Love

God IS Love

Have you ever crossed paths with a person who believes in God; However, their “idea” of who God is- in nature is similar to that of a dictator? They have this idea of God sitting on His throne, high up in the Heavenly sky, separated from the World. From the beginning of time He has been forcing upon us His laws, taking account of every wrong committed and holding all of humanity accountable for their sins. The most powerful dictator to reign is deciding who, what, when, where and how His wrath and judgement will be brought down upon the Earth. Do you know someone with those “ideas”?  Maybe you even agree that GOD is a dictator, rather than your Heavenly Father, whose LOVE for you is perfect.

This “idea” must cause a disconnect internally and spiritually in the hearts and minds of many people and hindered so many of our brother’s and sister’s in Christ from walking in TRUTH, POWER, COMPLETENESS and FREEDOM, all benefits to us out of God’s love!  While these “ideas” may be in part correct; they are NOT necessarily TRUTH. We know from scripture that God is sitting on His throne, reigning high in the Heavens (Isaiah 66:1), sin does separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and we will be held accountable for our sins on the day of judgement (Proverbs 29:26; Hebrews 9:27): BUT GOD who SO LOVED THE WORLD, He gave His only son Jesus (the perfect sacrifice), to pay the ultimate price for all sin, so that ANYONE who believes in Him will NOT die, but have everlasting LIFE! (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).

The barrier between God and man, symbolized by the veil over the Holy of Holies, is ripped by God from top to bottom. After the sacrifice, God opens wide the way into his presence and invites us to draw near with boldness.” (click here for full commentary)  

God is NOT a dictator, God is LOVE.  (1 John 4:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:19)

What is LOVE by definition in the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary?  a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Click link for full defintion

What is LOVE according to the Bible? 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:  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, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails.

So, combining what we know about love from the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, what the Bible tells us about love-as God intends and believing we are sanctified by God’s word, and is the TRUTH (FACTS) upon which we stand (John 17:17), let’s begin to reflect on who God really IS!

God’s affection and love for YOU, arising out of His personal tie to mankind as our maker (Genesis 1:17), and kinship through Jesus Christ, is STRONG and can not be broken.

“GOD IS LOVE and GOD LOVES YOU”

He admires YOU, desires to do good toward you and shares in your interests. He is able to remain calm with you, He is not annoyed by you and He will wait for a long time on you.  He is willing to bear your pain and will do so calmly and without complaint. He is gentle in His care for you and is considerate of you.  He does not resent you and does not consider Himself more important than you. You are not a disgrace to Him and He does not want to hurt you. He forgives you and It’s OK. He is so happy when He looks at you. You are a reflection of His glory and goodness, through the blood of His only son Jesus, and freely gives you His special favor. He is covering you, and He is your defense!  He will never change and His love for you will remain constant, continually occurring. In spite of your opposition, counter influences and discouragement He will carry on and hang in there with you until the very end.  His love for you will not weaken, fade away, and will succeed!

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Love

“Take Over”

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with emotions that your day seems to be one dramatic “moment” after another, ending in a self-centered, emotional train wreck?  Well,  I have been allowing my struggle of self centeredness and selfishness, to be the basis of every “moment” in my day; leaving my spirit tired, miserable, scared, lonely, angry, frustrated and confused.

Why? I guess I could blame my life getting busy, my husband, the stress of finances or my “hurt feelings.”  That’s the easiest thing to do when in a selfish rut…BLAME EVERYTHING and EVERYONE ELSE!

Well, I’m not going to do that…..I am going to be honest.  I have stopped meditating on the goodness’s of God and only focused on my “feelings.”  I have allowed negativity to consume my mind; Therefore, shifting my focus from Him and towards my fears, failures, shortcomings, offenses and hurt.  I have allowed the mountains in my mind to OVERTAKE my mind.

1 Peter 5:7- “Cast ALL your cares onto Him, for He cares for you.”

Why do I so often forget that? He cares for ME and I am His child. His heart is for me to cast ALL my burdens on Him and rest in His True and Perfect love.

