Archive for the 'experiencing god’s love' Category

God Speaks About the Dangers of Laziness

God often reveals the wisdom of His word by demonstrating the consequences of going against it:

Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. Pr. 6:6 – 11. ESV

Sluggard. You just can visualize a lazy, shiftless, slug-type of a person. But why is God warning us about what appears to be a minor offense? It is the consequences of laziness that are His concern because they can be severe. In the scripture above, we find that even the basic needs of a lazybones are unmet; whereas those who act diligently, reap rich rewards.

He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. Pr. 10:4 NKJV

In addition, those who are lazy often find themselves subject to the whims of taskmasters:

The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor. Pr. 12:24 NASB

Worse still, their lazy lives are filled with strife:

The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway. Pr. 15:19 ESV

But it is in the eternal sense where the consequences of spiritual laziness are gravely damaging – leading to self-induced disinheritance of God’s promises. Instead, God says that we must exercise the same zeal in seeking Him as the apostles did:

…show the same diligence [all the way through] so as to realize and enjoy the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be [spiritually] sluggish, but [will instead be] imitators of those who through faith [lean on God with absolute trust and confidence in Him and His power] and by patient endurance [even when suffering] are [now] inheriting the promises. Heb. 6:11, 12. AMP

God loves you and wants a love relationship with you; but you must initiate that connection and continue to keep that connection intact:

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Ps. 14:2 NKJV

Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually [to be in His presence]. 1 Chr. 16:11 AMP

Being in a relationship with God then, is a doing. Lazy ones beware. Yet even we doers fall short in our doing. Thankfully, God in His infinite mercy calls us to jump back up on the saddle and retake our active role in our relationship with Him; and in His love, He will heal us from the consequences of our lazy slip:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

Look at the verbs in that scripture: humble, pray, seek and turn – all words of action, yes? So, even the way back to God’s love, requires doing. If you have a little lazy streak in you, you must motivate yourself to be diligent in your walk with Him, by remaining focused on the benefits received by being related to Him, which include His favor and the ability to live in liberation from the god of this world:

How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. Ps. 119:2 NASB

And I will walk at liberty, for I shall seek your precepts. Ps. 119:45 NKJV

Yet seeking God’s ways will be unfruitful unless you act upon them:

…prove yourself doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. James 1:22 NASB

The words come from God. He is love; so they reflect the same. Thusly, love is also made possible through action:

“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND…YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ Mt. 22:37 & 39. AMP

And you know, the effort to love, is really no effort at all…

Goodnight and God bless.

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August 16 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God’s Marital Wisdom

Last week we considered the wisdom that God imparted to Solomon and how important it is to have that same wisdom in our lives. Yet, having a head full of wisdom does not create a wise person. It is in the application of that wisdom in one’s life, that makes him or her wise. (James 1:22 – 25.)

Let’s consider the application of God’s wisdom in marriage; and as we do, we will find that He has woven that marital wisdom throughout the Bible, not just in the proverbs.

Marriage was the first institution God created after He formed Adam and Eve:

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Gn. 2:24 AMP

God is telling us that when a man and woman are wise enough to become husband and wife, something extraordinary happens: there comes a spiritual opportunity to transcend their individuality and become one.

He also tells us that He has another purpose for their union:

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. Mal. 2:15 ESV

God is trying to spread the love. He loves the husband and wife as one and desires the fruit of their loins to create other bundles of love, to amplify His efforts. You’ll also notice that this same scripture infers that marriage is a sanctified relationship – not to be breached by a lack of wisdom that leads to faithlessness.

Indeed, God says that it is wise for a man to find and keep a good wife:

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband… Pr. 12:4 NKJV

He who finds a [true and faithful] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor and approval from the LORD. Pr. 18:22 AMP

Moreover, God says that finding a good wife will also make for him an incomparable partner:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life…She perceives that her merchandise is profitable…Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Pr. 31:10 – 12, 18 & 25 – 28. ESV

That’s a woman worth having! Note that a man could strive for those characteristics as well, just saying.

