September 21 2015

All Consuming Love of God

love of godHave you ever felt alone? Unloved? Unworthy? I know I have. I have many moments in life when I felt I was not only unloved, but unlovable. I wanted to be loved, but never felt that I could measure up to being good enough to be loved. I wanted desperately to feel approval from my parents, but never did. I wanted to know that I was valuable and important to someone, but no matter how many times my husband told me I was, I could never believe it. I wanted to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful and worth loving, but I could not even love myself.

I think many of us struggle with feelings of being unlovable and unworthy. Does that make it normal or OK? No, it does not. It is a lie straight from hell, and I am here to tell you so. If you feel that you are unloved, not worth love or unimportant, you are believing one of the most told lies in the history of the world. The originator of that lie is Satan himself. I am here to tell you about something absolutely amazing, something that is so important that it could change the way you live your life from this moment forward. God loves you with an all-consuming love.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

Let that just soak in for a moment as truth. I pray in Jesus name right now that this truth would become your new identity. It is very easy to hear the words “God loves you” and not feel any meaning to them. Or to hear about the love of God and not really understand it. Love is much more than a word or even a feeling. It is an act. The love of God has been pouring out on you since the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb. Why? Because you are His child, and you were worth paying the price of blood for.

Even when I began to grasp the concept of the love of God, it seemed to hover just far away enough to be out of my grasp. No matter how much I wanted to know the love of God, it seemed still a difficult concept for me. I mean, why would the love of God be so strong that He would actually want to die for me? I am nothing but a mere mortal, not worthy of the attention of affection of God. And even as I began to intellectually understand the love of God, still on a deeper level I could not grasp the true meaning of it. I came to a point where I could say “yes, I know God loves me”, but that was just all in my head. It was a knowledge, not an experience, not a true understanding. It struck me one day that if I did not love myself, then how could I even began to see how great and deep and wide the love of God for me was. My own self-hatred was like a filter in which I was seeing God through. In my mind God loved me, but still saw me as unworthy and tarnished. Oh how very wrong I was. Yet another lie straight from the pit of hell.

Will our human minds ever truly comprehend the vastness of the love of God? I sincerely doubt it. I do however believe our spirit can know far more of the love of God than our minds can. God is not something we experience with worldly knowledge and intelligence. The love of God is something with come to know and experience as we begin to surrender to Him. One thing needs to be very clear though – there is nothing you can do ever, that will make God love you less, or look down on you. No matter how much you mess up, no matter what sin you commit, no matter how hard you rebel against God, His love is still an all-consuming fire for you.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10

I  have done a lot of bad things in my life. I have done drugs, had promiscuous sex, gotten tattoos, practiced witch craft, hurt those I love, yelled at my kids and said horrible things to them. In my mind most of  these things qualified me for not being good enough for the love of God. Once I was saved and redeemed there were many things I let go of. I felt truly forgiven and was able to move on. Ironically from what I would consider some of the “worse” sins, drugs, sex, witchcraft. It was the things that I still struggled with like yelling at my kids or having tattoos of things from my past life that I could not move on from. I would look at my tattoo of a pentagram and see shame that would never leave me. How could the love of God penetrate even that? How could the love of God over look my inability to stop yelling at my kids and be patient and kind. Those are really important things in the Bible! Things I just could not do.

I have found it is very easy to walk in guilt and shame. As a matter of fact, I have been conditioned to walk in guilt and shame for the better part of my life. And no, I am not saying I blame my parents for the way they raised me. I blame the real enemy – the one who has been out to get me from day one. Some may say that sounds paranoid, some may say that you shouldn’t give the devil too much attention, but I say when you see a bully trying to keep you down, to call him out. Stop letting the enemy convince you that the sins you are committing right now are causing the love of God to fall just beyond your reach. It is time for it to stop, right here right now.

This is what God says to you: you are beautiful and dearly loved by your Father. The One who created you has always loved you, and nothing will ever cause me to stop loving you. Not one thing. I have been waiting for this very moment that you would draw near to me, and see how beloved you are to me. You are perfect to me. You came from love and were created by Perfection. Never forget where you came from. Draw near to me, dear child, and know YOU ARE LOVED.

