For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
Girls maneuvered the halls with their backpacks, teddy bears, and roses, a typical high school Valentine’s Day. Love and the lack thereof were on display. The visual reminders reinforced what I already questioned, “was I unlovable?” I longed for unconditional love... a love that I wouldn’t find in the halls of my high school. I later learned the love I sought was that of God. What irony, even though I believed in Jesus as my Savior I didn't really trust, know, or experience His love.
Being a mother brought me face-to-face with a reflection of the love God Almighty has for us through my love for my children. However, my love for my kids is only a shadow of God’s love for us. God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son, loved us so much they loved us to death… death on the cross.
Jesus Christ, God the Son, left heaven and clothed himself in humanity to live His life on the path of the cross, to pay for our sins and redeem us (Romans 6:23). Jesus could have avoided the cross (Matthew 26:53). Instead, He set his eyes toward the cross and the sacrifice He would make in exchange for us (Hebrews 12:2). On the cross Jesus assumed our guilt from our sin. Love, not the nails, held Him firm to endure it.
Jesus’ cross death completely paid the debt that our sin debt required (Colossians 2:14) so all who believe in Him as Savior would avoid eternal death (John 3:16). I hate to imagine the pain of the Father, it was the first and only separation from His beloved Son He had ever experienced (Matthew 27:45-51, Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only). To bring us, His rebellious children, back home the Father had to allow Jesus to die; it was the ONLY way.
Reflect on the love of God the Father, God the Son—Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit for you! Pray John 3:16 over yourself but insert your name where it says “the world.” Jesus died for you! He died for me! However, though He died for all, only those who believe will be redeemed (John 3:16-17). My and your debt has been paid; through faith we can rejoice in our freedom (Ephesians 2:8). God the Father raised Jesus from the grave. He is alive! Through faith in Jesus we die to sin and are raised with Him to new life (Romans 6:4).
Child of God, I don’t know what the enemy uses as your personal trigger to make you doubt God’s love for you and His faithfulness to His Word. Maybe it isn’t Valentine’s Day, instead it’s a present struggle, past sin, or something once pleasant that now brings feelings of pain due to loss or regret. I encourage you, look through your pain to the cross of Jesus and the empty tomb so you can remember. Remember that you are not just loved, YOU ARE SO LOVED. Wherever you are on your faith journey—repent of any sin and rebellion towards God, believe in Jesus as your Savior, and experience the love of God that is in Christ Jesus!
Jesus, You love me, You who died. Through You Heaven’s gates open wide. Jesus, You took away all my sin. Let me, Your little child, come in. Lord God, forgive me. Renew me. Lead me in Your way everlasting. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
(Jesus Loves Me: lyrics by Anna Bartlett Warner, 1860; hymn by William B. Bradbury, 1862).
Faith in Action:
Meditate—let God’s love letter of John 3:16 fill your heart as you read the words slowly and personally. What does it mean in your life to be so loved by God?
To God be the glory,
Too often I buy into the lies of the Deceiver, Satan, that I’m not good enough, that what I do and or say doesn’t have value... that I don't have value. Writing these thoughts for you to read fills my heart with such sadness. Sometimes I really believe they’re true.
I started this blog because of my children. I want them to know the legacy they have from their Heavenly Father and Savior. I want to remind you or tell you if you don't know, Child of God, who Jesus says you and I are. Our doubts about self-worth are mind-trash meant to separate us from the love of Jesus. We are children of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit whispers to our hearts. Jesus calls to us. Through His Word, the Bible, Jesus says, "I say you have value. Here's who I say you are..."
IN JESUS I AM:
UNIQUELY CREATED (Psalm 139: 13-15 NIV)
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NEVER ALONE (Matthew 28:20 NIV)
Jesus said, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
FORGIVEN (I Corinthians 15:2-3 NIV)
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
REDEEMED (Ephesians 1: 7-10 ESV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
ARMED AND READY IN TRUTH (Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
To God be the glory,
Will you join me in prayer?
LORD Jesus, help me to believe your truth because I have value, I am special, and I am loved by You, You died to take away my sin and rose from the dead giving me new life. Give me the strength and tools to fight the evil one and stand firmly in your promises and Word. YOU ALONE ARE GOD and who I am in You is the final word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Do you believe that through faith in Jesus the above scripture verses are about you?
