“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NIV
These passages speak of the love God has for everyone. Not just when we are good or do what he wants. But everyone and all the time. He does not want anyone ever to perish. He gave his one and only son to be born so that he could die a humiliating, horrible death so that nobody would have to die. We all deserve death because we’ve all sinned. But he died for us. That is real love. He is a perfect and holy God who cannot dwell among sin. They made a way for us to be together with them for eternity in heaven. But they also gave us free will, to be able to choose just what we want. They have made it very clear what they want. They have given us their own words written just for us to help us know them. They have given us a gift. Just like every gift you have ever been given, it is free. You have to do nothing but accept it. It takes faith to accept it because it is not something you can see or feel. We have to believe we have it. With that gift comes the promises that they will help us. Once we believe, we need to practice what we believe. We will turn away from sin. We are no longer a slave to sin but are made new. Many people choose to believe the parts of the Bible they like. It is historically accurate and has been proven to be true. If it is true, it is to be believed. All of it. If we believe all the good things like how much God knows us and loves us, knowing our every thought and always wanting what is best for us. Then we ought to believe when he tells us not to do something. Sin is not just wrong, it is not good for us if it brings eternal death. He has warned us time and time again. But this is one thing he doesn’t have control over. We do though. So nobody can say that a righteous God would not send someone to hell. He doesn’t. But we do by not believing and obeying. We have the final say over our actions. We can use any excuse we want, but not doing his will puts it on us. He is a very loving and just God. He tells us in his word how to be blessed. He tells us he to have a full and abundant life. How to have fullness of joy bubbling over in our lives. He wants what every good father wants for his children. The best. Every parent will do everything they can to see their children happy, healthy, and safe and sometimes say ‘no’. If what they want is not best for them. Shouldn’t we be glad to do things that will bring joy, happiness, and blessings.
What can we do to have a good and abundant life?
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1John 7-8 NIV
It is very important to have fellowship with others. Some of the best relationships I have are with other Christians. I believe we can be real with each other and gain so much from each other. But the best thing we can do for any relationship is spend time with our Heavenly Father. I know that my relationship with God has grown so much in the last six years. I love to spend time with him. I can spend time lounging in bed in the mornings and just talking about everyone and everything that is important to me. I know I can spend over an hour because my mind wanders. That isn’t always bad. Sometimes I will think of things I need to do that particular morning, but sometimes God will give me something to write about or something I need to do. (A divine assignment ) I can have a physical problem that I’m worrying about and he will give me a great idea of something to try. Or something I can do for someone. I love these times. Everyone must think I’m lazy but curled up in bed with my best friend is the best part of my day. Then when I do get up I’m sharp and ready to go. I can hit the floor running, or rolling for me. Like this morning I saw several things I needed to do right off. Spending that quality time with God makes me a better person. The love God has for me is bubbling up inside of me and I know he has that same love for everyone else. That makes me want to have that same kind of love. Just because I read my Bible and the knowledge of Gods love is inside me, I didn’t really know it until my relationship grew. Now I see and feel his love because we are so close. Just like any relationship it takes time of talking about important issues. It is so easy to do the polite chit chat and not really know someone. But to me, everyone has the potential to be a new great friend. Even though I know I may never see them again I want them to know I care about them and wish them well. Even a couple well chosen words can say so much. It is hard for me to talk to some people because I don’t speak very loud or distinctly. But I try real hard to use gestures and emotions to help my words. My smile is a big thing I always want to give away. The more time I spend with God, the more I will be like him. I know myself, I still make judgments of others. Someone can do or say something and I assume. That is sin and I confess that one a lot. I do not know the shoes they’ve walked in and I want to be understanding but I need God’s help. We all do.
What can you do or who can you talk to today?