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

Stop dissecting every area of your life where you feel you have made mistakes. Stop looking at your past and seeing how you have failed. You are human, and you will make mistakes. That does not keep the love of God from your life. Nothing can. You can try to shut it out, and believe that you are unimportant. You can walk in shame and let the pain run over you until you are numb. You can believe all the lies that say you are no good. Yet just outside the wall you have built, the love of God is there. Waiting to consume you completely.

Crucifixion-of-Jesus1920I have to say that there have many times in my life that I was abused, usually by someone I cared for or trusted. There were many moments when I cried out “why me?” because I could not understand why I was to suffer so much. And worse yet, why God would let me suffer so much. As I have gone through many inner healing sessions over the past months there is one thing that has become very clear to me. Jesus has always been there, even when I did not see Him, He was there. He did not leave me alone to endure pain or hardship. He did not abandon me because I was making horrible mistakes. No. He was right there, with His angels, doing everything in His power to keep me out of harms way. Unfortunately we have free will and He cannot control that. And the love of God has more than redeemed my pain and my mistakes and indeed made me into a new creation.

So I beg you, stop looking at yourself as sinful and shameful, and start seeing yourself as you truly are – covered by the redeeming blood of Christ Jesus. Bought and paid for with the price of His sacrifice. You are a child of the One True King. You are amazing and special in the sight of your Father. Now tell the enemy to stop lying to you in Jesus name, and seek the face of the One who has died to be with you eternally. Let the love of God consume you, and open yourself to the life He has to offer you. Freedom and love in abundance!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

June 30 2015

My Love of Sin

sinAs a young adult I wanted nothing more than to be free. To make the choices that I felt were right, and to do what felt good. I wanted to define who I was and how I saw the world on my own terms. I had felt oppressed by my parents for so long and the new-found freedom of adulthood was like a breath of fresh air. So who was I to define myself as? I had to get in touch with myself, and the world around me. To figure out what life meant and where I fit in with that. I did a lot of self exploring, and I have to admit that drugs helped play a part in that. I think without the drugs I would have come to the same conclusions however, as I was bent on removing myself from being anything like my parents or what society or religion told me I should be.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions 2 Timothy 4:3

Freedom to me meant that people are free to express themselves any way they wanted. In their dress, appearance, music, who they love, etc. We are all individuals, made to be unique, and we should all accept each other and love each other. The only problem with that was I didn’t love everyone. I only loved those that held the same view as I did. That didn’t matter much to me at that point though. I was focused on me – that is what really mattered. Anyone who had a different opinion was a racist, bigoted, hateful (insert bad word here) and I was living in truth and freedom. Of course Christians were a part of that bigoted group. They were the most hateful of all – telling everyone that they are sinners going to hell. Absolutely sickening to me.

On my journey of self exploration and freedom I began to experiment with many things. Drugs, explicit music, provocative dress, and of course sex. I had already been promiscuous in my failed attempts to find love. That is when I decided I needed to broaden my horizons when it came to love. Love was not just something between a man and a woman, but something soul deep. Something that bypassed our physical bodies and was destined by a higher power. No one could dictate who they would love – it was so much bigger than us. When we get swept away in love, it is something to embrace and cherish with every fiber of our being. I believed this completely.

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

So I started to look into bisexual and lesbian relationships. I started seeking out women who were open to those kinds of relationships and befriending them. I went on some dates, I got tangled into a short-term relationship, and had a short tryst with another woman. Truly all I wanted was to be loved and accepted. Unfortunately I didn’t experience any of that with this experimentation. There was a part of me that thought that being with a woman would be so much different from being with a man. That a woman would never hurt me the same way. That a woman would be just like me and we could be best friends. Oh how wrong I was. I experienced the same rejection and pain with these woman who I did with any man. It actually came back to completely hurt me in the end.

