A Missed Understanding

 

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We all need someone who “gets” us, but do we care enough to “get” God?

 

“No one understands me! What’s the point of talking to anyone anymore?!”

Teenagers are often ridiculed for this verbal stereotype, but sadly, this desperate claim of angst is true for people of all ages. This anguished question has resonated from the minds and mouths of every person who’s existed down through the ages. Human beings were created by God as social creatures, desiring more than anything else to connect with other, separate entities. This truth is described in the book of Genesis, when God created a helper for Adam in the person of his wife, Eve.

Unfortunately, after they opened the gateway to sin on this earth, Adam and Eve inhibited themselves in all areas, including the realm of communication. Once they bit into the forbidden fruit, which grew from the sin of selfishness and pride, their true natures were transformed from serving God and each other to serving their own egos. They were no longer concerned with listening to each other’s words; they cared only for the thoughts inside their own heads. Ever since then, mankind has constantly struggled to make his voice heard, crying out loud to the dark, far reaches of the universe.

“If only there was someone who’d listen!” he cries. “I would give anything just to have someone care enough about me to understand how I feel inside!”

Oh, what a sad, tragic mistake it is when man has chosen to remove himself so far away from God that he forgot how God has always been there for him in the first place! In human relationships, misunderstandings often stem from a lack of communication; the same principle applies to our relationship with God. We choose not to open up to Him because we assume that He’s just going to judge us for our thoughts and feelings, just like what many teenagers and young adults assume about their parents. So instead of pouring our hearts out to God in prayer, we shut Him out of our daily lives by not talking to Him, just like a typical moody teenager locks him or herself inside their bedroom.

The surprising truth is, God is FAR more understanding than we give Him credit for.

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How do we little, puny humans get the nerve to think that God is incapable of knowing our thoughts and feelings when He’s the One Who orchestrates the circumstances of our lives to begin with? Within a parent/child relationship, the parents have years of experience dealing with the same issues that their children face every day, but a self-absorbed teenager or young adult either does not realize or refuses to acknowledge that fact. This is due once again to the common faults of stubbornness and pride, when they think or say out loud, “Mom and Dad don’t know what they’re talking about! They’re just trying to control my life; why should I listen to what they have to say?!” This ignorant claim echoes constantly in today’s world when people say horrible, blasphemous things like “God is dead!”, or “If there is a God, why would He care about me?!”

We are fortunate that God bestows His grace and mercy upon this world at all times, for there are innumerable lost souls who try His patience and kindle His wrath every day. The very fact that He delays the punishment of man’s wickedness until death is proof that He is mindful of our fallen, corrupt state. God is longsuffering, meaning that He’s patient beyond our human comprehension, and is merciful enough to let every man live long enough to have a chance at knowing Him. Unfortunately, there are many people who pass away from this world without ever knowing Him, therefore missing out on the very thing their souls craved the most – a loving Being Who infinitely understands them.

Sadly, there are also many Christians who miss out on God’s gift of understanding.

Now, please don’t misunderstand the above sentence – this is not in any way meant to question the salvation of those who claim to be born again Christians; that deeply personal matter is between their hearts and God alone. What I mean is that some Christians fail to take full advantage of all the privileges they gained access to once they formed a renewed relationship with their Creator and Savior. Of course, the one particular privilege I’m referring to is the aforementioned gift of being completely understood by Someone, regardless of circumstances. Why do they miss out on such a wonderful treasure? Because of mistaken, preconceived notions on their part, also known as faulty assumptions. This symptom occurs when Christians choose to listen more to the inner voice in their human minds, limited by human reasoning, rather than the voice of the Holy Spirit, Whose purpose is to draw them closer to God. Another reason that faulty assumptions are formed about God and His character is when Christians might also choose to listen to the voice of Satan, the Father of Lies, who desires nothing more than their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual destruction. In fact, sometimes the lies that Satan tells Christians on a regular basis are the same exact lies that he tells to unsaved people to prevent them from knowing their Savior and gaining eternal security for their souls.

He whispers wicked things like, “God doesn’t care about your happiness.” “He doesn’t want you to have any fun in your life, because He’s selfish.” “Why should you trust Him with the things you care about the most when all He cares about is telling you what to do?”

Rather than entertaining these malicious lies from the pit of Hell, Christians should seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit Himself to gain the courage and strength they need to say, “Get behind me, Satan! Leave me alone, and get out of here!”

 

So, to help anyone who might be struggling in this area, here are three things to always remember about God to prevent missing out on His understanding.

 

1. God LOVES you.

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A few months ago, I wrote a post about how God is everyone’s true “First Love.” In it, I described the two main attributes of God’s love – it is eternal and unconditional. Knowing that God’s love for you will never end should bring hope and peace to your soul while knowing that He loves you unconditionally should bring comfort and reassurance to you. With these two truths combined, you should always know that God will NEVER stop loving you, no matter what you do or don’t do. Therefore, you shouldn’t be ashamed to share anything with Him, including all the hurts, hopes, fears, failures, pain, and passions that reside within you. Many people are afraid that God is always angry with them for sinning, and is only interested in judging them for it. While it is true that God cannot and will not tolerate sin in our lives, His attitude toward us as Christians is not spiteful or passive aggressive. God is so loving to us, that even though He knows about the sins in our lives, He is patiently waiting for us to confess them to Him so He can forgive us. God waits for us to do this in His mercy since He is fully aware of our every weakness. With that being said, here is the next thing we should always remember about God:

2. God knows and wants what’s best for you.

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Because God is so loving, it’s only natural that He would also be caring and concerned about every detail in your life. Now, God is sovereign, and it is important to remember that He has complete control over all circumstances; however, even though He possesses this authority and power, God does not try to directly control our lives. If we claim to know Him as our Savior, then we should want to give Him complete control over the decisions we make, because He deserves it after all He’s done for us. Saving our souls from an eternity in Hell while we were yet unworthy is MORE than enough reason to justify giving God the divine right to direct us in everything we do. From the very beginning, God has only had man’s best interest at the core of His heart. Consider how Earth is the only planet in our galaxy that is capable of sustaining human life, and that’s where God chose to make our home when He created everything. Also, don’t forget how even though man chose to rebel against God’s command in the Garden of Eden, resulting in sin, God provided a free way for Him to escape eternal punishment so he wouldn’t have to suffer in the same place that was made for the Devil and his fallen angels. So if you remember these facts, you should be more than comfortable with trusting God enough to share whatever is on your heart with Him, and know that your past, present, and future has always been, and will always be in His hands. With that knowledge, here is the third and final important thing to always remember about God:

3. God MADE YOU.

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Yes, that’s right – contrary to popular, secular belief in today’s world, God is STILL the Creator of the entire universe, including man himself. No matter how many false theories are proposed, celebrated, or taught in schools and museums as fact, the Word of God, the Bible, still stands true and firm. Man was created in God’s divine image, with three parts to his being that form a complete whole. The Bible says that God fashions every person in the womb with His own hands, and I believe that is true because of how different each individual looks from another. To me, the eye sockets on a person’s face appear to be molded by a Person’s thumb to make two, deep, circular impressions. The nose and jawline are always so unique on each person that it looks like they were sculpted by hand. The same principle applies to every other part of a person’s body, in my opinion. However, that is only the outer, physical evidence of Who made you – the internal part that is the real you is unrepeatable and irreplaceable. Your soul, the true, essential identity of your being, is God’s signature as the Master Artist Who crafted you. Your inner essence is the most intrinsic part of your existence as a person, the part that processes emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Since God designed you in a specific way to express all of these things, He certainly knows and understands all the reasons why you respond to various feelings you experience in different circumstances. Because of this fact, God isn’t going to judge you or condemn you for your feelings when you share your heart with Him, unlike how some people do. You can always feel completely free and comfortable to be yourself in God’s presence, no matter what.

 

Here are some verses to assure you that you can trust God with your innermost thoughts and feelings:

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Psalm 9:9 ~ “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

Psalm 31:1, 5, &7 ~ “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;”

Psalm 32:7 ~ “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalm 46:1 ~ “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 61:2 ~ “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 91:1 ~ “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 139:2, 23-24 ~ “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Isaiah 41:10 ~ “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Zephaniah 3:17 ~ “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

Matthew 28:20 ~ “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

1 Peter 5:7 ~ “Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you.”

Hebrews 4:15 ~ “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

 
God’s understanding is our true “safe space,” our purest secret place.

