My Messy Life: God Loves me Anyway!

You know you messed up yesterday at work when you lashed out at your co-worker…..and remember that time you expressed a little road rage?……..recall that grudge you’re still holding against Jane?…..Oh and don’t forget the bad decision you made when you clearly knew God was against it…. And there’s the impure thought…..the unfair treatment to your spouse…the list could go on, and I’m sure you get the point.

We all mess up right? Right. Does it ever make you feel like you don’t deserve to be loved by God…..ever make you feel condemned during a church service…..feel unworthy and undeserving? I’ve felt that way before, but that is wrong thinking. The truth is, when we think that way WE are the ones placing conditions on God’s love. We are in essence telling HIM how to-OR-not to love us.

This kind of thinking can make you hold back during praise and worship service, keep you from getting involved in ministry, and sadly it can even keep people from attending church all together. All because we don’t feel like we deserve love when we have messed up so bad.

I have a surprise for you: God loves you anyway, whether you want Him to or not! As a society, we tend to place conditions on everything, including love. But God’s love for us is conditionLESS.

I’ve seen a lot of information out there that disagrees with me, so allow me a chance to explain. I’m not saying that you don’t have to repent of sin, and be saved to go to Heaven: you most certainly do. I’m also not saying that you can sin to your heart’s content and have God’s approval.

I’m simply saying there is NO condition to simply be loved by our Creator. Let’s look at the definition of unconditional love:  affection with no limits or conditions; complete love.

His Word tells us that He loved us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8))! In other words, He loves us BEFORE we have a chance to get our messy lives ‘right.’ He loves us BEFORE we love Him (I John 4:19). Our sin….our mess ups from last week…..our stinky attitudes could never limit God from showering His perfect love on us. You want to know what that looks like: it looks like the cross, and it looks like an empty grave. He loves you to death!!

Let’s get something straight here. God doesn’t love us because we are lovable or good. God loves us simply because He Himself IS Love.

So go to church!
Sing loud during praise & worship!
Say Amen to the preacher!

Don’t let shame and condemnation cause you to disengage from God, from church, from people, from His plans for you! God loves you: messy life and all.

Are We Slobbering All Over Our Keys?

My husband and I were next in line at the grocery check-out. We were enjoying exchanging smiles and silly faces with an adorable little bundle sitting in a grocery cart. She looked to be about five or six months old. While her mom was paying for their food, this cutie-pie was slobbering on a set of real keys. Real keys. Her mother’s keys. She happily gummed the keys that grants and denies access to everything her mother owns.

Then it hit me like a ton a bricks: WE have our Father’s keys to the kingdom of Heaven!!! In Mathew 16:19 Jesus describes it like this, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  But are we slobbering all over Heavenly keys unaware of their significance?

To be given the keys to a city today, is mostly ceremonial. But back in medieval times, it meant something. Many cities were guarded by walls, and locking gates. To be given a key to the city literally granted the recipient access ‘in’ and ‘to’ all city resources. Occasionally, a non-resident would be honored by receiving such a key. Here’s what it means to be given the keys to the city: “the possession of the rights and privileges of a freeman of the city; conferred on one not a resident as a mark of honorary distinction(The Free Dictionary).

This is exactly what God has done for us. We once had no citizenship in Heaven, but the cross has granted us residency through Salvation (Philippians 3:20). We’re no longer slaves, but free (Galatians 4:4-7)! We are His chosen people (I Peter 2:9) that have been granted joint-seating with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:6).

BUT THERE’S MORE! And this is where we can find ourselves slobbering and gumming on Heavenly keys: God has made us Kings and Priests (Revelation 1:6). In other words, we’ve been given power, authority, and access but we many of us don’t act like it!!

Kings have recognized power and authority.
Priests have direct access to God.

When Jesus died on the cross HE transferred to US power and authority that Satan recognizes; and He granted us access directly to the Presence of God: once a privilege only bestowed upon priests. God wants us to come boldly before His throne to make our petitions and requests known: so use your access. I think its past time that WE recognize that God wants us to live an empowered and victorious life. Let’s use the keys He gave us!

