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God’s Great Love For You!

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Dear Ones,

As I was praying and studying this morning about the love of God, the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, “If my people would truly understand how much I love them, they would never fear again…about anything.”  I thought, “That’s so true, God; I know that inherently in my spirit, but explain it to me.  I want to get to that place where all fear in every situation in my life is nonexistent.  Help me get to a full revelation of that…of Your love for us.”
Well, we all know that great Scripture, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, KJV).  That’s God’s perfect love for us.  You see, God is love (1 John 4:8).  There is no torment in God, so there is no torment when we know, understand, and receive His love for us.  Thus, we can walk fear free!

So, next, I asked myself, “Why do we fear?”  We fear because we don’t believe our needs are going to be met or because we feel we have to fight for position.  The great thing, though, is that with God, we don’t have to jockey for position as though we were in a horse race trying to be the first to the finish line or first to capture the big purse, the jackpot at the end. . .and with God, we don’t have to gamble.  No!  God is no respecter of persons, and He loves us all uniquely and equally.  He can give each one of us our perfect good without diminishing the good He has intended for another.  It is only our natural way of thinking that causes us to believe that there isn’t enough to go around for everyone.  God never runs out of resources or blessing or plans of goodness for His children!

So, if we focus on how much God loves each of us individually and all of humanity jointly, we can begin to realize that we are not in competition with others to get what we need.  God has a perfect plan for each of us individually and for all of us functioning together.  Consequently, we can rejoice when others do well and see their dreams realized, their needs met.  We can say, “What God has done for others, He will do for me.”  If we focus on trusting God instead of envying another, God is free to pour out perfect plans in each of our lives.  Psalm 112:6-8 says, 

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear.

When we focus on God’s love, we receive confidence; it frees us to love others and bless others, and we cease to act in ways that bring torment, striving, contentions, competitions, and envying into our own lives.  All these things bring roadblocks and hindrances into our lives.  We don’t have to protect ourselves or our own interests when we know God is watching out for us, protecting us, providing for us, healing us, saving us from our own mistakes, establishing good plans for us, correcting us when needed.

Let’s look at 1 John 3:16 (NIV) – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  You see, since we know that God gave His Son for us, and Jesus, the Son, gave His life for us, we can rest assured that there is nothing God wouldn’t do (and hasn’t already done) to help us.  What more can be done than laying one’s life down for another?  That kind of love will never desert or forsake you; it will never leave you to fend for yourself; it is and will always be there to defend, protect, lift up, heal, encourage, and provide.

So, dear one, know and understand God’s great love for you, and fear will have no place in your life!
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.
 

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His Resurrection Life!

Dear Ones,
What is the cross?  It is the crucifixion of the flesh.  Christ went to the cross willingly.  He told God, “Not my will, but thine be done.”  Christ, as a man, in the flesh, submitting His will to the Father, went to the cross willingly and laid down His own life for our salvation.  He crucified His flesh with a spirit of love for us.  


What is the resurrection?  It is God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Love (for God is love), overcoming the flesh!  All flesh was defeated by the Spirit of Love, which God poured out with all great and glorious power to help us!  Every element of the flesh and its work and consequences was defeated by the power of God’s love!  All sin, sickness, poverty, offense, destruction, darkness, evil, every weakness you can imagine (envy, strife, greed, gluttony, selfish motives, oppressions of every kind) was defeated by the power of God by the resurrection of Christ.  The cross gave way to the resurrection!  Death succumbed to life!  Hate disappeared in Love! 


This is how Christ conquered flesh when He walked on this earth!  Every day, as a man, Christ had to choose to let the love of God conquer His will, guide His path, and direct His actions.  Remember, the Holy Spirit was not dispensed until the Day of Pentecost!  Christ had to walk allowing the love of God to rule in Him.


We talk so much about how we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be overcomers in this world, because, yes, God has made us overcomers by His Spirit!  We know the Scriptures.  “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” I am “more than a conqueror through Christ…”  I have the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwelling in me.  Yes!  This is all true!  But…what is that power.  It is the Spirit of Love, God’s Spirit, which is the resurrection power!  It is God’s love spread abroad in our hearts!  That is what defeated death, hell, and the grave at the resurrection!  That is the spirit which give us all power to walk in the Holy Spirit!  


