How Much Do I Love You?

Have you ever wondered just how much God loves you? The bible is chock full of verses telling us the different ways God loves us. I heard there were something like 8,000 promises in the bible. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of love.

Advertisements

Advancing Through Adversity

At medical checkups, children periodically need immunizations. Boys and girls may not understand that inoculations protect them; from their point of view, they are experiencing pain—while someone who loves them is allowing it! Such an experience affords a little insight into God’s dealings with His children. It answers one of the questions we often ask when painful things happen to us: Where is God or Why is this happening to me?

The Bible tells us that “in all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isa. 63:9). You may remember your earthly father restraining you so that the doctor could administer the injection. Perhaps you recall him commenting that the experience hurt him more than it did you. That is exactly what our heavenly Father is describing in this Bible passage. To a childish mind, it is an utterly incomprehensible concept, but when we have children of our own, we grasp it clearly. We then begin to understand what kind of a God we have. He Himself entered into all our agony, and He has tasted the last drop in our own cup of suffering.

Where is God? He is where the pain is. The book of Isaiah says, “He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him” (Isa. 53:5).

As you face hard times, look into the Savior’s tear-stained face—you won’t see anything but love. If we would follow Jesus, we must bear the fellowship of His suffering. We must go where He is, and the cross is one of the sweetest places to find Him.

What It Means to Pray in Faith

Mark 11:20-24

Have you ever—even subconsciously—accused the Lord of not answering your prayers? When God doesn’t seem to respond to your petitions, the first thing you should do is take a good look at your request. Are you truly praying in faith, trusting your heavenly Father to work in the situation, or are you simply complaining to Him about everything that has gone wrong?

Consider whether you have prayed like this: “O God, the situation at my workplace is just terrible. I am so frustrated. I go out of my way to help my coworker, but he just walks all over me. I never get any appreciation or recognition for what I do.”

At some point in our life, we’ve probably all voiced a similar prayer and discovered that it brought no sweeping change. The problem is the focus. In this case, it’s all about self. In verse 24 of today’s passage, that’s not the prayer of faith the Lord Jesus had in mind.

Having faith in our prayers is not the goal. The object of our faith is the Lord. If we set our hearts on our own desires, we’ve just transferred our faith to our agenda. Praying in faith means surrendering our rights, complaints, and desires to the Lord and resting fully in His sovereign choice in the matter. As we align our requests with His will and purpose, we will begin to see His power displayed.

If you’re reluctant to pray like this, just remember that God is wiser than you, loves you infinitely, and knows exactly how to weave all the tangled threads of your life into a beautiful tapestry of Christ- likeness.

Determining Your Destiny Through Self-Discipline

The apostle Paul compares our life to a race and points out that self-discipline—or the lack of it—determines the outcome. What he’s speaking about is not simply our place in heaven, which is secured by our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He also has in mind our obedience and service for the Lord here on earth.

In order to fulfill the Father’s purposes for our life, we need to “exercise self-control in all things” (1 Corinthians 9:25). Though we long to obey the Lord, we have flesh tendencies, which are bent toward sin. Therefore, we need to control our sinful thoughts, impulses, and actions by making our body our slave instead of letting fleshly desires rule us (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Paul says to live with a goal in mind rather than float aimlessly through life (1 Corinthians 9:26). God has prepared good works for us to accomplish during our lifetime (Eph. 2:10). As we live in obedience to the Lord, He guides our path and empowers us through the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will.

Next, we must work toward God’s goal for us. Wishing and hoping never accomplish anything if there is no action. And effort that’s not directed at the right goal is like “beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:26). We may be working hard for our own purposes, but if they’re not God’s goals, it’s all wasted effort.

Paul tells us to run to win (1 Corinthians 9:24), but what is the prize? As we fulfill God’s purpose, He does His sanctifying work in us and accomplishes His will through us. Then one day, when we finish our course and stand before Christ in heaven, we’ll receive eternal rewards that never perish.

What It Means to Love God

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. (Psalm 63:1–2)

Only God will satisfy a heart like David’s. And David was a man after God’s own heart. That’s the way we were created to be.

This is the essence of what it means to love God — to be satisfied in him. In him!

