Category: Praise


Daddy Loves Me

It was a day like most others for a seven-year-old. I was out on our front porch playing in the afternoon sunshine while my mom was inside doing “mom things.” As I enjoyed the day with the birds singing and the dogs running around the neighborhood, I saw my dad drive up to our house. He got out, walked up to the door, and without acknowledging me at all, knocked.

 

My mom came to the door and my dad threw a piece of paper at her, saying “here is your blood money!” He turned and stomped off. I didn’t know right then what had happened, but I knew he was angry and my mom was upset. I found out later, by listening to my mom talk to my grandmother, that the paper was a child support check and that my father didn’t want to pay to take care of us.

 

My dad didn’t want us? He didn’t want me? If Daddy didn’t want me, didn’t love me, then why would anyone else? This event affected the lens through which I saw the world and set up a sense that I didn’t matter … I wasn’t enough … I was unworthy.

 

This, in spite of a mother that loved me to the moon and back and consistently built me up!

This, in spite of a God who loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me!

This, in spite of accepting Jesus as my Savior at about the same time as the “blood money” incident.

 

In my head, I knew God loved me … but until about a year ago there were days and seasons where these feelings affected my life causing periods of depression and sadness. I hadn’t been able to overcome the damage my father’s rejection had caused. But God could……….

 

 God wanted me to know, really know deep in my soul, how much He loved me and that He would never reject me … and because I hadn’t “gotten it” over the years with Him as my Lord and Savior, He got my attention in a very big way through a job loss – yet another rejection!

 

How can this be a good thing, you ask! Because even as our HR Director was giving me the totally unexpected news that my job had been eliminated, I knew God’s hand was in the situation. I felt His loving presence fill me with His peace and calm – I knew He had allowed this loss to show me how much He loved me.

 

Good Father

And it did – when I turned to Him! I clung to His promises and His encouragement – I felt my soul being healed and a sense of peace, in spite of the uncertainty of my situation. But God wanted more for me – He wanted to shift my perspective – He wanted me to see myself as He saw me – and He did this through a verse that would become a balm to my soul.

 

“Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us [me] in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us [me] into His own family by bringing us [me] to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5

 

God chose me? God adopted me? Through the sacrifice and blood of His Son? He loved me THAT much? And He decided that when? Before I was even born? And it made Him, the God of the universe, happy to have me in His family?

 

Wow! In those moments, God wrapped His arms around me and He gave me the biggest hug – and suddenly, my perspective shifted. Even though my earthly father hadn’t treasured me, I had another Father who did treasure me – a Father that loved me so much, that sacrificed so much, just so I could be with Him. And it made Him happy to have me as part of His family! This realization is what began the deep healing process.

 

Worthy and Loved

I started to see myself as God sees me – as a beloved daughter. As one who is now worthy because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ – “once you were far away from God, but now you have brought near to Him through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13

 

Have those feelings of depression and rejection totally gone away? No. There are still days when I don’t feel all bright and shiny, but now when I feel that way, I meditate on God’s Word and soak in the magnitude of what God did for me. This reminds me that I AM good enough. I was chosen and I am loved and I am worthy!

 

Have you ever felt rejected? Unworthy? Unloved? Not good enough? If you have, then it is my prayer that YOU will feel God’s arms wrap around you as a beloved child, an adopted member of His family and really, deeply know how special you are to Him. It makes the God of the universe happy to have you in His family!

 

I encourage you to make this personal by inserting your name into the verse. Read it out loud and bask in His love – because He chose you, He adopted you, He loves you. No matter how many times you may have been rejected or overlooked, our Father in heaven sees you and adores you.

 

I am worthy and loved. You are worthy and loved. We are His chosen ones.

 


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Watch the Lamb

As we approach Easter this weekend and celebrate the gift Jesus made available to us when He sacrificed himself on the cross, I want to focus on a song that touched my heart in a profound way many years ago (and still does today).  By the end of this song, I was in tears as I deeply thought about and felt in my soul the reality of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb who covered our sins with His blood.  If we are believers, we know Jesus is the Lamb of God who gave His life to wipe away our sins so that if we believe and accept His free gift, we can be saved and be part of His kingdom for eternity.

| 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, NIV)

| The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NIV)

Do this in remembrance of Me

We know this truth ……….. in our heads ………….. but sometimes this realization hasn’t reached down into our soul to the emotional & spiritual core of who we are.  Easter becomes a holiday …… something common place (we do this every year) …….. and less than it should be.  But Easter should be the most holy of remembrances, for it is by His sacrifice that we can live in freedom as children of the Most High God.

The song, Watch the Lamb by Ray Boltz, moves me beyond intellectual acknowledgement of Easter into an emotional and spiritual place.  The song shows the Passover experience from the eyes of a father and his two sons who have traveled to Jerusalem to offer their sacrifice (Mark 15:21) — a sacrifice that ended in a much different way than expected.  Take a listen …….

