Who Does God Want?

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For a long time I felt too bad to be accepted by God.  Surely He would rather have anyone on the face of the earth rather than me.  I never realized at the time that I was being prideful.  Thinking that I was so bad that the God of the universe could not accept me.  In my sick mind I even thought that He’d accept Hitler before me.

That is not how God works however.  He doesn’t take the deserving.  If He only took the deserving, no one would be accepted because no one is deserving.  The tinniest of sins is still sin and God can not look on the sin for He is a holy God.  Holiness can have nothing to do with unholiness.

What He is looking for is someone humbled by the realization that their sin makes them undeserving of God’s grace.  He is also looking for someone who will admit that sin and ask for forgiveness for that sin, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Once I understood that Jesus actually came for sinners and loved sinners, I came to the decision of turning my life over for last time to God.  It had been my pattern in the past to go to every alter call that I heard but since I never felt worthy, I never felt saved.

Salvation has nothing to do with feelings and has everything to do with the action of accepting what Jesus did on the cross, turning away from your sin and trusting God for your salvation.

If people think they have no need for God, they are suffering from the same thing I was, pride.  When people think that  they don’t need God, they misunderstand what God is all about.  As mentioned before God is Holy and He can not look on unholiness.  No matter how good a person may think they are they have missed the mark or sinned, which is what missing the mark means.  There is not a person on this earth that is perfect.  There was one once, His name was Jesus Christ.  He lived, died, and rose from the dead to pay the penalty of our sins.

So who does God want?  He wants all sinners to come to Him.  Since everyone sins that includes everyone.  His love is that big.  His compassion, grace and mercy that amazing and inclusive.

God’s Lessons In Humility

I have a trainer that spent an hour with me today in the pool, trying to get me to learn how to kick properly, breath without drinking the pool, and the right way to use my arms.  At the end of the hour I understood what I was doing wrong but felt no closer to getting it right than when I began.  It was truly a lesson in humility.

My trainer had every opportunity to get frustrated with me, even angry, but she didn’t. She was patient and kind and showed me again what it was that I was doing opposed to what it was that she was trying to get me to do.  It got me thinking, isn’t that like our Heavenly Father?  Just because we don’t get it right the first or third time, He doesn’t give up on us but mercifully guides us in the way He wants us to go.

He is the true source of all the power, unlike the trainer who can lead you but leaves it up to you to get it in the end.  God fills us with His power and asks us to rely on and trust Him to get us through things.

“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” – Philippians 2:13

I have struggled with my weight all my life. Either I thought I was too fat when I was not or when the doctors told me I could no longer purge but if I had to binge to handle what I was going through emotionally go ahead and binge.  That permission got me up to 350 pounds with God’s help, Weight Watchers, and exercise I’m down to 241.  I still have a long way to go to reach my goal of a healthy body weight.  I don’t know what that is but I know what I want it to look like toned in every area of my body.

My biggest struggle is when the depression comes.  You see I’m bi-polar and when I’m in a manic phase my eating is not a problem, neither is my exercise, other than not overdoing it.  When depression comes, however, eating becomes a problem one of two things happen. 1. I don’t want to eat.  2. All I want to eat is candy or other junk.  This is where the passage above has hit me between the eyes.

When I’m in depression one of the things that I do is to not spend time with God.  To be honest I veg out in front of the TV.  But I’m realizing one for my weight loss and as a diabetic I need to rely on God to get me through the bad times.  I need to cry out to Him like a hurt child cries out to her daddy for comfort, compassion strength and protection.  I know if I’ll only humble myself I’ll be blessed with God’s presence in my life and His love engulfing me.

I need to stop trying to dig myself out of the pit of depression.  It is a useless effort on my part.  I haven’t the tools.  Yes I can spend time with friends and get out of the house and get some sun, and journal.  All tools that have been suggested to me and to an extent can help some but they aren’t the ultimate answer.  That answer is found when I humbly turn to the Father, seeking His help and guidance.  Learning to trust Him in all things and stand in that trust.

I love the acronym for FROG. Fully Rely OGod. That is what I need to be doing in good times  and bad times, Fully Relying On God. 

If you struggle with bi-polar or depression or are going through a period in your life when the world just seems dark, let me encourage you that letting go of what has you down and not trying to do it all on your own, will ease your burden.  What will make it bearable is to give it to God.  Ask for His power to do whatever it is you can not do on your own. The peace that comes from turning it over to Him is amazing and such a blessing.  Please don’t miss out on it.

Curtesy An Act Of Love

In this world of looking out for self and business curtesy has all but fallen by the way side. But as lights in a dark world how easy is it to display God’s love by just being courteous to a stranger. You might call this random acts of kindness. But honestly how difficult and costly is it to let another car into your lane. Something I noticed on the long drive home from my sister’s house today. It didn’t cost me a thing and it made the life of the other driver a little easier in the traffic.

