Tag Archive: life


What is Love?

As the leader of a ministry that reaches out to hurting women, many of which have been abused by people who claimed to love them, I was not surprised recently when I was asked…”What is love?” I thought the best way to understand what love is, is to go to God’s Word and see what it says about love.

What true love is NOT:

  • Love is not just words or a feeling but requires action (love lived out) – Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
  • Love is not boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy, unforgiving, slanderous (speaks falsely of another), without self-control, brutal (hateful), etc. – People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:2-5

    So if genuine godly love is none of those things. What is love?

  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
  • Love Serves Others – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13
  • Love is Selfless – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
  • Love is humble, gentle, and patient – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
  • Love obeys God – And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6
  • Our love for others should ultimately be God-focused – Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

Perhaps you’ve asked…Does God really love me? Isn’t God just out to trip me up and watch me fail? Does He really understand what I’ve been through? How do I know? Have you ever had this thought run through your mind, “I’m not good enough for God to love me?” Oh there is so much wrong with that statement. First, God’s love doesn’t depend on who you are, what you have done, or what’s been done to you. God’s love is solely dependent on His character. God is love. He proved His love by sending His Son to die for YOU!

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Let’s check out some characteristics about God’s love.

God’s love is…

  • Unfailing  – But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. Psalm 13:5
  • Extravagant – Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5
  • Priceless – How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
  • Merciful – Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. Psalm 40:11
  • Just – I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise. Psalm 101:1
  • Patient – But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
  • Everlasting – For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5
  • Satisfying – Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
  • Good – But you, Sovereign LORD, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. Psalm 109:21
  • Selfless – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
  • Parental (He disciplines His Children out of love) – because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Hebrews 12:6
  • Unrelenting – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35,37-39

You can’t hide from the love of God. You can run sure, but God is always at your side. If you have been abused by someone, you’re idea of love may be corrupted. Now you know the truth! Walk in that truth! And know that God loves you because you are His creation! I encourage you to read Psalm 139, I’ve included a portion below:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If you would like to explore this issue more with me or have any questions. I’d love to speak with you. Please get in touch with me by emailing me at restoredbyloveministries@gmail.com. There is no greater passion in my heart, than for you to know the love of God and live it out in your life! 

My prayer for you:

I pray that out of His glorious
riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you,
being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the
saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and
to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

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Pretend you are sitting in a seminary class for Introduction to Biblical Theology. Pretend you are discussing a great deal about sharing/teaching transformation to an individual or un-believer. Pretend not only does this class teach you about the growth of transformation in others but it’s a great deal about making sure YOUR transformation is unique, big, glorious and very image filled in Christ.

Now watch as the Professor tells you to look down around your chair and imagine a white circle outlining a chair.  I imagined right away the chalk line around a dead body.  That was my reality because I know what a dead life without looks like without transformation in Christ, I know it ALL too well.  The Professor says, “Who’s responsible for the person inside the circle? Stop being the victim and blaming others due to yourself!”

 There was no pretending in this statement, this was happening in my reality.  Although it was a statement to the entire room, I really thought he was talking directly to me.  How many times recently have I said that it’s someone else’s fault because of something crappy happening to me or it’s not my attitude or behavior at fault for how I’m treated?  More times than I care to recall.  I seem to be putting a frown to unfairness instead of stepping up and fighting for who I am and what I am as a Christian.  Instead of taking on my armor I am keeping my armor in my purse and not wearing it, heck most times I leave it at home and become the victim!  A person needs both freedom from sin and freedom for righteous and just behavior!  I need to get rid of the sin because there is so much more growing for me to do, sin is fun, oh yes it is, but freedom is amazing, oh yes it is!!!!!!!!  It takes ongoing everyday sacrifice. I know I keep crawling off the altar, I’m human in this broken world, I know it.  And yet I keep stepping off the altar, it’s a jump, hop, skip type deal.  Some days I’m sure I sneak off the altar, thinking God won’t notice.  

 My life is only going to get under control with a relationship with God. Guard that relationship!  I want to act justly as a reflection of God.  Loving God and loving man is the process I am under.  My intention is to be open to what God brings, to be open to the Holy Spirits activity. 

 What do you want God to do with you?   

 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Titus 2:11-14 (New International Version)

This blog was written by a friend of mine, Tiffany. She speaks of how she has found hope and purpose in her life. I pray that her blog ministers to your heart. If you’d like to speak with someone about finding hope and purpose in your life through Jesus Christ, please visit the site below and contact me.