God leaves nothing to chance. Because your marriage is so sacred to Him, He left you instructions for how to conduct yourself within it, so that your relationship will thrive:

Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Eph. 5:22 – 24. NKJV

Some ladies are prone to take exception to this scripture, so let’s break it down a little. First, like any verse of scripture, it must be taken in context. The two verses just prior to the above citation read thusly:

…giving thanks always for all the things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. Eph. 5:20, 21. NKJV

So, we are moving from a contextual former scripture that reveals our need to submit to one another within the family of God (if what we are submitting to is in alignment with God’s word), to a deeper and specific application within a godly marriage. Thus, the marital application infers that a ‘good husband’ should fill the role of making sure that God’s will (His wisdom) is carried out within the marriage, stating that the wife should defer to his leadership.

In addition, the scripture suggests that this marital command is especially important in spiritual matters – where the husband is primarily supposed to lead.

But what if hubby is being a little lax in his spiritual leadership? God’s got wisdom for that as well, telling us that the wife can step in and take the relationship to a higher level:

Wives, likewise be submissive to your husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives… 1 Pt. 3:1 NKJV

For my female readers, I want to stress that God is not being chauvinistic in any way. The husband too, has his own set of responsibilities within the marital relationship:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church…let each of you so love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Eph. 5:25, 28, 29 & 33. NKJV

We see then, that the husband is to love his wife with a depth that commands he sacrifice his life for her. That is an attitude that is far from chauvinism. Also, the husband must love his wife as he loves himself. Why would God tell the men to do that? It’s because we cannot love anyone until we first know what love is; and the only way to know love is to first give it to ourselves.

Husbands must nurture that relationship – keeping it sweet and showing her honor and compassion:

Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Col. 3:19 NKJV

…husbands, love with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Pt. 3:7 ESV

We must concede that in most cases, men possess greater physical strength than women. But that has no bearing on the spiritual side of marriage. In my opinion, man’s physical strength is complemented by the greater strength of the heart that the woman brings to the relationship.

Also note in the same scripture that marriage grants a spiritual oneness that connects the husband and wife – a oneness so precious to God that if either bring discord to than harmony, His love is cut off until that oneness is restored.

God takes a firm stand against anything that brings harm to the marital union:

“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong and violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore keep watch on your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously [with your wife].” Mal. 2:16 AMP

It is extremely rare to find God expressing the word ‘hate’ is Scripture. So why is He using such a strong and negative expletive here? It’s because divorce thrusts violence upon the entire family. Everyone in the home begins to fear for the well-being of their spirit, soul and body; and because fear and love cannot coexist, the love is leeched out of the entire family.

Divorce is Satan’s greatest weapon. He steals the family’s love to weaken them for his purposes. Conversely, keeping a marriage together, making it work by living by God’s marital wisdom, keeps the love – the very thing the devil cannot overcome.

If you do not choose to seek the wisdom of God and apply it, there will be no love to buffer against discord (which comes whenever you put two humans together). Without love, bitterness sets in and is projected outwards:

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike; to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one’s right hand. Pr. 27:15, 16. ESV

(You could just as easily substitute the word ‘husband’ for ‘wife’ here.)

When bitterness takes root, somebody strays because they think the solution lies in ‘greener pastures.’ The fruit of this straying is often adultery:

Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished. Pr. 6:27 – 29. ESV

Remember that two of the Ten Commandments expressly forbid adultery; and God pulls no punches about the seriousness of this transgression:

You shall not commit adultery. Ex. 20:14 NKJV

…you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… Ex. 20:17 NKJV

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Heb. 13:14 ESV

God loves you so much. He knows how much destruction is brought to your house when you seek solace in flesh outside the home:

For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, to keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. for by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Pr. 6:23 – 26. NKJV

Adultery leads to divorce. Violence falls upon every member of the household in divorce – including the perpetrator, who loathes him or herself for their transgression. Even if the adulterer manages to carry on their illicit tryst undiscovered, they are already divorced in their heart, if not in the courts.

Adultery separates the perpetrator from the love of God, and should they remain impenitent, they run the danger of losing their eternal date with Him:

Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. Pr. 7:25 – 27. NKJV

But thank God for His mercy! Even if you’ve fallen for this trap, if you return to Him with sincere confession and repentance, He will restore your relationship with Him.

Still, you must deal with the destructive aftermath and pray that your household can heal. Sin always has consequences.

Far better to let God direct your marriage. It is His wisdom that leads us into matrimony; and it is the same wisdom that shows us how to exercise love, respect, fidelity, kindness, benevolence, mutual submission and restraint (by keeping our affections at home). When you apply that wisdom, you’re completing your connection with God and living out His purposes, which always lead to your highest and best life.

