Yes Jesus Loves Me

My son is 4 ½ years old and every night at bedtime, for the past two years, I sing to him Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and then we sing Yes Jesus Loves Me. The song Yes Jesus Loves me is such a simple truth. “Yes Jesus Loves Me because the Bible tells me so.” So simple that sometimes we do not give it the credit or better-said attention it deserves.   But more importantly, if the Bible tells us Jesus loves us why do we still sometimes not believe that? Why are there days where we truly believe Jesus and God do not love us?

For many of us there is an internal thought process that is like a meter telling us, based on what we have done or are doing, how much we feel God loves us.

Does this sound familiar, allowing one’s judgment of one’s behavior to dictate how much God loves us. We then use it to put us down and convince ourselves that were not worthy of God’s love. Sometimes, we can actually take it so far as to equate God not loving us to whether we “feel” we are saved.

It can be that easy when you let your mind take control and judge what you did wrong. And then let it tell you how much God loves you? And if you believe God doesn’t love you, how can you believe anyone else can love you including yourself?

Would you like to stop this bad habit? Are you ready to take the song as literal Gospel truth? Yes Jesus Loves Me because the Bible tells me so. Well let’s go to the Bible. Let’s all read Ephesians 3 vs 16-19 and let it sink into your heart, mind and soul.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

That one line “may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” is so spot on.   Your “inner being” is your heart, mind and soul. That is where you need to let the confident assurance that God loves you be residings.

What you do, what you say, what you think cannot effect how much God loves you.

I once read a great truth. “Nothing that you do or DON’T do can separate you from the Lord’s presence.” Often times, it is the “don’t do” that we can use, more effectively, against ourselves than what we did wrong.

Let that sink in for a moment. Nothing that we don’t do can separate us from the Lord’s presence. Often times, we can understand or accept that if we did something wrong or not Christ like, that we are forgiven. But when we don’t do something, THAT is when the thoughts can really take hold. We did not pray this morning or we did not pray long enough. I did not stay awake reading my Bible. Why don’t I smile at church? Everyone else is smiling. Why don’t I _______? We can all finish that sentence several times over.

Let’s read Romans 8 38-39. Read it out loud if you are in a place you can. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creations, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The line” nor anything else in all creation” includes EVERYONE OF US and what we think and what we do and don’t do.

I pray for all of you that this scripture, being rooted and established in love, sink into to you. And let the unsurpassable knowledge that, God wants you to fill your inner being and turn off permanently all negative meters in your head.

Amen! Praise God, his mercy endures forever

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Dependency is Not a Bad Thing

For many of us being dependent on someone else goes against our thinking. For some independent thinkers, as I was and still can be, it seems to go against our very existence.

Many of us strive for independence in one way or another. As toddlers, you first start wanting to do it your way. When you graduate from high school, most young men and women declare their independence by going off to college or moving to a place of their own.

Even in your job you tend to strive for a bit of independence. Even working for a major corporation with all its standards and practices, you do little things that carve out room for your need to feel independent.

But what if I told you that being dependent, I mean completely dependent, will actually free you more than whatever you think being an independent person could ever do for you. It will liberate you.

How so? By being 110% completely dependent on God and our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe Proverbs 3 vs 5-6 says it best.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

There are many great sermons in that one quote.

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart
  • Lean not on your own understanding
  • All your ways acknowledge him
  • He will make your paths straight.

But, for today, lets concentrate on dependency on the Lord giving you freedom because that is what will happen and God’s word promises it. You will see.

Let’s start breaking down this quote. Lets look at “He will make your paths straight”.

For all of us that believe, being an independent thinking, was the best way to go, you can attest to some of the “less than straight paths” you have taken one time or another.

I was such an independent thinker. My mantra or better-put inspiration was a poem called “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Many of you know the poem; it is basically about a traveller coming up to two paths diverging in the woods. He looked down the one and it was well worn, implying many people had taken that path. He looked down the other trail, and it was barely used, brush still covering part of the trail. He pondered going both ways. But, as the poem implies, the traveller was an independent thinker, he chose the road less traveled as it says in the poem.

That was my mantra. I would say that all the time. I would proudly and with conviction quote the last two lines in the poem. “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Of course to me I was saying I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference in making my life better. But was that really true?

