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Peace is your First Line of Defense

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“And Jesus arose & rebuked the sea, ‘Peace. Be still.’ And the wind ceased & there was great calm. And He said, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'” Mark 4:39-40

Do you see that as soon as the disciples lost their peace fear replaced their faith?

It only took fear a few minutes to change everything. They no longer trusted the Word from Jesus, that he’d just spoken 4 verses before.  Their sole focus became their anxiety, which caused panic, even though Jesus was asleep in the same boat!

Fear is a liar & a thief! It steals more dreams and destinies than anything else. Peace is your first line of defense, so maintain your peace!

No Virginia, God Is Not Like Santa Claus

I overheard a conversation between a parent and a child that went like this:

“That’s enough now. You need to be good or Santa won’t bring you any presents.”

“I’ll be good.”

Not anything earth shattering. Not anything new. I’ve heard this said many times. I’ve been told this many times. I’ve even said this many times myself. But this time when I heard it, it smacked me. It actually made my stomach knot up and I didn’t know why. It was commonly spoken and commonly believed, why did it suddenly upset me?

It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I figured out that that way of thinking prevented me from receiving from God most of my life. I thought God was like Santa. He would only give me things if I were good. He only loved me when I was perfectly well behaved. I didn’t think that God loved me, because I wasn’t perfect. Is this way of thinking preventing you from receiving from God too?

Honestly, there are a lot of people out there who think God is the same way. They believe that God only loves us when we “be good.” He only approves of us when our behavior is within the little box of rules and regulations. We need to be flawless to be loved. We are only given the things we want and need when we are “behaving” and being “good.” But it’s a lie. The truth is that God loves us all the time, unconditionally. The whole Bible illustrates that He loves us and that He gives good gifts to all people. Period.

Here’s some truth about God’s gifts:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn.” Romans 11:29 (NLT)

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18 (KJV)

What was His best gift? I think it was Grace. The grace that came in the form of a small baby born in Bethlehem approximately 2013 years ago. His name was Jesus. You wanna know why?

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:6-8(NLT)

God gave Jesus (the person of grace) to everyone who will ever be born, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. No matter what family you were born into or what country you were born in. No matter your past, present or future behavior. Whether you are wealthy or poor, brilliant or slow-witted, Jesus was given to you so you could be reconciled to God.

And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s wrath. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:9-11(NLT)

God is not trying to control your behavior, like your parents did with the “no gifts from Santa” hogwash. He wants you to know Him and have a relationship with Him. From that you learn how much He loves you! You also discover who He made you to be and are set free from the lies people have spoken over you. The change in behavior comes as a side-effect from knowing who you are and how much you are loved. You are righteous and holy because Jesus is righteous holy, not because of what you do or don’t do. This is the reason He sent Jesus. This is the reason for the celebration of Christmas.

No Virginia, God is not like Santa Claus.

Perception is the Key

Picture this. A prisoner has been pardoned. But instead of leaving the prison, the prisoner sits there in the cell. The shackles have been removed. The door is open. The prisoner could just walk out and be free. Yet the prisoner sits there because he’s not chosen to walk in freedom. His perception and perspective is that he is and will forever be a prisoner. But the truth, the reality, is that he’s free. He doesn’t believe the truth but has chosen to believe a lie.

If you are caught up in the cycle of addiction, you are that prisoner.

If you are beating yourself up over the past, you are that prisoner.

If you believe that you are worthless, you are that prisoner.

If you believe your situation is hopeless, you are that prisoner.

If you think that things will never change, you are that prisoner.

If you are allowing your past to bind you and prevent you from moving forward, you are that prisoner.

If you believe your past is more powerful that Jesus’ sacrifice, you are that prisoner.

Jesus came to reconcile us to God. Reconciliation was His main purpose. But that was not the only benefit and purpose of His death and resurrection. Luke 4:18-19 (Also found in Isaiah 61) tells us that He came to restore us body, soul and spirit. “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

He came to reveal the whole truth. The truth of His Kingdom, who we are, and how God feels about us. (In case you don’t know He loves us A LOT).

