“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV
I need God most;
I experience him best
With others or alone;
At work or at rest.
In the valleys and canyons,
Where shadows grow long;
High on a mountain
When I’m filled with a song.
And on the plateau,
Where boredom seems to reign;
I need God’s presence
in joy and in pain.
I call on God’s name
Any time, day or night;
In moments of peace;
If I’ve had a great fright.
As I celebrate victory;
If I’m feeling deep loss;
When I make new plans,
And am counting the cost.
In the darkest of hours;
The happiest times.
Living in God’s presence
Makes my soul shine.
For a while now, I have been thinking that I want to share the story of my salvation. It is different from so many testimonies that I have heard.
I grew up in a tradition that baptizes infants. The belief is, the baby is reborn at that point. While I have come to disagree with this, I do think God does something when a little one is presented to him.
The point of my conversion happened when I was four: I was playing in my yard when I had an encounter with Jesus. I knew him: He felt so familiar and loving; his voice was immediately recognizable. He asked me if I wanted him to live in my heart. I said, “Yes!”
I had an insatiable hunger for Scripture. As soon as I could read well enough, I devoured it. I loved to worship, spent plenty of private time with the Lord and eagerly attended Church. I said from very young that I wanted to be a pastor, even though my tradition did not ordain women at that time.
Oh, I still learned plenty of lies about who God is and what sort of person I am; God had to heal me from trauma and dysfunction: Christians are not exempt from the things of life in this fallen world.
The thing that makes my story unique is, I didn’t have to “get to rock botttom” in order to discover my need for God. Instead, I came to him as a result of his loving presence.
Actually, I am not at all convinced that people “have to get to rock bottom” before they come to Jesus; in fact, I consider that to be a lie. We have been created with the power and freedom to choose. WE can turn around and go in a new direction, any time we decide to. My biggest objection to this “truism” is that it makes hardship into an idol. Jesus saves, not tragedy, devistation or deprivation. We can respond to his loving call, even when life is going very well.
When and how do you hear God? How does he express his love and affection to you?
So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:27 GW)
What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Why is this important?
First, God created humans; humans did not create him. That means he is greater – Stronger, wiser, more capable…He does way more than we can
think, ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) We cannot fit him into our tiny boxes.
It means that people encounter God when they meet us, especially if we have given our lives to Jesus, because he lives in us: Big
responsibility; carried out in God’s strength. “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Being created in God’s image is so because we are his dearly loved children, chosen and blessed by him. We get our inheritance from him. Each
person is precious; he knows us fully and loves us completely; he responds to our slightest cry with his whole being.
Because we are created in the image of our loving God, we need to be careful with our words. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,
and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and
sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10 NIV)
When we take care of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, we take care of God; when we honor another person, we honor him. I would go so
far as to apply this to carrying babies to term instead of aborting them.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV)
Because God knows us and the whole universe, which he created, we do well to trust and obey him. He knows how things work; he wants us to have
long, happy, healthy lives.
“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Romans 8:29 NLT)
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Who do you say I am?
In the midst of a stormy sea;
When the winds of conflict blow;
When I try to understand;
But find I simply don’t know,
You are my Prince of Peace.
Who do you say I am?
In the cavern of fear and pain,
And sorrow captures my soul;
In the place of great darkness,
Where I long to be made whole,
You’re my faithful healer.
Who do you say I am?
When troubles seem to fade away,
In joyful celebration;
When songs of victory are raised;
My heart fills with elation,
You are the Lord of life.
Who do you say I am?
While others only say teacher,
Model of man at his best;
Or just a useful swear word,
As they put you to the test,
You are Jesus, the Christ.
Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)
I was watching a vid by Bill Johnson recently. One of the points he made was a firm warning:
“Do not keep a record of the things that you’ve prayed for for years without seeing results.”
He went on to say that, when we do this, we create “intellectual offense.” We build a case against God. I would add, it breeds mistrust: It’s difficult to believe and receive from someone who supposedly has not answered us.
Instead, keep a record of what God has done. The Psalms are full of verses that admonish us to remember:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. …
Make music to praise the LORD, you faithful people who belong to him. Remember his holiness by giving thanks. … Ps 30:4
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. … PS 77:11
Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced … Ps 105:5
I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. … I remember the days of old. … Ps 143:5
They will announce what they remember of your great goodness, and they will joyfully sing about your righteousness. … Ps 145:7
I think there is one giant reason to remember what God has done: We love Him. I started this post with 1 Cor. 13:5. If we honor, serve others, forgive and keep record of good things when it comes to people, would it not be even more desirable to do so when it comes to God, the One who made and loves us so profoundly!
As we express our love and affection for Him in this way, we open the doors of blessing, not because He has been stingy; but instead, because we are in a much better position to receive from Him.
What have you asked for that has not yet come? Would you lay that thing and the time you have waited down as an offering to God today?
I have dedicated this site to declaring God’s absolute and intimate love for each person. This message has become my passion.
So here’s a question:
Why is this so important?
God loves you; so what? How has knowing His complete and profound love for you made a difference in your life?
