“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 NIV
What is Jesus trying to tell us? We know that we need to grow. We can’t stay babies forever. But what Jesus is saying refers to the attitude of our hearts. Something that is very important to God but nonsense to man. Let’s look at a child. They completely trust their parents. To feed them whenever they are hungry, and change them whenever they are wet. Do whatever it takes to keep them safe and comfortable. They know their parents love them no matter what. They are quite comfortable saying just how they feel. There is nothing they can’t ask for. They may not get everything they want , but it won’t hurt to ask. They look up to their parents. They are everything in their eyes. They assume they can do anything. All power is theirs. My dad is better than your dad. They say it and mean it. These are things that God is. God wants us to feel that way about him. We need to get to know God so that we know what and who he is. Once we get to know him we see how capable he is. He is the master of perfect love. No one can love like God does. Everyone will let us down at one time or another. A parent may miss your big day because they have to work. But God is always there. He is always proud of you when you try. Because he loves unconditionally. A parent can get upset when you get bad grades or act up. God just wants to bless you. And he will bless you. He is working on your behalf every minute. He is not wanting you to be rich or famous. But to be the best you can be. To love others and to be loved by others. He is more interested with what you do with your money then how much you have. His power is enough. He can and will meet your needs. Nothing is impossible if you believe. He wants you to come to him confidently. He will honor this. He is a big deal, and he loves it when you see this. Look at all he has made for us. This is a diverse planet and has so much to see of his handiwork. Such cute and unique animals and plants. It does not matter what the weather is right now because it’s always changing. Seasons come and go, so it’s always a great day to love the Lord for all he is.
Won’t you praise him for his excellent greatness?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
Love is God and love is perfect because God is perfect. How far do we fall short in this area? I know I try very hard to show love but cannot help but think bad thoughts when someone does or says something I don’t like or that isn’t correct. I live in a nursing home so most people just can’t help the way they act. They don’t always remember things either. But no one is perfect but God. He is the inventor and creator of pure love and that is how he loves everyone. I know he has shown me such perfect complete love. He once told me he loved me like his son David and David was a man after Gods heart. But he loves everyone that way, unconditionally. Not just me, but everyone, everywhere, each and every day for thousands of years. Now that’s billions. We’re all his favorites. I watched a show last night about different women who overcame hard pasts to become courageous women of God. It was that overpowering great love of God that accepts us right where we are and showers us with love that we could never get anywhere else. But a love that is so strong that it can completely transform lives. A love that you can trust so much and want so much to be like. I don’t know if you have ever been a parent but there is no greater love than for that little life you helped bring into the world. As your child grows it just grows deeper. You would die for that life. Don’t mess with one of my kids or you will pay. A mother is like a bear protecting her cubs. With a fierce love. Our God’s love can not be equaled. Just look at the awesome world he gave us. The many different wonders we can only begin to explore. I know when I was married my husband felt safe if he never had to leave this country. I’ve missed so much. The fact that he let his one and only son go through so much at the hands of humans. Just so we could spend forever with him in paradise. It was the only way but what love. Lately I have been so blessed financially. I have very minimal money for disability so I am very cautious in my spending. My supplies like shampoo and soap just keep multiplying and I have used it for months. Or I will get a gift of something I really need. I wanted to buy a baby gift for a friend and I found out I had a large credit in my account so everything I needed was free. God always amazes me how all my needs are met. I am not the only one. I hear others tell me how he miraculously helped them and I get all choked up. Man he must be busy. I wish everyone could know the love I have found.
Have you felt that love?
