Faith Over Fear, Part 4: Let the Peace of God Rule in Your Heart

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Hey, dear readers! I am so sorry it has taken me awhile to write this. It has been a busy but enjoyable couple of weeks editing my novel for my publisher (you can check out more about that here). Check out my previous posts about being filled with the Spirit, love, and joy. This series is about how the Holy Spirit counteracts fear in our lives, which is especially applicable as we are in a global pandemic and many are afraid. The Holy Spirit also fills us with peace that overcomes fear as we trust in God, which is what I am discussing today.

Do you want more peace in your life? Is your mind scattered, disordered, or are you filled with obsessive thoughts? Do you worry a lot? Do you get anxiety or panic attacks?

Well, have no fear, my friend! Jesus doesn’t want to leave you there. He wants to lead you into perfect peace.

Peace is something we all want. This world is full of strife, bitterness, and malice, especially observed on the news lately in gruesome and unjust ways. People try to take control of their lives, which often leads to broken relationships with others and/or a fragile, anxious mind.

We don’t realize that what we are really searching for is the One who can relieve us of the burden of being in control. The One who is entirely good and knows what’s best for us. The One whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts and ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9).

This good Father in heaven is a foreigner to hate, and He is the definition of Love. He so loved us that He sacrificed His perfect Son, Jesus, to make peace with human beings who otherwise could not stand before a Holy God.

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], 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.” – Colossians 1:19-20

In short, the only way to find peace, both inner and outer, is to find Jesus.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1-2a

Dear friends, to attain true, inner peace and the ability to maintain peace with others in our lives, you need to be at peace with God through believing solely in Jesus’ work on the cross to save you.

Are you at peace with God? Have you trusted in Jesus to reconcile you with God? Have trusted in His blood, shed on the cross for you to set you in a right relationship with God?

Many people try to do good works to be at peace with God. Let me tell you what I’ve learned the hard way: this doesn’t work! Doing good things in and of themselves have nothing to do with being connected with God. Doing good things must come as an outflow of our relationship with God in order for them to be fruitful and lasting, and in order for us to experience true peace.

I used to try to be at peace with God by doing good things, and let me tell you, I ended up feeling miserable. I felt discouraged. And I actually felt disconnected with God.

The only way to be at peace with God is to trust that Jesus in and of Himself is sufficient to clear your guilt and unite you with God Himself. This means you will desire to do good and, even when you stumble and fall, you always have your Heavenly Father to come back to with total forgiveness and acceptance. He will never leave you nor forsake you! (Deut. 31:8)

Once you attain this salvation that is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you have entered God’s forever family. Jesus is the Lord and Shepherd of your life, to lead and to guide you on paths of righteousness. He absolutely knows what’s best for you, knows your future, and is taking care of you!

As a believer, our job is to trust God with every detail of our lives. To give our burdens to Him continually. To leave everything in His hands.

Beloved, if even a small discomfort makes your heart uneasy, you must bring this to your loving Father, and He will help you to trust Him with it. From then on, you must let God’s peace rule in your heart at all times. Don’t let the little things get to you–in regards to both your own anxieties as well as the irritations that others cause you. Trust in the Lord! With Jesus in charge, things are going to work out just fine. Truly!

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” – Colossians 3:15

The enemy will do anything to destroy your peace. But you must persevere in trusting Jesus. Persevere and push through the ridiculous reasons the enemy throws at you to be afraid. Even if you feel you have very real reasons to fear, the truth is your life is in the hands of God, no matter how terrible your circumstances are. You have nothing to fear, because the Lord is with you and is watching over you, day and night (Psalm 121:8).

Peace happens first in the mind, and then it affects the rest of your life. This following verse always reminds me what it looks like to be a peaceful person:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3

When a person trusts in the Lord, he has a steadfast mind. This settled, unwavering mind is the mind which is at peace–not only that, but perfect peace!

I want this kind of mind! I want this kind of trust. I want to trust in the Lord no matter what, maintaining a steady mind, and a heart at total peace. No evil thing can unsettle this mind. No matter what happens, God is good. No matter where you go, God is with you. No matter what you do, God loves you.

With this great certainty that God is dependable and reliable, nothing can stop you from accomplishing all the wonderful things God has planned for your life. Nothing can stop you from reconciling with others in your life and maintaining peaceful relationships. The only thing that can stop you is yourself, refusing to trust God and to do the will of God!

I have experienced peace before: incredible peace. When I lay burdens at God’s feet, it is like a breath of fresh air. I’m not in control anymore. I never was in the first place. Now the God who knows what He’s doing is accomplishing His purpose in this hard situation. Though I can’t see what He’s doing, I know He’s working out something good for me.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Sometimes the feeling of peace is so strong, and I don’t know why. I don’t know why God is so good to me, even though I don’t deserve it. I don’t know why He cares. I don’t know why He treasures me so deeply.

But He does. And He does the same for you. Press on and trust Him with every detail of your life, every worry in your heart, every burden on your back. Release it all into His hands, and watch Him move in incredible ways!

Trust in Him today, Beloved, and experience the peace that passes all understanding, which guards your heart, in Jesus’ name! Amen.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:7

In every situation, say “It is well with my soul,” and watch as you grow in deeper peace with God.

 

 

The COVID-19 Gospel

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Are you lonely? Are you wandering, frustrated, stressed out, not knowing what the point if this season of life is? Are you jobless? Angry? Afraid? Sick? Are you suffering–whether it be physically, emotionally or mentally? Are you burdened? Wherever you are at right now, please, take a moment and listen to what God has to say to you. Listen to what He has done for you and take the step of faith to enter a right relationship with Himself. Today is the day of salvation!

Don’t social distance Jesus, no matter how dangerous He seems! He is safer than any other place you can go. He is your refuge! (Ps. 46:1)

The world is full of the corona (spiritual death, sin, fear, shame, guilt) but when you trust in Him to be your doctor, Jesus heals you and then sanitizes you completely so it can’t touch you ever again. You have a life of safety and health in His presence! (Safety= purity, wisdom, discernment, and holiness; health =life, joy, peace, hope, love, and freedom)

When you come to Him, He cleans you of all viruses of sin and distraction! He prepares you to live in a corona-free kingdom forever by filling you with His healthy life without the disease of sin here on earth. With His healthy life living inside you, anything is possible! (Phil. 4:13)

Trust in Jesus — His death on the cross and His coming to life again, so you can destroy the corona (sin) inside you and come alive in the safety and healthy of your home in Jesus. Put your faith in Him! He is trustworthy, as He has proven over and over in His Word (the Bible). Trust in Him with all your heart! (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Even when you rebel against His ways and then get sick in Jesus’ home, He is always your friendly doctor to heal you up again should you desire to continue living a healthy life with Him in His home (or else be plagued by the corona everywhere else). He loves you and accepts you no matter what!