Practically, how do we tap into that great power that God has placed in us to overcome every obstacle we face?  We crucify our flesh – every day, all day!  When I say flesh, I mean any action motivated by thoughts or emotions displeasing to God, any action motivated by emotions counter to the love of God.  You know what it means to walk by your flesh.  It means taking advantage of others, greed, strife, taking offense, envy, choosing to be offended, unforgiveness, dishonesty, retaliation, uncontrolled anger.  The list is endless.  We crucify those fleshly forces the same way Christ did.  We choose to apply God’s love to every situation.  Sometimes, it’s called sacrifice.  Sometimes it’s called obedience.  Sometimes it’s called trust.  Sometimes it’s called giving.  Sometimes it’s called patience.  Sometimes it’s called peace, or humility, or gentleness, or compassion, or mercy.  It is ALWAYS called the love of God shed abroad in our hearts!  We choose to apply His love, directed by the Holy Spirit revealing God’s will to our hearts, to every situation we face and let His love have a perfect work in our lives.  When we weigh our choices against the love of God and line them up in the best way we know how, with His help, we will ALWAYS walk in His overcoming power.  This is how His greatness overcomes our weakness.  This is how we become more than conquerors over the pain and problems of this world.  This is how we unleash our faith to believe He will make His promises come true in our lives.  This is how His almighty, undefeatable, resurrection power is unleashed in us! 


So dear friends, choose to let the Spirit of God’s love dwelling in you, guide your thoughts and actions, crucifying the deeds of the flesh, and you will walk in His Resurrection Life!
Lisa Marie


If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.
 

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God's Love: Our Joy

Dear Ones,

Scripture tells us that “The joy of the Lord is [our] strength,” and  “ Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice” (Neh. 8:10 and Phil. 4:4).  The natural question I think we all ask is, “How can I always rejoice when I am going through hardship?  How can I have God’s joy as my strength when I feel anxious and stressed or fearful about certain difficulties in my life?”

The answer is:  Rest in God’s love for you.  Know that as you lay your problem at His feet, His great love for you will bring you through.  His love for you causes Him to hold you in the palm of His hand.  When you are sure of His love for you, you can know that He will bring the perfect outworking of your situation.  Take joy in knowing that a God bigger than you, bigger than your mountain, is leading you and holding you.  This is true whether or not the mess you are facing is of your own doing or not.  Most messes in which we find ourselves, truth be told, result from our own choices.  Take heart.  God is bigger than your wrong choices and bigger than the injustices of this world.

If your situation is from your own mistakes, intentional or not, repent; seek God’s forgiveness, and He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us (1 Jn. 1:9), and that is immediately, not next year, or next week, or tomorrow, but the moment we ask.

Isaiah 49:13, 16 (speaking about the restoration of Israel) says:  “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains!  For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. . . .See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”  As God is the Restorer, you can rest assured that His love and mercy extend to your situation.

 

As we humble ourselves within the love of God, we can rest knowing He has our best interest at heart.  He brings blessing to our lives.  He makes beauty out of ashes.  He gives us joy in place of mourning.  He replaces heaviness with praise (Isa. 62:3).  Does this mean you will never go through tribulation?  No.  Jesus said we would have trouble in this world (Jn. 16:33), but the key word there is “world.”  That very same verse goes on to say that we find peace (which is also joy) in Christ because He has overcome the world on our behalf.

So, my dear friends, you will find God’s joy as your strength and be able to rejoice knowing that His love for you will help you overcome.  God has not left us as orphans to struggle on our own.  He has given us His precious Holy Spirit to help us, guide us, and live in us as His children, and as His children and followers of Christ, He will love us and show us the way (Jn. 14:15-21). 

Commit every situation to Him, and His joy and peace will fill your heart.  He will bring you wisdom.  He will rebuke the enemy on your behalf.  His joy will become your peace and strength.

 

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.