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10 NIV
Once we have accepted Christ as our savior we are just beginning. We are no longer powerless and weak. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts and will be with us always. He is there to help us and to guide us. With his help you can do anything. You should join a good church, start reading the Bible, and pray regularly. These all help us get to know the God we serve. You want to grow your relationship. Any relationship takes work. Spending time getting to know Christ and his characteristics. When you get to know him you will want to keep his commands. While you are keeping his commands you will grow character and you will see fruit in your life. Fruit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and Faithfulness. If we don’t have fruit then we really aren’t changed. If there is no fruit then are we really saved? So many people say they are Christians but there is no fruit in there lives. Zero. But Christian means follower of Christ. Christ taught us to love and do good or show fruit. So to be a Christian you need to love and bear fruit. No fruit, no Jesus. It’s plain and simple. So do all you can to genuinely love others. Helping them in all their needs and encouraging them to be better people. This kind of fruit keeps growing in us and then in others. It never ends. Don’t be like the Pharisees. They knew the law and even made up some of their own but did not know Christ personally. They were not followers but wanted to be followed for who they were. They did not keep many of the laws themselves. They certainly did not love the less fortunate like Jesus did. He came to serve and they were too good to serve. A real servant serves not just those they like but serves those that can’t give anything in return. That’s true service.
Do you want to have fruit in your life?
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them, then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23 NIV
God is looking at the heart. What we truly are and think is deep inside of us. Where no one but God can see. We can come across one way on our outward positioning, but what’s in our hearts is the true person. God has called us to love all people better than ourselves. He has told us that whatever it takes, we should be at peace with all men. That’s tough! It takes a lot of patience to get along with even the best of people. It doesn’t take much to get under our skin. To rub us the wrong way. There is no way in and of ourselves. God has to open our eyes to the way he loves others. He loves with such passion no matter what someone looks or acts like. He looks deeper to the lonely scared child that just wants to be loved and accepted. This person is his. He wants us to be there for others. Brothers and sisters making it together. This is more important than offering things. Money, time, devotion come in second place to people. That is why he has called us to care for widows and orphans, sick and hungry, and those who can’t take care of themselves. We may be their only hope. God can do all things but he uses us. He has given us a privilege to be apart of his bigger plan. When he was on earth all manner of sick, both mental and physical, came to him, their only hope for help. They didn’t know if he could or would help but they had to try. And ,Jesus had compassion. He saw their very soul and every hurt they had and he loved them so. That is why he doesn’t like sin. Because they hurt his beloved children. Those that he greatly cares about. Things like adultery, murder, stealing. All commands affect others wellbeing or loving and honoring God. Love covers over every action. If we just love the way he tells us to do we will have it down. We can not change the way others act, try as we may. Their behavior is between them and God. But if we just take a deep breath and ask God for help we can be the best we can be. You never know how your actions will greatly affect others around you.
Will you see others through God’s eyes of compassion?
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it.” Jeremiah 17:9 NIV
I’ve heard it said many times, “just follow your heart.” Is that really good advice? The heart can be wrong. Remember we are fallen, sinful people. Our hearts are only as good as the stuff we put in them. Out of the heart the mouth speaks and it’s not all good. Maybe you were raised by an abusive alcoholic and knew hate. Or you have been belittled as a child and bullied. To the point that you hate yourself and don’t feel love or that you could ever love. Maybe you are tormented by thoughts of suicide. No hope and tired of hurting. No we can not understand everyone’s heart because we haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. But God can. He knows everyone and everything they’ve done and been through. He still loves them very much. They matter to him and he doesn’t want to see them hurting . If we seek to do the will of God he can and will show us how to help. The most important thing I have learned from the church I go to is to help people, especially the marginalized. Find a need and fill it. In doing that you are doing what Christ would do if he was here on earth. We are his hands and feet. He knows who needs help and he will show that to someone who cares. People need so many things. Food, a safe and warm bed, clothes for their family, a friend, sometimes it’s more complicated if the are addicted or homeless. But there are always ways to help them. Jesus is in the business of meeting needs. He wants us to be the same way. He also wants us to fuel our hearts with all good things to help us have good hearts. Things like praying, reading the Bible, and other positive and uplifting things like singing praises and listening to good music. Or watching good movies and programs. If the stuff getting into our hearts is good and wholesome, our hearts will be also. Have a desire to love others. Be deliberate in what you do and say. You can make a big difference in the world around you. You can make an impact.
What can you do or say to help?
