WHO LOVES YOU – Part 1 – The Love of the Father

God is head over heels in love with you (1 John 4: 8-11). God’s love is a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional “high”. Human love is merely a shadow of His love.

If the earth’s axis tilted a degree in any direction, if the stars fell from the sky, if a large solar storm erupted on the sun, if the oceans exceeded their boundaries, if animals no longer had an innate fear of man, if all the molten lava in the earth erupted at once, we would all die.

God’s hand, keeping the earth in perfect balance, keeps us all living and breathing and existing on planet earth. The natural order of the universe proves to us that God loves us.

When we repent of our sin, we realize that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. With God’s love, we do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated.

God constantly draws my attention to the fact that He is touching me with evidences of His love through a variety of means. I call them God’s Little Hugs.

He reveals His love through things like a bird’s outstretched wings, a perfect rose, a lady bug, the shapes of the clouds, the waves of the sea, the seasons of the year, a red cardinal chirping through my open window and in the numbers on the clock.

Escaping a devastating calamity is another occasion when we feel the love of God. When we see His hand protecting us from sudden and sure destruction and danger, our hearts swell with incredible gratitude and love for God.

To realize that God actually intervened for you makes you feel so precious, cared about and loved. At times like these we feel His love surrounding us and keeping us safe.

His love flows through us and out of us to everyone He brings into contact with us. He restores us with His joy and upholds with His generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12).

Prayer:
Father God, when our heart is open to Your love, we can feel it pouring over us like a waterfall. We are drenched with Your continual love. Even the cells in our body are full of Your love.

I often feel like I am wrapped in a soft, fluffy blanket of Your love. Your love gives us such a sense of security. Unsurpassed peace and joy flood our soul – our mind, will and emotions. We give You all the glory and praise and depend on Your love and Spirit to fill and guide us through every moment of our life.

Thought for the Day:
All through the day, I have learned to watch for the unexpected ways that God tells me, “I love you!”

The Benefits of God’s Grace

God loves the whole universe, even those who do not believe in Him and those who curse His name (John 3:16). He allows both sinners and Saints to reap the benefits of His love (Jeremiah 12:1; Psalm 37).

God is drawing us all to Himself by sharing blessings to both evil and good people, and by sending refreshing rain to believers and unbelievers alike (Matthew 5:45).

The grace of God benefits everyone ever born. The whole earth overflows with His loving kindness (Psalm 33:5). If only everyone would turn to Him because of His benevolence (Psalm 107:8).

Although everyone ever born initially realizes the goodness of God, even through creation, most people fail to honor Him or feel gratitude, because our foolish heart is clouded by Satan’s lies (Romans 1:20-21)

The human tendency is to credit our good fortune to own efforts or to “fate”, rather than to God. We fail to see the goodness of God in our success. This causes us to condemn our self by our unbelief (John 3:18).

Our futile attempts to find a measure of happiness and success in life are empty prizes. We work throughout our whole lifetime to build our own little kingdom on this earth, only to lose it all in death.

We face eternity without the saving grace of Christ. God’s grace is His undeserved favor shared with every human being ever born. Yet, most people disdain His attempts to save them.

God calls us to a personal relationship with Him. His everlasting arms are open wide, encouraging both the good person and the foulest sinner to abandon their futile lifestyle and to trust Him.

He provides for all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:16). He shepherds us and keeps us safe (Psalm 23). He longs for our fellowship day and night (Exodus 33:14; 1 John 3:24; Revelation 21:3-4).

Prayer:
Father God, we can never thank You enough for the loving kindness You shower on Your creation (Psalm 145:9). You provide for us and protect us by Your mighty hand (Psalm 139:10). If You were to forget us for one second, destruction would overcome the universe.

Make us ever mindful of Your desire to fellowship with us. Remind us to take time to consult You for Your perfect plans for each moment of our day. Allow us to make a difference in the lives of the people You bring our way. Please come soon and restore Your order to the earth.