 

 

 

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Love Never Fails

Dear Ones,
Once we understand the love of God for us, it is important that we not only allow that love to minister to and change us, but we need to allow His love to flow through us and sow it into the lives of others.  Why?  First, we want to walk as Christ walked on this earth.  Without doubt, when we do that, we are fulfilling the Great Commission!  He understood God’s love for Him and He demonstrated that love to others.  Second, nothing in the Kingdom of God works without the love of God!  I will go so far as to say that love is the key that makes everything else in His Kingdom work!
We all know that Scripture tells us that “Faith works by love.”  We discussed that to some extent last week.  In fact, the Word tells us it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).  So, it is impossible to please God without love, because we need love to have faith.  Again, that is both the revelation of His love for us and our demonstration of His love to others.


Let me show you Scripture that tells us that every other spiritual gift or force only works by love, and without God’s love, they will not work.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us first that we can have the gift of tongues and prophecy, understand mysteries and the knowledge of God, have overcoming faith, and do all kinds of good works, and yet it will all mean nothing and profit us nothing if not done with the love of God.
  
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (NIV)

If that weren’t enough to convince us that we need to walk in the love of God to those around us, let’s look at what else this Scripture says.  In verse eight, we are told:  “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”  Many have taken this to believe that today’s church should not operate in the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and special wisdom or knowledge.  But my Bible tells me God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and that He never changes.  Also, when He has given good gifts to His children, He does not take them away.  So, you can disagree with me, but I believe that this Scripture is telling us here that because it is love that never fails and, thus, sustains all other things and keeps them from failing, that “without love” prophecies will cease; “without love,” tongues will be stilled; “without love,” knowledge will pass away.  Conversely, with God’s love, His agape love, these gifts will be demonstrated in our lives to bring us and those around us into the fullness of Christ.  Walking in God’s love is the key!  

You see, God operates every one of these gifts in our lives through His love, and apart from His love, He cannot allow them to function in our lives.  Without His love, each of these gifts could be used with evil intent and for selfish gain.  Men will never profit when they try to masquerade the goodness of God.  So, these gifts will only manifest in our lives when we choose to accept God’s love and operate in His love.  Christ, the exact image of God and the perfect demonstration of His love, dwells in every believer, and because of that, every believer walking in God’s love can walk in these gifts to benefit, bless, and encourage those around him or her.  That is how God intends His gifts to operate in the earth:  to heal, bring encouragement and correction (wisdom), to prosper, restore, and redeem.  He has given us the anointing of His Spirit and every one of His gifts to, “proclaim good news to the poor. . . freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

When we walk in God’s love, that is exactly what we will do,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me

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Fear Not!

Dear Ones,


This series of blogs has now become “The Love Project.”  God is speaking to my spirit that He has so much He wants us to learn on the topic of His love.  This week the Lord has been sharing so much with my heart about His love that it is hard to know where to begin.  He is writing volumes in my heart.


So, let’s start with this one simple fact.  Believing the love of God for us is the only way to eradicate fear in our lives.  Why is it so important to eradicate fear?  It is vital to do so because “Faith works by love” (Galatians 5:6).


What does that mean?  Well, let’s start with the Scripture “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).  You see, when we understand the perfect love of God for us, we can walk forward with no fear.  The King James says “fear has torment.”  When we are tormented by the fears of life, we are bound in shackles by the fear gripping our spirits, and this makes us unable to believe the love God has for us.  We run in protective mode instead of blessing mode.  Because we focus on our fears instead of God’s love for us, we fail to believe in His ability to care for us.


When people become fearful, they do things they would not otherwise do and believe things they would not otherwise believe.  They worry about things and focus on the negative instead of focusing on God’s goodness for them.  Worry has torment.  It can cause oppression, depression, anxiety of all sorts, and even physical ailments.  People who fear believe others are out to do them harm, that they have to watch out for “Number One” because no one else is there to watch out for them.  They believe they have to protect and strive after their own interests.  They become very self-driven, selfish, and self-seeking.  Many become paranoid that others are out to get them.  These feelings will never get us anywhere good, and they will never further the kingdom of God in our lives.  God is not about self, but about blessing.  He is not about fear, but faith.  When we fear and operate in modes of worry and self-preservation and protection, we make decisions counter to God’s character, and we stop the flow of blessing coming into our lives, because God cannot honor anything counter to His character.  He can extend us mercy and forgiveness, show us His patience and love, and that will redirect our hearts so that we can see His love and make changes in our lives – and He is always faithful to do that if we let Him, but we have to let Him by breaking the fear habit and developing the faith habit.