-Stephanie Lampman (www.restoredbyloveministries.org)

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Did you ever push someone away, putting yourself first? See someone hurting but just walked away? Plan to get together with someone but decided to make other plans? Be a listening ear? Be a friend? Flip out on someone without realizing their feelings to your reaction? Joke with someone but have the person take it seriously?

No one is perfect. We are all broken. We all make mistakes. We are all searching for something more.

Did you ever feel alone? Broken? Lost? Worthless? Hopeless? Unloved? Like no one cared? Did you ever just feel that you had no worth to even continue living your life anymore? That you actually tried to hurt yourself to feel alive. That maybe this will help numb the pain. Maybe if I cut myself, someone will notice me. Or maybe if I go get high and smoke pot I can drowned out everything. Or maybe you’ve even considered taking your own life or even tried too.

I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. You have worth. You are loved. You have purpose. And I care about you. I have walked in these footsteps times & times again. I struggled with cutting, depression, & even tried to take my own life 3 different times. I know what it’s like to feel alone; like no one understands what you’re going thru. I know what it’s like to feel broken; like everything around you is falling apart. I know what it’s like to feel lost; like no one even wants you around. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless; like there is no hope in the world for you. I know what it’s like to feel unloved; like everyone hates you. I know what it’s like to feel like no one even cares; like no one ever has any time for you. I know what it feels like to be depressed; like you don’t want to live another day. Lastly I know what it’s like to feel worthless; like the only way to escape the pain is to take your own life. I know because I’ve been there. But there is hope. There is healing. There is love.

You might be thinking, but Tiff how did you come out of this? How did you find worth? Hope? Healing? Love? Purpose? My answer to your questions is Jesus Christ. Jesus brought me hope, worth, healing, love, & purpose. You might be thinking; well Jesus might have saved you but He can’t save me. No one can. But don’t believe that lie for one second. Jesus can save you & I have proof.

Did you know that you are forgiven? 

When God sent His One & Only Son into the world to die for you, Jesus took your sins too: everything you would ever do wrong. He took it because Jesus didn’t want you to be destroyed. God sent His Son so that after we die we could spend eternal with Him in Heaven. Jesus didn’t want to see you punished for your sins so instead Jesus took that punishment for you when He was hung on the cross to die for you. But just because He died doesn’t mean you automatically go Heaven. This is want you have to do to be saved:

A: Admit that you haved sinned & be willing to turn from your sins.

B: Believe that Jesus in God’s Son who died for you & was raised from the dead. This isn’t just believing with your head but trusting Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.

C: Call on the Lord, confess your sins, & committ your life to Him. This is the willingness to turn from your sins & to turn to Christ as your Savior & Lord.

 Here are 2 verses from the bible to sum this up in Truth:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”-John 3:16-18

“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man. Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.”-Isaiah 53:1-10

So this is how I found worth, hope, love, purpose, & so on; Jesus is the answer. If it weren’t for Jesus saving me from myself I honestly would not be here today. But because of what He did I am. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank Jesus.

But I don’t know where your at in life. Maybe tonight your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you? Maybe you are so stressed out with school that you can’t take it anymore. Maybe your parents just got divorced? Maybe you just found out your pregnant? Maybe you just got busted for drugs? Maybe you’ve been abused? Maybe you feel like giving up? Or Maybe you are at the end of your rope & feel suicide is the only way out?

But please hold on. There is help & treatment available for you. Rescue is possible. Suicide is not the answer.—“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”-Revelation 21:4-6

I love you so much; but most importantly Jesus loves you. But tonight I watched a movie called “To Save A Life.” This movie has changed me from the inside out. I have a different outlook on life. God has showed to me thru this movie a hurting world that needs Him. I felt lead to write this tonight. I felt a tug on my heart from God telling me to take action. So I started writing. I really hope that after you have read this that it gives you some hope & positive encouragement. I pray you would take action too. You can take this or leave it where it’s at. But I know there is a hurting world out there that needs me; that needs Jesus; that needs you. If someone don’t take action, then who will. The last thing I want to hear is that one of my friends took their life. This world needs us. I can’t do this alone. But if we come together as one in Jesus name we can make a difference. We can save a life if we are willing to help others before ourselves. At the time you’re helping someone else, you are helping yourself as well.

You matter to me. You matter to someone. You most importantly matter to Jesus.