Do not practice homosexuality…. It is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:22

Eventually I met a guy at work and we ended up getting into a relationship. I was very much wanting to bring the experimentation with women into this relationship, by trying a threesome with him. It didn’t happen for one reason or another, but the idea got lodged firmly into his brain. I got pregnant within the first 6 months of the relationship and it changed my opinion on the matter. I wanted to get married and have the same last name as my son. I wasn’t happy in the relationship, it was pretty bad, but nonetheless I felt that marriage was the right thing to do. So we got married in a Celtic hand fastening ceremony in our drug dealer’s back yard. Freedom, right? We were both miserable. Within 6 months of my son being born my at the time husband cheated on me with my friend. He told me that because I wouldn’t have a threesome, he decided to get some on his own. I was devastated. How could this have happened?

However, this didn’t change my opinion of love and same-sex couples. I whole heartedly believed that love was soul deep and unable to be defined by rules. Love was something so much greater than any boundaries that people could put on it. Yet my fascination with the same-sex didn’t quite die. I brought the attraction into other relationships with pornography and again the idea of a threesome. I would fantasize and even try to talk the man in my life into him being with another man. I knew I wasn’t gay, because I loved men, but I couldn’t shake the sexual desire that was somewhere inside me for women, and something about same-sex intimacy got me really excited.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves Romans 1:24

Even after I got remarried and had more children, there was still that side of me that felt this way. I am sure I made my husband feel uncomfortable, but because of his love for me he indulged me a bit by allowing pornography to invade our marriage and strip us of natural intimacy. It wasn’t until I began a love affair with Jesus Christ that those feelings became completely alien to me. As I sit here writing this, I haven’t had any urges to be with another woman in over 2 years. Not since I came into a relationship with Jesus over two years ago. So much so, that I had forgotten some of the things that I have just written about. I feel like a completely different person; like that was another lifetime.

I was so lost in my life for so many years. It wasn’t just the sin of sexual immorality that I was taken captive by. There were so many other things that were a sin that I called right. Those sins only worked to created a barrier between myself and God. The more I lived by my desires and my ideas of what were right and wrong, the more I thought the way I was living my life was right. Yet somehow, with all the freedom I had to live as I chose, I was completely miserable inside. I loved my husband and my children, but there was always a hole inside me that was aching to be filled. That was the place in my heart where I had kicked out the One who created me.

I don’t know why God chose to completely wipe any urge or inclination for sexual sin from me, as well as drug and alcohol addiction. I only know He did, and I am so very thankful for it. I still have other sins that I struggle with and work on today. God does not always take away our sinful desires. Sometimes He meets us right in the middle of them, so we can grow to rely on Him, and know Him more. Through our sin we can learn to trust in God and see that is the Rock we need to have the strength to defeat sin.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

I lived a life captive to the ways and thoughts of this world for so long. The world told me to be free to be who I want to be, and to let my heart and my desires dictate what I do with my life. The Bible tells me the complete opposite of that. The Bible tells me that God created me as a woman, to be with one man for my whole life. That the heart is deceitful and sick before we come to Christ, and prone to do evil. The Bible also tells us that we are born sinners, and that sin is a barrier between us and a Holy God. That without the Blood of Jesus we cannot know God and move away from sin. I was a slave to sin, even though I believed I was free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin”. John 8:34

While I was dead in my sin and transgressions, Jesus died to set me free. While I glorified in doing what was wrong and mocking God, He was working to bring me into a loving relationship with Him. God did not hate me for all the evil I had done, but He could not be a part of my sin. So Jesus sacrifice on the cross  gave me the opportunity to come into the presence of a Holy God, and to receive His free gift of grace and mercy. Me! Who I am that I should be saved? Who am I, that God should ever love me? I purposefully rebelled against God! I happily did all that was wrong and called it right! And still here I am, made free from all my evil desires, and given a new life, and hope.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

chainSo I gladly rejoice that I am a slave now. Slave?? Yes! And I will shout if from the rooftops that it is true! I am a slave to Christ Jesus and I love it. For we are all slaves to some master, but now the master I obey is Jesus. Jesus wants only what is good for me. He has blessed my life in more ways than I can count. He has protected me and taken care of me, even when I hated Him. He has given me inexplicable joy and unconditional love. So I say yes, I am thankful to be a slave now. Jesus came to free the captives from sin. You no longer need to walk in darkness, for now He has come for you! You, His dearly and beloved children. Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near! God is calling you out, my dear friend! Are you ready to take His hand and be led out of captivity?

