Immeasurably More Love by Sonya

“Through Christ may you know the love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”Ephesians 3:19-21​

This Christmas season I want you to take these verses to heart and believe them. These verses really help to understand Christ’s love for us, and how deep God’s love is for us, to have His son born on Christmas to show us that. There is nothing we can do or say that will keep us from Christ’s love or make Him loves us more no matter what. Knowing Christ’s love for each of us will help you understand how Great God’s love is and it is so much greater than what we could ever imagine. This can be hard to comprehend, and I am in that season where it is difficult to think how God can love us so much just as we are. I mess up all the time and have a hard time loving myself and so my vision is blurred from how God sees me.  But when I look through God’s lens, and He tells me I am His daughter, His masterpiece, and His love is unconditional, I see that nothing I do or say will make Him view me any differently. Wow, that is mind blowing and as humans we have a hard time understanding that. Our flesh gets in the way of truly believing how much God loves us. ​

Understand God’s love through His Son this Christmas by realizing God loves us first and He loves you more than anyone else. Also God’s love is eternal and will last forever and His love is unconditional no matter what you do. Lastly His love is immeasurable.  We can’t ever put into words or describe the love He has for us because it is so remarkable. So remarkable in a way that God sent Christ to come to earth on Christmas, so He could die for us and that we could have everlasting life with Him. How amazing is this and I want to understand that kind of love this Christmas. Who is with me? Our identity needs to be rooted in Christ and fully understanding His love will set us free. Are we ready to receive the greatest Christmas gift? God’s love is immeasurably more than what we could ask for with no strings attached. ​

I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore continued my faithfulness to you.”Jeremiah 31:3​

Now that you receive the love, go out and spread His love to those around you and let the Christmas spirit spread everywhere you go! Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Photo Credit: Free Pik

Reckless Love by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you own a radio, television, computer or even just a phone, you have probably heard the 2018 GMA Dove Award winning “Song of the Year” “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury.  It’s a Sunday morning staple all around the country and undeniably the world.  We belt out, at the top of our lungs, with no shame, the lyrics that speak to how God will stop at nothing to pursue us with His love.  It’s “overwhelming, never-ending, and reckless,” just to name a few words from the lyrics.  It breaks down every barrier and cuts through every obstacle just to pursue closeness with us.  We all get that tingly feeling in our hearts and spirits when we take a moment to let that sink in, and it touches a lot of us in our relationships with Jesus.  The thought that no matter what I do, or what attempts to be done to me, He’ll leave the “99” just to come after one, and that one is me.

The idea of the reckless love of God is very real to me, but through a conversation with a co-worker I came to understand it on an even deeper level.  She was telling me of her background and growing up in a different religion than Christianity. Throughout her lifetime she was very hurt by this organization and, as an adult, had sworn off all religion.  She was determined to never be involved with any god.  Then she met two friends.  One of them gently, and nicely invited her to church regularly during various activities they did together.  Then, another friend came in with a little stronger approach, letting her know that she needed to develop a relationship with God.  This went on for over a year when she finally gave in and visited a church service.  As the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed, to the point that tears were running down her face.  She realized Jesus had died for her sins, and contrary to what the other religion taught her, she could be close to and have a relationship with God as a result. Not through anything she had done or could do, but through what had already been done on the cross.  She made a decision to receive Christ as her Savior that same day and never looked back.

In the other religion she was a part of, everything was works based. God’s love and your connection to His people was predicated on what you do.  However the true Gospel turns all of that on its head in that, “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 CSB) Before we could do anything right or wrong, He died for our sins.  Which means there is no amount of work we can do to earn God’s love.  He gave us His Son, as the sacrificial Lamb, because of His love.  Her story encouraged me in that it demonstrates how patient and loving God is in His pursuit of us. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, He stops at nothing with His reckless love. As we approach Christmas, we are reminded of the birth of Jesus.  Take a moment to thank our Father for allowing Jesus to be born, that He might die, in order to demonstrate God’s overwhelming, never-ending love for me and you.

 

photocredit: dreamstime

A Love That Conquers All by Trish

 

This month will mark two years since my mother’s transition to heaven. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday but most days it feels like it was an eternity ago. I still have vivid memories of her final days and the interactions, words exchanged and precious moments shared.