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to love all of humanity just as He does, sacrificing as His Spirit directs us for those He brings into our life. – Romans 5:7-8

Proof That God Exists

God reveals His thoughts to His people just as surely as He formed the mountains, named the stars and makes night follow each day (Psalm 42:8, 90:2, 147:4). He stretches out the heavens over the foundations of the earth, which He set in place (Job 9:8-10).

God created mankind and all of the universe. Nothing is too challenging for Him (Jeremiah 32:27). He remains forever throughout eternity.

God thought about every contingency before He created humanity, the heavens and the earth. We have the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night.

His reign over the universe continues throughout every generation (Lamentations 5:19; Daniel 4:3). God creates the winds in their seasons (Amos 4:13).

He even has fun with the waves of the sea by stirring them up into mountains of mighty water (Jeremiah 31:35). He gives us signs of His existence in the mighty wonders He created (Romans 1:20; Daniel 4:3).

If we could ask the earth, animal, fish or birds, they would teach us that the hand of the Lord created us all, and in His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:7-10).

Each day, the heavens declare the glory of the Lord and the wondrous works of His hands. In every land on the earth, everyone can hear the heavens and earth declaring the existence of God (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20).

The great creatures of the ocean depths; the rain, snow and hail; the stormy winds; mountains, fruit trees and firs, wild and domestic animals, and even the rodents and birds all do God’s bidding (Psalm 148:7-10).

The heavens and earth rejoice, the seas roar, the fields exult, and the trees of the forest sing for joy, because the Lord is coming again to earth in His righteousness and faithfulness (Psalm 96:11-13).

Prayer:
Father God, You tread the high places of the earth and the earth is Your footstool (Micah 1:3; Zechariah 12:1). Although You are involved in every detail of nature around us, You also formed Your Spirit within each and every Born Again Believer (Zechariah 12:1).

We can never thank You enough for sharing Your Kingdom with everyone willing to surrender to Your love. We pray that You will draw all of our loved ones to Your heart, until they stop resisting Your love and grace.

Thought for the Day:
If people fail to praise God, even the rocks will cry out to honor and praise Him. – Luke 19:40; Habakkuk 19:40

How to Pray to God

So many people are intimidated by the concept of prayer. They hesitate to speak to God, because He is too busy with the rest of the world to be bothered by their petty concerns. They would never, ever pray in public because people might judge their efforts as lacking. Yet, prayer is as easy as talking to your best friend.

Jesus actually is our very best friend (John 15:13-15). He laid His life down for each one of us, taking all of our personal sins upon Himself. The only perfect, righteous man ever to live on planet earth bore the shame of the sins of every person ever born or ever to be born. Yet, He willingly gave up His life for our eternal security.

Praying words from Biblical passages gives us the life-giving power of the Word behind our prayers. The scriptures were so well written by people who felt just like we do. It is wise to journal in a notebook as we pray too, in order to record the issues on our heart. Then, when God answers those prayers we can verify the date in our journal, which will increase our faith.

God cannot answer the prayers of an unrighteous person (Psalm 5:4). If we harbor sin in our heart, and yet claim to be Born Again, God will not stay in our presence either (1 John 3:9). Otherwise, there is no trial too severe or concern too trivial to bring to God in prayer. We can talk to God about anything and everything that is on our mind, and then sit in companionable silence in case He wants to speak to us.

Taking time to listen to God’s answers as we pray, allows Him to communicate with us in His still, small voice in the center of our being – in our spirit. The more we sit in those quiet moments, the more we will hear from God, and the more we will come to recognize His voice (John 10:27-28; Psalm 46:10). He will lead us all through the day in this same way and confirm His direction by His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, prayer is the opportunity to speak to You, the God of the Universe. There is no being higher than You and Your ways are beyond human reasoning. You know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10); therefore, listening to Your truth through Your Word and by Your voice speaking to us in times of prayer is the greatest blessing we can ever experience on this earth. Draw us to Your heart each day and remind us that You are waiting to hear our voice in praise to Your glory, contrition for our sins, and gratitude for who You are and all that You do for us each day. We find our ultimate peace and joy in Your presence in our life.

