God Loves…You!

There are a number of keys hidden away in the Bible.  It used to seem odd to me that the Lord would hide things in the Bible however, over the years, I’ve discovered a few of them and I think I have better understanding as to why they were hidden in the first place.  When something is given to us, we tend to not take as good care of it as something we’ve had to work for.  Now I realize that may be an overstatement because there are always things given to us in our lives that become treasures.  But, as a general rule, I’ve found I take better care of those things I’ve worked and/or searched for.

When it comes to my faith, I feel I’ve had to scratch and work at every bit of truth I’ve learned along the way.  I was one of those skeptics; “Lord, you prove to me that you’re real and I’ll follow you!”  Yes, I was a hard case.  But, true to His nature, He actually answered the hard cries of my heart and my skepticism melted away.

So this is it. God loves me.  Not because I worked for it, but because He loves me and He gave the gift freely.

Let me explain. The Bible is full, literally overflowing with God’s feelings toward us:

-You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psa. 139:1
-I am familiar with all your ways. Psa. 139:3
-Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matt. 10:29-31
-I chose you when I planned creation. Eph. 1:11-12
-You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psa. 139:15-16
-And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
-Every good gift comes from my Hand. James 1:17
-My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jer. 29:11
-My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psa. 139.17-18
-I will never stop doing good to you. Jer. 32:40
-I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jer. 32:41
-If you will seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deut. 4:29.
-I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Eph. 3:20
-For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thess. 2:16-17
-When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psa. 34:18
-One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Rev. 21:3-4
-And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Rev. 21:3-4
-For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
-Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Cor. 5:18-19
-I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Rom. 8:31-32
-If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
-My question is…will you be my child? John 1:12-13
-I am waiting for you.” Luke 15:11-32
Excerpts taken from “Father’s Love Letter” by Barry Adams

I could go on and on, quoting scripture after scripture of what God has to say about us. He didn’t say it just to me, but to you too!  And while I was the hard case, I really didn’t work for this truth…it was there all along, just for the acceptance.

God loves you. Tomorrow marks the day that Love came down, from heaven to earth, to serve us and become the sacrificial Lamb so we all might live. I pray that this, the Christmas truth, will somehow touch you. Is there more to this story? Oh yes there is. But you must make the first move.

He’s waiting for you. Will you come?

Merry Christmas my friend.

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I’m Walking with God

I’ve arrived at a place in my life that I’m more and more in awe of God.  I have struggled with the fact that God loves me.  I could think of thousands of ways that I’ve disappointed, disobeyed, and otherwise disengaged myself from the Lord.  Oh yes, I knew that the Word, His Word, says that He remembers my sins no more as soon as I repent of them.  I’ve had plenty of practice with that.  But I’ve never truly gotten it that God loves me with a love so huge, so all encompassing.  Something always fell short inside.  “Oh, I’ve messed up again.  God can’t be very happy with me again.”

You see I was having a love affair with a God that I didn’t really understand.  He’s for me, not against me.  He’s always urging me on.  He’s used me in times when I figured I wasn’t very usable.  I always looked past what the Word said, and configured in my own mind this God who couldn’t possibly be happy with me and if He wasn’t happy with me, then He must not love me.  Unfortunately, these feelings come from our circumstances rather than truth.

Last week I had an experience that helped me see, I mean really see, just how much God loves me.  I was in a situation where folks around me were talking in a critical and judgmental way.  I recognized it immediately and decided that I didn’t want to go there.  Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to remove myself.  The next day, the same thing happened, but this time I joined in with the criticism and gossip that followed.  Just that quickly I slid into sin.

Later in the evening, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my mistake.  It was as if I heard Him tell me, “Linda, you saw it yesterday, identified it correctly, and chose not to participate.  Yet, today you joined in the fracas.  Why?”  The conviction cut me to the quick.  I was so quickly filled with remorse and sorrow.  I prayed, asking God’s forgiveness of my sin, and that He help me in the days to come not to succumb again.  And do you know what?  He answered my prayer!  The situation didn’t change much over the following days and yet God helped me to simply sit back and not participate.  It was absolutely stellar!

I’m beginning to see that the shift I’ve mentioned before has to do with my perception of God and His position in my life.  I’ve followed the Lord for a good many years now.  In spite of the fact that I feel so many of those years were for naught, God is showing me new things about myself.  He’s showing me that He loves me in spite of myself.  I honestly don’t know what has kept me following Him all these years, but I’m so glad I never gave up.  My understanding of who God is and what He’s about in my life is shifting from head knowledge to heart knowing.  I never before quite got it what loving God was all about.  I wanted it, I just didn’t know how to do it.

I’m coming to a new understanding about God’s promises for my life and where I stand in His eyes.  He loves me with a love beyond anything I can think or imagine.  He knows I sin, and yet He loves me anyway.  He uses me in circumstances where I feel I’ve completely failed and yet, I can look back and see situations now where I know He used me to change something in someone else’s life.  Guess what?  He loves you the same way.

Take a moment today and consider what your thoughts are about God and your love of Him.  You may not be able to quite say that you know He loves you completely and unabashedly and, you may not be able to say that you love Him in the same way.  That’s OK.  As long as you keep on the road, as long as you confess your sins as soon as you become aware of them and ask Him for His forgiveness, as long as you keep trying to follow Him the best you know how at any given moment…well, God will continue helping you grow and moving you along the continuum.  How do I know?  Because that’s exactly what He did for this woman who didn’t understand His love and yet kept walking with Him.

Many years ago, not long after I was saved and asked Jesus into my heart, I heard someone talking about the fact that “they walked with God.”  That statement astounded me.  I didn’t get it and I’d never heard of such a thing before.  But do you know what?  Thirty-five years later, I understand that statement completely.  I’m walking with God.  I pray you will continue walking with Him too…He really is crazy about you!  And if you’ll keep walking, He’ll keep moving in your life.  I pray your journey won’t take 35 years like mine did to get the fact from your head to your heart.  Why don’t you talk if over with God today?  He’s waiting to hear from you…