Am I Teachable?

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Philippians 2:2-4 (NASB), “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Our Senior Pastor, Dr. William Hohman, teaches about humility quite often. One of the things he often says is that “humility means you are teachable”. A humble person admits that he or she doesn’t know everything and is open to sound teaching. Many times over the years as an employee, a manager, a parent, and a teacher, someone would know of an easier way to do something that still got the right results. Most were thrilled to learn and to save time or energy, I know I was. Some insisted their way was best, too proud to admit that there might be an easier way and continued to do things their own way. It works both ways as well. There were times that the so called “easy way” ended up with more work in the long run, or didn’t get the right results, but stubbornly, those who knew the short cut wouldn’t admit the fault in their efforts.

Our Father knows a better way, for everything. His way may not always look too easy, or it may look way too easy to believe in any results, but it is always better. I wish I had a dollar for every time I gritted my teach and dug in my heals, and insisted on doing things my way, only to have it come back to bite me in the rear parts!

I have always loved to learn. Pretty much anything. I loved the new books, pencils, classroom, assignments, and even test day. Loving to learn doesn’t make me humble or teachable. Admitting that the teacher or professor is trying to teach me a better way does. Opening my heart to the Father, allowing myself to be led by His Spirit and not thinking too highly of myself makes me humble. The Holy Spirit can teach me all things when I am humble. He, or anyone else, can’t teach me anything if I already think I know everything.

Humility isn’t a lack of confidence. It isn’t low self-esteem.

Ken Blanchard, in his book “Lead Like Jesus” says: “Humility is realizing and emphasizing the importance of others. It is not putting yourself down: it is lifting others up. Humility gives credit to forces other than your own knowledge or effort when a victory is won or an obstacle is overcome…Jesus’ humility didn’t come from lack of self –esteem, love, power, or ability. His humility came from the fact that He knew who He was, where He came from, where He was going, and whose He was.”

With that confidence in who we are, where we are going, and Whose we are, we can’t help but be humbled.

James 3:13-16 (Message Bible), “Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.”

Stony Heart?

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Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV), “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 11:19 (NIV), “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Everyone born on this planet is born with a heart defect. It’s called a “hard heart”. It might not totally manifest until our pre-teens, but it is there nonetheless. A hard heart makes us selfish, calloused, and stubborn. It causes us to be stiff necked and self righteous. Praise God when we surrender those hearts, freely giving them to Jesus, He gives us a brand new one.

Unfortunately we still live in this fallen world and our human nature keeps trying to resurrect itself and exert itself over our new nature. When that happens we begin to ignore the Holy Spirit and tune Him out. This causes our hearts to begin to solidify again. Our new pliable, teachable hearts may be a gift from God, but we have to work at keeping our hearts soft. Or maybe our hearts aren’t exactly hard, but we try to divide them between God and something or someone else. David had that issue and he ended up sinning against God by committing adultery with a married woman. When confronted by the prophet Samuel, he repents and prays this prayer, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 (NASB)

Usually we don’t notice the hardening of our hearts until they are rock hard. But, it’s never too late with our Father!

Jeremiah 23:29 (NLT), ““Does not My word burn like fire?” says the Lord. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?””

God’s word softens our hearts. Isn’t that what Jesus did? He softened the hearts of the people toward God. John says that Jesus was the Word and that He became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus, the living Word brought hope to everyone who had these heart issues.

David said that he hid God’s word in his heart. Why?

Psalm 119:11 (KJB), “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

It’s not some hocus-pocus magic. It’s so much simpler than that. When we know God’s word, when we truly make ourselves a student of His word, we begin to see God as our Father, the way Jesus portrayed Him. We know, without a shadow of doubt, that He loves us lavishly and scandalously. Even more amazing, we find out who we really are. We begin to see ourselves and others through the eyes of God, through the eyes of Love. A whole paradigm shift takes place then. Suddenly we aren’t doing those sinful things anymore. Sin has no more pull on our heartstrings. Our hearts stay pliable. When that happens, we don’t miss what the Holy Spirit is speaking into our hearts near as often, and we don’t see serving God as an obligation but as a privilege, a joy!

