You Are Loved

“In a far-off land the LORD will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NET) 

A little lopsided but my mind sees a heart 🙂

In my travels near & far over many years, I have often found things in nature shaped like a heart. Each time I am reminded of how much God loves me & you and is always making Himself known to us.

I am also reminded that He does not give up on us. He is faithful to help us when we call out to Him.

Even when I am off in a dozen different directions, scarcely giving Him a thought. He is thinking about me. So I take a minute to focus on His heart. Our amazing God & Creator loves His creation, you and I, made in His Image…and I pause, take a deep breath…the very breath He gives me…and I praise Him! He is worthy to be praised!

Abide in Me

Jesus tells us to abide in Him. Not just a suggestion, but a command.

To bear fruit, we must remain in the Vine

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

Abide. What does that mean.

The dictionary definitions are—1: to remain in, to stay stable or fixed 2: to continue in something, to persist, to pursue 3: to tarry, to linger

We need to be connected to the vine. As a branch, it cannot get nutrients without being attached. I remember growing cucumbers. We put up a fence for the vine to grow and as it branched out the tiny cucumbers began to grow. Some grew this way and some went that way. I went out a few days later hoping to get some for my salad.

On one side of the fence I found several yummy cucumbers, but on the other side, I saw shriveled up cucumbers, smaller than a few days earlier. There was no fruit, or vegetables in this case. What happened??

Looking closer, I discovered that one of the branches, as it went over the fence, it got caught and broke off from the vine. Without the nutrients and support from the vine, the cucumbers shriveled up and died.

When we are not attached to Jesus, the vine…we too will not bear fruit. We need to stay attached, to tarry in His Presence.

Abide can also mean to tarry. It reminds me of the song, “In the Garden” “I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known”

Oh to tarry in the Presence of Jesus, what a sweet picture.

New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Are you in a dark place? Feeling overwhelmed? Are you trying to change? Are you trying to do things the way God has called you to do them…and yet no results? You see no difference?

Hold on. Just as the Monarch caterpillar waits patiently within its’ chrysalis to be transformed…so are you being transformed. Being a child of God makes you a new creation. The old ways of the flesh have passed and the ways of the Spirit are emerging.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes time to change. God has a much different time table than we do. Be patient.

The Monarch butterfly cannot see the beautiful changes taking place within the darkness…but we can!

Just like in the picture. The beautiful Monarch butterfly seemingly hidden, cannot see the beauty of it’s wings. It is dark in there. She has to be still & wait. No wriggling & fussing like I sometimes do.

We too, must wait and TRUST our CREATOR & FATHER GOD. We must have FAITH that He knows what He is doing.

Take a closer look, the black outline of the wings are showing! Just a few more days. Breaking forth from the darkness is so close! If the Monarch would quit now, it would miss the new creation it will become. You can be so close to emerging from your dark place too!

As you are transformed by CHRIST, your new creation emerges!

You & I are beautiful, new creations in CHRIST. Maybe in your darkness, you cannot see your changes. I can see the beauty of your wings. Just wait. God has so much more for you!

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God is For Us

“What shall we say to these things? If GOD is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

The enemy is after us, but we need not fear.

As a child of God, you & I have a BIG DAD protecting us. God is on our side, we need not fear. If we make Him our dwelling place; He will be our protection, our refuge.

“Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge–
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.”
Psalm 91:9-10

No evil shall be allowed to harm us. GOD REIGNS!

When it feels like the enemy is pursuing us and is crushing us… “For the enemy has pursued my soul;
    he has crushed my life to the ground;…”
Psalm 143:3a (ESV)

Have HOPE.

“Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!
Psalm 143:9-10

God is listening and acting in your defense. Let’s run to God for refuge and be delivered!

Wonderfully Made

Wonderfully Made

One afternoon when I was in Aruba, I met this girl (I think she’s a girl). She was hanging out at the pizza place and when I walked by, she came over to the edge of the deck and watched me closely. I took a couple of pictures and this one makes me think she is saying, “Hey, this is my good side!”

It makes me think of how wonderful God made all things. The creativity in this iguana, all the iridescent colors, the spikes, and the scales. As I was looking at the scales, I noticed several different types on the same iguana!

