In a world filled with hate…

…may I reflect the LOVE that is unconditional.  Lord, help me!  May I love as You have loved us.  You bestowed Grace and Mercy upon us, ALL people, through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  May I not be selfish with that Love!  May I overflow with what You have given me so that others too may know Your Love!

Where is the blame in these acts of violence?  Society?  Laws? Politicians?  Human Nature?

Where does it stop?  How does it change?  With more gun laws?  With more hate?  With more discrimination?

No.  It starts with me.  It starts with MY HEART, MY MIND.  Lord, if I am to love You with all my heart, all my mind, all my strength, all my soul, then I must love what YOU love:  Your creation, Your people, Your promises.

We as the human race are so broken.  We are prone to sin, to lie, to hate.  It is only through CHOOSING to love that we can overcome those natural tendencies we have.

In the midst of differences, LOVE.  See the beauty and interconnectedness through our differences.  Each of us is a thread in a vast tapestry.  Each of us, as tangled as we may be, add color and texture to the final Image of Grace.  We NEED the different colors, textures, and facets in order to see the Image of Christ in each other.  So LOVE.  Honor.  Extend grace and mercy.

And go.  Encourage others to do the same.

Whatever we do, readers, we do to and for Christ.  Be a vessel.

You are for me…

I have been reflecting a lot on Romans 8.  For a while, I have been getting stuck on the whole concept of “You are for me.”  Specifically, this line:  If God is for us, who can be against us? (verse 31b)  What does this mean?  Who can be against me?

Then it hits me.  God LOVES me.  He is WITH me.  When I am apart from His will, His Spirit draws me back in.  He guide me.  He gives me opportunities to obey Him, to draw near to Him, to seek forgiveness and His Truth.  He gives  us victory when we overcome the lies of the enemy with His Truth, with His strength.  God’s victory is SURE against the enemy.  God’s desire is for me to be continually sanctified and transformed to His likeness.  Nothing can separate us from Him when we are adopted through Christ.

He will not give me EVERYTHING.  He gives me what I need.  He does not want me do whatever I want; He wants me to seek after His heart and follow His will.  He faithfully reminds me of His grace, His mercy.  He fills me with His love.  His fruit grows within my heart and soul.  He desires my worship of Him!  I want to crave Him above all things!

I am weak.  I fall.  And His Spirit lifts me up, and the blood of Christ washes over me.  We begin again.  And again.  And again.  I am human.  He is full of patience and mercy.  He knows my weaknesses, and leads me to His Truth so that I may learn to flee from temptations.  He always provides me a way out from them!  He equips me with HIS armor so that I may stand firm against the devil and his schemes.

This is what it means that He is for me.  He does not forsake me in my times of needs.  He surrounds me, fills me with strength, creates the safety net beneath me that I will inevitably need time and time again.  And He allows me, through time and reflection, to see His hand in each and every one of those falls I take.  I am thankful for my weaknesses, for the strength He provides to bring me through them each time.  He carries me, even when I don’t recognize it.  Yep, I am human, and quite often blind to His Holy Work.  So when He does reveal that to me, I am in awe.  I am humbled and thankful.  He has saved me so many times!  Thank You, Father!  Thank You for Your limitless love!  I am constantly in awe of You!

Lies Women Believe, Chapter 2

Chapter 2 takes us through lies we believe about God.  “What we believe about God is foundational to our whole belief system.  If we have wrong thinking about God, we will have wrong thinking about everything else.  What we believe about God determines the way we live.  If we believe things about Him that aren’t true, we will eventually act on those lies and end up in bondage.” (page 47)

Lie #1:  God is not really good.  If He were, He would…

This is a tough one.  So many people I know who are not believers struggle with this statement:  “How can there be a god when there is so much evil in the world? Or when so much bad stuff happens?”

I know this struggle too well.  I questioned His goodness when my sister died.  “How could you let this happen, Lord?  Didn’t you hear my prayers for her???”

It took me a long time to wrap my mind around the goodness of God after that happened.  Psalm 25: 8 says, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.”  Psalm 135 speaks of God’s goodness as well.