Doesn’t that sound wise to you?

Goodnight and God bless.

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August 10 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God’s Wisdom Trumps Earthly Knowledge Every Time

When King Solomon was handed the rulership of Israel, God came to him in a dream and asked him what He could give him. As we know, instead of riches and power, Solomon asked for wisdom, to be able to rule effectively over the children of God. (1 Kin. 3:9)

God was so impressed with the king’s humility that He also showered riches and honor on him as well as wisdom. (2 Chr. 1:11, 12.) Just how wise did God make Solomon?

Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 1 Kin. 10:24 NKJV

Thus, King Solomon received wisdom directly from God, making him the wisest man on the planet.

What does ‘wisdom’ mean? In the Bible, it is translated from the Hebrew chakam, meaning ‘intelligent, skillful, artful and cunning;’ and from the Greek saphes, which means to be clear. English dictionaries define wisdom as ‘the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement.’

It would appear then that wisdom is a character trait you learn from having experienced what life has to teach you and from the processing of what these life lessons taught, leading to gaining an ability to astutely apply the knowledge that is beneficial – all with a mind and a heart that is clear from misconceptions:

The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. Pr. 15:31 NKJV

God is the Source of life; therefore, it is His lessons that bring wisdom to the willingly listening student. But, where does one start?

The [reverent] fear of the LORD [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; Pr. 1:7 AMP

God is saying that wisdom is found in Him:

…those who seek the LORD understand all things. Pr. 28:5 NASB

That makes sense. We seek God by living in and by His word. We gain His wisdom from the Holy Spirit, who reveals the meanings of those words to our spirit:

…there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. Job 32:8 NKJV

The good part is that God gives it freely to those who ask in faith:

…if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting… James 1:5, 6. NASB

Let’s ask God why we need this wisdom:

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and preserves the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come in your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil… Pr. 2:6 – 12. ESV

So, with wisdom comes the ability to know God intimately – understanding His plan for you and His path for getting you there. Furthermore, God keeps you covered on all sides during that journey…

God puts wisdom above all things:

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you, she will bring you honor when you embrace her. Pr. 4:7, 8.  NKJV

Once we seek wisdom, God will keep pouring it into us:

“He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.” Dan. 2:21 NKJV

So, we’ve looked at why God wants us to have wisdom (primarily to facilitate having an intimate relationship with Him, and in so doing, have an extraordinary life). But what happens to those who don’t seek out His wisdom?

Therefore My people go into exile because they lack knowledge [of God]; Is. 5:13 AMP

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hos. 4:6 NKJV

If you’re seeking God’s wisdom, you must also keep the company of others who do likewise:

He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Pr. 13;20 NASB

Ultimately, those who act in opposition to God’s plan for them, will be subject to the whims of the god of this world, because they invited him (Satan) in, by rejecting the kingdom wisdom:

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. Mt. 13:19 AMP

It doesn’t have to be that way if you stick with God’s ways:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes… Ps. 19:7, 8. ESV

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver…and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her, those who hold her fast are called blessed. Pr. 3:13 – 18. ESV

So, it is the use of God’s wisdom that promotes our highest and best life, not the so-called wisdom of the world:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. 1 Cor. 3:18, 19. ES

There is no [human] wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the LORD. Pr. 21:30 AMP

Just remember, when you get your wisdom, don’t forget form whence it came; and don’t allow yourself to get puffed up with your new-found awareness:

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Pr. 11:2 ESV

Thus says the LORD, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom…but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises lovingkindness, justice and the righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. Jer. 9:23, 24. NASB

For we get these very qualities by walking in His wisdom…

Goodnight and God bless.

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August 02 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Why Would You Need God’s Mercy?

Why? Because no one is above falling down. Everyone sins. (Eccl. 7:20) There are no exceptions – including King David, whom God had called ‘a man after His own heart.’ (1 Sam. 13:14)

God had helped establish David’s throne in Jerusalem, uniting all of Israel under his rule. He covered him with His favor, granting David an eternal dynasty:

…the LORD will make you a house…And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. 2 Sam. 7:11 & 16. ESV

(There is no physical house or throne that will last forever. God is referring to the eternal kingdom of Christ, whose incarnate body would later come from King David’s lineage.)