Doing research I learned that Iguanas have varying types of scales covering different areas of their body, for example, there are some large round scales scattered around the neck area and they overlap.  The scales on the top trunk of their body are thicker and more tightly packed than on the belly. The scales have a variety of colors that seem to glow in the sunlight. I noticed a white button sized bump under her neck area. What is that? It is a round scale known as a sub-tympanic shield or helmet scale. Some biologists speculate that it is used as a ‘bluff’ eye to ward off predators. Neat!

God created this iguana with such beauty but also equipped her to survive the Aruba heat. She finds shade under bushes or uses her razor sharp claws to quickly climb in the trees. She is far from defenseless. Part of her defense is her tail. On average over half her length is her tail. She uses it for balancing when climbing, as a wavelike propellant while swimming, and as a formidable whip-like weapon. She is also a master of disguise, using camouflage to hide from predators. So cool!

Wonderfully made and equipped to thrive in her environment. So are you and I.

We are wonderfully made. Our Father God says so.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:14 (ESV)

Created in His Image. God’s Image.

“So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

I will praise God for all the beauty as I look around this earth He created for us! I am thankful I got to spend some time really looking at the beauty in this girl and she was happy to show me her best side!

Fear is a Liar

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I love the song by Zack Williams called, “Fear is a Liar.” It is about all the lies that the enemy tells us to try and break our spirit, to make us get off track in our walk with the LORD and to eventually cause us to give up. If you have never heard it, look it up on YouTube. It is a really good song. Some of the lyrics are as follows in quotes Lyrics from Fear Is a Liar by Zack Williams

“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough”

Fear tells us we can’t do it. It stops us in our steps. Fear tells us we have messed up too many times. LIES! LIAR! LIES! Fear is a liar!

God says He did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is the absence of peace. Fear wears us down. Fear makes us believe things that are not true about ourselves. Fear tries to belittle & hide the TRUTH of GOD. Where does fear & doubt come from? It comes from the enemy of God’s children, from the evil one, the devil, Satan.

In John 8:44, Jesus said this about Satan, “…He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he (Satan) speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Why do we so easily fall for the same old tricks, the same old lies? The lies the powers of darkness puts in our minds discourages us, and if we continue to listen, it can ruin our soul. How can we stop the voices that tell us awful things?

As a child of GOD, you can choose to listen to your Heavenly Father. Listen to GOD. Look into the love letter He gave us..His Word, the Bible.

How about if we answer each line with what GOD says!

“When he told you you’re not good enough” What a LIE! We are created in GOD’S Image. (Genesis 1:21 & 1:31)
“When he told you you’re not right”
Don’t you believe it! Our wrongs are forgiven! We are made righteous in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight”
It is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12) Our strength comes from the LORD (Psalm 46:1, Psalm 22:19, Psalm 28:7-8, Isaiah 12:2 & many more!) and the battle is His (1 Samuel 14:47)
“When he told you you’re not worthy”
Jesus died for you & me while we were against GOD (Romans 5:8)
When he told you you’re not loved
GOD loves us so much He sent Jesus to die in our place (John 3:16)
“When he told you you’re not beautiful”
GOD says we are beautiful (Song of Solomon 4:7)
“That you’ll never be enough”
We are GOD’S Masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)

Call fear what it is…A LIAR.

Strength For The Storm

When one of the biggest emotional storms hit my life, I fell to my knees. When my whole life was shattered like a pile of broken glass on the floor, I needed hope.

When my heart was so broken and I slid to the floor, I cried out to God.  In the quietness of my heart I heard His reply, this is how the conversation went,

Me: “God, I can’t take this. There is no way that I can get through this.”

God: “Yes, my child, you will.  I will help you.”

Me: “No Lord, it is too much.  I can’t bear it.  I don’t have the strength.”

God: “You are right.  You do not have the strength, but I DO.” 

Me:  “I don’t understand Lord.  What must I do?”

God:  “Lean on Me.  I AM your strength, don’t let this shake you.” 

He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)

Me:  “I’m scared Lord.”

God:  Shhhh, little one, I am here.  I will never leave you.  Trust Me”.

He is right.  All my struggles did not go away but leaning on God and trusting that He is working on my behalf gives me peace…I will get through this in His Strength.

You may be going through difficult times.  Maybe you have felt lost and without hope. When we are dealing with missing loved ones who have passed, broken families, wounded relationships, and the stresses & storms of life…Lean on Him.  Trust Him.

“I wait eagerly for the LORD’s help, and in His word I trust.” Psalm 130:5

God is trustworthy, steadfast and sure. He is the strength of my heart. May He be the strength of your heart too.