I want to share with you a lyric from a song that my husband wrote recently, (ironically titled “Perfect God”), because I have been singing it over and over in my mind…..

“There on the cross dying for us,
you chose to stay for our freedom”

Wow, just ponder on that for a second…..it’s an overwhelming thought for me.  “You CHOSE to stay for our freedom.”  

“Heavenly Father forgive me of my selfishness.  How could I ever doubt You and Your perfect plan for my life?  Help me to continue to grow in You, continue to teach me how to show True Love-as You intend as I am reminded of your True and perfect love, for me.  Thank you for your grace and mercy.  Thank You for choosing to send your son Jesus to die for my freedom.   May all that I continue to do be a reflection of you…. I give myself away, TAKE OVER HOLY SPIRIT.”

– In Jesus Name, Amen

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“Who’s Your Daddy?”

I did not have a strong relationship with my own father.  We did not spend quality time together when I was a child.  I have never felt that my own father was ever interested, in any part of me or my life.  He did not attend my gymnastic competitions, practices, school functions, he did not take me on daddy-daughter dates, play with me at the park, teach me to ride a bike, remember my birthday’s, read bedtime stories, or participate in my discipline – teaching me right from wrong.  I honestly can not remember spending quality time with my dad.  I was a little girl desperate for quality time with her daddy, I starved for his attention and longed for him to be interested in me.  I have struggled with this void in my heart, never knowing my value or worth to him as his daughter, for a long time.  Would this be called “daddy issues?”  I would say so.

Looking back on pretty much every decision I made in my personal life, from the time I was eighteen years old, would definitely be classified as a girl with “daddy issues.”  I had a wonderful family around me, great role models and examples growing up, but NOTHING and NO ONE can replace a girl’s daddy, her desire to be with him, and her longing for him to be interested in her!  This void  literally became MY struggle and was the motivation behind all of my decisions, good or bad.   I would do just about anything to be #1 in the eyes of a man, leaving me jealous for any time and attention that a man would give me.  I know this sounds pitiful, (it makes me want to puke just saying it out loud), but this has been my struggle.

I was a competitive gymnast and as an athlete you are always having to prove yourself!  You work hard giving ALL of your body, time and life towards your vision and your coaches vision.  Your main goal and focus is to be the BEST, achieve the title of #1 and win Gold Medals!  I am very thankful for the skills and attributes that the amazing, and my favorite, sport of competitive gymnastics instilled in me, (i.e. achievement, excellence, dedication, hard work, commitment, physical and mental strength, goal setting, time management, prioritizing, and focus); However, there is no activity or sport in the world that can replace the absence of feeling LOVE from your own father.   I wanted so much to have my own functional family that I would cling on to others’ or try to force into existence a family of my own.  Every time I would see a girl spending quality time with her dad, receiving affection, LOVE and praise, my heart felt so sad and empty.  I was jealous because I longed for and desired that more than anything.   I wanted my father to be interested in me, and for us to spend quality time together.  I was desperate for him to recognize any part of me or my life.  I needed my daddy to show me, through example, how I should be valued, protected, respected, honored and treated as a woman.  I have chosen, for years, to ignore how much not having a real relationship with my father affected me but I just can’t anymore, because it did!    

As I laid in my apartment, over a year ago, my world was crumbling and life as I knew it was over.  I was feeling so lost, abused, alone, ashamed, weak, defeated and hopeless.  In my moment of weakness and desperation for change my soul cried out to my Father in Heaven and He came to my rescue (Romans 10:13)!  He saved me, redeemed me, and gave me a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17).  I felt how much He LOVES me and is delighted in me, as His child (Psalm 18:19)!  Jesus became My Perfect Daddy and in that moment, I knew that I was His daughter forever and NOTHING could separate me from His LOVE (Romans 8:31-39).  I felt as if I was sitting on His knee, like a child and He was holding my hand, whispering into my ear,  “Don’t you worry MY child, everything is going to be ok, you are safe and I have a plan for you,” (Matthew 18:2-4).   It was then, through His PERFECT LOVE, the void in my heart began to FILL UP by The Holy Spirit (John 14:26).  I suddenly began to feel forgiveness, compassion and understanding towards my earthly father (Colossians 3:13).  I now have a strength and desire to pursue a personal relationship with my earthly father, no matter what it takes  (Psalm 28:7).  There is no need to be jealous any longer, with the fulfillment that the Lord God provides me (Ephesians 1:10).  My Heavenly Father, who’s LOVE is PERFECT, has placed a LOVE and appreciation in my heart for my earthly father; this is a LOVE I have never felt before.

