You are loved

I’m not sure who told you you were unlovable and unworthy, or if maybe those thoughts have just always been there for as long as you can remember. Perhaps no one said it verbally, yet somehow you just knew you weren’t loved, knew there must have been some reason the people in your life didn’t love you, that it was your fault, something you said or did wrong, that made them reject you. And no matter how many times you’ve been told you are loved, you don’t believe it. There’s always some little piece inside you that rejects those words. Oh, you wish you could believe them. You ache for them to be true. But deep in your heart? You’re not convinced.

I know the mantra, friend. I remember the deep, bone-marrow conviction that shouted above the voices of reassurance. All proclamations of love were drowned out by my mind’s absolute certainty of the contrary. For as long as I could remember, I, too, remained a prisoner to the lie that I was not loved or lovable. No amount of “proof” or repeated declarations could sway what I believed was the truth.

Are you with me? Do you get what I’m saying? You know what I mean, right? Yeah. I thought so. Oh, my friend. Will you trust me on this? Will you believe me when I say that what you’re believing is a lie? For once, will you doubt the voice of condemnation? Will you dare to trust the voice of the One who made you? Will you step out of the lies that bind and fall into the arms of Him who loves unconditionally?

I don’t know what it’ll take for you to believe the truth. I only know that carrying a burden of self-hatred and false rejection never leads to freedom. The way to freedom is through Christ.

know the truth

My freedom came when I did a Precept Bible study titled “Lord, I Want to Know You.” It was through the study that I learned who God was, and in knowing who God was (and is), I discovered His love. For the first time in my life I learned what God thought of me, how He saw me. I was acceptable just the way I was. He showed me that I was loved simply because I was His, not because of any merit on my part. I didn’t need to be smart, pretty, or even lovable. I found my identity in Christ. I didn’t need to be dependent on other people’s opinions of me. I could believe I was loved.

When your identity is in Jesus Christ, you are set free. Lies will always enslave and reduce. Truth enlarges and relieves. Will you believe God today, friend, that He loves you? I pray you will live in freedom in the knowledge of the truth: You are loved.

Blessings,

Angie signature

That’s not love

I’m finishing up part four of a Bible study on the book of Romans. Yep, part four, Precept style. We’ve been studying Romans for two years. Two years of richness, of depth, of satiation in God’s word. And this is the second time I’ve studied Romans. It’s been incredible, of course. God’s Word never fails to amaze me. It is powerful. It is convicting. It is encouraging, comforting, and surprising. His word, for me, doesn’t grow stale. It isn’t like other books where once I’ve read them, I’ve no need to read them again.

Digging into Romans for the second time has refreshed my mind and soul. Living by faith is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy. God’s grace is sufficient for this Christian, and for this Christian life, but it is not a magic pill. It is not a pain reliever. It is, however, a peace infuser.

Peace isn’t easy to come by in today’s world. Too much division, too much fear, and too much hurt have stolen from many the peace that could be theirs. We cannot be reminded enough, however, of God’s grace and sufficiency. His peace really does surpass all understanding, and His love transcends circumstances. The book of Romans reminds me that I can live by faith because God’s love reaches beyond what I can see, beyond the hurts I’ve experienced, and beyond the pain I’ve endured.

I want people to know God’s love. I want them to know how much He hurts when they hurt. I want them to know that their sin and my sin nailed Jesus to the cross, where He died so that we might have life, life eternal. Because He loved us. Without Jesus, none of this life makes sense. The book of Romans not only shows us the gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ), but shows us how to live in response to this crazy hurtful and overwhelmingly sinful world.

We are to love like Christ. We are to so identify with Christ that we look, act, and think like Him. But we can not look, act, or think like Jesus until we know Him, until we know God intimately. How well do you know God, friend? If your idea of God is that he’s some big guy in the sky who strikes down lightning on “bad” people or is some sort of magic genie who grants wishes, then I’m guessing you don’t know Him very well.

You can’t know what love is until you know who love is. God is love. God is love, and love?

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love does not envy.

Love does not boast.

Love is not proud.

Love does not dishonor others.

Love is not self-seeking.

Love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil.

Love rejoices with the truth.

Love always protects.

Love always trusts.

Love always hopes.

Love always perseveres.

Love never fails.

(1 Cor. 13:4-8)

There are some who believe that every painful thing they’ve experienced in this life is God’s fault. They blame God for the hardships, the suffering, and the bad things that have happened to them. They don’t know God, and they don’t want to. They are believing a lie.

That list above? That’s what love is. I’ve also seen what love isn’t. I know what when someone claims they love you, but keeps you isolated and afraid that that’s not love. I know that when someone uses fear and threatens harm that that’s not love. Love doesn’t destroy. Love only builds. Someone I love is in an abusive relationship with someone who claims to love them. Friends, that’s not love.