“Am I now trying to win approval of human beings, or of God? If am I trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV
Motives. Motive is very important to God. He does not look at outward appearances but only to our hearts. So is that not the most important. In this busy world we live in we are trying so hard to be happy, but we also want to make others happy with us. No one wants others not to like us. We do things to please different people. But what is truly important? What are we called to do? Let’s look at Jesus because he is our perfect example, and who we should strive to be like every day. When he was alive here on earth he helped us see physically what God was like. He told us the most important thing was to love God with our whole being. Also we should love others, All others better than ourselves. Two of the greatest commandments. Now Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer and telling us God’s ways. So we know prayer and reading the Bible are important for a good relationship with God. He did everything out of love and compassion for others, but not everyone accepted him and loved him back. The religious leaders did not like him. If Jesus, a perfect man, could not please everyone all the time then how can we? All we can try to do is to please God, first and foremost. And love everyone. Some people like friends and family are easy to love but not everyone. Maybe they are poor, homeless, or handicapped, of different nationalities or rich and famous. They are still part of the all people group and God will help us to love and respect them, because he loves them. They are important to him. We should not be people pleaser’s but God pleaser’s. If we please he then we will also be pleasing to others. We can’t please everyone so don’t try. I am performing for an audience of one, God. Doing that helps others and myself. Doing things for myself helps with my attitude. Getting plenty of rest, eating right and doing nice things for myself helps me to be all that I can be for God.
Who are you trying to please?
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” Psalms 103:17&18 NIV
What a wonderful promise. Let’s break this down so we can understand better just what he is saying. He has always shown love to his children. But he says those who fear him. Does that make sense? We don’t actually fear him. We need to greatly respect and revere him and all that he is. He is to be looked up to for his might and awesome power. When we humbly fear him he will look out for us and our children. As a parent he understands how we want the very best for our children. We want them to be healthy, wise, and happy with the life God has given them. But read on and you will see an if. We have to do our part. This does not come by doing nothing. If we do something he will in turn do something. He has asked us to keep his covenant and obey his precepts. This is not much to expect from us for all he does for us. There are so many things he does for us just because he loves us. We need to love him in the same way. It is not hard and he offers to help us so no excuses. Let’s say if you write me a story I will pay you $20. Well that sounds great but what will you write about? You get no help it’s all up to you. That might not be so easy after all. But God always offers us help. He has said come to me and ask for wisdom. He will give it to everyone. If you just ask it’s yours. Then you need to take him up on his offer and ask. It’s so easy if you just seek him first. Along with his love he offers so much. Good will come to you. Bad health problems will stay away from you. You will be the head and not the tail. You will be strong. You will be wise. You will find favor among men. Your prayers will be answered. No negative things will come against you. Not emotionally, not mentally, not physically or spiritually. No negative thoughts will come against you. Past hurts and problems will cease. You are surrounded by miracles. You will have power you never knew before. I don’t know about you but this sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Talk to him, worship him, hang out with like-minded people, and read his words. That gives you wisdom.
Don’t you want to be loved so lavishly?
” And God said, “Let there be Light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 NIV
This one short phrase really says so much. In the very beginning ALL was dark, and there was nothing. When God said this God was very aware of our need for him. We were never meant to live apart from him. In the beginning he walked in the garden with the man and the woman, sharing all he had with them. It was never about us, but everything he can do for us. He made a perfect garden far better than any man could create. The animals he created are more beautiful and unique, but everyone of them has a purpose in this world. They are made just for the environment they were created to live in. Whether it be cold or warm, and flat or rocky. I do not know how you can look at some of these wonders and not think about their creator. Jesus is the light of the world and God is light, in him there is no darkness. Without him there would be nothing. Contrary to many so called wise men who say, “The Earth just happened.” In all its unique perfection and purpose. This is so far from anything that has happened and there would be no way to prove it. We all know man is far from perfect, and to just grasp at straws proves it. The Light of the World spoke and things happened. Amazing and awesome things happened. Their abilities of greatness and wisdom are evident. Everything was taken into consideration. How would the plants be watered? What would the people eat? In the very beginning the world was perfect. Man didn’t need clothes because the climate was moderate. Everyone ate plants and there was no death. Everything they could ever want was available. God has called us to be his light to the world. We are anticipating Jesus great return, but Jesus is waiting for his people to stand up and be that light and be victorious. He has called us to be salt. What this world desperately needs. So many people have become complacent, thinking that the world is just going to get worse. That it’s just too late. But Jesus has asked us to continue sharing the gospel to all till he does return. And we don’t know when that time will come. Tomorrow you may change someone’s thinking by the love you share and they could be saved. If we just give up how will we know just who might have been saved from death. It can be something very simple that finally gets through to them. So don’t give up. Continue to speak hope and love. So many people just don’t know that there is hope or that they are loved. We should never stop being light because this is such a dark time. Even some who call themselves Christians, just do not know the hope that is set before us.
