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.

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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.

You Are God’s Best Idea

If a basketball player stands at the foul line repeating, “I’ll never make the shot, I’ll never make the shot,” guess what? He’ll never make the shot! Fear of insignificance creates the result it dreads; and arrives at the destination it tries to avoid. If you pass your days mumbling, “I’ll never make a difference; I’m not worth anything,” you sentence yourself to a life of gloom without parole.

Even more, you are disagreeing with God. Questioning his judgment. Second-guessing his taste. According to him you were “skillfully made” (Psalm 139:14). He can’t stop thinking about you! If you could count his thoughts of you, “they would be more in number than the sand” (Psalm 139:18).

Why does he love you so much? The same reason the artist loves his paintings or the boat builder loves his vessels. You are his idea. And God only has good ideas!

[supporting scripture—1 Samuel 12:22—“For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.” ]

: reblogged from Max Lucado daily devotional :

What comes to mind when you hear the word favor?

What comes to mind when you hear the word favor? While we use the term in a variety of ways—such as doing something to help a person or showing honor in some way—the biblical meaning is to show kindness or acceptance. As believers, we have experienced God’s favor toward us as a result of our salvation. But God’s favor also works in us and changes us.

We must fight the tendency to take God’s favor for granted. We must also guard against desiring His blessings more than we desire Him. Think about how His favor has changed your life: Belonging to, knowing, and loving the Lord far outweigh any material provisions He can give.

Why Should I Pray?

Here’s a question a lot of people ask. “Why should I pray? What is the point of prayer when God knows the future and is already in control of everything? If we cannot change God’s mind, why should we pray?

For the Christian, praying is supposed to be like breathing, easier to do than to not do. We pray for a variety of reasons. For one thing, prayer is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38) and obeying Him. We pray because God commands us to pray (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer is exemplified for us by Christ and the early church. If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray, we should also. If He needed to pray to remain in the Father’s will, how much more do we need to pray?

Another reason to pray is that God intends prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations. We pray in preparation for major decisions; to overcome demonic barriers; to gather workers for the spiritual harvest; to gain strength to overcome temptation; and to obtain the means of strengthening others spiritually.

We come to God with our specific requests, and we have God’s promise that our prayers are not in vain, even if we do not receive specifically what we asked for. He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for. Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer. Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God’s will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.

For situations in which we do not know God’s will specifically, prayer is a means of discerning His will. If the Syrian woman with the demon-influenced daughter had not prayed to Christ, her daughter would not have been made whole. If the blind man outside Jericho had not called out to Christ, he would have remained blind. God has said that we often go without because we do not ask. In one sense, prayer is like sharing the gospel with people. We do not know who will respond to the message of the gospel until we share it. In the same way, we will never see the results of answered prayer unless we pray.

A lack of prayer demonstrates a lack of faith and a lack of trust in God’s Word. We pray to demonstrate our faith in God, that He will do as He has promised in His Word and bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope for. Prayer is our primary means of seeing God work in others’ lives. Because it is our means of “plugging into” God’s power, it is our means of defeating Satan and his army that we are powerless to overcome by ourselves. Therefore, may God find us often before His throne, for we have a high priest in heaven who can identify with all that we go through. We have His promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. May God glorify His name in our lives as we believe in Him enough to come to Him often in prayer.

The Books at the Judgment

All who dwell on earth will worship [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. (Revelation 13:8)

Salvation is secured for all who are written in the book of life.

The reason that being written in the book of life secures our salvation is that the book is called “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 13:8). The names in this book are not saved on the basis of their deeds. They are saved on the basis of Christ’s being slain.

So how then does the record of our lives contained in “the books” have a part in our judgment? The answer is that the books contain enough evidence of our belonging to Christ that they function as a public confirmation of our faith and our union with him.

Consider Revelation 21:27: “Nothing unclean will ever enter [the New Jerusalem], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Here the result of “being written in the book of life” is not only not perishing, but not practicing detestable, sinful behaviors.

For example, consider the thief on the cross. Jesus said that he would enter paradise (Luke 23:43). But what will judgment be like for him when the books are opened? More than 99.9% of his life will be sin. His salvation will be secured by the blood of Christ.

Then God will open the books and will use the record of sin to glorify his Son’s supreme sacrifice, and he uses the last page to show the change that was wrought in the thief’s attitudes and words. That last page — the last hours on the cross — will be the public confirmation of the thief’s faith and union with Christ.

Therefore, when I say that what is written in the books is a public confirmation of our faith and of union with Christ, I do not mean that the record will contain more good works than bad works.

I mean that there will be recorded there the kind of change that shows the reality of faith — the reality of regeneration and union with Christ. That is how I enter the day, confident that my condemnation is past (Romans 8:3), and that my name is in the book of life, and that the one who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Christ.