About 5 or 6 years ago, I began to question that self-imposed truth. I took the road less travel but am I the better for it? As I look back at all I lived through. All the roadblocks, all the crooked paths I took, and boy did I take a lot of crooked paths, I realized that doing the independent thing and making my own roads, was NOT the best thing and I was NOT better for it.

After a one step forward 20 steps back type of life, just the thought of the Lord making my path straight was truly liberating. So I said I’m in for it. Sign me up Lord. I’m all in. Please Lord make my path straight, I am worn out of trying to always do it my way.

Do any of your feel that way or is it just me? Weary of feeling like I was wasting my time correcting all the mistake and poor decisions I made.

Now I have a new way of thinking, a better way to guide my life. A simple, straightforward and less complicated prayer, “Lord you lead and I will follow.”

In the Bible, Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” In fact throughout all of John, Chapter 10, Jesus talks about him being the Shepherd and we being the sheep.

Let me tell you a little bit about herding sheep. When working with sheep, they become very familiar with their shepherds voice. They learn to trust that voice and will follow the shepherd anyway. If a stranger tries to command the sheep, they ignore it or will more often runs away from that person because then know he is not their Shepherd and they do not trust him. As it says in John 10 vs 3 – “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Did you hear that? He knows your name and he calls to you by your name. That is something for all to remember in times of trouble, especially when we get intimidated by the awesomeness of who God is.

But how  do I hear God’s voice? How do I hear Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior and Shepherd’s voice so I can make sure I follow him? How do I know it is him leading me through his spirit and not just my thoughts, which may not be his thoughts or his ways for that moment? Well you here his voice in his Word, in Prayer, having your alone time with the Lord and letting his Holy Spirit speak to you.

Maybe it is just me, by there are times when I think about all that happens in one day or even one minute of our lives and how many Christians are praying to God every second throughout the world that I think, how can he hear my prayers and guide just me. And doubt can enter my mind. That is when holding to the truth that my Lord knows my name will eliminate that doubt and my dependency on God is taken to a higher level. But perhaps the word dependency is not as accurate when discussing this subject as the word trust. Trust, now there is a word that can conjure up all sorts of feeling.

So are we talking about the famous trust exercise of one person standing behind another and the person in front, with arms out falls back, trusting that the other person will catch them. Yes that is a big test of trusting someone but what is the worse that can happen with that test. You either find out the person will catch you or they don’t and falling might hurt a little bit and you will be embarrassed but that is all.

Trusting God with everything is so very different and can be scary especially if you are not sure you are hearing or being lead by him. In life, trusting him for things that can be life altering Trusting him when you or your loved one is very sick. Trusting him when your marriage needs help. Trusting him when you are trying to make major decisions. Sometimes trusting for your very life.

Again Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”

How do you really know you are trusting God. Two Words. DON’T WORRY.

There is no better way to show your trust in God and our Lord Jesus Christ, then to give him your cares and fears and then just freely, with peace, trust that he has your back. A good practice that I do is when I am at that point where I am freaking out in fear, I just whisper, “Jesus, help me.” And then I know it has been given over to him and that I have put my trust in him that at that very moment is trying to lead me.

Luke 12:22 says “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body, what you will wear.

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Are you ready to give it a try in your life? Are you ready to just say “Jesus, help me. I trust you”

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Walking in the Light

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my” Psalms 119:105

Jesus tells us in 1 John 1:5-7. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; In him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

There are three key phrases in this scripture. Light, Darkness and Fellowship. Lets looks at the first two, since according to 1 John 1:5-7 we either walk in one or the other.

Have you ever been in a room or outside at night where it was so dark you literally could not see the next few feet in front of your path. Sara and I have a trip to Alaska that we take with another family. We stay in these small A-frame cabins that are located throughout the Southern portion of Alaska, which basically is a rainforest, very thick with trees. These A-Frames were built years ago for the forestry service to stay at when they are out testing or measuring the animal and fish populations. They have no electricity, they are heated either by heating oil, that you must bring or a wood stove that you are expected to cut from larger logs that are stored at the camp. No cells phones work, and there is no running water. And of course out houses.

Most of these cabins are accessible by a 30 to 45 minutes flight via floatplane and most are on a lake.

