2018: Walking In His Fullness

A lot of us experienced quite a bit of turbulence in 2017. The end of my year was quite unsettling and to be honest, left me wondering and questioning if I had heard some things correctly. We all have that and the Lord is perfectly fine with our questions.

He had given me a word to soak on for a good part of 2017 for 2018. That word was “Fullness”. I felt overwhelmed with His goodness with all He was showing me regarding this word. Walking into His Fullness for the New Year; what a great and exciting thing! I know it is still that amazing goodness that we will be walking in because tied to that is His Full Restoration; restoration for all that was lost and/or stolen, especially familial relationships. He is going after His family this year. All those shattered and impossible relationships will find His restoration.

Another part of this truth of walking in His Fullness is that sometimes, it’s experiencing His Presence in the midst of the hard stuff. It doesn’t always mean grief and loss, but Fullness means All Encompassing. We have to understand and experience this so we can fully walk in it. Our final sentence at the end of the day still has to be, “I trust You.”

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways My ways…” Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)

 

I had a brief dream the other day that I felt led to share.

In this dream were several people, we were standing and looking around at each other and our surroundings. There was countless people surrounding us, the majority we all knew one way or another. We also had a slight look of uncertainty on our faces, but as we looked, we noticed this giant chain link in our right hands. The Lord immediately gave me a prophetic word to speak to these individuals. He said, “You have held hands with many through many seasons of your life. You will continue to seasonally hold others’ hands, but right now, in this moment, you will know whom I am linking you to. These links are for My Divine Connections, the covenant relationships that will tarry with you as I move you up and onward. You won’t have any question who those people are as I will make it obvious for you.”

This is so important for this New Year! We are going to see the Lord move us at an exponential rate in every aspect of our lives and His preparation in and around us will be in place! Things may seem or feel a bit chaotic, but His Peace will surround you and bring clarity to every moment and situation He is bringing you to and through.

I kept seeing the number 32 yesterday. Anytime that happens, I know the Lord is trying to tell me something and He took me to Isaiah 32:17-18. The verses made think of years 2017 and 2018. For all the things He is bringing us to this year, you will have His perfect Peace.

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:17-18 (NIV)

 

 

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The Pen is Blue!!

The other day, Mark and I were talking about how times come when you feel you’ve reached a peace over life and circumstances, over dreams and future plans, and then all of a sudden, doubt and fear of disappointment try to cover over all of it. As we were discussing this, a scene in the movie “Liar Liar” came to my mind.

If you’re not familiar with this movie, the basic synopsis is that this lawyer’s son makes a birthday wish in that his dad cannot tell a lie. So, as this unfolds and the lawyer is discovering that he can’t lie, he goes in his office, grabs a blue ink pen and tries to say that it’s red. He then tries to write out that it’s red; all ending up in failure since both avenues are lies.

As I was sharing some things with Mark, I started to talk about this specific scene in relation to the Promises & Purposes over our lives. These things, which we were specifically created for, ARE the blue pen. They are THE TRUTH! There is nothing we can say or do to change the fact that they are truth! However, when we lose sight of that, when we allow doubt to take a hold, when we cover it over with our fear of being disappointed, we try to change it. We think it’ll be easier to just say that it is “red”. These things that seem so impossible, are in fact possible, because it’s not you that has to make it happen. All you have to do is come into agreement and say, “Yes, Lord! Here I am, send me!”

I know this is a difficult thing to actually do. I know how hard it is to keep a hold of Faith and Hope. So many of us have dreamt big dreams and been left in the dust of disappointment. I know. But, the Lord wants you to know that now is the time to hope again. Now is the time to shake off past disappointments. He will not disappoint you. When your hope is IN Him, when your faith is IN Him, you will know that His plans, His purposes over your life are going to be overwhelmingly fulfilling! He gave you those dreams to inject your faith with immeasurable hope! Fight off the doubt. Fight off the fear of disappointment. Hold onto His promises and His word. These things WILL BE!

 

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your Peace.”

Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those we are the called according to His purpose.”