Thought for the Day:
Although God may not give us the answer we requested in our prayers, He will always give us something better; even if it does not seem like it at the time.

Our Future with Christ

As you know, Jesus is God; yet, He became a man to pay the penalty for our sins. He endured the cross by keeping His focus on the joy that awaited Him back in Heaven. We too can enjoy this same love and peace, as we keep our mind focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Through Christ, everything in the universe was created (Colossians 1:16). His everlasting joy can reside in our heart forever (Psalm 16:11).

God’s gifts for us are free and include our ticket to Heaven through the forgiveness of our sin (Romans 6:23). We do not need to earn our own salvation or pay the penalty of our sins (Galatians 2:16). He completes the work in us, which He began on Calvary (Philippians 1:6). Jesus also perfects our faith, as He sits on His throne with God in Heaven (Hebrews 12:2).

God always gives us His grace to avoid temptation and to accomplish the works He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 9:8). All the grace we need in any and all circumstances are just a prayer away (2 Corinthians 9:8). He also supplies all of our financial, physical, mental and emotional needs in this earthly existence as we walk in His Spirit and obey His Word (Philippians 4:19).

We will all pass from life through death; however, angels escort authentic Believers to the presence of God (Luke 16:22). Our last breath on earth is followed by our next breath in Heaven. We will never sin or die again (Romans 8:21; 1 Corinthians 15:52-53). In eternity, we look forward to serving Christ and having the fullness of His character and divine nature complete in us (2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 John 3:2).

Prayer:
Father God, regardless of the pains and suffering that we endure on this earth, we are assured that You gave us an advocate in Christ (John 16:33; Hebrews 4:15). Thank You for sending Jesus to free us from our debt of sin and to help us to bear the pain of our current situation (2 Corinthians 4:17). We thank You that Christ is in us and is our hope of eternal glory with You (Colossians 1:27). We look forward with great joy to living as a co-heir with Christ of Your entire Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

Thought for the Day:
We will enjoy the presence of God for eternity and our joy will be exceedingly full. – Psalm 43:4; 1 Peter 3:18

It Really is Your Choice

Jesus Christ provided for a way for us to enjoy the glories of Heaven (John 6:44; Acts 4:12, 16:30-31). He is the only way for us to receive redemption. That is why Christians are always sharing the good news of the Gospel of Christ. We may get on someone’s nerves, but we share God’s Truth for their benefit, not our own. We are already Born Again and our place in Heaven is already reserved.

What about your place in Heaven? Have you repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your personal Savior (John 3:16)? Have you surrendered your life to His redeeming grace and realized the benefits of living in His family now and forever? There are multiple ways to enter eternity, but only one leads to Heaven; all the rest lead to hell (John 3:18).

Satan is very cunning. He appears as an angel of light and he perverts God’s truth to his own advantage. He wants to take Jesus’ place as King of the universe. He already rebelled against God and lost his place in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). Now he is the “god” of this world and he wants to stay that way (2 Corinthians 4:4). He fills the world with his lies in order to take as many people to hell with him as he can (John 8:44; Romans 1:25).

If you reject Jesus as your Savior and remain as an unbeliever, living in unbelief and sinful pursuits, you will never see God (Revelation 21:7-8). If you admit that you are a sinner, regret your sinful lifestyle, choose to live according to Biblical principles, ask Jesus to cover you with His precious blood, and place your faith in God’s faithfulness, you will enjoy the blessings as a co-heir with Jesus of God’s Kingdom (Romans 8:17).

Prayer:
Father God, I come to You in Jesus’ name to acknowledge that I am a sinner. I am as grieved over my past lifestyle as You are. I want to turn from a life of sin and self-reliance, and live according to Your Biblical principles.

Thank You for sending Jesus to die for me and to pay the penalty of my sin debt to You. I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead and that He now sits at Your right hand. I want to take advantage of Your grace and to live a life of purity and truth.

