Tag Archives: Love of God

Encouragement From The Cross

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Today I was reminded of the foundation on which my Christianity is formed. I am saved because God loved me enough to send the only son he has into the world to die on a cross and shed His blood for me. The thing is, He sent His son knowing that I would not accept Him right away and I would reject this perfect gift he was offering me. I believe in the story of the cross and in the saving blood of Jesus Christ, and that, is the foundation of my faith.

I think saying that I forgot the principle of the cross would be a bit draconian, but I can say that I needed a reminder of it today. When I first understood the love God showed me it changed my life. Everything I thought was important went out the door; career, marriage, friends, everything paled in comparison to my new desire for more of this amazing being.

As my desire grew and my passion became stronger, the enemy of my soul stepped in and life became a battle. The war between my flesh and my spirit was all too real and the weight of that battle took it’s toll on me. I started losing things, and I was stripped of every right I thought I had and for someone as liberal as me, that change was hard.

The darts came hard and fast and the closer I get to my purpose being fulfilled the harder this Christian walk seemed to get. Then, just as I was at breaking point, God reminded me of His love for me. He reminded me that I’m reconciled to Him and I’m His child. I was reminded that He loved me before I loved Him and gave up his most prized possession to secure a place in eternity for me.

Once, I spoke to a group of youths and I was told them that if you believe something then you should act in accordance with that belief. If I believed I had a million dollars in the bank then I’d go shopping and start swiping my debit card, expecting the machine to say “accepted” every time. In the same way, if I truly believe in God and the love He has for me then I’ll live my life following His word and expecting to have victory over the enemy time and time again.

I don’t believe that things will get easier. I believe that Satan will continue to fight me, that my flesh will continue to war against my spirit and the challenges will get bigger as I grow stronger in Christ. I also believe that the God I serve is greater than any challenge I will face in life. I believe that through Christ I can do ALL things and I hold firm to God’s promise that I will never be given more than I can bear. I believe and hold strongly to Mark 16:16-19

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

All of these promises are available, not only to me, but to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ; that he came to earth in the form of a man, died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day. I am who I am and I am where I’m at today only because Christ died on a cross to save me. That salvation is available to you too and whether you’re only now finding out about the cross or you’ve known about it for a long time, I think it’s good to have a reminder that someone loved you enough to die on a cross so you can have a wonderful eternity wrapped in God’s arms.

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You Said What?!

This tongue of mine seems to be the hardest thing to tame. Not for lack of trying though. I must admit that I’ve seen some improvement in the tongue-taming department but I realize there’s still some work to be done.

I’ve been wondering about words used via instant messaging (IM) and social media (SM). Is it that you blame the tongue for words sent these medium? Continue reading

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Heart Matters: Facing Filth

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Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

My fascination with the human heart and the way it works is peaked more and more each time I see the potential for both good and evil in it. With each day that passes I am faced with the reality that purification of the heart and by extension, the mind is a daily endeavor that one must approach with humility and vigor.

Like David I continuously pray the prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

God in His faithfulness continues to answer me and I am always surprised by what I see. As I grow and learn I’m realizing that my response to my heart condition is maturing. In times past, any revelation of the ills of my heart would have sprouted a fountain of tears and I would have been launched into a week of depressed prayers and brokenness, however this has not been the case recently.

With the passing of time and what I assume is increased wisdom, my approach to facing the filth of my heart has evolved.  Instead of bringing on the waterworks and curling into a ball of despair I am now able to acknowledge God in the process and open myself to change. Recently I’ve been reflecting on a number of things God has been showing me and I feel an explainable peace from the words in Hebrews 12:6

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. 

I can’t help but feel honored that God loves me enough to discipline me. To take the time to show me my wrongs so that he can make them right. For some reason beyond me I mean enough to this great being that he won’t allow me to continue living with a filthy heart. I fall more and more in love with Jesus as I embrace the depth of this love.

Proverbs 3:11-12 is somehow illuminated in my mind’s eye

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,as a father the son in whom he delights.

As with everything surrounding God there’s a choice to be made when facing discipline from our Father. We can choose to be weary of it and despise God because of it or we can embrace discipline and witness the transformation of our lives because of it.

I know that for each of us our journey would be different and we would experience God in different ways however, I wish to encourage you. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey with Christ the key is to be open to Him and embrace His ways; chastisement and all. It’s not always easy to accept what God reveals about our hearts but it will be worth it to open those things to Him and have Him remove them and continue the purification process.

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God: The Epitome of Love

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 1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Have you ever stopped and thought about the awesomeness and power of God? I’ve done that on numerous occasions, but this morning I was graced with a new revelation that made God seem even more marvelous to me than He ever was before.

I reflected on the great flood this morning. God was so angry with his creation that he decided to destroy everything. He was so disappointed with man that He felt the best way to resolve the problem he was having with us was to get rid of us. Thankfully Noah was a righteous man who found favor with Him and because of His righteous lifestyle we were saved. Noah’s relationship with and commitment to God wasn’t the focal point of my ponderings though.

This morning I realized that if God wanted to He could destroy us. At the sound of His voice he could wreak havoc upon the earth and wipe out our entire generation. He could look upon us and become so annoyed with our perverseness and lack of love and honor for Him that he could cause us to disintegrate and so end the vicious cycle of life and death. God has the power to do whatever he wants and yet from the beginning of time he bound himself to never committing such an act by making a promise not to do so, understanding that once that promise was made he would be bound to it because he cannot lie. That, to me was him exercising the greatest act of love towards men.

