Remember Your First Love?

 

Lonely Heart
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?

Falling Petals

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.

Heart in a clock

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.

<3

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.

Heart on the Ground

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.

Mightier than waves

2. God’s love is everlasting.

Everlasting love

 

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.

Divine Image

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.

Infinity symbol

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

Speak Up, Don’t Give Up!

 

Alone At Sea
Please don’t choose to end it all, when you don’t know the end of it all.

 

I realize that September is nearly over already, but I feel compelled to write about this subject before it passes: National Suicide Awareness Month. While I am happy that there is a specific month dedicated to making people more mindful of this issue, I wish that our society would realize just how serious it is throughout the entire year, as this problem will never completely go away while this dark, fallen world exists.

There are countless people in this world who suffer from depression, which as a condition itself comes in many different forms. It is far more than just a negative emotional state; it is medically proven to be a mental illness that strongly affects one’s emotions and sense of rationality. However, I’m not writing this post to elaborate on the complex definition of depression – I’m writing this to help those who might be struggling with it, and also people who have loved ones in their lives that are also struggling with it.

Before I continue, let me clarify that the entire reason I started this blog was for the purpose of encouraging people to keep their joy in spite of dark circumstances. Satan’s primary goal when attacking Christians is to steal their joy. He achieves this by causing them to focus far too much on all the many negative things in their lives instead of God and His goodness. You see, because Satan hates God so much, he goes out of his way to convince people, including Christians, that God is not the good, loving Creator that He says He is. Satan even tells himself this lie to justify his rebellion against God when he still lived in Heaven. Satan reasons that if he can’t win against God, then he wants to pull as many people into the darkness with him as he possibly can.

Now, Christians have already been saved from the darkness of Hell, but they are still not immune to emotional and spiritual darkness.

God has already won the victory over Satan, death, and Hell, and Christians who have accepted Him are granted eternal security. Satan knows this, and he HATES that there is absolutely NOTHING he can do about it. God’s power will ALWAYS be superior to his, and Satan can never change that fact. However, Satan is certainly not above being petty against God, because he is the biggest sore loser in the entire universe. Even though Satan cannot counteract what Christ did for us at Calvary, he resorts to an alternative strategy to try to destroy Christians’ lives – he wants to render them completely useless for God’s service in this world.

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” ~ Colossians 1:12-14

 

Painful Reflection
Artist credit: Geoffrey Jones

 

Satan knows that a Christian who is filled with God’s power will be victorious over him, so he makes it his primary goal to convince Christians that they are powerless over their lives. He relentlessly attacks people by taunting them with the difficult life circumstances they face and drives them into despair and agony by reminding them that they are helpless to do anything to change their miserable condition. Satan wants to emphasize how Christians don’t possess God’s power over their circumstances themselves and wants to keep them ignorant of the fact that they are capable of spiritually and emotionally rising above the circumstances that he (Satan) is using to harm them.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

Once a Christian makes the heartbreaking decision to end his or her own life, Satan rejoices at winning a trophy against God.

Now, please don’t misinterpret the above statement. After receiving salvation, a person belongs to God for all eternity, and Satan can never possess custody of his or her soul again. However, if a Christian chooses to kill himself, Satan sees his death as one less warrior in God’s army to be used in the ongoing spiritual battle against him. The more Christians that Satan can take out of the fight, the less opposition he’ll have to face in this world, meaning that the billions of other lost souls that exist will have a much stronger chance of remaining lost forever, doomed to Hell.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12

Therefore, committing suicide as a Christian is not only a sin, but it is also STEALING a valuable servant and potential warrior from God Himself.

When Jesus died on the cross for your sins, He gave everything He had just so you could be freed from Satan’s evil clutches and join Him in Heaven forever someday. Jesus gave you this opportunity through His glorious act of unconditional love on the cross, even though you had the option of never loving Him back. Jesus gave up His own life because He loved you enough to rescue you from the punishment of sin; He didn’t make His ultimate sacrifice just so you could throw your life away and all of your limitless potential you had to serve Him. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, God literally bought you back from Satan himself, since he is the god of this present world. After you accept salvation, Satan and the love of self are no longer your true masters – God alone is. Without trying to sound harsh or judgmental, my friend who is reading this, what right do you have to rob God of the service of your life that He rightfully purchased with the blood of His precious Son?

“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.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Now that I have explained the tragic loss of suicide from God’s perspective, allow me to just talk to you as a friend.

First of all, let me just say that I know exactly what it feels like to struggle with suicidal thoughts. In my life, I have been through several dark experiences that Satan has tried to use to destroy me to the very best of his ability. These include being bullied severely during my entire childhood at school – in elementary, middle, and high school; being involved in an extremely emotionally abusive romantic relationship; being betrayed by people whom I thought were my real friends, and the list goes on and on. I fully realize that I am not the only one who has suffered these things, but that in no way detracts from the great deal of pain I have been through because of them all. In fact, to this very day I still have to ask God to help me deal with the emotional scars that I’ve gained from my difficult past. There are certain negative things that will trigger my memory, which just so happens to be photographic, and my brain doesn’t need help remembering what it already holds onto so vividly whether I like it or not.

Mood Ring Finger
I’ve worn this mood ring on my right middle finger since the summer of 2013, the last time I was really struggling. Half of it changes color, and the other half glows in the dark. My mom bought it for me at the beach when she was trying to help distract me from my pain. I have worn it every day ever since to remind me of my mom’s love for me, and also to remind me to keep glowing in the dark.

The way that people have treated me throughout the course of my relatively brief lifetime has taken an immense toll on my personal self esteem. Because of this, I am not ashamed to admit that I still struggle with issues such as my self worth, since many people made me feel like I was never good enough for them, and that nothing I did could ever please them. Satan loves it when I feel this way, because he wants me to forget about how God sees me in His eyes – which is a valuable soul that He created, and sent His Son to rescue from Hell by dying on the cross for me. Whenever I’m tempted with suicidal thoughts, I remind myself of how I belong to God in both body and soul, and I have no right to steal from Him what He has already rightfully bought.

 

So I say all that to say this –

 

I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed with the rainstorm of your own emotions.

 

Alone In the Rain

I have endured many sleepless nights where I was drowning in my own tears, helplessly engulfed in the sea of personal sorrow. My mind has the potential to be my own greatest enemy, if I allow it to be. When I don’t give God full control over my thoughts, I can very easily be dragged down into the depths of despair if I’m not careful. My negative emotions, if left unchecked, can numb me to the outside world around me to the point where I don’t even notice all the other many people who are suffering from their own pain. That’s the thing about Satan’s strategy of self-pity – he wants us to be so wrapped up in our own problems that we won’t have any time left to care about those around us. Who knows how different things would be if we took the time to ask other people how they’re doing, and discovered that they’re struggling with the same problems that we are? Not only would we be helping other people to see that they’re not alone, but we’d also be helping ourselves to find out that WE’RE not alone after all like we thought!