“I have told you this so my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 NIV
There is a misunderstanding among most people and it keeps them from God. God just doesn’t want you to have a joyful life. It is his job to keep you in line and fill you with many good deeds to do that will keep you oppressed. The minute you become a Christian you must give up so much. Most people know they just can’t give up so much, too much to have a good life. This is not correct and not how it is. God has come to give you life, a full and rewarding life. In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy. You can never find real joy without God. Inside everyone is a hunger that is just dying to be filled. People spend their entire lives trying to fill this need. They try love relationships, drugs, alcohol, money, fame, knowledge and so many things that can’t do it. They want love and acceptance, something only God can give. God loves everyone perfectly because he made them. He designed them just how they are and only God knows why they are who they are because he sees everything. He wants to help them. He has told us to cast our cares on him and he meant it. It is easy to give things to him and to ask forgiveness but we don’t always let him keep it. We continue to assume that we must help. It is up to us to prove we deserve forgiveness . No one deserves forgiveness. He does it only because he loves us. We are hopeless on our own and unable to do anything good. We can not do it without him. The joy of the Lord is our strength. He makes us strong. The more we know him, the more we understand. We need to know who he is and all that he has promised us. As we see that he does do what he says we are encouraged. I began the big search when I had my stroke. I had tried most things to make you happy but I wanted a full life. I had been raised in church so I started with what I knew. I also met a woman that talked about Jesus like he was a very close friend. I read everything i could get my hands on. I spent a lot of money at second hand stores buying books about God. I also joined a great church and got to know so many great people. As I began to read my Bible and spend time in prayer I began to feel that love and acceptance. The more time I spent with God and Christian friends the better I felt. I would sit outside and listen to praise music. One day I really listened to the words that meant so much. I learned so much about God through these songs. There is so much power in worship. I started living a life full of gratitude. God has done so much over my 60 years. I decided I am where I’m supposed to be and I was going to be joyful. I do everything with joy and enjoy being joyful. It is a choice you can make. You can choose to be grumpy too. I continually smile at others. I couldn’t do it on my own but he is always with me.
Do you want pure and perfect joy?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Jesus wanted us to be ready. He does care about us every minute. Life can be hard at times. I have been dealing with others struggles lately. Please God help them. Why? Struggles come in so many different ways. Our lives can’t and won’t be perfect. But we can have peace always, but this is up to you. Our attitude is very important. What do you do when troubles comes? First you need to believe that God really does love you and he does have a plan. Everything will be used for your good. That may sound so impossible, right? I know myself that some of my greatest fears, struggles, and pains have turned me into a better, stronger person. My stroke tops the list of tough times and it is also what caused some of the greatest growth in my life. I am so very happy with where I am now in my relationship with God. No way I would be there but through my stroke. I used to have severe leg cramps. For over four years I suffered in pain and cried a lot. Number one truth – God gave me the strength to endure. Number two truth – he held my hand all through it. Number three truth – i am so much stronger. I don’t even notice little cramps any more. Cramps that hurt before I can almost ignore. Number four truth – I’ve learned to focus only on the good things and there are so many. I see that he is always blessing me and am always thanking him. I know my God better and I trust him always. Some things we can do when troubled be trials. Pray, read about God, listen to praise music, and do something for someone else. The biggest problem solver I have found is gratitude. I can spend just five minutes of my time thanking God and I feel great. I don’t care what I am going through it helps. Another help is something I learned this week. Look at a beautiful rose. Long stems come with many sharp thorns but out of them grows a beautiful bud. Slowly opening so majestically. Do you know something else? Jesus wore a crown of thorns for each of us as he hung on that cross one Friday. He did it for us, so we could have eternal life with him and never be apart. If he did that willingly for me I can handle so much more. He would do it all over again if he had to. But God said it is finished. That simple sacrifice has done so much. So never grow tired of all life throws at you, because in the end there is an eternal reward that is so worth it.
Are you feeling trials or pain?
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 1 Corinthians 29:11 NIV
Lord you are so wonderful. Your ways are so good. I am just so grateful you have blessed me so for all of my 60 years. I look at the world around me and it does shout of your glory. You made a masterpiece for us to enjoy each day and I will never take that for granted. I love that you plopped me down in beautiful Arizona. From the beautiful sunsets to the cool tall pines. I could never see it all. Yesterday I got to enjoy our botanical gardens and it was a perfect, sunny, 72 degree day. I saw so many cacti so different and unique. Small to large and some really weird and prehistoric looking plants. Nothing average or boring. You are creative. They had a wonderful butterfly exhibit. I really enjoyed going through this enclosure. I saw thousands of butterflies everywhere. Up close they are so delicate and lovely. They were flying all around me and landing on me. From a huge monarch to tiny little ones. So much to enjoy in this world. The people you have sent into my life, I choose to enjoy each and every one. Friends, family, and those I don’t know yet but long to know better. You have helped me learn the importance of being grateful. Every morning even before I open my eyes, I can come to you and say thank you. A bright new day, maybe cool, or warm, rainy, windy, or snowy(which I sure miss). So much goes into the upkeep of this great planet but you do it effortlessly, because, you designed it so well. You thought of absolutely everything. Scientists try to know things, and they have come quite a long way thanks to you. They will never begin to discover all that you know. Your plans for us are so good. I really enjoy that you sent me to a church that I just love. It is beautiful and it is so good at finding needs and filling them. I am right in the center of what you are doing. You use me even though I am nothing special, just your daughter, and that’s more than enough. I have seen so many answered prayers and you work in some awesome ways. Everyone I meet is made in your own image and I know that you love them, and that you died for them. Help me to see them with your eyes. Thank you so very much.
