Tag Archives: God’s Love

REDEEMED BY CHRIST’S LOVE

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The sun was slowly slipping behind the horizon while I was driving through the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. As I approached the top of a hill, I saw the most breathtaking view surrounding me. The beauty of the sky and the magnificent view of the spectacular mountains enthralled my soul.

While I was breathing in the beauty, Christ’s presence came to me so powerfully that I felt an inexpressible sense of God’s love. Captivated by the love I felt, I remembered the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesians: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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.”

In my heart, it was as though God was saying: My love for you is higher and wider and more magnificent than these beautiful mountains.

With a feeling of awe, I meditated on His perfect love and my spirit soared in His presence. Heaven touched me and drew me close to the heart of God.

In this crazy world, it’s very easy to be in a big hurry and miss the awareness of God’s love. The responsibilities of life can easily rob us of the quietness we need.

Jesus is waiting for each one of us to stop what we’re doing and find the rest we need from the hectic pace of life. Christ beckons us to open our hearts to Him and bask in His love. We don’t have to be driving through marvelous scenery to feel God’s presence. As we practice stillness and prayer, we become more aware of Christ’s love for us.

As we’re celebrating the resurrection of the Lord, it’s a good time to contemplate what the cross really means. Christ died and rose again so that we could live abundantly in His grace.

Because of the cross we no longer need to feel shame or guilt when we mess up. When we stumble, we can simply stand up and ask God to help us begin again. If righteousness could be gained in our own strength, then Christ died for nothing.

We are redeemed by Christ’s love. His love paid it all. Jesus said. “It is finished.”

His love paid the penalty for our sins. This is good news that ought to be shouted joyfully to the world.

Beloved Jesus,

Our hearts long to have more of You. Help us to see and feel how great Your love is. Help us to rest in Your presence continually. We love You. Amen.

“Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

 — Galatians 2: 21 (The Message)

 

 

His Treasured Possession

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Condescending words roll off the tongues of people so easily. My heart jumps up and down in protest whenever I hear someone refer to themselves or others as “trash.” How could anyone refer to a person as trash? There could be nothing further from the truth. In God’s eyes, no one is trash.

There was a time in my past when I felt like trash. I had left the corporate world to focus on parenting. I no longer had titles to prove my worth. It seemed like storms were hitting us one right after the other and it left me feeling like a trailer ripped apart by a tornado.

From an earthly perspective, I was of no value to the world. It was during that time that God began showing me what a treasure I was to Him. As I spent time in prayer and truly seeking to know Christ better, I found Scriptures that encouraged me and helped me see the truth about myself.

While I was reading through the Bible, I stumbled across a verse that seemed to jump off the page. “…I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,” declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:23) As I meditated on this Scripture verse, I pondered the words deeply in my soul. Could it be true?  Could I really be His signet ring?  Did He really choose me to be His treasured possession? His words melted into my heart and never again could words or opinions of a human being determine my worth. It was a revelation that changed me forever.

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As the years passed by and I fell more in love with Christ, I began understanding in a deeper way, how treasured I am. As I drew near to Christ, He drew near to me and whispered His loving words to my heart. I began writing the words I would hear in my spirit as I read the Scriptures that spoke of Christ’s love for me.

As a young woman, I began writing these soft whispers that flooded my soul, and I have journals filled with words of affirmation and love. In 2009, I shared one of these love notes inspired by Jesus with a group of women at church. Today, I want for you to imagine Christ whispering these words to you.

You are My treasured possession…My beautiful daughter. You are royalty, a princessan heir of My kingdom. I love you more than you can possibly imagine or know. There is nothing you could ever do to change My love for you. It is eternal. I love you because you are Mine. I made you in My image, for your beauty to be displayed to the world. The core of who you are is filled with gifts and talentssome of these you have discovered, others are waiting to be unveiled. Rest in My love in knowing you are beautiful to Me. You are treasured. You are the apple of My eye. I love you just the way you are. No one loves you like I do.

Love,
Your Heavenly Father

Do you see yourself as the beautiful treasure you are to God? Every human is treasured by Christ regardless of his or her occupation, race, income level, physical features or anything else. He has dreams for every person’s life. He wants to use us and to transform us.

I pray you will always know that you truly are the apple of God’s eye and one of His most treasured possessions.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 7:6 (NIV)

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

Five Minute Friday: Broken

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It was after I became an adult that I realized how broken I was. My daddy had left our family when I was a thirteen-year-old, and the wounds were hidden deep in my soul.

After unsuccessfully searching to find comfort through acceptance of people and staying busy, I found healing through communing with Christ. An intimacy with God began growing that changed me eternally. I am no longer broken.

Christ reached into the depths of my soul and healed me wound by wound. Because of the undying, unwavering, perfect love of ChristI am whole. His love restored me.

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 (New Living Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Broken.”

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Beautiful

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His presence makes my heart melt. His voice makes excitement rise up in my soul. His love is the only thing that makes me sing, dance and laugh. He is everything to me.

He has become the breath that keeps me going. He makes me feel safe. He makes me feel wanted. He makes me feel treasured and valued.