If you feel like you just can’t take it anymore, please, by all means, TELL SOMEBODY. Speak up, just don’t give up! Don’t feel ashamed to be honest about how you’re feeling with someone you trust. Believe me, that person would much rather have you tell them NOW about your problems than feel guilty for the rest of their life after you’re gone because they didn’t know you were struggling. You are NOT a bother by telling someone whom you trust about the issues you deal with, even if you might feel like it sometimes. You might have had other people treat you like a bother in the past, which is what probably led to these negative feelings you’re having now. However, if you can find someone that you believe is willing to listen to you, they will assure you that your feelings are perfectly valid and worthy of consideration. Be aware that Satan will whisper lies in your mind that everyone else doesn’t have time for you or your problems, because he wants to keep you from the help you need.

Furthermore, Satan seeks to isolate you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

Alone In The Mist

When you’re feeling depressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts, your natural instinct is to shut yourself off from other people, simply because you assume that nobody else understands what you’re going through. However, this is the worst possible thing you can do, since Satan loves to attack us when we’re most vulnerable, just like the roaring lion the Bible describes him as. He attacks when you’re locked away in your bedroom, silently crying in anguish as you play the same sad songs you relate to on repeat. He attacks when you’re out in public and you see other people around you who appear to be perfectly happy, enjoying all the different things you wish you had. He attacks when you go through your daily routine at work or school, through the comments or actions of other people that may or may not be intended to hurt you. I know exactly how Satan approaches his prey, because I myself have been his targeted victim in all of these scenarios.

Instead of hiding out in your room or anywhere else you go to avoid other people, try seeking out those who you feel you can trust, even if you don’t think they’ll ever understand how you feel. Chances are, you’ll wind up surprised at just how understanding other people can be in spite of your pre-existing judgments. Even if there is no one in your everyday life that you truly feel you can trust, you can seek out the help of professional counselors, as their whole career is about providing the listening ear you need and desire. If you cannot afford professional counseling, another option is seeking out someone involved in a ministry who has a godly testimony that has been proven over a long period of time. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you spend sufficient time in prayer about it first. Don’t neglect the resources that are available and designed to help you. Remember, your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being as a whole is the most important thing you can invest in for your life.

 

You life HAS MEANING, and the unique touch that you give to this world would forever be sincerely missed.

 

Handprint

Whether you realize it or not, your life is important and special, because God created it ON PURPOSE. You do not exist for no reason! Every single person who has ever lived was made by the hands of an Almighty Creator because He wanted them to be a part of His living Masterpiece. There are countless other lives that you touch every day which you are unaware of, and will most likely remain unaware of until you get to Heaven. Once there, God will reveal to you all the many other people who were affected by your life in a positive way, regardless of how significant you felt your words or actions were. That is the true definition of eternal riches – affecting and influencing other people’s lives so their souls can have hope and happiness forever.

Refuse to believe Satan’s lie that “everyone else would be better off without you.” The only thing he can do is tempt you with his evil influence; YOU are the one who has the free will to make a decision. If you need help resisting Satan’s attacks, pray to God to give you the strength, courage, and determination you need to fend him off. Satan is persistent, so don’t expect to see the last of him if you succeed in pushing him away the first time. Become resolute in your heart that you will turn to God for help every single time you need Him when it comes to this deadly temptation. If you feel that you lack the ability to achieve victory in this area on your own, ask God to send you someone who can be your human guardian angel. Just remember, the amount of emotional pain that you’re feeling right now will NEVER outweigh the pain of everyone around you once you’re gone.

 

If you know someone who is severely depressed and struggling with suicidal thoughts, please try to be sensitive to their feelings and HELP them.

 

Depression

Whether it’s a friend, family member, or just a casual acquaintance, anyone you know could be secretly struggling with suicidal thoughts on the inside. Because these feelings are symptoms of severe depression, they also make the person feel too ashamed to talk about it voluntarily. Society has placed a negative stigma on this issue for years, but recently it seems to be getting progressively better about being sensitive to it. We should always be concerned and care about the well-being of others, but if we ever have good, solid reason to suspect that someone is sincerely struggling emotionally, we ought to go out of our way to reach out to them. Suicidal feelings are a result of the notion that nobody cares about the person, and that no one would care enough to ask how they’re doing. You never know how much of a difference you could make in someone’s life if you decide to step up and show that you care about them. In fact, the difference just might be that you helped save their life.

The correct way to approach the issue is by just being a friend to that person. DON’T treat them like a freak who has something wrong with them. DON’T come across as patronizing or condescending. Just talk to them, ask open-ended, non-threatening questions, and BE THERE to listen. You don’t have to be a licensed therapist to listen to someone else’s problems – being a friend to someone includes being their personal confidant, with whom they can share their deepest thoughts, feelings, and secrets. Do little things for them to help them out, such as chores or errands that they might lack the emotional or physical energy to do. Surprise them with little things you know they like. Write them an encouraging note or letter to express just how important they are to you. Or, if writing by hand isn’t your thing, just a simple text message or email to let them know you’re thinking and praying about them would suffice. No matter what you choose to do, make sure that person knows that you have love for them in your heart, as God’s unconditional love is what makes ALL the difference.

Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, if you or someone else you know is struggling and needs help RIGHT AWAY:

Call 1-800-273-8255

You are NOT alone.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

 

Save

Shear Joy: Living Life As God’s Sheep

Sheep
The Lord cares dearly for His not-so-innocent lambs.

Are you sheepish?

Whether you realize it or not, you are a part of a universal flock that wanders through the many vast fields of this world. There is only one Shepherd that we all truly belong to, yet so many of us are gone astray, roaming far from the safety of God’s pastures. Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who sacrificed everything just to rescue His lost flock of sheep. His little lambs are very precious to Him, even though they are guilty of running away from home. The Bible says that “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) This means that every person in the world is a stubborn sheep who only wants his or her own way. Jesus gave up His life by dying on the cross for our sins, just so that we could all have the chance to be redeemed, reunited, and reconciled with Him.