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Revelation 12:11

 

 

 

 

 

June 18 2015

Conformed To This World

worldYesterday I had the most amazing experience. As I was driving I was praying and worshiping God. The sky was bright and the clouds were painted across it. The world felt alive and it was as if heaven itself had opened up and was signing praises to God. I was filled with a sense of awe, reverence and love. In that moment I knew that God was literally everywhere. Then I realized, this is exactly what is going on around us, every day, every minute. All of creation sings to us the glory of its Creator. God pours out His infinite love into His creation, embracing us and speaking to us, constantly. Intellectually I knew it was true, but now for the first time this truth became real to me.

Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.   Psalm 103:22    

During most of my adult life I was a self-proclaimed pagan. That meant something to me – a lover of nature, a worshiper of gods and goddesses, a friend of the earth. I was a witch and proud of it, but first and foremost I was pagan. Wild, free and in tune with the universe. I was obsessed with the moon and the ocean. I literally worshiped them. I would sit in my backyard on nights when the moon was full, and bask in its glow. The moon was a goddess – alive and beautiful. I would pray to it and speak to it. The power and the magnificence were so real and glorious!

I would often take trips to the beach. The power of the ocean was staggering. To behold it was almost more than I could bear. The crashing of the waves became one with my soul. I just knew that it was there that the first life crawled out into this world. The primordial ooze that slowly over millions of years evolved into who we now were. I would sit and just enjoy the sound of the waves and know that there was something so much bigger than me out there.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

It was not just my worship of the moon and the ocean, I was enamored with this world. The earth was Mother Goddess. She was our home – sacred and alive. She had feelings and could consciously act. She took care of us and punished us when needed. With a flick of her mighty hand she could cause earthquakes and hurricanes to put us in our places. Yes, it was very real to me. Animals were equal too, if not greater than humans. Humans were meant and harmed our mother earth and our animals friends. I not only studied the occult, but many other religions. Animals are often revered in other religions or were symbols of power and greatness. My deep love for the earth and all its life was what defined me. I would balk at the thought of animal abuse, but not even bat an eye at abortion.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:21-23

Life to me was about freedom – about being who you are. Letting your soul shine through and expressing it to its fullest. Diversity was beautiful the way it came through so many people. Gay, bisexual, transgender – I celebrated it. Love is something you cannot change! You are who you are, and you love who you love. And love is about two souls uniting and becoming one. I actually got into a huge argument with my Grandmother who was a devout Mormon. I had never spoken to her like that in all my life! Yet I knew it was true and I was willing to stand up for itI knew and had friends who were gay or transgender. I even questioned my own sexuality for a while and experimented with being bisexual. I was pretty sure everyone was born bisexual and that monogamy was a forced concept. (That is until I got married myself.)

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Romans 1:24-25

Life was free and religion was confining. Christianity was like a prison. Nothing but rules and condemnation. I didn’t want to hear that I was a sinner going to hell – I didn’t even believe in hell! Or Satan. He was just another myth to me. Just like that Christian God. And Jesus? He was just another swear word. It was funny to make fun of His name. It meant nothing to me. I literally knew nothing of who He even was. Some guy who lived a long time ago? It didn’t matter to me. The earth and all her creatures – that is what mattered to me. And my family. The rest of people of the world could fall apart for all I cared. My essence was going to be released into the atmosphere when I died along with all the other dead spirits anyway. Then we would go back to where we came from. The great universe which spawned us in the first place.

Had I rejected God? No way. I had only rejected the Christian God. I wholeheartedly believed in many gods and goddesses. I believed in the great connection all life had. I believed I was a part of something greater than myself and certainly there was a god. Just not that God that was in the Bible. That God was nothing but a lie. And I had read books on witch craft and its ancient roots to prove it. Christian’s had stolen everything from us pagans. I had experience real life through nature and my practices with witch craft. I was sure that I knew that truth, and there was no changing my mind.