Jesus makes me feel complete and perfectly beautiful in every way.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.”  Song of Songs 4:7 (New Living Translation)

It’s my second time to join Lisa Jo Baker in the Five Minute Friday challenge of writing for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is, “Beautiful.” Again, the words trickled into my mind and I wrote a very short post.

I pray that you will feel more beautiful than ever and allow Christ to sweep you up every day into His strong arms of love.

The photo was downloaded at stockfreeimages.com.

Five Minute Friday

Summertime Beauty

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Summertime symbolizes so many different things. It’s a time to rest and slow down. It’s a time to enjoy all the beautiful flowers that thrive in the heat. It’s a time to be still and relax in the moments when there’s no work or home-schooling or meetings to attend.

When I think of all my summertime memories, I think of lying in a hammock with a good book. I think of picnics and watermelons.

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I think of jumping in the refreshing, cool water after a jog. I think of crossing the finish line at the Peachtree Road Race. I think of fireworks on the Fourth of July. I think of catching fireflies in a jar and playing hide ‘n’ seek with the neighborhood kids.

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I think of camping and walking on the beach at dusk. I think of romance. I think of candle light dinners on the patio. I think of the sweetness of fresh blueberries and the sunflowers coming into full bloom.

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But most of all, summertime reminds me of Jesus. He draws us into rest, calling us to slow down and find refreshment in Him. He gives us more excitement than a fireworks show and carries us through to the finish line when we’re struggling to carry on. He makes life beautiful in the same way that summertime does.

Christ brings summertime sweetness and perfect rest to the soul.

On this beautiful summer day, I can hear Jesus whispering, Come to Me and find what your soul is longing for. Come and find rest in your spirit and mind. I am here waiting to embrace you with My love.

Are you enjoying the rest that comes in the summer season? I pray you will enjoy all the beauty of summer and experience the sweetness of God’s unwavering love.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

“So he said to them, ‘Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and rest for awhile.’…” Mark 6:31 (God’s Word Translation)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

The Birth of Compassion

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I opened an e-mail and began reading about Rehema. The tears flowed down my face as I focused on her birth date. She was born the same day as I was. I knew at that moment God had divinely chosen this woman for me to support financially through a sponsorship. It wasn’t a coincidence. It couldn’t be, I thought. But still, I wanted a confirmation to know for sure.

I contacted Lisa, the sponsorship coordinator, and left a voice mail message. “Did you know that Rehema had the same birthday as mine?”

“No I did not know that was your birthday!!!! Yes, God wanted you to sponsor her. I am sure,” Lisa wrote to me in an e-mail.

I wept as I celebrated this milestone in my life, and thanked God for matching me with a woman who shares my birthday as a sign of His sovereign power. This is truly a celebratory week for me. Rehema is a house mother at the Hands of Love Orphanage in Uganda, East Africa. She’s the mother of five children, and has been caring for orphans for two years. She’s a dedicated volunteer that works up to fifteen hours each day for no money.

I had signed up to be a staff sponsor through Hands of Love USA, a non-profit organization that helps fund two orphanages in Kampala, Uganda. I attended a Hands of Love event in 2011 and began sponsoring one of the children back then.

My heart is drawn toward helping the poor and the orphaned children more than any other cause. God placed these desires in my heart many years ago when I didn’t have the means to help meet the needs of orphans. I share this story not to boast about myself, but to bring honor to Christ and share of His ability to turn our pain into a life of purpose.

I remember lying awake at night years ago praying and begging God to redeem my broken life. My heart was filled with questions for God during those painful times for our family. Why has my husband been laid off from work four times? Why have we had three failed businesses? Why are we left in a situation where we can’t afford health insurance? Why am I battling chronic stomach illness?

In those quiet moments of desperate prayer, I heard the still, small voice of the Lord saying, “These hardships are preparing you for the work I have for you to do.” It was then that I learned that our greatest need as humans is the need to give. We were created to give, and when we have little to give it hurts deeply.

In those moments of experiencing a true lack of resources, I shifted my focus off of myself and would think of the children in Africa who don’t even have clean water to drink, a roof over their head, or clothes to wear. Thinking of the ones with much greater pain lessened my own suffering.

Many times, in my spirit, I heard God confirming His will for me as He spoke so softly. “I’m preparing you for your destiny, a life of giving to those in Africato those who are in much greater need than you’ll ever be.” His words always brought me comfort because I knew my suffering was not in vain.

My dream of helping African people came to fruition after my husband earned a college degree and began working in the medical diagnostics field in the summer of 2010. We began working hard to pay off the mountain of credit card debt we had attained during the years of famine. We are now 100% out of debt other than our house payment. We are free to fight the injustices of the world.

Every time I look at the photo of Rehema I get weepy because I know the intense joy she is experiencing in knowing Christ has provided for her needs. I envision meeting her some day. I can only imagine the joy and tears we both will experience as we rejoice together over what Christ has done.

I celebrate the fact that I was once impoverished and in lack. It was during those times of need that I drew nearer to the heart of Christ. My suffering allowed me to feel His heartbeat and know the yearnings of His soul.