Irish shepherd

If you have already made the decision to accept Jesus into your heart as your personal Savior, then you know Him as your loving Shepherd Who protects, cares for, and watches over you. If you have not made that decision yet, then you are still wandering far from home, lost in the wilderness of sin. Jesus is searching for you far and wide, calling out your name so He can find you and bring you to safety. You might be thinking, “Why would I want to listen to Him, when right now I can do whatever I want and go wherever I please? What’s the use of being stuck behind a boring fence? It’s so much more wild and exciting out here!” My friend, while I fully understand this type of reasoning, I must lovingly inform you that it is faulty and foolish. You may have the freedom to do whatever and go wherever you want in the wilderness of sin, but it will only be a matter of time before you find yourself in grave danger. A lost sheep might enjoy exploring a rocky mountainside alone for a while, but who will help save him once he falls off the edge of a cliff?

There is only one place of prosperity, and that is within the peace of God’s pasture.

Sheep thirsty

The sheep who have been returned home to God’s pastures are far better off than the ones who are still choosing to wander in the wilderness of sin. Although they are guided and corrected by their Good Shepherd, the rescued sheep are the real ones who know what true freedom is like. Jesus leads His redeemed lambs through lush meadows, and shows them where all the cool, refreshing springs are to quench their thirst. These places of comfort are readily available to the sheep that follow the Good Shepherd, since He knows exactly where they are, and therefore they can enjoy them with little to no effort of their own. The lost, wandering sheep are not so lucky – they have to search through treacherous landscapes just to find a minimal amount of shelter. The lost sheep do not know anything about the blessings the rescued sheep enjoy, because they do not have the Good Shepherd leading them under His protection. They are forced instead to survive from their own natural instincts, facing the perils of this world without any comfort or hope.

Let’s explore four reasons why life is so much better as one of God’s rescued sheep:

 

1. You never have to worry about getting lost with the Good Shepherd.

Sheep on a path.jpeg

While traversing the fields and plains of this life, you can rest assured that Jesus always knows exactly where He is taking you. As the Good Shepherd, He is wise and experienced about the many paths He travels, so He knows which ones are just right for leading His beloved sheep. Among the many twists and turns of the paths of life, Jesus already knows the safest route to take. Even though there are times when He takes you through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, you have nothing to fear, as long as you carefully follow His every step. The lost sheep might feel like they are free wandering out in the wilderness of sin, but in reality they have no idea where they’re going or what they’re doing, hence the reason they are called “lost.” They do not know the security of having a loving Shepherd guiding them through rough, unstable terrain. The lost sheep just keep wandering aimlessly, hoping to find the elusive happiness they’re searching for; but their efforts are all in vain as long as they keep running from the Good Shepherd.

2. The Good Shepherd takes great care of His sheep.

feeding sheep

A flock of sheep doesn’t need to worry about where or when they’ll obtain their next meal, as long as they have a responsible shepherd looking after them. Likewise, the Good Shepherd never neglects to nurture His beloved flock, always giving them the freshest grass to eat and the cleanest water to drink. The rescued sheep have a calm assurance that all of their needs will be provided for them every day by the Good Shepherd, and this gives them a sincere desire to submit to Him. The lost, wandering sheep, however, depend on themselves to find nourishment. Sure, they might find a few patches of grass and puddles of water here and there, but only after a long time searching for it. Even after finding it, the taste simply cannot compare to the food and drink the Good Shepherd provides for His rescued flock. What’s more, the lost, wandering sheep do not know the blessed privilege of having someone love them enough to give them the things they need. In their attempts to be independent and self-sufficient, they’re missing out on the greatest things life has to offer –  grace and compassion.

3. The Good Shepherd shears His sheep whenever necessary.

Sheep shearing

Sometimes, even the sheep living among the rescued flock can tend to get their wool dirty, or just so overgrown that they simply can’t see anymore. Metaphorically, this means that Christians too can still be stained by sin, or so focused on themselves and their personal circumstances that they can’t see their Savior anymore, which is where their focus should be. In a state of temporary blindness, they might even stray off the pathway that their loving Shepherd is guiding them on. As a result, they may return with some prickly thorns, sticks, or burrs stuck in their wool. However, they need not become discouraged by this, as the Good Shepherd is more than happy and willing to remove whatever objects they got stuck to them. Occasionally, their wool might become so entangled with foreign objects that the only available option is to shear them completely. When this happens, the Savior lovingly holds them with His firm but gentle hands until their transformation is finished. Afterwards, they look so clean with their freshly shorn skin! Unfortunately, the lost sheep do not have this luxury. When they fall into briars and other natural snares, they have no one to clean up their soiled wool. They have no choice but to carry it around with them until it becomes too heavy to bear anymore. The lost sheep do not know what it feels like to be relieved of the burden of wool pulled over their eyes.

4. The Good Shepherd knows every one of His sheep by name, including the “black” ones.

Mixed crowd

In God’s rescued flock, it doesn’t matter what kind of life you led before you were saved; God loves you equally just as much as He loves all the other lost sheep He saved. You are special and important to Him, so much so that He knows you by name, even though the numbers He’s rescued are countless. There is no such thing as a “black sheep” in God’s flock, where one is set apart as lesser than all the rest. No matter who you are, what you look like, or what you’ve done in the past, God loves you unconditionally. You can rejoice in knowing that nothing in this world or the next will ever change that fact. Sadly, the lost, wandering sheep are unaware of just how much they are loved. Some of them even believe that they are not worth rescuing, because the distance they’ve strayed from the Good Shepherd is so great. If only they knew that they are just as priceless and valuable to the Good Shepherd as the flock He’s already rescued! They only need to hear His kind, gentle voice calling out their name, beckoning them to return to the safety of His fold.

 

Here are some verses to help you remember why the grass is always greener within God’s pasture:

 

Psalm 23:1-6 ~ “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

John 10:1-18 ~ “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Isaiah 40:11 ~ “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

Hebrews 13:20 ~ “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,”

Psalm 79:13 ~ “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.”

Psalm 95:7 ~ “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

Psalm 100:3 ~ “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

Psalm 119:176 ~ “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.”

Ezekiel 34:31 ~ “And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.

Luke 12:32 ~ “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

No matter how far we might wander away, the Good Shepherd loves us though we often stray.

Irish sheep

We never have to worry about Jesus rejecting us just because we have a natural tendency to sin frequently. Those of us who are rescued sheep still like to occasionally run off and do our own thing, whether we admit to it or not. Fortunately for us, we are blessed to have a Good Shepherd Who loves us enough to come looking for us every time we go off the path. Since we are inherently stubborn, He may have to grab us with His hook around our neck, but this is only because He wants to keep us from danger. As ignorant sheep, we do not always know better; we like to have our way at all times. We don’t always know what’s good or best for us, but praise God that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does! He is fully aware of all our strengths and weaknesses, and is determined to help us grow in those important areas. Thankfully, God never gives up on us, even though we are notoriously strong-willed! As partakers of the blessings of God’s peaceful pasture, we should be joyful and thankful every single day that we get to live under His watchful care. We should go out of our way to share the good news with other fellow sheep who are lost, so they too can know what it’s like to follow the Good Shepherd and experience true freedom and sheer joy.