I’m asking you today to spread love. I’m asking you to today to step out of your comfort zone and make the call for help. I’m asking you today to share the love of Christ, to love someone where they’re at, to reach out to them with the truth of Jesus Christ. They may reject you. They may tell God to F- off . They may threaten you or harm your loved one. But know this: There is peace. There is hope. There is love for the worst of the worst because Christ died for all.

If you see these characteristics below in someone or in their relationship with someone, then for the love of love, get help. Because #thatsnotlove.

If the person you love or live with does these things, it’s time to get help:

  • Keeps track of what you are doing all the time and criticizes you for little things.
  • Constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
  • Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family, or going to work or school.
  • Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Controls all the money you spend.
  • Humiliates you in front of others.
  • Destroys your property or things that you care about.
  • Threatens to hurt you or the children or pets, or does cause hurt (by hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting).
  • Uses or threatens to use a weapon against you.
  • Forces you to have sex against your will.
  • Blames you for his/her violent outbursts.

———–Read More————

True peace and love are found only in Jesus Christ. How much peace do you have, friend? You are loved by a God who gave up His life for you. Will you surrender to Him? #Thisislove (1John4:10)

Blessings,

Angie signature

Deadly Disappointment

This last year I had the opportunity to study the book of Romans again, Precept style. It’s been eleven years since I studied it last, so I was more than ready for a refresher. Our group finished up part three a few weeks ago, and I am already missing it. (Part four is on the calendar for spring!)

I love studying God’s word inductively. It leaves me satiated, and the studies I have done are ones I don’t forget. The truths gleaned from them are ones that have kept me staying the course when the troubles of this life hit hard.

Romans is perhaps one of the most powerful books I’ve studied over the past sixteen years. It truly is, as Kay says, “the foundation of your faith.” The truths of scripture never age, never “go out of style.” Truth remains applicable for every decade, for every generation that arises.

One bit of truth from our study on Romans was what Kay titled, “The Five Deadly D’s.” What a timely, convicting reminder these were:

  1. Disappointment. Something comes into our lives that we wish were different. It could be a relationship issue, a work issue. It can be disappointment with a circumstance or with a person who has let us down. Whatever the cause, left unchecked disappointment becomes …
  2. Discouragement. Our faith begins to weaken. We lose course. Negativity results and is reflected in our conversations with others. It’s an easy step from discouragement to …
  3. Dejection. This is a lowness of spirit that brings emotional and physical fatigue. With dejection, our body begins to show the consequences of allowing circumstances and emotions to rule our lives. If dejection is allowed to continue, it can easily become …
  4. Despair. In times of despair we lose or abandon hope. We give up. We quit trying to make a difference, to work on a relationship, or to follow God’s clear direction. Instead, we become fatalistic. Finally, the spirit sinks to the point of …
  5. Demoralization. We begin to live in defeat. With this mindset, sin grabs an easy foothold.

Obviously, not every believer who is in despair or demoralized has given in to these “Deadly D’s”. Sometimes the cause may be spiritual warfare. Other times, physiological causes come into play. In this run-ourselves-ragged culture, we may just need rest and intentional quiet time to recharge.

But honestly? Oftentimes, we can trace our downward spiral to our response to disappointment. This is where truth comes in: taking captive “every thought…” “to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:5) How are we to respond to disappointment? Here are a few key ways to deal with disappointment:

      • Kay Arthur suggests replacing “disappointment” with “His appointment.” In other words, rest on the sovereignty of God. He is sovereign. He alone rules. He is Lord. Albeit, some disappointments are because things need to be changed. That’s why another valuable response is to:
      • Turn the disappointment to prayer. If your disappointment is in a circumstance or individual, take it to God. Let your hurt spur you to passionate prayer. Through prayer, God changes our attitude. Sometimes He will change the situation, but most often, He changes our heart.
      • Allow your disappointments to drive you closer to God. Especially in relationships, we can experience disappointment. Don’t deny the reality of the sting of disappointment, but instead, apply the “Balm of Gilead.” God holds our sorrows and applies the elixir of Truth to bring hope and healing in each of them.
      • Perspective is crucial. Focus on “the big picture:” the glory of God and His kingdom purposes. We often don’t understand what He is doing, but He is trustworthy. When we view our circumstances through the eyes of Christ, we can know, trust, and believe that God’s ways are, indeed, better than our ways.

Some alternatives to the “Deadly D’s”:

Delight – Delight yourself in God. Focus on God and His character.

Dynamic – Remember God’s power is at work in us who believe. We have a helper, the Holy Spirit, who empowers us.

Develop – Develop godly relationships with people who will “weep with those who weep,” and “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Authentic relationships will also allow room for others to speak God’s truth to you when you need to hear it most.

Determination – Determine to persevere. Allow perseverance to “finish its work.” (James 1:4) When perseverance is complete, maturity results. We no longer will act like children, impetuous and lacking, but mature and complete. We will reflect the image of Christ.

Friend, are you disappointed?  Beware of “The Five Deadly D’s.” Remember this: God is sovereign. God hears. God is able. God sees. Allow your disappointment to forge, not something bitter, but something better.

Blessings,

Angie signature