How do I know if my heart is hard? Are you easily irritated? Are you judgmental of yourself and others? Is reading your bible a chore, is almost anything else more attractive than going to church? Do you find your mind wandering during the services you do attend? Have you stopped tithing or giving to missions? Are you feeling numb to anything spiritual, dry as a mouth full of crackers?

Don’t despair. It’s only ever one step back to God.

Joel 2:12-13 (NASB), “”Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in loving kindness And relenting of evil.”

Father, give me an undivided heart. I choose to allow Your word to be engrafted into my heart, to let it light my path and illuminate Your feelings for me. My heart belongs to You, the Lover of my soul. Only You are trustworthy enough to give it to.

Designed For His Glory

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Psalm 125:1 (NIV), “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”

All of us who follow Christ and have surrendered our lives to Him are now the spiritual Mount Zion. We cannot be shaken, we endure forever. We are God’s house, His home. Our job is to shine. Our destiny is to carry His glory, to be like Moses who had to veil his face because the people couldn’t handle his glow. We are predestined, chosen before we were born, and designed for his glory.

Romans 8:28-29 (NIV), “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Emphasis mine)

Think about that. The One who made us designed us to hold His glory.

We are being conformed into His image. The closer we get to looking just like Him, the more of His glory will be revealed in us and on us. We are vessels that have to go through the process of firing so that we are strong enough to hold His glory. The Father’s intention is to present us as a bride to Christ. A bride that is without spot or wrinkle, one that is holy and blameless, a glorified Church.

Ephesians 5:25b-27 (NASB), “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Emphasis mine)

II Thessalonians 1:10-12 (KJB), “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis mine)

 

Each designer has a purpose in mind when they design something; sometimes it is just to look good. However, if you have ever purchased a pair of shoes that looked great, but were so uncomfortable you had to give your feet a pep talk before they would agree to wear them, you know that looks aren’t everything. God didn’t design us to shine just so we would look good! He wants us to lead people to Him. A light house shining in the darkest storm, the flood lights that light up that stage, the soft glow of a candle that brings hope and light in the darkest night. That’s us. Or it should be.

Ephesians 2:10 (TLB), “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Accepting His love for us is the beginning, then once we are truly motivated by a real love, not just a mindset to love, but genuine passion for Him, then we can do good works that stand. Those works won’t be worthless, sounding brass, or a banging cymbal (I Cor 13:1). What does a light house look like to those in darkness? A place where they can come in and be judged? A place where they feel threatened and forced to conform to a set of behaviors and standards? How about a place that is just like the darkness they want out of? No! A light house is a place of safety, a safe haven in the midst of the storm. The church is a family, one that is so full of love they just can’t contain it! It is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and just flows out of them, especially to those who are hurting and lost.

We aren’t sent to condemn or judge. We are not called to follow the law, we are called to love, we are sent out to Shine!

I challenge you to search out scriptures about Mount Zion. Then meditate on them. Stir them around in your heart and keep in mind that us believers are spiritual Zion. Good things come from there, people meet God there!

Isaiah 60:1-7 (ESV), “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house.”

Sleeping Beauty

 

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(Sleeping Beauty, Thomas Spence)

Ephesians 5:14 (NIV), “This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

In 2003 I read a book titled, “Access Granted” by Joshua Fowler. For me this was the beginning of changing the way I thought about Christianity. Now it was only a beginning and a very small one at that, but the bible tells us not to despise small beginnings. Since that time I have gone through some stuff that challenged my new beliefs, However, God is so good that no matter what came my way, no matter what I read, or what I heard from the pulpit, He was confirming a whole paradigm shift. This continued to change the way I saw God, how I saw myself and how my life as His daughter ought to be, and it is changing the way I see others and the world. Now, thirteen years later, the Holy Spirit continues to bring me deeper in this revelation of who I am in Christ.

Recently, as a congregation, we have been covering “Who We Are In Christ,” “Our Rights and Responsibilities as Sons of God,” and “Discipleship.” Our Senior Pastor, Dr. William Hohman has written several small books on some of these revelations. Then a few weeks ago, I had a pastor, Mel Wild, ask me to review his book, “Sonshift”. I follow his blog on the internet and I knew that he was experiencing this new wave of God, so I agreed. Through this book, I have an even greater understanding of what our life should look like as Christians.

