“Know Real Love!”

 

“. . . Because the Lord your God loves you,” Deuteronomy 23:5, NKJV

Those last three words, “God loves you,” are a salve for the broken-hearted and for hurting souls everywhere. If nobody else tells you, it’s three little words that God wants you to know, “God loves you.” If nobody else will show you, God said, “I will!”

Human emotions are so fickle. One day we’re up and the next we are down. Depending on which phase of life we are in our perception of reality can be altered by how we feel about the moment we are currently in. If we’re up, then it’s not hard to fathom love coming from everywhere, centering on us and making us feel good about ourselves. But, it is just the opposite when we are experiencing a downward phase. We can be living in a whole house full of people, right under the same roof as yourself, and feel completely devoid of love; feeling empty, as you try to hand out to others what you don’t feel coming to you. Love!

Love is nothing to play with. It’s not a joke. It’s a passion that dwells inside each of us hungering to be fed, wanting to be filled. I don’t know anyone in their right mind who doesn’t want to be loved. Who in the world is there that doesn’t want to be cherished by another? Who doesn’t want to feel cherished by another? Who doesn’t want the tender security of love wrapped around them, embracing them until every inch of one’s heart can feel that affectionate overflow?

To deny the need for love is to deny the way God created us. 1 John 4:8, NKJV, says, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Love is instilled in each of us as part of His creation. “God is love,” and in the Book of Genesis we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . .” (1:26, NKJV). We were made to feel and do as God does, and that means love, also.

“God loves you!” Throughout the pages of the Bible, the overflow of all He feels for us is pronounced over and over again. He has plenty of evidence to mark the extremes of His love for us. Here in Deuteronomy 23:5, He is noted as reversing a curse because He loves His people. But His ultimate show of love came when He initiated His plan to reverse the curse of sin once and for all. The plan was successful but it didn’t come without a price. His love for us cost the life of His Son, John 3:16. All that was done so that one day we might experience the joy of what it really means to be loved; such a tender embrace wrapped around us that can’t be felt anywhere else.

“God loves you!” While human love can and will be fickle, God said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you,” (Jeremiah 31:3, NKJV). There will come a day when “He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,” (Zephaniah 3:17, NKJV). That’s the tender embrace in action; that strong love that quiets everything else and gives us rest. It’s like stepping into His arms, the arms of love and crying it all out, and feeling nothing but His love. Knowing that God loves us in such a way inspires us for today. When one feels this love, it makes the broken heart feel revived and the hurting soul feels lifted once again. We may not always get the love from humanity that we seek, (and I won’t downplay the need for that), but “God loves you!” Unlike our human counterparts and those we seek affection from; God’s love will not fail us. It’s the real thing!

 

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“How Blessed Are You?” | Word For Life Says

 

There is no deep thought here or great spiritual revelation, just a question, “How blessed are you?”  One day I was sitting outside and just watching the trees blow lightly in the breeze.  I was listening to one of my favorite sounds of summer, the locusts in the trees.  I felt the warmth of the sun while watching the birds busy on the branch across from me.  My mind asked me, “How blessed are you?”  It’s kind of a rhetorical question because we are soooo blessed.  Not with great material possessions or new positions of honor, but with life.  Every day we are living is a blessing from the Lord.  Every day we breathe, no matter the outcome, is a wonderful gift from God.  Every moment with our families is to be treasured no matter how much they can pluck your nerves sometimes( 🙂 ).  Every day we get to experience is a day someone else didn’t get to enjoy.  Every book we get to read is a story that’s something special.  Every blog we get to meander over is a joy of fellowship bringing together people from around the world.  Every moment, every second of every day is God saying, “I’m still here.  I still love you.  I’m still in control of it all.”

“How blessed are you?”  I’m very blessed and I don’t take one day God has given me for granted.  Everything He pours into my life is a major blessing.  As I said, no deep revelation, just a question from a very grateful heart on today.  Enjoy your blessings today!!!

 

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“Beauty For Ashes!”

Messed up.
Tore up.
Jacked up.
Crazy!
 
Upside down.
Turned around.
Mind blown.
Thoughts, hazy!
 
Life crashes.
Dreams smashes.
Walls cave.
Crumbled messes!
 
Hope gone.
Pressure on.
What now?
Lord blesses!
 
Picked up.
Restored again.
Enemies –
God smashes!
 
Joy back.
Despair sacked.
Exchanged now,
Beauty for ashes!

“To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…,” Isaiah 61:3

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“Be Anxious for Nothing!”

