10 Reminders of God’s Relentless Love For You

there is no God like you who relentlessly (1)

 

Part of my husband’s job as a pastor is to visit people who can no longer leave their homes or retirement facilities to attend church. He meets many amazing people of the “greatest generation.”

One couple he met was especially memorable. Their love for each other was always evident, but the husband struggled to say the words. He said, “I told her when we got married that I loved her. I’ll tell her if that ever changes.”

Oh, but we need to hear the words! Hopefully, you’ve heard those three small words, “I love you” many times from your parents, friends, spouse, and children.

But sometimes we as humans fail to express our love. Especially to those who need it most.

Thankfully, God never fails to tell us of His love. His love is unceasing. And His Word is always available as a continual source of I-love-yous.

So if you are needing a reminder that Someone cares for you or would like a few sweet love letters, I’ve compiled some of my favorite Scripture passages that speak of God’s constant love for you:

There is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below who … relentlessly loves (1 Kings 8:23 MSG)

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
    and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)

Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life. (Isaiah 43:4)

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)

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. (Romans 8:38-39)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (Psalm 36:5)

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him. (Psalm 103:11)

There is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below who ... relentlessly loves (1 Kings 8:23 MSG) Click To Tweet

Although the humans in our lives may neglect to tell us of their love for us, we can always hear God’s words of love in His Word.

Next step: Write out the verses that are most meaningful to you. Post them in places you will see them often: your bathroom mirror, your computer, your refrigerator. Remind yourself of God’s relentless love for you!

10 Reminders of God's Relentless for You

When You Need God’s Embrace

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A little girl, not even two, was sitting with her mother in church. It was a new church for them, they had only attended there a couple of times.

The little girl sat patiently through the hymns. She quietly listened to the Bible readings.

But when the congregation stood for the reading of the Gospel and the mother lifted in her arms while they listened, the girl suddenly spotted the carving of Jesus at the front of the church. The resurrected Christ was on the cross holding out His arms to all in blessing.

The little girl couldn’t be quiet any longer. “Hug!” she shouted. “Jesus–hug!”

That little girl was my daughter Anna. And this story happened when we first moved to Illinois.

We all love to tell cute stories about our kids and grandkids, but I think this one has a lesson for us.

Just like that carving of Jesus at the front of our church, Jesus is always holding out His arms to us, ready to embrace us.

He wants to hold us close when we’re afraid to take a scary step of faith. He wants to embrace us when we’re wounded by hurtful words. He wants to enfold us in His arms when circumstances have crumbled our hope.

Psalm 73:3

Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

psalm 73-3

Next Step: Today, take time to simply sit in God’s presence. Picture Him holding your hand. Imagine His caring arms holding you.

Base Your Identity On This

self-esteem

I stared at my first college report card. Most of the grades were As and Bs. Not bad.

But there was one grade that stuck out. Aural Music Theory: C. Not good.

All semester long I had struggled with this class. The professor asked us to do a whole list of seemingly impossible tasks: “Listen as I play this chord on the piano and identify its quality. Write down this rhythm as I tap it out. Listen to this melody and write it out note by note.” I knew I wasn’t getting an A in that class.

But a C. For someone who had always prided herself on good report cards, a C was depressing.

I was never good at athletics. In grade school, I was always the last kid picked for teams. I knew I would never win a beauty pageant. My sister got all the natural good looks in the family. So I based all my self-esteem in the fact that I was pretty good at memorizing facts and understanding algebra and taking tests.

What did it mean if I wasn’t good at school anymore?

Most of us tend to base our identity in our looks, our skills, or our intellect. Maybe you’ve always been the cute girl. Or perhaps you could run fast from the time you were in first grade. Or like me, you were always the one who could ace a test.

We take pride in who we are.

Now, it isn’t necessarily wrong to find satisfaction in the gifts God has given us. The problem comes when we base our identity in those gifts. We run the risk of losing the ability to like ourselves when all of our self-esteem is wrapped up in being able to please certain people or perform certain tasks. Because what happens if we can’t do them anymore?

