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John 3:19 Choosing Darkness

“And here is the basis of their judgment: The Light of God has now come into the world, but the hearts of people love their darkness more than Light, because they want the darkness to conceal their evil.” John 3:19 TPT

It’s sad that a majority of the people in this world have no comprehension that they are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

Something to ponder while you wander…Those who don’t know and don’t feel loved will display the worst they have to offer. They will choose darkness & judgment over Love. Be compassionate to those in darkness, Jesus Himself said, “Father forgive them. They know not what they’re doing.”

John 3:18 No Condemnation

“So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in Him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the Name of God’s beloved Son.”John 3:18 TPT

We are free from condemnation, so please stop beating yourself up! Be kind to yourself. Love yourself right where you are now. Give yourself some grace as you heal, learn, and grow. Papa God loves you right now, unconditionally. Please love yourself that way.

Something to ponder while you wander…as you love yourself so will you love others. (Love thy neighbor as ye love thyself).

PS A note about our treatment of non-believers, please remember this verse in its context. Papa God so loves the world. He desires us to be kind and show His love so the world will choose to come out from under condemnation by believing and receiving all Jesus came to give them.

Bonus pondering point…God’s benefits are so good and His abundance so vast that He always has more than enough for everyone. You will not lose a single solitary thing by sharing Jesus. That person will not and cannot take your place in the kingdom, as everyone has a good spot. God will not love them more than you, as His love is constant. His love does not grow, change, nor diminish. They cannot steal what meant for you, God secures what’s yours (Psalm 16:5).

John 3:17 Not the Judge

“God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!” John 3:17 TPT

Jesus came to love, serve, and set people free. He didn’t come to judge and condemn.

Something to ponder as you wander…if we’re called to do even greater things than Jesus, how much more should we be loving, serving and setting people free?

John 3:16 The Whole World

“For this is how much God loved the world–He gave His uniquely conceived son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life.” John 3:16 TPT

God hasn’t given up on any of us, He still believes the world is worth the sacrifice.  He still loves us unconditionally and eternally.

Need something to ponder while you wander today? Ponder that you were loved this much even before the foundation of the world.

Guarding your heart

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When I was young I remember hearing “Guard your heart.” And I imagined a huge fortress around my heart. Then as the years went by I built that fortress, brick by brick.

In the last few years, God’s been dismantling this fortress of solitude and asking me to be vulnerable. I’ve always loathed that word. Vulnerable. To me it screams weak and pitiful. A pathetic damsel in distress. But I’ve learned that vulnerability is about being who He created me to be without fear. But we will leave that for another day. Today it’s about the meaning of guarding your heart.

The verse in question is found in Proverbs 4:23. Here it is in the RSV version:  “Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life.

That word keep (sometimes translated guard) refers to tending and keeping a vineyard or a garden. It’s about weeding, pruning, and upkeep.

This is important because our heart is like a spring from which everything flows. We need to keep our spring of life clean & free of contaminates, like bitterness, envy, fear, jealousy, unforgiveness & hate, because everything we believe & do starts in the heart. See the verse below.

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. Then he added, ‘It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.” Mark 7:15, 20-22 NLT

Not sure about your heart condition? Two ways to check:
1. Check what’s coming out of your mouth. What you say is the overflow from your heart. (Luke 6:45). Are you being negative? Are you continually beating yourself up? Are you gossiping and bashing people? Are you crossing lines in your conversations with married folks or people in general? If so, take these things to the Lord and ask Him to share with you what the root is of that behavior.

2. Or you can simply ask God to check your heart and reveal anything to you that needs to be addressed or might cause problems for you down the road. Remember that He created us, and knows our hearts intimately. (Psalm 33:15, 44:21& Psalm 139) You can find David seeking the Lord about his heart condition throughout the Psalms, like in verses 19:12 & 26:2.

God loves you passionately! He desires  you to be whole! “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will  take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 NLT  Your wholeness matters more to Him than what you will accomplish with Him.

The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

God is all about the heart.  God anointed David king solely because of his heart. Not his height, nor his weight. Not because of how handsome he was, nor His birth order.

Just like David your heart is precious to Him. So much so, that He will Himself guard your heart with His peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts & minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

This word guard, unlike keep in Proverbs, refers to a military guard. In other words, God guards our heart with His peace like a military guard in prevention of a hostile invasion, so it and our mind can be at rest. His peace operates no matter the circumstances. This means we have no need for the brick fortresses we build for ourselves. We need only trust the Lord.

I know that’s easier said than done my friends, especially when our trust has been repeatedly violated or our heart is broken. But like everything  else in life it’s a choice. You can choose to guard your broken heart yourself or you can allow the Lord to give you a new whole one. Choice is always yours.

Point to ponder while you wander…”The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18 NLT

Behavior is a Reflection

“Answer this question; Does God, who lavishly provides you with His own presence, His Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does He do them because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust Him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.” Galatians 3:5-6 MSG

Righteousness is not about behavior. Righteousness comes from faith (Romans 4:19-25).