I am thrilled that God is moving in His Church. He always does and His timing is perfect. This is the generation that will change the world. This is the generation that will bring Heaven to earth.

Here is a quote from the preface of “Access Granted”: “I am encountering people who are hungry for more of God and His blessings…They are determined to press beyond the norm into the supernatural character, power, and order of God. And they are willing to step over the Jordan and pay the price for their promised land…I am concerned because I am also encountering those who think they know it all they’ve been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. Instead of using their wisdom and experience as a platform for new revelation and exploits, they are stuck in a rut. They don’t realize that they are old wineskins… Why should you allow God to shake up your world, change your thinking, and lead you into your promised land? Because He wants you to obtain your inheritance in theis earth, so you can carry His name to a lost and dying wolrd. Your harvest is ripe!…It is time for you to open your heart to the new wine and reap your harvest. My prophetic word to you in this hour, “Become anew wineskin for the Lord.”

Joshua Fowler is referencing the parable in Luke 5:36-38. Let’s take a look at that.

(NASB), “And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”

God is doing something NEW. Maybe not new to Him, but it is certainly new to us. Sure there may be a few who got this years ago. God always has a remnant, those who just seem to be able to surrender to His love in such a way that they get revelation on seemingly a daily basis. Good for them! Now it’s our turn, Amen. We can’t keep being the old us, doing the same old thing, and thinking in the same old way. That’s the old wineskin. That is brittle, inflexible, and other than holding the old wine, it is useless. But I want new wine, how about you? There needs to be a shifting. My friend Mel calls it a “Sonshift”.

Malachi 4:5-6 (HCSB), Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

Luke 1:17 (NIV), “He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

This scripture was about John the Baptist, but it is being fulfilled in a greater way to us right now. The time is ripe.

“I believe we are seeing today a unique day in the body of Christ. I believe we’re living in a day unprecedented since the days of the apostles. We’re living in a day where God is revealing Himself to us as Father. And because the Father is love, His love is becoming available to us like it hasn’t been for 2,000 years. And as that love is coming, it’s turning our Bibles upside down, inside-out, back to front. It is turning our Christianity, up upside down, inside-out, back to front. It is, for the first time, putting us in the place where we can enjoy our life more than sinners.” –James Jordan, Fatherheart Ministries

This is the generation.

The Spirit said, ‘I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity on earth in one generation.’”- Mike Bickle, Founder of International House of Prayer

In “Sonshift,” Mel Wild uses the parable of the Prodigal Son, to show us that it wasn’t just about one son, it was about two sons who both were a type of “orphans by choice”. Their father wanted the best for them, one rebelled and wanted to do things his own way, while the other had a slave mentality and was working away with an attitude, just waiting for his dad to die so he could get his inheritance. How many of us, who have accepted Jesus as our Savior still live as if we were orphans? Mel calls those “spiritual orphans.”

Here is an excerpt from the book: “The truth is, Jesus came into our orphaned world and introduced His Father to us in order to show us how to live in His Father’s house. He did this so we could be reunited with Him, right now and forever, no longer orphans but sons and daughters. He told us He would do this by sending the Holy Spirit so that we could live just like He did when He walked the earth- abiding in our Father’s house and “proving” to this orphan world that our Papa’s purpose for them is good and acceptable and perfect. Beloved of God, this world has no mental grid for the Father’s love, and the only way they’re going to know it is to see it through our lives.”

Jesus came to show us the Father. Up until this point people just didn’t understand who He really was. He had been relating to them in a way that they could understand, as a parent to a toddler. You can’t really reason with them, you just have to set some boundaries and then enforce them. Praise God for Jesus’ shed blood. For now God can relate to us as mature sons and daughters. We can see His true identity and purpose as well as our own.

Why is this so important? Well, first off wouldn’t you like all those promises of God, that are supposed to be “yes and amen” evident in your life? Me too! And secondly, we want the orphans of this world to find their true Father, the one who loves them more than they can understand, but who long for him anyway. They might not even understand what is missing from their lives, but when they see it they will know it. It’s just like us when we have a food craving. Frequently I don’t even know what I want, so I go to the fridge and take a look. When my eyes light on that one thing, I know it. If it is a true craving and not just “feeding my emotions”, after partaking I can say, “That hit the spot.” What I mean is it satisfied that craving, that empty spot was filled. That’s the way it will be with the world. On the other hand if I go to the fridge and it is empty… I am going to go look somewhere else. Our fridge needs to be full.