Do you take the time to be grateful?
“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Proverbs 18:10 NIV
What’s in a name? Oh, the precious name of Jesus. The sweetest name I know. My God, the creator of Heaven and earth, the one true God. I have been made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ. I can run to God whenever. He is all that I need and all that I want. Our God has many names and with those names many attributes. God is so efficient that just one name doesn’t begin to describe him. Everlasting Father, he is and was and always will be more than we could ever need. He is with us every minute even until the end of time. Alpha and omega, first and the last, the beginning and the end. This is such a comforting feeling. He is there for us always. Adonai, owner of all. Everything is Gods, everything that was ever made was made by God just for us. God is so good. Holy one, Yahweh, I am, Jehovah, Mighty God, El Shadai, The Word, Messiah, the Light of the world, Cornerstone , Prince of peace, Holy Spirit, Comforter, Creator, Emmanuel, Bread of Life, Savior, Jesus Christ, Yahweh Rapha, Yahweh Nissi, Yahweh Jirah, El Oh Lamb El El Roi, El Quanna, Yahweh Shalom, Yahweh Shammah, Yahweh Roha and so many more. But he is alive and not dead. He is in charge. Everything he says he does, he does. He doesn’t depend on me to do anything on my own. No great things that I must do to make him love me. To prove that I deserve anything. He just asks that I love, and obey him. Which is in my best interests anyway. He always hears me and always answers me. There has never been a god like him, nor will there ever be. He does deserve the highest praise for all he is and does. Many gods claim to do much with no proof. Gods of healing, fertility and abundance, but do they really do anything. They don’t ask us to love others, or even be a selfless loving human being. Someone who can and will make this a better world for all. He is everything we claim him to be and more. I have a track record with him to prove it.
Do you know this amazing God?
“by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:20-23 NIV
We no longer are bound by the old covenant. We are free. Jesus paid a very high price for our freedom. By his death on the cross and God’s having raised him from the dead those chains were broken. There is a new way. What wonderful grace! The early believers in God were required to do so much because they were sinners. Always trying to be something they just couldn’t be. To do just the right things. I don’t think it could be done. At least not completely. The priests were our go between. Between us and a Holy God. They approached God for the people with sacrifices and prayers to somehow make us right. The most holy place was where the chosen priest went alone to talk with God on our behalf. When Jesus died the curtain that separated that room was torn into from top down. Showing that this was no longer necessary. God was saying, ” it is no more, there is a new way, Jesus has paid it all.” With the tearing of that curtain by the hand of God we no longer have to go through a priest. We have direct access to the Father through his son. I had someone explain that to me real well. There was a little boy named Johnny, he was having a problem. His friend Dave said he could help. He would take him to see the president surely he could help. They walked right in to the White House and directly before the president. No one even tried to stop them. Not even once. You see what Johnny didn’t know was that Dave was the presidents son. The president would do anything for him. Everyone new he had direct access to his dad at any time. If we come to our Heavenly Father through his one and only precious son God will do whatever we ask. If our hearts are right and we do his will he sees us just as he sees his son. We are that important. You do not have to fear that you don’t measure up or that God is mad or upset with you. He sees you and loves you unconditionally. No other God ever created ever deserved that kind of love and respect. But our God has earned it by over and over proving who he is. All the great things ever said about him don’t even come close. I get so choked up at times just enjoying his goodness to me. One little old lady that is nothing special. But i can be bold in my confidence in him. And I will be, because he has never let us down and he never will.
Do you know that he wants you to come to him for everything?