Loved

I was raised in a Christian home. My upbringing included Sunday School on Sunday mornings, Youth Group on Wednesday nights, and Small Group on Fridays. From an early age, God quickly became the most important person in my life.

I can remember the first time I raised my hands in worship during Sunday School. I would spend hours in prayer at church camp in the summer. My journals are filled with prayers and questions – looking to God for the answers.

Growing into adulthood, the godly women in my life encouraged me to spend intentional time alone with God, where you read your bible and pray. And I have done my best to make this a priority for the last 10 years. They’ve never been the perfect “hour every morning with a cup of coffee”, and they’ve never been perfectly consistent, but spending time in the Word and in prayer has continued to grow in importance the older I get.

I have had many seasons in life where I’ve felt alive in Christ. I’ve felt his love wash over me and my times with him have been fruitful and life giving. But this year, my times in solitude with the Lord started to get frustrating.  I was leaving each time upset and irritated. I couldn’t feel God. I couldn’t hear him. The logical solution was that I was doing something wrong. So, I would try getting up before work to start my day off right. I kept falling asleep, so I’d plan out exactly what I would read. When that didn’t work, I’d try spontaneity – just opening up anywhere in the bible and reading. I gave devotional reading a shot. I tried focusing on prayer alone. I gave reading a book by a Christian author. Nothing worked.

It wasn’t until just recently that I was able to finally voice the lie that had been planted in my heart. Luke and I were driving home from a dear friends funeral, and I don’t remember exactly how it came up or how the conversation wound its way there, but I remember telling Luke with tears in my eyes… I don’t think God loves me.

Just voicing this to Luke and identifying it caused blinders to off my eyes. I can see it now. I was trying to earn his love. I realized on that car ride home that I had been trying to earn his presence by getting up early each morning. I was trying to be good enough for him to speak to me by doing all the right things. I was trying to come up with ways to manipulate him into speaking to me.

But as I remembered the overarching story of the Bible, the truth became so clear: I cannot, under any circumstances, earn his love. 

Romans 5:6-11 says,

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

God chased after us, even while we rejected him. God extended his love to us, even when we failed, yet again. God sealed the deal, even while we sat covered in our sin – paralyzed by our inability to measure up.

Psalm 23:6 says,
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

He pursues us.

I hope you can begin to walk in this freedom today, too. I encourage you to spend time with the Lord, knowing, believing, and declaring that he loves you.  Let this truth wash over you:

You are loved. You are his.

Believe it

Sometimes in the morning, before our day gets started, we need to be reminded of a very impactful truth: God loves us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

In Micah 6:8 we are told what is good and what the Lord requires of us. He says to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

He doesn’t plan disaster for us. He plans good things, and to give us a future and a hope. He doesn’t ask for the world from us, only to do what is right, love mercy, and walk respectfully with him.

What does that mean for today?

It means that God cares about your day today. Believe it.

It means that he desires good things for you. Stop running away.

It means that we have a choice whether or not to do the right thing. Pay attention.

It means that we are required to offer mercy. Soften your heart.

It means we need to admire the Lord and hold him in high esteem. Be a student of him.

We can get distracted and disengaged quickly. So take it a little slower today. Be in the moment. Don’t rush. Be present with the Lord. Keep your heart open to his voice. He will direct your steps.

Why?

Because he loves you.

 

 

Worship the Lord

They went after other gods, worshipping the gods of the people around them. Judges 2:12

Trust in the Lord, friend. Bring your cares and concerns before him. He cares for you. He cares jealously, angrily about you! He is full of love, and promised the Israelites joy, provision, blessing after blessing! If only they trusted the Lord. Why couldn’t they see how much the Lord loved them?

He promises you the same. Don’t worship the gods of the people around you. The gods of acceptance, popularity, money, influence, power, and control. Worship the Lord. He will direct your steps and make your paths straight. He will bring the light in the darkness.

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How do we resist the other gods of this world, and not be pulled in by their empty promises? By learning how to worship God. But how do we learn how to worship God? The Bible. It is the living, active word of God. Everything we need to know, the answers to every question, are within those pages. He gives us principles to live by. Promises to stand on. Wisdom to refer to, and testimonies to guide us.

The song below is a declaration of dependence on the Lord. My husband, Luke, wrote this out of a place of deep recognition of how lost we are without the Grace of God. If you are in a place where you are searching for the Lord, the Word is the only place where you can get a first hand account of his character, his majesty and his deep love for you. Everything else is secondhand.