Jesus is safer than a thousand toilet paper rolls, loaves of bread, and gallons of water. He is the Cleanser of your soul, the Bread of Life, and the Spring of Living Water. He is healthier than a hundred pounds of spinach—health that gives your soul vitality forever and ever. 

Quarantine in Him, and you will never catch the deadliest disease of all: sin. And even though you self-isolate from the things of this world, in reality you are staying at home and staying safe in Jesus and thus saving your soul.

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.“ Psalm 62:7

“For the wages of sin is death (spiritual death, disease, bad consequences), but the gift of God is eternal life(spiritual life, health, security) in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit (lose) their soul?“ Mark 8:36

Let this be the greatest news for your soul in the midst of all the bad news! Let this be the most contagious thing you spread during this season of fear, loneliness, and sickness–Not necessarily this post, but the gospel of grace–the good news of what Jesus has done for you and for me! Have a blessed day living in the safety of God’s enormous grace!

P.S. If you have just now placed your faith in Jesus and given your life to Him after reading this post, I would be overjoyed to know in the comments!!! Or if anything I’ve said here is confusing or you have any questions, I am more than open to having a dialogue about this! 😀

Intimacy with God, part 3: How to Abide in Jesus (Even When the World is Going Crazy)

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How do you abide in Jesus? Some people, I’ve realized, when they hear this word, they get an unsettling feeling of, “Ugh, yeah, I’m not doing that. That’s another thing on the list of things I need to work on.”

Work on? Wait a minute, what are you talking about? Recently, I remember telling my friend jokingly, “You don’t need to work on abiding; you just need to abide.”

You just do it. You just rest. In truth and in love, friend, God is with you; there is nothing you need to work on using your own human effort! In Christ, you are complete. In Christ, He provides everything you need. There is nothing you need to muster out of yourself to complete the work of abiding. Through your trust in Him, Christ completes you and makes you in a constant state of abiding in Him.

“…and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” – Colossians 2:10 (NKJV)

You are already with Christ and in Christ! You are already dead to sin and alive in Christ, so now let’s live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit in an intimate, abiding relationship with God (Gal. 5:25).

Not that I have never been guilty of striving, rather than abiding in the Lord–because this has been such a consistent struggle of mine! But I am so blessed that Jesus is teaching me I can find my home in Him and let Him be my Living Water in this dry and weary land.

This is something that is true NO MATTER the circumstances–at work, at school, with friends, or with family at home during the COVID-19 epidemic. You can find your home in Jesus wherever you go and whatever you do. You don’t have to be ruled by fear or pride or guilt or shame. You can be ruled by the Holy Spirit in a restful, life-giving relationship with God. Really!

Last month, I talked about what barriers you might have in your relationship with God that could prohibit you from having full intimacy with Him. (Click here to see that post.)

Now that we know what keeps us from abiding, today, I want to talk about what exactly abiding is. So, what is abiding? Here are three things Jesus says about it in John chapter 15:

1. Abide in Me – Prayerfully Depend on Jesus

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5 (ESV)

You enter an abiding relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. You remain—or abide—in Him by faith. (Not by human effort!) The Greek word for “abide” is meinete which means to “remain, persevere, stay, continue, or abide.”

Do you want to stay with Jesus? There’s certainly no other place I’d rather go! Without Him I can do nothing! Absolutely nothing of eternal value. It’s all meaningless and unfruitful without persevering by faith to stick with Jesus Christ.

Let’s keep going with Jesus! Let’s continue on. Let’s stay connected with Him.

Abiding in Jesus means a persistent stance of humility in letting Him take control of your life as you rest in the safety of His presence. As my Navigator leader put it, abiding in Christ is “prayerful dependence” on Him.

Thus, sticking with Jesus is to “pray continually” as Paul exhorts us to (1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer is being connected to God in your spirt. You cannot always be focusing your attention onto Him in adoration, confession, thanksgiving, or supplication, but you can always be connected to Him in your spirit, depending on Him fully in all things, and walking by the Spirit.

When we prayerfully depend on Christ—something new begins to happen. Joy comes, Life comes, and our branches bear fruit!

There is a drastic difference between a Christian who is dependent on themselves and a Christian who is prayerfully dependent on God. A Christian whose mind is formed by the pattern of this world and a Christian who is transformed by the renewing of his mind. A Christian who drives themselves crazy with trying to do everything perfectly and a Christian who abides in Christ and takes each step of faith exactly as it is—one step at a time.

In fact, if a Christian consistently shows he isn’t prayerfully depending on Christ, you begin to wonder if he is any Christian at all.

Abide in Him. Seek Jesus with all your heart. Stop trying to modify your behavior and let Jesus transform your heart by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). This is all about the Lord leading your life in ways that are for your good, and you resting that He’s doing that and He’s got you covered from head to foot with His grace. Surrender your own plans and trust that His are so much better. Keep looking to Jesus and enjoying His presence with you wherever you go–and you’ll be amazed at the fruit that comes up in the process, flowing from, not human effort, but a life dependent on Him.

2. Let His Words Abide in You – Meditatively Rest in Truth

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7

Jesus asks us to let His words abide in us. Not my words. Not yours. Not the medias. Not your friends. Not your uncles. Not your grandmas. His words and His words alone!

And guess what? God’s Word has a lot to say about you. In the book I am currently reading, Victory Over the Darkness, author Neil Anderson lists many “Who am I?” statements throughout the book that affirm our identities in Christ. He talks about how believing who we are in Christ and the acceptance we have in Him enables us to be who God means us to be. Below are just a few of the statements in the Bible that reveal the new identity God offers you. Let His Word sink deep into your heart…

“Since I am in Christ…
I have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16)
I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19,20)
I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to come (2 Cor. 1:21,22; Eph. 1:13,14)
Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14, 15)
I have been made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21)
I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life (Gal. 2:20)
I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3)…”

These are true statements about yourself! Do you believe them? Abiding in the truth of the identity God has given you in Jesus Christ will free you to live your life according to who you already are, not according to who you want to be.

Because of who you are in Christ, you can draw your strength from Him and be empowered by your union with Him. Fleshly efforts mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. They don’t work! Our only hope is to surrender our human efforts and depend fully on God.

“I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” – Galatians 3:2

Believe what you have heard Jesus tell you! That is the only way to true life. Depending on our futile works of the flesh don’t bear fruit. Only believing what Jesus tells us and abiding in that truth produces anything of eternal worth. Believe Him, Beloved!

The truths about your identity in Christ, and many more, are so important to meditate on and rest in throughout your day. If our minds are not filled with truth, then what are they filled with? Yes, lies. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and fill your mind with the truth about who you are in Christ, and who God is in every circumstance you face (Hint: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! – Heb. 13:8). His truth will set you free to live a life empowered by the Holy Spirt and connected to Jesus, the true source of life!

3. Abide in His Love – Eagerly Delight In His Favor

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” – John 15:9

Looking through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), anyone can see how deeply God the Father loves His Son, Jesus. The Father calls Him “My Beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17).