– 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

Remembering Our Royalty

rose-and-crown
Our holy heritage should be evident by our regal righteousness.

Once upon a time, there was a majestic King, Whose reign was eternal and glorious.

This King had only one Son, a Prince of light, Who was pure and perfect in every way. The King looked upon His vast realm, and felt greatly troubled for His people, who were suffering from a hopeless, endless curse. As the King felt great compassion for His subjects, He sent His only, heroic Son into the cursed realm far away from His palace to rescue the people from their despair and suffering. With good fortune, there were many people who were rescued from the dark curse; yet sadly, there were also many others who chose to remain bound within its horrible shadow. The people that were rescued followed the Prince back to His royal palace, to await the instruction of the great King. The King welcomed His rescued subjects with open arms, and decided to adopt them into His royal family, where they would be loved and accepted forever and ever. However, the King gave His new relatives but one simple command:

“Now that you are officially part of My royal family, you must remember to act like it.”

The people listened to the King’s command, and promised to do their best to heed His wishes. They soon discovered, however, that keeping His command was easier said than done; for they were already accustomed to doing things their way like they used to in their villages before they were rescued from their curse. They tried to improve, yet always seemed to fall short every time. Luckily for them, the King was still compassionate as before, and gave them many other chances to succeed. Though the King was merciful and compassionate, there were some people who seemed to forget that they were ever adopted, and continued to live as they pleased in spite of the King’s command. This angered the King, Who was known for His kindness and patience. The Prince intervened on the people’s behalf by going before His Father, and asked for His grace and mercy. The King took one look at His Son, and remembered all the heroic deeds He did to rescue the people. After beholding the goodness of His Son, the King quickly forgave the people once again, and allowed them continue living in His palace out of His great love for them.

Though told like a traditional fairy tale, this is a true story indeed.

crowning

Perhaps you’ve already heard this story before, when you attended a church service or Sunday school class. Or maybe someone told it to you when they first reached you with the gospel. Either way, The King in the story is God, the Prince is Jesus, and we are the people He rescued. After being adopted into God’s family, we become real royalty, yet in a spiritual sense. As our Heavenly Father, God expects us to behave in a way that clearly shows we are His children. Do we always manage to live up to that extremely high expectation? Certainly not. However, we still have hope, because Jesus makes divine intercession for us before His Father’s throne since He loves us so much. God is always looking to advance His kingdom, so He wants us to be a good example to the world of His love and righteousness. Let’s take a look at a few ways that we can carry ourselves like God’s royal children.

1. We must clothe ourselves with dignity and respect for our bodies.

little-princess

When God first created Adam and Eve, they had no clothes to wear. The Bible tells us that they “were naked and not ashamed.” Unfortunately, after they sinned, their original state of innocence was lost, and their nakedness became associated with shame. God had already planned to give them clothes in the future to protect them from their natural environment conditions, but He didn’t want them to discover they were naked until He chose the proper timing. God covered their bodies with a sheep skin out of His love and compassion. Ever since then, man has had to wear clothes to cover himself. After accepting salvation, what we put on the outside of our bodies should be a reflection of the Holy Spirit Who lives on the inside. Therefore our clothes should be appropriate for every situation, and not draw too much attention to our bodies. If we are to be effective witnesses for the cause of Christ, we should present ourselves in a way that people will take us seriously. Showing respect for our bodies in the clothes we wear not only pleases God, but shows others around us that we seek to honor Him in our dress choices. The outer robes of clothes we wear should match our royal robes of righteousness.

2. We must speak words from a vocabulary of holiness.

crown-on-books

Every word that goes forth from our mouths should be measured by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. God wants our words to be kind, true, pure, and edifying to those around us. Are the things we say positive and uplifting to others? Do we make an effort to display honesty when people ask us questions? Are the things we say full of virtue and praise, free from any sort of vile or unclean associations? Do we encourage others to pursue their spiritual walk with our words? The Queen of England always refers to herself as “we” to represent her entire royal family. In Genesis chapter 1, God refers to Himself as “us” to represent the Holy Trinity. Since we are a part of God’s family, the words we say represent Him, and everything He is. Therefore it is our responsibility to ensure that what we say is an accurate reflection of God and His character. The words we speak should be chosen with the utmost care and consideration for holiness.

3. We must embrace our royal identity, and never be ashamed of it.

graceful-princess

As God’s adopted children, we are very special, and nothing can ever take away our royal title. It is also important for us to remember, though, that being heirs and heiresses of the Kingdom of Heaven is a privilege, not a right. It is by God’s grace and mercy that we are saved and included in His holy inheritance. With that being said, we should take great joy in being called God’s children, and not shrink away from sharing our testimony with the world. Our royal Father has called us to spread the good news of us being found and rescued so we can give it to those who are lost and need rescuing. There might be others who despise, reject, or even outright oppress us, yet we should remember how Jesus, the King of Kings, suffered those very same things at the hands of men long before us. The crown of Christianity must be worn in full view for all the world to see.

 

Here are the divine words of our royal, Heavenly Father Himself to remind us of our regal heritage:

 

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 14: 15 ~ “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.”

Romans 8:34 ~ “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

Hebrews 7:25 ~ “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Ephesians 5:8 ~ “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

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.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 ~ “Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Revelation 19:8 ~ “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

Isaiah 61:10 ~ “I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Philippians 4:8 ~ “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Ephesians 4:29 ~ “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Galatians 3:26 ~ “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

John 1:12-13 ~ “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

1 Peter 4:16 ~ “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

1 Peter 1:14-16 ~ “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

1 John 2:28 ~ “And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming.

2 Timothy 1:8 ~ “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”

Matthew 10:32 ~ “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”

Romans 8:17 ~ “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.”

 

Our royal heritage is eternal, and nothing can ever change that fact.

It doesn’t matter how many times we fail God in our human weakness; we will always be His children once we have accepted His gift of salvation. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are no longer peasants covered with the tattered rags of sin – when God looks at us, He sees nobility draped with the luxurious satin robes of righteousness! Satan may try to accuse us before God, but his wicked efforts are in vain as long as Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father. Once we are officially adopted into God’s family, we receive a golden certificate of eternal life that we can never lose. If you ever doubt that you are God’s child, it is for one of two reasons: you have not yet been adopted in the first place, or you have been behaving in a way that is the direct opposite of God’s righteousness for so long that you can’t remember if you are His child or not.

