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Posts Tagged ‘God’s love’

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

From the time we rise until the moment we exhale sleep’s first breath, nearly 50,000 thoughts will have tracked through our minds. Of those rapid-fire notions, 80% are negative. Repetitive. Even bordering on obsessive.

Our minds are landmines pockmarked with negativity and habitual skepticism–self-sabotaging sink holes that entrap us in an unhealthy, joy inhibiting mindset that blocks blessedness and hinders happiness.

We tumble into the black hole of comparison, worrying whether we’ll ever be as smart, put-together, or beautiful as the woman in the mini-sized yoga pants at the gym or the young mother whose makeup is as perfect as her smile.

Clambering from one hollow only to trip into the next, we desperately seek love and approval like a small child lost in a department store searches for her mother. Our efforts to earn the notice of others, though, fails to satisfy. Instead, they clutter our minds with silent recriminations.

If I’m successful she’ll tell me I’m important to her. Why doesn’t he love me? I must not be good enough.

I know. I’m a self-confessed-personal-critic and reforming people pleaser. You, too? Perhaps Martha was one of us. Consider these passages.

“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 MSG)

How many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do's-and-haven't-done's, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance… Click To Tweet

While we may all wish to be the Mary in the story, how many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do’s-and-haven’t-done’s, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance comparison, she’s overwhelmed by the day’s demands and longs to be worthy of love and approval.

Flustered and frustrated, Mary prods Christ, perhaps hoping for praise or recognition of her efforts to serve him. Yet Jesus reassured, “Only one thing is essential.”

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential. Click To Tweet

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential.

Our happiness, Friend, resides in Christ–the Word eternal who was present in the beginning and who has no end. We can forgo all of the non-essentials from the One thing–a relationship with Jesus.

 

Let's cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts . Click To Tweet

Let’s cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts that we might begin to grasp the happiness we can begin to experience even now–without concerns about comparison or earning love and approval.

We already know that when the Father rest his gaze upon us, He sees Jesus’ beauty and incomparable perfection. Because of him, we are loved and accepted into heavenly arms.

As Philippians 4:8 (MSG) exhorts, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me [Paul], what you heard and saw and realized.”

 

Mind Over Negative Chatter Challenge 

1. Record 3 positive occurrences, circumstances and thoughts you had each day this week. Consider sharing them in the comments section or on my Facebook page, Tammy L. Kennington.

2. Share 9-10 meaningful photos throughout the week. Photos could include anything that brings you joy–family, favorite places, mementos.

3. At the end of the week, reflect on the ways in which the positive, recorded thoughts and/or images impacted your happiness and life experience.

4. Share this challenge with friends and family!

 

 

 

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The place name dogged me all week–my thoughts returning again and again to the words of John 18:5.THE NEW YOU

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. (NIV)

Familiar with the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, I knew of the events preceding the crucifixion. The humble Creator stooping over the dirt-encrusted feet of His disciples and cleansing them of Jerusalem’s desert sand—the actions of a servant. Christ—breaking bread in the presence of beloved companions and a friend turned foe.

But until a few days ago, my eyes seemed to pass by any mention of Kidron Valley. What could be its significance? Why hadn’t I noticed before? Jesus walked purposely through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to reach the Garden.

The symbolism is too rich to ignore. Kidron Valley, meaning black or sad, was a burial site to Jewish kings, priests, and prophets encased in tombs along the rocky slopes. And today? Thousands of limestone coffins stand end to end—the bodies of Jewish hopefuls awaiting deliverance through the long-awaited Messiah.

I can almost imagine Jesus surveying the valley and its surroundings. There, high on the slope, He could make out the southeastern edge of the Temple. How many hours had He spent within its walls proclaiming the truth? Inhaling deeply as He passed by a stand of olive trees, Christ might have swept His gaze to the far edges of the landscape and noticed the Mount of Olives. Did His stride quicken as He anticipated ascending into Heaven from that hill—the Father’s call beckoning Him home?

Determined, Jesus continued on as the dark valley rose sharply on either side–evening shadows deepening. He knew the history of the place—He’d seen it clearly from Heaven’s throne room. Christ knew of the treachery encased between the walls of this gorge—when the Chosen Ones had displayed worthless idols here. The people turning away from I Am not once…not twice…but three times. (1 Kings 15: 12-13, 2 Kings 23:6, 2 Chronicles 19:16).

Jesus knew—they would again turn from the Way and choose another.

And soon, the blood of hundreds of thousands of lambs would spill into the wadi, filling the valley with the scent of death; innocent blood staining its walls. The disciples might have noticed a look of satisfaction cross Jesus’ face as He considered the near future—that moment when His own, untarnished blood would pour out for all sin and sinners. Once for all—if they would only accept His gift. The perfect Lamb. The ultimate Sacrifice. The exchange of the Sinless for you and me.

