When I Think About the Lord

Want to know what happens to me, when I think about the Lord? A smile spreads across my face. A sense of being loved fills my heart. Peace floods my soul. That’s what thoughts of Him do to me.

A storm can be raging. Everything can be going wrong, and I still have the same response. When I think about the Lord, I know everything is going to be all right.

He is my Father and He loves me. He has made me many promises and He is faithful to keep His Word. All He has to do is say it, and I know He’ll do it.

All He has to do is say it, and I know He means it. He said He loves me and He will never leave me nor forsake me. I am loved and will never be forsaken. He’s not going anywhere.

He said He forgave me and healed me. I am forgiven and healed.

He said if I delight in Him, He would give me the desires of my heart. I delight in Him. I may not see them yet, but I have the desires of my heart.

When I think about the Lord, all things seem possible, because nothing is impossible with God!

When I think about the Lord life is good.

What are you thinking about today? What happens to you when you think about the Lord?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3, KJV)

I Never Knew Love Like This Before

Today is Christmas Eve. I was thinking about this holiday. The love of a Creator for His fallen creation. The birth of His Son sent to save our souls. Emmanuel, God with us.

As I was thinking about these things, I heard a song rise up in my heart. “I never knew love like this before.” I don’t think I’ve heard that song in years. I didn’t even remember who sang it. But it seemed very appropriate.

I recall a day I was waiting for a friend at MD Anderson. A man struck up a conversation with me. He was reading a book about aliens.

We started chatting and then he made a comment about those stupid people who believe in God. I let him know I was one of those people. The conversation kind of went downhill from there.

He absolutely could not comprehend a God Who would send His Son to die in our place. He refused to believe that there was a Being in this universe Who would sacrifice His Own Son. He believed in aliens, but He didn’t believe in God. He didn’t believe anyone could love like that.

But God did. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Until I heard that message, I had never known love like this before. But once I heard that message, received that message, and received His Son into my heart, I have never spent another day without the most amazing love in the universe abiding in my heart; and being daily aware of that amazing love being lavished on me by my heavenly Father.

“I Never Knew Love Like This Before”
Artist: Stephanie Mills

I never knew love like this before
Now I’m lonely never more
Since you came into my life

You are my lovelight, this I know
And I’ll never let you go
You’re my all, you’re part of me

Once I was lost and now I’m found
Then you turned my world around
When I need you, I call your name

‘Cause I never
Knew love like this before

This Christmas let your thoughts, let your heart, let your life be consumed with His awesome love for you.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us, God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16, KJV)

A Father’s Dream II

This post is part two on the topic of A Father’s Dream. Please read the first part posted 2 days ago on December 14th before reading today’s post 🙂

But God – so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). (Ephesians 2:4-6, Amplified)

…that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29, Amplified)

In my last post I shared about God looking upon His newborn Son, a baby lying in a manger, and how He knew as He looked upon this baby, that He would one day die on a cross for you and me. He knew the plan as He beheld His newborn Son. Oh, what love.

Like any ‘new’ Father God had hopes and dreams for His Son and they included you and me. As He looked upon His Son, He saw more than just a baby boy. He saw sons and daughters that would be born again, from life to death. Redeemed from the curse and blessed. Raised along with His Son to be seated with Him in heavenly places.

As He looked upon His Son, God dreamed and hoped for you.

A Father’s Dreams

As I sat in my prayer chair this morning I looked over at one of my Christmas decorations. It is a velvet Christmas stocking with a large cross stitched on it. The stark contrast suddenly struck me. As we celebrate His birth, there before me was a reminder of His death.

I think of new parents as they look upon their newborn child, the hopes, the dreams, the plans they have for their child. God looked upon His newborn Son and knew the plan for His life included His death on a cross.

Jesus, God’s Son, would die for our sins by being tortured, abused, and finally nailed to a cross. And God knew this as He looked upon a baby in a manger… His Son, Jesus.

And the angel answered and said unto her , The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35, KJV)

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7, KJV)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, KJV)

“…it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (John 11:50, NIV)

…after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26, NASB)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son… (John 3:16, KJV)

It’s Not About Me

I had an interesting experience this morning with God. As I sat in my favorite prayer chair, I saw some things in my own heart that needed to change. I asked Him to search me, cleanse me and change me. This is nothing new. I spend each day with Him in prayer, in worship, and in His word, being changed from one degree of glory to the next. But today I noticed something. Not something new, but something I just hadn’t really thought much about.