Let’s allow God to change us! Only God can really change us from the inside out, true, but we have to allow it. He never forces us, ever. Let the Potter mold His clay. The outcome will be such a beautiful vessel, such a blessed life, that others will want the same. The harvest is ripe, time is quickly running short. Now is the time. No more delay, no more excuses, and no more procrastination. God’s work is finished, now it is our turn.

We are the true “Sleeping Beauty” but God’s word to us today is “Awake, awake, oh sleeper!”

Isaiah 60:1 (KJB), “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee!”

Some Christmas Love

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Luke 2:8-15 (AKJ), “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, see, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

I think that is good news don’t you? God’s message that night? “Peace on earth and good will towards man.” Aren’t you glad is wasn’t “Chaos and trouble on earth and I sure am angry with men.”

He had reason to be irritated with His creation. He could have left us to our own wicked devices and allowed the world to “go to Hell in a hand basket.” However, His message that night wasn’t that we get what we deserved, no! It was “I love you.”

Sure He knew how wicked man had become, that’s why He made a way, from before the foundation of the worlds, to show us Ultimate Love. God hanging on a tree. His love poured out to us, just like the blood that flowed from His broken body.

With God, we may reap what we sow, but we don’t get what we deserve. I deserved Hell, how about you? But, I won’t see it! Nope, the closest thing to Hell I will ever experience was my life without Him, before I surrendered my heart to His love. That was bad enough.

Now that we know this “good news” and have experienced it first hand- go and tell someone else!

Isaiah 52:7 (NIV), “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Sojourner

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Ephesians 2:1-10 (HCSB), “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by graces through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s giftnot from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

You may see my physical body here on earth and, yes, I am a citizen of the United States of America. However, I am really a citizen of Heaven. This earth isn’t my true home. I am just passing through. Heaven is my real home. I am only on a temporary visit here.

I am a sojourner.

Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV), “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

According to orton.org the responsibility of a US citizen is:

We must obey laws or pay consequences. Good citizenship for adults also means serving on jury duty and paying taxes. Responsibilities: As an adult, being an informed citizen about our government and community is an important responsibility. Voting in elections is just one responsibility of all good citizens.”

Let’s take a lesson from the natural responsibilities. First we must obey the laws or pay the consequences. Let me first remind you, that in our Heavenly Citizenship we no longer obey the Law of Moses, but the Law of Love. However, there is still a law and our responsibility is to obey it. Jesus said if we loved Him, we would obey His law.

Luke 10:27 (NASB), “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Next, we must serve on jury duty (judge between right and wrong) and pay our taxes (give God His ten percent, a tithe of all our increase, time, energy, and resources). The most important, in my opinion, is to be informed of the government (God) and our community (fellow believers). For us, that means knowing who God is, what He has done for us, what His plan is, and who we are in Christ. It includes being a vibrant part of a local church and building relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Every citizen should know the laws of the land they live in. Now, I know that in the natural they pass new laws every day, but God’s ways are not complicated. He made everything simple. Though we don’t “vote” Him into office, we do choose to place ourselves under His leadership, so shouldn’t we know what He stands for? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to know His likes and dislikes? What is His plan for His people?

I think it also important to note, that even in the natural, these responsibilities are for adults. Children are a gift and a blessing, but they don’t contribute much in the respect of building a nation. Caring for them is very important and training them up to be good citizens as well. They will be our future adults and leaders after all. However, it takes productive adults to build a nation, those who are able and willing to work, to live right, to set good examples, and to be upstanding citizens, those who will represent their Sovereign well.

We all know some Christians who have the “Peter Pan Syndrome” and just don’t want to grow up. They prefer to have someone else doing the work and pressing in, while they get changed and fed and… babied.

If we remember that our visit here is temporary, we will want to grow up and move on, accomplish as much as we can in our short stay. Think of a vacation. For most of us they are too short. So we cram as much in as we can in the few days set aside. Who wants to waste time? The Psalms continue to remind us that our lives here are just a vapor. If we don’t get going on vacation the worst thing that happens is we don’t get to see everything we wanted to, or experience it all. If we waste time as citizens of Heaven, the consequences are much greater, we lose souls, and if we aren’t careful maybe even our own. Instead of adding to the family, we may hinder the growth of His Church.