Take another look at the above passage. Read it slowly. Can you believe it—Jesus loves us the same way the Father loves Him? We, the Church, are the Beloved bride of Jesus, the Lamb of God! Jesus calls you His Beloved.

Abide in the love Jesus has for you. When I enjoy sweet fellowship with Jesus, soaking in the riches of His love, my connection with the vine grows stronger and my love for God grows deeper. Slow down and rest in His love for you. He really means every word He says.

“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long; and the one the Lord loves rest between His shoulders.” – Deuteronomy 33:12

Rest secure in Him, because He is protecting you, His beloved child! Marvel at His acceptance of you. Take a load off and relax with Him. Wait on Him. Stop and just…

Breathe.

In the presence of God, there can be no doubts or fears. Only peace. Trust in Him! In Him all things hold together (Col. 1:17).

If we’re going to stick with Jesus, let’s abide in His perfect love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18)! There is more love in Him than in any person in the world. More hope. More life. More freedom. Confess to Him your lack of belief and plead with Him to show you how much He loves you. He has rescued you from sin and death and raised you up and seated you with Christ in heaven, securing you a place in the Father’s family for all eternity (Eph. 2:6)! He loves you. Believe me. Well, don’t believe me. Believe Him! The riches of His Word provide us with so much confidence in His love for us.

Abide in His love, Beloved. Let it wash over you and break down your defenses. Melt in His loving embrace. And never, ever hold anything back from Him, the Lover of your soul.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” – Psalm 62:8

 

So, this is the gist of what abiding is. This is a picture of what intimacy with the Creator of Heaven and Earth looks like. This is only a shadow of the far more wonderful relationship with Him that is to come in heaven, but even now it is like a taste of heaven and brings satisfaction and life to the soul here on earth. God is so good to us!

Abide in Jesus. Abide in His Word. Abide in His love.

Keep asking, seeking, knocking to see what His good, pleasing and perfect will is. Keep wanting Him more than anything.  Keep believing who you are in Christ and believing who He is—holy and perfect and loving. Keep basking in His sheer delight and favor towards you. Keep trusting in Him with all your heart and leaning not on your own understanding; keep acknowledging Him in all of your ways, and He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Persevere. Stick with Jesus. Cling tightly to Him, to your only source of life in this desolate, fear-driven world. He will always always be there for you; and you can always run back to Him no matter what junk you have hoarded up in yourself for a time. The way to purify yourself not by trying to feel clean and erase the sin from your memory, but rather to confess your sins, and let Him forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Receive His forgiveness and invite Him to lovingly rule your life again!

Keep believing, dear friend. Keep trusting Jesus and keep loving Him. Abide in Him. Abide in His Word. Abide in His love.

He really loves you so much.

And from this abiding, deep fellowship with the Lord, fruit will emerge, fruit that points the world back to God.

Intimacy with God, part 2: 5 Reasons Why the Connection Might Feel “Off”

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To read “Intimacy with God, part 1: What is Intimacy?” click here.

Do you ever feel “stuck” in your relationship with God? Like there’s a plug in the sink that’s blocking off the connection? Or do you ever feel like you’ve never really felt connected to God in the first place? Whatever the case, there’s just this feeling, you don’t know what it is, but just this feeling of disconnectedness, distance, and lack of love, desire, and joy in relating to God.

Have you ever felt like that?

I know I have.

When I was in my early teens, I yearned for the feeling of being close with God. Somewhere inside me, I knew that’s what I needed, that’s what I wanted, and that’s what I was searching for.

And so I searched. I sought after Him. I prayed. I studied the Bible. But the single most earth-shattering truth that brought me into intimacy with God was simple and it was this: God actually loved me.

When I believed in His love for me, when I really, truly, deep down believed, everything shifted. I didn’t just think He was with me, I was aware that He was with me. I didn’t just know He cared, I lay at His feet and I let Him love me. I didn’t just wonder what He was thinking, I began to hear His own thoughts, spoken to me through the Holy Spirit within me (1 Cor. 2:10).

When I experience God in this way, it means more to me than anything else in the world. And it means more to Him than it could ever mean to us! Drawing close to God pleases Him far more than any of our vain efforts to “impress” Him. Remember the story of Mary and Martha, when Jesus is gently rebuking Martha:

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” – Luke 10:41-42

As I’ve grown closer to God and experienced Him and been aware and in awe of His love for me, it becomes easy to notice whenever I suddenly feel like that connection isn’t fully there anymore.

And I ask God: Why? Why is the connection gone? What happened? I was having such close intimacy with You, and then it just disappeared, God. Why???

As I ponder what is going on that makes me feel off in my walk with the Lord, He has asked me at different moments to consider possible barriers that may be in the way of beautiful intimacy with Him. I detail these barriers below. Search your own heart and ask God to reveal to you what may be making your connection “off” today:

 

1. Sin.

This is the first and foremost thing we need to address if we want to be close to God! Don’t neglect bringing your sin into the Light. In the last post I talked about Psalm 139, how it describes the depths of God’s intimate knowledge about us. Because God knows us so well, ask Him to search your heart for any way you may have offended Him recently by sinning. Sin is rebellion against God, whether it is done purposefully or unknowingly. Any sin can be a blockage in your relationship with God. The Holy Spirit wants us to open our hearts to God’s loving gaze so we can become aware of what sin we need to remove from our lives, by God’s grace.

Side note: If you have never confessed your sins to God before, I encourage you to turn to God and do that right now! Through Jesus Christ you can be freed from sin and brought into a new life with Him (see John 3:16)! Your life will never be the same again!!! (See this post for more details.)

For those of you who have put your trust in Jesus, it is important to note that while you are completely covered in Jesus’ blood and are secure in God’s family, your relationship with your Heavenly Father will still feel distant if you are living in rebellion, unforgiveness, or in compromise, refusing to fully submit to Him. Check out Psalm 139, in verses 23 -24, where David prays humbly to God about his sin, an example for us to follow: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

This is a great prayer to pray if you feel distant from God! As you seek the Father, if He reveals any specific sin in your life, repent and turn to Him quickly, and then open your heart to receive His forgiveness! He SO wants to forgive you! Only when you receive His forgiveness fully will you be empowered from then on to live your life pleasing to Him in this area you have given Him control over.

And He is always, always waiting to forgive you! I know I have often wrongly wondered if God could ever forgive me if I kept messing up again and again. But the truth is: You are never too far from His grace! He is faithful and just in forgiving us, and He is faithful and just in restoring us back to Himself in full union with Him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

 

2. Lies.

Are you believing any lies about God? Catch yourself. Think about how you’ve been thinking, Beloved. Have you been degrading yourself, giving over to self-loathing or self-pity? Or have you been overthinking, because you don’t believe God is trustworthy enough to take control of your life? Or have you simply forgotten how much God loves you?