How many times have “anxious” thoughts robbed us of the enjoyment of today?  How many worried days have we spent trying to control the uncontrollable?  How many times do we expend all our energies and might to solve all the world issues only feel like a wrung-out washrag at the end of the day?

Worried thoughts have a way to compel us to look to ourselves for the answers that we can’t find.  Believing that in and of ourselves we are the all end authority to all of life’s issues, at least this is what the human intellect would have us to believe.  Rather, God exhorts us over and over to rely on Him.  To come to Him in prayer and relinquish all of our cares, worries, and frustrations on Him because He cares for us.

The Lord knows what a heavy load humanity can carry.  He has felt it in His own being.  As a matter of fact, He carried it all to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to carry these burdens alone.  Yet, when push comes to shove and trials and tribulations knock on our personal doors we feel a need to answer the call and find a remedy for our problems on our own.  As a result, we struggle to find the answer to the question of why we can’t find peace in the midst of it all.

In actuality, the reason peace seems so evasive to many of us is because of our personal insistence on trying to do it on our own.  We pick up the problems that we are going through with every intention of carrying them to the altar and leaving them with Jesus.  Walking away from the altar of prayer, we pick those same problems back up feeling a need to control the outcome on our own.  As if God can’t handle our specific needs. Our humanness gets in the way of His divineness.  The limits we see on humanity are then applied to God and it gets in the way of His wonder-working power in our lives.

The way to obtain peace during these anxious moments is to give whatever is bothering us; whatever is burdening us over to the Lord and trust Him to give us His best in the situation.  After all, when it came to the matter of saving us He already gave us His best, didn’t He?  How much more difficult would it be then for Him to work out our everyday worries for us?  I believe you would agree that the two can’t compare.  So, if He was willing to do that for you and me, should we not then trust Him to do right by our anxious thoughts?

Would you rather place all of your problems in your own hands or in the hands of God?  Maybe it’s time to try something new.  Give God a shot at wrangling in the worrisome so that you can experience true peace.  Let’s get rid of the anxious for something better.

Be blessed 🙂

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“Glorify God!”

“Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness,”
Psalm 29:1-2

Alpha and Omega! The First and the Last! He that was, and is, and is to come! Majesty! Omnipotent! Omniscient! Heavenly Father! King of all kings, and LORD of all lords! El Shaddai! He that is worthy of all honor and all praise! He, our Father who art in heaven, is worthy of all honor and all praise. His name is to be glorified. His name is to be magnified.

Ah, we know God by these titles and many, many more. Or, at least, we should. God is worthy to hear His children speak reverently about Him on a continual basis. Daily the praises of who He is in our life should pour from our lips, recognizing Him for His glorious nature. But, may I venture to say, that to truly glorify God is to go beyond the words of our lips. It is something that should be manifested in our daily lives. After all, actions do speak louder than words and for the world to see what a mighty God we serve – they will witness it through the way we glorify Him with our lives.

Matthew 5:16 exhorts us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The world needs a visual display of how this thing works. They need someone to show them how to shine; how to live this life the way God designed for mankind to live it. This world lacks good representation. “We are ambassadors for Christ,” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Before He left this world to return to heaven, Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” (John 17:4). We, who are now saved, as ambassadors, are to carry on the work of glorifying our heavenly Father. As Jesus Himself pointed out, it goes beyond lip service; rather it is a life that has obediently followed Him and “worked.”

Again, actions really do speak louder than words! What Jesus did and what we have to do in our daily lives are exactly the same. Jesus said, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And, He teaches His disciples that in order for the world to glorify God, they need to “see your good works” and then they will “glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).

So, you see, praising God with your lips is one thing. But, glorifying God with your life is something totally different. Glorifying God is the manifestation of the praise that is living on the inside of you, working on the outside for all men to see. Is your life today fulfilling the command of David in Psalm 29? Are we giving unto the Lord what is His due? It was Jesus’ main goal in life. Is it ours?

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“Do It with Passion!”

 

There is one thing that really gets me going and that is seeing someone work their gift or talent with passion.  Oh, I have seen people operate in the blessings of the Lord with dryness and being very dispassionate about what they were doing, and can I tell you, there is no comparison.

Talent, skill and position can only carry you so far in life because if what you are working in is not a drawing force eventually people will stop paying attention to you; eventually people will become just as dispassionate about what you are trying to put forth.  John Maxwell said,

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

I agree wholeheartedly.  People want to follow one that gets their soul stirred up.  People want to walk the same course as one who is set ablaze for a cause; who is consumed with a yearning to get things done and to excel to be all that God has called them to be.

