God Delights in You

“The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

Truth:  God delights in you

We all long to be delighted in — to have someone who knows us and enjoys us completely.  There is that deep craving to be truly loved.  The Lord put those desires within us.  He wants to be the one to meet those needs and fill those places.  Blaise Pascal called this the God-shaped vacuum.  No one but God can fill that deep place within you.

On Sunday, I had the joy and privilege of spending time with my friend’s precious son.  He is 2 and full of energy, joy and wonder.  His words are new and often hard to understand, but he communicates so enthusiastically.  I found myself hanging on his words longing to know what he wanted me to know.  We kicked a soccer ball over and over again.  Each time his face lit up with joy.  I felt genuine joy in his joy.  My heart felt full of love for this boy.  I delighted in him.

My delight in Lleyton is just a glimpse of God’s delight in you.  God’s love is perfect.  His experience of emotions are much greater than you or I could ever comprehend.  God displays His heart for you so beautifully in these words of Zephaniah:  “He takes great delight in you!”.

Today, take a moment to reflect on the fact that God delights in you.  He longs to hear your heart, all the words of your heart.  He desires to look into your face, to tell you that you are beautiful and that He has a good plan for your life. God longs to pour out His love into your heart. When He sees you, He feels joy — joy that burst into singing.  That is true love my friend.

You Are Free

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, ESV).

Truth:  You are free from the law of sin and death

As Americans, we take freedom for granted, especially in my generation.  We have not fought the wars to preserve the freedom; we have never experienced anything but freedom.  Despite the freedom afforded us as Americans, many of us do not live truly free.

Instead, we live in bondage to addictions, to past hurts and abuses, to fears, to the many expectations of the world and others.  This list could run endlessly as we serve so many things and people besides God.  The bible calls these things and people idols.  Worship of idols does not lead to freedom but to slavery.

Worship of the Lord leads to freedom.  When we give our lives to the Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit.  That Holy Spirit takes residence within us and sets us free from the law of sin and death.  The Holy Spirit is the sign that we have Christ’s blood covering all of our sins.  Because we could not uphold the law, Christ did it for us.  His perfect obedience is now ours and that Holy Spirit is the proof within us.

You are free to live as God’s accepted, forgiven and loved child.  Can you give up the idols and the slavery and embrace the freedom that has been given to you?  It is a gift.  It is a gift that leads to life, a life in which God will be known and glorified.  Do you want to be free?

God Is For You

“What then shall we say?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31, ESV)

Truth:  God is for you

Looking for empowerment today?  Reassurance of God’s love for you?  Turn to Romans 8. In this chapter, we read how God has done everything for us to be in relationship with himself.  He gave his only Son for us, demonstrating that he will provide us with all that we need.  God, the one who could condemn us, is the one who justifies us through his Son.  In fact, Jesus sits at his right hand of the Father and intercedes for us or pleads for us.

Later in the chapter, Paul poses the question:  “Who can separate us from the love of God?” Us!  It is time to realize that God is not that demanding, unsatisfied being in the sky who is always looking for our sin, failings and mistakes. Instead, He is the One who has provided the perfect payment for our sin.  Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, God sees us as righteous.  Jesus’ righteousness is given to us.  We have the choice to see ourselves as God sees us.

God is for you!  Choose to see His work on your behalf; choose to activate it in your life; choose to believe that you are loved and accepted.  Allow the truth to wash over you.  Say the words over and over until they are real in your thinking. God sees you as holy, righteous, beautiful, as his beloved daughter.  Just as the earthy father longs to care for his daughter, God longs to perfectly care for you!

Unconditionally Loved

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Truth:  I am receiving the unconditional love of God

God’s love is not something we have earned. In fact, his love was given while we were still sinners.  He sees every act we have done, will do, every thought, every intention.  He sees directly into our hearts, minds and lives and knows all things — things we have hidden and things we have revealed.

Here is the awesome truth we must understand.  With all of his perfect knowledge of us, he loves us!  Unlike much of the earthly love we have experienced, his love is unconditional.

What does that mean for you and for me?  We are called to rest in God’s unconditional love.  Striving won’t make his love greater.  Resting, believing, trusting, hoping in that love — that is your call and my call in life.  Then, we take that unconditional love of God to others.

 

You Are of Value to God

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).

Truth:  I am of value to God (taken from “The I Am Book” by Susan Eaves)

Sparrows were considered the smallest of God’s creation and the penny was the least valuable of the Roman coins just as they are in our coin system today.  So God is telling us that He is sovereign over all things and that things of little importance to us are under His care and control.  To that extent, the number of hairs on your head are numberered by God.

God is not like us.  He knows us completely, cares for us to the last detail (hairs on our heads) and values us.  If He values the sparrows enough to know when they fall, can you imagine the care He has for you?  You are of much greater value to God than the sparrow.