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

In the Name of Love

Heart Upon Re-entry

“Heart Upon Re-entry” by Jim Carrey

So many people have been wounded and abused in the name of love. I have been sensing that a lot just don’t even know what it truly is anymore. It has been downgraded and perverted in so many ways. It has been used as a weapon for verbal, physical and sexual abuses; so much so, there is a large group of people that have simply sworn off “falling in love” and put up walls so high and deep for protection.

A good majority of people have been duped by the entertainment industry into what they think love is: an expectation of frilly, feel-good “love” that leaves you with this floating, euphoric feeling all the time. Although there may be brief moments of that, it’s not real love. Real love isn’t necessarily a feeling. You do feel it, but most of the time, you have to make the choice to love. Sometimes that choice is going to be the hardest one you will ever make. It is way below the surface. I like to compare it to the ocean. The ocean is breathtaking when you’re standing on the shore looking at it; especially during a sunrise or sunset. It’s peaceful to sit and listen to the lull of the waves. It’s fun to swim in the refreshing waters. It’s thrilling to catch waves on a surfboard. BUT, the depth of its beauty is deep below the surface. You have to dive deep into it, you have to be prepared for it, and it can be intimidating and scary. But, the awe-inspiring beauty is worth it.

“…but for Adam no suitable helper was found, so the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep…then the Lord God made a woman…and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man” for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:20-25)

When we partake of this surface-type “love”, it is guaranteed that at some point you will feel chewed up and spit out. When this happens there’s a part of you that blames yourself, leaving you feeling less than worthy of the something beautiful you were hoping and dreaming for. So now, each time someone new comes along, you swim in more shallow waters. This in turn pushes the other person away because there is a lack of trust. The baggage from the first swimmer is put on the next. It’s a vicious cycle and no one comes out feeling empowered, loved or free. Participating in all the things intended for marriage will always leave you empty and a piece of your soul connected to someone that doesn’t want the connection anymore. Thankfully, our God is one who Loves to Restore and Heal ALL things; especially our broken hearts.

I’ve now been married for almost 18 years. Our marriage is like every other (honest) one; like a roller coaster. Full of thrills, scares, unexpected turns, ups and downs. Several years ago, I went through a period that I just didn’t know what I felt anymore. My life had shattered into pieces and left me not recognizing how broken I was. Unfortunately, my husband took the brunt of my mess. Despite the mess I was, he showed up and walked out and fought for his unconditional love for me. See, I was such a jacked up mess that I didn’t even know how to accept his love and tried to push it away. When you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not worthy of something deep and meaningful, you settle yourself and wait for the other shoe to drop. If you don’t go beyond the fun beginning, then you don’t have to start sacrificing yourself. Real love is sacrificial. It’s compromising. It’s merging your life’s hopes and dreams with your spouse’s and sometimes some of those things don’t line up the way you imagined they would. Real love is searching out multiple avenues of communication to ensure your spouse is hearing and receiving in a healthy way. We all have an individual language and when we become One in our marriage commitment, we have to find a new language the both of us can speak and understand. This new language is created through some blood, sweat and tears; well, at least it was for us. Some of you might still be in denial because “everything is awesome”! When I had doubts of “my choice”, the Lord showed me it wasn’t really my choice, but His. He gifted me a husband that would be the manifestation of His unconditional love for me, through all my ridiculousness, my brokenness, in my mess, in my self-loathing and in all the beautiful moments of my life.

This isn’t all about marital love. Marriage is just one facet of Love.

I’ve learned unconditional love from my kids, too. This parenting thing is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. For a lot of my younger years I was told I’d never be able to have children, so I settled quite easily on not wanting children. I wasn’t heartbroken over it at all. But then again, I was a hot mess and didn’t know it. Then, I got married, and after a few years I started having that “twinge” to want kids. We now have four children and they all leave my head spinning and show me daily how much more of my flesh needs to die. I have likely apologized more than I’ve taught. But, like most parents, I would move Heaven and Earth to protect them and do everything in my power for them. God, our Heavenly Father, loves us unconditionally, even more than we love our own kids.

I had a long, hard road to be able to call on God as my “Father”. Every single one of us grew up with flawed parents and it’s guaranteed that every single one of us will be a flawed parent. Not one of us gets out of this parenting game with a perfect score. Some of our mess-ups create wounds and scars and I had some from my childhood. Because of that, I had a hard time thinking about God as my father because I was comparing Him to my earthly father. Now, I need to state that I love my dad unconditionally; no matter the ups and downs we’ve had over the course of my life. God is a restorer of families because family holds His heart more than anything else.