If so, how does that change your today, tomorrow, and your life?
If not, what lies are you allowing to dwell as truth in your life?
Do you embrace your name, Child of God, and the identity that comes with it?
Choose one identity trait of a child of God. Read the verses every day for 3 days and pray that the Lord would help you see yourself through His eyes.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5: 11 ESV
If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all. That's what my mother used to tell me. Who knew it was Biblical? Paul tells us to make encouragement, building each other up, a regular practice (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV). It doesn't sound so hard until I try. Sin creeps in and I find myself saying something unkind and destructive, just the opposite of my intention.
The Lord, through scripture, calls us to master our mouth because it's the outpouring of the fountain of our heart (James 3: 7-12) . Do our words reflect an outpouring of God's love or reveal the stains of sin? I said something unkind about someone I love... and later I said something unkind to someone I love... What kind of witness is that to others? Do I live as one transformed by Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18)?
I felt the Holy Spirit (through my conscience) convict me toward repentance (1 John 1:9) and apologized to the person I offended. I need to guard my mouth, though.
How can we know if we're in the Spirit or not? We can listen to our words as if we were a stranger. I try to pay attention to my tone, too. Do my words share Jesus' love and grace or do they curdle the heart of their receiver? If my words corrode, it's time to get right with God and repent.
Our words can spread the healing love of Christ or help Satan gain a foothold in the hearts of others. By building others up through our words and deeds we worship Jesus, what an awesome privilege. Let's guard our mouths and bring Him glory.
To God be the glory,
Will you pray with me?
LORD, Christ, let my words and actions be an outpouring from the love You give me. Help me guard my lips and heart so I may worship You and see Your kingdom come. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
How do I normally sound to others?
Would they know I worship Jesus by listening to me?
Pray and ask the Lord to guard your mouth and give Him the glory. Practice listening to yourself. Do your words deliver healing or hurt?
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:36 ESV
I found myself in a place of in-between... at a time of waiting. I was growing my hair from very short to longer. The process was slow and awkward, but that with patience and time I'd arrive at my "hair goal" eventually. Maybe you're waiting on something. I'm sure that what you're waiting on is more important than growing out your hair. You're waiting for healing, on a new job, the restoration or development of a relationship, or something else...
Wouldn't it be nice to have a magic fix to make the in-between, the waiting, just a little easier? Though a quick fix might be easier on us, I think that God uses our wait time to refine us and bring us closer to Him. Sometimes He uses our refining time while setting other things in motion, as well.
I felt the tugging on my heart whispering the words of Isaiah 40:36. "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). But what does Isaiah 40:36 have to do with waiting? In the English Standard Version (ESV) instead of hope, the Hebrew is translated to "those who wait on the LORD..." Doesn't hoping in the LORD includes a component of waiting, with a purpose? We hope and wait with assurance that God is going to walk with us and fulfill His promises.
Our hoping in God is not stagnant. Our wait time should be filled with our worship of Him while working to forward His kingdom. Do you work in a same-old-same-old job, stay home with the kids, or do something that you think is ordinary? Do everything with praise and thanksgiving to the glory of the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 3:23).
What you do matters, no matter how ordinary you think it is. Yours is a life transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18). As you seek God's face you will get closer to Him and lead others to Him as well. And that, Child of God, is not ordinary at all.
The Lord is faithful to his promises (Psalm 145:13) and He works for the good of all who love Him (Romans 8:28). That doesn't mean we always get what we want or what we think we're waiting for. It doesn't mean we won't face trials. As we wait on the Lord we grow in relationship with Him and He becomes enough for us. In Him, in His peace and love, we become content (Philippians 4:12-13).
If you're at an in-between time Child of God, though you may feel discouraged continue to cling to Jesus. Ask Him for direction and courage. Keep the eyes to your heart open. When we ask God for something in line with His will He answers in amazing ways (Matthew 7:7-8). If He's not answering then His answer is either wait a little longer or it's not what is best for you. Seek support and prayer from other Christians if you're having trouble discerning which it is.