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Now that you know these three important truths to always remember about God, you should never again feel discouraged by the failed attempts of man to understand you. God will always be there for you with loving, open arms that are ready and willing to accept you no matter what. No secrets you have will ever surprise Him, because He is omniscient – meaning He already knows everything anyway. If you know God as your Creator and Savior, then He is your Best Friend and trusted Confidant. He alone has the power to free you from the negative influence of other people’s thoughts and judgments about you. He is reaching out His hand to you today, waiting for you to take it in full confidence and assurance that He will take care of your heart and all its needs. The disappointment of man’s failures to understand you won’t matter anymore once you’ve received a taste of His glorious compassion and mercy. God is inviting you to experience life with Him as a thrilling adventure, filled with intimate moments that you can share with only Him. Don’t miss out on God’s gift of understanding – take His hand, and let Him embrace you with the warmth of His unconditional love today.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Remember Your First Love?

 

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Before your heart was ever broken, there was always Someone Who loved you long before you were even born.

 

Do you remember what it was like the first time you fell in love?

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Before I begin, allow me to express that I do not wish to bring up any unpleasant memories unnecessarily; I ask this question first of all so I can lead up to the point I will make later on. There is a first time for everything, and as humans, when we experience something for the very first time, it tends to be all or nothing – that is to say, we choose to invest our energy into that particular thing either one hundred percent or not at all. For many of us, the first time we fell in love was during adolescence, perhaps even much sooner than that. When you become enthralled in the throes of infatuation at such a young age, it is quite easy to put the other person up on a pedestal by seeing them as absolutely perfect. If you were like most teenagers at this stage, you probably thought that you were going to marry that person without a doubt, swearing your loyalty to him or her by promising them that you would be willing to die for them. Yes, that is indeed exactly how intense the emotions of young people in love can get, which is what makes it such a beautiful thing, and yet also a deadly one.

Sadly, this initial stage of romantic attraction is usually short-lived, and for one reason or another, adverse circumstances inevitably led to the relationship falling apart. Because you were most likely entirely invested in the relationship, chances are that you might have lost your identity in the other person, whether intentionally or not. Since it is a perfectly natural, God-given desire to become completely united with another person you love, it’s no great mystery as to why you felt like a piece of your heart went missing as soon as the other person disappeared. You probably spent a long time swearing that you would never fall in love again during your entire life, either because you felt incapable or unwilling to do so. However, no matter how much pain you felt because of that person who broke your heart, deep down, if you’re truly honest with yourself, there will always be a part of you that loves them, or at least the person you thought they were.

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For you see, no matter how much time passes by after a person breaks our heart, we will always remember the feelings we had when we first fell in love with that person, and hold onto the memories of how we became involved with them in the first place.

 

“Why do we do this?” you may ask. Does the human brain delight in torturing itself?

While the quick, simple answer would be “yes,” that is not the complete, correct answer. My most reasonable explanation for the brain’s illogical behavior in this matter is this – the human heart is impossibly stubborn, and refuses to let go of its own understanding of events. In an effort to hold onto what little happiness we may have known in the past, we harm ourselves emotionally by also holding onto the inevitable pain that followed. This torturous process can go on for many months, even long years before we are willing to finally accept the truth and move on. However, it is highly important to understand that sometimes this is actually part of the healing process, and should never be rushed under any circumstances, lest you risk undoing all your progress as a result of your hurry. True healing can NEVER be hurried; pain must always be processed by the brain in all of its natural grieving stages.

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Don’t stop reading just yet, because I have something to share that might help you.

After the loss of your first love, and possibly many other loves after that, you might feel like your heart is long gone with them, with no chance of it ever being returned to you. You might feel utterly empty inside, like a shadow of your former self, unable to recall what it was like before your heart was broken. I know exactly what all this feels like, for I have endured this same pain myself for great lengths of time in my past. However, I eventually discovered a powerful secret that held the key to my emotional freedom –

Did you know that no matter how many times you gave your heart away to someone, or had it taken away by someone, that it is still held in the hands of Someone Who loves you?

That’s right – before you ever fell in love with someone, you had a First Love long before you even met the person who broke your heart.

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This mysterious First Love is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God Himself. Keep in mind that when I say “God” or the “Son of God,” I am referring to the same divine Entity, one Person in three parts. Before you were even born, your entire existence was planned out in God’s mind as an important part of His universe. God created your unique personality and fashioned your form in your mother’s womb with His own hands. The minute of your conception, God breathed the breath of life into your body from His very own nostrils. Even though you had no control over being born into the sinful human race of Adam, that didn’t stop God from loving His wonderful creation that is you. Because your eternal soul means so much to Him, God was willing to sacrifice the life of His own perfect Son Jesus, just so you could have the chance to live with Him in Heaven forever.

There are two essential truths that are inherent to God’s love for you –

 

1. God’s love is unconditional.

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2. God’s love is everlasting.

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It’s important to remember these two truths at all times, for there will be many instances where Satan, the Father of Lies, will go out of his way to convince you that God does NOT love you, usually as a result of your sins. Once you arm yourself with these two essential truths, you will always be protected by the knowledge of God’s undeniable love for you. If you can always remember how much God loves you, then all the pain from the so-called love of people will fade into the background. Let’s explore the reasons why these two truths are so important for us to remember.

God’s love is unconditional, which means that no matter what we do (or don’t do) in this life, His love will always remain constant and unchanging.

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From the very beginning of Creation, God has unconditionally loved ALL the souls that He has ever made. Although we are all born with a sinful nature, God still chooses to love us because we were created in His Divine Image. That perfect Image was tainted by the very first sin that Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, but it didn’t change the fact that they were still made to be a reflection of God’s nature. Since God imbued man with three parts, body, soul, and spirit, he became a direct replica of the Holy Trinity, which consists of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Because of this significant resemblance, God couldn’t find it in His heart to hate the man that He created, although He did hate the sin he committed.

The same thing is true for us to this very day. There is absolutely NOTHING we can do that will ever make God love us any less than He already does, or make Him stop loving us altogether. No matter how far we run away from Him, or try to keep Him out of our lives, His love for us will always remain the same. This truth applies to all people, both Christians, and non-Christians.

Seek and Save

Those of us who are Christians are merely sinners saved by grace, and we, unfortunately, are still prone to giving in to our sinful tendencies. God will try to get our attention back to Him in many ways and knows which ways will work best for us individually – through gentle reminders, or stern chastisement. Even though we have the privilege of knowing God’s unconditional love, we should be extremely careful that we don’t fall into the trap of taking it for granted. God’s grace and mercy do NOT give us a license to sin at will; they are there for the purpose of freeing us from it. Those who choose to ignore or reject God’s love in this life are putting their souls in eternal danger, a future where they will be forever separated from God in darkness and torment. While they live on this earth, they have every opportunity to put their faith and trust in the salvation of Jesus Christ, thus becoming a believer in Him. The time they have to live is God’s grace and mercy manifested, by giving them a chance to accept Him before it’s too late. No matter what decision they make about their eternal fate, God will still love them regardless of their choice, since they were made in His Divine Image.

 

God’s love is everlasting, which means that He will NEVER stop loving us. It also means that He loved us before we existed and will continue to love us through all eternity.

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As I already stated earlier, God loved us before we were even born. Since God is infinite, having no beginning and no end, He alone is capable of such a love. It’s impossible for our finite minds to fathom the meaning of this, since we can only understand from a limited perspective while on earth. However, this is the beautiful thing about it – we don’t HAVE to understand God’s love for us; we only have to accept it. God loves us from everlasting to everlasting, because He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. God calls Himself this in His Word, because He literally was there before the beginning of the world, and will also be the One Who ends the world when He decides it is time. This is a statement which shows us but a glimpse of just how powerful He is – He is Almighty God, and NOTHING is impossible for Him. With that knowledge, we should be perfectly capable of believing that God loved us before Creation, and will continue to love us long into eternity.

God keeps proises

We never have to worry about God’s love ending, because He is never-ending, neither do we have to worry about God’s love changing, because He never changes. We may have experienced tremendous amounts of heartbreak on this earth at the hands of people who couldn’t care less, but God will never break our hearts by going back on His Word or leaving us. He promises these things to us many times in His Word, to give us assurance and comfort. While people are untrustworthy, God is MORE than worthy of our trust, because He is without sin. God is SO perfect, that He literally CANNOT sin. He is simply incapable of it. This, in turn, means that He CANNOT lie, so we can be sure of His promises to us with absolute certainty.

All of this might sound too good to be true, but our souls can rejoice in the fact that it IS true. God is the only Absolute that we can ever depend on, and the same thing goes for His love for us. When man disappoints us, God is there to exceed our expectations. When man lies to us, God embodies absolute truth. When man forsakes us, God is always there by our side no matter what. NOTHING can separate us from this glorious love of His, not people, not demons, not even the Devil himself. For you see, God’s love is just as powerful as He is, being that it comes from Him. God IS love.

His love gives life

 

Now that we know the truths about God’s love, we can understand why He is our REAL First Love.