It got me thinking how often do I do something purely for the benefit of someone else? When you see someone looking especially good, do you let them know? When someone has been of help, do you praise them or at the least thank them? Or do you take it for granted. These include your spouse. How do you react when you spouse goes out of his/her way to do something nice or special for you?

What a wonderful place the world would be if we took the time to be courteous to one another. It’s contagious you know. Once it’s been done to you, as long as your aware of it and don’t ignore or overlook it, you want to make someone else feel what you felt.

We are to shine God’s love to the world and what better way to start that then through being courteous to everyone around us. Ask God for ways in which to be a blessing to someone else. Ask God who He wants you to bless. Then do it! You may think that they are reaping the rewards but the joy that will fill your soul knowing that in some small way you are shining the light of God on people, you’re truly the one being blessed.

Let me encourage you wether you want to call it being courteous or random acts of kindness. Open the door for a stranger, compliment a strangers outfit or hair or suit or shoes, compliment a young mom on her children or an older dapper man on his style. The most important thing is these have to come from the heart. A phony will be found out in an instant and then you’ve ruined your light because a lie is from darkness and we want no part of that.

Light can not live with darkness. So make sure whatever you do comes from a heart of truth, honesty and love.Make sure most importantly it comes from love – where God lives. As long as that is basis of the act it will be blessed by God.

Ask God to help you keep your ears and eyes open for opportunities to act. Then enjoy blessing others and enjoy the blessing that will be to you.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Prayer is a mighty tool. So let’s pray for all involved that God’s hands would be involved for He is the Great Physician. Thanks for your prayers for this dear little child and her family.

Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Author, Artist

My friend Sue has just found out that her baby granddaughter Khloe is desperately ill.  A complete diagnosis is not yet in but the doctor anticipates that this may be a serious and life threatening illness for the 23 month old. 

I will update my blog when more information is available.  Please pray for the baby, the medical staff caring for her, and for her family that the Lord will shower them with His love, compassion, and healing grace.  PLEASE REBLOG THIS AND SHARE IT WITH ANY PRAYER GROUPS YOU BELONG TO. 

Thanks everyone! 

IMPORTANT:  SEE UPDATE http://inlovewiththelord.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/important-update-on-prayer-needs-for-baby-khloe/

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Disappointment Or God’s Plan A

How do you handle disappointment? When things don’t go the way you want them to. Do you lay down and through an all out fit? Do you cry out, “Why me”? Do you go into a pout? Do you get angry? Does that anger get violent? Or does that anger turn inward and become depression?

Whatever we are disappointed about we feel that our Plan A went horribly wrong. We don’t understand, when we had it so carefully planed out, why it didn’t work out. Was it the weather that messed up your plans? Did someone else’s life interrupt your plans? Was the timing just off?

Or could it have been that it was never God’s Plan A for you in the first place. Yes God has a plan for your life and even what may seem mundane is an intro gate part of God’s Plan. Plan A never changes, it is the life long plan God has for you. But as we miss God given opportunities to move ahead in our course, God makes adjustments in the setting of the rudder to keep us on course. His purposes are never missed. No matter how many times we may miss the chances He gives us. He is always ahead of us in His planning. That’s why the ship is never truly off course.

All is a learning and growing opportunity. So that we may become complete and mature in Christ Jesus. So whether the weather or life interrupted your plans or the timing was just off, let it go and realize that just possibly they were being used as the hand of God to redirect your rudder in the direction He has in mind for you.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

More Than Conquerors

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”  – Romans 8:31b

There are so many times in a day that I forget that the battle has been won and I let the enemy get the best of me. Oh, that I would remember that the Omnipotent, Mighty, God is for me. If that were for front in my mind at all times I would live a life far different from the one I live now.

If I lived my life fully aware that God was for me and all that meant, I’d live a victorious life. God wants His children to succeed at things that are of His will, so that He will receive all the glory. When I live in victory it points the world to the One who is the source of that victory. That is one reason God wants us to be more than conquerors.

Our broken lives are nothing without Him. It is in our brokenness, when we turn it over to God, that the world sees the light of God shining through.

“You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?” – Isaiah 29:16

This is where people get the idea of God being the potter and us being the clay or the pot. In other verses of the Bible He talks about forming it for His purpose and what seems best to Him.

Being broken pots, those cracks of brokenness that we may be so ashamed of or embarrassed of, those are the very things that God uses to shine His glory through as He uses us. So let’s let God use us cracks and all. He doesn’t need strong people – they are self-reliant, that is why God uses the weak because it forces us to be God-reliant. Where He gets the glory He deserves.