Loving God will include all his commands; it will include all his word; it will include thanking him for all his gifts; but the essence of loving God is enjoying all he is. And it is this enjoyment of God that glorifies his worth most fully.

We all know this intuitively as well as from Scripture. Do we feel most honored by the love of those who serve us from the constraints of duty, or from the delights of fellowship?

My wife is most honored when I say, “It makes me happy to spend time with you.” My happiness is the echo of her excellence. And so it is with God. He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

None of us has arrived at perfect satisfaction in God. I grieve often over the murmuring of my heart at the loss of worldly comforts. But I have tasted that the Lord is good. By God’s grace I now know the fountain of everlasting joy.

And so I love to spend my days luring people into joy until they say with me, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).

(reblog | Daily Devotional | John Piper Ministries)

The Supremacy of the Son of God

As I was reading my bible this morning I came across the following verses in Colossians, Chapter 1. These verses are very explicit in explaining who Jesus Christ was, is and will forever be. These verses leave no doubt in my mind who Jesus is and what He has done for me. If you ever have doubts about Jesus, your relationship with Him or any other concerns, read these verses prayerfully and you will understand what He has done for you.

And it’s important that you continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Empowered By God Himself

God the Spirit is important to us in our daily lives. He is so important that Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away … if I go, I will send Him to you”. He’s the Spirit of truth who interprets God’s Word for us, and helps us remember and apply it to our life. He’s also our encourager, and He empowers us to obey.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t bring attention to Himself but always seeks to glorify Jesus. He guides us, challenges us, and transforms us. Allow the Holy Spirit to transform your life. Then, all of your challenges, problems and rough times will seem insignificant because you have been empowered by God Himself living within you.

Enjoy Your Day of Rest

Enjoy your day of rest. Put aside your office work, your computer, yard work and car washing accessories. Take the time to look around and be in awe of God’s creation. As I write this post I see birds outside my window looking for food. Squirrels are running and playing and climbing trees. And, the trees in my front yard are gently swaying in the breeze.

Take some time today to smell the roses. Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park with your family, best friend, spouse or group of people you like to be with. This is the Lord’s day, so enjoy it. For twenty-four hours let go of the cares of this world and instead worship Almighty God, the maker of heaven and earth. Listen to Him say, “Be still and know that I am God.”

And, finally praise God from whom all blessings flow. He is your source, now and forever more.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Storm

After Jesus’ disciples fought a raging storm for nine cold hours, at about 4:00 AM the unspeakable happened. They spotted someone coming on the water. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. (Matthew 14:26 MSG). They didn’t expect Jesus to come to them this way.

Neither do we. We expect him to come in the form of peaceful hymns on Easter Sundays or quiet retreats. We expect to find Jesus in morning devotionals and meditations. We never expect to see him in a divorce or a foreclosure. We never expect to see him in a storm. But it’s in a storm that he does his finest work, for it is in storms that he has our keenest attention.

Jesus replied to the disciples’ fear with an invitation worthy of inscription on every church cornerstone and residential archway, “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 17:27).

Inviting Jesus to Follow Us?

Have you ever found yourself trying to follow two people at one time? This works only when they’re going in the same direction. But what happens if their paths diverge? For instance, imagine you’re on a hiking trail with friends, and you reach a fork in the road. If one person wants to go right and someone else thinks you should turn left, you must choose which one to follow.

This principle is also true for Christians, but now our choice is whether to follow Jesus or ourselves. Most of us will happily follow Jesus as long as He’s going where we want. But what happens if He leads us down a road of sacrifice, self-denial, suffering, or even death? Will we still trust Him and keep going?

This was the dilemma Jesus’ disciples faced. When they started following Him, they expected that He’d establish His Messianic kingdom, deliver them from Roman domination, and give them places of honor and authority. Thinking they’d soon be exalted in the kingdom, they were willing to suffer the temporary deprivations of home, security, and comfort. But then Jesus told them His path was leading to suffering and death, and if they wanted to follow Him, they too must deny themselves and take up their cross.

Many Christians today have the same expectation the disciples had—maybe not for a kingdom, but for a happy and prosperous life. However, this is essentially like inviting Jesus to follow us. Self-denial means giving up our right to lead and surrendering to Christ’s lordship over our life. Though His path isn’t easy, He alone knows the way to the Father’s house.