Each step Jesus took in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, friends, brought us closer to Him. Because of His death and resurrection, we can claim the beautiful promise of Ps. 23,

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV)

 

 Thank you, Jesus, for walking the dark valley of sin that we might be the sinless ones. Praise God for His mercy and overwhelming love. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When my pastor shared a statistic in a recent sermon, I allowed my gaze to settle on the faces of those around the room. How many felt a painful stab of recognition when he mentioned the hidden epidemic?

It might have been the young mama who attends church each week while her husband serves the country in a dusty land halfway around the world. Or, perhaps one of its victims was the teen girl who shifted uneasily at its mention. She’s the one with the dare-you-to-say-anything expression—physically distanced from her family; arms crossed in an attempt to fend off well-meaning attempts to approach her. Maybe the words penetrated the heart of the smartly dressed elderly woman—the woman whose smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes. When I greeted her, she mentioned that her husband refuses to venture beyond the confines of their home. Could she be the face of the statistic?

Who, I wondered, are the lonely ones?                back-1822702_1920

 The statistics are alarming. The General Social Survey reveals that the number of people without one close friend has tripled since 1985 and more people than ever report feelings of chronic loneliness.

In our LinkedIn, Facebook-friendly world, why are more people battling with the pain of loneliness than ever before?

I believe loneliness stems from our deep soul-need to know and be known—intimatelypersonally…unreservedly—and to be loved and accepted despite the knowing.

I invite you to join me this month as we explore 16 Days–Breaking the Chains of Loneliness. Our families, churches, and communities need women willing to reach out—women called to pray, serve, and encourage. Let’s be lover’s of the lonely!

And, Friend, if you are a lonely one? I’m praying for you! God knows your need–your heart. He whispers your name and promises to “never forsake or leave you”.

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eaglefly

The moment I heard the words filter through the radio of our crumb-sprinkled family car, my heart responded with a question?  Am I that woman?  The message resounded and I’ve been considering it for more than a week–long enough for me to admit that this is one of my day-by-day, moment-by-moment struggles.  It may be yours, too.

What is this self-imposed, self-focused, self-degrading habit we battle each day?  Perfectionism.

It afflicts co-workers, Bible study leaders, young mothers, old mothers, neighbors, and friends.  Always striving…she is the woman never quite satisfied with self.  And deep in her empty places she has somehow mistaken the desire for acceptance…approval…love for a twisted version of if-then. 

If I can just lose five more pounds then he’ll respect me.

If I earn this degree then I’ll finally believe I’m smart.

If I keep my house clean enough then I’ll know I’m a good housewife.

If  my children are at the top of their class then I can trust myself as a mother.

If I join one more church committee then God will know I’m a committed Christian.

 

But all of the if’s just end up as not enough.  There is always another goal…something else to prove…a feeling of not quite meeting the mark.

Why?  Because we’ve forgotten the mercy of His love, acceptance, and approval.   With Christ, there is an abundance of all our heart seeks.   The one who is Perfection has released us from the need to prove our goodness or worth.

We can stop striving, dear Friend.  Just belonging to Perfection is enough.

 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  (Col. 3:23-24)

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“Nobody called me,”  I said to my husband.  “I feel marginalized–like I’m just not important enough.”  The news I’d been waiting for…praying for…never came.  Instead, it was announced like a headline to the rest of the world–on Facebook.  Feeling rejected–as I had for years–I wondered if I would ever stop yearning for the relationship I’d been denied from childhood.

Seeking direction, I opened my Bible and read words that were a balm to my wounded heart, “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!”  From the time of my youth until now, He has been my home.   A refuge.  A place of rest.  A welcoming Father who will one day carry me across the heavenly threshold into loving presence.

Do you, too, ache to be accepted?  Are you wondering what you can do to bridge the gap in that damaged relationship?  Have you believed you are unlovable?

Friend, nothing could be further from the truth.  If you look closely, you’ll notice the door to your heavenly home standing open and the Father calling to you, “Come, my child.  I am Acceptance; I am the Bridge; I am Love.  Welcome home.”

 

Scripture for Reflection

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  (Deuteronomy 33:27)

 

Recommended Reading

Product Details

Finding Home by Jim Daly

 

Captivating Revised & Updated: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge

 

 

 

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Did you know that when He chose you for His own, you were…

Called by name.  (Isaiah 43:1)

Called for a purpose. ( Psalm 138:8)

Called to love and be loved.  (Romans 8:35-39)

Called to enjoy His unmerited favor and blessing.  (2 Timothy 1:9)

Called to be transformed.  (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Called from the darkness to the light.  (John 8:12)

Called to glorify God.  (Exodus 9:16)

Called to your forever home.  (John 14:3)

Remember these things, dear friend.  You are His special treasure!

Recommended Blogs and Books

www.wendyblight.com

www.liveyourcalling.com

www.reviveourhearts.com

Scripture for Reflection

 Isaiah 1-4 (MSG)   But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
   the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
   I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
   When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
   it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
   The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
   all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
   That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
   trade the creation just for you.

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