By all means, Beloved, stop believing lies! Don’t forget how wonderful God is. Ask God to show you His truth. Get deep in the Word and remind yourself of His unfailing, steadfast love for you. Discover His strength, His purity, His righteousness, His kindness, and all the goodness that He is.

Get to know God! Often, our wrong thinking is due to our wrong view of God. We think God is too small, or too haughty, or too harsh. These are lies straight from the devil! He is bigger than you can imagine, He is NOT too proud to overlook us, and He is tremendously patient and tender-hearted toward you.

He is not only ALL of these things, but He wants to be intimately involved in your life, no matter how messy it may be! He, after all, is the only One who can heal you, refine you, and shower you with the love you so desperately need. Get to know Jesus, because He is the truth, and the truth is what’s going to set you free!

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

 

3. Lack of Communication

This one just sounds like the #1 rule of relationships, right? Well, as it turns out, you are in a relationship with God, ladies and gentlemen! So, the same rules apply. 😉

Communicate with God how you really feel. All the frustration, worry, anger, pride—lay it all down. Express to God how you’re feeling deep down inside. How you’re struggling. Even though He knows everything about you, He wants you to share these intimate parts with Him so you can have a real relationship with Him! Tell Him your deep desires, your secret fears, your aching hopes, your heavy burdens, and your crazy dreams. He can handle it! And what’s more, He wants to meet the needs of your heart in ways you can’t even fathom! Every need, every burden, every longing, every hurt, every struggle, every pain, every fear, every little bit of unrest, everything—He wants you to lay all of that openly before Him. In your most vulnerable place, He will meet you with tenderness and care for you in the most loving ways. 

Don’t withhold any of your mess from Him! And don’t forget to share with Him all your joys, gratitude, and excitement with Him as well! Either one of these forms of honesty are so sweet to Him, like worship. As soon as you lay before Him how you’re doing, you will feel so free. And you’ll want to do it again and again—at all times, as the below Psalm urges us to do.

Come to God in your totally, completely honest place, and He will be so glad to meet you there. Pour out your heart to Him! Whether it be a disastrous mess or pure bliss, share it with Him, Beloved. He is your safe place. He is the safest place for you to be, whatever happens and wherever you go in life!

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”- Psalm 62:8

 

4. Lack of Surrender.

Are you willing to surrender all to God? This is not a question meant to bring guilt, but conviction. We will never be fully willing to surrender all to God. I have no idea what things I am not obeying God in and trusting God in. We will never achieve perfection in this earthly life, so we will never be completely surrendered to God, in the sense that we will never be fulfilling 100% of what God desires for us all the time, by our own efforts.

Oh… wait. Jesus, again? This is exactly where I’m going! Because you are covered in the blood of Jesus, you are fulfilling 100% of what God desires for you right now. He SO delights in you! He adores you! He finds you altogether beautiful, and He sees no flaw in you (Song of Songs 4:7). And that’s all because you were paid for at a high price, and you are clothed in robes of Jesus’ righteousness. Isn’t that incredible? God is so good!!!

So what do I mean when I challenge you to surrender? If God thinks so well of us, why do we need to do anything He wants us to do? Well, precisely because He thinks so well of us, is why we should be more than willing and happy to do anything He asks of us!

Really! You read that right. Jesus is calling out to you and asking you to let go of the things of this world. He wants you to trust Him. He wants you to believe that He is in complete control of all things and that He is worthy of your everything.

Nothing you surrender to Him truly matters in light of eternity, so you don’t need to be afraid that you will lose anything of ultimate value if you surrender to Him. Choosing Him above all else means you gain everything that truly matters!!!

Jesus is ALL that matters! Because Jesus has offered us the fullest life possible with Him now and forever, everything else we have once treasured so highly in life should not mean so much to us anymore. We should be willing to forsake anything that the Lord asks of us (Luke 9:23).

This does not at all mean we cannot enjoy this life! This means we need to, as Corrie Ten Boom said, “Hold loosely to the things of this life, so that if God requires them of you, it will be easy to let them go.”

And more often than not, there are things in our life which we must quickly rid ourselves of in order to draw near to God. The process may at first be painful, but on the other side there is always freedom!

Ask God to search your heart for what you need to get rid of. Often I find that removing distractions and hindrances leaves so much more space for God and I to have sweet fellowship together! You will be so grateful you did, and most of all, God will feel so pleased with you, Beloved.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” – Hebrews 12:1-2a (boldness added by me)

So ask yourself, honestly, what is distracting you from God today?

 

5. Lack of Desire

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m plagued by flat-out indifference or apathy toward God. This lack of desire and love for God leads straight to complacency if I don’t do anything about it. Don’t let yourself fall into complacency. Let God burn a fire in your soul for Himself alone! He is so abundantly worthy of all our passions and affections!

So, how do we get ourselves out of this rut of apathy?

Well, just because you don’t feel love for Him or feel that He loves you, doesn’t mean that you have absolutely no desire for Him, or that He has no desire for you. Don’t let the devil get you to believe that your feelings determine reality! The truth is, that no matter what happens with your relationship with God, even if you feel completely emotionless toward Him, you can always be sure of one thing: He loves you.

So, in spite of your lack of desire or love for Him, in spite of you becoming apathetic toward Him, in spite of you feeling weary and tired of everything, He wants to be ever so near to you, Beloved. It was never about your love for Him, anyway. It was always about His love for you! Let His love refresh your soul! Your apathy is a sign that you need God more than ever.

Ask God for more of a desire for Him. Ask Him for a greater revelation of His love for you. When I tell you to ask God for things, I’m not at all saying it because its the easy thing to say, I’m saying it because I really mean it! These are things you can ask God for that He is all so willing to give you.

Pray in faith that He longs to give them to you and He will soon do that beautiful work in your life. Jesus isn’t kidding when He says in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” What a wonderful promise that is!

After you ask God for more desire for Him, soon, sure enough, you will find a greater love for Him in your heart. A greater desire to do His will and walk in obedience to Him. None of these beautiful things we find in our hearts were ever from us, anyway! Faith, love, desire–all come from God! We need to continually ask for more of Himself and continually want more of Himself, or we will slide into apathy and then soon after into complacency.

So, ask Him, Beloved! Seek Him with all your heart. Knock confidently at His door. He is just waiting on the other side to respond.

 

 

In conclusion, sin, lies, lack of communication, lack of surrender, and lack of desire are some possible barriers between yourself in God. Take an honest look at yourself. Let God reveal to you what the issue is for you specifically. It could for sure be a combination of these things, as many of them are interwoven together.

The root of all these problems is simple: a lack of faith. When we don’t trust that God is better than our sin, when we don’t trust Him for who He really is, when we don’t trust that He cares enough to continually hear how we’re doing, when we don’t trust that God is better than any earthly distraction, when we don’t trust that God is  worthy of our pursuit even when we don’t feel like it–when we don’t trust God in any of these ways, there is inevitably a barrier between us and again. Pray in faith, asking for more faith, and choosing to believe God in all of these ways!