So rather than being self-conscious or embarrassed or ashamed of our cracks let us remember that we have been chosen to be used of God with those cracks to shine the light of God on the world and show them how they too can be more than conquerors with the power of God in us.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

The Complete Serenity Prayer

This has been a blessing to me, more than I can express. I’ve said it so many times I have it memorized. It has gotten me through some of my darkest days and it is my fervent hope that it is an encouragement to you.

“Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I can not change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardship as the pathway to peace;

taking, as Jesus did this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make

all things right if I surrender to your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.”

By Reinhold Niebuhr

A Bitter Pill

Anger and resentment are dangerous emotions. Don’t get me wrong anger when handled properly is not only important but healthy. Jesus was angry at the money changers at the temple and overturned their tables and drove them out. Matthew 21:13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'” He was obviously very angry with them and we know that Jesus never sinned. Since Jesus displayed anger and did not sin, we know that there is righteous anger.

But there is unrighteous anger as well. Ephesians 4:26-27 “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” What does Paul mean by, “do not give the devil a foothold”?

When we don’t deal with our anger swiftly as the Bible prescribes resentment takes root. That’s a deadly combination. Which the devil is just waiting to use to his advantage. You see if he can talk you into not forgiving the one who wronged you he knows that anger and resentment will cause your heart to grow hard and your relationship with God to suffer. That my friends is a bitter pill to digest.

Now don’t get me wrong I would never suggest to the wife being battered to forgive and forget and stay in that situation. God is the only one that forgives and forgets. We are only asked to forgive for our benefit. No to the battered wife or husband I say GET OUT! God does not what is children harmed.

You remember for wisdom sake. You learn from past experiences and hopefully don’t make the same mistake again.

When I was going through my divorce, 22 years ago it took me a long time to get through the hurt and anger of the situation. To be honest there was a lot of resentment and my heart did grow hard for a season. I was broken and I couldn’t understand why the marriage I thought was blessed by God was falling apart. I didn’t understand how my husband could stop loving God and me. I’ll be honest with you I was so broken that I attempted more than once to go home to my heavenly Father. Praise God, He didn’t let me succeed!

Let me encourage you that if you are going through a particularly difficult time and the anger is high and resentment is crouching at your door or has already entered your heart, pray that God would guide you. Pray for a change in your heart. Our God is the job of doing miracles. All you have to do is ask and He will gladly answer your prayer. But don’t be surprised if some work on your part must be done first. I had to honestly look at all sides of the picture before my heart was ready to forgive. Now instead of anger or resentment or bitterness about my ex I have compassion for him. Does that mean I want reconciliation with him? No! He doesn’t love God and has many more issues I would never agree to live with. But do I occasionally pray for his soul? Yes. He is lost and needs prayer.

For those things that may seem major but are not as major as the ending of a relationship. Such as a dispute with your spouse, I beg you as soon as you are able to talk with a cool head DO IT! Listen to the Word of God and don’t give the devil a foothold. If you need to take a walk before you talk, take a walk but do everything you can to handle it as quickly as possible. You are doing yourself and your loved one a service.

Once you start taking bitter pills, they get easier and easier to swallow so do yourself a favor and don’t get used to them at all. Right here, right now make the decision that bitter pills are not for you. Instead decided that you will wear the cloak of forgiveness and humility. Bitter pills make you hard and cold. The cloak of forgiveness and humility keeps you warm and loving. That’s what being a Christian is all about isn’t it?

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

Is It All Bad Or Is It Good In Disguise

When the car breaks down or we lose a job or a relationship ends we look at those things as bad. The problem with that is that we are looking at them through our eyes. In our way of thinking. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Let’s chew on that verse for a bit. It is not only telling us that we do not think or behave like God, but that we are no where close to His ways or thoughts. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways…”, that’s quite a comparison. Mankind has no idea how high the heavens are. They appear to expand forever one universe and galaxy after another. This is how different God’s ways and thoughts are from ours, so different that our minds can’t even comprehend the vastness of them.

But He does promise to give us wisdom if we ask, so that we might understand what He chooses to reveal to us.

In God’s economy a broken down car when you don’t have the money to fix it may be an opportunity to grow in trusting God. He may surprise you with unexpected funds at just the right time or the blessing of someone to fix it out of the kindness of their heart.

In God’s economy everything works together for good. It may not come right away or in your timing but that would be your way not God’s way. Even though He may tarry He is never late.

The lost job, as unsettling as that is is an opportunity for a better job or the start of a new career or as it was with my father an opportunity to retire early even if that wasn’t his choice. Though it was not my father’s choice to retire early with health problems or mine to leave the work force and become disabled long before I was 40, God took care of my dad and continues to take care of me. It has been a walk of faith and trusting God. What I thought at first was a crisis has freed me to be a blessing to others in whatever way God shows me.