What can you do to be light?
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV
This week was my yearly vacation to Special Touch Camp. Each year people with disabilities, whether cognitive or physical get to go to a Christ centered camp where for five days we get to do great things that we don’t normally get to do. If you have any handicaps and want to go where you are loved unconditionally and get to do many exciting and different things, I highly recommend it. My favorite is soaking in the hot tub and just relaxing. It is not easy getting me in or out, but whatever you want they make it happen. One year I rode a zip line through the trees and landing in the lake. This year a friend of mine went on the screaming swing, where they pull you way up in the air and let you go screaming all the way. We play games, do crafts, sing, hear great messages and eat great food. Everyone there loves God and loves to serve others. This week we talked about how we are made so perfectly and uniquely. God never makes anything poorly and we are perfect. No two people are alike and we are so loved. At one of the services the pastor gave out beautiful flowers, all different and unique. It made me remember one morning as I sat in the patio praying I had a vision, because I was awake but I saw a beautiful field of millions of different flowers . God told me that is how he sees the people he has made. It doesn’t matter if we have handicaps, addictions, or problems. No matter your color, nationality, or difference God sees you just how he made you. Whatever potential he sees in us makes him smile. Of everything he ever created we are his best work. Created just like him to think, reason and to do great things. He knows the beginning from the end. Though I once made big mistakes he saw just what I would become and do for him. We are all a messed up bunch having our own needs and wants. When we stop worrying about ourselves and start worrying about others and their needs, that’s when God can start meeting our needs beyond our expectations. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God put in my DNA everything I would ever need to fulfill his purposes for me. I may be in a wheelchair, unable to walk or stand,and to even care for myself. I can’t speak clearly but he has enabled me to do great things for him. Right where he has placed me he has given me many assignments and let me change lives.
Do you know how perfect and wonderful you are?
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I am awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18 NIV
God delights in us, his love for us will never fail. He made us for greatness on purpose and he thinks about us continually. When you have something like that on your side you have hope. This is a difficult life we live. We need someone who loves us unconditionally that will always be there for us. Even though we won’t always be there for ourselves. We are not perfect like God. We can get mad at ourselves , put ourselves down, and even lie to ourselves. God will not. You can not be happy until you have this unconditional love God gives. I see so much complaining and anger from people. People can be very selfish, thinking first and foremost of themselves. They even expect others to fulfill them and make them happy. Of course they can’t and it only angers people. There is something inside us from the time we are born that is searching for that unconditional love. Even if we find that for a time with a loved one, there will come a day when they will let us down and prove to be imperfect. Someone can love you but it is not their job to make you happy. Only a perfect God can do that. He wants to do that. But we do have to come to him first. Until you are finally loved unconditionally by God and following him. Doing his will, his way, you can not be truly happy. Until you are it is going to be difficult to get along with others, who are like yourself, imperfect. I am a very happy person and care very much about the people I come in contact with and try to be pleasant and helpful. But I wasn’t always that way. Things could easily bother me and upset me. I knew God all of my life but I didn’t really know him. I made it very personal in 2013 when I began to search for the Lord with my whole heart. The more I read my Bible and prayed the better I got to know him and how much he loved me. For the last year I have been reading a daily devotional called, ‘Letters From God’ by Ivan Tait. I love this book because it tells me some of the many thoughts God has for me and it is so empowering. Knowing how God sees you and all he has for you can fill you. The more love I get from God, the more love I have to give others. When you love God and yourself you can’t help but love others. God says to love others as yourself. But what if you cant love yourself? Until you know how unconditionally you are loved you can’t. You will try to earn that love and no one but God can give it.
Do you know just how much God loves you?