Characteristics of God, Godly Living

Finding Captivating Love {Devotion}

While this post is over a year old, it is worth making sure its contents are shared with all of you – my lovely readers who are dearly loved by our heavenly Father. Allow it to soak into your spirit, help you draw nearer to Jesus Christ, our King, and ponder the truths of our great God and His Word!


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance (1 Peter 1:1-2).

In 1 Peter 1:2, we learn a few interesting things.

  • God has a purpose regarding us.
  • We are chosen.
  • We have been made holy.
  • We have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb (that is, Jesus Christ).
  • Grace and peace are ours in full measure.

The question I want us to answer today is….

How are you at living out these basic precepts that make up the Christian faith? It can take some of us many years to finally grasp the fact that we are –

  • on God’s mind (that He has a purpose for us!)
  • chosen by God alone (and it has nothing to do with our works)
  • cleansed (really cleansed) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus, the Messiah!)
  • God’s grace and peace are completely poured onto every aspect of our lives, if we will allow God to do it!

What would our lives look like if we really grasped these truths? What would my life look like, if I really knew that I was loved by my Savior? Not a conditional kind of love that is based on what I do or don’t do, what expectations I completely miss by a long-shot, and any other human measure I can concoct in my mind.

Jesus loves, really loves, me and you. To such an extent that He came to earth.

Think about what kind of longing that would take.

“I am going to earth, to redeem them.”

“I will be forsaken, unloved, hated in fact, punished for what THEY did (for our sin, and He did it with such amazing love), and I am going to BRING them back. I am going to FIX our broken relationship, because I dearly love them and created them.”

This is true, friends.
Our reality.

God’s love is passionate. He is absolutely for us! And, this is the kind of love that God has for each one of us.

There is this song I reheard at a conference, but it took on a whole new meaning while there. “Live Like You’re Loved (Hawk Nelson)”. What would it take for me to live like God loves me? Not on some mini-level. We are talking about a football stadium, out of this world, full blown confidence, kind of love that God has for each of us.

The love of God is beyond anything we could ever comprehend.

We could take all of the oceans of the world, line them up next to each other, and it still wouldn’t even come close to the greatness of God’s love for us. All He wants is to be with us. To spend time with us. It’s a relationship!

Ambitions, Impact

Impact #2

My last impact entry was about 2 months ago. A lot has happened in that time. Health scare, which was relieved by a less serious health problem. Good news! (Bad news is: POTS is the reason for worsening symptoms. All before Spring.)

Feeling – Lately, I have felt a myraid of things. Home Sick. Loneliness. Frustration. (Dis)Contentment. Peace. Joy. Laughter. Mmmm, variety of emotions. Good, Bad, and in between. POTS has been rough, but I am still here. So, that is good news. I am not hooked up to a hospital bed with monitors. I am finding joy in unlikely places of chronic illness.

While all days aren’t joy-infused, I have the hope of my Savior Jesus Christ to remind me who I am. . . in spite of illness. Looking forward to Heaven, but trying to make the most of my time on earth to do something worthwhile.

Studying – Since my last impact, I have nearly finished studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Last week, I began the book of James. I am really enjoying it. One of today’s verse hit home for me, and is found at the end of this blog post. I have been reading and studying using The Living Bible found on Bible Gateway, which is a paraphrase like the Message. I am absolutely loving it! It is soo nice to have the privilege to open up the Bible in a new translation, using different wording, but having the same meaning. The Word of God is coming alive!

Reading – I am not quite sure that I am reading anything right now, since I have gotten out of the habit of reading actual books. Desiring God and reading the Bible in chronological order (that things happened) is what I am reading. Our church is reading the Bible together in a specific schedule. We have gone through Job, Genesis, Exodus, and are in Leviticus. Even with the audio Bible, my reading track record isn’t perfection but who says it has to be?

Listening To –

Celebrating – Many things.

  • Jesus is the top celebration. He loves me, and stays with me no matter what!
  • Doctors who care about their patients.
  • Good music that speaks God’s truths
  • Seeing how God can revive my broken spirit.

Loving – the gift of streaming biblical teachings, for anyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the biblical truths we need to know.

Praying – for my health, family, and a new blog series idea.

Holding Onto – Jesus! I am holding onto Jesus. Jesus is the One who is holding me, through all of life’s storms.

But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in you. Yes, I will trust the promises of God… (Ps. 56:3-4)

Other Scriptures – James 1:9 (found below)

A Christian who doesn’t amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord’s sight (James 1:9).

Thessalonians

Week 2: Wrap Up

What was special about this week’s message? I invite you to comment below, and share with me (and other readers) about how God spoke to you in this week’s Bible study on 1 Thessalonians

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-20

… We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did (vv. 7-8, MSG).

Jesus’ Deep Love

Jesus Christ loves all of humanity. He saw and felt the agony of our lost relationship due to our disobedience. Sin separates us from God, and Jesus went to incredible lengths to bring us back into a right standing relationship with the Father, where we can stand in His presence, enjoy sweet intimacy with God, and have our prayers heard! Jesus Christ took our sins, died on our cross, and rose again. Because of Jesus Christ, we can be restored and have our God-shaped hole in our spirits – filled! Will we accept Jesus Christ and let Him love us?