So, when we compare our Heavenly Father to a downgraded and flawed version, we’ve missed it. That’s where my struggle was and that’s where the Lord met me on my healing journey. Showing me who He truly was and He continues to do this. He moved Heaven to open up the way for us to experience Him as our Daddy. For a long time, I couldn’t understand why my Mom called God “Daddy”. Today as I write this, now I know. We all have a craving deep in our souls to have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with our Dads (Mom’s too). There’s something powerful that happens when your Dad speaks encouragement over you and when he declares his love for you. This is what God our Father does. Reading His words of adoration for His creation and His children is indescribably fulfilling and empowering. You learn who you were created to be. You find your purpose in this crazy life. Without getting too political or polarizing, there’s something that has to be said. This is just my observation and opinion (there, you have my disclosure). My generation and the generations following, there is a huge deficit of fathers. I see SO many people that unbeknownst to them, they are searching out for that kind of love and acceptance. They’re seeking and continually landing on downgraded, abusive and perverted versions of the real thing. It absolutely shatters my heart. There are people everyday that are around you suffering from ignorance of what love truly is. We all need it, we all crave it; we were created from love and for love.

I’m so desperate for others to experience the transformative power of unconditional love.

When I say, “I love you all”, I absolutely mean it. You are loved and valued; you have a purpose and plan over your life that you were created to fulfill. Everything has purpose for your purpose and we walk into that from a place of love. I pray you have a pure encounter with this breathtaking, unconditional love.

I will leave you with a couple of scriptures that speak about this.

Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before on of them came to be.”

John 3:16-17 ”For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

1 Cor. 13:1-13 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….but when perfections comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part’ then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

Eph. 3:14-19 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in Heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Wrestling Jacobs

“22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”

But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

27 So He said to him, “What is your name?”

He said, “Jacob.”

28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel;[a] for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”

And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there.” (Genesis 32:22-29)

 

Jacob’s promise was peace with his brother that he had wronged. He was journeying back because the Lord promised him reconciliation. And, then fear came at him. He sent blessings ahead of him to decrease the fear coming at him. In his solitude, the Lord appeared. Jacob grabbed a hold of Him and wrestled for that promise. This promise meant everything to Jacob. To him, it was worth the struggle, the pain and the exhaustion. “I will not let go until you bless me”, as in “do what you promised!” Not only did the reconciliation happen, he was given a new name; a new identity as an entire nation.

The promises and dreams over our lives are only a glimpse into the fullness of what the Lord has planned for us. We’re not contending for selfish desires, we’re contending for all that will be affected by our dreams being fulfilled. It has been and will always be Kingdom and for His Glory; our lives reflecting His Love and Goodness! It’s too big and too good to give up on! Don’t quit! Keep wrestling! Morning is coming!!!

Memorial Sacrifice

Memorial Day (here in the USA) is a day to remember all our service men and women who have laid down their lives for our freedom. Their blood on the battlefield has been payment for the freedoms we live under in this country. My admiration for these people and their families is and will always be indescribable.

When we are in love with someone, we think about them all the time. Since this past holiday weekend, I couldn’t help but think about Jesus laying His life down for my freedoms as well. The freedoms that transcend the place I reside in; these freedoms gifted to me go so far beyond. They give me peace in the midst of storms, provisions in my needs, love for the “unlovable”, forgiveness for everything not apologized for, forgiveness for myself and all the things I’ve ever said and done, an eternal freedom in Heaven when my time is done here on this Earth. This freedom is like a breath of the fresh air on the first day of spring, breathing in all the fragrance of the budding flowers and grass; all the new life coming into bloom. His willingness to give up His life for me so that I can experience these freedoms leaves me blown away every moment of every day.

Then, I’m left with this question for myself: Is there anything in my life that I’m willing to lay down in sacrifice for Him? When you’ve been blessed with a freedom like this, you want to do something to honor it. Not because you have to or because it’s required, but because your heart is filled with gratitude. How has my life honored this? Am I just enjoying the freedoms or am I truly honoring it.