I can think of at least a few ways in which I have been impacted by this knowledge:
*I strive much less now: I act and serve BECAUSE I am loved; not in order to earn God’s approval or affection.
*Knowing that Papa God loves me; that I am precious to him gives me security: Things can happen that normally might upset me; people can say things that are less than complimentary: I’m okay because Daddy loves me.
*I have more to give: I get filled up first; then share what I have. This way beats the religious approach of trying to come up with answers or “ministry” on my own!
*I expect more from God: His goodness is far greater than anything I could ever imagine. Trusting His regard for me has opened my heart to Him.
Now it’s your turn. I am hoping to hear from you!
My Lord, you call me to submit,
Not as one who is under your thumb;
Nor as a wormly creature beneath your feet.
But as your dearly beloved,
Friend, daughter, sister, bride.
In love, you invite submission
By calling me to walk by your side,
And seating me in heavenly places.
Partaking of your victory;
Saved, redeemed, reborn, free.
So, my Lord, I tell you, “Yes.”
I submit to you with affection;
Reflecting your glory as I live,
Safe in your everlasting arms;
Loved, fulfilled, joyful, blessed.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” (NASB)
Before I could think, cognitively that is, my beliefs were already well established.
As a baby, I asked, “Can I trust the world?” The virtue of hope was being formed in the depths of my soul.
AS a toddler, I asked, “Is it okay to be me?” My will was coming into its place.
Then, as a young child, I asked, “Can I do and create?” I looked for a sense of purpose.
Belief, about God, the world, who I am and what I can do is much deeper than thoughts. This source of my perception and trust lives in the secret places of my heart. IT is often out of cognitive reach, making my dependence on God absolutely necessary.
I am intrigued and encouraged by this truth: IT would be easy to feel accused because I still encounter old beliefs that need to be transformed. Had it been entirely up to me, I would have changed them years ago. I didn’t even know they existed, however; it took God’s revelation at just the right moment to bring the perfect healing and change.
Thoughts are certainly important. They are the grapes in the winepress of my mind, the materials from which new beliefs will be made; therefore, I do well to monitor, feed and govern them. God has provided many ways to do this: Prayer, Bible study, meditation on His Word, fellowship, teaching, the discipline of mindfulness and repentance.
So then, God has the primary role in my formation and destiny. He knew who I was before anyone even had the slightest inkling that I would exist. He chose my family, created good works for me to do, gave me talents, gifts and unique personal traits.
I have my place as well. It is up to me to steward all of the riches given to me by God. Trust, obedience and cooperation are the keys.
Such a wonderful partnership! God could have made us like robots, easily programmed. Instead, he chose to give us freedom so that He could have intimate relationships with us. How loving is that!
I have struggled with the contrast between what Scripture says and life experiences for most of my life, especially in terms of healing. This has been magnified since my nephew’s death on July 17. He was medically fragile. I had contended for him in prayer from the time of his birth to the moment of his death. An infection ambushed him and caught everyone, including his doctors, completely off guard. He was all right; then he was gone.
I myself have had countless people pray for my healing; yet cannot see. I have probably heard every explanation in the book for my blindness and the lack of healing, from the “hidden sin in my life” to “God doesn’t heal these days.”
In truth, I have had many injuries, illnesses and conditions healed by God, including repeated stress syndrome, anorexia, migraines, FibroMyalgia and more recently, an egg allergy.
I have studied the Bible thoroughly on this topic and have concluded that it is absolutely clear in this matter: God heals. This isn’t something He merely does; it is part of who he is. I can find all sorts of verses to verify this and none that give exceptions, caveats or time limits. Trust me, I have searched diligently: This would have made my dilemma a whole lot easier!
You should see people when I tell them I believe that God heals. They can’t figure that out, when I obviously have a disability. It really messes with them!
I have taken a step forward this past week: A deeper, heart-level revelation about trusting God first. It means believing his word and experiences of him over other life events. It has to do with recognizing that God’s ways and His Kingdom reality are far greater than anything I grasp or understand.
I told my pastor that I have had more than enough prayer for my eyes. HE challenged me: How do I know it’s more than enough? He is right; that is an assumption on my part. All prayer is answered; God is doing something bigger than what I experience.
The war between faith, in the sense of trust or expectancy, vs reliance on experience and understanding goes beyond healing. It is something with which we struggle when it comes to any of God’s blessings: Provision, protection, favor, salvation and all miracles. There are all sorts of doctrines and arguements to support the status quo and plenty of discreditation for people who dare to go out on the limb of absolute trust in God. When a miracle (including healing) occurs, there is no shortage of attempts to explain it away.
My point can be expressed in a stanza of poetry:
I bless You, oh Lord, for all that You do;
I will watch for Your miracles each day.
And even when they seem to be subtle,
I will not explain them away.
These are lyrics to a song I have started working on:
Rejoice my soul;
Join this song of praise;
Twirl and dance with great delight;
Raise your hands;
Worship all your days;
Soar to the greatest height.
Let happy sound
Come from your inmost part;
Till all that’s found
Is singing in your heart;
Lift your voice
In joyful song and mirth;
Let it resound
In all the Earth!