I believe this father’s experience with the Lamb of God affected his life in a profound way.   Has it affected us in a similar fashion?  From our lives as modern Christians, I think we often look at Jesus’ sacrifice almost academically — we don’t really understand the pain and agony that Jesus went through on our behalf.  The mock trials, the beatings and scourging, the ridicule, the humiliation and the excruciating pain of crucifixion — all endured willingly by Jesus as the final sacrifice for our sins

|  Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” John 12:27

I have been listening to a devotion on the book of John — and with God’s timing, I happen to be at the point of Jesus’ death in my study during this week before Easter — making my experience listening to it all the more impactful.  Chuck Swindoll with Insight for Living (https://www.insight.org) describes the process of Roman justice — the scourging and crucifixion (the most humiliating, public and painful death imaginable).  It is horrific, with many not living beyond the scourging due to the blood loss and shock; then the pain and agony of being nailed to the cross and slowly suffocating as the condemned can no longer hold themselves up on feet nailed to a wooden cross.

Why would anyone else endure this for us, for me?  Because it was God’s plan from the beginning and the only way to bring sinful man into reconciliation with a Holy God!  For this reason, Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, gave His life.

He is the way

I am so grateful for His sacrifice, but there are still times when I go through my daily routine only to realize that this gratefulness doesn’t fully comprehend and isn’t fully broken by what the crucifixion meant in that day and time.  Or what He endured for me …… for me, an unworthy and sinful child …………. all because He wanted me to be part of  His family.  His sacrifice was the only way to wash away sins for all who would believe in Him ……..  once and for all!

| I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV)

Has Jesus’ sacrifice become personal for you?  Or do you see it as an overarching sacrifice for all of mankind?  I ask this because when I think of Jesus dying for me — and only me — it blows my mind because I really can’t fathom why He would love me that much.  I can see His sacrifice more clearly when it saves all of mankind ……. but just for me?  I feel so unworthy.  But this is the crux of our faith!  Our acceptance of His gift for our individual sins ………. and then living for Him daily ………… walking as Jesus walked.

it is finished

Is the crucifixion real to you?  But even more so, is the resurrection real to you?  I am so grateful for the cross, but I am even more grateful for the empty tomb — because our God is not dead, He is alive!!!!  Death did not defeat Him — He defeated death for all eternity.

My prayer for you this Easter weekend is for you to have a very personal encounter with your Savior ………… really let yourself feel the sacrifice He made and acknowledge the pain and agony He endured for you.  Then joyfully worship and adore Him.  And if you don’t know Him in this personal way, I pray you ask Him into your life and accept Him as your Savior and Lord.

As you celebrate this most holy holiday, the very foundation of our faith, I hope you enjoy this Easter Medley from  Anthem Lights about our risen Lord ………. then top it all off by listening to the wonderful version of He’s Alive by Dolly Parton (brings tears to my eyes every time!).

 

give thanks branded

God has an amazing way of changing our plans and pointing us in the direction He wants us to go — if we are willing and open to Him.  Even though it is Thanksgiving weekend, I hadn’t planned on writing a post about gratitude and thanksgiving – I was actually planning to talk about a Christmas song as we are heading into that season.  But my plans aren’t always God’s plans and He had another idea…….

I was listening to my church service this morning and the topic was on gratitude toward God and thanking Him for his blessings – for the good blessings and the darker things in our lives.  I was cruising along with the service, nodding at each point, confident I had been thanking God for these areas in my life – in fact, I had thanked God in my prayers last night for these very things – family, faith, friends, daily provision (new job), health and healing, my salvation, and His strength to get through the hard times.  This was the good blessing section of the sermon.

Then the pastor moved on to thanking Him for the darker things — “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 5:20  and that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  I felt like I was still on track – I mean I had thanked Him for my challenges over the summer after I was laid off and my job was eliminated because I knew He had a greater purpose for me and He would “give me a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).  I knew God was growing my faith and a new depth in my relationship with Him during the challenging time.  So check.

But then whammy!  The pastor started talking about a verse we normally consider during the Lord’s Supper (and typically more around Easter).

luke 22-19 branded

As the pastor talked about this verse and Jesus’ suffering, God broke me right there.  The Holy Spirit touched my soul and I just wept.  When Jesus was talking to His disciples during the Lord’s Supper, He knew the depth of the suffering He was going to be facing and He knew He was going to make that sacrifice to pay the debt of sin that we all carry.  I know this — I have known this for all of my life — but today, with the touch of the Holy Spirit, it took on a fresh significance.

Remember the 3 hours of total darkness that descended when Jesus hung on the cross?   Jesus was in hell — he was separated from His Father and suffering the torments of the damned for us — for me.  He suffered an eternity in hell for our sins — for my sin.  I am so humbled and so grateful that Jesus would do that for me.  I am about to start weeping again as I write this.

There have been many times in my life where I have felt unworthy, unattractive, and even unloved — but Jesus, My Savior, loved me so much that he suffered and died so that I could join God’s family and be with Him for eternity.  “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be  holy and without fault in His eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT.  

As I was thanking God with tears flowing down my face because of what He gave to me, I thought about a song that I used to sing as part of the worship group.  We don’t sing this song much anymore in the churches I have attended or visited but it sums up what I was feeling and how my heart was overflowing with gratitude.   I hope you can sing along and praise the Lord God for His many blessings.

I wasn’t planning to write a post about thanksgiving — but how could I not write about my thankfulness for Jesus’ sacrifice?  How could I not overflow with gratitude that the God of the universe so loved the world (me) that He gave His one and only Son so that I would not perish but would spend eternity with Him (John 3:16)?

I did weep.  I did feel my salvation again in a fresh way.  I am so thankful for the many blessings God has provided.  My prayer is that you also know Jesus’ salvation and His provision and feel God’s loving touch on your life — in the good times and the bad.

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart…..