There is nothing to worry about though, for both of these problems can be solved through the simple solution of prayer. If you wish to become God’s child by getting adopted into His family, all you need to do is confess that you are a sinner, ask Him to forgive you, and believe that Jesus died for your sin; then the Holy Spirit will come to live inside your heart for all eternity. If you have been far away from God for a long time, and have been living apart from His ways, all you need to do is ask Him to forgive you, and He will remind you that you are still His child. God cares greatly about you, and He wants you to understand that nothing you confess will make Him love you any less. It takes lots of practice to train ourselves to behave like the royal children of God, but He is always there to help us when we need it. Our royal, righteous, holy heritage is secured at salvation, and it is ours to enjoy for all eternity.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

 

Five Reasons To Eat Your Words

Sugar Lips
Taste the flavor of your words before you spit them out.

As we all know, words can be either helpful or harmful.

It is extremely important for everyone to examine the content of their speech before they let their thoughts escape their lips. While this is a lesson that most people should have learned at an early age, unfortunately there are many individuals who are quite careless about the things they say. Sometimes those of us who try to be careful in this area can be capable of accidentally offending someone, or simply saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Within the confines of human nature, it is a difficult challenge to tame the tongue.

Let’s take a look at five reasons why it is necessary for us to eat our words on a daily basis:

  1. Words are verbal symbols of objects or actions.

What most people seem to forget is the simple fact that words are tools to represent things. As an avid lover of the English language, I thoroughly understand the truth that all words have a very distinct, specific meaning. Therefore, it confuses me to no end when I hear people around me using profanity, since those words are usually unpleasant. This is especially true when I hear people using curse words that refer to bodily functions or other vulgar things that should never be mentioned. Instead of preaching at those who commonly use profanity, I would just ask them one question: Would you still use those disgusting words if the objects they represent literally came out of your mouth?

Think about it – would you really want something nasty to emerge from your mouth just because you weren’t being careful about what you were saying? I know it’s a bit of an extreme metaphor, but it’s an accurate depiction of what occurs when people choose to use vulgar profanity. Once a particular bad word is spoken, an image of the object it represents is planted in the mind of the person who hears it, just because of its common association. The result is a distasteful mental picture, all because one person did not make any effort to use decent, polite vocabulary. Instead of resorting to using profanity to express yourself, try to challenge yourself to use accurate, precise vocabulary words for the sake of being courteous to those around you.

2. Words can stay in people’s minds for the rest of their lives.

I believe that everyone who has ever lived has been guilty of saying something they shouldn’t have in a heated moment of anger, or at the very least speaking without thinking how it will affect someone else first. While you can always apologize for something you said to another person, your apology may not necessarily guarantee their forgiving you. Even if they do the honorable thing by forgiving you, it is unlikely that they will forget what you said to them anytime soon. No matter how much time might pass, or what you might try to do to compensate that person, the damage has already been done, and there is nothing you can do to reverse any emotional scars your words might have caused. It makes no difference whether you said something in haste or not; once spoken, your words can never be taken back.

While every person has the ability to make their own choices in life, hurtful words can still affect the outcome of a person’s decisions. Since most people are born with a natural desire to please others and be accepted, anything and everything they are told can be taken to their heart, whether they like it or not. Man’s opinions are fickle things; but how a person’s heart and mind responds to those opinions is not easily changed. The truth is, all people are sensitive deep down, even if they make an effort not to show it. Therefore, it is highly important that we show the utmost respect to everyone around us by being very careful with the things we say to them, since we never know how strongly our words might affect them.

3. Words and the way we use them define who we are as people.

Whenever you hear someone speaking with an accent, you can usually tell where they are from, especially if it is a very strong accent. The same thing applies to the words we use – our speech allows others to determine our level of education, our cultural background, and our character. Of course, for every occasion there is an appropriate style of formality in which we should use our speech. For example, the type of casual conversation you would carry with your friends at a party is quite different from the professional way of speaking that would be expected of you at a job interview. Instead of laughing it up and joking around with a potential employer, you would want to portray yourself in the most polished, refined way possible. Doing so will cause them to perceive you as mature and respectful. You should want your words to benefit you in all of life’s many different situations.

Also, the words you use every day will give your community a reflection of your testimony. If your words are positive, uplifting, helpful, and kind, then people will be more likely to say good things about you. If your words are negative, discouraging, contrary, and unkind, however, then people will be more inclined to say bad things about you. However, it is important to use good words for the sake of your own testimony, since people will always tend to criticize you no matter what you do or say. Your testimony in your local community is quite valuable, especially if you claim to be a Christian. The things you say are ultimately a reflection of the contents of your heart, as the Bible says. As a Christian, you are an ambassador for Christ to the world around you. Keeping your speech pure and your words honorable is one of the best ways to make God’s light shine brightly from your heart.

4. Words used in the appropriate time and context can be very powerful.

You’ve probably heard the saying “silence is golden” before. The main reason that phrase is so humorous and popular is because most of the time, the world around us is incredibly noisy! There are people who love to talk, and then there are those who just love to hear themselves talk. It doesn’t take very long to discern the difference between someone who is sociable and someone who is domineering. Sadly, many people think that for their friendships to last, they must be with someone who loves to talk just as much as they do, labeling any others who have a more quiet nature as “boring.” This unfortunate misunderstanding comes from these people choosing quantity over quality. It is far better to use fewer words in a meaningful way than to talk excessively and make white noise.

For example, if you have friends who are going through a very stressful situation in their lives, they would find you to be much more helpful to them by just listening to their problem instead of volunteering your input. Remaining silent as they tell you about the difficult time they’re experiencing is better than trying to fix their problem without knowing all the facts. However, your friends would be extremely grateful to you if you said something encouraging, genuine, and heartfelt to them once they are through explaining their rough circumstances to you. You never know just how much your appropriately timed words might mean to them while they are fervently seeking for hope in their life.
5. Words are a gift from God, and should be used to honor Him, not disrespect Him.

All language and forms of communication are direct gifts from God, and serve as evidence that we are all created in His divine image. However, because man chose to rebel against God back in the garden of Eden, he tainted the divine image in which he was created with sin, losing his former respect for God and taking the gift of language for granted. Because of this lack of respect for God, man began to take God’s holy Name in vain, exchanging its powerful association for a common curse word. Of course, God was not pleased by this whatsoever; and as a result of man’s wickedness, He made one of the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Apparently it was such a prevalent issue back in Bible times that God literally had to set it in stone. Sadly, it is still a huge problem today, even with many Christians. God’s Name should only be used in a respectful way when people are talking to Him in prayer or praising Him.

