The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Jesus Rejoices in the Father’s Will
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“The fact that God loves us is more important than anything else. We are more than conquerors for that reason alone.
Quotes from the sermon:
“We are more than conquerors. We are God’s Beloved. We matter to God.”
“Focus on the fact that you belong to God. What matters to me is that I matter to Him. I’m not going to have a great day every day. But I am always a conqueror! I am not going to win every battle, but I am always a conqueror!”
“It matters what we do, but it matters more who we are. I’m not persuaded by what I’ve done, I’m persuaded by what He’s done. I’m not persuaded by my testimony, I’m persuaded by God’s testimony.”
I don’t often share my journal entries. They are deeply personal and usually very prayerful. But even as I wrote the below passage on the way to a reunion, I knew it would be a message for others as well as for myself. As I prepare this passage, I am in flight returning from the reunion, and a re-reading of my entry shows me clearly that God was bolstering me for attacks to come (see getupandwalkblog: All that glitters is not gold.). He was reinforcing me with His validation. I am grateful.
This message is for you: God loves you. He loves you dearly. You are precious. He created you, as you are, specifically for His pleasure. There is nothing you can do or experience in life that will remove you as the apple of His eye. ANYTHING that a person tells you, or that you tell yourself, that is contrary to this truth is an absolute lie. Believe it. Know it. Live it.
Friday, August 2, 2013 (early afternoon, transcontiental flight)
“Even as I try to validate my existence by going after and enjoying things, activities and opportunites in life, I am still completely aware that I mean NOTHING to anyone. I’m disposable. I’m dismissed. I’m unloved. I’m hated. I’m used. I’m abused and taken advantage of and taken for granted.
Father God, it has been only You – Your Word, Your Love, Your Son, Your Spirit – that has sustained and lifted me. Comforted and enlightened me to my true value, my true worth in Your eyes. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
Where would I be if I believed and responded to and acted upon what people think about me, and say about me or treat me? How pitiful would I be if I believed the lies of people who know not love? If I allowed their hate to hollow me out and fill me with bile? If I allowed their silence to be representative of my existence?
How blessed am I that you have revealed Your Love and Spirit to me! So blessed that I can hold on to You in the storms of uncertainty and a whirlwind of attacks. You, my Rock, my Shelter, my Strong Arm, my Provider – You, my Father, my Creator, my Builder, my Designer, my Teacher, my Encourager – You have blessed me so. I bless You back, Father God, with all that You are in me, I praise Your Name, I worship You, I honor You. I show Your light deposited into me to those with eyes to see it and a heart to embrace it.
Thank you for this word, Father! I needed it! You are Great, Magnificent and Marvelous!”
Amen. Amen. Amen
ANCHOR (BEAUTIFUL EULOGY) by Josh Garrels
Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it — the LORD is his name: “Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”– Jeremiah 33:2-3 (ESV)
Self-image is everything. (My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey)
In her book, Beauty for Ashes, Joyce Meyers says her mandate from God was to tell His people He loves them. I think about her words often. My pastor has been teaching on love since I joined the church a couple of years ago. I thought I knew what love was until I learned who God is. Pastor told a story about one of the elders in the church who had recently died. The man had run with a rough crew growing up. When he got into the Word and learned about love, he realized the men he hung around had never hugged or expressed their love of each other. The elder had told the pastor that one day as he was ending a call with one of his male friends, he said, “I love you, man.” And his friend responded in kind. The elder shared with the pastor that his whole crew was transformed with that simple expression and he was the only one, at that point, in the Word.
I don’t know about you, but that story continues to pluck chords in me. The power of the word resonates. It heals. It waters. It grows. It saves. It’s life.
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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved. ~ John 3:16-17
I spoke to an old friend shortly after the pastor shared the elders’ story. My friend and I have known each other for ten years now. We started off as room-mates (for nearly a year) and the relationship survived. Since the birth of her first child three years ago, we’ve spoken, on average, once a week. Before that, we spoke two to five times a week. She is most certainly one of my best and closest friends. As I ended a call the other day, I said, “Love ya, girl.” She responded, “Don’t say that too loud! People aren’t going to take it right.”
I was perplexed. “Why would I care how anyone takes it?”
“Do you tell your other friends you love them?”
“Actually, I do. And only one person has completely fallen off since I shared the sentiment.” The conversation segwayed, but I continued to think about her response. I had certainly told her I loved her before. We sign all our cards in love. I traveled to participate in her life events and make sure I acknowledge the annual celebrations. My love and appreciation of her friendship has certainly been expressed. How could she be so uncomfortable with the voicing of it on an ordinary day?
Then it hit me: she’s only familiar with the world concept of love. Our relationship has grown, but we haven’t grown together spiritually. She believes in God but He’s more of an abstract than active figure to her. Lately, she has expressed more interest in learning Him for herself. I can only hope the way I live is more encouragement than deterrent.
I would much rather speak and hear objections than to say nothing and have you wonder.
Open rebuke is better than secret love. ~ Proverbs 27:5 (KJV)
Dear Reader – My Brother, My Sister, I love you. And God, our Heavenly Father, wants you to know He loves you so much more. He’s the best lover ever! Try Him! In order for you to know and accept that, you must know who He is. God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. ~ 1 John 4:7-16 (NKJV)
Light of the World
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,“made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)
I just had my year end performance review. I’ve been working in my current position for six months. My manager, who I call Bosslady, will most likely go down in my work history as the best boss ever. But for now I’ll be modest and say she’s second only to the manager who trained me into management nearly fifteen years ago. He taught me lessons I still apply to life and work. In my performance review, Bosslady said, “You have such a wonderful attitude, you make coming to work enjoyable for me. And people enjoy dealing with you. I like that, because you’re my ambassador. You’re my representative to people who are trying to reach me. I appreciate knowing that they’re in good hands with you.”
Think about that….
Isn’t that what we’re called to do by the Boss of bosses? In 2 Corinthians 5:20, we are told we are Christ’s ambassadors, through whom God makes His appeal to the world. If God were to give you a performance review today, what would He say? I’m certain He’d want to know: Do His people know He loves them? Did you go and continue forth as sent? Is your light shining in the darkness? Do you walk about with the face of Jesus Christ? Have you walked with the people you helped to salvation? Or did you just leave them at the door?
[God] gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-21(NKJV)
A church lady was telling me the other day how she gave advice to a young lady who was experiencing difficulties. The church lady gave the young lady her email and church address. The young lady said, “But… how do I speak to you?” The church lady replied, “Email me or find me at church.”
Perhaps to you that sounds hospitable and gracious. To me it sounds cold and disconnected. And quite honestly, I’d be surprised if the young lady ever shows up to our church. That was a God opportunity to be the face of Christ. We can repeat John 3:16 but it converts best when we live it. You’re the Son. You’re the One God gave to the world. You need to represent the Kingdom to the best of the ability God put in you. As great as church (building/service) may be, the church isn’t sent to bring people to Christ, we are. (Matt 10:5-8) The church (building) isn’t the temple of God, we are (1 Cor 6:19). Do your job, be a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2). Give your time. Give your love. Give of yourself. Let God’s glory shine through you (1Cor 10: 31-33). Know that you are loved and you are Love’s ambassador. Tell His people, their Father God loves them.