It wasn’t until I began to know the Living God and read His Word in the Bible that I began to see how wrong I was. I had so many questions at first – how could God have created everything in just 7 days?? The earth is millions of years old – there is proof! How could there have really been a great flood? I mean, that is impossible! Yet I delved into knowing God and who He really was with all my heart. I had been seeking truth for so very long. I yearned for truth like a deer that pants for water. After so many years I was still thirsty and never satisfied with anything I had found.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:2

The moment I found the Truth the weight of the world was lifted from me and the veil was removed from my eyes. I knew with every ounce of my being that this God I was learning about was indeed the only God. The One True Living God. That there were no other gods, no goddesses. That every word in the Bible was true. It didn’t all make sense how it could have happened, but any doubt of the Truth of the Bible was erased from me completely. I got on my knees and gave my whole life over to God. From that day forward I literally did not see the world in the same way. It was like I had new and fresh eyes. It was like I had been living with glasses on that were rose-colored or muddying up everything I saw, but now everything was clear as could be. The world was a completely different place than what I had been living in. Somehow I had given myself over to beliefs of how the world is and what life is, but all these things were lies. I was in shock at how many deceptions I had fallen for.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

chainHow could I have believed all these false things for so long? Evolution, abortion, homosexuality, feelings create who you are and are the most important thing. And so much more! But anyone can fall prey to these lies. Everyone is susceptible. It started all the way back at the creation of man, when Adam and Eve listened to the first lie and believed it. They believed it, because they wanted to. Because it felt good and it looked good. Because they wanted to see what life was like when they were in charge, not God. And so it has gone all through the ages, that man has walked away from the protection of God and given themselves over to what looks good in the moment. Man has listened to the serpent tell them they don’t need God; that God doesn’t know what He is talking about anyway. And when you don’t already have a relationship with the Living God, oh how easy it is to believe the lies.

Satan wants nothing more than to tear us away from God. And we make it so easy for him to do so. The fruit looks tasty, and if someone I love says it’s OK, then it must be. Right Adam? God’s Word has stood the test of time. His warnings to us to stay away from pagan practices, magic, homosexuality, idolatry etc. were to protect us, not to control us. The Israelites fell into these practices over and over again. They replaced the living God for idols, they stopped teaching their children about His grace and mercy, they forgot the fact that He rescued them from slavery. This has all been laid out for us so we too can remember the dangers that lurk in this world. Yet day after day we sell ourselves over to slavery.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

We are being held captives by the traditions of man and the deceptions of this world. What do we do? We love. We have compassion. We pray. We work side by side with Jesus to free the captives. Yes you. You can help free the captives, starting with yourself. What lies of the world have you let creep into your heart? In what ways have you let the enemy tell you that God is wrong and the Bible doesn’t apply to you? Be set free and begin to start to see a broken and dying world around you. In this world the demons of hell have been let loose to play. Yet not so we should run and fear, but so we can learn to battle them and win! Jesus has overcome the world! Take His hand and ask Him how you can help speak the truth in love and pray for the oppressed. Ask Him to give you His compassion and love for others.

I ask you this, if you were to die tomorrow, would you have lived a life that glorified God or that glorified man? When you go before the judgement throne of God, will you know that you lived your life to point others to Jesus? Nobody is perfect, and you are not saved by your works, but faith without deeds is dead. God has a special calling on your life. A way that you can experience His power and glory in His Kingdom! Whether it be to do mission trips abroad, or help the homeless, or pray for the lost – whatever it is – just ask God to show you what He has for you. Life with Jesus is so much more exciting than anything else I have ever experienced. To know Him and partner with Him in this world is almost like heaven on earth. And it is available here and now for all of us.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4-5

Category: Christian Life, My Salvation | Comments Off on Conformed To This World
May 15 2015

Loving the Unlovable

Who are the unlovable? They are the family that has broken your heart. They are the friends who have betrayed you. They are the homeless, begging for your money on the corner. They are the co-workers who have taken your promotion or the boss who hates you. They are the people who just cut you off while driving. They are the ones that bullied your child. They are you.

unlovableWho are the unlovable? To God, that word doesn’t even exist. There is no one that is unlovable. God does not love the way we do. His love is an action, not a feeling. His love is not based on performance or warm feelings. He is love. God is the author and perfector of all love, and no matter how horrible we are, no matter how bad we act, who we hurt, how we disrespect Him – He will never stop loving us. Oh, how I wish I could say the same for myself.

