Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How do I know God loves me?

It's too easy to say:

For God so loved the world,
He gave His only begotten Son...

Because that's how I know He loves the world.
How do I know He loves me?

I used to sing: "Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so"
but dose it really and where?

Well, David said:
"God places the lonely in families'
he sets the prisoners free
and gives them joy."

Isaiah prophesied:
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

And in Romans Paul said:
But God shows his love for us in that while we
were still sinners, Christ died for us.

These are all really good words,
but there was a time when
I didn't know they were true,
I only hoped they were true,
I wished they were true,
I dreamed they were true,

until I asked God to come live in my heart,
and then I felt His love.
He taught me His love.
And He changed me
and gave me His love for others.

Jesus said: Behold, I stand at the door and knock...
(He desires us to open the door and let him in.)

If a person didn't believe in God,
what a great test!
Nothing would happen.
Or everything would happen.
You see God takes our hope,
He takes our wishing,
and longing,
and gives us so much more than we had imagined
or asked for!

We get more than our sins forgiven
(and that is big!)
We get more than our eternity to spend in Heaven
(and that is incalculable)
We get to live with God now!
We get to have Him as a part of our life now!
We get to enjoy His love now!

He comes in when we invite Him,
and He forgives and cleanses and teaches us
and He gives us His love,
and imparts His love for others into our heart.

Now our past leaves our mind riddled
with the voice of family, "friends" and teachers
who have crushed our self esteem,
and we may still hear those voices.

They may try and discredit the Voice of God
that whispers His love to us.
But as we read His Word (the Bible)
and hang out with other believers,
we learn to hear and distinguish God's Voice.

We get to experience a new identity
(one that is being transformed daily into the image of Christ).

And then we get to know
His great love for us
more each day,
until One day,
when we see Him face to face
and our faith becomes sight
and we get to spend all time,
together with the Lover of our soul.
God Himself.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What does it mean to be a "living sacrifice"?

Therefor, I urge you, brothers and sisters,
in view of God's mercy,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God-
this is your true and proper worship.

if you desire my life (lived out)
as a gift of gratitude (worship)

I want that.

I almost can't help it
(when I focus on Your Truth)
it's beauty changes me,
it's truth compels me,
to surrender.
It's beauty births
humble gratitude.

It's not in this place of surrender (to your love)
that I ever struggle to be a living sacrifice,
it's when I walk back into my daily grind,
my family,
job, and home.

It's when I am confronted
with those you desire me to love most,
to have the most influence on,
that I struggle to live out this life of gratitude,
because they are not as perfectly loving as you.

They are not perfect at all.
They are nice enough,
but their sin hurts me,
their selfishness takes from me,
their love uses me,
and I feel robbed of my strength,
I feel my strength is not enough,
I feel unable to meet their insatiable needs.

So I come back to you,
for filling up (on a good day)
on a bad day,
my pride stands up and says "No more!"
and I get angry,
and I feel used and feel selfish.

God, I want to stay reliant on you.
I don't have enough strength for everyone,
I do have what you want me to give them though,
if I stay connected to you.

You said no one can bear fruit alone,
he must stay connected to the vine.

It's like a hose expecting to give  water
with out being connected to the faucet.
To be a living sacrifice,
is to acknowledge we are just a hose.
(Not the source of water).

To stay connected to the (never ending supply)
and not so much admire the thirst quenching water,
or the covering that delivers the life giving gift,
but to adore the giver and stay in a worshiping attitude,
while He pours through us.

To seek to give rather than receive,
and to love rather than to be loved.
To seek to feed others,
rather than being feed
and to spend ourselves on behalf of others
(just as Jesus does)
this is a living sacrifice.

God allow me to keep my focus,
and to so enjoy fellowship with you,
that I never let go through out my day
and live a life surrendered to your will,
purposes and power.
I live for this.
I die for this.
God be glorified.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Why confess?

I remember when my children were small
telling them if they told the truth
they would be in less trouble.
I knew what they had done.
The evidence was all over their face and hands
shirt and pants and had a path back to the
point of disobedience.

It's like that with God.
He knows what we've done
so why confess?

Because the trail of mess is not
confined to the floor, our clothes and face.
The trail of sin
has sullied our heart and mind as well.

It clouds our thinking,
darkens our countenance
and taints our vision.
Worse, it puts dissension
between us and God.

But why?

Because God loves us so much,
He sent Christ
to separate us from our sin.

To heal us from it,
to forgive us for it
and to wipe it's stain and damage away.

And He loves Jesus too much
to have His sacrifice
be given in vein.

When we carelessly, willfully or causally sin,
we reject His gift.
We say: "No thank you!
Sin is better!
I want sin more!"

So why confess?

1John 1:9  says: If we confess our sins
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and cleans us from all unrighteousness.

OK, so we confess to be clean and forgiven right?
Not exactly.
John further says: "I have told you these things, so that you will not sin,
but if you do sin, we have an advocate before the Father,
who is Christ the Lord."

You see our fellowship with God
(who is light and in whom there is no darkness)
is so precious that we want to keep it,
stay in it,
walk in the light of it,
and we cant bring our darkness into that light.
So we must be washed and forgiven
to enter into it!

We confess so we can stay there.
In the sweetness of fellowship with God.

We are literally like the toddler who has a dirty diaper
who runs away from being changed.
For fear of being exposed,
or embarrassment,
or because of pride?!!

We don't even feel right to be in the room with others
while that stench surrounds us!
So our attitude is tainted and our mood is darkened.
God graciously makes a way for us to
be except-able again.
Why would we not come to Him and let Him cleans us?

God, would you bring me often into the sweet fellowship of confession.
Just the act of you cleansing and forgiving is so loving on your part.
Thank you for all you lived and all you suffered,
to wash me and heal me and separate me
from my sin.
It is against you fore-mostly that I sin
and Lord, where I have been a stumbling block to others,
oh, God forgive me for that sin as well.

That I would separate another from fellowship with you,
is so careless and cruel.

God search my heart
and know my thoughts,
and see if there are any offensive ways in me
and lead me in the way everlasting.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.