At night, the only light within a 45-mile radius is by flashlight or propane lights lamps we bring. And they all have an outhouse that is 50 to 100 feet or so away from the cabin. So at night if I needed to go out or if Sara went, I went out with her since bears live in this area also, black and brown bear. By the way, when it comes to bears my wife has a life saving philosophy. All I have to do is run faster than Gary.

When you go out at night, without that light, you can’t see two feet in front of you. Especially on a day when it is cloudy which being a rain forest is often. And the paths around the cabin and up to the outhouse are not smooth paved walkways, they are dirt or mud and with most steps you are walking or tripping on a root from the many trees. You could fall every step if you could not see the roots.

Often, while waiting on the trail for Sara I would stand there and turn off my flashlight just to see how dark it is. With the light out, it is a blanket of darkness. You cannot see anywhere you look. And I assure you that no matter which way I thought was the right direction to go, I would either walk into a tree, trip on a root, and if I was stubborn enough to try this journey in darkness for a extended period, I would end up failing down a ravine or worse failing into the very cold lake.

This is the way we all walk in spiritual darkness. And often times, through stubbornness and belief that we know the best path for our lives we continue walking in spiritual darkness and eventually find our own roots to trip on, trees to walk into and ravines and lakes to fall into or stumbling upon a bear out looking for food.

I often wonder why we are like this? Why I am like this? Why do I choose to go my own way even if I am walking in total spiritual darkness when there is an answer in God’s Word?

Lets again turn to Psalms 119:105. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.”

Let’s go back to the Alaska wilderness where I am standing in the darkness with my flashlight off. It is a uncomfortable feeling and a bit unnerving that I cannot see anything or know where to walk or what may be coming down this path towards me at that very moment. But as soon as I turn the flashlight back on, everything comes back into focus. I can see where I am again, I can walk where I need to go and see the path I need to go down.

Psalms 119:105 could easily read as “your word is a flashlight or light to my feet so I can see what I need to avoid stepping on or tripping on when I am walking and it is a flashlight for my path, so I can see the proper direction that I need to be moving forward so I am walking in God’s plan and purpose.”

We need this special time that we alone spend with God, and his Word and in prayer. It is life giving and life sustaining.

I can still remember what I first turned to Jesus. It was when I was at college, living on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA where I felt empty inside. I was surrounded by all manner of things I never really saw before. I knew I needed something but was not sure what it was. Yet this feeling just kept speaking to me, “I need to read the Bible.” Every time I was at my lowest, that thought kept returning. “I need to read the Bible.”

I was raised a Christian but was far from it at this time in my life. I never thought about Jesus, I never prayed. I never talking with other Christians or at that time did I even know any Christians. I was numbly walking through life. I believe at this time in my life God, in his loving mercy and through his Holy Spirit, was the one who put this strong desire to find a Bible and start reading it.

And I did start reading the Bible. And spiritually it was like having a cool glass of water. You all know that feeling. You have been working or playing for a while and forgot to drink anything and you finally have a glass of cool water and you can feel it quenching your thirst and bringing your body back to a better place. God’s Word began to renew my soul and put my life on the right path and through the years has shown me the path I need to be on.

I know that some of you are thirsting for something more than you have right now. You have been longing for something and as you are hearing this, you are sensing that “This is it, this is what I have been wanting.” That is the Holy Spirit, showing you the way. Showing a path for you.

I urge you today, to following this feeling inside. Begin reading the Bible; add prayer to your life. Join a church so you can have fellowship with other Christians. Begin to walk in the light. And for those of you who have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, the first step is asking Jesus into your life. Asking him to be your Lord and Savior. Accept that he died on the cross for you. Please don’t wait another moment!

And for those of you who are Christians, you might think that because you are a Christian you automatically walk in the light of the truth but often times that is the farthest from the true. In 1 John 2 vs 9, it reads, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”

God’s word says that if we are envious of the good things others have, if we let anger, lust, greed, judging rule our mind. If we boast of the goods things we have, we are walking in darkness. And most of the time when we walk in the darkness, we end up in places that can lead us completely away from God. And if we are not careful, we can lose our way home.

But if we walk in the light and anything that could lead us the wrong way comes onto our path, we will see it for what it is a divisive trick of the enemy to keep us from knowing God in the full light. A lie to keep us from strengthen our relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and to be lead by God’s Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray that God continue to show us the path he has for us and that we will all become beacons, that the light of Christ will shine in us and from us to help encourages and build up others in their walk with the Lord

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