 

 

Overflow

We were created for worship. Each week worship leaders have the wonderful opportunity to use our gifts and talents to lead others into God’s Presence.  But let’s face it, Satan wars against us to steal the worship that God deserves. Satan will use anything to accomplish his goal. Sometimes he’ll use your own ministry to do it. We can get caught up in the “doing” of the ministry, that we neglect the founder of our ministry: Jesus Christ. From the beginning of time, our primary purpose has always been to have a relationship and to fellowship with our Creator. This is what we were made for.

In order to do that, God says to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). What’s in you will overflow into other areas of your life…..If we are filled with negative things like bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment; THAT is what will spill out of us. We have to be on guard because these things sneak up on us….slowly creep in….leaving less and less room for the Presence of God.

God wants us so full of His Presence that His goodness just spills out of us into our instruments and into our singing. But if we are filled with anything else, that too will spill over into our instruments and our singing.

My heart is overflowing with good news. I will direct my song to the King.
My tongue is a pen for a skillful writer. (Psalm 45:1)

So, how can WE keep our heart overflowing with good news? How do we stay full? Personal time with God is the answer: prayer, reading His Word and having our own intimate time of worship. But we have to be on guard because the enemy will try to invade that time and fill it with……life. Not necessarily bad things, just anything that will keep us from spending time with God.

We can’t help others hear from Heaven until Heaven hears from US (I’m referring to our personal time of worship). Sundays…we can’t wait to fill up with God’s Presence when we arrive- we need to arrive filled with His Presence!

When I prayed about this devotion, God gave me this word: overflow.

OVERFLOW:

  • To flow over the brim
  • To flow beyond the limits; to run over
  • To be superabundant
  • To have surplus; extra

I want you to imagine with me a pitcher full of water. Now imagine one glass full of water, and one glass empty or half-empty. The pitcher is God’s Presence-ready to be poured out. The glasses are worship leaders. When God’s Presence is poured over the full glass of water, His Presence will overflow to the congregation of worshipers in a way it never could with an empty or half-empty vessel.

There is another definition for overflow that I want us to focus on:

  • To be an OUTLET for what OVERFLOWS thus ALLOWING the SURPLUS to be RELEASED

God wants to MINISTER from the overflow: where WE are an outlet for His Presence where He can release Himself over the people, and fill the room. As we usher in the Presence of God He wants to MANIFEST in this overflow.

Peter was so filled with the Spirit of God that people lined up their sick in the street in hopes that his shadow would fall on them and they would be healed. For Paul, he was so full of the Presence of God that the sick were healed when they touched the same garments that had touched Paul. Now that’s operating in the overflow!

I also think of Obededom: the Ark of the Covenant rested at his home for 3 months. During this time He experienced the overflow of God’s presence so much so, that everything he owned prospered. So when David moved the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, Obededom and his family followed the Presence. Experiencing the overflow will create followers of His Presence.

Let’s allow God to use US as an outlet for His overflowing Presence, allowing His fullness to be released.

I want to end with a few excerpts from: THE OVERFLOWING CUP by Charles Spurgeon….. a sermon on Psalm 23:5 “My cup runs over.”

“Does your cup run over? Then call in your friends to get the overflow. Let others participate in what you do not wish to monopolize or intercept. Christian people ought to be like the cascades I have seen in brooks and rivers, always running over and so causing other falls; which again by their joyful excess cause fresh cascades and so beauty is joyfully multiplied.

If God fills one of us, it is so that we may bless others; if he gives His ministering servants sweet fellowship with Him, it is so that their words may encourage other to seek the same fellowship; and if their hearers get a portion of food, it is so that they may carry a portion home.

If you get the water for your own mill and dam it up, you will find that it is overgrown with rank weeds, and becomes a foul thing. Pull up the sluices, man, and LET IT RUN! Let It Run! There is more coming…. there is more coming.

It may be that God sent YOU the running over on purpose so that those who were ready to perish might be refreshed” (Spurgeon).

References
Spurgeon, Charles. The Overflowing Cup. 2017. Web. 2 May 2017. <answersingenesis.org>

Worship Is More

Where are we in our Worship: literally and figuratively? This poem makes one think and consider. God is waiting to hear from us today! Enjoy this poem on Worship.