The favor of God continued to follow David until one warm spring night when he decided to cool off on the roof of his house. From his vantage point, King David saw a woman bathing on her rooftop nearby. He was smitten. (Note that he was also married at this time.)

The king did a little detective work and found out that the woman’s name was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah – one of his handpicked soldiers. David suppressed his spiritual self and gave into the flesh. He had Bathsheba brought to him for an adulterous tryst that left her with child. Subsequently, our heretofore virtuous king had Uriah sent to the front lines of a battlefield where his death was all but guaranteed.

When Bathsheba’s prescribed mourning period was over, David took her as wife and she bore him a son. Foolishly, they thought they had pulled one over on everyone. Uh-oh:

But the thing that David had done [with Bathsheba] was evil in the sight of the LORD. 2 Sam. 11:27 AMP

You can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes. He sent His prophet Nathan to King David to deliver His judgment:

“Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD to do evil in His sight?’ “ 2 Sam. 12:7 – 9. NKJV

David is standing before his Creator’s representative, accused of adultery and murder – both punishable by death according to Mosaic Law. Yet God exercised His mercy, and through Nathan, laid upon David a lesser sentence, telling him that his house would be troubled for the rest of his days and that his sins (that he had hoped to keep hidden), would be replayed in the public eye.

(Indeed, David’s first child by Bathsheba dies, one of his subsequent sons rapes his half-sister, the half-sister’s brother exacts revenge by killing the perpetrator and goes on to publicly commit adultery with David’s wives and plots a violent coup of the king’s rule but is killed during the attempt.)

David wholeheartedly confesses and repents of his sins and God answers his repentance through Nathan:

“The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” 1 Sam. 12:13 NASB

Our God is such a loving and forgiving God. However, though He blots out our sin, we are still left to deal with the consequences caused by them. Sin is so destructive – it hurts God, the victim and the perpetrator. Yet there must be consequences; otherwise, everyone would just cavalierly continue in their sinful ways.

God tells us that sin (disobedience) brings a curse (Dt. 30:19, 20.) that carries the consequences of breakage – in both life and the relationships contained within. Yet praise be to God that He forgives:

…you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love… Neh. 9:17 ESV

Why? Because it is the only way the you can be healed from your sin. If you don’t have faith in God’s forgiveness, you will not forgive yourself. And the subsequent guilt and shame you heap upon yourself causes you to hate that person in the mirror, which severs your love-connection with God.

God loves you so much that He never wants to you to be disconnected from Him, as well as He does not want to be detached from your love:

I, I am he, who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Is. 43:25 ESV

For His sake – so that love circle remains intact. Thus, He guarantees His forgiveness:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

And just like King David, we ‘turn from our wicked ways’ through confession and repentance:

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 1 Jn. 1:9 AMP

God forgives and so should we. We are to model Him, and that includes His mercy. In fact, we must exercise our mercy first, if we hold a grudge against anyone, before we go before our Father to receive His:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:14, 15. ESV

Forgiveness begins in the mirror, so that we can break down any barriers that we’ve erected between God and ourselves. Furthermore, when we extend that forgiveness outwards (Eph. 4:32), it completes our relationship with God and all others – ultimately completing our relationship with ourselves.

Forgiving is the highest act of giving – where we give our love away, regardless of whether we think the object of our love deserves it or not. After all, who doesn’t deserve love?

Goodnight and God bless.

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July 26 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

What’s in Your Heart?

A God song; and He loves to hear you sing it:

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Ps. 95:1, 2. ESV

God loves to hear your praises because it shows your love and your desire to stay in relationship with Him. It assures God that you want to belong to Him and steep in HIs goodness and mercy:

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name! For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Ps. 100 NKJV

The Bible tells us that ‘the LORD is good, and His mercy is everlasting’ 126 times! I think that God wants that truth firmly implanted in our hearts. The word ‘mercy’ is translated from the Hebrew racham, which may also be rendered as ‘compassion’ or ‘lovingkindness.’ This is the kind of love that has covered you since your conception:

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. Ps. 139:13, 14. NKJV

Moreover, God surrounds you with that love for all your days:

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there where none of them. Ps. 139:16 NASB

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me… Ps. 138:8 NKJV

You have a special place in God’s uni-verse (His ‘one song’). And you have a special verse to sing, which you’ll find when you plan your life around Him. What ensues is a life of joy as He walks along side of you:

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock… Ps. 92:12 – 15. NKJV

What does that ‘flourishing’ look like?

