN. EVER!!!”  Finally, he stopped calling.

When I began to study human trafficking, I came to understand more about what was going on with the modeling opportunity.  Here is how it works:

Human trafficking recruiters place “Enter to Win” boxes in the mall which solicit participation in a modeling opportunity.  They then contact people who fill out the forms and have similar conversations to the one the man and woman had with me.  When the individual goes to the hotel, to their surprise and detriment, they are lured into a human trafficking scheme.  The recruiters promise them fortune, fame and fun and then they gradually ensnare them into a dark underworld of human trafficking where they are threatened, coerced, and/or forced to work for little to no pay in the sex trafficking industry.

That happened 22 years ago.  However, the same human trafficking scam/scheme is still happening today.  In years since, I have heard from other girls ages 16-22 that they, too, have received similar calls with similar requests.  In other words, human traffickers were luring young women into human trafficking then and they are still using the same methods today!  Why?  Because they must be working on some women.  Otherwise, they would have stopped using them.

This is why education and prevention of human trafficking schemes is so important.

Articles

Read more on modeling and human trafficking here:

“Modeling Website Linked To Disappearances, Rape, and Human Trafficking” ABC 17 News http://www.abc17news.com/news/crime/modeling-website-linked-to-disappearances-rape-and-human-trafficking_20160823075525915/53416783

A Prayer For You Today

cropped-image-12-2.jpegAmanda J. Seymour, Th.M Deeper Love

Let the deep love of Jesus Christ draw you closer to Him.

I said a prayer for you today that you would let the deep love of Jesus Christ draw you closer to Him.  We invest our time, attention and resources in all kinds of ways and with all kinds of people in our daily lives.  Yet no time is more precious and valuable than our time spent in prayer, Bible reading, and enjoying the presence of Jesus The Christ, our beloved Lord.  He loves you so very much.  I want to encourage you to take a few moments to let the deep love of Jesus Christ draw you closer to Him.  If you’d like, you can just pray and ask Him, “Jesus, please draw me closer to You and let me know Your deep love.  In Your name I pray.”

Many years ago, the apostle Paul prayed a prayer for the Christians in Ephesus, Turkey.  I, and many other Christians in America are praying this same prayer for you today.  Here is our prayer for you.  It is from the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3 verses 8-21.

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

My prayer for you today: I pray you would let the deep love of Jesus Christ draw you closer to Him and those you love would also be drawn to Jesus through His deep love as well.  In Jesus’ mighty name.  Amen.

The Deepest Love

cropped-image-12-2.jpegBy Amanda J. Seymour, Th. M, Deeper Love

I’m an ecumenical Christian. And I love all peoples and cultures. I believe God created us for His divine purposes. But our greatest purpose of all is love.

The deepest love is found in Jesus the Christ. He showed us the greatest love of all by taking our place on the cross for the forgiveness of sin. He died to forgive my sin, your sin, our sin collectively as a people. And He gave us the gift of redeeming love. His love is so deep and all-reaching that it reaches past the depth of our sin, and by His grace, He lifts up our hearts and our hope by His mighty hand to find peace, love, and strength in Him. And He gives us deep love with which we can love one another.

His deep love is a gift which He longs to give us. However, a gift can only manifest its fullness when it is received by the one to whom it was given. He has given the gift of His deep and forever love to each of us. Have you opened your gift yet?

It is a gift that we must receive not with our minds only but also with our hearts. We must open our own hearts to receive His deep love. And when we do, with His deep love we will also receive joy, peace, patience, gentleness and self-control.

But the greatest of these is love.

If we have many good deeds that we do in His name but we do not have love, it is just noise. I do not think anyone who earnestly desires to serve and honor God would want to stand before Him and have Him say, “Well, you called me Lord and did many things in My name. But where was your love?”

Also, must be careful not to fall in love with our own righteousness. Rather, let us be compelled by this deep love, the love of Jesus The Christ, that burns fervently and purifyingly within us. We must, like our Lord, love deeply from the heart.

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 5:22

Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5:17-23

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious bloodof Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God,who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b] 23 For you have been born again,not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,through the living and enduring word of God.

Prayer: May we know, receive, and share with others the deep love of Jesus Christ today and every day from now to eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.