Strong Love

Tuesday

God will use the challenge you are facing today to show you how strong His love is.

How good He is.

How much He loves you.

How much He cares for you.

Faith in the Father’s love is what held Jesus to the cross, not the nails in His hands.

The Father’s love is not a weak thing. He is able to hold unspeakable pain and unquenchable peace at the same time.

In these uncertain times, fear roars ferociously to unseat our peace while the Father’s love meets us in the midst of chaos and brings His to us, Himself, His presence.

He is with you right now.

And He IS love.

“Beloved friends, let us love one another; because love is from God; and everyone who loves has God as his Father and knows God. Those who do not love, do not know God; because God is love.

Here is how God showed his love among us: God sent his only Son into the world so that through him we might have life”.

1 John 4:8 -9

Love is Not Proud

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Love is not proud.

Pride is the thing that keeps you from asking for help because you don’t want others to think you have a problem, even if you do.

Pride is the thing that keeps you silent when you should speak because you don’t want to cause trouble or cause a scene even if what you need to say is true.

Pride is the thing that prevents you from reconciling because you are right. And being right is more important than a person.

Pride keeps you safe.

Except it doesn’t.

It keeps you isolated.

No matter how any people you have in your life, trying to love them through the lens of pride keeps you disconnected and self protected.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Love is not proud.

You are loved and you are made to love others freely, fully, with hope and joy.

Lay down your pride and let love heal what is broken.

God Doesn’t Give up

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Love doesn’t give up.

One of my oldest and dearest friends got a call from her twin brother late one night. He was calling from jail with his third DUI. Before he even began to talk, she felt God drop a message in her heart for him. She told him that she wasn’t mad at him but that he would keep finding himself in that kind of situation until he realized how much God loves him until he stopped running from that love.

When her brother told her he wanted to change, she didn’t believe him anymore. He had told her that too many times to count.

She didn’t believe her brother anymore but she believed God.

That night her brother believed God too.

He got involved in Celebrate Recovery, quit drinking and now goes to a church he loves.

My friend told me this story with tears running down her beautiful face and said, “God doesn’t give up.”

I had tears running down my face as well because in the twenty years we have been friends, I know one of her most fervent prayers was that her twin brother would know Jesus like she does.

I want to remind you today that God doesn’t give up on people.

Sometimes it takes longer than you want it to but God hears your prayers and loves the people you are praying for more than you do.

Jesus doesn’t give up.

You may stop praying about it.

You may stop believing it can ever happen.

You may have lost faith in a person.

You may have lost faith in yourself and your own ability to change.

But God doesn’t.

“Love never gives up.”

1 Corinthians 13:7

Never.

God is not asking you to believe in others or even yourself anymore, He is asking you to believe in Him.

He is the faithful Savior who paid the ultimate price to redeem the lost, reinstate the prodigal and recreate the unrecognizable with the unrelenting love that flows from his heart.

What do you need to believe God for today?

Who do you need to believe God for today?

Your why

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We justify our actions by appearances; GOD examines our motives.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21:2‬ ‭MSG‬‬
Your motives are the “why” behind the “what” of your life.
When you are soul drained, the simplest tasks can begin to feel like heavy burdens.  You slip into autopilot and just go through the motions.  Your “why” is to survive, to make it through one more day.
Survival is a good “why” to make it through hard things but it is not meant to be your permanent state of being.
God has more for you today.
He is the God of inside workings, attitude makeovers, perspective shifters. He is the forgiving God, the wipe the slate clean and start over God. He is the miracle-making God, creating something out of nothing God with just one word from His mouth.
Your Heavenly Father created you in love, to love and to be loved. God so loved you that He sent His Son as a sacrifice to restore you to Himself.  He did not do it out of duty, He did it out of love. He does not live out of duty but out of love and wants the same for you.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭NIV
When your why comes from love it feeds your spirit and invigorates your soul. Duty devoid of it drains it.
May the God of the inside workings give your attitude a makeover from duty doer to lit up lover.  May the forgiving God wipe clean the slate of the past and help you start over today.  May the miracle making God, create something out of nothing and fill you so full of His love that it overflows onto those around you.
Are you living in survival mode or love mode? 
What’s your why today?

Love Them

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“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

1 John‬ ‭3‬:‭18‬ NIV

The Greek word for “love” here is Agape. It is a love that gives generously, cares first, forgives first, extends endless second chances and never gives up.

It is the word that describes who God is: uncontainable, unrelenting, unending, unchanging LOVE.

Love is heaven’s greatest treasure and earth’s most desperate need.

God has put people in your life that need His love in action.

Let God love them through you:

Love them authentically, without expecting anything back.

Find a need and fill it for them.

Forgive first, not because they deserve it. 

Give them a second chance.

Don’t give up on them and ask God to show you how He sees them.

Love founded in truth and put to action is the most powerful force in the world.

Who has God given you to love?

How are you going to love them today?

Marked Down

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Marked Down

I did markdowns at work today and it reminded me of a blog I wrote some time last year (or maybe the year before). It might take longer than a minute to read but it is worth it and so are you:

“I just got home from doing markdowns at work. Things that were previously $24.99 were marked down to $14.99 and things that were $9.99 were marked down to $4.99 and so on.

About 2 hours in, I was thinking about how somebody in an office somewhere decided to change the value of the item I was holding and now I was putting a little red sticker on it to communicate to the world what the new value is.

Then I thought about I have done that to myself in the past. I put myself in the “discount” section because I thought I wasn’t worth much.

Somewhere between being a little girl dreaming of what my life would be and a young woman who just wasn’t good enough – I took the mark down. I let someone else’s words or somebody else’s judgement devalue me.

It is easy to do:

I’ve been used – mark down.
I’m not pretty enough, or skinny enough – mark down.
I don’t have a lot of money – mark down.
I’m too old – mark down.
I’m too screwed up for anyone to love – mark down.

Soon, we begin to think of ourselves with a clearance section mentality:

This is the best I can get with what I have.

I am lucky to be chosen by anyone, even if they treat me like I am worthless.

I don’t deserve to be chosen, I shouldn’t hope for more than I can get.

I am not worth much, it is okay if you treat me that way.

When we believe we are not worth much, we allow others to treat us that way. When we allow others to treat us mark downs, it reinforces that we believe we are not worth much. It is a vicious cycle – what can break it?

Love.

Love can break the cycle. No matter what you have done or what has been done to you – you are valuable. No matter how many times you have taken the “mark down” in your life, you still are worth more than you can imagine. You are precious and you are loved. How do I know?

I know because as a young broken girl who had taken the mark down, I came face to face (or rather heart to heart) with my Savior. A Savior who loved me so much that he paid the ultimate price to have a relationship with me. A Savior who rescued me from the clearance section, tore off the little read sticker and said – I will pay full price for her, she is worth it.

I am worth his sacrifice and so are you. Not because of what you say about yourself or because of what others say about you but because of what God says about you.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1John 4:10-11)

The moment I accepted His love, He began taking off those little red stickers. And now He sends us out to do love others and take off their stickers.

Everyone is precious to God. Everyone is loved.

There are no mark downs in God’s kingdom.”