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Ps. 103:1 – 5. ESV

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God…who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. Ps. 146:5 – 8. ESV

God loves you, extends His grace over you and is filled with compassion for you. But remember, it’s up to you to invite God into a relationship and to do your best to follow the plan He has laid out for all of us in His word, in order to reap a life that makes you want to sing:

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise up early an go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Ps. 127:1, 2. ESV

It’s all about sticking to the plan:

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Ps. 119:165 NKJV

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Ps. 119:105 ESV

Yet, we all fall away from the plan from time to time. But because God loves us so much, He will use the consequences of our choices to teach us how to return home:

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. Ps. 119:71 NKJV

God’s plan is the only plan for your heart:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Ps. 119:9 ESV

The great part is that God’s plan is not only temporal, it leads you into eternal life with Him as well:

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Ps. 116:15 NKJV

So, are you ready to sing your verse? It’s planted in your heart…

Let the godly ones exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Ps. 149:5 NASB

Goodnight and God bless.

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July 19 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Does God Need Love?

God is Love:

…God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] 1 Jn. 4:8 AMP

As we also know, God created the entire universe through Christ, and through whom He also holds it all together. Thus, God is complete within Himself, the end all and be all. So, in our logical way of thinking, God wouldn’t need anything.

Humans were made in the image of God; and we possess most of His attributes, albeit a bit flawed, perfected when we receive our salvation through Christ.

For us, it is not enough to just send love outwards. We need to receive it as well.  Loving for the sake of loving is a great altruistic state to aspire to. Yet I think that because our love penetrates the hearts of those we to whom we send it, (whether they are consciously aware of it or not), the recipient’s heart cannot help but radiate its own love back to the sender. And that’s what motivates us to send love in the first place.

I believe we are modeled after our Creator in that way; and I may be going out on a limb here, but I feel that God also needs love. Even though He is love, God has repeatedly expressed His desire for love from His children.

Love exists to give. It’s part of a grand cycle – whereby it gives of itself, receives back from whomever it has visited and then sends itself back out again to nourish yet another heart. That’s the way it can work for all of us. We receive the love of God [because He first loved us (Jn. 4:19)] and we marinate in that love for a while, adding a measure of our love. Then we send this new love bundle back to Him and out into the world as well.

When we love, we resonate with God, practicing His original purpose for us:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 Jn. 4:7 NASB

Jesus said that we love God by obeying His word (Jn. 15:10). Thus, part of showing God our love, is by loving each other.

Another way to demonstrate our love to God is through praise and worship; and God gave us the blueprints for doing just that – contained within the psalms that He inspired in King David.

This is not about some selfish God in heaven saying, “You must love Me.” Instead, it’s about a God who loves you so much that He wants to shower you with all He’s got. But, God knows that you must first make the connection with Him through the expression of your love to keep this heavenly ‘love-loop’ alive. When you do that, your life will blossom to its fullest. So, part of God’s strategy in the psalms is to show you the reasons why you should love Him – i.e. to motivate you to connect.

One reason is that God is the Source of all your joy:

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God my God. Ps. 43:4 NKJV

‘Joy’ is translated from the Hebrew simchah, meaning ‘exceeding gladness.’ It transcends happiness. If you remain with God, your joy will be continuous – made obvious by the gratitude that spreads itself across your countenance.

The greatest way that we can show that gratitude to God, is to make known our Source of joy to everyone around us:

In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Ps. 44:8 ESV

There is no wrong way to love God. He is moved by your love, and He remembers your ‘love efforts’ forever:

I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are continually before Me. Ps. 50:8 NKJV

Conversely, it’s never appropriate to be ungrateful to God. Because He loves us and does so much for us, our gratitude should shine like the sun – whether we are riding on a peak of our life’s experience or experiencing one of its valleys:

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other… Eccl. 7:14 ESV

God uses every situation that you’re in to expand who you are – to mold you further into His resemblance and bring you closer to Him:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2 – 4. ESV

For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined…we went through fire and water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Ps. 66:10 & 12. NKJV

It doesn’t matter what your outward situation looks like. God is always sending you His love:

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Ps. 68:19 NKJV

And let us not forget that because God loves you, He will deliver you from your valleys – lifting you up to yet another peak, even to the highest peak of all, when it’s time for your eternal transition:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in the darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Ps. 91:1-7, 9 – 12. NKJV

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and satisfy him and let him see My salvation.” Ps. 91:14 – 16. NASB

Isn’t it astonishing to see how much God loves you, and wants to keep you close and care for you now and for eternity? But remember, you need to establish your love-connection with Him first, before He can do it…

Good night and God bless.