When I first began coming to God to be changed, it was all about me. I was the focus of my prayers. I wanted to change for my own sake. There is nothing wrong with this. My prayers during this time were answered. I was changed. Each day I looked more like Him.

After sometime of praying this way, I began praying more for others, than for myself. I was so moved by their needs I didn’t even think much about my own needs. He answered these prayers too.

Today as I sat with Him, I began to see the faces of the individuals that I am ministering to. People in need of healing of their broken hearts. People in need of healing for their broken bodies. People in need of healing for their broken lives. I found myself slipping from worship over into prayer and I found myself praying that He would search me, cleanse me, change me… for their sake. I was praying about me, but it wasn’t about me. It was about God changing me, so that He could meet their needs through me.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24, Amplified)

Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom. (Song of Solomon 2:15, Amplified)

Now may the God of peace… strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever… Amen… (Hebrews 13:20, 21; Amplified)

Make me what I ought to be… for their sakes.

Expressions of Love

Galatians 5:6 ~

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (KJV)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (NASB)

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Amplified)

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (NIV)

One day as I was teaching the word of God in a prison, I found myself unexpectedly leaving my notes and begin talking about “mean Christians”. Christians who become so legalistic they constantly use the Word of God to judge, reject or condemn others, instead of edifying, encouraging and empowering others.

At the end of the teaching, a woman came forward crying and admitted to being a “mean Christian”. As she wept and repented, the rest of the ladies present wept with her as they watched her change before their very eyes, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, by the power of His love.

We talk much about faith. We talk much about speaking to that mountain and casting it into the sea. We talk much about laying hold of a Word from God and not letting go until it manifests in our lives. And I thank God that more and more we are also talking about love. Faith works by love.

I came across the scripture Galatians 5:6 in the New Living Translation recently.

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus… what is important is faith expressing itself in love. (NLV)

When I read it, it rang so true. Our faith should be an expression of His love.

I spoke to a youth minister from another denomination one time. We discussed a topic that his denomination believes has passed away.

He was very tense at first. As I shared a story about an interaction I had with a woman from his denomination, I shared how she was expecting me to get on to her about not believing God in her situation. I am very thankful to say that is not at all what she got from me. By the grace of God and to the glory of God, what she got from me was the love of God in the midst of her very difficult and tragic situation.

The youth minister told me that he too would have expected to be corrected and judged in that situation. He said many times people who believe the things that we believe from God’s word, can be pushy and judgmental. That ought not be.

That day, we did not agree on everything we discussed, but I can honestly say he and I walked in love through our entire discussion.

The teachings on faith are so powerful and true. They can help to set the captives free. But not if  the message is shared in such a way that the captives run from us instead of to us. It should always be shared bathed in His love.

So let us walk in faith. Let us teach this faith. And let it all be said and done as an expression of His love.

Patient and Kind

Love endures long and is patient and kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4, Amplified)

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2,NIV)

…be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV)

Love is patient. God is patient. We are to be patient.

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy…, peace, patience… (Galatians 5:22, Amplified)

I was thinking this morning about 2 Corinthians 3:18.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory… (2 Corinthians 3:18, Amplified)

We are being changed from one degree of glory to another. None of us has arrived. And during this process God is very patient with us, just as a parent patiently awaits as their child grows and gains more and more understanding and knowledge.

You are not upset when your 3 month-old can’t tie his own shoes. God is not upset when you are still learning new things. He is patient and kind and gently leads and guides us into more and more truth and enjoys watching His children grow from one degree of glory to the next.

The opening scriptures instruct us to be patient with one another. Often when someone makes a mistake, I think, “Been there. Done that.” And thank God He was patient with me through it all. We too need to be like God, long-suffering, slow to anger, patient and kind.

Today, I was thinking of this in light of some things I’ve seen while ministering to others. It often surprises me how hard people are on themselves. How impatient they are with themselves. How unkind they are towards themselves. How unmerciful they can be with their own selves. God is not put out with them. He is not impatient with them. He is not unkind to them. Neither am I. And they shouldn’t be either.

We are all going from one degree of glory to the next. You are going from one degree of glory to the next. Don’t be satisfied with where you are. Always strive to grow. But in the process don’t forget to be patient and kind with yourself.