I will serve You in gratitude for the many blessings You provide for me throughout my lifetime. In Jesus’ name and for His glory. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
Once we place our full trust in Him and His promises, God keeps us in His hands and never forsakes us. – John 6:37, 10:28-29; Hebrews 13:5

Faith and Courage

The Bible is full of the exploits of sinners just like us. God is not ashamed of those who exhibit their faith in Him, in spite of the moment of their weakness (Hebrews 11:16). Many of them had a calling from God and fulfilled that mission with faith in God’s faithfulness. As people of faith, we can include our self in that great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).

These people of courage stood strong and were on their guard (1 Corinthians 16:13). They resisted the devil by keeping a firm footing in their confidence in God. They walked by faith and not by sight, needing no physical proof for their beliefs (2 Corinthians 5:7). We can stand strong too, knowing that fellow Believers around the world are experiencing similar or even worse trials (1 Peter 5:9).

We learn how to live a life of faith from these ancient, Biblical Saints. If we do not have faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). He wants us to come to Him believing that He exists and that He rewards everyone who earnestly seeks Him. Faith believes God’s Word, and is sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see in the natural realm (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith believes that God formed the universe by His command, creating the galaxies simply by His spoken word (Genesis 1:3). We look forward by faith to the Kingdom of God, because we are only aliens and strangers on this earth (1 Peter 2:11-12). Until we go to glory, we fight the good fight with courage, finish the race and trust in the goodness of God (2 Timothy 4:7).

Prayer:
Father God, we thank You for Your forgiveness, provided by Your sacrifice of Your own son (Romans 8:23). We have no words to express our amazement or our gratitude to You for this free gift (Ephesians 2:8). Our faith in You will extinguish all of Satan’s flaming arrows, which he aims at us (Ephesians 6:16). By faith we eagerly look forward to Your Spirit birthing Your perfection in us (Galatians 5:5).

Thought of the Day:
The righteous will live by faith. – Galatians 3:11

A Place of Rest for Our Soul

In the Old Testament, Believers worshipped in temples of stone and mortar. Their contact with God was from the first five books of our Bible. It is different today. We have 66 books of God’s Word to encourage and instruct us. God dwells within us in a personal, intimate relationship, not in temples made with human hands (Romans 10:9).

We are God’s “living stones”, and Jesus is the chief cornerstone on which we are centered (1 Peter 2:4-6). As God’s Temple, we have a deepening understanding of the reality of what it means for Christ to abide in us (Colossians 1:27). This truth changes our outlook on life and affects our body, soul and spirit. We enter God’s rest forever (Hebrews 4:9-10).

God rested after He created the universe. Jesus rested after carrying the burden of our sin to the cross. Now, we can rest from serving God from compulsion and serve Him from a place of love instead. The doorway to this rest is through total surrender to God’s will and to Christ in us, which is our hope of living in glory now and in eternity.

Our humanity is dead and we are a new creation with Christ living in and through us (Galatians 2:20). We decrease daily, so that He can increase (John 3:30). We cease from our human striving and follow God’s Spirit through every moment of every day (Galatians 5:16-25). However, our ultimate rest will be when we leave this sin-cursed world behind and live instead in the presence of God in glory (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Until then, we dwell in Christ as Christ abides in us. We die to sin with Christ and He raises us to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Living by the faith of the Son of God, we enjoy His love and redemption (Ephesians 5:2). He directs our paths, as we seek Him in everything we think, say and do (Proverbs 3:5-6). The peace of God rules in our hearts, dispelling all of our doubt and fears (Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us not to strive in life, but to submit our will to Yours each and every day. Help us to accomplish the works, which You prepared for us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). Bring people our way to whom we can share Your love and give us the boldness to proclaim Your truth to them.

Thought for the Day:
Yoke up with Jesus and find rest for your soul. – Matthew 11:29

God Did That!

God created the heavens and the earth. I know some of you do not believe me, but the gas, which caused the “big bang” had to come from some place. There has to be a Supreme Architect to create all of this finite order and to sustain life as we know it over all of these years.