As we have discussed in prior weeks, fear keeps us from believing in God’s unconditional love for us.  On the other hand, when we know and believe in the love God has for us, we step out in trust, in faith.  We put down our guard.  We stop operating in protective mode.  We stop looking at the world from a “me-me” viewpoint and start looking at the world through His eyes of love.  His love shed abroad in our hearts delivers faith every time.  Remember “Faith works by love,” and with faith we can step forth to see His Word and His will come to pass in our lives every time, in every season, through every difficulty.
So, if there is something you are standing for and you haven’t seen its manifestation in your life yet, focus on His love for you.  His love for you is a perfect guarantee of things to come, of His will coming to pass in your life – His healing, His protection, His restoration of anything missing or broken.


His love gives us the ability to fear not and believe only,


Lisa Marie


If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.
 

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How God Loves Us

Dear Ones,


These last two weeks we have talked about why it is so important to understand how much God loves us and how God’s love liberates us to trust Him and cast our cares upon Him.  So, I think it is important to truly understand how God loves us.  What does it mean when we say “God loves me”?


Let’s take a look at several Scriptures and consider together how God sees us and how dear we are to Him. 


Isaiah 43:4 – “ [Y]ou are precious and honored in my sight, and. . .I love you.”
Isaiah 49:16 – "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. . ."
Psalm 100:3 – “[W]e are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
Zechariah 2:8 – “ For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye:
1 John 3:1 – "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
Zephaniah 3:17 – "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."
Jeremiah 31:3 – "The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'"
1 Peter 5:6-7 – “[F]or He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (AMP).

Wow!  We are precious and honored, engraved in His hands, his sheep (cared for and protected), the apple of His eye, His children, those in whom He takes great delight and over whom He rejoices, loved with an everlasting love and unfailing kindness, cared for with deepest affection and watched over carefully.  These are just a few of hundreds of Scriptures letting us know how special we are to God, how passionate He is toward us.  Stop and let that sink into your spirit.  Dwell on His great love for you.

As if that weren’t enough to convince us of how much God really does love us, let’s go further and look at how He proved His love for us.  1 John 4:9 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.”  John 3:16 says, “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Can you imagine giving your one and only begotten Son for the life of someone else who didn’t even acknowledge your existence?  You see, God made that act of loving sacrifice for you before you were ever born, before you could even choose to know Him or love Him back.  He made that ultimate sacrifice for every person ever born, whether or not they would ever choose to love Him in return!  He made that sacrifice before you ever did one thing for Him.  You see, He didn’t do it to get something from you; He did it to get something to you – redemption, grace, compassion, mercy, love, peace, joy, kindness, forgiveness, and eternal life with Him.  God is a GIVER!  He gave before you could give anything in return.  He gave out of His deep love for you.

Jesus loved you so that He chose to suffer torment, ridicule, hatred, scorn, oppression, affliction, humiliation, and physical torture.  He chose obedience to the Father in order to gain you as a brother or sister, a joint heir to all He possessed.  Jesus suffered an excruciating death and a journey into the unimaginable, abominable, horrific pains of hell to give you an opportunity to know the true love of God.  He allowed Himself to be slaughtered to give you eternal life with God!  If that doesn’t convince you that God loves you forever and without reservation and that you are precious to Him, then nothing ever will.

Read Isaiah 53 out loud, imagining all Christ went through, and you will have a new understanding of God’s mighty love for you.  When you comprehend that, you will never be able to withhold love from another, and that understanding will free you to walk in the fullness of Christ here on this earth!

Enjoy the journey as you receive new revelation of just how God loves you,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

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Cast Your Cares!

Dear Ones,

This week as I was studying, the Lord ministered this Scripture to me.  1Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, 7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (AMP).

