seven about love: #4

“My dear children,
let’s not just talk about love;
let’s practice real love.
This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.
It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism,
even when there is something to it.
For God is greater than our worried hearts
and knows more about us than we do ourselves.”
1 John 3:18-20 Message

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Let’s not just talk about love – let’s LIVE LOVE! Love is more than an emotion, love is an action. It may be easy for you to show love to others, but hard for you to show love to yourself. However, try! Give yourself grace and you will also receive peace.

Love is “the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism”. Do you have debilitating self-criticism? We can talk ourselves into “not enough” in any area: maybe we aren’t not good enough parents or maybe we are not good enough writers or maybe we aren’t good enough prayer warriors or maybe we aren’t good enough singers or maybe we aren’t good enough fill-in-your-own-blank-here.

Once we convince ourselves that we aren’t enough, the next step in that downward spiral is shame or embarrassment. We create walls between us and the people around us. We hide because we are afraid someone else might realize our lack. From there, we step into comparison – and trust me, we can always find someone who IS enough and someone who CAN do successfully all the things we can’t do. Finally, we convince ourselves that we don’t have anything worthy to give, and we stop giving altogether.

Before you think to yourself, “Well, I was worse than that, you don’t know…..” Look at the end of John’s phrase: love is “the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it”. Okay, so maybe you deserve the criticism – we all fall short. Refuse to allow criticism to turn into condemnation – the Lord wants you to grow and He wants to help!

I have another thought: we cannot put up walls between ourselves and people without also putting up walls between ourselves and the Lord. If we are hiding and not loving others with the love that God lavishes upon us, isn’t it in some way disobedient? Let’s learn to accept love so we can give love!

Knowing that God loves you, even if you think you deserve harsh criticism – that’s a treasure.  It will lead to freedom and I’m praying that you find it today! ❤

Jennifer 🙂

seven about love: #3

“Since then it is by faith that we are justified,
let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace,
and here we take our stand,
in happy certainty of the glorious things He has for us in the future.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—
we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles.
Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance;
this in turn will develop a mature character,
and a character of this sort produces a steady hope,
a hope that will never disappoint us.
Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts
by the Holy Spirit given to us.”
Romans 5:2-5 Phillips

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Grasp the fact that you have peace with God! Our circumstances do not determine God’s character: God is good, no matter what we may be facing. Praise Him that we do not face this world alone. This passage assures us that we can have joy. Can indicates to us that there is a choice – so choose joy! If you want joy, it is available to you in the presence of God. In God’s presence, you’ll have love, joy, peace – and that’s just the beginning.

Of course, Paul tells us, we will have trials and troubles. However, never misunderstand and think that hard times are a reflection of God’s love. There are just hard times. God will use those times to build in your a mature character and strength…. But you know what? He can make us stronger every single day if we allow Him intimate access to our hearts. Some situation (or person, let’s be honest) drove you INTO your prayer closet – do not allow the relief of that hardship to drive you OUT of your prayer closet. Give it all to the Lord, both good and bad. You CAN be FULL of JOY!

Holding on to the steady hope He offers to us, being at home in His love, experiencing the love of God flooding into our hearts – is there anything better? (no, there isn’t!)

Steady love, not changing with the emotions or event of the day – that’s a treasure.  Praying you bask in that kind of love today! ❤

Jennifer 🙂

seven about love: #2 :)

1 John 15:9-10 in the Message translation:

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love.
If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.
That’s what I’ve done—
kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in His love.
I’ve told you these things for a purpose:
that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.”

When we are at home, we behave differently than we do when we are out. Make-up is off, hair is up in a messy bun, the most comfortable pajamas or sweats are on. No pretense, no need to pretend, no need to be anything but comfortable. Safe and secure. Happy and content. That’s how Jesus means for us to feel in His presence: at home! Wherever you are right now,  take a quick break from responsibilities and worries of life, let Jesus be your home. Rest in His love. You are His greatest treasure, dear child of God.

Because Jesus is always with us, we can always have this feeling of contentment and security in His love.  Please understand that your circumstances do not have to alter your emotions.  There have been moments or days or even long seasons in my life where times were hard – but the presence of Christ, if I turned to Him, was able to bring peace and security.  Find time every day to be at home with the Lord, rest in His love.  The more time you spend with Him, the more peace and contentment you will experience.  The more time you spend with Him, the less you will be affected emotionally by your circumstances.

Come to Him, messy bun, no make up, favorite sweats and all. Realizing that you belong, and feeling at home in the presence of Christ – that’s a treasure!  ❤

praying you find contentment in His love, and make yourself at home with Jesus today!

Jennifer 🙂

seven about love: #1

“Don’t be afraid, don’t despair.
Your God is present among you,
a strong warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back,
He’ll calm you with His love
and delight you with His songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 Message

God loves us. We know that in our minds, but often we don’t live that way. The Bible tells us we can come “boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Let those words sink in: help in time of need. Sometimes we mistakenly think that we’ve strayed too far, that somehow we’ve moved outside the boundaries of the Father’s love and patience for Him to restore us, but this is simply not possible. To the Lord, it doesn’t matter why you may need help – He just wants to help! He loves you – you are His precious daughter!

Stay there for just a minute: it doesn’t matter to the Lord why you are in need of help.  His heart is to restore you and bring you back into intimacy with Him regardless of why you need help.  If you need help because of of your own mistakes, ask for forgiveness – “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  If you need help due to circumstances outside your control, no need to feel shame – God is a loving Father.  He is not only ABLE to come to your rescue, He WANTS to come to your rescue! No matter where you’ve been (or why you’ve been there), He is happy to have you back, ready to welcome you home.

This sweet passage shows us how specific and personal the Lord can be with each of us.  Whatever we need, we find in Him. Think your situation is tough?  That’s okay – your Heavenly Father is tougher: He is a strong warrior! No need to be afraid, He is present and thrilled to be here with you in this very moment. Pour out your heart to Him, and let Him pour out His love on you. Your Father is welcoming you in right now. Are you broken or afraid?  Your Heavenly Father is also gentle, able to calm you with His love, draw you in and sing His song over you.

Knowing that God loves you and allowing His love to fight for you, give you peace, make you calm; allowing Him to bring you in so close that you can hear Him singing  over you – what a treasure.

Praying you find the treasure in God’s love today ❤

Jennifer