Godspeaks2us

Worship is more than music, lyrics or rhyme

It’s about the place I spend my time

Not whether I kneel, sit or stand

Or lift my hands

It’s where I am: at His feet

Be still and sit at the feet of Jesus

Knowing His love is what frees us

Shut out the noise of the daily grind

Forget what lies ahead & what lingers behind

It’s where I am: at His feet

You don’t have to say or do a thing

Because He knows the heart we bring

Worship is more than outward expression

It all comes down to my position

It’s where I am: at His feet

Hearing ‘The Word’ & not saying a word

Listening more than I am heard

Soaking in His presence

Shutting down the interference

It’s where I am: at His feet

Worship is more than music, lyrics and rhyme

Worship is where my…

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Greater Things Happen When You Let Go

“Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

To hold onto “something” is to try to maintain your sense of control….to doubt that God can handle it. So we keep deceiving ourselves that WE got this! We don’t want to admit that we fear letting go. We are afraid to lose control: but in truth, we never had control.

God is in control. The buck stops with Him. He is Sovereign. Supreme. The Creator is in control of His Creation. Who better to release my “something” to than my Creator?

I can assure you that God is far more capable to handle life’s problems than we are. We are limited. God is not!

Look at it this way.

I’m restricted to natural ability, but God is unleashed in supernatural power.

I am lacking, but God is abundant and bountiful.

My knowledge is obstructed and hindered, but God is All Knowing.

I am limited in every way, but God is limitless in all ways.

I may be weak, but God is strong.

I fail, but God never fails!

I am faulty, but God is Perfect in all His ways.

From this perspective, the answer seems clear. Release your “something” to the Almighty, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Sufficient God, and allow Him to release the fullness of His power over your situation.

There is peace and comfort when we let go and let God take over. Greater things happen when we let go. I want greater things, don’t you? Unleash His fullness over your life today, and know that HE IS GOD!

 

Love Is

I Corinthians 13

Love is valuable. Profitable. Obtainable and good.
Its meaning often misunderstood

Love is:

Gentle and calm, not agitated and loud
Humble when it could haughty and proud

Gracious, not thoughtless
Trustful, not jealous

Shows honor instead of scorn
Is modest, not tooting its own horn

Is generous instead of being greedy
Protects, instead of causing injury.

Endures when it could easily retreat
Doesn’t list wrongs on a balance sheet

Love is valuable. Profitable. Obtainable and true
Love never fails, even when I do

Love is:

God. And God is Love.

By Tracey Ray

Love Is Easier Said Than Done

I just want to slap some people across the face with my Bible, and pretend I was being Holy. Everyone is just not easy to love, yet we are called to love everyone. I’m not talking about just saying “I love you” as casually as a waiter says, “thank you and come again.” I’m talking about the kind of love that chooses the right reaction over, let’s say that Bible slapping thing.

Love is easier said than done. Even Jesus addresses the fact that we will encounter people that aren’t very lovable (Luke 6:32-36). Yet, He wants us to love them: it’s what will show the world WE are Christ followers (John 13:35).

This means I can’t go around slapping people in the face with Bible. Okay, so now what? Loving people can be hard. Loving your enemies can be even harder. But God has promised to equip us to do everything He has called us to do. And furthermore, HE provides the strength and ability. (Hebrews 13:21) (Philippians 2:13)

Love (and its variants) are mentioned a grand total of 554 times in the KJV, so it must be important, right? But why??? Contrary to Tina Turner, love is NOT a second hand emotion. Love was the only driving force behind Jesus providing Himself to be our sacrifice, so love isn’t a guideline for Him. IT’S WHO HE IS (1 John 4:8).  If God so loved the world (John 3:16), and He isn’t willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), this means it’s up to us to spread the love folks.

Feeling like LOVE isn’t your calling? Not your gift? No worries. Remember you and I have been equipped to do this!!! Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we will role our eyes sometimes, and we might even walk the other way. Yes, some people are better at it than others. And No, God doesn’t expect us to get it perfect, but He does expect us to try, try, try again.

This loving people command can be a sloppy mess sometimes, but we can do it with the help of God. You may stumble over your own two feet sometimes, just like I do. You may even want to slap someone in the face with the Bible (Please don’t try this at home)!! Prepare yourself for the fumbles, fouls, blocks, and blitzes; but the game is not lost. Get back out on the field, and love again.

And one more thing, FORGIVE YOURSELF when you fail. God does.
He loves YOU more than life itself!!