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July 12 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Why We Can Place Our Trust in God

It takes more effort to build our trust in God because unlike trusting people, we cannot directly depend upon our five senses to validate that trust connection. Having a relationship with God requires both faith and trust, both in Him and His love.

God doesn’t overlook that. He loves us so much that He inspired particular psalms in the Bible to empower us in building up that faith and trust:

…he who trusts in and relies on the LORD shall be surrounded with compassion and lovingkindness. Ps. 32:10. AMP

If we hand over the reins to God and allow Him to guide our ways, we’ll be assured of His continual love over every aspect of our lives. He even asks us to test Him on this promise:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Ps. 34:8 NKJV

Reach out for Him and your life will be inundated with His abundance:

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life: in your light do wee see light. Ps. 36:7 – 9. ESV

But what happens if (when) we fall away from our walk with God? How does He respond?

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds him with His hand. Ps. 37:24 NKJV

So, we can thank God for His boundless mercy; we can count on it. When we return to Him, He will open His heart and shower us with His magnanimity:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Ps. 37:23 NKJV

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:3, 4. NKJV

“Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” Ps. 35:27 NKJV

How is God going to get that pleasure unless you are prosperous? Because He guarantees your prosperity:

Those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Ps. 34:10 NKJV

When we meditate upon how God’s love accompanies his saints even beyond this earthly life, we can build that trust muscle even more:

The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned. Ps. 34:33 AMP

For the LORD delights in justice and does not abandon His saints (faithful ones); they are preserved forever… Ps. 37:28 AMP

God also demonstrates His trustworthiness by showing up for you during your trials and tribulations:

The LORD is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. Ps. 34:18, 19. NASB

So, when is God with you? All the time. And how many problems does God deliver you from? That’s right – all of them.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience], and He rescues [each of] them. Ps. 34:7 AMP

I don’t see a downside here. God is available in every moment. All it takes on your part is a little trust:

…the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked and save them, because they trust in Him. Ps. 37:39, 40. NKJV

Finally, how long can you put your trust in God?

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Ps. 33:11 NKJV

Forever…

Goodnight and God bless.

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July 06 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Endless Symphony of Love

Life, with God in it, is like an endless symphony of love. Look at how much He loves you:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet… Ps. 8:1 & 3 – 6. ESV

Of all the miraculous wonders that God created in this universe, He chose you to be His crown of creation. He granted the entire earth to His children and keeps His focus upon their well-being. That is some really big love.

How many ways does God’s love show up for you?

God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect…You have also given me the shield of your salvation; Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me; so my feet did not slip. 2 Sam. 22:33, 36 & 37. NKJV

It is God who empowers you to live your highest and best life. He takes your best efforts (and your slip-ups) and transcends them – transforming you into complete righteousness, wrapping you up in His gentle saving love for all of eternity.

Even at your lowest points, God will lift you up; and it’s His pleasure to do so:

“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” Ps. 12:5 NKJV

He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy…He rescued me because He delighted in me. Ps. 18:16, 17 & 19. NASB

O LORD my God, I cried out to You for help, and you healed me. Ps. 30:2 NKJ

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing… Ps. 30:11 NKJV

In addition to taking you out of the valleys of your life, He sets you upon the peaks:

I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. Ps. 13:6 AMP

Moreover, God whispers His wise counsel into your heart so that you can remain within His largesse:

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel…because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Ps. 16:5 – 8. ESV

I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Ps. 32:8 ESV

So, if God holds you up as His most favored creation, cares for you, showers you with peace and abundance, lifts you out of spiritual darkness, floods you with His love and plants the wisdom in your hearts that you need to live on the highest spiritual plane, what is your symphony of love going to look like?

