Tag Archives: God’s love

3 Words that Change Everything

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There is a single phrase I really love to hear at the beginning of a weekly discipleship meeting with a young Christian: “I have a question.” It means the person sitting across from me is personally engaging in understanding and applying truth.

On this particular occasion, it was late in the month of December—the week before Christmas, if I remember correctly—when the recently-saved Christian I was meeting with began our discipleship meeting with that statement. It was her first Christmas after being saved as an adult a few months previously, so much was new to her.

I’m not usually taken off guard by questions of young Christians, but this one surprised even me: “Who is Emmanuel?”

Before I could answer, she continued, “I mean, we’ve been singing about Him in church a lot this month. Who is He?” Continue reading

The Ugly Truth about Spiritual Victory

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Some years ago, I attended a church retreat in which one of the sessions was a Q&A with the keynote speaker with the questions submitted anonymously.

If you’ve ever answered an anonymous Q&A, you know what a challenge the questions can be. The upside is that people are generally more transparent in what questions they are willing to ask. The downside is that it’s difficult to know the context or slant of the questions.

One of the questions in that particular retreat had to do with fighting a besetting sin. I can’t remember the specifics of the question (other than the obvious note of discouragement in it), and I can’t remember the full answer from the speaker. But I do remember the final two sentences of his answer: Continue reading

I Will Hope: 13 Practical Ways to Choose Hope

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Hope is a noun and a verb. It is what we have, and it is what we do. We who know the Lord already have hope, but we must also choose hope.

I recently did a Bible study on the word hope, and I was amazed at what I found. With 121 verses with this word (and 12 more verses when you add forms of the word), hope is all throughout Scripture. I prepared a Sunday school lesson from the study, and I had to leave out more verses than I could include!

Through my study, I compiled a list of thirteen practical ways we can choose hope. Continue reading

Words for the Week: Rejoice in the Lord

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I have a thousand blessings to rejoice in today: a warm house, food in the refrigerator, a working car, a delightful family, kind friends, opportunities to serve…I even had pie for breakfast. (You always know it’s going to be a good day when you eat pie for breakfast. Always.)

But in all my reasons to rejoice there is none greater than this: “Rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4). In life, I have many reasons to rejoice. But in Jesus, I have every reason to rejoice.

To be sure, just as easily as I can come up with a list of blessings, I could gather a list of discouragements. If I really set my mind to it, I could make my discouragements list longer than my blessings list. (This is not because I have greater discouragements than blessings, but because a mind set on discouragement easily finds it.) Continue reading

All the Hope in the World on a Bad Day

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In the last 36 hours, I’ve made approximately 732 resolutions to always back up my computer hard drive. In the previous 36 hours, I didn’t think even once about my hard drive.

Yep, my computer crashed.

A very bad day.

Everything I can think of that I ever cared about is gone with that computer. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Except that most of what I’m thinking about lately is the irreplaceable files stored on that computer. Every couple of hours, I remember ones I had forgotten.) Continue reading

What Do I Call You?

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In my first month of college, I met a student whose name was Elizabeth (name changed to protect the…well, neither guilty or innocent…just the named). I had heard others call her Liz, so when I actually met her, I asked her which name she preferred.

“My friends call me Liz,” she explained…and then continued, “You can call me Elizabeth, at least for now.”

Wow, I wasn’t quite expecting that. I never did have the nerve to ask her if the “for now” had ended. Frankly, I never got to know her well enough to think I was ready to ask. Elizabeth is a fine name, but in that relationship, it was a bit of a block. Continue reading

5 Reasons it Is Wise to Pour Out Your Heart to God

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I taught last Sunday on Hannah and her prayer in 1 Samuel 1. It turns out that Hannah’s story is about far more than intensity in prayer.

It is about a woman who poured out her heart to everyone but God. And it is about the change God worked in her when she poured out her heart to Him.

As a cross reference, we looked at Psalm 142—another account of someone who poured out his heart to God. This time, it was David in a cave.

In the seven verse from Psalm 142, we drew five reasons it is wise to pour out our hearts to God.

1. Because God hears

I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.—verses 1–2

Even when you pour out your heart to a friend, she may or may not accurately interpret the cry of your soul. God always hears, always understands, always listens with compassion. Continue reading

If by Amy Carmichael: Book Review and Free eBook

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The copy of this book in my library would be more properly titled When than If. I can’t read more than a few pages (if that) of Part 2 without being convicted at the weakness of my love.

Part 1 of this little book is really an introduction. In a few short pages, Amy shares how the book came to be written and how to read it.

Part 2 is the meat of the book. Here we are invited to compare our love for the Lord and others to the gold standard of love—the Cross. Each page (in the printed version) is comprised of one paragraph that begins with the word “If” and ends in the phrase “then I know nothing of Calvary love.” Continue reading

5 Things You Never Have to Worry About

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1. God’s love for you

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.—Jeremiah 31:3

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:38-39

2. Christ’s presence in your life

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.—Exodus 33:14

… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.—Hebrews 13:5-6

3. God’s commitment to transforming you to the image of Christ

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren….What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? —Romans 8:29, 31

4. Jesus’ return for you

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.—John 14:1-3

5. Today, tomorrow…or the rest of your life.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.—Hebrews 13:8

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.—1 Peter 5:7

Sometimes we just need to refocus on God’s eternal promises. What promises are your focus points?

I Choose You

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Eleven years ago today my youngest brother, Nathaniel, was born.

Excited isn’t the word. I think I began counting down the days until his birth about two months before his due date. When my mom woke me at 3:00 a.m. to tell me she was in labor, I couldn’t contain my joy.

If excited couldn’t describe the anticipation preceding Nathaniel’s entrance into my world, I don’t know the word that could describe what I felt when I learned a few hours later that he had been stillborn. Heartbroken doesn’t even come close.

Several weeks after, a mentally challenged lady in our church said it just right: “I miss your little brother,” she commented out of nowhere. “I would have liked to have gotten to know him.” I gave her a hug and then walked outside and bawled. I would have liked to have known him, too. Continue reading