God wants you to see that you are not just Beauty Queen, Athlete, or Comedian. You are His child and He loves you not because you are pretty or smart. He loves you because He loves you.

Romans 5:8 says:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It doesn’t say: God shows His love for you while you were beautiful. It doesn’t say: God shows His love for you while you were winning races.

It does say: God shows His love for us while we were still messed up. It does say: Christ died for us when we didn’t look like much.

God loves us. Period.

And that is where your identity and pride should be based. Your self-esteem won’t be rocked as long as you keep in mind this one timeless truth: God loves you as you are.

Remember, you are not only Gifted Athlete, Amazing Brainiac, or even Ordinary Girl. You are a Child of the King.

Question: Where do you tend to base your identity?

Divine Makeover001

This post is adapted from my book for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.

Are you looking for a meaningful Christian gift for a young lady? Consider Divine Makeover, a book that encourages young women to find their beauty and identity in Christ. It has a lot of fun along the way with clothing analogies and fashion tips. Find it here and here.

Five Ways God’s Love Changes You Part 2

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5 more ways God's love seeps into our hearts and transforms us.

 

I struggle with many things:

caring too much about what people think of me

second-guessing my decisions

accepting God’s plan for my life

focusing too much on material things of life

spending way too much time at my computer

Maybe you can relate.

This world is full of conflicts between pleasing God and pleasing others. Our life is characterized by clashes between our spiritual side and the part that simply must type the memo, get dinner on the table, and generally survive in the world.

I have found one simple act that helps me win the battle:

Basking in God’s love.

As I said in a previous post, basking in God’s love during a particularly stressful season kept my heart at peace. Simply stopping for a few minutes to contemplate my Father’s unfailing love for me helped me win the battle against doubt and anxiety.

A look in God’s Word confirms: God’s love transforms me.

Here are 5 more ways God’s love changes you and me:

God’s love enables us to stay on His path. “For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3). When I am mindful of God’s never-ending love for me, I am much more confident that God’s path is the best one. I don’t walk in my qualifications or in my competence. I walk in His faithfulness.

God’s love gives us the confidence to pray. Psalm 69:13 says: “But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” Because we know God as a caring Father, we can come to Him as His much-loved children. His unfailing love gives us the courage to come with our debilitating failures, our overwhelming dilemmas, and even our pesky problems.

God’s love motivates us to obey. Psalm 106:7 tells us the reason for the Israelites’ rebellion: “Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.” After all God had done for them, how could they forget His love? Yet I often do the same. But when I do bask in the abundance of God’s love, my rebellious spirit is tamed. I’m drawn to follow Love.

God’s love in our hearts enables us to please God. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 147:11). Just like any loving dad, what pleases our Abba Father most is for His children to curl up in His caring arms–to put their hope not in their own cleverness or ambition, but in His love for them.

God’s love helps us to love others. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). We are to love others as Christ loved us. That little word as can have a couple of different meanings. It can mean, “Just like I have loved you, I want you to love other people” or “Since I have loved you, you are to love one another.” Loving others in the same way Jesus loved us is a difficult task. It’s made a little easier because God has filled our hearts with His love.

So take a minute right now and bask in God’s love. Meditate on Christ’s sacrifice. Repeat the words of God’s affection from Scripture.

Allow His words of love to seep into your heart and change you.

(Find the first 5 ways God love changes us here)

Five Ways God’s Love Changes You

Stress has a way of constantly creeping up on us. God's love can change that.

I’m an action oriented person. Give me a to-do list and I’ll tackle it until every item has a neat little check mark next to it.

So the idea of just sitting in silence and contemplating God’s love and nearness seems well–not very productive. How can stillness accomplish anything?

During one busy season of my life I decided to try a little experiment. During this period I had a to-do list the length of a football field. Just thinking about the list was caused a panicky feeling. So to keep stress from being a frequent visitor, I decided to set a timer to go off every hour. At the sound of the timer, I stopped what I was doing for a couple of minutes and contemplated God’s great love for me. Sometimes I listened to a favorite song about God’s love, sometimes I reviewed words of God’s love from Scripture, sometimes I just closed my eyes and remembered: Jesus loves me.