God alone is the One Who is truly deserving of our hearts, and their full capacity for love. This is His divine right because He made them. As if that reason were not enough, God has divine rights to our hearts because He PAID for them with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are forever indebted to our Creator to give Him the maximum depths of our heart’s devotion, loyalty, and love. We would be remiss if we ever forgot Him. We should love God because He first loved us, and He knew that we had a choice to love Him back. God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins to prove His love for us, knowing full well that our free will gave us the potential option to reject Him. That is just how powerful God’s love is, because He was brave enough to allow it to be rejected, and even scorned. God’s true love is fearless for that very reason, and we should fearlessly return His love.

Trapped heart

I will readily admit that I still remember my first earthly love, and I will always remember him, no matter how much time has passed since he’s been out of my life. I was so devastated by his repeated betrayals of me, and could never forget every word he said to me, both good and bad. I completely lost my identity in how much I loved him, and felt unspeakable anguish once I finally realized that he never really loved me. I was a hopeless prisoner of all the pain he caused me, and remained trapped emotionally for years, until the day God revealed to me that I was totally missing a crucial point. It was one day that I was riding in a van while working at a summer camp, exactly one year after my first love betrayed me for the last time. I was sitting in the back seat while gazing out the window, watching the trees and fields fly by rapidly, and my thoughts were utterly consumed with all the good and bad memories of the previous year. Then I turned my gaze up towards the sky and the sun, which always reminded me of God’s presence. It was at that moment that God silently got my attention through the whispers of His Holy Spirit – He asked me, “Why are you focusing so much on how much he didn’t love you, when instead you could be focusing on how much I DO love you?”

Chained hearts

I felt totally shocked at this revelation, feeling like I was completely oblivious to that point. When God whispered that question to me, the voice of His Holy Spirit sounded slightly offended that I didn’t recognize it sooner, as if to imply that I was being foolish and ignorant in my stubborn heart. However, that question was a turning point for me emotionally, and it was only then after I realized its logic that I truly started to heal. All of my former attempts to ignore my pain by distracting myself with my busy schedule at summer camp were in vain, but not after God asked me that question. I even shared this moment with a good friend of mine who also worked there that summer, and she told me that it also helped her in healing from her own heartbreak. That was the year that God set me free from the chains that were holding my heart hostage, and I’ll never forget what He taught me that summer. I found the key to my emotional freedom when I listened to God’s voice in His quiet question to my heart. So now that I have shared this story with you, I hope that it will potentially help you in the same way if you too have been hurt in the past by your first love.

 

Here are some heartfelt messages from your real First Love to remind you of His passion for you:

 

1 Chronicles 16:34 ~ “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 86:15 ~ “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Psalm 103:17 ~ “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;”

Psalm 107:8-9 ~ “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Psalm 139:13-18 ~ “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

Jeremiah 31:3 ~ “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Zephaniah 3:17 ~ “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Matthew 22:37-39 ~ “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

John 3:16 ~ “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.”

John 13:34-35 ~ “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

John 15:13 ~ “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Romans 5:8 ~ “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 8:38-39 ~ “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 5:13-14 ~ “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Ephesians 5:2 ~ “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

1 Peter 4:8 ~ “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

1 John 3:1 ~ “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

1 John 3:16-18 ~ “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 John 4:7-8 ~ “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

1 John 4:9-11 ~ “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

1 John 4:18-19 ~ “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. We love him, because he first loved us.

Hebrews 13:5 ~ “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Revelation 1:8 ~ “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 2:4 ~ “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
The pain of your past is powerless to control you when you remember your real First Love.
My Healer
Everyone says that time heals all wounds, but I disagree with that saying. The passing of time only distances your memory from whatever happened that hurt you. Deep in the recesses of your mind, you’ll always remember what happened, and your heart never forgets the feelings it once had. However, GOD heals all wounds. Once you discover that His love is greater than all others, you will achieve a powerful victory. For me personally, it actually hurts to think of how long it’s been since I was hurt by my first love, since it makes me feel like there was no justice, as he was never truly sorry. It’s been almost ten years since my heart was first broken, and yet I still remember everything as if it happened yesterday. That is how I realize that time is simply a human construct to help us measure the days and years. I know that my earthly first love has long since forgotten me, but I have never forgotten him. It feels like it’s been a thousand years since I first fell in love with him. I’m sure that if you’ve been reading this, you most likely know what I’m talking about from your own experiences. God exists outside of time – one day to Him is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day. Don’t worry, for God has promised to avenge our past sorrows on this earth; revenge only belongs to Him. He still remembers our pain just as well as we do, and yet He also helps us to overcome it. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been forgotten by your first love, because God has never forgotten you. When we ask Him to help us remember every day just how much He loves us, then Satan is powerless to use our past pain to defeat us. We must always remember our real First Love, because He is the only One Whose love is actually worth remembering.
– Gloria D. Hopkins

Getting Cozy In Christ

Girl with cozy sweater
Wrap yourself up in the warmth of Jesus’ love for you!

It’s officially sweater season!

During this time of year, the current popular fashion trend of wearing oversized sweaters couldn’t be more fitting. When the fall weather brings harsh winds and gusts of cold air, we need all the protection we can get so we don’t risk getting frostbite or hypothermia. Aside from the practical reasons to wear sweaters, people like me just can’t wait to unveil their fall wardrobe that’s jam-packed with sweaters, hoodies, jackets, and anything else that will keep them looking stylish and feeling warm. Sweaters are super comfortable, and they can be even more fun to wear than normal shirts because of how stretchy they usually are. Without a doubt, sweaters are my favorite part my closet! Whenever I put one on, it feels like someone is giving me a warm, loving hug throughout the entire day!

You know what else is very comforting that will keep you feeling warm everywhere you go? Jesus’ love for you.

cozy sweater

That’s right, the affectionate reassurance of Jesus’ daily presence with you is something that you can take great pleasure in every single day. No matter how cold and harsh people might be in the outside, unsaved world, Jesus’ love for you is something that is always there for you. When you wake up in the morning and see His beautiful sunrise, let it remind you of the brightness of His glory and the light of His holiness. Every time I see sunlight during any time of day, it always reminds me of God’s presence with me and of Jesus’ wonderful love for me. Although I realize the sun is not the Creator Himself, it is a strong visual symbol of His identity for me. When I’m driving by myself in the morning, and I see the soft rays of light stretching through the sky, God gently brings my attention to His constant presence with me.

Jesus’ faithful, loving presence is a soft place of solace for you, even on your hardest days.

tired sweater girl

At the end of the day, no matter how rough my time was at work or how rude people might have been to me, Jesus’ love is a soothing embrace that I can look forward to snuggling into the minute I’m alone. I try my best to please Him every day, even though I know I’m FAR from perfect, and I can feel Him smiling on me because He knows my heart was in the right place. I hope and trust that you who are reading this have shared similar experiences to mine with God also. When people mistreat you through their careless actions and unkind words, just remember Who it is that loves you unconditionally. He is the only One that you should truly care about pleasing in your life, and the thoughts and opinions of other people are actually irrelevant in comparison.

In order to feel the warmth of Jesus’ love for you every day, you must first remember to put Him on.

sad sweater girl

The only way to experience lasting comfort in your daily life is by making good use of the glorious Gift that was given to you at salvation. Just as a sweater can’t keep you warm from the cold if you never wear it or forget to put it on, you’ll have a hard time remembering Jesus’ love for you if you neglect to acknowledge Him every day. This does not mean that His love isn’t there for you if you forget about Him, it just means you won’t consciously feel it or be aware of it as much than if you had remembered Him. Why settle for feeling sad, unwanted, or unloved the whole day when you can feel joyful, accepted, and loved unconditionally because of Jesus? Jesus cares about you, and God is your Heavenly Father if you are already saved. Whether you live all by yourself, have very few friends, or simply don’t get to spend much time with the people you love, God’s presence with you is the one constant that will NEVER go away. If you’re single, you never have to be lonely because God is always there for you. If you feel like you have no one to talk to, God is always ready and willing to listen. If you wish you had pleasant company, God is the best Source of it that you could possibly turn to.

Here are some verses to help you remember the cozy comfort of Jesus’ love for you at all times:

Deuteronomy 31:6 ~ “ Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1:9 ~ “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Psalm 16:8 ~ “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Psalm 25:5 ~ “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Psalm 34:18 ~ “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

 

Psalm 139:7-12 ~ “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”

Isaiah 6:3 ~ “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

Isaiah 43:2 ~ “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

Jeremiah 23:23-24 ~ “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.”

 

John 14:16 ~ “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14:26 ~ “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

John 16:7 ~ “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Acts 17:27-28 ~ “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Hebrews 13:5 ~ “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

 

Are you ready to face the cold, outside world with the protection of Jesus’ warm, loving presence?

