Jeremiah 31:3 NLT – Everlasting love

Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

The while back I was looking over posts to my Facebook account, I noticed a posting from a dear friend and Pastor. I asked him if I could share the posting and he graciously gave me permission. Here are his thoughts:

“As I’m spending some time meditating and listening to music this morning. I felt the overwhelming presence of God’s Love. And I say “overwhelming” because it moved me to tears. I got this message that I’m going to share because someone else may benefit from it. God’s love is not something you can earn or purchase-it’s more valuable than that. God’s love is not something you can convolute or complicate-it’s more simple than that. God’s love is not something you can manufacture or manipulate-it’s much more genuine than that. God’s love is unexplainable & unshakeable. God’s love is available for you whether you feel worthy or not. God’s love is AMAZING!”

Thank you Pastor. I thank God for you being a part of my life. I, too, believe that this message is for someone out there who needs or should I say desires to understand what defines the “Love of God”. What is God’s love? Well, God’s love cannot be purchased. It’s free…given to all who accept it. It has no price tag rather you can receive it just by asking for it.   It’s not complicated at all, it’s simply this, “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.” (John 3:16 NKJV) God loved you and He loved me even before time began. And He continues to love us with an everlasting love. A love that NEVER ends.

God’s love cannot be manufactured by anyone or any other thing. It comes from the heart of our Father in Heaven. It’s genuine. It’s real, having great value and cannot be pretended. It’s honest and open. And God’s love is unexplainable and it cannot be shaken. God said, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” God has called you His people. God is our Creator. Believe it. And He will love you forever. And His love is unfailing. You can’t be disappointed in His love. It’s not an earthly love, but an eternal and everlasting love.

Friend, God’s love is amazing. It truly is. There was a time in my life where I could not understand the love of God or what it meant to be loved by God. I was not able to understand because the thought of God was not with me. I was lost and living for the benefit of myself and no one else. But let me tell you something, God’s love is real and it’s alive and it’s available. God’s love is named Jesus.   Yes, God’s love has a name.   A name above all other names. The Name of Jesus!!! “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV) God is love itself. “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 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.” (1 John 4:15-16 NIV) How can we be sure that God lives in us and we possess the love of God? We need to pray. We need to ask God to live in us and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Do you need to seek God today for this? You can. Right now if you choose. Prayer is foundational to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our personal relationship with Jesus begins with a prayer and is nurtured through prayer. Why not begin today with the first prayer. Ask God to put His love in you in the person of Jesus Christ.

Dear Jesus. I don’t understand what God’s love means. I don’t know where to begin, but I am told that God’s love is in the Name of Jesus. I need this kind of love in my life. So Lord, come to me and come into my life and heart. Jesus I acknowledge You as love and the Son of God. I accept You as my Lord and Savior. I am a sinner in need of You. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I can live eternally with You. Thank You for loving me with an everlasting love and placing Your love in me so that I can love others as You love me. Lead me in Your ways. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Ezekiel 18:31 NKJV – Change of heart

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel recognized that a new heart and spirit were gifts from God and not the product of any human effort. Ezekiel pleads with his audience to seek these gifts not through their own merit but by repentance. God’s justice displays His righteousness as it conforms to His moral law “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV) and is seen in His perfect will. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit comes to take residence within a believer’s heart, renewing them and directing their hearts toward a greater love for God. “I will give you a new heart and put a spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV) The Holy Spirit transforms the human heart, enabling it to love and obey God.

But you might be saying, “But how can that happen? How can something change my heart?” Fallen man has a mind that is in conflict with the mind of God. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV) Nevertheless, the mind of man is capable of knowing God and can be changed and renewed by Him. “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV)

Not having a relationship with God leaves us morally and spiritually without life. But we are rescued from spiritual darkness by God through salvation. He brings union with Him through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. In the above foundational scripture, Ezekiel was pleading with house of Israel to turn around, about face, turn from sin and turn towards God. It is the same today. We must turn away from sin, throw it overboard, and break all identification with it.

God loves us so much that He gives us a choice. We can choose to seek the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, and will all our mind or we can choose not to. Repentance opens the way for blessing. God loves you so much. He desires that all people should repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) God is patient and not willing that anyone should die in sin. He loves you that much! That is what Ezekiel was pleading about. (Get the point about God’s love for you)

Friend, how does the process start for a new heart and a new spirit? It starts with a humble prayer. God hears and answers prayer. You have access to God and His presence through the work of Jesus Christ. Humbly ask God to create in you a new heart and a new spirit. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 NKJV)

Dear Lord, I humble myself and ask for Your ear, Your presence. I know Your name, but don’t really know You. I am sinful but don’t want to die in my sins and be forever separated from You. Create in me a new heart and spirit to follow You and call You Lord and King. Forgive my sins and my old way of life and begin Your work in me. I believe in You, Jesus and how You died for me. You defeated my sin and death by Your resurrection. I rejoice because You did it for me. Pour out Your love on me, Lord, as I turn away from sin and turn to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 23:34 NKJV – Everlasting love

“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

An incredible final prayer. Until Jesus’ final breath, He interceded for those who persecuted Him. This prayer reveals God’s amazing love for sinners. The Apostle Paul said, “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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV) This prayer continues to motivate and inspire believers today.

The everlasting love of Jesus is so much above anything we can ever explain, experience, or even think or imagine. These past few days, I’ve felt led to write about the love of Jesus and the impact on our lives because of it. The love of Jesus caused Him to leave His eternal glory. In the glory and honor that was eternally His in heaven, Jesus came to earth to live as a man and to suffer and die. All for you and me. All so that we could spend eternity with Him. All because “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Grace and mercy are the qualities of Jesus by which He is compassionate, accepting and incredibly generous. Jesus Christ demonstrates these qualities towards those whom he encounters. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV)

And the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus caused me to see my need for a Savior. God in mercy makes Himself known through His Son, Jesus and the illumination of human minds to understand Him. We are not capable to discern who God is with our own finite minds. God’s majestic brilliance is shown to the world supremely through Jesus Christ. When I heard His Word preached, when I heard about the love of Jesus and that He was ready to meet me at my point of need and redeem me, I was captured. The light of Jesus overpowered me and Jesus became my Savior. Thank You Holy Spirit!!!

Friend, are you in need of experiencing the incredible and everlasting love of Jesus? The love of Jesus is for all who seek it. The love of Jesus is open to you if you would call upon His name. Would you make Jesus your top priority and call upon His name today? He will hear you and He will answer you. Will you pray this prayer today?

O Lord Jesus, there are days that I don’t know the meaning of love. I feel that nobody even cares for who I am or what I’m going through. But I’m told that You are full of grace and mercy. I’m told that You hear and answer prayers. I’m told that nothing can separate me from the love that is in You. Hear me, Lord, right now. I am in need of Your love. Bring it to me in a way I can fully understand. Make Yourself real to me. Thank You, Jesus, for Your saving grace on my behalf. Help me with my unbelief. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Genesis 6:9 NKJV – I want to walk with You

This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

I like the part of this verse that declares Noah walked with God. I think about that proclamation and ponder the magnitude of that. Noah’s devotion to God was unchallenged. Noah lived in a time of great corruption. A time where “all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:12). A time not so different than right now across our world. Human beings have become separated from God through sin, and are divided among themselves. We are divided individual against individual, man against woman, nation against nation, rich against the poor.

Why is this true? The world is in a condition of spiritual blindness. The human race is estranged from God.

I believe that in order to walk with God as Noah did, we MUST have a personal relationship with God. God MUST be the central point of our lives. Nothing can be above our need for God. We need Jesus. Grace and mercy are the qualities of God’s character by which he shows Himself compassionate, accepting, and generous to sinful man. He forgives them and bestows on them His righteousness. Grace and mercy are expressed through Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross. Jesus is the only way.

Our source of God’s incredible grace and mercy is Jesus. God’s grace and mercy are expressed in an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus. Salvation comes by grace whereby punishment is withheld and sin is forgiven. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Faith is the way by which believer’s journey through this world. Jesus Christ, Himself, is the way to life everlasting. In order for us to “walk with God” as Noah did, we must have a daily, intimate prayer life. One not of just conversation about wants and needs, but one that includes knowing God and His character. Prayer partnered with His Holy Word.

Friend, do you desire to “walk with God” just like Noah did. Do you desire for your faith to be unchallenged? Do you desire to have that daily, intimate relationship with God through prayer? I do. Join me.

Lord I come to You and seek a deeper relationship with You. Lord, I want to walk with You. I desire that no other thing come between us. I desire only You Lord, only You. Teach me to seek and know Your character. Guide me in all of Your ways. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV – Let us pray!

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

It’s all about praying for those who have not yet called Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior. It’s all about realizing that the world is full of those who believe in the world order. It’s all about grieving for those who cannot understand because their minds are blinded.

To be spiritually blind means that there is an inability or unwillingness to perceive the truth of the Gospel. Unbelievers are spiritually blind. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)

God is beyond unaided human knowledge and it is impossible to fully know God without revelation. The revelation comes from the Word of God and the belief in its inerrant truth. So if the lost of this world cannot even begin to understand and are blinded to their need for Jesus Christ, what can we do?

We can pray. It’s only through prayer that the lost can be reached. It’s only through prayer that the lost can see their need for a Savior. Charles Finney, well known revivalist once said, “In the case of an impenitent friend, the very condition on which he is to be saved from hell may be the fervency and importunity of your prayer for that individual.” I absolutely believe that is true. I know that I was headed to death and hell had it not been the prayers of a man who called on the Name of Jesus on my behalf.

Do my prayers or your prayers make a difference? Yes they do. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16 KJV) God hears and answers prayers that are offered in accordance with His will. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14 NKJV) And it is God’s will that all of us see our need for Jesus Christ as our Savior. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)

Precious Lord, I pray right now that those who are reading this and do not call You Lord and Savior would receive a touch from You today. Lord, their minds are blinded but Lord You can restore their sight, You can renew their minds. May we pray daily for those who are lost and are dying in their sins. May Your love penetrate and break the hardness of their hearts. Soften them Holy Spirit to be able to see their need for Jesus and bring them into the knowledge of the truth. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 14:6 NKJV – Which way, what truth, whose life

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This is a powerful and strong affirmation that Jesus Christ alone is the way of salvation. To even imagine or proclaim any other way is simply misleading people and forgets the necessity of His coming and redemption. (John 1:4 NKJV)

The world will try to convince us that we can only live as best as we can live and that there is little else we can do. That through our acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to humanity, we can feel secure that we’ve placed our mark on this world. Our legacy rests on being a good and loving person.

Well, that’s one opinion and I simply don’t align with that opinion. My belief rests in the truth and the knowledge of God’s eternal Word that also says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV) Certainly, the attributes of Jesus Christ includes being kind and thoughtful. But if we live a life that relies on just this, without the power of God’s Holy Spirit living in us, we are falling fatally short. The things of this world are temporary. We see proof of that each and every day. It’s called disappointment. It happens every day in the life we lead in this world because the world is flawed.

Do I face disappointment being a believer in Jesus Christ? Yes, I do. But I am never disappointed in Jesus. He is where my strength and my absolute trust lie. It’s the world that disappoints me. People disappoint me. Things disappoint me. But God never disappoints me. That’s a lot to believe for someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus like I do or cannot believe because God just isn’t a part of their life right now. I know how that feels. I was in that place as well. And I was disappointed when I lived outside of Christ. I thought I had it all together, but life and this world disappointed me. I needed to find stability in my life and Jesus brings me that stability. His love and truth and mercy and grace and sustaining strength gives me stability in an unstable and mixed up world. I live in this world, but I am no longer of this world. (1 Corinthians 3:19 NKJV)

How do I keep on keepin on? Prayer. The more I pray, the stronger I become. The more I pray, the more compassionate I become. The more I pray, the wiser I become. The more I pray, the more patient I become. The more I pray, the healthier I become. The more I pray, the happier I become. The more I pray, the more loving I become. The more I pray, the more I prosper. The more I pray, the more clearly I can hear. The more I pray, the more I understand. This list can go on and on. When did I learn to pray? When I chose to put my faith and trust in the blood of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. My point is without Jesus Christ, there is no way.

Nowhere in God’s Holy Word does it say that the way to eternal life is being a good person. Nowhere in God’s Holy Word does it say that the way to eternal life is giving the most to those who need it the most. And it’s in God’s Holy Word that I choose to place my trust. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)

What or who will you believe? What is your truth? Which way is your way? What or who defines your life? For me, the answer is Jesus. How about you?

Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for sending us Your Son to live and suffer and die for us so that in belief of Him we would have eternal life. Forgive us Father when we think that we can control our life. We can do nothing. It’s only in our belief in Jesus and His shed blood on the cross that we can find assurance of our life with You eternally. Draw us Lord unto to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Isaiah 14:3 KJV – How could you love someone like me – Part 3

And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve

God, You are so wonderful. Thank You, Lord, for my testimony of Your great love for me. I love You, Lord. None of this is possible without You.

Part 3 – How God Enables

But I wanted more. I wanted to serve my Lord. I wanted to do whatever God would lead me to do. But again, I thought, I didn’t even know where to start. My friend and coworker Mark was a musician and vocalist and he was very gifted. We talked about his unselfish obedience to the Holy Spirit when he prayed with me in Part 1. Well, as I continued to attend church, I felt that one of the coolest things in “my” church was its choir. They were very talented and I always felt blessed to hear them and join with them in praise from the congregation. I remember praying once, “Lord, if I could just worship You in song like they do.” Yup. Really. That’s what I prayed. I was still a fairly new believer. Just a little over a year old, I think. And God answered again. Praise the Lord!!!