Several things really caught hold of my spirit in this verse.  First, God’s motivation for saying this to us is that He cares for us with “deepest affection” and is “watch[ing] over [us] very carefully.”  Thank you, Lord!  You are deeply affectionate, loving me so abundantly and watching over me to help me and lead me in ways that will bless me and protect me, save me from harm, and bring me to a wonderful place!  You are such a good, kind, and loving Father!

God is also telling us that when we humble ourselves under His great love, He will exalt us to a place of honor in His service.  Do you see how much good He has planned for us?  Each of us will be exalted into a place designed and crafted just for us by a loving God, a place in which we will be able to bless Him and those around us.  All we have to do is humble ourselves unto Him.  What a precious promise to have!  What a precious place to be!  What God is truly asking us to do is to humble ourselves under LOVE, for God is love (I John 4:16).  How easy it is to truly humble ourselves to Someone who only walks in the purest of love toward us.  We are not being asked to humble ourselves under someone or something that will do us harm or bring us injustice.  We are simply being asked to come under His umbrella of pure love, His selfless, giving, courageous, redeeming love for us.  This simply means to seek His council, to ask for His input, direction, wisdom, and guidance, to quit trying to do everything on our own, by our own power. I can do that Lord!  I want to do that!  I accept Your great love for me!

Then, God tells us how to receive and truly walk in His liberating love for us.  He tells us that all we have to do is to cast all of our cares – our anxieties, worries, and concerns – once and for all, upon Him.  So what God is telling us is that in exchange for His great love for us, all He wants – His heart’s desire – is for us to give Him our junk.  Wow, God!  I don’t know too many people here on this earth that would make that kind of a deal:  LOVE – overflowing, never ending, limitless love,  merciful, forgiving love – for my baggage, my trash, my junk, my cares, my concerns, my disappointments, and my problems!  He is asking us to trust Him.  His great love brings me freedom!  I humble myself under something that guarantees my freedom from the entanglements and difficulties and heartaches of this world!  Who can say “no” to that?  Count me in God!  I take it!  I thank you and praise you for setting me free with Your love!

Just as we were discussing last week, do you see how important it is that each of us grasp and receive God’s great love for us, a love that is deeper, wider, and higher than anything we can imagine?  Turning my cares over to God is the best thing I can do for myself and for those around me and for this world.  When I do that, I take my imperfect hands and thoughts off of the situation, and I trust Him with everything.  I place His perfect hands and thoughts on every situation, and I receive divine answers to anything that concerns me and those around me.  His covering of perfect love takes full effect, enabling His perfect plans for me to come to life!

His love guarantees our victory, and when we walk in victory, we can minister it to the encouragement of others!

I pray that you truly grasp the greatness of His love for you,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

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God Loves Me!

Dear Ones,

Love - God loves me everyday II.jpg


Why is it so important that we accept, receive, and understand the breadth, depth, and height of God’s love for us?  It is so important that we truly accept God’s unconditional, perfected, magnanimous love for us because without knowing how tremendously He loves us, we cannot truly share that love with others – and He is all about sharing His love.  We can only walk in the fullness God has for each of us if we comprehend His great love for us (Ephesians 3:17-19).  His love is not the limited, conditional, human love with which we identify most readily.  God’s love for us is boundless, unending, and not swayed or prejudiced by our imperfections or wrong acts.  God loves us no matter what we ever do.  Our right or wrong acts do not change His love for us.  His love is steadfast, immoveable, and perfect toward us.  His love is motivated by His desire to bless us.  It is completely selfless and pure.

You see, if we do not grasp and accept God’s love for us, then we tend to judge ourselves by our shortcomings.  When we do this, we box our spirits in because we carry a weight within us that God never intended us to carry.  We walk in a “sin” consciousness, and this makes us ineffective to overcome in our own lives, and it makes us less effective to minister the love and grace and mercy that those around us need in their lives.

God sent Jesus to us to love us and bring us healing and freedom from the captivity of self-criticism and unworthiness.  God did not send Jesus to condemn us (John 3:17). Does this mean we should feel free to do wrong just because we know God will forgive us and love us anyway?  Of course not!  We should not, however, walk around condemning ourselves for our mistakes and shortfalls.  When we recognize error in our lives, we simply lay it down at the cross, at the feet of Jesus, ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, and immediately, He forgives us!  We do not have to carry the weight of guilt or shame around in our spirits.