Behavior is a reflection of what you believe about God and what you believe about yourself.  When you focus on the goodness of God, how much He loves you, that you are accepted & beloved, and as you grow in understanding of who you are in Christ; the behavior will begin to change automatically. It may take time but it will change.

In Christ:

You cannot be separated from God’s love (Romans 8:31)

You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You have eternal life (John 10:28 & Romans 6:23)

You are free. (Romans 8:2 & Galatians 2:4)

You are a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:26 & Ephesians 3:6)

You are established and anointed (2 Corinthians 1:21)

You are triumphant (2 Corinthians 2:14

You are able to see and understand the truth (2 Corinthians 3:14 & 1 John 5:20)

You are justified by faith (Romans 5:1 & Galatians 2:16)

You are reconciled to the Father (Romans 5:10, 2 Corinthians 3:14 & Ephesians 2:13)

You are blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

You are sitting in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)

You were created for good works (Ephesians 2:10)

You are sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11)

You are accepted (Ephesians 1:6)

You are strengthened to do what needs to be done (Philippians 4:13)

You have abounding grace (2 Corinthians 9:8, Ephesians 2:8 & 2:18)

You are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1)

It’s good to remind yourself daily who you are in Him. If you’d like an expanded list to read and confess daily check out this link from Joyce Meyer Ministries.

http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=knowing_who_i_am_in_christ

That’s it?

When someone gives you a gift, just accept it and say, “Thank you.”  It’s really not a difficult concept.  But when receiving from God, I still tend to struggle with this.  I feel as though I need to clean up my own mess and earn God’s help.  That is the definition of religion, people trying to impress God with what they do and to make themselves worthy of God’s notice.

Well if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this; God already loves you as much as He’s ever going to.  Do you know why that is?  Because He already loves you completely and unconditionally.  What you do or not do doesn’t change the love He has for you.  He’s a good God who wants to bless people and enjoys giving good gifts.

The story that kept popping up to me was the story of God giving Naaman a gift.  It’s found in II Kings 5.  Naaman was a great Aramean warrior, who was beloved by his king, and also happened to also to be a leper.  Naaman’s wife had a maid from Israel, who told Naaman that she knew of a prophet who could heal him.  So Naaman went to Elisha’s house.  Here’s the story beginning in verse 9 and going through verse 16.

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.  But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!  Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”  So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused.” 

Naaman’s pride said, “That’s it??? There must be more than simply bathing in a dirty river?  This can’t be right.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of ritual or cost involved.”  But there wasn’t.  God simply required Naaman to believe, then He healed him.  Naaman was the leader of the army that had just defeated his people in battle.  Yet still God loved him.  Yet God healed him without expecting anything in return.  That’s the goodness and giving nature of God.

This just blows my mind.

Musical Monday-Crazy Kicks In

Generally when I ask people how they are they reply, “Busy.” or “Tired.”  We are a society of busy and tired.  We all have obligations competing for our attention.  I know I do!  But when I take time in the morning to focus on hearing what Holy Spirit has to say, I find it easier to prioritize.  I get more accomplished in my day than if I skip God time.

Crazy Kicks In by Francesca Battistelli is a fun reminder to keep God first.

You never know what kind of gem you’ll get in your God time.  Maybe it will be encouragement.  Maybe it will be a solution for something you’ve been unable to figure out.  Maybe it will be something that makes you laugh and keeps your day joy filled.  Maybe it will be a business strategy that changes everything for you.  Maybe it will be a verse or a word that will encourage someone you’ll encounter that day.

When you show up expecting, He’ll show up too.  No games or tricks.  Just a promise that when you seek, you’ll find.

In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:12-13 NLT

Declaration of Righteousness

God has declared that you are righteous in Christ! So declare your independence TODAY from condemnation and guilt over your past! You are free! You are righteous! Receive what you were given!

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sin.” Romans 3:23-24 NLT 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whom the Son sets free is truly free! 

 

Hope in God

Today’s Deep Thought: When your hope is based on God’s promises, you can be assured that you will not be disappointed because not a single one of God’s promises will fail!

The last thing Joshua said to the Israelites was, “Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the LORD your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!” Joshua 23:14 NLT

Hebrews tells us: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Paul said: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5

Hope=A joyful and confident expectation of good.

Faith=Being convinced (absolutely persuaded) that God is who He says He is and, therefore, will do what He says He will do. Also known as trust, belief.

Even if you don’t see how God is going to do it, God sees the beginning and the end.

Even if you can’t wrap your mind around it or begin to understand it, God knows all things.

Even if you have no money, God is your provision.

Even if you’ve been waiting sooooo long, don’t give up. Those who persevere receive what they were promised.

Even if it looks impossible, God still does miracles every day. He has limitless resources. LIMITLESS! And He’s got more planned for you than you can possibly imagine. Imagine that!

Even if you are the least likely, ESPECIALLY if you are the least likely candidate, God loves using those people! (David for instance. Or Mary. Or Galilean fishermen and tax collectors working for the Romans. The list goes on and on).

When God promises something, He delivers. So, stand on His word! Speak the scripture out loud! Remind God of His promises.

Faith praises God NOW for things that have been promised but have not yet arrived. We praise NOW because we know that God ALWAYS keeps His Word. Always.