That word consumes gives the idea of allowing oneself to be spent for the cause.  John 2:17 spoke of Jesus in this sense when it says, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house has eaten me up.”  Other versions actually use the word “consume,” (see also Psalm 69:9).  This was said after He overthrew the tables in the temple.  His passion for God’s house stirred inside of Him and would not allow Him to pass by and watch what was going on without saying or doing something about it.  Jesus spent Himself for the cause of God.

In Psalm 119:139 also talks of being taken over with passion.  “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.”  The cause of God was so alive in him that the psalmist couldn’t help but to be cut to the heart when others would come against His word.

Where the Spirit of God operates there can be no dull or dry commitment.  It’s all the way or nothing at all.  There has to be fervency, (Rom. 12:11).  One has to be on fire with and for what God has placed on the inside of them.

“It is the Spirit who gives life,” (John 6:63, NASB).  There is no deadness when the Spirit of God is in full operation and if you are passionate about what God has given you, you should be Spirit-led, Spirit-full, and Spirit-alive!  You should be on fire with passion!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  Put your all into it!  Let what God has placed on the inside of you bubble up and boil over to the outside that men “may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Mt. 5:16).  The things you do may or may not gain attention but the things you do with passion draws people closer to Him.  God gets the glory when people see what He is doing through you and they want to be a part of it.

Live life passionately.  Live life like the Spirit of God is alive in you; live life on fire for Him.  If you are going to sing, let your voice ring out with a burning love till it reaches the souls of others drawing them in.  If you play the drums then beat them like the heart of God beats in you.  If you are going to write, write that your words are felt more than they are read.  If you are going to preach, preach as if the cloud from the glory of the Lord has already filled the temple beckoning men to take notice of His presence.  The same is true for any gift or talent God has placed in you.  Whatever you do, whatever your gift, whatever your skill do it with passion!

I don’t know if God is calling you to overthrow some tables but I do know that He is calling you to operate like He’s alive in you.  He’s calling you to use your might and be passionate about what He has given you!

Be blessed.

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“Qualified!”

“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” – Colossians 1:12, NKJV

Too many wrestle with thoughts of a less-than attitude.  Even those who have had their lives and souls transformed by the power of the blood of the Lamb, they often succumb to the attitude of inferiority.  When those rogue thoughts mine their way into your thinking pattern it changes how you relate to yourself, this world, and others.  Those wayward thoughts begin to literally unravel the work of grace accomplished on the cross.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if you place one piece of moldy bread in a container with good, whole bread; the moldy will start affecting its surroundings.  Meaning every piece it comes in contact with and shares the atmosphere with gets fed from those spores of decay, eating away and disintegrating everything in its path.

Outside of sin, there is nothing more damaging to one’s salvation than believing anything out of Christ Jesus got you there.  And, there is nothing more poisonous to the soul than allowing others to speak anything contrary to that great truth against you.

When you have been qualified it means you are now authorized to be a part of something or to have something.  Think in terms of a home loan.  When you are approved (qualified) it means you are now privy to obtain a said house for such and such price.  The bank or lending company looks at you as being fit to take on the responsibility of the mortgage for that property.

We, as saints of God, have been enabled to take on a greater reward than any earthly house could provide.  We have an inheritance in store for us because the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us; because the work of His Spirit in us has transformed us; because we have been redeemed by the salvation He has provided for us.

In other words, not to sound repetitious, but we are qualified in Him.  We are approved to walk the path of the rest of the saints.  Christ has given us access to be a child of the light, for He is the Light.  Christ is over us.  Christ is in us.  And, following Christ, He daily is leading us to our eternal inheritance.

So, shut the mouth of those who speak against you saying you are not enough.  You serve the God that is more than enough, and through Christ, He has already approved you.

No matter what people say, you’re qualified.

No matter what the circumstances look like, you are fit to do this.

No matter how hard it seems, you are spiritually equipped to make it.

The mortgage lenders may have to debate back and forth whether or not they will give you their stamp of approval.  But, God only has to look at the work of Christ in your life to dip His spiritual stamp in that heavenly ink pad and declare you are QUALIFIED!

Listen, it has never been about what goes on on the outside.  It’s all about what He has done on the inside.  There, in the crevices of your heart and soul, you are who He says you are: QUALIFIED!

Therefore, remember dear friends, wherever it is that God is leading you and whatever He has called you to do – you are QUALIFIED!