Whenever I feel like my connection with God is “off,” I search my heart and He often reveals one or more of these things to me that is a blockage in our relationship. He is so faithful, and He wants us to remove all hindrances so we can have full intimacy with Him!

You may be wondering: But how? How do I have “full intimacy” with God once I remove all these barriers. What in the world does that mean??? That’s what I’ll be covering in my 3rd and final post in this series about “Intimacy with God.” (It will be about abiding in Him.)

Today, pray and seek the Lord about why you feel distant from Him. Ask others to pray for you. I will pray for you as well.

I will pray that you have a wonderfully intimate time spent with the Lord today, free from all barrier and restrictions and overflowing with the Love of God! And as Hosea wooed Gomer the prostitute, I pray you experience God’s love for you in the midst of yourself dishonoring His name, and that you find His grace is sufficient for you now and always.

I hope you truly have a beautiful day! Enjoy the song below as well. ❤

“He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.” – Job 36:16

“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” – Hosea 14:4

P.S. Originally, I had two title ideas for two separate posts related to intimacy with God: “Let God Break Down Your Defenses,” and “Be Totally and Completely Honest With Him.” I decided to condense those ideas into one uniform idea in this post. And in my next and final post, I will be talking about abiding in the Lord, while including the very important part of wanting Him more than anything (which was previously going to be in a separate post).

Intimacy with God, Part 1: What is Intimacy?

 

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This is one of 5 parts in a series of articles titled “Intimacy with God.” My personal intimacy with God has meant everything to me, so I cannot emphasize enough the power and beauty of drawing near to God in a daily, intimate relationship with Him. I hope you enjoy reading these, and enjoy drawing nearer to our gracious God, because in return He promises to draw near to you (James 4:8).

How do you feel when you hear the phrase “intimacy with God”?

Recently, a small group leader in a biblical healing class asked us this question. Understandably, it was met by some hesitation.

Two years ago, I would have felt the same uneasiness. I felt like there was a certain place a person could reach in their relationship with God, and that I had not arrived there yet. There was a place so deep, so pure, so close, so exciting, so wonderful, and so beautiful to be—and it was with God. I just knew it. So, how was I supposed to get there? Such deep intimacy with God seemed impossible! And too good to be true.

But soon, I learned with great surprise and joy that intimacy with God was true, and not only that, but it was better than I could have ever imagined.

What is intimacy anyway? I’m not asking what the culture’s definition of it is (a one nightstand, perhaps), but what the best kind of intimacy is: being close to God. This kind of intimacy is what our hearts are all longing for, whether we know it or not.

Nevertheless, instead of coming to God, we so often search in empty and barren places, in hopes that mere men or women, fame or money will fill our deepest desires.
In the Bible, the Hebrew word “yada” is used to mean “to know intimately, to understand, to experience.” (If you want to read more about intimacy with God aside from my blog post, check this informative article out.)

This “yada” is a great word to look at in our study of intimacy, because it encapsulates what we are searching for to fill our longings: someone to know us. To really know us. And to still, somehow, love us deeply, passionately, and tenderly, in spite of the dirty things we have ever done or thought.

Interestingly, the word “yada” is used both in Genesis 4:1, “Adam knew Eve,” and the many times David says “know” in Psalm 139, as in verse 1, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” How is it that the same word “yada” is used for two seemingly different topics (Adam and Eve’s sex vs. David’s relationship with God)? Well, in English we have it tricky, because we have only one word for “know.”

In Spanish, for example, there are two different words for “know”: “saber” which means to know about something, like information, and “conocer” which means to really know a person, rather than just know about them. The word “conocer” often refers to knowing or being familiar with a person, rather than a surface level ability to know that, say, the capital of China is Beijing.

In a similar fashion as “conocer”, the Hebrew word “yada” isn’t your typical word for “know.” God doesn’t merely know information about us. He doesn’t simply know that we are smart or clumsy or talented or naïve. While He does know certain things about us at face value, His knowing goes far beyond the facts. He knows our hearts. Our faults. Our shortcomings. Our desires. Our longings. Our hopes. Our fears. Our dreams.

God knows every single part of us. He knows us intimately. From the beginning, He has known all about us. And not only that, but He loves us in spite of our deep failure. Because God knows us and loves so well, He made intimate knowledge of Himself and intimate communication with Him available to us through His Son’s sacrifice on the cross. Jesus paid His very own life to pull us out of the muddy pit where we have rebelled against God—all so we could come to intimately know God in a personal relationship with Him!

And this is all because God desires deeply for us to come back into relationship with Him. He desires this because knows all about us and loves us anyway. He knows us completely and thoroughly for all that we really are and all that we really do. In Psalm 139, David was well aware of God’s intimate knowledge of himself:

“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.”

Wow! God knows us so well. These are only the first six verses of this Psalm. I encourage you to go and read the entire Psalm when you are finished with this post. It is one of my favorite Psalms, because of how close to God it makes me feel. It is so full of God’s intimate knowledge of David, which transfers to that same intimate knowledge He has of us. For example, in verses 17-18, it talks about how God numbers each one of our thoughts and regards them as precious! God is so wild about us that He would be so careful and thoughtful to do a thing like that. He so adores us and is pleased with us! (Can we just appreciate God for a moment? He is pretty sweet. Hallelujah!)

Getting to know a person is a huge part of loving that person. When you meet up with a  new friend or significant other you are dating, you naturally have a desire to get to know them more. The reality that God knows EVERYTHING about us and still hasn’t struck us with lightening bolts is pretty significant.

He is mighty, He is holy, He is just, but He is also faithful, merciful, and full of steadfast love. He desires good for us. And it is plain for Him to see that, in all honesty, getting to know Him intimately is what will do us the most good in our lives. This isn’t pride or arrogance, this is pure, honest, love. It would be selfish for Him to withhold knowledge of Himself from us, just like it would be selfish for a friend to ignore us and not keep us updated on how they are doing—how they are really doing. He allows us to get to know Him by filling us with the Holy Spirit, once we put our trust in His perfect Son, Jesus, for our salvation. He reveals to us the deep things about Himself through His Spirit inside of us!

“However, as it is written:
‘What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived’ —
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

So, the Holy Spirit helps us get to know God in a deep, intimate way!

And through His Spirit, we have the ability to understand God’s primary source of knowledge about Himself: His Word! Always, always, always, go to His Word, the Bible as your safe place to get to know God with full certainty that everything in it is true. Unlike every other book in the world, the Bible has not one trace of a lie in it. God has provided His Word so we can stand our ground on what He says is true! (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Bible is powerful and God-breathed, but as we read it we must keep in mind that it is only a way of getting to know God! Getting to know God in a personal way goes much deeper than simply reading off a few verses and then rushing off to work or school. We need to not merely listen to the truth, but do what it says (James 1:22). And not only that, but we need to get to know the Truth as it really is, a person (Jesus), and get to know Him intimately and personally! Only then can we do what His Word says out of love for Him, and not out of false religion.