He came to show us who the Father is by doing what He saw the Father doing.

He came to heal your body and your heart.

AND He came to set you free. John 8:31-34 says,

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Even though you have been set free, you need to walk out that freedom. A slave (prisoner/unbelief) mentality and not understanding their true identity kept an entire generation out of the Promised Land. See Deuteronomy 1. They still saw themselves as slaves. They cried out to go back to Egypt. Their wrong perception of themselves and their lack of belief robbed the ENTIRE GENERATION of their inheritance. Only two men of the millions that left Egypt from that generation entered the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb. Did you hear that? Two out of millions! And the only difference between those two and the rest of their generation was that they believed what God said, not what anyone else said. Did you hear that? They believed God. Not their circumstances. Not what they saw. Not what everyone else said. They believed God.

What’s my point? Well my point is that you need to believe what the Lord says about you and your future. You need to stop speaking negatively over yourself and beating yourself up for your past mistakes. You have value. You are loved.

Your situation is not too hard for God. Joseph went DIRECTLY from the prison to the palace. See Genesis 41. You don’t think God can do that for you? Nothing is impossible for God. NOTHING.

You are…

Just a heads up that I won’t be on here for about 2 weeks.  I will be without access to the internet.  While I’m gone I want to leave you with this…

You are seen…because He is the God who sees. (Genesis 16:13)

You are known…because He knit you together in your mother’s womb.  He even knew you before He created the world. (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1:3-6)

You are loved…because He is love. (I John 4:7-19)

You are never alone nor forsaken…because He has said He will never leave nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5)

You are never hopeless…because Jesus is the hope of the world. (Psalm 71:5, Jeremiah, 17:7, Acts 28:20, Romans 15:12, I Timothy 1:1, Titus 2:13-14)

You are never without grace…because Jesus is the personification of grace. (John 1:14, Romans 5:15, II Corithians 8:9, II Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 2:11, Titus 3:7, I Peter 1:10)

You are valuable to God.  (Luke 12:6-7)

You matter to God.  Never forget that!

Musical Monday: I Will Not Be Moved

‘I Will Not Be Moved’ by Natalie Grant has been my theme song on and off since it was released.  Take a gander:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTeQdLKiRg8

Wayward child acting out….

I was a good kid for the most part.  I was a tad mouthy and such but I generally did as I was told.  I got good grades.  I only got one detention in all of high school.  I went to and liked church and youth group.  I officially got saved at 16.  Pretty good track record, huh?  Yep.  But then…I turned 17.

Something happened to me at 17 where I just LOATHED any sort of rule.  I may have still obeyed most of the rules I was given, but in my heart anger had begun to build.  I looked obedient but looks were deceiving.  I was rebellious and becoming more and more bitter every day.  While I still attended church and youth group and loved Jesus, I told God to take a hike.  (Please don’t ask me how the 17 year old me thought she could separate the Son from the Father…I have no idea how she thought this was possible, but she did.  She was weird and angry and borderline crazy.  Anyway…)  I saw God as the mean one just waiting for me to screw up, so he could cast me out.  I hated His rules more than any others because of this lie I believed.

I went off to college planning to leave parental rules, Biblical law and every other regulation in the dust.  I was FREE!  Right?  Wrong.  I was so wrong.  There were still rules and laws at the university level too.  Dorm and campus rules.  Michigan laws.  The laws of gravity and motion.  Oh and that God guy…He’s there too.  Great.

It took 7 years before I realized I actually needed God.  I missed church too.  I came back to Him very broken and fully expecting to be treated poorly.  I could go to heaven, but I’d be homeless there.  I would be permitted to attend to church, but on a probationary period only.  God wouldn’t actually like me, let alone love me.  At best I expected to be tolerated, at worst severely punished.  Maybe if I behaved perfectly I could earn my way back into His good graces.  Maybe.