Ladies, if God has taken the time to count the hairs on your head, do you not think He tenderly cares for the cares and concerns that you bear right now? He knows all your suffering; He knows your hopes, your fears, your heartaches, your needs.  He knows all things about you including your deepest, darkest secrets and shame.  With His perfect knowledge and understanding, He speaks His words to you:  you are of value to God.

Will you rest in that truth today allowing God to define your value instead of your weight, performance, children, beauty, financial situation?  His words are truth.  Choose truth today and reject the lie that value is something to be earned.  Value is yours because you are a daughter of the King!

What Defines You?

The great debate began for me the day before our half marathon – wear the Garmin watch or not.  Part of me wanted to run free, free of numbers, times, distances.  Part of me wanted to make sure that I was running smart, and the other part of me wanted to make sure that I was running fast.  I had a goal time.  In order to reach that goal, I had to maintain a certain pace.  Minutes before walking out to the race, I put on the Garmin.  Freedom is not something I am especially good at; that morning, freedom was too risky!

Throughout the race, I was delighted by the awesome scenery and the supportive crowds cheering us on.  The crowds’ cheers made me feel like a champion.  Despite that, I found myself constantly looking down at that Garmin watch to see if I was performing up to my standard.  Most of the race, I was disappointed in my pace realizing that I was not on track to meet my goal. Occasionally, I was pleased with myself feeling like I was measuring up, but that never lasted long as I saw my goal become more and more unattainable.

In the Donna marathon and half marathon, the last bridge is the final great hurdle.  As you run, it feels like you are headed up — forever.  I was struggling, struggling not just to keep pace but struggling to keep going.  In the midst of that struggle, I kept looking at the Garmin.  At this point, I knew that I wouldn’t reach my race goal.  Knowing that, how did I press on with the race?  Everything within me said, “you failed, walk, quit.  This hurts too much.  You didn’t make the goal so why continue the torture of this climb.”  There was a silent battle going on inside of my mind.

In the midst of that silent battle, God asked me a question:  “What defines you?”  Does this race define you?  If you make the goal, are you then good enough?  I wrestled with this question and began doing some soul searching of the many ways I have defined myself:  athlete, coach, mother, wife.  The list can go on and on as I have sought to prove my worth as a person through my performance.  On that bridge, God asked if I could let Him define me.  God asked if I could take my goals and entrust them to Him.  He had the audacity to even ask for my race.  Struggling, I had no other option but to give it to Him.

That decision to give God the race was the highlight of my run.  God came alongside of me and assured me that I had met the goal, His goal, for my race.  He was able and willing to define me.  Fortunately, His definition was so much greater than my goal time.  I was flooded with peace.  My bodily challenge did not go away.  The bridge remained and there was still another mile to run once that bridge was crossed. But, I ran differently.  I didn’t look at the Garmin anymore.  I kept talking to my daddy, the one who chose me, loved me and defined me.

A man had running in front of me just within my view for many miles.  On the back of his shirt was the sign of the Christian fish with the cross in it.  The top of the shirt posed the question:  “Why do you run?”  I smiled and told God that I run because I can feel His presence when I do.  It is a gift, and I am called to run with freedom and joy in the race that is set before me.

Our training group had just concluded a Bible study on Ephesians the day before the race.  As I looked back on that book of the Bible, I read chapter 2 verses 8 and 9 with new understanding:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

All I am and all I have is a gift from God.  Whether I meet my half marathon goal of not, I am still “his workmanship” or as the New Living translation writes, “his masterpiece”.  What an amazing way to have God describe me!  When I talked to my children about what this means, each had wonderful thoughts to share.  My youngest child, Saxon, had a great insight at the end of our conversation:  “Mom, we are awesomely made!”  My heart swelled.  Saxon got it.  We are awesomely made and we are awesomely loved.

Now, if I can live as if that were true.  No race should define me.  My appearance does not define me.  My performance does not define me.  All the good things in my life do not define me.  God defines me.  He is the Creator; He is the King.  That Creator and King decided to call me his daughter.  In fact, I am His masterpiece!

The Abundant Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”   John 10:10

 

I grew up on Mick Jaggar’s song “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”.  Mick didn’t seem to experience satisfaction in life so why could I expect to?  He was the famous one living a life of fame, wealth and privilege.  If his life was lacking, how could I expect more for myself?

I think these words ring true for far too many of us today.  We live surviving, and we think that is the way it is supposed to be.  I believe that Jesus’ words in John 10:10 say something else.  Jesus came to bring us life–abundant life.