I wrote about this in a previous blog post (Net-Breaking Blessing) that I’m constantly being reminded of. This story about Simon Peter (Luke 5:1-11), a fisherman by trade, had been out all night long trying to bring in a harvest and was grossly unsuccessful. Pulled his boat to shore early that morning, cleaning off the nets and closing up his day and likely full of frustration and discouragement, is now asked by Jesus to use his boat. He then gets Jesus on his boat, puts out a bit from the shore and Jesus preaches a message to all who were following him. After the message, Jesus tells him to go out into the deeper waters and cast his nets on the right side of the boat. After a long night of unsuccessful fishing, the last thing I’d want to do is more fishing. But, he did it and not only did Jesus fill the nets with fish, they were in such abundance the nets were breaking and the boat was sinking! Once they got to shore, Simon Peter was in awe of this miraculous thing that had just taken place. Jesus spoke purpose over him and Simon Peter’s reaction was to leave his blessing right there on the shore to follow Jesus into an unknown future.

I share this to say, what have we sacrificed out of our adoration of Jesus and the blessings He’s gifted us? How could we become fishers of men if we hold onto the blessing for ourselves? How would we gain wisdom without trials? How would we grasp a hold of peace if it weren’t for storms? How would we recognize the amazing and lush greens of our Promised Land if we hadn’t experienced the elements of the desert? The thing we have to continually sacrifice is our flesh. Our flesh wants the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when wisdom tells us the Tree of Life is all we truly need. Our flesh wants the blessings without sacrificing some comforts to become all the Lord has called us to be. I suppose Simon Peter could have still been a fisher of men while enjoying the spoils of that net-breaking haul, but I don’t believe he would have been as successful as we was. He still would have reached lives, but not at the level of impact that he had. No matter our choices, the Lord will use us. It’s our choice to learn and understand Heaven’s accounting. Simon Peter became more blessed than that load of fish. Wholly blessed, inside and out, not just isolated to his bank account.

So, my challenge is this: to be willing to lay my life down in sacrifice, walking away from what appears to be the blessing I’ve been praying and hoping for; realizing that if that is so amazing, He has something so much better in store. We have to strive not for the blessings, but for the purpose He has on our lives. It’s not about me, it’s about Him working through me to reach the ones who haven’t met Him yet. Becoming “fishers of men” in this life.

Lepers’ Camp

leper

I’ve been meditating a lot lately on the Leper that was healed after Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew, chapter 8, it begins with Jesus coming down the hillside and a man with leprosy approached & knelt before Him. He said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. He didn’t ask for healing, he asked to be cleansed. In that time, lepers (along with other diseases) weren’t allowed outside the sick community they were banished to. They were sent away to live with other afflicted (unclean) people to either get better or die. So, for him to appear in this public place amongst the crowd (perhaps he was hiding) was unheard of.

He asks Jesus if he is willing. Jesus reached out his hand & touched the man. He TOUCHED HIM!! This simple, single act  made him human again and showed all the onlookers the value Christ saw in him. In front of this large crowd of people, Jesus touched someone deemed “unclean” and made him clean.

This man that has been cast aside, rejected, assumed and left for dead was finally looked upon with compassion; was touched by kindness and acceptance; unconditional love. This man did not just walk away healed from his leprosy; he was released from his imprisonment of solitude and rejection. He didn’t choose to have leprosy. He didn’t choose to be rejected. His choice and desire was to rise above the labels and hope for something more for his life outside of the death placed upon him. Jesus gave him the opportunity to do so.

How many of us have rejected others because of their “afflictions”? Afflictions can be anything, but I think these days, it tends to be peoples’ choices and/or their lack of perfection in handling life. Have you judged people and placed them undeservingly into the Leper’s Camp?