The results were astounding. My productivity increased with these breaks instead of decreased. Stress wasn’t looking over my shoulder every minute. I remembered I didn’t have to work alone–God was more than willing to work alongside.

This small act of basking God’s love made such a difference in my day, that I took a look in God’s Word to see what it says about the effects of Divine love. Here are 5 ways God’s love changes us.

  1. God’s love banishes fear. 1 John 4:18 says:  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” I noticed that recalling God’s immense love for me chased away the fear of not being good enough. The fear of not pleasing people evaporated because, well, what did that matter if the King of the universe loved me?
  2. God’s love gives us strength against Satan’s attacks. Look at Psalm 59:10,17: “My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies…O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.” We are safe in the fortress of the Redeemer’s love. God’s love gives us the strength to resist Satan’s arrows.
  3. God’s love helps us trust. Psalm 13:5 says, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” It’s easy to trust someone who loves you unconditionally. When we think about God’s love our trust grows.
  4. God’s love leads us to contentment. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” When our hearts are filled with the beauty of God’s love, we are satisfied. Cravings of the world fade away.
  5. God’s love draws us to worship. King David wrote in Psalm 5:7, “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.” When we contemplate God’s love for us, our hearts bow in worship. We enter God’s presence to praise Him for His priceless gifts.

Try my experiment. Set an alarm or timer to go off every hour. Stop for a moment. Close your eyes. Remember God’s love. Watch it change you.

Question: How has God’s love changed you?

God’s Love Letter to You

God's love letter to you. Click here to discover His relentless love.

The Bible isn’t always an easy book to read. At times it seems like a long list of dos and don’ts. Sometimes it reads like a rather dry history book. Some parts read like a racy novel. Other chapters seem like an action movie with plenty of violence.

So when you hear that God’s Word is His love letter to you, you might raise an eyebrow or stifle a laugh.

But it’s true. All the way through God’s Word He has woven His theme of love.  Take a look at the book of 1 Kings which is full of tales of unfaithful rulers and tyrants. Even there in 1 Kings 8:23 we find:

O God, God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and relentlessly loves them as they sincerely live in obedience to your way.

There is no God like ours who relentlessly loves.

Who continually treasures us.

Who constantly pursues our hearts.

Take a minute and let that settle into your heart.

Breathe in and allow that truth to seep into your soul.

God relentlessly loves you. He will never stop. There is nothing you can do that will change His constant, persistent, unchanging, unyielding, unfailing love. You can mess up and He will be there with arms open. You can fall down and Jesus will gently pick you up. You can be too busy to notice the Father’s loving care, but even then He will be there right beside you ready to hold your hand.

This week in your Bible reading, look for reminders of the Savior’s love. Read God’s love letter to you and find evidence of His care in every book in the Bible.

Our God relentlessly loves.

relentlessly loves

Question: How does contemplating God’s relentless love change your day?

Once Upon A Time

 

OnceUponATimeincourage.me

Once upon a time.

We all love those words. Those words promise a love story and we all long for romance.

Truth be told, I yearn to live a Cinderella story. I secretly hope someone will come and whisk me away from the ashes – from my humdrum life. I picture my dowdy clothes being changed into a beautiful gown. I imagine the prince choosing – me.

But that kind of thing only happens in fairy tales. Right?

Actually, God has been reminding me that I am smack dab in the middle of a breathtaking, astonishing love story right now. His Word is the crazy tale of a Prince who proved His love by giving up His cushy life in heaven, living on this dusty earth, and dying so that I could be with Him forever. Jesus chose me to be His bride. His grace – like the fairy godmother – transforms me, giving me a perfect gown of righteousness.

The problem is that I don’t always live like the princess I am.

Continue reading over at incourage.me

Finding Your True Self

true self

Finding your true self–it’s a quest we are all on.

Because too often we live in a disguise.

Did you put on your funny self today to hide the pain in your heart? Did you dress up in the competent, confident self even though you feel like a failure? Are you wearing the bubbling, outgoing self to cover up the loneliness inside?