 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Matthew 5:46-47

As a child I had a very distant relationship with my parents. I was very hurt by them, and felt very unloved. I felt I was unlovable. Never good enough. As I grew to be older I carried these feelings of hurt and rejection with me into every relationship I had. With boyfriends, friends or even acquaintances. As desperate as I was to be loved, I could not help but to push any and everyone away. It would be too much to bear to be hurt again. My poor broken heart could not take another beating.

I was painfully shy and would never try to talk to others in a social setting, let alone look people in the eye. I felt it would be best to let others come to me to start a conversation. Less chance for rejection that way. With friends and boyfriends, I was easily hurt. It wouldn’t take much for me to feel rejected and unlovable before I was pushing them away as hard as I could. Phrases like “I’m never going to talk to you again.” were a normal part of my life. I mean, if someone was going to hurt me, why should I let them be a part of my life? I didn’t deserve anymore hurt or pain. I couldn’t take anymore hurt or pain.

Thank God for His grace and His divine healing power. Once I came into a relationship with Jesus I began to know love in a completely new way. I just knew I was unlovable, yet here was Jesus, in all His glory, loving me. How could someone so magnificent love someone as unlovable as me? Yet He did, and it was the most amazing thing I had ever felt. Jesus love began to heal my broken heart and beat down spirit. Healing is often a process that takes time though. And I saw myself beginning the have the same relational problems with the new people I was meeting at church as I had in the past. I had the same drive to run away and hide from these people, so that I wouldn’t get hurt.

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

God had other plans for me though. Plans to grow me and sing a new song over me, so that I could blossom and grow like a tender young shoot. After months of feeling unlovable in many situations with others at church, I began a new prayer. “God, please help me love others the way you love.” Quite a big prayer for someone who has spent their entire life running from other people. Yet I earnestly desired it with all my heart. I had experienced God’s amazing love, and I wanted to share it. I just didn’t know how.

Jesus took me by the hand and walked with me through it. He began to open my eyes to the little things I did that I could change. Starting with making eye contact and smiling at others. I saw that my smile brought a smile in return and I loved it. Soon I was giving encouraging words to others and praying for them. It made my heart swell with love – just a little piece of love like God has for us. It was wonderful.

I thought I was doing great, but Jesus again, wanted to nurture and grow me, to develop me further into loving others as I had asked. There were still the unlovable, waiting in the wings. It was so easy to love those that smiled back and were uplifted by my encouraging words. But not everyone is going to be easy to love. I had to tackle my disgust at the homeless next. God opened my heart to the unlovable homeless and soon, I was even loving them. Then there were those who had hurt me in the past. I began to open my heart to those poor souls, who I knew were as lost as I used to be, who were captives just as I was. I began to feel love and compassion even for them. My heart was full and happy.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

I was doing so well at loving with the help of Jesus. I felt good and I wanted to love even more. Well, when you ask God for more, He is always happy to respond to that request! God began to place people directly in my life that were completely unlovable. I started to forget my prayer to love more, and started to feel filled with anger and even hate. It was startling and distressing – it was as if the old me had crept back in when I wasn’t looking. How could I even have such feelings left inside of me? Hadn’t I been doing so well-being kind and sweet and encouraging? Then I began to get upset with myself for being such an awful person. There I was again, completely unlovable.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Yet Jesus spoke to me so kindly, so sweetly. Don’t you see my child, that I love you even when you are hateful and mean-spirited? Even that cannot separate you from my undying love; from my mercy and grace. In my eyes, you are completely lovable, and you always will be. And this is how I am going to teach you to love those around you that you find to me unlovable.