Coming to my rescue, as He did, God has proven himself to be a far greater father than any man could be (Romans 10:10-21).  My worth and value is in Him,  (Psalm 139:13-16) and Jesus is The Perfect Daddy!  The Holy Spirit is continuing to heal wounds of my past.  God is faithful to His children and He is filling every void in my heart (Isaiah 53:4-5).

This has not been an easy path and several years of struggle and mistakes; However, it was only through my brokenness and surrender to God, that He has led me into this NEW season of restoration in my life (2 Corinthians 12:9)!  Day by day I am becoming stronger in the Lord and my relationship with Him, The Perfect Daddy, has become so personal (Psalm 23:6).

What’s could be even MORE AMAZING than that? Well, I want to tell you!  God will be The Perfect Father to anyone who asks for forgiveness of their sins through Christ (1 John 1:9). He knows EXACTLY what we need if we just open our hearts and surrender to His Perfect LOVE, for us (Philippians 4:19).   I take delight in knowing that through God I have ALL I ever need or could ask for (Psalm 37:4).  I have a Heavenly Father who LOVES ME PERFECTLY, an understanding husband who loves ALL of me, and my relationship with my earthly father is now on it’s way to becoming what I have always wanted (Romans 8:28)!

GOD IS SO GOOD! (Psalm 100:5)

**I want to end by saying, before I posted this blog I took the bold step to personally talk to my dad and bring light to my feelings.  I wanted to show him respect and let him know my heart first,  before I shared with you.  I am proud and so happy to say that our relationship is on the path of healing and restoration, with the help and guidance of The Holy Spirit and The Perfect LOVE- as God intends, through Jesus Christ! 

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Why Pursue To Understand True LOVE- As God Intends? Because I Am A Life That Was Radically Changed By It.

Why am I so passionate about sharing my journey of understanding True LOVE- as GOD intends? Well, please let me tell you… Because I am a life that was RADICALLY changed, saved, redeemed and is being restored by THE True LOVE- as God intends, of Jesus Christ.  His LOVE is so powerful and changed my life so radically, I MUST understand and pursue THAT kind of LOVE.  I HAVE to share with the world what THAT kind of LOVE can do!

There was a time when my soul was in darkness, fear, confusion, loneliness, torment, bondage, addiction and sin.  Satan had a hold of my life and he fought to destroy me to the core.  When satan has a hold of you he does not want to let you go without declaring “war.”  My life was definitely “in war,”  not against flesh-and-blood but against rulers and principalities of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)

I seemed happy, successful, smart, driven, passionate, talented, blessed, favored and I always had a smile on my face!  This kind of battle was not supposed to happen to me!  I was not supposed to be the story of the prodigal son, but I was!   I was raised in church.  My Great Grandfather was one of the most anointed, powerful, God Fearing, Pentecostal Preachers of his day.  My family is full of Pastors, Evangelists, Music Ministers and Teachers of The Gospel.  At the age of twelve,  I was blessed with the opportunity to live with my Aunt and Uncle, in Ohio, who are Pastors of an incredible Ministry.  They instilled in me the principles of God and were true examples to me of LOVE and family.  I had a strong and real relationship with God and His word was deep in my heart.  I was serving in ministry, from the age of thirteen, sharing the Gospel of Jesus through dance, involved in study groups and went to a Christian School.  I studied God’s word fervently.  I stepped into leadership, at the age of fifteen, when I moved to Indiana at my home church.  God used me mightily to start community outreach programs, in our city and I was a leader in teen discipleship groups.  I was a God-Chaser, determined to reach my generation for Christ and fulfill the destiny and calling that God had for me.

