Month: April 2018

  • Radically Loved

    “Define yourself as one radically loved by God-this is your true self. All other identity is illusion” – Brennan Manning

    This quote by Brennan Manning is one of my all-time favorites. For some reason, the phrase “radically loved” just lands differently in my mind. It’s easy to take God’s love for granted the same way my kids take my love for granted. I’m always telling them I love them. They know it and sometimes even give me a playful eye roll if I get too gushy.

    God has told us over and over in the Bible how much he loves us. He shows us by providing for even our most basic needs. But do I stop to think about how radically loved I am by God? How do I even try to fathom that the same God who created the universe and all the incredible things in it, thought the world needed one of me too? Let alone that He would come to earth to walk the life I walk, and feel the emotions I feel, to reach into my situation and meet me in my need.

    For years I sought my identity from the acceptance of others. I’ve spent so much of my life being a people-pleaser so that I would feel accepted. I would worry all the time about what people thought about what I said or did. Over time, God has helped me see that He is enough. His opinion of me is enough. I could be set free from the winds and waves of people’s fickle emotions and opinions. I no longer needed to fret and worry about what others thought of me. For I learned to rest my identity securely in the hand of my Heavenly Father whose love doesn’t change. For He is love itself. As I leaned into the truth that no matter who chooses to loves me or doesn’t, or who accepts me or not; He always will and He calls me His beloved, His precious child!

    Do you struggle with fully accepting how radically loved you are by the God of the universe? Do you define yourself as one loved by God? Please know, dear friend, you are so radically loved by God. You are a beautiful masterpiece created by God himself. Allow this to be what defines you. Let’s us no longer find our identity in the illusions that others or the world would have us believe. Proudly proclaim today, “I am a daughter of a King, a precious child of God!” This is your true identity.

    “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” ~ 1 John 3:1

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  • Choose Joy

    We all have that friend who just always seems happy and content with the world. She seems unruffled by adversity and undaunted by the challenges of life. You simultaneously want to hug her and smack her because she’s so stinking loveable.

    I have a friend just like this. Despite battling and overcoming breast cancer and juggling everything else in life like kids and work and marriage, she always has a smile on her face and peace in her heart. She radiates the joy of the Lord.

    The Lexham Bible Dictionary defines joy as being “closely related to gladness and happiness, although joy is more a state of being than an emotion; a result of choice. One of the fruits of the Spirit. Part of the experience of being a Christian.”

    This definition of joy is so full of hope and promise. While joy is related to happiness, it is also very different. We have a choice to experience joy regardless of our circumstances, because our joy has its foundation firmly in Christ. As Christians we know that we are beloved by our Heavenly Father who works all things out for good, for those who love Him.(Romans 8:28) We are confident that we are more than conquerors of the obstacles inner lives, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:37-39) Our situation and circumstances will change, but God’s love for us does not, and that gives us great joy.

    It is important to know that having joy is not simply pretending to be happy when you are not, or “faking it till you make it”. We don’t have to manufacture joy on our own. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Time spent with God through reading the Bible, prayer, worship and fellowship changes our thinking and aligns our priorities with God’s.

    Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the evidence, or fruit, of the Holy Spirit at work in us. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” None of these things are qualities we can conjure out of thin air. Rather they are a gift and a byproduct of living a Spirit-filled life.

    So what does that look like on the ground, in action? There are moments throughout our day when we can lean into God and experience true and lasting joy. It may be writing notes of gratitude, or listing our blessings. We can focus on truth instead of the lies the world tries to sell us. We can choose to turn our gaze outward and help someone else in need. We can be living proof of a loving God, in a world desperate to see Him up close.

    Each day we have an opportunity to choose joy. What will you choose today?

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