I have to admit that was like a slap in the face and a sweet embrace all at once. Whatever that feels like…I am still prey to believing those old lies that I have listed to for so many years. It is still easy to fall into that trap of pushing people away, or putting up a wall around my heart to protect myself. But I don’t have to do that anymore. I have all the protection I need. I had the shadow of the mountain to cover me, to hide me from anything that is more than I can bear.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

 

Category: Christian Life, My Salvation | Comments Off on Loving the Unlovable
February 24 2015

Impossible Love

love-538434_1280Have you ever had your world turned upside down for love? Have you ever loved someone so much that it inspired you to become a better person? Has there ever been someone so special in your life that you were willing to give up everything for them, because they were just worth it? I have. Let me tell you about it.

He is the most beautiful man I have ever met. He is compassionate, loving, gracious, kind, and so forgiving. As a matter of fact, no matter how awful I am (and I can be pretty awful) he always forgives me. He always makes time for me, always listens to me and always shows me how much he cares about me. He wants to know how my day went and he wants to hear my problems. I guess you could say he is pretty perfect. And I adore him with all my heart and soul, with every fiber of my being, every breath in my body.

His name is Jesus. He is my God, my King, my Savior, Lover of My Soul, Holy and Righteous, The Almighty, Counselor, Friend, Father, Redeemer, Rock. He is my everything, and I owe my very life to Him. Before I met Jesus, I never knew how wonderful love could be. I never knew how amazing life could be! I spent most of my free time trying endlessly to search for happiness. Filling the void with TV and people and games and whatever else sounded good in the moment. Nothing ever had any purpose though. I was always left feeling empty.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

But Jesus knew this about me. And he knew that he had the answer that would be the exact cure for my suffering soul. Jesus had been pursuing me for years. Well, all of my life actually. Somewhere inside me I think I knew…but it was easier to run from him. I didn’t really know who he was and what he would want from me. And I was so scared. Scared to be hurt again, like I had been so many times before by people. But Jesus never gave up on me. Not once. Even when I regularly used His name as a swear word.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39love

Yet he forgave me for even that. How can that be? How is that even possible? For love. He did it all for love. I can barely grasp the fact that God loves me, let alone the fact that He loves me enough to passionately pursue me. To die for me. Many times I have struggled with the fact that Jesus would die for me. Little old me. I am nothing special. But to Jesus I am. I am precious and beautiful to him. Always.

So when I met Jesus, I knew, He was worth everything to me. He was worth turning my life upside down for. He was worth giving up anything and everything for. But then things got complicated. Jesus asked me to start to become set apart for him. He did not want me to look like everyone else around me. It wasn’t just that he asked me to give up things of the world. Or to learn to love all his children. Or to become more modest. He wanted me to be brave and bold. To speak out in His name and to learn to use amazing gifts that he gave me for the good of His children.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Gifts that set me apart from the average person you talk to on any given day. Not because I am special, or unique. No, because he has these gifts for each person who would take them. Gifts to prophesy, to heal, to pray for others, to see spirits, to give a word of wisdom, or a word of knowledge, lead, serve, speak in tongues or interpret tongues. But what do you do when you have some of these gifts and live in a world that doesn’t believe that they are real anymore? How do you move forward learning about your spiritual gifts when there is no one around you to even teach you what they are, or what gifts you might have?

Are you going to be willing to be so set apart that you step out in faith and use your spiritual gifts? Are you going to be bold when you hear God tell you to heal others or to give a word of knowledge to someone or to begin to speak in tongues? These are wonderful gifts that God wants us to use to help each other. But it can be scary. It is so easy to suppress the calling to do God’s work when it is something difficult. I am certain that many of you have heard a calling from Him. A soft whisper that was leading you towards more. To use your spiritual gift, to step out onto the water and walk with Jesus. To go up to the mountain and witness the transfiguration.

What would that do to your life? How would that change you? Are you willing to listen to God’s call, his sweet and soft whisper? Have you ever loved someone so much, so very much, that you just ached to the very core of your soul?

Then maybe it is time to take Jesus’ hand and take that next step he is asking you to take. You will be afraid. You will not know what to do. You will at times feel that it is far too much for you, and you may even feel that it is just plain crazy. But you need to remember one thing. Nothing is impossible with God.

But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Category: My Salvation, Who Is Jesus? | Comments Off on Impossible Love