It’s grace I’m standing on…

Then I actually spent time with God and began to get to know who He really is.  I learned that He was a creative genius who made the sky, trees and filled the earth with beauty.  I saw that He was love.  I learned that He was good and He doesn’t want a single person to perish.  I learned that He had a good plan for my life, even still.  Best of all, I learned that He never left me, not one time.  He was with me when I walked out of His will and chose to go the world’s way.  He was with me at the bar.  He saw me make MANY dumb choices.  He was with me when my first love and I broke each other’s hearts.  He saw me graduate from college.  He was with me when I got engaged to the wrong man.  He was with me when I got sick.  And through all of that, He loved me.

He what?

He loved me.  Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day. (“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3)

Then when I called out to Him, He opened His arms to me and welcomed me back.  I didn’t have to beg or plead or beat myself up.  I didn’t have to burn sacrifices on the altar or volunteer to lick anyone’s boots.  I just had to call out.  That was it.  I wish I’d have understood about His grace before I spent nearly a decade trying to make up for all the crap I pulled.  Lesson learned.

I will make mistakes…

I’ve come a long way from 17, but I’m by no means perfect.  I will make mistakes.  But my mistakes remind me that I need Him.  My weaknesses are not a design flaw.  Where I’m weak, He’s strong.  We are a team, God and I.  And that’s exactly what He wants from you too.  Partnership.  Relationship.  He wants to love you and help you to succeed.

That’s why I will NOT be moved.  I need Him.  Every. Single. Second. Of. Every. Single. Day. I NEED HIM.

I’ll leave you with Psalm 107.  This Psalm shows that no matter what kind of trouble you’ve gotten yourself into, cry out to God.  He’s waiting for you to ask for His help.  He’s waiting for you to tell Him you need Him.  We all need Him because of Adam’s sin in the Garden.  We’ve all inherited it.  Jesus is the only cure.

Psalm 107

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron.

Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door. Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

Some went off to sea in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action, his impressive works on the deepest seas. He spoke, and the winds rose, stirring up the waves. Their ships were tossed to the heavens and plunged again to the depths; the sailors cringed in terror. They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits’ end. “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.

He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into dry, thirsty land. He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there. But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops. How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase.

When they decrease in number and become impoverished through oppression, trouble, and sorrow, the Lord pours contempt on their princes, causing them to wander in trackless wastelands. But he rescues the poor from trouble and increases their families like flocks of sheep. The godly will see these things and be glad, while the wicked are struck silent. Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.”

 

I need a break

I am counting down to my upcoming vacation. I am sooo excited. I haven’t had a real vacation in quite some time, and I need it desperately right now.

There’s something about taking a break from life and unplugging now and again, it recharges and rejuvenates. For me it can be a spontaneous road trip to anywhere I can get lost in the beauty of the earth God created, a completely planned trip and itinerary or anything in between. No matter what I adore traveling. I love to explore new places. I enjoy sitting and watching the waves hit the beach at Lake Michigan. I enjoy walking around art museums and seeing the different architecture in historical towns. I enjoy taking a camera and capturing little details that other people may not bother to look for. Those things make me happy.

I’m sure I’m not alone. I would imagine everyone likes to go on vacation and just get away from everything for a bit. Get away from the stresses and pressures of work and family life. Get away from the general day to day grind. But what about those times when you need a break and you don’t have the vacation time or money or your situation will not allow you to have that break you need? What do you do then?

Personally I like to talk nice long walks, like 4-5 miles. It helps. When I’m really overwhelmed (when I don’t want to think) I will read or watch movies. I like to go live in someone else’s world for a few hours before coming back to deal with real life.

Jesus never took a vacation, had hobbies or anything like that. But what He did do was maintain a good balance with His time. 1. Ministry: Jesus talked to people, poured into people, prayed with and for people, healed them and etc. 2. Growing and teaching disciples: But He also took time to teach and grow His 12 disciples. 3. Friendships: He spent bonding and chilling out time with 3 of the 12 disciples. 4. Alone time and God time: Jesus went off alone to pray & spend time with Father God often. That is how He was able to do what He did. He was continually rejuvenated and refreshed by seeking God. Check out Matthew 14:13-23 to see Jesus’ priorities.