Irish sweater girl

While you are busy collecting all the sweaters you can for the coming winter months, make sure you are equipped with the benefits of the most important sweater of all – the sweater of eternal salvation. Your sweaters won’t do you any good locked in the closet while you go outside, and neither will you be prepared to face the world without acknowledging God’s presence and Jesus’ love for you. God is the perfect Parent of all time, and He cares about you far more than your earthly parents ever could, so take time to appreciate Him as you’re on your way out the door each morning. Whether you’re still living with your parents like I am, or if you’re already out on your own, you will ALWAYS need God in your life. He is the only One Whom you must truly depend on for everything. Wrap yourself up in His warm love for you by praying to Him, which doesn’t have to be fancy, but just a simple, pleasant conversation with Him. When you take the time to get cozy in Christ, the cold, harsh wind of this fallen world will never shake you.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Five Reasons You’re Always Special To God

heart-jewels
We must always try to understand that our worth is found in His hands.

Did you know that you are special?

On Valentine’s Day, our society promotes romantic relationships with a special someone. However, this day is not always favorable in the eyes of those who lack a relationship with someone special. In fact, many people downright despise or despair of this holiday, simply because they feel unhappy about the fact that they are lonely. It is a sad truth indeed that our culture has become so oblivious to the real meaning of love, and often ignores that love is not limited to romantic relationships. The result of this faulty mindset causes many people everywhere to believe that if they aren’t in a romantic relationship with someone at any given moment of time, that there is something wrong with them. Of course, this belief inevitably leads to even more heartbreak for those who act on it, as they will never be satisfied with another person who is just as empty and broken as they are.

But I’m not writing this to present the dreary facts that we already know of in this world. I’m here to tell you that regardless of your relationship status during this past Valentine’s Day, you are incredibly special to Someone Who loves you more than you could possibly imagine. Your worth is found in God alone, not a person. Any time you doubt that, ask yourself this question – Who made me, God, or a person? The answer is obviously God. Although He created humans with the physical ability to give birth to other humans, God is the One Who fashioned and formed every detail of your physical and spiritual existence inside your mother’s womb. Your very essence, called a soul, is a gift from God when He breathed life into you. Because you were made by such a powerful, talented Creator, He thought you were valuable enough to save from an eternal death as punishment for sin in a horrible place called Hell. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus to take your punishment so you would never have to go to such a terrible place. God wanted you to not just live forever, but to live forever with Him in Heaven.

You may ask, “Why would God bother taking the time to help someone like me?”

The answer is simple – He loves you.

God’s love is so unconditional towards us, that it’s nearly impossible for us to understand why He would care so much about us when we’re so sinful, and He is perfect. The good news is, we don’t have to understand. We merely need to accept the fact that we are loved by Him. Even though accepting that we are loved doesn’t require understanding, it does help to remember the reasons why we’re special to Him, so we can be joyful every day.

Here are five reasons why you are ALWAYS special to God:

1. You are His own creation.

paints

 

As a person formed by God’s own hands, you are an original, unrepeatable work of art. No amount of similarities between you and other people will ever change that. Because you are God’s work of art, you are valuable, precious, and special to Him. The color of your hair, eyes, and skin was handpicked by Him. Your personality, emotions, and heart were all carefully selected with His specific purpose in mind. The voice you have is certifiable proof that you are an irreplaceable copy, as it will always be different from the sounds of other voices around you. The combination of all these elements is what makes you unique, and therefore special to God. Just as an artist would never throw away his masterpiece, God never wants to lose you, the Masterpiece that He made.

2. He put you on this earth for a specific purpose.

pencil-on-paper

The very fact that God made you means He has a special plan in store for your life. He didn’t create you for no reason. God is a God of meaning and fulfillment, not randomness and chaos. God made you because He knew that people you encounter throughout your life would need someone like you, to affect them for their benefit. Although there are many people in the world, the lives you touch of those where God has placed you are equally important as those who live far away. You were specially designed by your Creator to be an instrument of blessing to others around you. The talents and abilities you possess are gifts from Him to use in His service. It is up to you to realize what gifts you have, and to develop them into becoming their full potential that God wants them to be. While there are many people in this world with similar talents, God has placed each person exactly where they are needed, regardless of who has the greater skills in those particular talents. So the next time you feel discouraged about feeling inferior to someone else’s supposedly superior skills, just remember that God designed you to have the unique capacity of abilities He gave you in order to fulfill the specific need or calling for your life.

3. You were made in His own image.

mirror-reflection

When God made you, He poured a likeness of Himself into the very core of your being. You, as a person, possess the abilities to think, feel, and speak, unlike animals that function from their God-given instincts. The reason you are able to mentally process your thoughts and emotions and communicate them through your words is because God desired to have a special creation with whom He could share a personal relationship. God gave every human being a soul, a spirit, and a body, which are a direct reflection of the Holy Trinity that is comprised of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Your soul is the essence of your identity, the manifestation of who you are as a person. Your spirit is your divine life source that allows you to worship God and communicate with Him directly. Your body is but a temporary vessel that encases these two intangible, yet very real things that are your existence. Because God made man so much like Himself in this incredibly special way, He couldn’t bear to see His divine image shattered by sin. In a sense, God was a part of man, and man was a part of Him, since God breathed the breath of life into man’s very nostrils.

4. He literally moved Heaven and Earth just so you could be with Him again.

side-earth

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that God used all of His power necessary to restore man’s lost relationship with Him. Because of the reasons listed above, you are SO special to God, that He was willing to give up the very best thing He had – His only Son, Jesus Christ. For thousands of years, while the history of mankind was unfolding on Earth, God was devising a Master plan to redeem His favorite creation that was formed in His likeness. Instead of despairing over man’s choice to sin over obedience to Him, God mercifully gave him an alternative option that would save man from eternal punishment in Hell. God decided to send His absolutely perfect and holy Son Jesus from the shining realm of Heaven into this dark, wicked world, full of the depravity of man’s sinful heart. In order to do this, God orchestrated events throughout Earth’s history that would eventually bring about the promised coming of the Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God’s hand was behind everything from the very beginning. Man’s foolish mistake did nothing to change how much God loved him in spite of his sin. God not only sent His Son to die for the sins of the whole world, but He also did it for you personally. The beauty of the gospel message is this: No matter how many people have ever lived in this world, Jesus died to save each and every one of them, including you.

5. If you know Him personally, You are His beloved child.

gods-child

 

Once you have decided to receive salvation by accepting Jesus as your personal Savior, you are officially adopted into God’s family. As a member of God’s family, you are blessed with the riches of His grace, love, and mercy. You have access to the privilege of prayer, which is the gift of constant communication with God at any time you desire. God is no longer an estranged Being Who is separated from you by your sin; He is your kind, caring, compassionate Father, Who is more than willing to meet your every need. Any time you want to talk to Him, He’s there to listen with all ears, provided that you are right with Him in your heart by confessing any sin that might be there. God already knows every single thing about you, yet He is always eager to hear about your day and whatever it is that’s on your mind. You are precious to Him, and He has promised to make you an eternal heir to His heavenly Kingdom once you are redeemed. God understands that as His child, you are inclined to fail Him often; but that does not stop Him from loving you. Nothing can ever separate you from His love after salvation, not even the Devil himself. You never have to worry about being disowned by God if you mess up from time to time. You will always have a place in His eternal, righteous family, because as His child, you belong to Him.

 

Here are some verses to further confirm why you are always special to God:

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ~ “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Matthew 10:29-31 ~ “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

Matthew 13:45-46 ~ “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

Genesis 1:26-27 ~ “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 2:7 ~ “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5 ~ “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 29:11 ~ “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Jeremiah 31:3 ~ “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Ephesians 2:10 ~ “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Psalm 119:73-74 ~ “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.”

Psalm 139:13-14 ~ “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Psalm 139:16 ~ “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

 Isaiah 64:8 ~ “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.


Romans 8:32 ~ “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

 

Your identity is not found in a special someone, but in Someone Who KNOWS you’re special.

pearl-of-great-price

 

Instead of focusing on people who fail you with their artificial, changing “love,” focus on God, Who will NEVER fail you with His real, unchanging love. Don’t let Satan deceive you into thinking that your worth is dependent on other people’s treatment of you. No matter what any person says to you or about you, nothing will ever change how special you truly are in God’s eyes. However, it’s not enough just to be told that you are valuable to God; you need to make a conscious decision to believe it for yourself. It’s one thing to know something inside of your head, but it’s a different thing entirely to sincerely believe it within your heart. The next time you hear a subtle voice in your head silently whispering that you’re not special, recognize it as the voice of Satan, and tell the Devil to go straight back to Hell where he belongs. Don’t choose to dwell on painful memories of your past, when instead you can revel in the joy of God’s love for you in the present! Ask God daily to help you remember how much He loves you, and He will be sure to remind you in His unique, affectionate way. Never forget that you ARE valuable to Him, and your life is of infinite worth.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

The Gift That Is Always New

christmasgifts
We have one Present that we’ll never finish unwrapping, even as time is passing.