The truth is, you don’t get your life from the Bible, you get your life from Jesus! Here Jesus says in John 5:39-40: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

Come to Jesus to have life! Get to know Him in a personal way, through reading and soaking in His Word, and through constant, faith-filled prayer.

For me, having intimacy with God has changed everything about my life for the better. I have always felt a deep need inside me to be loved. To be valued. Cherished. Adored. Delighted in. Important and special to someone. I have often felt that, and always thought, unconsciously, that some man out there would be able to fulfill that longing in my heart, someday.

Lately I have been pondering it more. No matter what “perfect” fantasy I have of the man I marry (when I am not taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ as it says to in 2 Cor. 10:5), the Only one who can truly make that fantasy become a reality is God Himself. He doesn’t romance our hormones; He romances our heart and soul, our entire beings!

Get beyond the ideas of sex and romance culture imposes on us and listen to the heart of God, to the dream that He allows for us to come true: being intimately known and loved by Him, and given the offer to intimately know and love Him in return.

This is SO much better than earthly romance! Really. I have experienced it myself, and it is soooo true! Being laid bare before God can at first seem intimidating, frightening, and far too vulnerable, but you will soon find that your vulnerability leads to deeper trust in Him, because as it turns out, God doesn’t hurt us when we are painfully honest with Him. Instead, He leads us patiently out of our sin and into paths of life, joy, and peace, one step at a time.

I feel the Spirit weighing these words on my heart, so once again, I will say, with greatest sincerity and tenderness, Beloved: God doesn’t hurt you. He doesn’t hurt you in your honest, raw, naked moment. He knows all about you, but He doesn’t hurt you. Unlike every other human relationship, we can get close to God without Him hurting us with words or deeds at any moment. And not only is it in His entire nature to never hurt you, His child, but He graciously covers you with the blood of Jesus and fully accepts you into His family. Trust in the good Father, who wants nothing but to lavish good things on you! (Matthew 7:11)

I have come to a point where I often (not always) feel intimate with God. I am sensitive to His Spirit, and I pray to Him often. I have moments of deep peace and joy, where God lifts my burdens and gives rest to my weary soul. I have moments where God speaks to me about a specific area of my life that I need to bring to His loving gaze for mending and repair. I have moments where God reveals His truth to me in a powerful way that greatly encourages my heart.

I know God, and I love Him, and somehow He accepts me, in spite of my imperfections. Somehow He speaks to me and encourages me and helps me. Somehow He delights in me, and there are moments where I am deeply aware of His delight, and filled with His love. I am far from perfect, but God cleanses me daily through Jesus’ blood, allowing me to have unbridled, deep intimacy with Him.

It is a wonder to me that I have come this far in intimacy with Him, and yet it is not overly surprising, considering that I have often asked God for more of Himself. He is always willing and gracious to answer prayers like that, so I encourage you: press into God, and ask for more of Him in your life! You won’t be sorry you did, and I mean that with all my heart! He wants your whole heart and your full attention, Beloved. And He is so, soooo worth it!

Because I have experienced the beauty and power of being intimate with God, I want others to experience intimacy with Him, too. No longer am I bound by chains of perfectionism. It’s not about me anymore. It’s all about Him! I want others to have this, too.

Intimacy with God changes everything. Because I am in relationship with Him, I want nothing more than to know Him, to love Him, and to do what He says. And because I am in relationship with Him, I can do what He says. I have the ability! After all, I am not relying on my own ability anymore, but on His enabling Spirit that works within me day by day, by His grace alone! Praise God!!! Thank you, Jesus!!! Amen.

OK, maybe you get the idea by this time: developing an intimate relationship with God is super important. And not only it is important, it is life-changing. The God of the universe “yadas” (intimately knows) you, and now it’s time for you to “yada” Him.

So, now you might be wondering, how do I do that? How do I begin to have intimacy with God?

Well, come back next week to find out! Because this is such an important topic, I have split this topic into 5 sections: “What is Intimacy?,” “Let God Break Down Your Defenses”, “Be Totally and Completely Honest with Him”, “Want Him More than Anything”, “How to Abide, Remain, and Rest in Him At All Times.” I might change things up once I start writing, but this is what it’s looking like at least for now.

Today, begin to trust Him. Begin to get to know Him. Begin to love Him like never before. Today is the day to draw near to God, to go deeper than you ever have before! He is waiting for you. He is waiting for you with hopeful anticipation. He is waiting for you to begin your adventure and romance with Him and to continue with Him for a lifetime, and even afterwards, into all eternity.

I hope you enjoy this song, and have a Spirit-filled, intimate day with the Lord!

Confidence in The Father’s Love: Part 2

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In my last post, I related my personal revelation of the Father’s perfect love for His imperfect children. In this post I will go into further detail about being in Christ as well as the ways God-confidence affects our lives practically.

Our deepest need is to be loved and valued. This need for acceptance will either manifest itself as insecurity if we do nothing about it, or manifest itself as security, if we let God fulfill that need. 

Although God perfectly loves all people, His perfect love cannot fulfill our need for acceptance unless we allow it to reach deep down inside of us and transform us from the inside out. We are not made perfect in His love if we choose to sin and to refuse His great act of love of Jesus dying for us. His love is finally made perfect in us when we turn from sin, put down our guard and accept Christ in our life.

Jesus was, is, and will always be, but right here and right now is when you need to let Him into your life. You need Him. And wow, I need Him, too–as desperately as ever! Inviting Him into every corner of my life is a continual process for me.

When we believe that He loves and values us just as perfectly as He loves and values Jesus, we have nothing to fear! With this total confidence in the Father’s love for you, you have a solid rock of courage from where you can bring glory to Him—to love others well and proclaim His truth both gently and boldly. With Him, anything is possible. You are a new person in Christ capable of doing wonders for His kingdom if you rely on His strength and power rather than your own.

So, what does it mean to be a new person in Christ? How is that possible when we are so sinful and prone to wander?

Well, when you put your trust in Christ, you are made righteous in God’s sight. You are given a new identity. Your sin filthily covers Christ, and His righteousness graciously covers you.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

We must identify ourselves with Jesus now; as little Christs. When we do wrong, that is not a part of our true identity, and this must be thrown off from our lives so that nothing can hinder us in our victorious walk with Christ.

God is slow to anger, and patient to forgive you. Never be afraid to come to Him brokenly and honestly to let Him heal and restore you! It is NEVER too late to confess your sins and let Him forgive you. It is NEVER too late for you to be made new. He gives everything to anyone BECAUSE HE IS GOD, and not because of yourself. He loves you so much!

In your time of need, remember that this is a particularly crucial time to have confidence in your Father’s love. Jesus has paved the way for you to approach your Heavenly Father, so have the confidence to come to Him for help!