If we are following Jesus Christ, it is because someone had the courage to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with us. Praise God!! We know the mighty power and love of our Risen Lord, but need to share the Good News with others – so they can come to know the love of our Savior and how He can radically change their lives for the better.

This kind of boldness comes only from being with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

What Scripture Says:

We can show others His love, by the way we treat them. Scripture teaches us a few things, in regards to treating others as a means to share Jesus with others.

  • Love others the way you love others (Matthew 22:39).
  • Do good to all people, especially those in God’s family (Galatians 6:10).
  • Be wise in the way you interact with non-believers (Colossians 4:5-6).

Learning How to Treat Others

Relating to others has never come easily for me. Even if it is out-of-my-element, God is calling His sons and daughters to go into the world and share the Gospel and ourselves with others.

Before we can do so, we have to learn how to treat others. We need to learn how to love well, starting with how we love (and treat) ourselves.

This is where leaning into Jesus really counts, because He is the One showing me to love. While He shows us how to love, it has to begin by realizing the love He has personally for each of us. This is the most important relationship we have, with Jesus Christ. So, I need to nurture this special relationship. Christ ought to be my motivation in how I treat others, for these acts of kindness can last for eternity.

Jesus, You are our Hope! You are why we can have the strength to change the way we treat others. Thank You, Lord!

Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

The Change Within {{Week 3}}

Welcome, friends!

I invite you to get out your study journal and Bible, if you have it nearby. If you haven’t had the privilege of ordering your study journal yet, you can do so here (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link).

The Scriptures – Matthew 5:8 and Psalm 24:3-4, 6

God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 – NLT).

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
    And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not lift up his soul to what is false
    and does not swear deceitfully.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek the face of the God of Jacob (Psalm 24:3-4, 6 – ESV).

Devotion

There is no doubt or hesitation. Those who position themselves to be purified in their deeds and heart by the blood of Jesus Christ, are the ones who will see and experience God.

Often times, we just worry about behavior motivation. In today’s world, that seems like what we pursue often times. I actually took a class on it, when I was younger. It becomes about finding “reinforcements” that cause us to change the way we do things. When we do this, we completely miss solving our heart problem.

Genuine purity points us to worship, which means we will see and experience God. (Click-to-Tweet)

Jesus cuts to the chase right here – True purity points us to worship, which means we will see and experience God. We can’t settle for the counterfeit things. He knows the difference. If we don’t put our hearts in our relationship with Jesus, He will notice. Not only does He notice, it actually holds us back. It locks us to a chain, preventing us from going further. Purity must begin in our hearts, for that’s God looks at.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7 – ESV).”

While we may think “if I just do the right things,” we get messed up in our focus. While man looks at doing the right things, God looks at having the right kind of heart. Let’s just seek Him, giving Him our hearts today – friends!

God looks at having the right kind of heart, that leads us to Him! (Click-to-Tweet)

Scripture shares something with us – In order to see and experience God, we need to worry about our heart. What do we have going on in our spirit? To meet with God, we need to be far more concerned about he internal – for it matters more than the outward appearance and good deeds.

Lord, I want to see You. Help me to concern myself with my inward appearance. There is no fooling You. I need to allow the transformation to start with my thought life. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Blogging for Books, Reviews, Uncategorized

Taste and See (A Blogging-for-Books Review)

taste and seeJohn Piper, a theologian, is a man of God who has written over fifty books. His book, Taste and See, has a reprinted edition – which is the book I am bringing before you all today. In Taste and See, Piper promises to deliver quality devotionals to his readers. Piper faithfully delivers, and leaves us with soul-stirring thoughts on the Word of God – calling us to go deeper in our Christian Life.

The Impact of Piper’s Work

I love Piper’s work. Some of the most convicting things I read, happen to be found on Desiring God (which is founded and taught by Piper). This book is no exception. The Holy Spirit will stir your heart, as you read, contemplate your love relationship with Jesus Christ, and look to savoring your Savior.

About Taste and See

Taste and See is the home of 125 daily meditations. Through them, he teaches us to savor all that our beloved Savior is. As I begin to taste and see, I see that Piper is right.

“The best writers intensify our taste for the Bible, and especially for God himself (p. 11).”

Piper explores what we can find in Taste and See.

“We taste the sweetness of God as He meets us in the Word. What I have written here is partly meditations on biblical reality and partly applications to contemporary life. I hope that what pervades all of the readings is a savoring of the supremacy of God.” 

The Questions We Ask

Piper asks the hard questions, that often we have ourselves. This book is a spiritual tool, designed to help us hunger after God’s Word. Even with our questions, we can use them to savor our Lord. Piper explores many of these questions. Questions like –

  • Do people go to the Grand Canyon to enhance their self esteem?
  • Does God have civil rights?
  • Can joy increase forever?
  • Can you be worthy of God?
  • What is the Christian Gospel?

Recommend This Book!

This is one of those books to keep on your nightstand, as you scroll through its wealth of godly wisdom. Piper can be a source of encouragement to many, as they learn to live by faith and enjoy God. God can certainly use this book, as a spiritual tool to lead us closer to our beloved Savior

Have you heard of the American theologian, John Piper? How has Piper and DesiringGod, spurred you on in your Christian faith?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the “Blogging for Books” book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life
(Please note: My blog is given a small earning, when you use this link to make any purchase. This is a wonderful way to continue supporting this blog.)