When people take God’s Name in vain, they are forgetting that He is a real Person with feelings and emotions just like we have. Taking God’s Name in vain is essentially the same thing as hearing someone call out your name, only to hear them say “Never mind,” when you reply. Imagine if someone kept repeating your name many times, and each time you say “What?” the person just says “Nothing,” for the sole purpose of annoying you. You would most likely be tempted to lose your temper with them for wasting your time. Well, that’s how God feels every time someone decides to take His Name in vain as profanity. Most importantly, it offends God because people are using His powerful, holy Name as a cheap way of sinning, by turning it into a form of corrupt communication known as cursing. The blameless Name of God Almighty should never in any way be associated with the very thing He detests the most – sin. God specifically warns people in His Word that He will not hold people guiltless who take His Name in vain. A much better alternative to say is the word “goodness” in place of the perfect, pure Name of God.

 

Here are God’s own Words to help us to make better choices in selecting our words:

 

Ephesians 4:29 ~ “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 5:4 ~ “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

Proverbs 25:11 ~ “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Proverbs 16:24 ~ “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

Exodus 20:7 ~ “Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.”

Psalm 12:6 ~ “The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 ~ “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Matthew 12:36-37 ~ “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

James 3:6 ~ “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

Proverbs 21:23 ~ “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

2 Timothy 2:14 ~ “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”

Luke 6:45 ~ “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Colossians 4:6 ~ “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

 

What’s the flavor of the words you’re using?

Now that we’ve discussed five reasons we should eat our words, we should be more conscious about the flavor of the words we speak. Just like people prefer sweet and salty flavors with real food, Christians have the best tasting speech when their words match those same flavors also. Just like a chocolate-covered pretzel, we should be sweet to others around us by showing God’s love in our words, but also salty by preserving our Christian testimony when people ask us about our faith. Don’t be like some Christians whose words taste like vinegar due to their bitterness; but rather a perfect balance of good flavors to edify and build up the people in your life. So before you serve other people a meal made of your thoughts, make sure you taste and swallow them in your mind first! The Master Chef of course should be the Holy Spirit inside you, Who will let you know whether or not he approves of the way your words taste. Don’t feel discouraged, as this subject is something ALL of us must work on daily, myself included. If I can refine my speech with God’s help, then I know that you can too; you just have to trust Him and believe in His amazing power.

– 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

Protecting Our Planet

Earth Eye
The people of Earth need saving more than the planet itself.

Society’s eco-friendly obsession is tragically misguided.

 

Before I begin, let me clarify that God’s natural creation is very special indeed, and should not be misused and abused. However, in our modern-day culture’s attempt to rescue the Earth, it has carelessly overlooked one glaring fact – this planet will not last forever, but the people who inhabit it will.

After man chose to rebel against God by deliberately sinning despite warnings, the entire creation became corrupt, and entered into a chronic state of death and decay. The once perfect and beautiful creation that God made to reflect His glory and for mankind to enjoy became a devastating portrait of the ruined state of man’s sinful heart. The curse upon creation was meant to be a punishment to man for his sin, but it certainly was not God’s original plan for His perfect, supernatural design. As a result of man’s sin marring God’s creation, God promised to destroy the earth someday and replace it with a new, better one.

 

Isaiah 65:17 ~ “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

 

The Earth was made as the perfect home for humans.

When God created this world, He lovingly fashioned it with His words for our well being as He simply spoke the universe into existence. He desired for us to have a wonderful, vivid place to live in because He loves us so much. This truth is proven by the scientific fact that Earth is the only planet naturally capable of sustaining human life out of all the other celestial bodies in our solar system. God wanted our home to be functional, fascinating, and fantastic, providing endless proof of His existence to us. Everything that we observe around us in nature was made by God for us to use and enjoy, while giving thanks and praise back to Him for His loving care and thoughtfulness.

People (NOT the planet) are positioned at the pinnacle of God’s creation.

The Bible says that God formed man from the dust of the ground, so that people’s bodies are literally a part of the Earth, God’s tangible creation. However, the part of us that manifests who we really are, the human soul, was created from the mind of God Himself. People were created in God’s likeness by symbolizing the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We represent this three-part union of the Godhead through our body, soul, and spirit. While God’s existence is infinite without beginning or end, our human existence is both finite and eternal at the same time. Our lives have a beginning and an end here on Earth, but when we die, our soul lives on forever in eternity.

Because God took so much time and care to design man as a divine reflection of Himself, He treasures our souls as priceless, and sees them as being worth immeasurable value. When man chose to sin against God, he became separated from the heavenly fellowship he used to enjoy with his Creator. In turn, God saw the tragic Fall of Man as the fateful event when He lost a part of Himself, His prized creation whom He loved more than anything else He made. Despite the evil heart and wickedness of man, God’s unconditional love for his soul endured, determined to save and protect him from a horrible, agonizing eternity spent in sorrow and darkness without Him. God could not bear to see His favorite creation, human souls, go to Hell, the fiery pit filled with unspeakable torment that was designed to be eternal punishment for Satan and his rebellious fallen angels.

God took it upon Himself to save the world from man’s mistake.

Now God knew that He could always create a new earth after man’s sin, but He also realized that the souls of people He created would have to face eternity after death, the punishment for man’s disobedience. God placed His priorities in saving that which would be lost forever if He chose not to intervene – the eternal souls of human beings. So He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to our world here on Earth so He could die for our sins and take our punishment upon Himself. When God chose to save the world, He cared much more about the people who live in it than He did about the physical surface they walk upon. Being made from a special part of Himself, people are the apple of God’s eye. While God regularly maintains His natural creation daily, His concern for the people He loves takes the place of utmost importance.

God doesn’t need our help to save the planet; He needs our help to reach its people.

Our beautiful planet Earth is filled with a vast amount of different peoples, all of whom need to know the truth of the gospel. For every person who would choose to scorn and reject God, there is another one out there who is desperate to hear the truth about His love. No matter how many cultures, languages, and people groups exist on our planet, God is concerned about every single last one of them. It is foolish and arrogant of our society to assume that we alone are responsible for sustaining the planet, which God created entirely without man’s help. Instead, we should consume ourselves with the responsibility of reaching out to people all over the world who need to be protected from an eternity without knowing God in their hearts.

 

Here are verses which prove that people, not the planet, are God’s top priority:

 

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.”

Romans 5:12 ~ “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:19 ~ “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Romans 6:23 ~ “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 10:13 ~ “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Matthew 9:37 ~ “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Colossians 1:16 ~ “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

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.

Ephesians 1:4-5 ~ “ According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Mark 16:15 ~ “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Matthew 28:19 ~ “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Luke 19:10 ~ “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 5:24 ~ “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 20:31 ~ “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

 

The rescue mission of Earth needs to be redirected.

