How Jesus Loves

”Jesus looked at him and loved him.”

Mark 10:22 NIV

Jesus saw the man who was right in front of Him and loved him 

Jesus loved him for who he was right at that moment regardless of the outcome of their relationship.

This is how Jesus loves.

When Jesus looks at you, He loves you.

He loves you for who are right at this moment.

He doesn’t love you for who you may become or only if you will get better.

Jesus loves you.

This love pursues, heals and is what inspires people to love others the way Jesus loves them.

Do you know today that Jesus loves you like this?

What Drives Out Fear?

Tuesday

What drives out fear? Love does.

Don’t believe me? Think back to a time when you were in love with somebody. How bold were you? How much hope did you have for the future? Did you do any crazy things with them because you were in love with them?

Right this minute, you are loved with a perfect love from a sinless Savior who sacrificed Himself so that you could live unhindered by fear.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The word perfect here doesn’t mean flawless, it means complete. It means complete love.  Not a temporary infatuation but a deep developed love that stands the test of time and eternity.

His was a love that bleeds when the lash tore open His back and the splintered wood of the cross dug into it. A love that persevered through the unendurable physical and spiritual pain of the cross until He could utter the truth, “it is finished”.

When fear rises up to dismantle your faith or weave it’s tentacles around your feet to trip you up, you must remember this fact: You have nothing to fear. You are in love. 

Christ took your punishment completely so that you could be immersed in His love and be made whole.

Jesus walked the earth, spoke truth to all who would listen, healed broken bodies and restored broken souls to God. It was His love that breathed life into the first lungs of man and His word that drove the darkness and chaos back before that and it is His love that sets you free to love as freely and completely as you are loved.

What drives fear out?
Love.

The love of Jesus.

Hang your hat on it and get down to the business of loving others with the confident abandon that comes with it.

Surrounded by Love

Thursday

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You may feel like you are on your own to deal with life.

That you are on your own to deal with stress.

On your own to make it happen, whatever “it” is, but you are not on your own, you are God’s beloved child. 

You are surrounded by LOVE.

His love goes before you and His grace follows behind you.

You are cherished and provided for, guided and anointed to walk confidently in God’s love.

God goes before you to make a way where there seems to be no way, He sets up divine appointments for you to walk in and he brings people across your path that need you.

He blesses you with what you need, to do what He has called you to do.

His hand of blessing is on your head. He has hemmed you in His love.

That means in ALL that you do, big or small, His hand of blessing is on it- because His hand of blessing is on you.

My prayer for you is that you will begin to see yourself in the light of God’s passionate love for you:

He has chosen you.
Rescued you.
Provided for you.
Forgiven you.
Equipped you.
Goes before you.
Follows up after you. 

God’s love is not like man’s love. He is not controlling you, He is surrounding you with Himself and there is more freedom in His presence than anywhere else in the world.

“For in him we live and move and have our being.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In Jesus, you have permission to live fully in God’s grace and walk confidently with His hand of blessing on you.

You are beloved and surrounded by Him. Set your fear aside and walk confidently in His love today.

Through All the Times.

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The longer you follow Jesus, the more you realize you need Him.

My college pastor said it was like this, “The closer you get to bright light, the more you see the flaws you have”.

It was good to know that the closer I get to God, the more I will see my imperfections and know more intimately my own flaws.

It was good for me to hear early on that in my walk with God I would never get to a point of “being an expert ” or “being perfect”.

Your life with God is a journey. 

It isn’t a skill to excel in, it is a relationship to have.

Through the good times and bad times, the easy times and the hard times.

Through ALL the times.

“Brother and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,”

Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬ NIV

We tend to focus on all the things we are not, all the things we haven’t conquered, all the things we haven’t grown in.

All those things take your focus from God and put it on yourself.

So, forget it. 

Forget it all.

God didn’t choose you because someday you would be perfect. He chose you because He loves you and He is perfect enough for the both of you. 

Forget what is behind you even if it happened five minutes ago.

Love God for who He is and let Him love you for who you are: His kid. 

Flawed

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Your life with God is a journey. 

It isn’t a skill to excel in, it is a relationship to have.

Through the good times and bad times, the easy times and the hard times.

Through ALL the times.

The longer you follow Jesus, the more you realize you need Him.

My college pastor said it was like this,  “The closer you get to bright light, the more you see the flaws you have”.

It was good to know that the closer I get to God, the more I will see my imperfections and know more intimately my own flaws.

It was good for me to hear early on that in my walk with God I would never get to a point of “being an expert ” or “being perfect”.

“Brother and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,”

Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬ NIV

We tend to focus on all the things we are not, all the things we haven’t conquered, all the things we haven’t grown in.

All those things take your focus from God and put it on yourself.

So, forget it. 

Forget it all.

God didn’t choose you because someday you would be perfect. He chose you because He loves you and He is perfect enough for the both of you. 

Forget what is behind you even if it happened five minutes ago.

Love God for who He is and let Him love you for who you are: His kid. 

Be Loved

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You are loved.

You are loved every day of your life and will be loved every day until your death and then beyond into eternity.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

You Are Loved.

Because of the cross, nothing can separate from the love of your Heavenly Father and therefore nothing should separate you from it.

Not fear.

Not shame.

Not worry.

All of these were taken and paid for by Jesus so that you can live in the glorious freedom of being a cherished child of God.

So that you can experience your life like a child who feels safe and secure: explore, enjoy and play.

You have nothing to fear and nothing to prove.

So explore.

Enjoy.

Play.

Live loved today.

Holding a Grudge

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Holding a grudge clutters the soul with bitterness.

Living hurt or nursing regret doesn’t help you live in wholeness today.  It keeps you living wounded.

Forgiveness is vital to your soul and it is a journey Jesus wants to walk you through.

It is vital because you are valuable.

Jesus spoke about this to the crowd that followed Him up a mountain:

“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it.

And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff.  Live generously.

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:38-42‬ ‭MSG‬‬

God doesn’t deny that bad things happen or that people will take advantage of you but He also doesn’t abandon you to it either.

Jesus is saying that when someone takes advantage of you, give them what you have and move on with your life.  Let it go.  Forgive them.  Ask God to bless them.

In this way, you will be living in the abundance of God’s love instead of the famine of your past hurts.

You are not meant to carry the heavy load of resentment and regret.

What resentment or regret is weighing you down?

What grudge is poisoning your soul?

Bring them all to Jesus and lay each one at the foot of the cross. Then, take a deep breath and allow Him to fill the newly evacuated space with the cleansing power of His love.

 

 

There

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“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

No matter where you are – God is with you.

He is there in the light and joyous seasons as well as the heavy and dark ones.

He is there when everything falls apart and there when everything comes together.

He is there when everything suddenly changes to bring encouragement, strength, direction, peace, and joy drawn from the unchangeable depths of grace that you will never be able to exhaust.

Wherever you are, God is with you.

 

 

 

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?

Focused

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“…worship opens doors to all His goodness.”
Psalms 34:9b MSG
Delighted.
Thankful.
Blessed. 
Disgruntled.
Bitter.
Disappointed.
Fearful.
Anxious.
Worried.
What you focus on, fills you. 
Worship lifts your eyes to heaven and opens your heart to be filled with it.
Worship puts everything in perspective next to the glory of Almighty God.
And today,  we pause to adore Him.
To delight in His love.
To be thankful for His journey from heaven to earth.
To acknowledge His gift- himself to us, for us.
To live blessed.
May every breath during this season be one of worship, thanksgiving and adoration to the King of kings and Lord of lords for coming to us as a baby to redeem us for Himself.
You are LOVED. Focus on that, focus on Him.