Because He Loved Me First

 we loveIf someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  -1 John 4:20
New King James Version

What concerns God is whether a person is actually and practically following Him with his mind, actions, words, time and energy. This proves to Him whether one sincerely loves the truth or merely sees his religion as an intellectual profession or social occasion.

Our deceitful mind can find multitudes of ways, reasons and excuses to avoid confronting the real issue of life—overcoming, allowing God to form and shape us into His image. Knowing this very well, Satan works to involve the intellectually inclined among us in pursuits that though they may involve religion and are stimulating and challenging, have little or nothing to do with overcoming. The issue, however, becomes so “big” that God’s focus is lost under the ever-growing mounds of research.

He distracts others through conspiracy theories. Though these things may be occurring at least to some extent, and though people reason they are “watching world news,” it is not preparing for God’s Kingdom. It becomes so “big” in their minds that they are nearly consumed by it—it is all they can talk about!

Jesus said what is in the heart comes out the mouth. Where is there room for God in the heart when this other pursuit is crowding Him out? Are these people in danger of being swept away by the flood? I have noticed that people involved in this gradually become very suspicious and cynical of others, especially those with some authority. Satan subtly destroys the fabric of trust that any institution—be it a relationship, family, church or nation—must have to function.

The Day of the Lord is not yet upon us, but we are in the headwaters of the flood that is swiftly approaching. The flood of deception is a precursor of more physically persuasive tactics designed to deceive the whole world into accepting the lie. But for now, Satan is surely concentrating primarily on God’s called-out ones.

God is permitting a sifting to take place. Paul uses the word “delusion” in II Thessalonians 2:11, indicating a “wandering out of the way.” Does that not happen to people who are confused and have lost direction and motivation? They wander. They drift. They get tossed about in the winds and currents. But the love of the truth will keep a person clear-minded, focused on the right areas of life and motivated to overcome. And this will lead God to save them.

We need to examine honestly what receives our time and attention. We need to evaluate truthfully what is the focus of our lives. This will reveal whether we love the truth or merely profess to. Those who only profess to love it will be the ones sifted by the flood now swirling around us.

Jesus cried out in John 7:37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Brethren, this is our salvation. He says He is the way, the truth and the life. Now is the time to dig deeply into His Word to make that foundation sure. And let’s truly live and build upon what we find there! — John W. Ritenbaugh

And You found me WORTH DYING FOR!

Precious Father in Heaven,

Your presence is my comfort.  When I sense these moments of sweet love that You shower upon me, I know that they are beyond all other moments.  How I love You Lord!
When I am feeling doubt from fear You break through the lie to remind me that You are my Protector and Strong Tower.  You lift me up above every circumstance that this life and world would hurl as obstacles on my path.  You gently invite me to walk on the water with You and amazingly I can achieve this as long as my gaze is fixed on Your glorious presence.
It is through you that I can do all things. Lord Jesus it is only in You that I find the confidence to stand firm in my resolve to live in and uphold Truth.  You are Truth and there is nothing else that a man can add to You Lord!  How I adore You my gentle Master!
Because of Your just, faithful and consistent Love for me, I understand much clearer who I am; which allows me the freedom to truly Trust Who You are, for it is in You that I live and move and have my being!  I am Yours and You are truly mine.

There are many in the world who say that I am simple and not worth acknowledging in a conversation. Others say I am not worth the effort of their time and company.  Many think I am not worth being in their community or neighborhood. Some have said I am not worth living for.
Precious Father, I will be content today to let them say what they will.  I want to remain on the road where You have placed me.  Thank you for raising me out of the ignorance of caring what others think or being concerned with the futile and hopeless values and worth with which they assess one another. 
It’s ALL about You my King!  And You found me WORTH DYING FOR!
I thank You Lord, as I submit myself unto Your service and good pleasure today; body, soul, mind and spirit.  Father there is nothing humanly possible to utter that would attain all that You are to me.  I do know that I Love You so deeply Lord, I adore You beyond my own comprehension!
In the Name of Jesus, I therefore humbly ask that You accept this simple offering of loving praise. 
Amen

Aha! Keep it Simple!

In trying to find the answers to life’s purpose and where God fit into my life, I had to learn a great truth: “Keep it simple”.

When beginning my search for a deeper more initmate walk with God, it seemed to be paved with so many obstacles. Filled with things I could not accomplish or overcome. It was at the very moment that I believed I had my footing and was grounded in deep that I would no sooner slip or fall. It was just all so complicated. I wanted a deep closeness with God that gives us the ability to be at peace in every chaotic and heart palpitating circumstance.

After much tireless effort and many disappointments I just gave up. I knew the scriptures and God’s promised salvation. Yet it was all just a big mystery that I’d start to believe could never be attained in this life.

Then it happened… that great “aha moment”. I suddenly knew that there was more to this life right here and now. I could have the closeness to God that I craved and that I could have it NOW! Had He not promised to give us life and that more abundant? Didn’t He promise to give exceedingly above all that we could ask, expect or hope? I needed understanding… I needed the peace that surpassed my own understanding. In this moment of clarity I knew undoubtedly that God COULD NOT break His promises; because He can not lie. AHA! A very simple truth.

The first thing I was to actually DO was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” In applying this Truth to my life I found the errors in my past failures. Everything I did was driven by my own human efforts. AHA!

All believers agree that Jesus died for us and paid the wages for our sins and we are grateful. Often after we realize it, we go off with heartfelt gratefulness slipping and falling on our faces. (Well at least I did).

The “aha moment” for me in this instance was not only had He paid the price of my many transgressions against God; but He had paid the price for me. I am not my own. I belong to Him. I was bought at a price and therefore I must honor God not only in mind and deeds but to surrender to Him my entire physical being as well. Even my body belongs to Him. (1 Corinthians 6:20). I was a slave to the rhythym of man’s understanding of God. Thereby I attempted to live by a faith fueled only in human striving. Once understood that it was not mine to do because ownership of “ME” had been revoked. I had surrendered all titles to myself to God in Christ. (1 Corinthians 7:23) AHA!

God gave me this simple understanding. “It is like you have sold your vehicle and surrendered the deed and title; but you came back in the dark of night to illegally repossess it and use it.” In His light it was put to me just this simply.

How could I possibly drive it effortlessly? Afterall when He’d taken possession of it He restored the tarnished finish, renewed everything under the hood with perfect parts and the right upgrades. Even the old user’s manual was made obsolete. It could no longer be operated properly by the previous owner.
Aha! Not complicated at all. When God is in total control:
1.) He is at the helm of our life and the center of our being;
2.) We are fueled by the Spirit of God.
3.) A deep intimate bond is established with Him

Now I’ve found the ability to be at peace in every chaotic and heart palpitating circumstance. In the very eye of every storm we can be at peace and rest with Him in the stern of the boat. He is the Master of the elements; the One who cries out, “Peace! Be still!” and it is done.
Keep it simple… AHA! Let go and let God!