On Grace by Dawn

Below you will find Dawn’s testimony of God’s grace displayed in her life through her struggle and freedom from an eating disorder. I hope that you will find hope in her story and peace in knowing that God’s grace is most assuredly sufficient for YOU!
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God Loves me so much that he sent his son Jesus that I may live… now and always by grace. How can I not sit back and look at my life and not just wonder, in shock, at what God has done and continues to do? I am so thankful that at the end of the day no situation or challenge can change the goodness of the Lord.

For three years I have walked with Him. Three years ago He held the end of the rope that pulled me out of the pit of death and into His shadow of light.  My testimony is posted on a website and this is part of a comment that someone left…. Like the “dawning of a new day” – your testimony heralds the beauty – the sheer wonder of being new in Christ – the old is past; behold all things become new – Oh what a blessing – may the LORD your King continue to use you mightily like a trumpet, to compel all to “Come, dance with our King!”

Use you …Use me….Hear I am, Lord….How many times have I said that to my Daddy? I’m always asking Him to use this Freedom Walker, to use this girl now three years out of brokenness and three years into the light. This past year has been different than the first two years, there were more days, than I have ever admitted to anyone, that I really didn’t want Freedom anymore, that I wanted to throw it all away and seek the guise of thinness. I know the answer to how all these thoughts started? Something so simple….busyness. I got so busy that I didn’t make even small moments of time to spend with my Daddy, He got pushed to the wayside and when the overwhelming feelings of life came I didn’t have the Truth to stand on to fight. Instead I decided I wanted to fight myself and fight my body for control over what I felt like was an out-of-control life. And let’s just say that putting my walls down to seek out the Truth, in the words of wise counsel, was really, really hard. But I had to do it. I had left that struggle in the past.

But hear me….it is a choice. In my life I had to change that I was Supposed to walk in Freedom to Wanting to walk in Freedom. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). That’s what he wants for each of us. But we have to embrace the truth, so instead of fighting my body I wake each morning choosing to walk in Victory. Walk out my Freedom! I will not let the mirror or the world define me, but I shall speak the Truth of God’s Word. I WILL LOVE ME; I will surrender myself into the hands of my Father, who will equip me for battle. Too often I, still more than I want to admit, measure my beauty by a number. He has already declared me BEAUTIFUL, His chosen and beloved daughter, the one He intimately wants to know and love me beyond any love that I can seek here on earth. I will continue to fight the lies that tie up my thoughts, I know the TRUTH, and I can speak it! The real battle is making sure my Truth doesn’t fall on my own deaf ears and understand that it isn’t always about those around me hearing the Truth but I need to make sure I’m still hearing it myself.

“If you hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.” Psalm 91:14, The Message.

Dear Father,

What a journey this has been and I am truly in awe of all you are continually doing in me. One day with you is better then a thousand elsewhere. I know you are good and that knowing you intimately has transformed my life. Give me the faith to walk in freedom and victory.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Unleashed

I went on a retreat with the youth from my church this past weekend. The theme for the retreat was “Unleashed.” Going into the retreat I had no idea what that meant and I was wondering to myself why they were calling it Unleashed. I soon found out what that really meant.

You see we have things in our lives that keep us in bondage, things we place before our relationship with Christ. These can be anything– internet, phone, television, video games, boys, texting, cell phones, self harm, obsessive focus on weight, eating, and exercise, beauty, money, caring to much about what people might think, you name it. There are so many things in this world that we get hooked on and tied down to. We tend to put these things first in our lives when what really needs to be first is our relationship with God. We were reminded this weekend that we need to be unleashed of these things that are holding us back from being our best in Christ. One of the youth leaders on the trip unleashed from the notion that she had to wear makeup so she didn’t wear any make-up during the retreat. We all have things that we need to let go of and give to Christ, things we need to be unleashed from. It’s when we are truly become unleashed from those things that we find lasting freedom in Christ.

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:15-19)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

So I ask you this….what do you need to be unleashed from? What is holding you back from your relationship with God? What is keeping you enslaved?

Think about this…what are some things that you feel you couldn’t live without? TV, the Internet, a dating relationship, drugs, facebook or myspace, cutting? The list could go on and on. Let me tell you, there are so many things today that we can put before our relationship with God. Anything that we feel like we can’t live without and put our dependence on or trust in more than God is an idol.