So what happened?  How did I get so off track and become so lost, like the prodigal son?  Well,  I am here to tell you…  I chose to get into a relationship, with an individual that was not a believer, outside of God’s will for me and I completely removed and distanced myself from the body of Christ.  I decided, at the age of 18, that I was going to be a “real adult” and make my own decisions.  THAT choice is what led me into one destructive decision after another.  My career always appeared to be advancing, but my spirit and soul were slowly dying and eventually became completely lost.  I suddenly found myself in situations that I couldn’t get myself out of!  I was not strong, I was weak and my judgement was poor.  I knew that everything, in my personal life, was wrong but WHY was it SO HARD to get it back on track?  I felt completely defeated, lost and alone.   I was ashamed and didn’t feel that I could talk to anyone about what I was struggling with.  I didn’t want anyone to see my weaknesses, for I was a leader and I needed to “be strong”, hide my struggle and just “figure it out.”  Through my own strength, I tried getting out of toxic relationships and situations that were destroying me and I just kept failing.  I couldn’t get away, I was trapped.  satan had a hold on me and he was not letting go!  BUT GOD:

Which led to THE MOMENT I EXPERIENCED TRUE LOVE- As God Intends, THAT RADICALLY CHANGED MY LIFE: 

I will never forget THE moment, that changed my life.  As I laid, alone in my apartment, tired, confused, frustrated, weak and my heart just couldn’t take anymore of the struggle.  I had a very clear vision of God’s hand being REMOVED COMPLETELY from me.  He let me know that it was time to make a choice and decide who I wanted to live for and what direction I wanted to go.  Just the thought of God turning his head from me, pulled on my heart so strong,  I just cried:  

“Jesus SAVE me.  I can’t get myself out of this mess.  I have tried and I just keep failing.  I am not strong enough…I can’t get away….JUST DO IT!  I am asking You to just DO IT!  TAKE OVER!  I want to live for You, again.  I will go wherever you tell me to go…I will follow wherever you lead me…Jesus, I NEED YOU.  

I CHOOSE YOU!   JESUS, I CHOOSE YOU!”  

It was in that moment my entire life changed.  My Savior (Jesus) met me in my mess, brokeness and surrender.  Jesus wrapped His arms around me and I experienced, for the first time, True LOVE- as God intends.  A LOVE  that is Unconditional, Never failing, Without Judgement, Without Shame and No Condemnation.  A LOVE that ONLY gives FORGIVENESS, GRACE, MERCY, HOPE and a NEW LIFE.  I suddenly had a peace in my heart, that truly passed all understanding.  I knew that MY Savior was right there, He was mine and I was HIS.  God is so faithful!

I am here to tell you that God took my mess and turned it into my MESSAGE!  He (literally) snapped His fingers and my entire life was RADICALLY changed!  I was relocated, far away from what was keeping me from the things of God, making it impossible to fall back into the same patterns that were keeping me in bondage.  He surrounded me with Godly friends, influences and a new support system.  He gave me a husband, (who is my gift from God and a token of God’s faithfulness), that LOVES me unconditionally.  My husband CHOSE to be with me, stand by me, defend me, fight for me, protect me and see the BEST in me.  He Chose to be a husband that speaks hope, LOVE and to be a leader that follows the principles of God, my leader!  God placed my husband and I into a local church that has wrapped their arms around us, welcomed us with LOVE and is plugging us in to life groups, ministry teams and opportunities to serve!  This past year has been a year of restoration and healing.  Relationships that were damaged in the crossfire are being healed and restored.  The principles of God that were instilled in my heart, as a child,  are in my heart again!  I am a living testimony of the healing power of The Blood of Jesus Christ and I have experienced True LOVE-as God intends.  I am ALIVE, FREE, HEALTHY, RESTORED, REFRESHED, BLESSED, HIGHLY FAVORED, LOVED and more determined than ever to fulfill the work, in which God has called me to do.  I WILL fulfill my true destiny,  I WILL share the message of True LOVE- as God intends because I CHOSE the winning team!