Over time, I begin to realize that even through the most tragic of events, God makes His presence known in positive ways.  People begin to rally together in these tragic times, praying together, serving each other, showering grace upon others.  Through the tragedy in my own life, I have been strengthened, compassion has increased, and my faith has deepened.  The passage in Romans 8 has become my truth!  We are more than conquerors, and God is with us every step of the way.  Nothing we experience can separate us from His love.

 

Lie #2:  God doesn’t love me.

Many of us fall into this lie.  We either don’t feel like we deserve to be loved, or we think God does not love us because life is so hard.  The truth is, though, that God does love me, and He loves you too!  He loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son to pay the price we deserve to pay:  death.  Yes, as much as we do not like to admit it, we are all sinners.  We all fall short of the glory of God, and not one of us is perfect.  Jesus, the only perfect person to walk the earth, is the lamb who was slain for us.  Isaiah 53 describes what Jesus was to suffer out of His love for us, to bridge the gap between our sinful selves and our most holy God.

 

Lie #3:  God is just like my father.

God is often referred to as “Our Father.”  For those who do not have strong or healthy relationships with their earthly father, this can be a hard concept to grasp.  I am thankful for my dad, and his love for me.  But, I have friends who do not have that healthy, positive relationship with their dads.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about us all being members of one body.  God, our Father, has adopted us into His family.  He does love us, and He sets boundaries for us to protect us.  I have broken these boundaries and suffered emotional and mental consequences often enough to know this to be true!

 

Lie #4:  God is not really enough.

Psalm 42 and John 4 discuss our desire for more, and that only filling that desire with God will truly satisfy our hunger and thirst!  He gives us Living Water, and nourishes our soul!

 

Lie #5:  God’s ways are too restrictive.

I mentioned above that God’s boundaries are put into place to protect us from harm.  “So we throw off the restrictions, determined to ‘have it our way.’  We are free to choose our own way, just as Eve was free to eat the forbidden fruit.  But there is one thing we are not free to choose, and that is the consequences.” (page 56)  I found this to be true when I succumbed to the temptations to have sex before marriage.  I found myself giving in to more than just sex, and I found myself laden with guilt, sinking further and further into depression.  When I came back to the throne of my Father, He embraced me, forgave me, and brought me to a place where I could begin to heal.  He taught me to lean on Him, and to trust Him for my emotional and physical needs.  I am so thankful for the time He gave me to heal.  In that time period, He prepared me to be able to set and keep boundaries in my next relationship.  That next man that God brought into my life and whispered to me, “This is the one I have chosen for you,” did become my husband!  Three years and one day after our first face-to-face encounter, I am sitting here writing this.  I am so thankful for my husband, and the boundaries the Lord inspired us to keep until our wedding night.

Take time to ponder Philippians 4, Psalm 19, and Ephesians 5.

 

Lie #6:  God should fix my problems.

On pages 57-58, Nancy shares “Holly’s” story:  “‘I had a problem with food and my weight.  I prayed all the time for God to deliver me.  But my prayers and my motives were selfish.  I wanted to look good on the outside.  I wanted instant results, and I did not want to sacrifice anything or work too hard for it.  My prayer went like this, ‘Lord, I’m in a rut.  I keep trying to have willpower, but I don’t.  Please fix this.  Give me Your power to overcome this problem.’  But it was all in vain.'”

I so relate to Holly!  I don’t like the idea of giving up ice cream!  I don’t like the idea of getting up and exercising!

Check out Psalm 46 , Hebrews 5, and 2 Corinthians 12.

“We want God to fix all our problems.  God says instead, ‘I have a purpose for your problems.I want to use your problems to change you and to reveal My grace and power to the world.’  That is the Truth–and the Truth will set you free.” (page 58)

Quiet Mornings…

I have been getting up early to do my Bible Study.  Best part of it is this time now when I am finishing, and I can hear my son alert in his crib, just talking to himself and his stuffed animals.  He is so content when we wakes up!  He’ll do this for about an hour.  I am so thankful for my son, for the love the Lord has given me for him.  So thankful for his personality, his demeanor, his expressive face!

He is just laughing right now!  I love it.  Just wanted to share with you all!