Well…my blades was an idol that I held close for about 10 years of my life. I would think about it constantly, and sometimes would be so dependant on it that I would take it with me wherever I went. I was consumed by it. I put my trust in a worthless little blade. I trusted it to take away the hurt and to solve all of my life’s problems. Satan would use this little blade to convince me that if I just used it on myself and hurt myself that I would feel better, that I could escape life’s problems. Because as Satan whispered things in my ear like….you’re worthless, nobody loves you, nobody should love you, ect. I fell into the trap of temptation and sin. I decided to take matters in my own hands and punish myself. I started more and more to rely on what Satan was telling me about myself and my circumstances than on the ultimate, absolute truth God has promised us in His Word. I was sinning by trusting in something other than God and His Word. I also was disrespecting God because I was so self absorbed in my struggles and believing the lies in my mind that I failed to appreciate God’s gift through Jesus‘ blood that He shed on the cross. That blood was shed to cover my sin and yours. It didn’t need my feeble, sinful attempts at making up for the sinful person I was or the mistakes I had made. I didn’t rely on God’s love and forgiveness through the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross.


In Hebrews 9 and 10 it talks about how those under the old covenant in the Old Testament would sacrifice animals as an attempt to clear them of their sin. The high priest would go into innermost part of the tabernacle for worship (the holiest of places) once a year but He would take with him the blood from a slaughtered animal as a payment for the sins of himself and for the people. But in Hebrews 9:9 it says that these sacrifices were unable to make the worshipers perfect in conscience. Meaning the blood did nothing, it didn’t take away their sin. It goes on in Hebrews 9:11 though that it is different for us because we are under a different covenant which is the new covenant which sole basis is the blood of Jesus. He is our perfect high priest, to be the payment through His blood on the cross. He died so we could be in constant personal fellowship with Him and not have to go through anyone else but Jesus to be freed from the bondage of our sin. In chapter 10:8 it says that Christ gave an ultimate sacrifice and offered us ultimate forgiveness through His death on the cross, we only need to come to Him and accept that forgiveness. Which means I didn’t need to make myself bleed through cutting to pay the penalty for my sin because Christ already did that for me through His blood on the cross. Back in Hebrews 9:14, it goes on to say after speaking of the old payment for sin through the old covenant…”How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” God offers us forgiveness for every mistake we have ever made and every mistake we will ever make, but that’s not an excuse to just go and sin, but instead, if we are truly living for the Lord we will long for that close relationship with God through Jesus. His forgiveness should draw us into a closer relationship with Him so that we serve Him with our everything.


So I want you guys to think about your own lives, what do you put before God in your life that you need to put aside in order to fully be surrendered to God? Do you know what it is to have that relationship with Him? Have you accepted that you can’t pay for your sin on your own and that you need Christ? I challenge you to not to spend years of your life as I did, believing the lies of Satan instead of the infallible truth of God’s Word. Be totally surrendered to Him.

How much am I worth? Am I worthless? How do I stop feeling like I am? Why do I feel like a piece of trash? I asked those questions frequently growing up. I was convinced that no one cared about me, that I was unlovable and I felt like a piece of trash, or even some days lower than a piece of trash! It turns out that believing I was that piece of trash completely made me worthless in a sense because while I was believing all those lies in my mind, I was becoming a girl that was sitting on the sidelines of my faith and my relationship with God. Because I was so “me-focused” (and yes, when you are so involved in telling yourself how worthless you are…you truly are “me-focused”) I was unable to be “God-focused”. What God desired for my life was being overshadowed by my own false self defeating thoughts and perceptions. So where do those thoughts come from and how do we counteract those negative (and simply untrue) perceptions about ourselves? How do we become “God-focused” instead of “Me-focused”? I hope and pray that you will discover God’s view of you and that you will commit to embracing that.

What does God have to say about my worth?

In Matthew 6:25-26 it talks about God’s love and provision for us.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

So I ask you this, if indeed you really are worthless…why would an Almighty God choose to provide for you? He provides for the smallest bird because He values His creation. You are part of His creation and it says here that your worth to Him is so much more than the birds! In fact your worth to Him led Him to die a cruel death on a cross for you and then conquer death by rising from the dead, so that you could have life. So how can you think that someone who would die for you and give up His own life for yours, thinks you are worthless? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense does it.