He has already provided the greater reward of the heavenly inheritance that awaits all His saints.  Believe that while we are still here on this earth, He too has empowered us to do some special and amazing stuff for Him as well.

Other encouraging verses:

Ephesians 1:6 – “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

2 Corinthians 3:5 – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain . . .”

Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 2:13 – “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Psalms 138:8 – “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me . . .”

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“FRAGILE!”

 

Handle with care I wish I could post,
a stick it note to remind of what matters the most.

Distractions, directions unprofitable and robbing;
relentless in their unfocused pulling and prodding.

But my days are few upon this earth,
to make an impact of valued worth.

The reins have to be taken back;
no longer the less valuable plans to detract.

Focus, you only have one life to live.
Frail, is this only life to give.

Here today, and gone tomorrow;
let me cherish each one without resentment and sorrow.

Life is fragile and can break like a dam.
So, Lord teach me to measure my days, that I may know how frail I am.

To gain the worth of each day given.
This time on earth; this limited edition.

Invest in the works, the love and matters of the soul.
To fulfill His glory is our heavenly goal.

“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am,” (Psalms 39:4).

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What Would It Have Been Like? – “To Be Ruth of the Bible”

“What now?” clawed at her throat, but the words refused to be uttered from her mouth.  Disbelief that her husband was deadlocked those words in her tortured mind.  Numbness over the reality of it all would have made her swoon if it were not for the look on her mother-in-law’s face.

“Not now,” Ruth thought as she tried to hold on to her composure despite the sadness that gripped her own heart.  “Noami needs me to be strong,” she silently willed within herself.  “First, Elimelech, and now this.  How much more can she bear…”

“Daughters,” Naomi spoke up, “it is time,” feeling greatly resolved at the decision that had to be made.

“What?” both women, Ruth and Orpah, spoke in unison.

“It is time for me to return home.  Oh, girls, Moab has been good to my family and me these last years.  But, Moab is not home.”  Looking at their pleading eyes Naomi continued, “It has recently come to my attention that the famine we fled from is now over.  God has blessed my people once again with His favor.  There is now bread in Bethlehem.  I have no more reason to stay here.  It is time for me to go back.”

“But, what of your life here,” asked one of the women?

“I no longer have a life here, dear,” Naomi cried with sobs breaking through her words.  “In this land, I have had to say goodbye to the people I treasure most in this world.  This land has taken my heart; it has taken my family.  I’ve watched my husband die and now I am forced to let go of my sons.  What is there left for me here?”

“Naomi, you have us,” Ruth spoke confidently.

“No, my daughter.  It is best if you two return to your homes as I must return to mine.  I am old.  I have nothing left to offer you.”

“Mother,” Ruth lovingly and gently spoke to her.  “We can do this together.  You don’t have to return to Bethlehem and we don’t have to leave your side.  Somehow, someway we can make this work.”

Sighing, with the prayerful hope for understanding, Naomi turned to the face that bore the sadness of her own.  “Child, I love you both, and I would that for all the world to have things as they once were.  But, it is not so.  Things will never be the same for me again.  Not here anyway.  Now, I must return to my own people where I belong to seek solace for this old, broken heart.”

“Then, permit us to go with you,” Ruth said with Orpah nodding in agreement.

“Mahlon and Chilion were my only sons.  I have no more.  I am now too old to remarry.  It’s as I told you, I have nothing left to offer you.  It would be selfish of me to ask you to give up the possibility of a better future in your parent’s homes to follow me.  Go, return now to your own people.  Perhaps God will be gracious to you and you can remarry there and start over again someday.”

“You don’t mean that do you,” Ruth questioned as she looked into the eyes of the woman whom she has come to love?  Sobbing by her side, Orpah could not speak.  Their world had been shaken, but Naomi is right, she thought within herself.

There was a decision that had to be made that day.  Both Ruth and Orpah would have to choose what path in life they would follow.

What would it have been like to stand there that day and to make that decision?  Those times were not favorable toward women who were all alone.  Should they stay or should they go?

Walking into the unknown toward Bethlehem with Naomi, Ruth chose to go.  Orpah chose to return back home to her people.  There she would hope to find some semblance of normalcy and stability.  Ruth, as the Bible says, clung to Naomi and refused to be parted from this woman who has meant so much to her.

That day Ruth walked away from everything familiar with no promise for better.  Ruth turned her back on her own family to love and support this woman who is not even of her own flesh and blood.  Ruth chose a path most would not want to travel.  Hers was a path of self-sacrifice.  Lest one take her story too lightly, they should consider her life in comparison with ours today.