Rather than celebrating the planting of seeds in temporary soil, we should be celebrating the planting of seeds of truth in the eternal soil of human hearts. Instead of bending over backwards to save the planet, we should be going out of our way to help reach the lost souls who need salvation. Just as Jesus took it upon Himself to reach out to the Samaritan woman whom no one else would associate with, it is our job to reach out to those all around the world who need the gospel, no matter what they look like, or where they come from. God’s love is for everyone, to be received, enjoyed, and spread all across the Earth. Don’t waste precious time and effort trying to save the temporary parts of God’s creation; use it wisely by giving your heart to God so He can use it to reconcile the hearts of the lost.

Guard yourself from falling into the trap of modern-day pantheism, where the Earth and all its animals are worshiped and put up on a pedestal above the well being of man and God Himself. While whales and elephants are my favorite animals, and the oceans and forests of the world are my favorite scenery, I realize that people’s eternal souls are far more important than anything else. We will behold the beauty of the Earth once again when it is remade into a new form someday; but the heart and soul of one individual person can never be replaced. It is my mission to protect the inhabitants of our planet from dying without the knowledge of God’s love in their lives, and I hope that it is your mission too.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Easter Is Not “The End.”

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Jesus will always be there for us on the road of life.

The Lord Jesus came back to life on the third day, but the story doesn’t end there.

When most people celebrate Easter each year, they usually tend to focus on the climax of our Savior’s sacrifice, namely His death and subsequent resurrection. However, the rest of the story sometimes gets unintentionally overlooked, the part where Jesus spends a short period of time walking on Earth in His new body. After Jesus arose from the tomb, He walked alongside His disciples on Emmaus road, and also visited some of His faithful followers inside their homes for food and fellowship.

The purpose for Him doing this was not only to provide living proof of His glorious miracle, but also to show His followers that He still cared about them and loved them very much. You see, from a human perspective, it would seem that the first thing Jesus would want to do is go back to Heaven immediately, after He had endured so much suffering here on Earth. Yet our Savior was the very Portrait of unselfishness as He went out of His way to spend time with those He loved before He ascended into the golden clouds of Heaven.

Why is this part of the Easter story so important to remember?

While it may be easy to see the latter part of the Easter story as less exciting, there are many meaningful lessons to be derived from our Lord’s final chapter on Earth. When I think about this part of the story, the first thing it reminds me of is how much Jesus loves us. He certainly didn’t have to stay behind and spend extra time with people, but He chose to because He loved them. He could have decided to leave for Heaven immediately, letting His followers believe the miracle of His resurrection by faith alone; but He wanted to show up in person before their very eyes to make their faith whole and complete.

The next thing this part of the story reminds me of is how the Lord desires to comfort us. When Jesus walked and talked with His disciples and other followers after His resurrection, He was calming their hearts from the fear they had of the Jewish leaders. Jesus knew that His followers would undoubtedly face persecution for their faith in Him, and wanted to assure them that any future attacks on their faith should not dissuade or discourage them. The disciples and other followers of Jesus would have felt absolutely helpless against the world without the loving, comforting words they received from Him.

The last thing this part of the story reminds me of is how the miracle of Easter continued to give people hope even after the Lord’s resurrection. When Jesus visited His disciples and followers, He encouraged them by telling them that the story wasn’t over yet. He let them know that another Comforter would come to them, the Holy Spirit, and that someday He would return again a second time as King of the whole Earth. Even more exciting news for His followers was the fact that after Jesus’ second coming, they would all ascend up into Heaven to live with Him for all eternity.

For Christians, the Easter story continues to go on every day in their hearts.

When I was younger, I used to be sad the day after Easter, thinking that because the official holiday was over, that meant we could no longer celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. However, now that I am older, I have realized that Christians NEVER have to stop celebrating Easter; in fact, they should be celebrating it EVERY DAY! You see, the Lord IS risen. That is a present state of being. Yes, He arose from the grave over 2,000 years ago, but He is still alive! Because He is still alive today, and sitting at God’s right hand in Heaven, Christians should ALWAYS have a cause to rejoice and be glad in their hearts! The story of Jesus’ Easter miracle is eternal, and those who know Him in their hearts will always have a reason to celebrate it, because He conquered the grave by coming back to life! What a wonderful thought it is to meditate upon! The Lord Jesus Christ provided a way for us to have eternal life through His temporary death on the cross. Because of His sacrifice, those who believe on Him can partake of His joy daily, and enter into eternity with a sense of fulfillment for their existence.

How can we continue to celebrate Easter after the official day is over?

There are many ways to continue celebrating Easter as a Christian, and not surprisingly they aren’t that different than what Christians should be doing to worship God daily. The best way to celebrate Easter every day is by offering praise and thanks to God for all that He has done for us. Specifically, we should thank Him for the amazing sacrifice of unconditional love that His Son Jesus performed on the cross for our sake. The more we show God our constant appreciation of His love for us, the more He will be inclined to show it to us more apparently each day. Also, another way to honor Easter in your heart every day is by simply remembering the events of Jesus’ loving sacrifice. The more you ponder upon the details of His journey on earth and all He endured to secure your eternal life, the more you will feel grateful to Him. Place yourself back in time over 2,000 years ago on the morning that Jesus Christ arose – imagine that you are one of His disciples, eagerly anticipating His imminent resurrection. Once you fully consider all of the circumstances surrounding the miracle of Easter, you will experience the great joy that the disciples felt when they ran to the tomb and found it empty!

What does the rest of the Easter story mean for us today?

The miracle of Easter provides eternal hope for mankind, ensuring that God is powerful enough to save us from spiritual death. After Jesus Christ ascended up into Heaven, His disciples were watching Him with their eyes lifted up to the clouds in the sky. Immediately after Jesus’ ascension, an angel appeared to them and commanded that they get busy doing the Lord’s work to further His eternal kingdom of reconciled souls. In the same way, we should also be busy today, doing our best to give the world an example of Christ’s love. While we should celebrate the miracle of Easter every day in our hearts, we should also be looking forward to eternity, and possess a sense of urgency about the countless lost souls that are at stake. When the Lord does eventually return, He should be able to find us diligent in His service, spreading the truth of the gospel and winning souls back to Him. We are not to forget about Christ’s return, but instead be eagerly awaiting Him when He decides to appear in the clouds of Heaven.

 

Here are the Lord’s own Words and promises to help us celebrate Easter every day:

 

Luke 24: 13-32 “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

“And he said unto them, ‘What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?’ And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, ‘Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?’ And he said unto them, ‘What things?’ And they said unto him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

“‘But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.’

“Then he said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?'”