Does abundance equal satisfaction?  What I have found for myself and for the many women with whom I have worked over the years is that we have holes in our hearts.  Blaise Pascal called these holes “God shaped vacuums”.  In our desperation to find meaning in life, purpose, peace, we seek to fill these holes or vacuums.  It is like the young child trying to fit that piece in the puzzle.  She tries each and every piece except the one that fits.  That certainly has been the story of my life.  I have tried to fill my “God shaped vacuum” with everything:  performance, money, success, a husband, children, food, alcohol, shopping, affirmation.  Sadly, the list could go on for days.  Like the frustrated child, I have found that while those things brought a temporary fit or filling, they never truly filled the void.  The puzzle piece just wouldn’t stay; it didn’t look right and it definitely didn’t feel right.  My hole was still there.  My hole hurt!

When I look back to the passage in John, Jesus had been teaching about the sheep and the good shepherd (John 10:11).  I understand that there are many things and people in life who make promises.  These things or people try to fill the vacuum, but they fall short.  Instead of satisfying, they rob me of peace and purpose.  These are the thieves.  The thieves are different in each person’s life.  Now, I understand why “I can’t get no satisfaction” — I am not looking to the true shepherd (John 10:11)!

The call of Jesus is to follow the true shepherd.  He is the true shepherd.  He is the answer to our God-shaped vacuum.  The path to abundance is one of trust, surrender and faith.  When I follow the Good Shepherd, life may not always be easy, but it is full, full of God’s promises, provision and His wonderful plans of redemption and purpose.  It is in His plan that I find the satisfaction, the abundance that I seek.  It is here that I learn to thrive instead of survive.

More Than A Conqueror

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Truth:  You are more than a conqueror
We live in a day of victimhood.  It is so easy to defer responsibility to the government, the authorities in our lives, the sins against us…add your own.  This is our list of all the reasons why we are stuck, depressed, defeated, addicted, unhappy, discontent.  God does not want us to live this way.  Yes, the Lord understands that life is hard.  Sin is alive and well and is a very powerful force in our lives.  The good news is that God is also alive and well and is much more powerful than any force that comes against us.  The even better news is that God will give us His power to overcome all these things.  God’s intent is for us to live as more than conquerors.  See, he will not just help us overcome, he will empower us to conquer.  “More than conquerors” means that once we have overcome, we can enjoy the blessings of the conquest.
What do you need to overcome today?  It can be a mindset, a sin against you, an addiction, whatever hinders you from living in the love of God and the power of God.  When you move into the negative self-talk, turn your eyes to him who loves you and hear his message:  you are more than a conqueror through him who loved us.  With him and through his mighty power, you can overcome.  Victim no more!

More Than A Conqueror

More than a conqueror, Thro’ the mighty God,
More than a conqueror, By the cleansing blood;
More than a conqueror, Walking in the light,
More than a conqueror, Reigning day and night.

More than a conqueror, By the living Lord,
More than a conqueror, Standing on his Word;
More than a conqueror, Happy on the way,
More than a conqueror, Till my dying day.

More than a conqueror, In the battle’s din,
More than a conqueror, Over every sin;
More than a conqueror, At the trumpet call,
More than a conqueror, Victor over all.

More than a conqueror, While I live below,
More than a conqueror, Over every foe;
More than a conqueror, Ever shall I be,
More than a conqueror, Thro’ eternity.

 by D.O. Teasley

God Cares For You!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Truth: God cares for you

 “Nobody cares — nobody cares how I feel, what I think, or what I want right now.”  We have all heard those words, likely from our children. We have all said those words or at least have thought them to ourselves.  There are many times when it feels like nobody cares. That is a lonely and frustrating feeling because challenges are real, and we all face them each and every day.
In contrast to how we feel, today’s truth tells us a different story.  God cares!  He cares about every detail of our lives.  He knows our anxieties, fears, hurts.  In fact, he tells us to cast our anxieties on him.  God doesn’t want us carrying them alone; he knows they are too much for us.
God cares and he longs to come alongside of you, to love you, support you, provide for you.  The key is looking to him.  God is good.  God is powerful.  God not only cares for you but has the power to work for you, in you and through you.  Claim God’s truth for yourself today — God cares for you!

You are a temple, a dwelling place of God

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).”
Truth:  You are a temple — a dwelling place — of God.  His Spirit and His life dwell in you (taken from Victory Over Darkness by Neil T. Anderson).
We have been talking about our value for the past week of Lent and learning to take our thoughts captive so to replace negative thoughts about ourselves with God’s truth.  Here is a mind-boggling truth — the very person of God lives within you!
In the Old Testament, the temple was the place where the people of God came to worship, to meet with God; it was the dwelling place of God.  Today, the people of God, are that temple. God dwells in you!  That is of ultimate value; thus, you are of ultimate value.