Before I go anywhere I plan ahead in great detail to be sure I lack nothing when I arrive.  Ruth had no such pleasure.  Not only was she not guaranteed any provisions of life, but would they even accept her in Bethlehem.  Surely by now, they knew that Naomi’s sons married Moabite women.  How would she be treated?  People would rejoice at the return of Naomi, but what of her?  In that place, are there those who would take advantage of her?  If any of those questions ever arose they were not spoken for fear of thwarting the opportunity to follow Naomi.  Her only concern was for that very woman, not herself.

In every part of her journey, Ruth stepped into the unknown.  In her travels with Naomi, in her arrival in Bethlehem, her work at gleaning the fields to try and support Naomi, and in her marriage to Boaz.  Everything was new to her and everything was strange.  But, everything she did, she did for the love and care of Naomi.

What would it have been like to give up so much; to show so much love to make such a decision?  If we knew all the particulars of a woman in her situation during those days we would see that hers was a decision of pure love.

She knew everything she was leaving behind.  She didn’t know anything about where she was headed.  But, declaring God as her own, her mind was made up and her heart was fixed.  Onward she walked the journey where life would lead her because of that decision made that day.

In the end, God greatly blessed her life and the sacrifices she made on behalf of another.  So much so, that she ended up giving birth to Obed who is the grandfather of King David, the lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It started out with a decision.  Not knowing what we were stepping into, would we have been able to make that decision?  What would it have been like to be Ruth of the Bible?

Ruth teaches us our decisions matter!

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“Please, Pray Me Through to My Deliverance!”

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer…” Philippians 1:19

There is so much hurt going on in the body of Christ.  Saints are going through trials and tribulations like never before.  As the days draw to a close, a time when our Lord Jesus Christ will come back to whisk us away to glory, the enemy has been on a vehement rampage against God’s people everywhere.

Paul, when he wrote his letter to the Philippian church, knew something of hardships.  He was imprisoned and he was put in a place of affliction and hurt.  So, when he writes of the faith he has, that the saints will help pray for his deliverance, he knew what he was talking about.

There is a wonderful bond in the body of Christ that is like no other.  Unity, love, and compassion mean so much to our survival that our very witness to the world depends on it.  There has been, over the past few years, an awareness of how we have hurt not only one another but our witness before the world through gossiping and the tearing down of one another.

Jesus Himself said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” (John 13:35).  Having sincere love toward another means that we would want what’s best for them.  Even if it means exalting somebody higher than yourself; putting the petitions of prayer that someone else so desperately needs above your own.

We often hear the encouragement that, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:16).  To avail means that we have a God-given right to have the upper hand, through prayer, against any foe that would dare to rise up against one of God’s anointed ones.  How are we using that advantage?  Are we selfishly gleaning all the grapes off the vine of blessings for ourselves, or do we have enough Christian courage to let another feast off of your effectual, fervent prayers before you get a taste?

Paul openly admitted that on several occasions how much he was dependent upon the prayers of those who had his back in ministry.  Despite his supposed super saint/apostleship position, he realized that the sweet aromas of selfless petitions were being put up to God on his behalf.  Because of that, he was assured that he would see deliverance.

How much care and emphasis do you really put on the body of Christ when you bow the knee to the Father?  How much is that hunger in you to see the salvation of the unsaved of your family and friends being fed?  Do you really believe that not only will your prayers move mountains in your life but also in the life of another?  You may be their only hope, whether they are born or again or not, to draw near to God and receive deliverance.

Paul puts it best in 1 Corinthians 13:1 where he says, “Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”  Are you just making a lot of noise when you pray or are you busting the gates of hell loose because your heart is hurting for another?  It was Abraham Lincoln that was quoted as saying, “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip when it is laid on the other man’s back.”

There are some “whips” being laid on others; some burdens that you can help someone else carry if only we would do as the Philippian church did and pray.  Not just any prayer, but prayers that will let our brothers and sisters know assurance of seeing deliverance, too.

If you want to see true restoration in your own life, learn to put the needs of others before your own.  Job 42:10 states, “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.”  We are to be a people who step in that place of praying for others and petitioning heaven on their behalf.  It was not until Job prayed for his friends were his losses restored.

Let’s work today in hedging people in under the arc of safety, the covering of prayer, so they will finally see deliverance, too. There may be a hurting soul quietly pleading for someone to, “Please, Pray Me Through to My Deliverance.”

Keep praying for one another!

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