Monday, September 26, 2016

Does God love you?

There are times when we just flat don't understand what God is up to.   We pray, pray, pray and some situations seem to stay the same. For example, maybe you are in a painful place and you've cried out to God over and over and things seem the same. Or, maybe you have been praying for someone dear to you to have a breakthrough.  The more you pray, the more it seems that person is in bondage. What do we do with situations like these?  Well, some people conclude that God is not listening or paying attention.  Others may conclude that he doesn't care about us personally.   You see, I find in confusing times like these mentioned, what is really revealed is what we TRULY believe about Jesus.
I can totally relate to the questions that pop up in our heads; the doubts, fears, and sadness.  I am human and I experience an array of emotions daily.  However, whether I crumble under them or not depends on my core belief about my Savior.  I can feel disappointed in God's final decision pertaining to a situation and still feel a deep peace that He knows whats going on.  It boils down to this: Do I truly believe God loves me?

I admit there have been many times I wondered if He loved me personally.  I mean I believed generally that He loved humans because He created them.  However, me personally was a different story.  This deep-seated belief that God really didn't love me greatly affected everything in my life.  When something bad happened I assumed that it was because it was "just me" and I haven't accomplished alot nor been a "mighty woman of God" as I have heard others described. See, I had trouble receiving God's love for me.  I still had the mindset that I would have to "earn" the special love that God gave others!  Really?? Satan had me deceived!   Satan knew if I couldn't receive how much God loves me then I would remain in that paralyzed state of insecurity,  disbelief, and fear.  In other words, I was benched..on the sidelines....out of the game....out of the battle!!  God's love for us is a gift and it must be received!  He loves us period. This love is not something we have to earn.  This love is not just for the successful, the beautiful, and the famous. It's for you and me!   In Romans 8 we are told that NOTHING will separate us from God's love for us.  We are ALWAYS loved by our Heavenly Father; even on those days we feel like miserable failures. 

I can already hear some of you saying, "Oh, so I can do anything I want and God's just sitting up there with a big smile on His face?"  Now, I want to ask you something; do you love your children?  Do they ever do anything that disappoints you or makes you mad?  Does that change your love for them?  Of course not!!  On the other hand, sometimes the choices our children make do hinder our fellowship with them.  You see, when we receive (really receive and believe in our heart) God's love for us, then and only then we can start really loving Him back! Our hearts began to WANT to do things that please Him when we receive His unchanging strong love for us.

Today you may be going through a very hard time.  Maybe you are dealing with an addiction or you are in a lonely marriage. Maybe your last baby left home or you feel you have missed God's calling for your life.  Maybe you feel that God is ignoring your prayers for your prodigal son or daughter.  Maybe you feel that He is ignoring your request for a financial breakthrough. Wherever you find yourself today,  I want to encourage you to stop and ask yourself:  Do I really believe and receive God's personal love for me?  Do I really believe He wants the best for me? If you don't, take the time to talk with God.  Tell him everything (He already knows how you really feel) and repent for believing your feelings over HIS word.  Ask Him to open your eyes to the ways He loves you and to help you start receiving His love deep in your heart. It's when we line up our belief's with God's Word, that we can start receiving His wonderful, unending, unconditional love for us personally!  Oh how freeing it is to realize that the God of the universe, who is in control of everything, loves us and is true to His Word.

And 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,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God

Ephesians 3:17b-19

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Where's your focus? (Re-post from April 2015)

Joy and peace are fruits of the Holy Spirit.  When we, children of God, lose our joy and peace, it can often be traced back to a certain place in which we gradually got our eyes off of the Lord.   This recently happened to me. As I have mentioned before, God has been taking me through a healing journey of peeling back the "layers" of my heart.  I often compare this process to that of peeling back layers of an onion; when you pull one layer back, another is exposed.  Deep layers of insecurity and fear have been exposed and my eyes opened.  I am now "walking out" the deep truths that God has shown me: that I am secure IN HIM and that I CAN trust His heart towards me.  How do I walk this out?  Well, the Lord gives me "exercises" in which I can practice.  These exercises can be painful yet, just like physical exercise, will prove to be for my good. 
Recently, I was in a certain situation in which insecurity reared it's ugly head.  My first thought was to counteract that fear with a scripture.  I did.  I had victory over the trap that was set before me.  I felt strengthened.   Satan hated that God had the victory in what in the past was an easy score.  A few days passed and Satan had a plan to hit me again, only with more force.  It was a time when I was physically tired and was frankly caught off guard.  Now, I want to remind us all that the Bible warns us to be alert and watchful because our enemy wants to devour us. (Ephesians 6) However, I was too busy looking at myself to notice that the enemy was gaining ground.  Next thing I knew, another temptation passed by and I took the bait.  I let an insecure thought have it's way in my mind.  Then I acted upon it; I agreed with the lie that I needed to be afraid.   Within hours my whole attitude had changed.  I was looking at other people and comparing myself with them.  I felt an urge to try to control situations in order to "make sure" that I wouldn't get hurt, etc.  Wow!  What happened? I went from joy, peace, and security to being an emotional mess.  I asked God to show me what was going on.  Why I am falling back into this trap of insecurity?


It was in my quiet time that God shined His light onto this situation.  He led me to Psalms 73.  I want to share a little background with you.  This Psalm was written by Asaph, a temple choir leader.  Asaph had let his focus fall on people.  He started comparing their lives with his life.  He wondered why it appeared things were much better for others; how they seemed to have it all together while not even honoring God.  Then he began to question his walk with God.  It wasn't until He put his focus back on God ( where it should have been in the first place) that the truth won out and he felt secure once again.  Listen as He turns to God and pours out his heart in verses 21-26:
THEN I REALIZED THAT MY HEART WAS BITTER, AND I WAS ALL TORN UP INSIDE.  I WAS SO FOOLISH AND IGNORANT- I MUST HAVE SEEMED LIKE A SENSELESS ANIMAL TO YOU.  YET I STILL BELONG TO YOU; YOU HOLD MY RIGHT HAND.  YOU GUIDE ME WITH YOUR COUNSEL, LEADING ME TO A GLORIOUS DESTINY.  WHOM HAVE I IN HEAVEN BUT YOU?  I DESIRE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING ON EARTH.  MY HEALTH MAY FAIL, AND MY SPIRIT MAY GROW WEAK, BUT GOD REMAINS THE STRENGTH OF MY HEART; HE IS MINE FOREVER.

Wow!  That was me!  I had inadvertently gotten my focus off of God and back on me.  When this happens, I tend to fight God for control of my life.  I find myself trying to "take care" of my own situations and protect myself.  I traded joy and peace for fear and control.  Bad trade!


I want to encourage you to be a fruit inspector today; inspect your spiritual fruit.  Do you have love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control? If not, check your focus.  Are you focusing on God and His Word or is your focus on others, the world, or your fears?  When your focus is off of God, you are just one thought away from defeat.