Let’s flip it. Are you in the Leper’s Camp? Have you accepted the rejection and death sentence you or someone else has spoken over your life? I’m going to say one thing and you need to hear it: YOU DO NOT DESERVE IT. I don’t care what you have done or not done, no one should be in the Leper’s Camp. Our healing, our cleansing and our washing came through the blood of Jesus on that cross. Even if you don’t believe, you still don’t belong in the Leper’s Camp. I’m here to tell you that despite all your (and others’) shortcomings, that you are loved and accepted. Not everyone will understand or treat you as such, but God does. You have breath in your lungs right now because you have a purpose in this life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A lot of us have given reason and justification to people throughout our lives to banish us. Call it boundaries, tough love, whatever; some of the time, it is done properly and done with love. Unfortunately, what I have found is that a lot of the time, it is not. It has only added to the pain and deepened wounds. The only thing I have found that can heal all of this is the unconditional love from our Heavenly Father. I didn’t learn it or receive it from anyone here on this Earth. I found it, I found Him while in solitude. When all that darkness closes in on you and you can’t hear any voices, you can’t see your hands in front of you; He shows up. He reaches out His loving hand and touches you, despite all of your uncleanliness. He accepts you just the way you are in your broken mess. His perfect love cleanses you, heals you inside and out, and restores you to someone better than you were before. Then, that power He used to heal you has been given to you to walk into that Lepers’ Camp and heal the rest. No more rejection, no more pain, forgiven; whole.

redeemed

Who do we know in this life that needs that acceptance? We are called to be like Jesus. It’s our job to walk into the Lepers’ Camp and make the “unclean”, clean. One loving word, one act of kindness will not only heal the visible ailment, it will breathe life into their souls.

The Ultimate Valentine

lamb

Picture this.  You’re a kid and your parents bring home this adorable baby lamb. They say it’s yours to care for.  That lamb instantly has your affection.  Over the course of five days you feed it, walk with it, talk to it, cuddle with it, you fall in love with this amazing creature that is now a part of your family; a part of you.  On the fifth day, your parents now tell you this lamb is going to be your dinner.  How do you feel now? This creature has now died to feed you.  Tell me you’re not sobbing with every single bite you take?!

This is a glimpse of the Israelites while they were still in Egyptian captivity (Gen. 12:1-14). This lamb they sacrificed, saved them from certain death (the final plague – death of first born son).  This lamb was their redemption. By eating it, roasted with fire, they were strengthened for the journey and trials that lay ahead of them.  A desert journey filled with trials and miracles!  A trespass offering had been made in order for them to walk out of Egypt under God’s Hand of Grace.  No one went hungry because food rained from Heaven.  No one went thirsty because the tree made the bitter waters sweet.  God was close to them the entire time despite their grumblings. He loved them.

I used to think that I wouldn’t have been one of the complainers after witnessing all those miracles.  Yet, here I am today, realizing the truth of it all.  I acknowledge all His amazing miracles in my life, but still a complaint will trump my gratitude.  Why is that?  It amazes me how quickly the thinking of “not enough” or “not going my way” creeps in and how quickly it distracts from my gratitude for My Lamb.

If you study the Trespass Offering (Lev. 1), you will see the Lamb for the Israelites duplicated, but it’s done more ceremoniously.  That ceremony comes from their acknowledgement of what was done in the past.  They carried on that tradition so to speak.

The ceremony went something like this:

Once a year, the head of the household found a lamb with no blemish (had to be perfect).  He walked it to the Priest. The Priest examined the lamb (not the man). The man laid his hands on the lamb’s head transferring all his sins onto the lamb. Then, he slit the throat of the lamb, spilling its blood and then the lamb was roasted in the fire. The man and his family lived another year under the redemption and forgiveness of their lamb’s blood sacrifice.

Sound familiar?

Jesus was our Trespass Lamb, once and for all. No need for the pomp and circumstance from the old covenant. He made all things new…forever.  We now live under His constant forgiveness, His never-ending Grace, His unconditional love.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, this is what has been on my mind when I think of Love.  Yes, I’ve been blessed with an amazing man for my husband, who is the best manifested presence of my Heavenly Father’s unconditional love. Our four children are another manifestation of that.  But, when I meditate on Christ’s Perfect Love for me, all He’s brought me through, what He’s teaching me now and where He’s taking me in the future; I am indescribably overwhelmed.  I’m filled with an inexpressible love and gratitude for my Heavenly Father’s gift…My Lamb.

Cross

My prayer for you is that you know this love, too! I pray you fall in love with our Lamb, Jesus Christ, all over again or maybe for the first time.  No ceremony needed. The sacrifice is done. Believe and receive this amazing Gift.

I thank God for the Love from My Lamb.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Ephesians 3: 17-19 “…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”