Not knowing the future during the wait is hard. Be encouraged. We wait on a God with a good purpose and a good plan for us, even if we don't know what it is, yet.
To God be the glory,
Will you pray with me?
Dear Lord, as I wait on you to refine me into who you want me to be, help me use this time to grow closer to you. Jesus, I know you have a plan and a purpose for me. I will wait for you. I Jesus name I pray, Amen.
What in my life am I anxious to hurry up and move through quickly?
Have I given my wait to God? What does He want me to do in the meanwhile?
Pray about the object of your wait with God within 24 hours. Ask the Lord what He wants you to continue or stop doing during this time of in-between.
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.
Colossians 3:13 (English Standard Version)
It happens all the time to varying degrees. Sometimes I get slighted. Sometimes I feel disrespected. Sometimes my feelings get hurt a little... or a lot. Sometimes the hurt is very deep and very serious. Sometimes I get angry and want to hold a grudge. It happens all the time, but my God, Jesus, tells me to let go and to forgive regardless the level of the pain.
My choice to forgive does not require an apology from the one I deem guilty. My choice to forgive requires giving the hurt to Jesus. I must trust that God has everything in his power. I must remember the irreconcilable debt that has been lifted from me. I have been forgiven for all of my sin because Jesus, through his blood on the cross, payed off my sin-debt to God the Father. If anyone has a right to hold a grudge it was him, but He was born, lived, died, and rose from the dead to set me (and you) free.
Practicing forgiveness, a lot like maintaining my prayer life or Bible study times, must be a regular part of my faith walk and happen continuously. Truly forgiving someone is so unnatural. True forgiveness can only be done in Christ Jesus, but it's essential in a relationship with the ultimate Forgiver. I found the book Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss very helpful in learning to choose forgiveness in the freedom of Christ. I have to practice giving my heartache to God and trusting Him to heal it.
Is there someone who you struggle to forgive in your life, Child of God? In prayer, bring that person and your pain to Jesus' feet, forever scarred by the cross, and ask Him to take it all and teach you to forgive. Our burden is so much lighter when we do. You are in my prayers.
To God be the glory,
Would you pray with me?
Jesus, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51: 10) Lord, please forgive me, renew me, and lead me on the path of everlasting life. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Who in my life is hardest to forgive when they wrong me? Why?
Confess your hurt, anger, and trouble forgiving _(that person/those people)_ to God. Ask Him to right the wrong. Release the hurt to Him. Read Isaiah 53:5 and pray it over yourself remembering your forgiveness in Jesus.
Take... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit...
The Holy Spirit often reveals Himself to me through the Bible verses He puts on my heart and in my life from Bible study and conversation... Sometimes He uses verses that seem to jump off the page and into my heart when I read my Bible. If the Holy Spirit isn't directing me I have trouble knowing the will of God for my life personally.
How can I hear the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 6: 17b-18 gives us a clue. It says the word of God is the Holy Spirit. Another name for the Bible is God's Word and it is there that we can meet God through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 6:18 Paul instructs us to pray. He encourages us as followers of Jesus to make ready our sword, the Holy Spirit, and challenges us as followers of Jesus to pray.
The sword is a special instrument of ancient warfare. It has offensive and defensive capabilities, an invaluable dual purpose. If I neglect to read my Bible or pray, ways the Spirit speaks to me, then I am left completely unprepared to defend against the devil, much less gain ground for the kingdom of God. All pieces of the armor of God work together to protect us from the devil, but the sword is the only piece of armor that can help us move forward.
Child of God, there is a spiritual war waging around us. As believers in the only Living God we must 1) recognize the spiritual component of our daily lives, 2) suit up in our armor (remembering our sword), and 3) remember the battle and the war is the Lord's! God fights for us. The Lord fights with us. He lives in us.
It may look pretty dark in the deepest fighting but we cannot falter. We must never take our eyes off Jesus. We must expect the fight and stay always on our guard. The Lord is faithful to his promises, but if we aren't praying to Him and reading our Bibles we run the risk of forgetting what his promises are!
Be encouraged, Child of God. Stay in the Spirit through personal Bible study and prayer. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Remember your sword for the battle right now and the battle ahead.