John 14:1-3 ~ “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

John 14:16-18 ~ “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Matthew 16:27 ~ “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 24:30-31 ~ “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 28:6 ~ “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Acts 1:9-11 ~ “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven.'”

Psalm 51:12 ~ “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

 

In the meantime, while Jesus is physically in Heaven, He is always with us spiritually.

 

Just as Jesus surprised His disciples by walking with them on the Emmaus road, He is always desiring to walk with us on our journey down the road of life. Whenever we need His help, He is there to guide us and also to comfort us. His Holy Spirit lives within the hearts of those who believe on Him, so that they are never alone under any circumstances. Jesus was more than willing to teach His followers more about Him as they walked together, and He is also happy to teach us too, answering our questions about life’s tricky twists and turns. The Lord certainly has not left us comfortless, as He stated in His Word: He gave us His Holy Spirit, His Word, and the privilege of constant communication with His Father in Heaven through prayer.

Jesus is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and He will always be there for us no matter what, as He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. While we serve Him each day, we can look forward to His glorious return in the golden clouds of Heaven. If you do not know Him today, I sincerely encourage you to meet Him today – He is waiting for you on the top of a hill along the road of life, lovingly reaching out His hand for you to join Him so you can walk together. Will you accept His invitation of eternal fellowship by asking Him to come into your heart and save you? The Savior is waiting for you, calling you by name to come follow Him before the sun sets and eternity begins.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

How Is Your Vision?

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The hymn “Be Thou My Vision” has deeper meaning than you think.

Saint Patrick’s Day is not about getting drunk.

Thousands of years ago, Ireland was a wild land filled with fierce, tribal people known as the ancient Celts. Much like the other early peoples of Europe, the Celts were devout pagans, animists who worshiped nature along with thousands of false gods and goddesses. Ruled by spiritual leaders who were fascinated with the occult, known as the Druids, the pagan Celts of Ireland were in bondage to sin and dark superstition. In a complicated series of events that can only be interpreted as God’s providence, the Irish Celts were finally reached by the truth of the gospel, thanks to the bravery and faithfulness of a young man named Maewyn Succat, whose name was changed to Patrick by an Irish chieftain he served. Patrick was a Britonic Celt from what is now modern-day England. He survived being kidnapped by Irish pirates, who sold him into slavery for six long years.

During his time in Ireland, Patrick realized his need for God’s salvation, and asked the Lord to come into his heart and save him. Being kidnapped and forced into slavery in a foreign land had greatly humbled Patrick, who was formerly rebellious against his Christian parents in Britain. It is said that Patrick used to pray one hundred times a day, acknowledging his constant need for God while he fulfilled his daily tasks. He eventually managed to escape Ireland, returning home to safety. However, Patrick was plagued by his memories of the pagan Irish people, burdened by their desperate need for a Savior. Following God’s call, Patrick chose to return to Ireland, determined to release his former captors from the slavery of sin. Amazingly, Patrick’s message of God’s truth was well received, and quickly spread throughout all the land of Ireland.

However, the Irish people’s memory of paganism persisted for centuries to come.

The Celtic people of Ireland willingly converted to Christianity, in spite of stubborn opposition from the pagan druid priests and chieftains. However, since people are naturally slow to embrace change, the Irish people transferred many elements of their pagan beliefs to fit into a Christian context. For example, many of their favorite gods and goddesses were transformed into saints with the same names. This practice of Christianizing ancient pagan beliefs continued for many centuries, so that superstition prevailed under the guise of spirituality. Even though the Catholic church claimed Patrick as one of its followers, the truth is Patrick would have wanted nothing to do with it whatsoever. He would have recognized the subtle blend of pagan practices with Christian culture, shaking his head at how cleverly deceitful its doctrine was to the Irish people. Patrick would weep if he were alive today to behold how the Catholic church has falsely associated itself with his legacy.

No matter how deeply paganism pervaded the Celtic conscience, exposure to God’s truth could not escape the Irish people’s hearts.

A well-known hymn, called “Be Thou My Vision,” contains a very old Irish melody, paired with distinctly Christian words. While it is beloved by many people, not many are aware of the hidden Celtic symbolism in its lyrics. First of all, the phrase “Be Thou my vision” is significant to Celtic culture because the ancient pagan Celts believed that certain people were gifted with the ability to see into the future, beholding mystical visions of the unknown. Within the context of the hymn, this belief holds a direct parallel to a Christian trusting in God with his future, and seeking His will for his life. Rather than seeking out guidance from superstition as they did in ancient times, the Irish learned to seek out God as the main Authority in their lives. Second, the phrase “High King of Heaven” is significant to Celtic culture because of the system of government in ancient Ireland. The land was once greatly divided into several tribes and petty kingdoms, who were constantly warring with each other over trivial matters such as stolen cattle. However, there was one man appointed to be the High king, who had the rightful rule over all the other kingdoms and tribes of Ireland. His power was superior over everyone else without question. Within the context of the hymn, this historical fact holds a direct parallel to God being superior to all other false gods, Celtic pagan deities included. By calling God the High King of Heaven, the Irish people are acknowledging His sovereignty over their lives, and also His true, absolute power over all other lesser, imaginary deities. These words in the hymn form a beautiful, poetic meaning once they are connected to the personal spiritual testimony of the Irish.

 

God’s own Words reflect the truth of “Be Thou My Vision” the best:

 

Psalm 97:9 ~ “For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.

Psalm 95:3 ~ “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”

Psalm 37:4 ~ “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalm 17:7 ~ “For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Psalm 5:3 ~ “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Matthew 6:33 ~ “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

1 Corinthians 8:6 ~ “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

1 Corinthians 15:57 ~ “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:1 ~ “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Galatians 4:3 ~ “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

Exodus 20:3 ~ “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

What can we learn from the testimony of the Irish people?

The story of the Irish people’s salvation is truly inspirational, proving that God can work miracles in people’s hearts in spite of all opposing circumstances. However, we can also learn from some of the lessons they experienced the hard way, such as falling back into superstition under a different name and form. How can we guard ourselves from falling prey to the same old sins over and over? The answer is simple – we must make God our one and only Vision. When He takes His rightful place as High King of our hearts and their desires, we will be able to see His will clearly without confusion. When we make God our first thought each and every day, we will be less likely to fail Him and more likely to please Him, seeking to honor His Name through all that we do, think, and say. If we give our Heavenly Father the respect He deserves by acting like His adopted children as we should, we will make Him very happy indeed. So how is your vision today? Are you seeking God first, relying on Him for your future to be revealed to you day by day? Are you acknowledging Him as the High King of your heart and all its desires? I hope so.

– Gloria D. Hopkins