SATAN LOST!! he did not win my soul and he did not destroy my life! I belong to GOD!  Everything that the enemy stole from me is being given back to me, ten fold!

Now I understand, more than ever, how important the body of Christ is!  We must surround ourselves with other believers, that can help us through this life.  The body of Christ is not there to “be up in your business,”  but it is there as our support system!  Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy and we must come together, pray for each other and help each other fight against satan and his schemes to destroy us!  Satan wanted me feeling alone, hopeless, defeated and ashamed.  The last thing he wanted was for me to call upon the Saving and Redeeming Power of The Blood of Jesus Christ!  THE ONLY TRUE and PERFECT LOVE that breaks the yokes of bondage, sin and death!!

I consider myself very blessed  and fortunate to have been raised with the knowledge of Christ and His saving power! There are so many that are not so fortunate and know nothing about the message of Jesus and what His LOVE can do for them.  That is why I must FULLY understand True LOVE- as God intends…and share the only message of True and PERFECT LOVE,  that is the power to change the world!

Let’s do it! Let’s go for it!  No holding back!  Let’s pursue to understand True LOVE- as God intends, with everything we have!  The world needs THAT message!  We ALL need to experience THAT kind of PERFECT LOVE.

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Love is Patient. Patience is Surrender.

As  I continue my journey and daily pursuit towards understanding LOVE- as God intends, I am blown away with what God is revealing to me.   My first blog, “What is LOVE and What does it mean?,  is about my revelation on the greatest commandment to us as Christians and followers of Jesus.

(Mark 12:30-31) 3And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

If I am pursuing the first commandment to LOVE God with all my heart, mind and strength, then LOVING my neighbor as myself should be easy!  So, why does it seem so hard?  I have always known 1 Corinthians 13  to be the LOVE chapter,  but  I had to ask myself:  Do I understand everything there is to know about each characteristic of LOVE- as God intends?  Am I showing God that I love Him based on what He says the characteristics of Love are?   The answer is NO,  which began this weeks study on Patience!

#1 LOVE is Patient.  I have heard “Love is patient” said so many times but I must be honest,  I  have never studied what being patient really means.  I don’t know how to obtain patience or instill  the practice of patience in my life.   Nor, have I ever fully grasped God’s patience for me as His child!   When I thought of being patient it always seemed to just focus on the negative going on in my life or in someone else’s life, that I knew.  When someone makes you mad “be patient”, when your marriage is failing “be patient”, when you are sick and dying “be patient”, when you loose your job “be patient”, when your life SUCKS…well …just “be patient”.  Being patient to me meant weakness, standing down,  lower  my head, while tapping my  toe, as I resentfully tell God that I am being “patient”,  at the same time asking Him to hurry up,  answer my prayer and “fix my life!”

Well…What if patience, (which is LOVE),  only comes by fully surrendering our lives to God?  God began to reveal to me that patience, (which is LOVE), will only come when my mind, will and emotions belong to Him, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO ME! Patience works hand in hand with peace.

As I look back on the past 10 years it is very obvious that I was in control of MY life.  Every decision I made was impulsive, selfish, emotional, based on fear, doubt, worry, un-forgiveness and resentment.  I was steering the wheel of MY life  and God was just supposed to be in the car somewhere and join me for the ride!   You know what God says about someone like that?  They are foolish!  Yes,  I admit I was and had been acting like a FOOL!  It makes sense to me why I never could find peace and why my life stayed in chaos.

The moment I chose to surrender my life COMPLETELY to God suddenly all the negative feelings, thoughts and emotions that tormented my mind and caused a life full of stress started to disappear!  I began to express patience, (which is LOVE) , not only to God but to everyone around me and through the circumstances of life that came my way!  I felt strong, confident, capable, wise, without worry and without fear.  It’s amazing how GOOD  you feel when you surrender to GOD!  Through my surrender I had all the patience I needed.  When I  allowed God to be in control of my life I began to stand firm on His promises to me!  I started focusing not on the labels and opinions of what man said about me, or my circumstances but on what HE says about me, who I am in Him and His promises.  Which is the ONLY TRUTH, anyway!