For instance, take the orbits on the more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe alone. Galaxies are organized into a hierarchy, known as galaxy groups and clusters, which, in turn, usually form larger superclusters. Galaxies range from dwarfs, with as few as ten million stars, to giants with one hundred trillion stars, each perfectly orbiting their galaxy’s own sun, or center of mass. God did that.

God did not create a tree, a bush, a plant or a flower. He created an astronomical number of trees, bushes, plants and flowers. He did not simply create one type of each tree, bush, plant or flower, but He created thousands of species of most of them. Take the Palm Tree, for instance. There are 2600 currently known species of Palm Trees. God did that.

No one can say for sure how many species of sea shells God created. Let’s just look at the total number of living bivalve species, which is 9,200. These species are placed within 1,260 genera and 106 families. Marine bivalves represent about 8,000 species, combined in four subclasses and 99 families with 1,100 genera. The largest known salt water and brachish marine families are Veneridae, with more than 680 species, the Tellinidae and Lucinidae, each with over 500 species. The freshwater bivalves include seven families, the largest of which is the Unionidae with about 700 species. God did that.

Now, look at human beings. He could have created a bunch of blonde, blue eyed humans with no variation in size, shape, color or sex; but what would be the fun of that. There are no two human beings exactly alike. Even twins have slight variations, which allow their parents to tell them apart! God did that.

Prayer:
Father God, You are an astronomical God, who reigns with power, wisdom and majesty. Heaven is Your throne and the earth is Your footstool (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:48-49; Matthew 5:34-35). Even from your throne in heaven, You observe us in our finite lives, through You infinite power and love (Psalm 11:4). Although You are high and almighty, You still live in union with the one who is repentant and humble. You revive the spirit of the lowly and contrite (Isaiah 57:15). You fill the heavens and the earth and we love You with all of our being (Jeremiah 23:24).

Thought for the Day:
If God can do this and so much more, don’t you think it is possible to trust Him with your life?

Many thanks to Wikipedia for the facts and figures in this post.

Our Abba Father

Our Father God is kind, generous and loving (1 John 4:8). Paul called Him “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15), which means “Daddy”. We have this intimate relationship with God that is sweeter than the best of human fathers. I grew up in an abusive home. My bipolar father never got treatment and took his mood swings out on my mother, brothers and me. I was afraid of Father God in my early days of faith. I viewed Him as the terrifying, smoky vision presented as the wizard of Oz.

One day, as I entered God’s courts in praise and prayer, God reminded me about the little man behind the curtain in Oz, who actually controlled that smoking mask. God showed me that He is not a terrifying being, or selfish ruler of the universe, but the caring God who actually helps us to have faith and hope, and who provided our salvation through Christ. We enter His throne room without fear, and with confidence that He hears our prayers and works in our behalf (Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 3:12; 1 John 5:14).

Our Father God gives us an effectual, abundant life now, as well as later in heaven. He provides us with a myriad of blessings each and every day. He does not lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:13); but with each temptations presented to us by Satan or the world, God gives us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). He provides us with an abundant supply, safety and security as we look to Him to provide (James 4:2; Psalm 91). He gives us victory through Christ in us (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Satan accuses and torments us, but God gives every authentic Born Again Believer our identity in Christ as His beloved child (Revelation 12:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We are free from sin, and we are raised in Christ to live a new life, which is directed by God’s Spirit (Romans 6:4,10; Romans 8:14). We are God’s children and we fix our hope on Him as He perfects us (1 John 3:2-3). Every good and perfect gift in this life comes from Him (James 1:17). God abundantly meets all of our needs (Philippians 4:6,19).

Prayer:
Father God,
Thank you for renewing our mind and for perfecting us in holiness (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Remind us to walk in Your Spirit, so we do not fulfill the desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:16-25), because our flesh is dead and buried with Christ in baptism (Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Help us to shed Your light from within us on all of humanity around us, because they are dying in darkness and sin (Romans 5:8).

Thought for the Day:
What we do in the flesh does not make us who we are in the Spirit. God will transform our flesh to walk in newness of life.