Have you ever had a favorite Christmas gift?

For those of us who celebrate Christmas every year, we look forward to the annual exchanging of gifts between our friends and families. Most people look back on a specific year when they thought their Christmas experience was particularly special. Their good memories of a specific Christmas might stand out for a variety of reasons, including time spent with loved ones, participating in family traditions, or even a vacation trip to a special place for the holidays. There is one thing, however, that many people associate with their favorite memories of a specific Christmas –

Receiving a gift they wanted with all their hearts.

Perhaps they received this gift when they were a small child, and it became a memory milestone that defined the way they view Christmas for their entire lives. Lots of people fondly remember a childhood Christmas when they got their first bike. Or maybe, for some families who could afford it, they might remember an adolescent Christmas when they got their first car. Whatever the item might have been, it probably satisfied their hearts’ desire in a way that nothing else possibly could.

However, we’ve all received some presents that we were less than thrilled about.

I’m sure that if we asked a crowd of people if they’ve ever gotten a pair of socks for Christmas, almost every hand in the room would be raised. There are some presents we’ve all gotten that we’d either just rather forget about completely, or wish we had never gotten them at all. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t appreciate the thought the other person put into the gift they gave us; it’s just a disappointment that they didn’t fully understand our desires, or were unable or unwilling to meet them.

This disappointment can be lessened, however, once we remember that celebrating Christmas, and just life in general, is not really about the things we have. Why waste time being upset just because you didn’t get everything you wanted? Think about it: before you wrote down a Christmas list this year, or picked out things you liked during all the months before it, were you happily content? Be honest with yourself, now. The whole entire advertising industry is centered around creating a desire or need in the mind of the customer. Before their ads and commercials reached you, you had no idea that you wanted something. That’s exactly how their business works, to produce a constant feeling of discontent in the heart and mind of the consumer. You have the power to outsmart them by thinking independently, though.

You can choose instead to be thankful for the gifts you already have.

This year, I wasn’t quite sure about or fully interested in what I wanted for Christmas. So in the earlier days of this month leading up to Christmas, I made it a point to enjoy the things I’ve gotten from the years of past Christmases, and remembered just how much those gifts meant to me at the time. It wasn’t long before I realized that these former Christmas presents were still useful to this very day, and that I could continue to appreciate and enjoy them no matter how many years had gone by. Some of these things made me feel very nostalgic, as if I were a teenager all over again. Revisiting these items helped me to experience the joy they gave me the first time as if they were all brand new.

Instead of getting caught up in our culture’s overly commercialized version of Christmas, I chose to view it as my own, personal, second Thanksgiving. My family wasn’t planning on spending extravagant amounts of money on Christmas gifts, and in truth, I wasn’t really expecting that much either. This was fine with me, though, since I honestly felt like I have more than enough stuff as it is, and that Thanksgiving is always overlooked each year. I wanted to focus on the many blessings that I already had in my life, especially the ones that weren’t material. I learned the value of appreciating the people I know and love, and realized how special it is to make the most of all the time I get to spend with them. I can sincerely say with all my heart that I was more satisfied this Christmas with the souls of people I care about than any tangible thing that they gave to me.

If you are a Christian, you already have a Gift that never grows old, and isn’t material.

Just as I learned to derive additional joy from my gifts of Christmas past, we as Christians have access to a wonderful gift that is continuously new every day. It is an eternal gift that keeps on giving in more ways than we can imagine. It is our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given to mankind by God Himself. Our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is not only the greatest gift that we can ever have, but it is also a gift that never loses its lustrous shine as the years pass by. The gifts we receive on earth will all eventually lose their exciting attractiveness long after we’ve torn the wrapping paper off of them. Our relationship with Jesus will always have new things to discover, as God’s mysterious ways can never be fully understood by our finite minds. Metaphorically, we’ll never finish unwrapping the gift of Jesus Christ. The joy of learning new things about Him is ours to delight in every day if we choose to spend time with Him.

Earthly things we receive will bring us temporary happiness, but our relationship with Jesus gives us lasting fulfillment. After accepting salvation, He is a Gift from Christmas past that can never fade away or be forgotten. Jesus is the reason why we celebrate Christmas, and His birth is a direct gift from God. His existence on earth as a human inspired the very first Christmas ever. Jesus wants us to keep unwrapping Him every day, so we can see all the endless blessings He has to offer. We can enjoy Him for all eternity, just as we enjoy the tangible gifts we already have from years ago. The main difference is, Jesus will still be here for us long after our material possessions are gone with the earth we live in. It is up to us to make an effort to appreciate the wonderful Gift we’ve been given. We can only enjoy our relationship with Jesus as much as we choose to. The more we spend time with Him and invest our hearts in getting to know Him better, the more fulfilled we will be in our lives. You wouldn’t leave a present for you sitting unwrapped under the tree, would you? Don’t make the same mistake by overlooking your relationship with Jesus.

 

Here are some verses to help you appreciate and enjoy this eternal, wonderful Gift:

 

Psalm 19:9-10 ~ “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Psalm 27:4 ~ “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”

Psalm 27:8 ~ “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Psalm 40:16 ~ “Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.

Psalm 119:2 ~ “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.”

Proverbs 8:17 ~ “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

1 Chronicles 16:11 ~ “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

2 Chronicles 22:19a ~ “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God;

Romans 8:31-32 ~ “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

Deuteronomy 31:8 ~ “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Isaiah 41:10 ~ “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Isaiah 55:6-7 ~ “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

Hosea 10:12 ~ “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ~ “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

Matthew 7:7-8 ~ “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ephesians 3:20 ~ “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”

Hebrews 13:5 ~ “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

The gift of Jesus’ love is something you can take with you into the New Year, and all throughout the rest of your life.

The Christmas season might be behind us, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying your gifts, especially the most important One I’ve described above. You can rejoice in knowing that your relationship with Jesus stands the test of time, and lasts throughout all eternity. Even if other gifts you received disappointed you, this is one Gift that never disappoints. Jesus will never, ever fail you. If a terrible day comes in the future when all your friends and family forsake you, He will still be there. You can count on it. Jesus is ALWAYS reliable. He NEVER changes, unlike people. Whatever people have come into or gone out of your life this year doesn’t matter as much as you think; Someone will always be there for you. Jesus will fulfill your every need, and what’s more, He’s capable of fulfilling you in a unique way that people never can. Jesus can satisfy the deepest, genuine desires of your heart. Best of all, He understands you completely and perfectly because He is GOD. No matter what you might face in the future, if you truly share a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I guarantee you that He will be right by your side, supporting you through it all. But don’t take MY word for it; GOD promises many times in His Word that He will NEVER leave you or forsake you. And that is the best reason for you to have a Happy New Year. Not only that, but a happy life also.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Infinite Intimacy

Infinite Intimacy
A loving relationship with God knows no limits, including the bounds of time.

Have you ever wanted to feel close to someone?

You know, that nice, warm feeling of affection you have when you’re holding the hand of someone you’re romantically attracted to? Or maybe perhaps you know that special person so well, that you can practically read their mind and tell exactly what they’re thinking. You two might be so close to each other because you have a common mindset with shared values, interests, and goals. Eventually you might grow so close to that special person that your happiness is magnified when they are with you, and slightly lessened when their presence is gone. Because of this mutual bond, you two most likely share empathy with each other, where you are joyful when they are happy, and sad when they’re feeling upset.

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This type of bond is known as intimacy.

Here is the official internet definition:

in·ti·ma·cy
ˈin(t)əməsē/
noun
noun: intimacy
  1. close familiarity or friendship; closeness

    There are different levels of intimacy,  of course; yet every person on earth craves intimacy in their lives in some form or another. Each individual possessing a heart and soul longs for those very things to be understood by another individual with the same things. People may spend their entire lives trying to find others who fully understand them, whether they’re searching for them through friendships or romantic relationships. However, one important truth will always remain –

    No matter how many people you may meet in your life, none of them will ever be able to completely understand you the way that God can.
     

    God designed each and every one of us to have a unique, intimate relationship with Him.

    In the Bible, God reveals that He made all of us with His own hands, creating us for a very special, specific purpose. While it is amazing enough to know that God knew us when we were conceived inside our mothers’ womb, it is even more amazing to discover that He knew us much longer before that. Within the pages of Scripture, God reveals that He was acquainted with our souls from the time He decided to create us in His mind. That’s right, God, the Master Artist and Author, was extremely familiar with His work before He even chose to manifest it. God had already planned out every single aspect of our being before He brought us into existence, carefully crafting each intricate detail about us to ensure that we are unique, irreplaceable individuals.