It’s easy to question the goodness of God when we are sufferingespecially when there are tragedies like the tornado that recently devastated families in Moore, Oklahoma. Nobody can fully understand these kinds of disasters.

For me, I choose to believe that God is good no matter what happens on this earth. He loves us deeper than our hearts and minds can comprehend. (Ephesians 3:17-20)

God is love. (1 John 4:8) God is light. (John 8:22) God desires to give us good things. (Matthew 7:11)

There is a fierce battle going on at all times in the spirit world. The dark side wants us to be tormented eternally. The heavenly realm wants us to live in harmony with God, and to walk in oneness with Him eternally.

When bad things happen, we can cling to God, or we can run from Him and live in darkness. It’s when we’re surrendered to Christ that we see how He takes the most devastating circumstances, turns them around, and uses them for good in our lives.

He uses our pain and our losses to birth the compassion of Christ in our hearts. It’s in our suffering that we begin to take on the very nature of Christ, and love others like He loves us.

I have a compassionate heart now that I could’ve never attained without going through what I did. True compassion is birthed out of getting a glimpse of what others have experienced. So if it takes suffering to grow closer to the heart of Christ, I welcome it and embrace it.

As I was finishing typing this story, I felt the Lord nudging me to look up the meaning of the name, Rehema. I smiled and got teary, but I wasn’t surprised at all when I saw on Google that her name means, “Empathy; Compassion.”

God did it againHe confirmed to me that He knew all along where He was leading me to when I was suffering.

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” 1 Peter 4: 12-13 (The Message)

Hidden Treasure

 

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I woke up and looked out the window of the beach house we had rented. Something was compelling me to go out to the seashore. We’d been staying right on the ocean all week, and this was our last full day to be there. Most days that week I had waited until after breakfast before I headed outside. But this day was different. I was drawn to the sacredness of the peaceful water. Shortly after 8 a.m. I rushed out to the edge of the sea, and was amazed at what I saw. I yelled to my mom, who was sitting outside on the deck of the house.

“Mama, come look at this; there are so many seashells!”

It looked like thousands of beautiful seashells on the beach. She walked over to see, and the words spilled off her lips that had already been in my head. “God did this for us.”

Call it a coincidence if you want to. But if you were there, you would’ve agreed with us. It was so obvious that God had pushed these shells to the shore just for us.

We had walked for miles up and down the beach all week. And there were barely any shells around before. That morning it was like the seashells were strategically placed directly in front of where we were staying. I had heard about beaches that were known for having countless seashells, and I had even seen a few of those places. But I’d seen nothing like this before.  Instead of being spread out over a large area of beach, they were densely confined to a small area.

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I hollered for my husband to come see, and he brought me a bag for collecting the shells I wanted to keep. As I was looking through the shells I heard the Lord’s still, small voice speaking to my heart.

“My Kingdom is like these piles of seashells. There are countless, hidden treasures to be found. Search for them and you will find them.”

While carefully looking amongst these treasures, I found some of the most beautiful, perfect seashells I’ve ever seen. I could have spent hours and hours looking at what seemed like a never-ending supply of shells.

God is amazing. He longs for us to look for His treasures. He’s always waiting for us to open our hearts like a little child would. He wants to fill us with awe and show us His signs and wonders. His Kingdom is a never-ending source of goodness and joy just like the seashells on the beach that day. His love never ends. We’ll never stop discovering new and fresh signs of His love for us.

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)

His Unfailing Love

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I saw something recently that caught my attention and made me think of God’s perfect love toward us. I was driving home from doing errands. As I was making a right turn, I saw a motorcycle and a bicycle turn in front of me. At first, it struck me as really odd because the cyclist was riding so closely behind the motorcycle. But then I could see clearly what they were doing. It was a father and a daughter riding together.

The man looked to be in his forties or fifties. He was riding his motorcycle directly in front of the girl. They were so close together that it looked as though they were touching each other. The girl looked about sixteen. She had on a biker’s shirt similar to what the professionals wear. She was obviously training for a serious race, and her dad was there to help her train. It was like her father was guiding her and protecting her along the way. As I passed by, the dad was turning around to look at his daughter to make sure she was okay.

While driving by them, emotions rose up in my spirit. I saw a picture of how God loves and protects us.

I could hear God’s still, small voice speaking to me in my heart.

He whispered to me so gently. “I love you with an unfailing love like a father loves His child. I go before you to mark the path that is best for you. Stay on the path with Me, and I will keep you in the shadow of My wings.”

I had tears of joy as I drove home thinking about such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. I realized in that moment of watching the father guiding his daughter on her bike, how we don’t need to move ahead of God, outside of His protective shelter.

Isn’t that amazing to think about? God our Father is continually with us and sheltering us as long as we don’t try to sneak away from His loving guidance. The Bible says God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity (Joel 2:13). As we stay close to God, He will keep us from harm, and make us sing for joy all our days on earth.

I pray that you will experience the immeasurable love of God today. May His peace rest upon you, and may you always know you are His beloved daughter or son. Most of all, I pray you will bow before Him and be satisfied in His unfailing love.

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” Psalm 13:5  (NLT)

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7 (NIV)

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
(NIV)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8 (NIV)

In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:12 (NIV)