If it is a relationship that is ending believe me when I say I feel your pain. Twenty Two years ago when I was going through my divorce I thought my life was over and the world was coming to an end. I had gone from my father’s house to living with my husband. What did I know about being single? How would I ever survive? Because of my stubbornness it took me a long time to get to the point of being okay alone and learning how to rely on and trust God for my needs. He met those needs in a myriad of ways, sometimes through people, sometimes I had to truly cling to Him alone. Looking back the pain and suffering that came from the end of that relationship has matured me into the woman of God I am today. Stable in my relationship with my LORD and whole as an individual that has something to offer another individual should God choose.

So you see what seemed horrible, unthinkable, and beyond my abilities to cope turned out to be the very tool God used to draw me closer to Him and to mature me, to grow my faith and trust and reliance on Him and for that I am eternally grateful.

Would I have chosen the divorce? Never! Am I grateful for what God brought out of that situation? Yes, yes a thousand times yes!

I have even seen God use death for good. When my dad died at his celebration of life the gospel was shared and that next Sunday three new people where going to that church. One of them being my dad’s wife my stepmom whom I always called mom. She did not only start going to church but the Holy Spirit lit a fire in her soul. She would invite us kids to join her or more honestly highly encourage lovingly to come with her. It did my heart well after praying for so long for her.

I honestly don’t know anything no matter how painful it is that God can’t use it for good.

Precious ones if you are in the midst of a painful time please don’t misunderstand me and think that I take your pain lightly or flippantly. Finding the good in things varies, with my divorce I was a broken woman for a very long time. When my dad and stepmom died they had both been sick for a long time and in a great deal of pain, so I was comforted by the thought that they were no longer in pain and rejoicing with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong I have my days when I miss one or both of them terribly. Its then that I talk to God and talk to them as if they can hear me from heaven. I know God hears me and that gives me comfort and talking to my parents gives me comfort also.

When things start going wrong ask God to be able to see His ways and understand His thoughts. Then ask Him to help you to trust Him to get you through it. You’ll be a much healthier and happier person if you do. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed sprit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) You see if you have a cheerful heart it’s good  medicine, thus it stands to reason that you will be healthier. As one who fights depression I can attest to the fact that “a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. It feels like you’re withering away.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart

You Were Created To Be Loved!

When God created the heavens and the earth and the animals He then said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” Genesis 1:26a  God was looking for someone with whom He could be in relationship.  We were made for relationship. Man had been created in God’s image. God is a triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit each in intimately connected to the other. Since we are created in God’s image we also need intimacy. God wants to have that intimate relationship with us.

In the garden before the fall of man, man had a relationship with God that was intimate.  (Genesis 3:3-9) For man to have been afraid of the sound of God walking in the garden, he must have been familiar with the sound for it to cause fear.

God created mankind to be in relationship with Him. But sin destroyed that. But our God is a merciful God. He is never without a backup plan. This rebellion was of no surprise to God. He’s  backup plan, Jesus Christ, was already worked out it was just going to come in His timing.

That offering took place on the cross by Jesus Christ.  You see God did not lie when He said anyone that ate of that tree would die.  The penalty for sin, which is what eating that fruit was – sin, is death.  God is a just God. All sin is equal in His eyes.  Holy can not look on unholy and sin makes us unholy no matter how big or small it is.

But God is also a loving Father that wants the very best for His children and longs to have relationship and longs to shower us with love.  He didn’t want us to die in our sin apart from Him.

So as a Holy Judge He accepted what Christ offered to do.  Jesus said, “Father (Your Honor) I’ll pay their penalty. I will die that they may live. Let them go and let me pay the price.”  So that is what Jesus did on that cross so long ago.  He died on the cross in place of you and me.  Now if He had just died that wouldn’t have been enough but He rose from the dead and now sits on the right hand of God.  When someone accepts what He did for them and asks forgiveness of their sins and repents of those sins.  Repents means turns away from.  Then Christ tells the Father that one is one of mine.

Once that is done the relationship we were created for.  That ache in your heart that can’t be filled with anything in this world; not a mate, children, riches, drugs, sex, food, anything that you may try.  That ache in your heart was put there by God so that you would come to Him.  He longs for you.  He wants to be there in the dead of night when no one else is there to be cried out to and soothe and comfort you.  He wants to be there during your joys and hear all about them.  He longs for your worship and for you to be still to listen to His voice as He speaks to you.

He’s the father of the prodigal son standing expectantly, looking down the road, hoping fervently to see you coming to Him.

He’ll knock on your door seeking fellowship with you, but He’s a gentleman and will never force Himself upon you.  It’s you, with your free choice, that must open the door of your heart to start the relationship.  He loves you that much! He puts it in your hands and leaves it to you.  Whether you choose to accept His gift of love is up to you.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart