#5 Practicing Devotion to God-Knowing your Identity

As we grow and mature in life we go through a process of learning to know who we are.  We struggle with self-esteem, motivation and self-discovery.  As a Christian, we also go through this as we learn who we are in Christ, and how much we are loved by God.  I personally did not really learn to love and appreciate myself until I got a grasp on how much God loved me,  and how important I am to Him.  This knowledge gave me worth in His eyes and was more powerful in shaping me than anyone or anything.

God tells us who we are to Him in His WordPsalm 139 is filled with His love for us.  Here are a few verses: 1-6, 14-15

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
pslam 139 14You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it….. 13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

Isaiah also gives us a picture of God’s love for us in Isaiah 43:1-2, 4,7

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43 74 Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,

7 everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

galatians 2 20God loves us beyond measure and we were created for His glory. His love was ultimately shown when He sent Christ to die for our sins and restore us to relationship with Him that was broken by sin.  Galatians 2:20 gives Paul’s testimony of who He is in Christ.  Let it be ours too.  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I pray that as you meditate on these verses you will catch of glimpse of how much God loves you and desires a relationship with you.  You are important to Him!  Know that you you-are loved by Godwere loved even before you were created and you are held precious in His eyes.  That is true worth,  to know and understand you are loved by God.  Let your life be governed by His love and let your identity be in and with Christ.

Linda

Love, the motivating factor in the story

In our journey this Advent Season we have walked with Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Anna, Simeon, the shepherds, the angels and the Wise Men, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt and back to Nazareth.  We have seen our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Sovereign God in control and guiding all events.  Today, Christmas Eve, let us look at the prophesy Isaiah gave concerning this Christ Child, Emmanuel-God with us.  Let us marvel at God’s Love for us.  The depth, width and scope of what He would do to show His love so we could be reconciled to Him.   Isaiah 9:6-7 was  written 700 years before Christ’s birth.

Isaiah-9-6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

God is loveJesus was the full expression of God’s LOVE for usHe loved us before we first loved Him.  His love is complete, eternal, uncompromising, faithful, true and unchanging.  Scripture tells us that God is love.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8   Here are a few scriptures describing God’s love:

Deuteronomy 33:12 ““Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,  and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

Psalm 63:3 “Because your love is better than life,  my lips will glorify you.”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:16 “ And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 

God loved us so much that He sent His beautiful, wonderful Son to accomplish our reconciliation and redemption.  John 3:16  “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Thank you God for loving me so much and saving me.

Linda

 

 

Tender Mercy-what is it, who has it?

Like Mary, Zachariah had a long song of praise to God after his speech was restored.  Luke 1:76-79  “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
luke 1 7878 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us  from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The first part of Zachariah’s song, Luke 1:68-75,  praised God for sending Messiah, as promised.  He speaks of the holiness and righteousness of this Savior to come.   In today’s scripture, Luke 1:76-79, Zachariah is praising merciful God for his own son, John, who will have a part in preparing the way for Messiah. John would be a prophet, prepare the world for the arrival of Messiah and give the people knowledge of coming forgiveness and salvation. Zachariah extols God for being merciful and sending  a Savior to give light in a dark world, provide guidance and would show us the way of peace. Just as Mary praised God for His mercy to her people Israel, so Zachariah praises God for His tender mercy to all mankind for sending John to lead the way and providing a guiding light towards forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.  Here Zachariah calls it the tender mercies of God.  Mercy is not giving us what we do deserve which is death for our sins and total separation from Holy God.  Tender mercy is mercy filled with love for us.   The Message reads, “Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us.”   Love, sincere love from the heart, motivated God to send Jesus to save us.  John 3:16 says it best,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  God loved us so much He sent Jesus to make a way for us to be made right with Him.  That is mercy- we did not deserve.  Romans 5:8 tells us, “ but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  What a merciful God we have.  He loved us and sent Jesus even knowing of our sinfulness and the great cost to His Son to redeem us.  That is tender mercy from a loving God!

love and mercyMay your day be filled with His mercy and love towards you.  Then give it out like God did by sending Jesus.  You will be blessed.

Linda