Matthew 14:13-14, Jesus heard that John the Baptist was killed and planned to take some time alone. But he was unable because the situation. So He took care of the immediate situation first, “As soon as Jesus heard the news, He left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where He was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

After taking care of the immediate situation, Jesus took the time He needed as soon as He was able. Matthew 22:23 says, “Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.”

This wasn’t a onetime thing, in Luke 5:16, it says Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. In His biggest trial, knowing He’d be crucified, He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and seek the Father. Jesus knew that no matter what was going on, taking some alone time to pray and just enjoy God’s presence was essential.

When you have to deal with things you’d rather hide from or you need a break and a rest, seek God first. Here’s what I mean….

If you are a new parent with a tiny screaming baby, pray while you are giving them a bottle in the middle of the night. Praise Him for your baby’s healthy lungs and that you have a healthy child.

If you have a stressful situation at work, take a few minutes and go into the bathroom and pray. Or go for a walk around the building and pray. It’s amazing what even 10 minutes in the midst of a situation can do.

If you are at the hospital with a loved one, take a minute and go to the chapel or to sit on a bench outside and remind yourself that sickness isn’t from God, it is one of the curses from the enemy, along with lack, poverty and death. Speak life to the situation. Speak His word. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him. Every single one.

If you are under attack from people, read Psalms out loud. Give the situation to God and remind yourself that the battle is His, and the victory is yours.

These are just some little things you can do to seek God no matter where you are or what’s going on. God is always with you. He’s everywhere so it is physically impossible for Him to leave you. The word tells us that He never leaves us or forsakes us.  All you need to do is acknowledge His presence (even just speak His name) and He turns His attention to you.

I’ve found that these seemingly small things keep me focused on God and prevent my attitude from spiraling downward. It helps me get from day to day in the rough patches and deal with the people in my world that aren’t exactly pleasant.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Thessalonians 5:16-18

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Happy Wednesday!

Self-Seeking?

“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5

The Greek word here for seek refers to seeking something in order to find it.  It’s not about seeking just for seeking’s sake.  It’s seeking with purpose.

The question to me is, if love doesn’t seek self, what does it seek?   God seeks the lost. He seeks us. So what should we seek? Well, I’m just going to let Jesus take this one. Here are 6 verses about what to seek from Jesus Himself.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 (Same words are also found in Matthew 7:7-8)

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:33

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30

If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18-19

Jesus is our example on what to seek. Jesus sought God first and foremost.  From that Jesus sought His kingdom and for God’s will to be done here on planet Earth. He sought to copy what He saw God doing. He sought to speak God’s word. He sought to worship God in spirit and in truth. And he sought for God get the glory for everything good that He did. Wow! humility+love=Jesus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJtKdjaH2nY

This link is to “So Long Self” by MercyMe. It doesn’t exactly fit the topic, but I’m posting it anyway just because I like it.

Deep Thought Thursday: Being a Doer

Deep Thought of the Day:  Being a doer of the Word is actually loving God.

I woke up this morning hearing this:  “Just do it, Jill.  Just do what I told you to do.”  This made me think of James 1:22, “Be a doer of the Word, and not hearers only.”  Being a doer simply means you apply what you hear to your everyday life.

Here’s James 1:22-24 in NLT:  “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.”

When I first started learning about God’s grace and mercy it seemed like a contradiction to what James talks about.  On one hand you have the verses about resting and letting God do the work, then on the other hand you have be a doer of the word and faith without works is dead.  So which is right?

They both are.  God’s Word never contradicts itself.  We are supposed to rest in God and partner with Him.  But our part of that partnership is obedience to the Word of God.  Meaning you apply the Word to your life.  It’s that simple. 

What I find most interesting about being a doer is that God actually links our choice to obey His Word with our love for Him. 

Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love Me, obey my commandments.” 

He says in John 15:10, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” 

I John 5:2-3, “We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.  Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.

Now before you start scrolling on back to Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy for all the laws and requirements.  Remember that Jesus gave us only two commandments:  ‘”You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

The point is that when we walk in love and act in love, we are being a doer of the Word.  When we are being a doer of the Word we are being obedient, growing, maturing and loving God all at the same time.  Many birds, one stone. 

Happy Thursday!

Word Nerd Note:  The Greek word for ‘hearers only’ is akroates.  In classical Greek times akroates was used to describe people who audited a class.  (Taken from “Sparkling Gems from the Greek” by Rick Renner.)  These were people who went to lectures for entertainment. 

A Biblical example of these akroates would be the people Paul preached to in Athens (see Acts 17).  They were all about listening to what Paul had to say and learn about this “unknown god” but when it came down to accepting Jesus and living for Him, sadly they passed.

FYI:  Today’s Bible Version is the New Living Translation (NLT)

It’s Everywhere

John 3:16 is one of the most famous scriptures out there.  People put it on signs at sporting events, it’s on bags at a trendy store at the mall and even tattooed on people’s arms.  It’s everywhere.  You’re probably even saying to yourself, oh I’ve heard this all before.  Maybe you have heard it…but have you actually listened and received it? 

Personally, I think continual exposure has had the opposite effect that people intended.  It’s made people complacent about God’s love.  The exposure has diluted the perceived power of this scripture.  Instead of reminding people how deeply and passionately they are loved, people say, “Oh John 3:16.  Yeah, I know that one.  God loves me and all that.  Blah blah blah.”  People have become absolutely flippant about God’s love.  They think of it like they think about historical facts or talk about the weather.  They say “God loves you” like they say, “Have a nice day.” 

God’s love is not flippant.  It is not fickle.  It does not waver or change.  It is fixed and permanent.  You can’t ever reach the end of it, nor can you escape it.  Jeremiah 31:3 says, “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.”  He pursues you with mercy and kindness, because He wants to have a relationship with YOU.

That being said, let’s break down John 3:16!

 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

so loved:  In this context this means to take pleasure in a thing, prize it above other things, be unwilling to abandon or do without it.

the world:  The inhabitants of the earth, the human race.

gave:  To give one to someone to care for his interests.

only begotten Son: Jesus

whoever:  Each and every person, individually.

believes: In this context, to have faith directed unto, believing or in faith to give one’s self up to Jesus.

perish:  To incur the loss of true or eternal life; to be delivered up to eternal misery.

everlasting:  Without beginning and end, that which has always been and always will be.

life:  In this context it means unto the attainment of eternal life. 

So God, the Great Creator and true Master of the Universe, was and is so taken by you and so unwilling to be without you that sent Jesus to care for your situation.  The situation is one you inherited from Adam and Eve.  The “sin problem,” that we inherited, separated us from Him.  Being separated from us was a problem for Him.  He didn’t like it.  So He did something about it.  He sent Jesus to teach us who the Father really is and to be the perfect one time sacrifice.  His sacrifice covers your past, present and future sin. 

Everyone is given the choice between eternal life and eternal death.  You can choose to receive Jesus and an everlasting life filled with unending love.  You are also free to choose to perish.  It’s that simple and that straight forward.  He loves you enough to provide the solution and enough to allow you to choose.  He doesn’t force anyone to do anything.  It’s not His style. 

Every single person gets the same choice, no matter whom they are or where they live.  He loves you right now, even in the midst of your mess, mistakes and failures.  He loved you even before you choose Jesus, if He didn’t He wouldn’t have sent Jesus in the first place.  In fact Ephesians 1:4 says that He chose you before the foundation of the world.  So before there was even a planet Earth—God saw you, loved you & chose you. 

So anytime you see John 3:16, remember that God in all His glory and majesty is completely unwilling to be apart from you.  You are His beloved.  That’s what John 3:16 is all about.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Thanks to http://www.blueletterbible.org for having Thayer’s Lexicon & the Strong’s Concordance on-line. You really should check it out and support this great site.