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Ps. 23 NKJV

Indescribable love…

Goodnight and God bless.

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June 29 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

How Do You Worship God?

A psalm is a sacred song used for worshiping God – a love song designed to help us connect with Him so that we may share our innermost thoughts and concerns.

King David was God’s master psalm writer. In fact, he wrote most of the psalms in the Bible. Here’s a part of one that he wrote for the daily services in the sanctuary of the Temple:

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Ps. 105:1 – 3. NKJV

We see then that worship both glorifies God and shows our gratitude to Him for His providence.

God so loves it when you sing to Him:

Oh, come let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise with songs of praise!…Oh come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Ps. 95:1, 2, 6, 7. ESV

How you worship is your own personal affair. Some worship in private, some in church. Some sing, others may play music or dance. If you’re not trying to appear pious, God loves to see you express your worship in the presence of others as well. It’s yet another way that you can help Him connect His love to more people for the sake of their salvation, when they see the love pouring out of you. It advances the kingdom of God:

Sing to the LORD, all the earth Sing to the LORD, bless His name, proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all the peoples. For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised. Ps. 96:1 – 4. NKJV

Even our (godly) behavior can be a form of worship. After all, Christ told us that the way we love God is by living by His word:

…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Rm. 12:1 ESV

So, how often are we to worship?

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall be continually in my mouth. Ps. 34:1

As we are doing that, we are continually loving God and being bathed in His love simultaneously. Because God’s love is boundless, we can afford to let His love flow out of us to the people around us so that they might get a taste of Him as well.

When we bless God with our love and obedience, He blesses us back:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the paths of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper. Ps. 1:1 – 3. NKJV

In fact, God will surround us with Himself…

…let all rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield. Ps. 5;11, 12. NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.

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June 22 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Where Can You Find the Truth?

Many people wake up from slumber and tell themselves they’re hungry. Is that the truth? Of course. A mother or father may gaze upon their child and tell them that they love them. Is that true? Yes. On some level, every parent loves their children.

But what about the weightier things of life – such as the truth regarding right vs. wrong, life and death, or how to achieve your highest and best life? If you’ve been living on this planet for any appreciable time, you know that there are a plethora of opinions regarding these. Some people will tell you that to know the truth is impossible because the truth is relative. (Remember Pilate when He answered Jesus in frustration from his dilemma regarding what to do with Him, saying, “What is truth?” Jn. 18:38).

Is the truth relative? Absolutely not! People only use this ‘untruth’ to justify their aberrant behavior. The ultimate truth is only found in one place – the word of God.

After Joshua had led the Israelites into the Promised Land and divided it amongst the tribes, he addressed them with the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God for the last time:

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you.” Josh. 23:14 ESV

If none of God’s words fail, it means they can be totally relied upon, thus meaning that they are the truth:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Num. 23:19 ESV

God’s word is an extension of Himself. Therefore, God is truth. And as we’ve seen, if the word is truth, it does not change, and neither does God:

The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. Ps. 119:160 ESV

For I am the LORD, I do not change. Mal. 3:6 NKJV

For His mercy and lovingkindness are great toward us, and the truth and faithfulness of the Lord endure forever. Ps. 117:2 AMP

God is truth. His word is truth. Truth does not change. It’s the same as it was yesterday, as it is today, and it will be the same for all tomorrows. God wants you to have the truth. Why?

Behold You delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Ps. 51:86 ESV

…God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:3, 4. ESV

Thus, God plants the truth within those who seek Him so that they can walk His walk for laying hold of their salvation, which grants them eternity with Him.

God began making His truth crystal clear with Moses, continued doing so with the prophets, and culminated the telling of it through His Son:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jn. 14:6 NKJV

Moreover, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to His apostles (just like He does to His present-day followers) to give them a greater understanding of the truth and of all the benefits that are accorded to those who possess it:

“If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin].” Jn. 8:31, 32. AMP

So, truth frees us from death, liberates us from the corruption that is festering in the world, sets us loose to love and be loved, and opens our heart to hear the voice of God:

“Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jn. 18:37 NKJV

Finally, let us not forget that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8); therefore, truth must be a requisite part of love:

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and sincerity). 1 Jn. 3:18 AMP

All truth ultimately lies within Love…

Goodnight and God bless.

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June 15 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

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