We’ve all been there.

We don’t think anyone will love the real person inside and so we cover up the authentic self with a closet full of disguises. Or we’ve neglected the true self for so long we aren’t even sure who that is anymore.

God is in the business of resurrecting our true selves. We can find that authentic person when we believe that God truly loves us as we are. Not the disguise. Not the mask. He loves our authentic self.

Now, finding that authentic self sometimes requires a bit of discomfort as Jesus peels away the masks we have been wearing. Jesus said:

Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? Matthew 16:26 (MSG)

Self-sacrifice sounds painful. But don’t worry–Jesus work is gentle. Even as He asks us to give up one of our false identities, He fills us with His love and grace. And when we do make that sacrifice, we often feel a sense of relief. Release in not trying to be someone we are not.

Today ask God to reveal to you any masks you have been wearing.

Feel the freedom of being your true self as you allow Him to peel the mask away.

Remember Christ loves the real you.

Question: What masks are you sometimes tempted to wear?

 

The Number One Obstacle to Your Spiritual Growth

numberOneObstacle

Obstacles to spiritual growth?

You can probably name a few:

  • not enough time in God’s Word
  • lackluster prayer life
  • wishy-washy commitment

Or maybe you would cite:

  • inconsistent church attendance
  • inattention to Scripture memory
  • not enough time spent serving God

Of course I would agree. We all need to spend time in Scripture and prayer to grow in Christ. We need the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ to keep the faith. We need God’s Word in our hearts to combat the lies of Satan.

 

But the number one obstacle to your spiritual growth is:

doubting God’s love for you

Read Brennan Mannings words from The Ragamuggin Gospel:

“Do you really accept the message that God is head over heels in love with you? I believe that this question is at the core of our ability to mature and grow spiritually. If in our hearts we really don’t believe that God loves us as we are, if we are still tainted by the lie that we can do something to make God love us more, we are rejecting the message of the cross.” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 159)

Maybe you’re like me–you’ve sung “Jesus Loves Me” since you were a little kid. You’ve heard “God loves you” a million times. And so of course you know God loves you.

But do you live like you know that in the depths of your soul?

I ask because I recently discovered a part of me that didn’t totally grasp onto that truth. I realized that deep down I don’t really believe that I have worth apart from my accomplishments. Perhaps it is because of our society’s emphasis on performance. Maybe it’s because that is how I have always earned favorable attention–through accomplishment.

So even though my head knows my worth is in being a dearly loved child of God and not in accomplishment and success, I see now that my heart hasn’t quite grasped that truth.

To counteract this faulty area in my heart, I am grasping onto God’s truth. I am memorizing some of God’s words of love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

You are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you. Isaiah 43:4

Believe that God is head over heels in love with you. Live the truth that there is nothing you could do that would make Him love you more.

Question: What is your favorite verse about God’s love?

Jer 31-3

Do You Need a Hug?

psalm 73-3A little girl, not even two, was sitting with her mother in church. It was a new church for them, they had only attended there a couple of times.

The little girl sat patiently through the hymns. She quietly listened to the Bible readings.

But when the congregation stood for the reading of the Gospel and the mother lifted in her arms while they listened, the girl suddenly spotted the carving of Jesus at the front of the church. The resurrected Christ was on the cross holding out His arms to all in blessing.

The little girl couldn’t be quiet any longer. “Hug!” she shouted. “Jesus–hug!”

That little girl was my daughter Anna. And this story happened when we first moved to Illinois.

We all love to tell cute stories about our kids and grandkids, but I think this one has a lesson for us.

Just like that carving of Jesus at the front of our church, Jesus is always holding out His arms to us, ready to embrace us.

He wants to hold us close when we’re afraid to take a scary step of faith. He wants to embrace us when we’re wounded by hurtful words. He wants to enfold us in His arms when circumstances have crumbled our hope.

Psalm 73:3

Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

Today, take time to simply sit in God’s presence. Picture Him holding your hand. Imagine His caring arms holding you.

Question: After you have taken a minute to sit in God’s presence, tell how that changed your perspective today.