Don’t get caught up in the cares of this world, it’s not your home. Change what you can change (always being led by His Spirit), pray about what you can’t, and move on. Don’t let yourself get anxious. “This too shall pass” applies to our short time here. Whatever we may suffer here is nothing compared to the glory we will experience and though it may seem to take forever for an answer, think about the situation in light of eternity. We aren’t waiting to experience Heaven, we should be experiencing it here and now. Again, think of a vacation, what if you could bring that cruise ship home and park it in your yard, or what if your daily budget on vacation was your normal daily budget in real life? Life would be pretty sweet wouldn’t’ it.

God has given it all to us, right now. We don’t have to wait for Heaven “one day”.

A sojourner doesn’t put any permanence on his stay; he knows that his forever home won’t be here. He isn’t building his mansion in his temporary country or laying up stores there. He knows he won’t be around to enjoy it. God wants us blessed here and now, but He doesn’t want our focus to be on temporary blessing. If we keep our eyes on Him, we will have what we need here and be laying up treasures in Heaven.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

 

 

Created to be Loved

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Do you or did you ever wonder why God created you? Why would He even bother? He was complete in Himself. He lacked nothing…

If we look at John 4:16 we can find our answer.

(King James Bible), “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.”

Love isn’t an attribute of God, it isn’t one of His characteristics. He IS love. I know that’s hard to wrap our head around, but think with your heart for just a minute.

So, back to our question. “Why did God create me?” The answer is simple. Love needs an object of affection. Even though He was complete in Himself, that He didn’t need anything, or anyone, He wanted you! God wasn’t lonely…that’s just silly. But He did want someone to lavish His affection on.

How does that make you feel about Him? Do you trust Him more? Are you more confident in His plan in your life? Does it stop the voices that say He is angry or mad at you, that you don’t matter, that no one cares? What happens to your self-worth when you realize God is love and that He loves you, more than you could ever imagine.

The very same scripture the English Standard Version reads,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” I John 4:7-12 (emphasis mine)

The main way that His love is manifested, obvious to us, is in the fact that He gave His own Son to erase and eradicate our sin, and our sinful nature. It is the Holiday season as I write this and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, with Christmas coming up soon. I am planning my tree and figuring out how I am going to decorate it. I want my home to feel warm and inviting, to show my loved one’s how much I love them. Also, this time of year I can’t help but think about how much my Heavenly Father loves me. Jesus not only won the tree contest, hanging Himself there as a public display of His love, He won the battle with our enemy! Now the only fight we have to face is the fight of faith, staying strong and secure in His love.

His own shed blood is proof enough of His love, but there is more! He has planned out a whole life for us that is showered in His love. When we step off that path, we remove ourselves from His perfect plan. Even when we do that, once we realize our error, He turns all our bad ideas, wrong choices, and unplanned mishaps, around for our good.

His love isn’t fickle, it doesn’t waver, because His love isn’t an emotion or a feeling. It is who He is! His love is never ending, and never selfish. His love is always free and never has strings attached. He loves Adolf Hitler as much as He loves you. He loves that drug dealer as much as that homeless teen who sells her body for food, and He loves me as much as Mother Theresa. How can that be? Because it is unconditional! No conditions, no strings, there is nothing you could ever do that would change His love for you, not even murder or forsaking Him. Think of the Israelites, who lived under the law, they rebelled and turned away from Him, even choosing to serve false gods. Yet, if you read through the Old Testament, it is full of His love. Was He frustrated, angry, and disappointed in them? You bet, mostly I think He was saddened. Under Grace, which Jesus brought to us, God doesn’t get angry at us, ever. He only sees the final outcome. He sees us covered by His blood. He sees us loved and accepted into the beloved. He sees us as His dear children, if we accept that love.

Every person created was created as an object of His affection, but every person created isn’t His child. Only those who choose to accept that love and everything it entails, those who choose to be led by His Spirit. Those He calls His.

Romans 8:14 (NIV), “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

He loves you!

You were created to be loved by Him!