    Being designed this way meant that God saw every one of His creations as inherently special; not just manufactured robots, but feeling, thinking human beings. Because God made us with differing attributes, He knows we all have specific needs in order for each of us to function. Every spiritual, emotional, and mental quality we have was made to be a feature of us being God’s works of art. As we are God’s children, God deeply understands all of our needs and desires, and knows exactly how to fulfill them. Also, since God Himself is an infinite Being with a multitude of characteristics, He chose to create all of us with different personalities so that we can each identify with the many facets of His essence. Because we all have original, unrepeatable personalities, we are each able to personally connect with God on a unique, spiritual level that no one else can. What one person experiences with God in his life may be totally different from what someone else does in his.

    An intimate relationship with God will only be as strong as the effort you put in.

     

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    Because love and everything we know about it comes directly from God, it should be no surprise to us that a relationship with God is quite similar to the romantic relationships we share with people on earth. The more we communicate with God, the more we strengthen our bond with Him. The more we read His Word, the more we learn about Him and understand more of Who He is. The more we appreciate Him and the many things He does for us, the more He’ll amaze us by doing even greater, wonderful things. Although God is under no obligation to prove anything to us, He has proven His love for us over and over again countless times throughout history. When we’re direct and honest with Him about the things we want or need, He can exceed our expectations by giving us just those things we ask for, or even better than what we ask for at that. When we sincerely try to draw close to God, He will just as enthusiastically draw close to us.

    However, if we choose to neglect our relationship with God, we run the risk of offending Him and also experience a lesser quality of life. The less we communicate with God, the more distant He’ll feel from us. The less we read His Word, the less we know about Him and misunderstand His ways. The less we appreciate Him and everything He does for us, the less He’ll be inclined to show us His miraculous power. In spite of God going out of His way to prove His love for us, we’ll find ourselves doubting His unconditional love and acceptance when we start taking Him for granted. If we ask for things half-heartedly, God takes it as an insult that we don’t believe in or trust Him. When we display a wishy washy attitude about the things we ask for, God is not convinced that we really know what we want, causing us to wait longer for an answer until we realize the true strength of our desires. When we drift apart from God, we’re the ones moving away, while He remains fixed in the same spot He’s always been.

True intimacy with God includes private moments of affection between you and Him.

 If you are currently enjoying an intimate relationship with God, then you know from personal experience that there are special moments of emotional connection that you have with Him when no one else is around. When you witnessed happy times in your life, God may have revealed His joy for you by shining down His sunlight upon you as you bestowed your thanks to Him for blessing you. During the darkest hours of anguish in your life, God was there by your side, providing an invisible arm of comfort around you as He silently wiped your tears away. There were probably many times of anxiety and fear, when God helped to calm your nerves by quietly whispering to you during prayer. Whatever occasions you have seen or will see in your life, God has always been and will always be there for you no matter what, promising to fulfill all your needs. When you fully open yourself up to trusting in Him, you’ll discover that there are many moments of exclusive emotional bonding between you and God to be had in your relationship with Him.

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Throughout my life, I have shared many intimate moments with God such as the ones I’ve described above. However, there is one moment that I will never forget as long as I live, and that was the day when I received a hug directly from God. It was in the middle of May this year, as I was fervently pouring my heart out to God in prayer while I was alone in my house on my day off work. I don’t remember all the details of my prayer that day, but I distinctly remember that this happened while I was praising God for all the many good things that He is. I was sitting right beneath my bedroom window, as warm sunlight was streaming through the open blinds. Suddenly, I became enraptured as I felt invisible arms embracing my body with such gentle, loving warmth that I can never completely describe while on this earth. Within this moment, I felt entirely safe and secure in God’s overwhelming love for me. His tender, affectionate embrace was just the perfect length of time, and had just the right amount of care and caressing. I can honestly say without any doubt that the hug I received from God that day was better than any earthly embrace I’ve ever been given by people in my life.

 

Here are God’s Words proving that He longs to share infinite intimacy with you:

 

Jeremiah 1:5 ~ “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

 

Jeremiah 23:23-24 ~ “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?  Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.

 

Psalm 16:8 ~ “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

 

Psalm 139:7-13 ~ “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”

 

Psalm 145:18 ~ “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

 

Isaiah 41:10 ~ “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

 

Isaiah 43:2 ~ “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

 

Genesis 28:15 ~ “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

 

Romans 8:38-39 ~ “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

2 Chronicles 16:9a ~ “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”

 

Zephaniah 3:17 ~ “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

 

Matthew 28:20 ~ “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

John 7:37 ~ “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

 

James 4:8a ~ “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

 

 

 

Intimacy with God is ours to enjoy forever and ever.

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No matter what stage you are currently in with your relationship with God, you can rest assured that it is a relationship that you can put your full trust in. God has promised in His Word that He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you; and as He CANNOT lie, He will NEVER break that promise. Once you accept God’s salvation in your heart, you are His and He is yours to have for all eternity. The best part is, God understands you perfectly, so you never have to pretend to be someone you aren’t to gain His acceptance or attention. When you talk to Him, you are free to expose your most fragile, vulnerable self, without fear of being judged or rejected. God loves every single part of you, including the parts that are flawed, weak, and broken. God knows so much about you, that He keeps track of how many hairs are upon your head at any given moment! Any secrets you have to share are safe with Him, and He stores your most private thoughts and feelings deep within His heart. God has so many wonderful things that He wishes to share with you too; all you have to do is show Him that you are clearly interested in developing your relationship with Him. Are you willing to experience the fantastic, unforgettable, never-ending journey that is knowing and loving God? I hope so. If you take the first step on that wonderful journey, I promise that He will not leave you disappointed.


 – Gloria D. Hopkins

 



 

 

 

 

“Forget Me Not.”

Memories
Sometimes we make God feel like He’s fading away.

Do you know what it feels like to be forgotten?

One of the most painful things a person can experience is being treated like they don’t even exist. While this can happen in many different situations, it hurts the most when the actions and behavior are coming from the one person whom we thought truly loved us. Almost every person with a beating heart has had it broken at some point or another by someone else’s words or actions. As hard as it is to go through such an experience, it becomes even more difficult to overcome when the other person adds insult to injury by just walking away, removing you completely from their life by going on with theirs as if they never knew you.

What you thought were good memories with that person before are soon transformed into sad memories, because of your mind’s association with the loss of that person in your life. The fun, happy times that were once filled with color inevitably fade into black and white. Even though you know that the person is gone, you might try to keep them with you in your heart by replaying those good memories in your mind over and over again. However, deep down you realize that it’s useless to do so, because that person from your past is never coming back. Your heart might try to convince you otherwise by imagining a false sense of hope, but your mind has already accepted the harsh reality of the situation.

Because the pain of being forgotten is unbearable, you might try to reach out again.

Maybe the person you loved had a good reason for leaving you, but it was all due to a misunderstanding. Perhaps there were factors in the whole situation that were out of your control, and the rejection and abandonment were never really your fault, or so your mind tries to reason. In an attempt to restore what was lost, you try communicating with that person again to resolve any issues that might remain, hoping to regain your former relationship. You might even pour your heart out to that person in a letter, taking on full responsibility and blame for what went wrong, even if it wasn’t your fault, as long as it leads to potential reconciliation with them. You wait in anxious anticipation for a response, any response, from that person, just so you can stop feeling ignored.

And then…Ghostly memory

– Nothing.

No matter how kind your words were, no matter how understanding you tried to be of that other person’s perspective, trying to reach out to them was all in vain; because they refuse to acknowledge your existence. As far as they are concerned, they have cut you off from their lives, in spite of all the love you tried your best to show them. You feel so empty, worthless, and used; and with every passing day that you don’t hear from that person, you can literally feel yourself fading from their memory. The truth is painfully obvious – the person you cared about with all your heart could no longer care any less about you.

As terrible as all of this sounds, we can be guilty of treating God the same exact way.

Something we must always be mindful of is the fact that God went out of His way to demonstrate His unconditional love for us by sending His Son Jesus to die for us on the cross. He did this for the sole purpose of restoring the lost relationship He once had with man, before he decided to sin and turn against Him. God never needed us, as He is all-powerful; but the truth is He WANTED us, in spite of all our wicked ways. He wanted to not only show His love for us, but also to receive love from us in return. We were all created for God’s pleasure, to make Him happy. Even though we are so incredibly undeserving of His love, He offers it to us freely anyway. Those of us who have already accepted His amazing love into our hearts are familiar with all of the supernatural, Heavenly benefits that can only come from knowing God.