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Because of this new identity and this full acceptance you have in God’s throne room through Jesus, you have all the confidence you need to obey His commands no matter where they might take you out of your “comfort zone.” His ways for you will bring healing to your soul, while your former ways have only led to self-destruction. Jesus Himself says that following His commands is for the sake of your joy to be made complete!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:9-11

Praise God for the confidence we can have in Him to follow His ways! He filled me with confidence that night when I received and trusted in the perfect love of my Heavenly Father. Remaining in Him is the greatest joy!

If you struggle with low self-esteem, remember who you are—a beloved son or daughter of a good and merciful Father! 

The next morning after God revealed His perfect love to me, I woke up, and my first reaction as always was to panic: Yet another day. Yet another day to have wavering beliefs and a mundane life lack of courage.

But wait a minute! Why does my reaction to living a new day have to  be negative when I have a God of infinite love and power on my side? When I remembered the love God showed me the night before, my heart was filled with so much joy once again. The truth set me free!

And so each day after that I am making the aim to press onward, each morning renewed by the Lord’s mercy. Life has full meaning and purpose with Jesus on your side. The gospel is for us each day, not just that day long ago when we came to first believe in Him. Jesus Christ sustains us now and forever!

When you feel like you will never measure up, be confident that God is still ready and able to work powerfully in your life. He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!

“[Be] confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

And, finally, Beloved, when you are tempted to throw away your confidence in Jesus Christ, stand firm and do not waver. He is coming soon. There is unspeakably marvelous things awaiting those who stand firm till the end. Trust in the Lord — by the grace of God, you will remain confident in Him till the end of the ages. You are not the one who is going to shrink back and be destroyed!

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” – Hebrews 10:35

Remember who God is and who you are, Beloved. Let Him take all your burdens on yourself. Have a beautiful day! (Also, this song is amazing!)

P.S. I didn’t have time to go more into this, but I highly recommend you check out this short blog post from Joseph Prince Ministries about John 17:22 (I mentioned this verse in my last post). Basically Jesus has given us the same glory the Father gave Him, which means the glory of God shines through us and makes in impact on others. We have weightiness as children of God, and the essence of our beings is influencing people for the Kingdom of God, even when we don’t realize it. All the more reason to be confident in the Lord! Here’s the post: https://www.josephprince.org/blog/daily-grace-inspirations/gods-glory-has-been-restored-to-you

Living in Fear vs. Abiding in Love

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It can be easy to make check lists when we try to follow Christ. All too easily our journey with Him can turn into trying to be the best people we can be without Him. Keeping track of our actions and being critical of every one of them. Never being sure if you’re “okay” or a total failure.

It can be easy to live in fear.

Oh, beloved of God, do not live in fear! Those mess-ups will be graciously redeemed when we run to the love of God, and those uncertainties can be cleared up when we run to His wisdom. Do not let the spirit of fear take over you instead of God’s Spirit which is of power, love, and self-control.

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Notice that fear and self-control are contrasted as opposites. Keeping ourselves from sin should not be a death-giving exercise (fear), but a life-giving one (self-control). The kind of discipline that God gives does not lead to fear but to freedom. Anything else is from the devil, who invents the most right-sounding lies to keep us in bondage. The devil might even convince you, like he did to me, that “denying yourself” means “not being yourself,” while in fact it really means denying your flesh which leads to you being yourself free in Christ, abiding in His love, and walking by His Spirit.

It all comes down to our need for Christ to set us free. Christ desired for us to live in freedom—that’s why He died for us!

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Put on the armor of God, and do not let the devil convince you that God is keeping a record of your wrongs. When you trust in Jesus, you are covered by His Love. And Love does not keep a record of wrongs! (1 Cor. 13:5)

In John 15:9, Jesus instructs us to abide in His love: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (ESV)

What does it mean to abide in the love of Christ? What does that look like?

It means to live in freedom, without fear, perfected by His love, and not trying to perfect ourselves by our own strivings. It looks like soaking in His presence after a long day’s work or before the beginning of one, drinking deeply of the Spring of Living Water, and feasting upon the Bread of Life. It looks like walking into the world resting in the acceptance of your Father, and gladly pouring that love into other people, so affected by Your Savior that others can’t help but be affected by the love expressed through you.

“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” – Galatians 5:4-6

Through the Spirit we wait for God to grow plants of righteousness and goodness in our lives. It is only God who makes anything grow! (1 Cor. 3:7) We wait eagerly through the Spirit which hungers for righteousness, trusting that we will be filled. (Matthew 5:6) When we trust in Jesus to be our righteousness rather than strive to be righteous on our own, our faith WILL express itself through love. If we truly have faith in Christ, we will long to express that faith to others. Our desire for expression is satisfied when we love people the way we have experienced the abundant love of God.

The Lord’s love is a place to take refuge in, not to shy away from in fear you don’t deserve it. Yes, Beloved, you don’t deserve an ounce of it—but that’s what’s so precious about it! That’s the kind of God we serve. He is more than capable of being our Refuge and our place of safety. He is more than willing to hold us and speak tenderly to us in our moments of weakness. He loves you.

Do not be afraid! That’s a command given many times in the Bible, not a suggestion. Bring your fears and anxieties to Him and He will accept you as His child in His open arms. I believe the phrase “Do not be afraid!” can imply the same thing as “Do not walk away from your Father’s embrace.” Only with Him can you be free of fear!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

Life isn’t about trying to be the best you can be, as good as that may sound. The best a person could ever do on their own would even then only be a façade, while deep inside brokenness and hurt abound in their souls.

Life isn’t about striving. It’s about being healed by Christ in the inmost parts of your being. It’s about Him setting you free from the bondages of fear, shame, and guilt. It’s about abiding in His love, and letting that love perfect you into His image.

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” – Psalm 36:7

The More I Fear You

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7 

“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” – Psalm 103:17-18

The more I fear You, the more I find You

The more I fear You, the more I want what You want

The more I fear You, the more Your Word fills my heart

The more I fear You, the more sensitive I am to Your Spirit

The more I fear You, the more I find joy in You.

 

The more I fear You, the  more anxiety disappears

The more I fear You, the more the things of earth don’t matter

The more I fear You, the more my heart expands with love for others

The more I fear You, the less control I try to have

The more I fear You, the more I hear You.

 

The more I fear You, the more accepted I feel

The more I fear You, the more dependent I am on You

The more I fear You, the more I have the courage to step out in faith

The more I fear You, the more I can experience freedom

The more I fear You, the quieter my heart is in Your presence.

 

The more I fear You, the more I don’t have to fear anything else

The more I fear You, the more beautiful You are to me

The more I fear You, the more Your grace becomes miraculous to me

The more I fear You, the more I want to spend time with You

The more I fear You, the more You’re ALL that matters to me.

 

The more I fear You, the more sin becomes repulsive to me

The more I fear You, the more grateful I am

The more I fear You, the more satisfied in You I am.

The more I fear You, the more I hunger for You

The more I fear You, the more Your life fills me.