When we understand God’s heart toward us, we are then free to be who He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do.  Who does He want us to be?  People who know that we are loved of the Father – at all times.  What does He want us to do?  Share His love and forgiveness and mercy and freedom and grace and deliverance and healing with those around us – to set captives free!  It is so important to be confident in His love for us so that we can be arms of love to anyone around us who hurts.  Hurting people hurt others, but those who know they are loved love others.  The only source from which we can draw a true understanding of what love really looks like is from God, demonstrated by Jesus when He walked upon this earth.  His example teaches us all we need to know, and it proves to us that in every situation, we belong to a compassionate Father moved by that which moves us.  Remind yourself of His compassion by reading stories in the New Testament – the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), healing of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56), healings of all sorts, deliverance of the Gadarene man (Mark 5:1-20), just to name a few.  God’s love and compassion are overwhelming.  Let us be as overwhelming in our love for others!

So, dear ones, be confident and know that you are loved of the Father with an everlasting love, one that looks beyond your personality flaws and weaknesses.  When you run to God, He washes the slate clean.  He is a restorer.  You are engraved in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). You are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8).  Accept His redemption, and then remember that as you have been forgiven, you will forgive others.  As you have been shown mercy, you will grant mercy.  As you have been given grace, you will demonstrate grace.  As you have had your offenses wiped away, you will choose not to be offended at others when they do wrong to you.  As you have been washed in the love of God, you will minister that same love to everyone you meet.

You are loved by a good, good God,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

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He Is Risen!

BECAUSE HE LOVED AND LOVES US SO, CHRIST SUFFERED SHAME, PUNISHMENT, TORMENT, BRUTALITY, REPROACH, HELL, DEATH, AND THE GRAVE. HE DID IT ALL FOR US, THAT WE MIGHT KNOW THE TRUE LOVE THE FATHER HAS FOR US!
HE IS RISEN!
Isaiah 53 New International Version (NIV)
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

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GOD OF MERCY!

Dear Ones,

What is mercy? The dictionary definition is: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.

Aren’t you glad God has mercy toward us? He looks upon us with compassion and kindly forbearance. He is benevolent toward us – even when we may cause offence, even when we may treat Him as an enemy, or disregard Him, or ignore Him, or distrust Him, or fail to be thankful toward Him for all he does for us. What does God say about His mercy toward us? In Lamentation 3:22-23, He tells us that his compassion toward us never fails. So great is His faithfulness toward us, that He has new mercies for us every morning . . . no matter what we have done. We know from Psalm 136:1 that His mercy for us will endure forever . . . regardless of mistakes we make. In Ephesians 21:1-5, we learn that because of His great love for us, he is rich in mercy toward us . . . even though each of us has walked counter to the love of God in our lives. Are you thankful for the depth, and width, and breadth of His mercy for you? Are you blessed by the fact that His mercy for you will never, ever end – no matter what you do wrong or what mistakes you make? I know I am.

So, if that is how God treats us, shouldn’t we likewise be willing to walk in the same mercy toward those who have hurt, or offended, or slandered, or treated us with ill-will of any kind? Aren’t we supposed to be imitators of God? I am so glad that my sin is not greater than God’s mercy! That means that my mercy toward another should be greater than their sin toward me.

In His Word, God gives me some guidance on our responsibility to treat others with mercy, how to display kindness and forgiveness and benevolence toward those toward whom we might rather show retaliation or judgment. I see in Luke 6:27-36 that God shows me exactly how to show His love and mercy:

27 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Need we know more? I think that pretty much covers it. Though this may seem like a tough instruction, it really isn’t. As we sow the love and mercy of God into others’ lives, it can’t help but come back to us. Hate begets hate, but love begets love, and mercy triumphs over judgment! It’s God’s way of doing things, and His ways are always higher and better than ours.

If you can think of someone who has done you wrong, start today, and show him or her the mercy of God! You will be richly blessed.
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

Join us at River City Church, Sundays at 10:00 with Pastor Brian Bohrer, to hear the Spirit-filled, uncompromised Word of God. River City Church, 6906 MO-100, Washington, MO 63090

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