It was an urge or unction to be with her when she celebrated her birthday on November 14thof 2016 and I arrived at the University of Iowa hospital the day prior. She was pretty weak and groggy when I arrived and although her body was exhausted, she perked up when she saw me walk in her room. As we celebrated her birthday in the hospital, two of her grandsons sang to her “Happy Birthday” and she mustered up strength to smile and give hugs. I didn’t know that life would hit me hard two days following when a team of doctors and specialists surrounded her bed and said there was nothing more to be done. I don’t know if it was denial or ignorance, but I then asked what my options were for her home health care, or a facility.  It took them saying it twice as they were carefully trying to tell me she wouldn’t be leaving the hospital and we only had days left. My mom looked at me and said, “I’m going to die, aren’t I?” I nodded my head and then buried it in her pillow next to her face as she said, “At least I was able to go to your wedding.” I cried using the pillow to muffle the noise but when I lifted my head up, a supernatural strength and grace empowered me for what would be her last seven days. When I asked what her goal was for her remaining days, she said, “I want to be here for Jeremiah’s (my nephew) birthday,” which was November 20thand on November 21stshe took her last natural breath.

 

The days following November 21, 2016 has had its share of ups and downs. I found myself as a new bride, stepmom and now a daughter missing the only person who has known me since my life began. My mom was a single parent and so I felt this immense void when the one person who provided andprotected was gone. When days were tough, she was there, when days were good, she was there. No matter what, she was always there and now, well, she was gone. I had to adjust to a new normal.

Although I missed her dearly most of what I was dealing with came from external sources. I was having to balance many things at one time.  There were days I felt as though my back was against a wall with so much pressure pinning me there. I wasn’t depressed or emotionally weak, I was grieving.

Yet in the midst of all of that I would feel a strength on the inside of me pushing me to do what was necessary day by day. It was that same type of strength I felt come in the hospital room the day the doctors delivered their report.

You see it’s a strength that doesn’t make sense. It’s a strength that surpasses the natural and enables you to do what is uncommon.  Though I may have felt weak, God’s strength was being perfected in me as I leaned on Him.

My mom was not a perfect person she had flaws and frailties just like each one of us. Yet, she had this incredible and undeniable faith that even astounded the doctors as she transitioned. That faith, that strength and that hope can only be found in Christ and she shared that gift with us from the time we were born and testified of it until her last day on earth. In her final days, I saw love perfected in her. I saw love conquer so much of what she struggled with even in her physical being. I saw love surround her with such a peace that it filled the atmosphere and drove away all fear.

Two years later and I miss her just as much. The memories are so dear and I long for the day when I get to see her again. But until then I lean on the love that carries me and will see me (and you) through.

This love that encompasses such a strength is only found in the person of Jesus Christ. He is not a character we read about to children during bedtime story hour. This person, holy person of Jesus Christ came to redeem us and reunite our heart to the Father. The immense love He has for us will strengthen us in our time of weakness, give us hope when there is none to be found and conquer every battle we face. This love will chase us down when we want to run and hide. This love will break every barrier around our heart and not allow the pain we experience to harden it.  This love will bring healing to the very core of what you thought would destroy you. This love will hold you when you’re broken and will restore what you thought was lost forever.

You may feel pain and experience loss or hurt but lean on the love that is waiting for you found in Jesus. This love will conquer all.

As I close out this article I’m reminded of the lyrics to “Reckless Love.”  Read the lyrics or listen to this version of the song and be reminded of a love that conquers all and allows you to move forward in life  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjIsfyBzywg

 

Reckless Love -Songwriters: Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Photo credit: Freepik

Treasure What You Have by Sonya

It is so easy to take for granted what you have and forgot to be thankful over the big and small things! I find we overlook the things and we have a hard time with being content. After being in Ghana, Africa this summer I realized how much we have and how little they have and how to be thankful for our everyday things. ​

God is so good that He gives us more than we need each and every day and treasuring that as a gift from Him is so important. Seeing the people in Africa truly have a heart of gratitude of what they have and be so thankful for what God has provided each day opened my eyes to being so thankful and not complain about what we don’t have.  When I looked around at the villages we served in and noticing that these kids had no toys to play with but the rocks and sticks on the ground and they were completely content and joyful. It made me think, are we that joy filled to treasure what God gives us, not asking for more, but being thankful for what we have each day? The people in Ghana were thankful every day for the one meal, for the same clothes on their backs that they wear over and over again and their mud hut that didn’t have air conditioning or electricity in their 100 degree temperatures.  It was a wakeup call for me to make me realize to appreciate the big and small things and not take things for granted. ​

Jesus said to him, “if you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21. This verse sums it up to let go of the earthly things and treasure what is important and what we have which is Jesus and our treasure in heaven. Wow treasure in heaven, that is the greatest gift we should be thankful for and not allowing the things of this world to distract us from that.  God showed me that in Ghana where the people in this one village lived that out and fully trusted God for their everyday needs! They don’t have medicine close by if they get sick and easy access to transportation or food, but they had Jesus and to them they have everything. Do we find our treasure in Jesus alone?  Because He is the only one worth everything to us and to have our treasure in heaven should be our greatest gift. I have this plaque in my home that reads, “Every day is a gift from God that is why it is called the present.” God is our treasure and our Gift and that is all we will ever need! AMEN!!!!

 

Photo Credit: Freepik