 

The more I fear You, the more I rest in You

The more I fear You, the more confident I am in You

The more I fear You, the more I want You

The more I fear You, the more I need You

The more I fear You, the more I love You.

 

Finding Freedom From the Fear of Man

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“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25

I want to be free.

I think each of us, deep down inside, longs for that. Whatever that means.

I am in a period of growth in my life, where God is stripping down so much of what I thought I needed and showing me that all I really need is Him. In reality, as much as I don’t like to admit it, I’ll be doing that for the rest of my life. I’ll never be strong and independent, I’ll always be desperately needy and dependent on Jesus.

God isn’t sanctifying us so we will be strong enough to not need Him, He is sanctifying us all the time, because we always need Him!

It’s hard to be free when we turn from God’s rich supply of grace and base our lives on people’s opinion on us. Many of us know the bondage of fearing men, instead of God. Being dependent on what people think of us, rather than what God thinks of us. Relying on people to determine our worth and value.

Why do we have this constant drive to be accepted by others? Why can’t we simply attach ourselves to our Creator and detach ourselves from others’ opinions of us?

I think because it is the quick and easy way to feel “safe.” They are right in front of our eyes, approving us, so what’s the big deal? Why find our security in anything else?

It’s a snare. It doesn’t set you free. If you enslave yourself to the opinions of others, as soon as someone disapproves of something you say or do, your self-esteem plummets to the earth like a crashing rocket. So much for finally being accepted. Now you feel humiliated, never able to “be yourself” again.

Whoa, hold on! Why do we care so much about what people think of us? It’s ridiculous. Even the people who have opinions of you don’t think so seriously about what they think of you. And the next day, maybe they’ll change their mind and see something about you so amazing that they tell everyone they know how great you are.

There are good and bad parts about yourself, but if you trust in Jesus, your core identity is not in what you do, but in Him. And He is perfect and deserving of the highest praise! Isn’t that incredible? God lavishes His love on you, even though you don’t deserve it! You are His child. That is something to fully embrace and never let go of. Dive into this blessed assurance, each and every day!

So, yes, people are gonna fail you. Your hunger for approval will never be satisfied in people. Let me say it again: Your hunger for approval will never be satisfied in people!

On the other hand, your hunger for approval will ALWAYS be satisfied when you come to Jesus. All because He made the way for God to totally and completely accept you when He died on the cross. And He offers Himself to us today for our hungry souls to feast on.

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” – John 6:35

This is a promise from God that you will NEVER go hungry or thirsty when you come into the presence Jesus! And when God says NEVER, He means NEVER. He delights to fill you up. I know I have trouble remembering this and often turn to lesser things, but whenever I turn to Him and spend time with Him, He is faithful to overflow me with peace and joy.

In your time with Him, trust that He meets you where you’re at in your brokenness, and He loves you even there. Don’t be afraid of Him! He doesn’t despise a humble heart, and He shows kindness to people who only have a miniscule mustard seed of faith.

Let His Spirit guide you into prayer about anything that He brings to your mind. Pour your heart out to Him. Be honest. He loves you. I seriously challenge you to spend deep, meaningful time in His presence after reading this post (out in nature is my favorite!). Or right now, if you want (the sooner the better—He is always waiting for you!!)

As mind-blowing as it is, your identity is not in people’s opinions of you, but in Jesus Christ’s righteousness. WHO HE IS IS WHO YOU ARE, whether your actions reflect that or not. And believe me, your actions WILL reflect this when you put your full faith in Jesus. There’s no getting away from life-transforming grace when you get really truly blown away by the love of God and connect yourself to that one and only source of Life, Love, Joy, and Peace.

“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

Once again this is a promise. If you remain in Jesus and He in you, you WILL bear much fruit. This isn’t dependent on your own effort, but on abiding in your relationship with God and letting Him transform you.

This past week God laid it on my heart that He was protecting me. He, in the midst of all the unknowns in life, is your Provider and Protector. He keeps you in safety. Trust in that beautiful promise. Meditate on it. Here is the verse from the beginning of this post again for you to dwell on:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25

That isn’t just a thing we Christians say–it’s a reality! The Lord is right there with you, keeping you safe. There is no need to try to protect your own dignity by winning the approval of others. No matter what people think about you, He always loves you, and His opinion is truly the only one that matters. He protects your dignity as His beloved child.

If you’re anything like me, you long for freedom from the fear of man. God longs for that for you too, for you to trust deep down inside that He is the good Shepherd taking care of you.

You don’t need to try to find your worth in people, or shy away from people because you think you could never be worthy enough for them to accept you. According to Him, you are worth dying for!

It is dangerous to find dignity in the ever-changing opinions of human beings. It is utterly safe to enter a social setting resting fully in God’s acceptance of you.

Today I pray God gives you the faith to believe He alone can satisfy, and the grace to experience the security and peace found in His presence. Because Jesus is the only way to be truly free.

Let Him love you

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Today God just wants to love you. He sees you where you’re at right now, and His heart breaks. He doesn’t scorn you for failing to love Him; He empathizes with you in your weakness. (Hebrews 4:15)

Slow down and be gracious with yourself. Don’t be afraid to do that! You might think you would forget to follow God if you just stopped everything and let Him love you. The truth is, you would be falling into the sin of perfectionism if you didn’t stop everything and let Him love you. The truth is, we can have no part with God if we don’t let Jesus bend down and wash our feet.

“’No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’” – John 13:8-9

Let us receive all that God offers us through Jesus Christ, just as Peter did! God created us to need a whole lot of grace and tender loving care, and I know I need it far more than I like to admit it. But it’s not something we need to be ashamed of!

Come to your honest spot, letting God expose your weakness. He will accept you with welcoming arms. He wants you to let Him love on you! He longs for you to receive Him, to let Him in and sit and eat with you.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20

When your broken honesty leads to tears, He is with you, comforting you. Don’t think that God is too far above you to show you pity! He is closer than you dare believe, more tender-hearted toward you than you could ever imagine.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

God does NOT despise a broken and contrite heart! He lavishes unmerited favor on you—that’s what grace is: UNMERITED FAVOR! He favors you, even though you don’t deserve it. His perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

Take a deep breath. The most humble thing to do is to let God love you. God weeps for us when we don’t see the Spring of Living water that He offers to us abundantly, and when we turn to broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jer. 2:13) Look what He offers you, Beloved of God!

Abundant, full life in Him–true love, peace, and joy! Jesus came so we could have new life springing within our hearts! (John 10:10)

If only we would listen to Him, what joy we would have! Hear the heart of God in this Psalm, longing for His people to simply listen to Him, so they may receive the goodness of His loving provision!

“If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” – Psalm 81:13-16

Give Him permission to love you today. Let Him satisfy you with His love. He truly has compassion for you, and He understands your weakness. He knows that the only cure to our wandering hearts is His tenderness and mercy.

I thank God for revealing His love to me personally today! We will truly never know another love like His! Have a blessed week! ❤