I know the crucifixion of Christ for most is the greatest act of love demonstrated by God and that may be true but in this moment I disagree. For me, the greatest act of love is having the power and authority to destroy a people who have no regard for you; the highest being in heaven and earth, and choosing not to exercise that power. It takes great love to choose to look past who we are and see us for who we were intended to be and choosing to love us for who we were meant to be while waiting patiently for us  to love you back. Added to that God continues to love us even when we hurt His heart intentionally, when we continue to pierce His son’s side through our actions and instead of taking revenge he continues to bless us and wait for us to change.

Who does that? I’ve heard so many people say “If I were God…………” and that statement usually ends with the horrible ways they would treat man and the way they would choose to destroy them. Even I have fallen into that bracket. So many times I’ve wished God gave me the power to zap people and situations and make them disappear. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen Christians fail and instead of loving them I’ve condemned them because they didn’t meet the ideal I’ve set in my heart of how Christians should be. All the while not realizing that in my condemnation of them I would have hurt God’s heart as well. I would have failed Him by choosing to judge rather than help and love my brother or sister. My foolish thinking would have caused me to fall into the same category as everyone else I would have wanted to get rid of. Thankfully God is not like man and His mercies are new every morning.

I think I’ve realized why men could never come to the understanding of who God really is, why we can never truly fathom the His ways or wisdom. Why we struggle with so many people and situations in life. It’s because we are unable to love the way he does. We can love our friends and families but can we truly love men? Can we look at a person, seeing all of their evil and wicked ways and still choose to love and care for them? Can we truly see people as someone made in God’s image and likeness and love them with that understanding rather than having to see the good in them before we begin to exercise our love for them?

I’ve decided to challenge myself. For the next week I’m going to choose to love people. In spite of their ways, attitudes, behaviors or any other characteristic they may possess that I don’t like or agree with, I’m going to love them. I understand that would probably be a bit challenging because I’m going to have to choose not to act on anger or be fueled by disappointment, but I’m going to have to love them in spite of. This is going to be one of those challenges where I’m only going to understand it entails after I’ve begun but I’m not going to let that deter me. I understand that I will probably never be able to love the way God loves but hopefully I’ll learn some lessons in loving that will help me to be a better person and have a better impact on the world for the honor and glory of God.

If you’re up to it maybe you can take up the challenge as well and let me know what your week of love was like. I look forward to hearing your stories.

Happy love week everyone!

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Can we really trust God?

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

A daughter was telling her mother how everything was going wrong. “I am failing Algebra. My boyfriend just broke up with me, and my best friend is moving away,” she wailed. Her mom listened patiently, and then asked, “I made a cake for dinner. Would you like a snack?” The girl grinned and said, “Sure, Mom. I love your cake.” The mom smiled and asked, “How about some cooking oil?” The daughter looked surprised at the offer and responded with a loud “Yuk!” The mom tried again, “How about a couple of raw eggs?” With a look of confusion, the daughter said, “Gross, Mom!” With a smile, the mother offered, “Would you like some flour or maybe a cup of baking soda?” The daughter responded, “Mom, all of those things are gross!” The mother cut a piece of cake and placed it on a plate with a fork. As she handed the delicious snack to her daughter, she explained, “Honey, all of those things seem bad when you think about eating them alone, but when they are put together in the right way, they make a delicious cake.”

God often works the same way. We sometimes wonder why He allows us to go through such difficult times, but when God puts those hard times together as only He can, they work out for our good. We just have to trust Him to do so.

I will never forget the day I learned how God really can turn tragedy into triumph.

I was sitting at my desk, working on an assignment from the counselor I had been seeing. For months, I had been wrestling with my past – slowly, methodically working through painful issues and buried memories that seemed to be feeding the clinical depression I was battling. As page after page filled with harsh realities, a memory slammed into my heart and mind.

The pain was overwhelming as a vile scene from my childhood slowly took shape. I could hardly breathe as I frantically tried to escape the certainty that I had been molested. The perpetrator had been our family doctor and a trusted friend. He had even provided free medical treatment when we couldn’t pay for it. I trusted him, counted on him. As a nurse, my mother worked beside this man every day and often babysat his children to earn extra money.

Anger unlike any I had ever known fueled violent thoughts of revenge and retaliation. I was angry with this man – and angry with God. How could He have let this happen? Where was the light in this dark place?

For months, I worked through painful memories and raging emotions until I saw the first glimmer of light. It was wrapped in chosen forgiveness. I began to see that if I had never been wounded so badly, I would never have been able to forgive so freely – and in doing so, discover a depth of healing and freedom only the greatest pain can produce. Today, I can honestly thank God for all He has accomplished in me through the sin of that man.

There are no accidents with God, nor is He surprised by anything or anyone in the life of His child. God uses even the most horrendous circumstances for our good. Every circumstance comes to us for a purpose, bound by God’s love and plan, and faithfully delivered with His permission. While we cannot go back and change our past, we can change the way we respond to our past, and determine how much power it has in our lives today.

Only God can take the broken pieces of your life and make something beautiful out of each one. He is waiting for you to let go of your pain and trust Him. And you really can. No one loves you like He does. You may not always understand or even like His process, but you can always trust His heart of love for you.

* Written by Mary Southerland – www.girlfriendsingod.com

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Daily Dose – By Your Side

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1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

God’s love is not short-tempered or short-lived.

Unlike human love, it never gives up on you, even on those long, discouraging days when your job is a strain, family life becomes confused and you hardly know where to turn.

In such stressful times, your heavenly Father puts up with all of it, right beside you.

He’s not out there somewhere: He’s close by your side.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Always Faithful

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Hebrews 13:5……………..“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Even when stress of fear challenges you, you need never to deal with it single-handedly, if Jesus rules your life.

When life seems in shambles around you, He offers strength and comfort for a hurting heart.

God never gives up on you. His love cannot change.

Today, delight in the One who never deserts you.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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