I know that it doesn’t matter what I face or encounter because if God is for me, then who can be against me? (Romans 8:31).  No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).  I am the head and not the tail and I am above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).  I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me (Phillipians 4:19).  For God knows the plans that He has for me, they are plans for good and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

So, as I stated in the beginning,  if we FULLY surrender our lives to God then expressing patience to everyone around us, regardless of their actions and in all circumstances should  come easy!  He He…… Well,  it’s NOT easy and is a daily surrendering of our mind, our will and our emotions to God and His will!   Jesus is a perfect example of this kind of patience, as He went to the cross. (Hebrews 12:2).   As we carry our cross and surrender our lives to Him daily,  then we can allow the LOVE of God, (which is patient), to flow freely through us, in a way that is only possible through the Holy Spirit!  As we surrender everything to God then we can begin expressing, in all areas of our lives,  LOVE-  as God intends.

“Patience is surrender.  What are you surrendering to, the opinions of man and the issues of life, or God?”  When you surrender to God you will not only receive patience, (which is love), but you will rest in peace.”

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What is LOVE and what does it really mean?

I LOVE your shirt, I LOVE that song, I LOVE your hair, OMG I LOVE this! We have become so used to literally throwing the word LOVE around that it has become a trend.

Do we really understand what it means to LOVE someone or something?  Can you even LOVE a thing? Or is LOVE a very specific, divine emotion from GOD, only to be understood and practiced in our relationship with Him (our creator) and with each other?

This past year I have only begun to crack the surface on what it means to LOVE.  If you spoke to me in February of last year you would have heard me throwing the word LOVE around, in every conversation.  I instantly “fell in love” with my hubby,  he is my soulmate and I am “in love”, Oh I “love” him so much!  Well,  I have realized that my emotions and desire to be around him, get to know him, laugh with him, be with him every minute of every day and spend the rest of my life with him was so strong that I joined the trend and instantly called it “LOVE”.   What I was feeling was just the first stage of LIKE……ALOT! I have realized that LOVE, the way GOD intended, is a process and is NOT to be taken lightly!

What made me realize that I had no idea what LOVE was?  Well, I am going to tell you …Marriage Counseling!

I must admit that I did not expect our pre-marital counseling to slap me in the face!  I quickly realized that I had no idea what LOVE was or meant and THAT brutal reality actually scared me!  I realized, more than ever, that I was capable at any moment of hurting, offending and destroying my relationship with GOD, my husband, family, friends and anyone I came in contact with.   I knew that I needed to start studying and getting a grip on what it means to LOVE, the way God intends.

As I began to ask God for a divine revelation on LOVE I was reminded of Mark 12:30-31   “Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”  

THERE IS NO COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE?  OK, this commandment is obviously extremely important, I thought to myself.   As I began to ponder on this popular scripture the Holy Spirit began to do a work in me, that I had never felt before and I just started to cry.  I have always loved God (so I thought), but I quickly realized that my thoughts and actions definitely were NOT showing Him or anyone that I loved God.  It was at THAT MOMENT when my heart fell into true repentance and I rededicated my life to Jesus, My Savior .  I desired, wanted and needed LOVE in my life, more than I have ever wanted it before!

How can I LOVE myself or anyone until I learn what it truly means to LOVE God?  How can I be a good wife, mother and friend until I learn to LOVE God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength?

This was my first revelation on LOVE, It’s not about ME!   It’s about loving God, loving others and LOVE is an act of service.   I know this sounds basic and simple but it is HARD!  As I study more of Gods word  and draw closer to Him,  He is revealing things in my life that I must remove, in order to LOVE and please Him.  It is a daily struggle with my flesh because I am selfish! But through God’s example of His perfect LOVE for me,  I am understanding what it all means!

I am excited to share my journey, as I study and make the conscience effort to apply in my life the greatest commandment of all………LOVE-as God Intends.

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