However, even Christians are capable of hurting God tremendously in the same way that I’ve described above. God did not invest His most precious gift of eternal life in us just so He could be ignored by us. Sadly, many Christians do ignore God every single day, by living their lives the way they please, as if they never had anything to do with God in the first place. Whenever we choose to do what we feel like doing in our flesh over spending time with God in prayer and reading His Word, we break God’s heart. God’s Word is how He speaks to us, and His Words are very much alive. Any passage of Scripture can be used of the Holy Spirit to convict us, encourage us, or teach us valuable wisdom. More importantly, it is within God’s living Words that He so clearly and abundantly expresses His love for us. When we neglect to read the Bible or pray, we are telling God, “I don’t need You. Everything You have to say means nothing to me. I can do just fine living my life on my own.” Many people believe that lie, choosing to tell it to themselves every day.

No matter how long we may ignore and forget about God, He is still Almighty God.

Man’s indifference and disrespect towards God does nothing to change His identity or eternal authority over us. Christians can go on doing as they please for however long they will, but in the end they will still have to answer to God for their actions. Even though it breaks God’s heart when we ignore Him, He still has power over the entire universe that He made; therefore He is not dependent on us for validation. God has multitudes of angels that bow to His command, and all of nature obeys His will; so man’s selfish, uncaring attitude is ultimately ineffective. Since the very first sin, man has made a habit of exalting himself in his heart above God and forgetting how insignificant he really is compared to God’s glory. However, God still created man for His pleasure, and He deserves to be acknowledged, feared, and praised for being the Creator that He is.

We should never take God for granted; rather, we should take Him very seriously.

When man first turned his back on God, God could have chosen to just wipe out the entire human race, and make it so that he never existed. Such a course of action would have been poetic justice, and would make perfect sense, since man tried to live like God didn’t exist. Instead, God chose to give man a second chance by offering him the free gift of salvation, so he could once again be restored into a divine relationship with Him. Christians who claim to already have this relationship should be careful not to take God for granted, as God can cause certain things to happen in their lives that will make them remember Him. Whether this comes in the form of chastening or testing, God is determined to make His voice heard as He cries out to the deaf ears of Christians who ignore and forget Him. It is out of God’s unconditional love and mercy that He chooses to do this, since He alone understands the intrinsic needs of the human hearts that He made. We will always need God in our lives, no matter how much our words or actions may deny it.

Just as we become angry and hurt when someone we love forgets us, so does God.

God is the ultimate standard for love, loyalty, and faithfulness; so forgetting God is a sad, foolish mistake to make. Unfortunately, sometimes God’s people have to learn their lesson the hard way before they finally grow to appreciate Him. In the same way that we desire to be acknowledged and appreciated, God desires us to thank Him and praise Him for all that He’s done for us. God does so many things for us daily that we are not even consciously aware of, and many of those things are vital needs that we take for granted. When God doesn’t feel appreciated, He is inclined to give people what they think they want – by leaving them alone. Not completely alone, of course, as He has promised to never leave us or forsake us; but sometimes God will communicate to us by withholding His blessings that we normally might presume upon.

For example, in the Bible, when the Israelites were in a vicious cycle of sinning by falling into idolatry, God would take away His divine protection from them, causing them to become vulnerable to their enemies. It was only after God’s protection left them and they were attacked by their foes that the Israelites fully realized how much they needed God and missed His divine presence. People are often unaware of just how blessed they really are until their blessings are taken away from them, and God’s blessings are no exception. This is the reason why when the Israelites called out to God, begging Him to forgive them and return His protection, God responded through His prophets by saying that He was simply giving them what they wanted, leaving them alone to practice their sin. God told His people exactly what happened, that they pushed Him away so much until He grew tired of fighting against them. As a result, when the Israelites missed God in their hearts, God was grieved, and mournfully responded that they let Him go.

Sad

 

Here are God’s living Words as proof that God hurts whenever we forget Him:

Jeremiah 2:32 ~ “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.

Jeremiah 3:21 ~ “A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.

Jeremiah 18:15 ~ “Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;

Deuteronomy 4:23 ~ “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.

Deuteronomy 8:11 ~ “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:

Judges 8:34 ~ “And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:

Psalm 50:22 ~ “Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

Psalm 78:11 ~ “They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them.”

Isaiah 17:10 ~ “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants and set them with vine slips of a strange god.”

Isaiah 57:11 ~ “And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?

Isaiah 65:11-12 ~ “But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.”

Hosea 13:6 ~ “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.

Revelation 2:4 ~ “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

 

God is calling out to us to remember Him every single day, and we should respond to His voice.

Instead of treating God like an option, we should treat Him like the King of our lives as he rightfully deserves. Each day we are presented with the choice of remembering God or forgetting Him, and the outcome of either decision is very significant. Remembering Him will cause your relationship with Him to flourish, creating a spiritual intimacy that most Christians should enjoy. Forgetting God will distance you apart from Him, producing anxiety, fear, doubt, worry, and a variety of other spiritual problems. God is a personal Being, and He has feelings too, which means He needs to be appreciated and loved just like anyone else. A relationship with God is the best relationship that you can have, as He is faithful, true, and always good. The worst thing that any Christian could do is take this divine, special relationship for granted, by ignoring God and acting like He doesn’t even exist. The same things that hurt us from other people can hurt God too, even though we don’t always realize it.

I will openly admit that I deeply know what it feels like to be forgotten, and I am extremely acquainted with how much it hurts. After being ignored and forgotten by someone I once loved, I experienced pain in my heart unlike any that I had ever known. One day however, God got a hold of my heart and made me realize that the way I was feeling because of that person was the exact same way I made Him feel every time I neglected to fellowship with Him. I was struck to my core at this realization, heartbroken at the idea that the very pain I was feeling from someone else was the same pain I was inflicting on God Himself. I quickly confessed my sin to God and begged Him to forgive me for hurting Him in the same way that I was hurt. Ever since that day, I have tried to be much more sensitive to God’s feelings in my relationship with Him, as I identified with Him on that deeply personal level. I now realize that spending time with God is a special privilege, and the last thing I would want to do is grieve the Holy Spirit. Each new day, I try to remember God as I hear His voice softly whispering, “Forget me not.”

– Gloria D. Hopkins

A Match Made In Heaven

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All relationships should be a clear reflection of the one we have with God.

“Male and female created He them.” ~ Genesis 1:27

When God made Adam and Eve for each other, He gave them a very specific role to fill for each other that couldn’t be found anywhere else. In spite of the many animals that populated the Garden of Eden, none of them could satisfy the need for a helper in Adam’s life. Sure, they probably made pleasant company, but none of them could actually talk and share thoughts and feelings with him. Being the sole creation made in God’s image was turning out to be a bit lonely for Adam. Since God’s creation was a perfect world that He Himself called “very good,” He immediately decided that Adam needed someone more like him to provide him with companionship. This someone would be much more like him than any of the animals, but also very different in many ways. That’s when God made the first woman out of Adam’s rib while he was in a deep sleep.

When God brought her before Adam for the first time, Adam was overjoyed, and called her “woman,” because she was literally taken out of man. She was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh! What an incredible miracle it must have been for Adam to behold her for the first time! Standing before him was an identical replica of himself, but at the same time different on the inside and the outside. God gave Adam a specially created woman as a loving gift, who served a specific purpose of helping him and loving him.

Sadly, our modern world has completely forgotten what the meaning of true love is; and as a result of excessive selfishness, has significantly reduced the roles of both men and women. In this post, I wish to give a brief, gentle reminder to everyone of just how important men and women are to each other, and why each gender is valuable and special in its own way.

Since God created Adam first, we’ll start with the men.

God gave men the blessing of physical strength. They are meant to be protectors and defenders, able to provide for their families and fight for their country. However, although physical strength is one well known gift men might have, they are worth so much more than that alone! In the role of a committed relationship, men are capable of offering many treasures to women, and I don’t mean just material ones!

When a man is right with God in his heart, he will treat his woman like the special lady she is, by doing his best to give her his undivided attention, respecting her feelings, and trusting her with the cares of his heart. Behaving this way will make a special woman feel like a queen, and she’ll be more than happy to see her godly man as a king.

More than anything though, a godly man will be his woman’s best friend, and give her comfort and support whenever it is needed. One delightful trait that most men have is a hilarious sense of humor, which is quite helpful when they use it to try to cheer up the special women in their lives. A funny sense of humor is welcomed and appreciated when it is used in the appropriate situations and contexts. Making a woman laugh is a special ability that many men have, and it is worthy of recognition.

Most important of all these treasures is when a godly man proves he has an honorable character. A man who does this will show himself to be faithful, dependable, honest, sincere, compassionate, selfless, loving, and gentle. When a man possesses these virtues, he becomes a priceless treasure to the woman who loves him. The best way for men to have an honorable character is when they choose to honor God first in their lives. If a man loves God with all his heart, soul, and mind as he should, then he’ll have no trouble treating his woman the way she deserves.

Now let’s focus on the women, God’s equal creation to man.