To God be the glory,
Would you pray with me?
Jesus, help me recognize the fight I'm in so that I may arm myself in you. Jesus, you fight for me. May my eyes of faith never leave you. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Do you feel like you're fighting the spiritual attacks against you with your sword ready?
Or do you feel more like you're not sure where your sword is?
How would it look in your life to be well armed in the Spirit?
Pick two of the following sets of verses to read through for the next 3 days and see if they don't come in handy when you feel the spiritual battle pressing in on you.
Here are a few of my favorite Bible verses. I use them as my spiritual road map to bring me back to Jesus when I feel lost.
Proverbs 3: 5-6, Psalm 23, Psalm 139, Psalm 16, Psalm 20, Romans 5: 1-11, Romans 8: 26-27 & Romans 8: 31-39, Ephesians 1: 3-14, Ephesians 6: 10-18, Jeremiah 29: 11-13, Matthew 6: 25-33, Philippians 4: 4-13
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Psalm 139: 5 (ESV)
I opened my eyes to the morning with, "I'm on the throne, stop holding on, and just be held..." singing in my mind (Just Be Held, Casting Crowns, 2014-- Thrive Album). It was weird to wake up to that. I wasn't in crisis but I prayed "thank you" any way and got my day started.
... and then it hit... the fear... fear about my children's future, fear about my decision making… the fears dog-piled on me... I realized, after a moment of freak-out, "Oh, that's what that song was about!" The Holy Spirit was talking to me the moment I opened my eyes because he knew what would be in my heart and the flaming arrows that would be coming my way (Ephesians 6:16).
Fear. It's a weapon of choice by the Deceiver against me (and many believers). Fear translates to, "your God isn't big enough to handle insert fear generating problem here. Except I know that the doubt inducing whisper accompanied by heart-gripping fear is not from God Almighty. I know what His voice sounds like. The Holy Spirit doesn't speak to me like that. He wakes me up to an "I got this" song in my heart reminding me that the Lord Jesus is on the throne sitting next to the Father, God Almighty.
As I was working on moving beyond the fears of the day I "happened" to read a Proverbs 31 Ministries devotional on combating fear. I then remembered a verse from Psalm 139, a chapter that reminds us of the Lord's power and love for us. I remembered, "you hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me" (Psalm 139:5, ESV).
Just like my day-- starting with a love song, attacked by fear, followed by a fear fighting devotional and Bible verse-- I had been hemmed in behind and before by the Lord's grace. The second part of that verse, "and you lay your hand upon me" is not to be dismissed (Psalm 139:5b). You can’t touch someone (lay your hand on them) if they're far away, you have to be close. When the Lord hems us in and lays his hand on us he's with us in the midst of our struggle. We are not alone and we have nothing to fear.
Before that morning Psalm 139:5 had no personal meaning to me, but I know it was God's way of encouraging me to keep up the fight and trust him. Jesus is big enough to handle it all.
Child of God, I don't know what flaming arrows are coming your way. I recommend you fight fire with fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Through prayer and personal Bible study, God will squelch the flaming arrows of the evil one and will reignite your heart for Him. Jesus is big enough, more than big enough.
To God be the glory,
Would you join me in prayer?
Jesus, in you I have nothing to fear because nothing can separate us (Romans 8:38-39). You are bigger than big enough. Please hem me in so my eyes of faith never stray from you. In Jesus name, amen.
In what way have you been attacked through spiritual warfare: fear, doubt, distrust?
In what ways has God answered that attack in your life?
Pray Psalm 139:5 (devotional verse) over yourself and believe that the Lord will hem you in and lay His hand on you. How does that reshape what your day looks like? How does He hem you in?
If you don't believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior please read and consider the invitation to faith: Is my name Child of God?
For access to a digital Bible see www.BibleGateway.com
Copyright May 2016, Be Blessed Prayer. All rights reserved. Please pray for me to remain in Jesus as I write. I pray for you.
Read more My Identity In Christ Devotions
My Identity in Christ
Join me, Child of God, in exploring who you are as a daughter (or son) of the Living God through God's Word, the Bible, and explore what it means to completely trust Jesus as Savior.
My Identity in Christ