Many things can influence our perceptions of our self worth. But why waste your life away, struggling to feel good about yourself when all you need to do is commit to look to Truth. Every circumstance that has led you to feel horrible about yourself, every negative, self defeating thought that enters your mind will dim in light of God’s Truth. You just need to practice counteracting those lies with God’s truth and the way to do this is to get into God’s Word, the bible and search for yourself. Later on in the Matthew passage above, it gives a clear picture of what we need to do to defeat those self defeating thoughts that come into our minds….it says in verse 33…

“But seek first His Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

God loves to bless His children. He loves to pour out His love on us. He will go above and beyond for you, but the only way those thoughts are gonna be turned around is if you seek Him first and believe His truth. It’s a choice and it takes an active willingness to turn to truth and be free to be yourself instead of live in self hatred and misery your whole life. What are you going to choose?

Below are some scriptures that I hope you will look up to get you started in learning to see yourself how God sees you.

Matthew 10:29-31: Worth more than sparrows

Matthew 13:45-46: Jesus would go and has gone to the ends of the earth for you because you are of great value to Him

John 3:16: He loves you so much that He chose to die for you.

Romans 8:31-38: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

1 Peter 3:3-4: Beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit

Psalm 139: You are fearfully and wonderfully made…

Surrender

What does it mean to follow God? What does God desire from us when it comes to following Him?  Are we willing to surrender to what God has for our lives, even when it doesn’t make sense to us?

These are challenging questions and I say challenging because I’m living with them! God has been showing me so much about what it takes to fully trust Him with our lives. I’m not the most adventurous person so risks are not fun for me! Trusting anyone is not my strong suit either which makes it even more of a challenge. But thank God for His grace in our lives! A story in the bible that has hit me hard in the past couple of weeks is the calling of Jesus’ disciples. They were fisherman, tax collectors, ect., each of them had their own occupation and I’m sure each of them had their own agenda’s for life. But in the lives of two fishermen, Simon and Andrew (two brothers), Jesus came and had a different plan. Jesus tells them to “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Now if I were Simon and Andrew, I would be like, “Who is the man, who does He think He is saying coming follow me? He is crazy!” However, the bible doesn’t say anything about Simon and Andrew asking questions or saying anything like that. The bible says, “AT ONCE they left their nets and followed Him.” Now that’s faith!!! That’s surrender!!! They left everything they had lived for and everything they had trained for, their sole source of income to follow Jesus! God expects the same from all of us. He doesn’t want us to give half our lives to Him, He wants all of us! Every ounce of our being! Following Jesus won’t always be easy, in fact, I think it seldom is easy, but IT IS WORTH IT! It takes denying of yourself…your wants, desires, your goals for something greater….God’s wants, desires and goals for your life.

In Luke 9:23 it says, “Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Surrender requires faith! And true faith in God requires a willingness to give ALL! Are you willing???

The bible says “His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts aren’t our thoughts.” Yet He is wiser than any of our foolishness. God loves us so much that yes, He does hurt when we hurt  and understands our pain, but He loves us enough to allow us to go through some really tough stuff because He has a purpose in it. He knows that many times we don’t see the fullness of that purpose unless we struggle. Unless we go through the uncomfortable.

He doesn’t like to see us suffer but sometimes we need a little suffering to see the big picture and help us to grow in Him. He provides a way of escape for us though, He provides the comfort we need to make it through the tough places. I encourage you to read Psalm 18. It is an awesome chapter in the bible. It starts out with this “The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled aroun d me; the snares of death confronted me.” Have you ever felt that way? That your life was being taken from you. That the problems you faced were so horrible and huge that you just were in complete despair. And when we are in despair we ask God alot of “Why?” questions. Well continuing on in Psalm 18, verse 6, it says “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into His ears.” The question shouldn’t be “Why is all this trouble happening to me? Why do you let bad things happen?” but rather “What do you want me to learn through this circumstance in my life? And how can I come through this with a different outlook on my life?”

The whole chapter of Psalm 18 comes from the experience of David in the bible and how Saul (the king) was chasing Him and out to kill David. David could have asked the “Why?” question but He used His bad experience to turn around and get the big picture on the situation. Yes, I’m sure he was scared, I’m sure He was desperate, I’m sure He was confused at why God allowed Him to be in this place at this time….but He went back to what He knew to be true of God and says in verse 32…”It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect….He enables me to stand on the heights…..You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me so that my ankles do not turn.” God pushes us through trials and hard times to make us grow. To make us depend on Him. That’s “Why?” as we would say He allows bad things to happen. He isn’t a malicious God who is out to get us at every turn but He is a God of tremendous love and He knows what we need at any given time, even if it hurts! So next time you are struggling with something big in your life instead of asking God “Why is this happening?”, ask Him…”What are you trying to teach me?” It’s a hard thing to ask but the answer might just knock your socks off.