God gave women the blessing of emotional strength. They are meant to be nurturers and lovers, able to provide men with families and refuge from the stress of the world. They were also created as physically pleasing to men, both visually and sensually. While many women are praised and celebrated for their physical beauty, they are worth far more on the inside! In the role of a committed relationship, women are capable of offering many comforts to men, and I don’t mean just physical ones!

When a woman is right with God in her heart, she will treat her man like the special gentleman he is, by doing her best to give him her unconditional love, respecting who he is, and trusting him enough to let him help her when necessary. Behaving this way will make a special man feel like a king, and he’ll be more than happy to see his godly woman as a queen.

More than anything though, a godly woman will be her man’s confidante, and give him advice and wisdom whenever it is needed. One special quality that many women have is the gift of understanding, which is quite beneficial when their man has had a bad day or is feeling discouraged. A woman with an understanding heart is welcomed and appreciated by her man when he needs reassurance and empathy. Making a man feel understood is a special talent than many women have, and it is worthy of praise.

Most important of all these comforts is when a godly woman proves she has an honorable character. A woman who does this will show herself to be faithful, dependable, honest, sincere, compassionate, selfless, loving, and gentle. When a woman possesses these virtues, she becomes a priceless treasure to the man who loves her. The best way for women to have an honorable character is when they choose to honor God first in their lives. If a woman loves God with all her heart, soul, and mind as she should, then she’ll have no trouble treating her man the way he deserves.

Men and women are very different, yet so similar at the same time.

You probably noticed that the final paragraph about each gender was basically the same, with the respective pronouns reversed. That’s because the most important aspect of a man or woman is the condition of his or her heart before God. Without knowing God as one’s personal Savior and Creator, it is impossible to effectively exhibit the positive traits listed above in a relationship. Also, it is important to remember that men and women both need to feel loved, but are designed to give and receive it in different ways. Men need to feel wanted and respected, while women need to feel cherished and appreciated. Although these needs are almost identical, they are distinctly separate because of how God designed each gender. While every person is already complete in God, a relationship with another person is meant to be another enhancement to our lives, should God choose to bless us with one in His will. God designed man and woman to complement each other, not complete each other. However, the key balancing factor is keeping God central to the relationship. When both hearts are united by God’s love, and a primary love for Him, then it is very unlikely that their bond will end.

How are earthly relationships a reflection of God’s relationship with us?

The most important ingredient in cultivating and maintaining true love is selflessness. It was God Who defined true love when He sent His Son Jesus to our world on earth, leaving behind the glorious splendor of Heaven, just so He could die in our place. Once a person receives spiritual salvation, they must learn to depend on God and fellowship with Him every day. God presented His eternal, unconditional love to us, all so we could develop an intimate relationship with Him. Earthly relationships are built on trust and communication, just like our relationship with God is. True love is not only shown by someone else being selfless, but also by reciprocation. Because God gave His Son’s life for us, the least we can do in return is give our lives to Him. It is only natural to return our hearts to the Creator Who made them! So the same applies to earthly relationships – when love is shown to you by someone you care about, you’ll want to show it right back! Just as the man usually initiates a relationship, God was first to show His love toward us. We have a choice of accepting or denying His love, just as we do with people on earth.

 

Here are God’s Words confirming how He made men and women for each other:

 

1 Corinthians 11:9 ~ “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Genesis 1:27 ~ “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 2:18 ~ “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

Genesis 2:23 ~ “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 ~ “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Ephesians 5:22-25 ~ “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Colossians 3:18 ~ “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

1 Peter 3:7 ~ “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

It’s high time we start appreciating each other as God meant for us!

My final message on this topic is meant to be an encouragement, not a reprimand; so please don’t misinterpret what I’m about to say. I realize that there are many godly men and women out there who are currently treating their significant others the way they should, and that’s wonderful. My purpose in writing this is simply a reminder of these things to ensure that we don’t forget them in the midst of our confusing, modern world.

So men, remember that your wife is your soulmate, and she is there for you to love and appreciate as your helper from God! Don’t take her emotional attachment to you for granted; she is meant to fulfill your need to be needed!

Women, don’t forget that your husband is your hero, and he is there for you to admire and honor as your protector from God! Don’t take his willingness to help you for granted; he is meant to fulfill your need to be supported!

For those of you who aren’t married yet, whether you’re currently single or in a relationship, I encourage you to be on the lookout for all the traits I listed above before you invest your valuable time and emotions in another person. Men and women are supposed to be God’s gifts to each other, and many problems arise when people develop a one-sided mindset! God wants us to love, honor, and respect each other just as we’re supposed to do for Him. When we treat men and women with the love, honor, and respect they deserve, then relationships truly can be a match made in Heaven.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Finding the Dream: The True Meaning of Equality

 

hands

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

ALL men are created equal.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his immortal speech about his dream of equality for all people in America. He believed in a world that would celebrate and embrace people for how they look on the inside, rather than just the outside. His legacy is remembered to this very day, inspiring millions of people everywhere to respect the truth that skin color does NOT define a person’s character.

While our nation has made tremendous progress in achieving King’s ideal dream, there are still more than a few holes that need to be patched up in the philosophy of equality. Let’s look at a few points of truth that need to be cleared up before we can find his dream, the true meaning of equality:

1. Equality isn’t just black and white.

First of all, the concept of equality is not two-dimensional. It has many different facets that contribute to its definition, just like the many different people groups who make up our world. If we can establish the fact that equality is for everybody, not just for black and white people, then we will make great strides in achieving harmony and peace for all mankind.

Now, before this post gets misinterpreted, allow me to define the word equality:

equality

[ih-kwol-i-tee]
noun, plural equalities.
1.

the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability:

promoting equality of opportunity in the workplace.

 

That is the internet dictionary’s definition, but here is my own personal definition:

Equality is the condition where every person is recognized as a unique individual, worthy of receiving certain unalienable rights such as respect, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of career choice and opportunity, and freedom of will.

In other words, I agree with the moral philosophy of America’s Founding Fathers, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now that we’ve taken a look at what the word equality really means, let’s examine why it is so important. In the past, there have been many misconceptions about equality, leading to some extremely tragic historical events. Without getting into too much detail about these past sorrows, it is fair to say that much of past social injustices was caused by one little word, which brings me to my next point.

2. The idea of “race” is a myth.

The word “race” was an idea formed by Charles Darwin when he wrote his book called, On The Origin of Species. Instead of accepting biblical truths, he turned to his own imagination to produce a false explanation of the different people groups that populate the world. Unless you agree with his theory about evolution, there is absolutely no need to include the word “race” in one’s vocabulary, at least in the context of attributing it to different cultures of people. We are all descended from two people: Adam and Eve, the first human beings to live on this planet. When God created them, they possessed a genetic code filled with endless possible combinations! It wasn’t until after the global Flood in Genesis chapter 5 that people’s DNA began to change due to the extreme climate changes. Our ancestral bloodline traces all the way back to the Garden of Eden, where our very first parents lived. We are all brothers and sisters born into a huge extended family! This is what the Bible has to say about this topic:

Acts 17:26 ~ “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

The fact is, there is only ONE race – the human race.

3. We are all equal in God’s eyes.

Every single person who has ever existed is an eternal soul created by an all-powerful, loving God, designed specially by His hands. God cares about all people, since he made all of us in His divine image. We are all already equal in that aspect alone, yet there is still another reason why we are all equal in God’s eyes. Here is the reason why:

Romans 3:23 ~ “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Unfortunately, we are all born with an inherent sinful nature because of our very first parents, Adam and Eve, another proof that we all come from the same extended family. However, the story did not end there; God saw our helpless condition and provided us a way to be rescued from it, through the sacrifice of His perfect, Holy Son, Jesus. Because Jesus came to this earth as the Son of Man, He gave His blood for the redemption of all mankind, giving us yet another reason to see all men as equal. God the Father loved us so much that He wanted to adopt us all into His Heavenly family for all eternity, restored into divine union and fellowship with His holy presence. It does not matter to God one bit what we look like, or where we come from; His salvation is a free gift given to all men:

Colossians 3:11 ~ “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

In the perfect world of Heaven, there is only one existential distinction – the Creator and His creations.

Let’s make the dream of equality a reality!

In conclusion, I hope that these three points have helped improve our understanding of the true meaning of equality. Now that we have patched up the holes in our society’s definition of equality using God’s Word as biblical proof, we can fully accept one another as a special creation of God who is loved unconditionally by Him. As Christians, it is our responsibility to share the gospel with those who haven’t yet heard the good news around the world, so that we can reclaim our lost brothers and sisters into the family of Heaven. Also, it is our duty to show love and kindness to everyone around us, no matter what culture or ethnicity they come from, so we can be a shining example of God’s love to them. If we can prove faithful in these two things, sharing the good news of God’s love and showing it to people, then we will be successful in finding Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream become a reality in the world around us.

– Gloria D. Hopkins