I asked Mark at work one day, how does someone get to sing in the choir? He said, “You just show up for practice.” Sounds silly. But it was true. So I went and I found myself now in the choir with my very own choir robe. WooHoo! I had always loved to sing and now I was serving God in praise and worship. What a blessing that turned out to be. Glory to God!!!

Well, lots of things transpired over the years with the choir. One thing led to another and I found myself leading some worship during our Wednesday Night Service from time to time. In 2006, I joined a Praise and Worship Group called “UnDone” and we ministered inside and outside of church. Other opportunities came to serve and I tried to be as open as I could with all that came my way. I was nominated to serve on the church’s Board as Board Secretary. I was ratified and served for 6 years. Praise the Lord!!!

One particular summer I was asked to help out with Vacation Bible School. I said yes, and my wife Nancy partnered with me. I thought how hard could it be to tell kids about Jesus and have fun at the same time. Well, I learned a great deal about 9-10 year old boys that year. By the end of the VBS, I was bruised and sore and tired and said, “Lord, I’m not gifted in working with kids. Praise the Lord.” Well, God had different plans. By the next year in September, I found myself on a mission’s trip to El Salvador working with children. God led me to a small village just outside of San Salvador that first night. And on a street corner, just on the other side of a steel fence, the local pastor began to shout over a loud speaker in Spanish to come. He said he told them to come hear the man talk about Jesus. My then pastor, who I came with, gave me the opportunity to speak. I am so thankful to him for it because that night 16 kids gave their little hearts to Jesus. It was there in El Salvador that I accepted my calling to work with kids back home. For the next 6 years, Nancy and I worked together alongside of our children’s pastor as lay teachers and support to our KidzBlast Children’s Ministry. Glory to God!!!

And that leads to today or at least what’s happening now in my life. Back in 2009, I began to feel God wanting me to study His Word and gather up some notes and begin writing a daily prayer devotion. I didn’t know how to respond, but kept it in prayer and set it aside. I was loving children’s ministry and felt I just couldn’t leave. In 2010, our church along with many dozens of other churches hosted a Convoy of Hope outreach in our local community. I was asked to lead the Intercessory Prayer team. Praise the Lord!!! In 2011, I felt a tug on my heart to spend more time in prayer. That I was in a time of preparation. That God was going to move Nancy and me out of children’s ministry. We both prayed and Nancy had told me she felt there was a gifting in me for prayer. Again in 2011, I was asked to lead another intercessor team for a 2nd Convoy of Hope outreach. Glory to God!!! In the summer of 2012, I was given the opportunity to lead a group of prayer warriors pray over our city-wide revival meetings. God moved so greatly in that prayer time. Praise the Lord!!! At the end of those meetings, I was approached by a friend and pastor and he asked me if there would be some way I could help with organizing a regional prayer network. So with the help of three community pastors and some wonderful prayer warriors, a monthly Intercessory Prayer Gathering is held at our local YMCA which Nancy and I facilitate. Glory to God!!!

Fast forward to February 2013; Nancy and I said farewell to the children of KidzBlast for now and told them we were moving into leading a Prayer Ministry at our church. In July of 2013, God brought to fruition the prayer devotion He spoke to me about in 2009. He began to give me words, thoughts, He led me in His Word and on July 8, 2013, this devotion began. Praise the Lord, again!!! I am not qualified or nor talented enough to write every day without God’s hand upon this devotion. My only prayer is that God is glorified.

I started out in Part 1 with “How could you love someone like me?” God did and continues to love me. But I am not the only one that God loves like this. God loves you and everyone else just as much. In fact, He can’t love you any less. He loves you with an everlasting love and desires to bless you. Please don’t take my word for it. Take God’s Word for it. You see, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Is this the end of my story? I pray it’s not. But what I have shared with you can be duplicated and heard over and over again with everyone that has called upon the name of Jesus. God demonstrates His love by Saving Us, Restoring Us, and Enabling Us. He is no respecter of person. He cares for every breath you breathe and every step you take. He’ll pour out His love and blessings on everyone. God bless all of you.

I humbly submit to You Lord. Continue to take me on new journeys with You. Guide me and lead me and all of my days, I will praise Your Holy Name. Amen and Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!