Archive for May 15th, 2017

from JO’s sermon tonight:

when you know that somebody loves you, it puts you at ease; you don’t have to try to perform, impress, be good enough. you can relax, be yourself, you’re comfortable, secure. but a lot of people have an “I think He loves me” mentality when it comes to God; “I did good, I think He loves me, I earned His love.” the problem with this approach is, when we make mistakes, get off course, don’t perform perfectly, we think that God stops loving us. but God is not like people. people can love you conditionally; “if you perform perfectly, I’ll love you, but if you disappoint me, I’ll go find somebody else.” but God doesn’t change His mind when we make mistakes; if you run away from God, God will come running towards you. quit trying to earn this love. there’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less; it’s a gift, just receive it by faith. sometimes, we’re trying to become good enough, and then we’ll believe that God really loves us; take the pressure off, God loves you right now, and forever.

Romans 8:39 (NLT)
39 … nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God

Psalm 139:8 (NIV)
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

nothing that you’ve done can change God’s love.

Ephesians 2:4 (DLNT)
4 … His great love with which He loved us

not a little love or a conditional love.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered

do you really think there’s anything you can do to cause Him to stop loving you? how do you suppose God feels when we go around thinking, “I think He loves me”? get rid of the I-think mentality, and start having an I-know mentality. it’s very freeing when you can say, “I know God loves me.” voices will whisper, “not you, you’ve made mistakes, you’re not religious enough”; God doesn’t love you because you’re religious, or good enough, He loves you because you’re His child. when you receive this love, when you go from I-think to I-know, you’ll live with a confidence; quit trying to earn it, be good enough, you’ll live secure knowing that your heavenly Father loves you.

in the Bible, the book of John was written by the disciple John. what’s interesting is that he never referred to himself as John; he said “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

John 13:23 (NIV)
23 … the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.

he could’ve just said, “John was reclining next to Jesus.” Matthew, Mark and Luke referred to themselves in their own gospels by their own names; if they had read John’s account, they would’ve thought, “who does he think he is, describing himself as the one Jesus loved? Jesus loved us all.” but John had an incredible confidence in how much God loved him.

when Lazarus was very sick:

John 11:1-3 (NIV)
11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha… 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

they didn’t tell Jesus how much Lazarus loved him, or beg Jesus for help; they thought it would be more effective to remind Jesus how much he loved Lazarus. sometimes, we’re trying to convince God that we love Him; why don’t you do like Mary and Martha, and say, “Lord, the one You love needs healing, help”? what moves God is not just your love for Him, but recognizing His love for you. it pleases God when you know that you are dearly loved; that’s why the scripture says:

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

it doesn’t give God any pleasure for us to go around insecure, unworthy, beating ourselves up for past mistakes; shake that off, and go boldly to the throne. it makes God smile when we know that He is longing to be good to us. He has the amazing ability to treat us all like we’re His favorite. love isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is. when you start seeing yourself as His favorite, you’ll go to Him with confidence, pray bold prayers, ask Him for your dreams, expect new doors to open, not because of who you are, but because of Who your Father is.

He may not be pleased with all of your behavior, but that doesn’t change His love for you. when you go around guilty, beating yourself up, that doesn’t help you to do better; it pushes you down, causes you to struggle more. but when you receive God’s love, and know that despite your shortcomings He’s still proud of you, says you’re amazing, calls you a masterpiece, that’s what lifts your spirit, gives you the strength to do better, and break those chains that are holding you back.

Luke 19 has the story of Zacchaeus. he was a tax collector; in those days, they were known for being dishonest, cheating people, and were very disliked. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector; he was especially despised.

Luke 19:1-4 (NIV)
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

at that point, Zacchaeus realized that he was loved; out of all of the people there, probably including many people of importance, Jesus chose him to spend time with, making the point that you don’t have to have it all together for God to love you.

Luke 19:7 (NIV)
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

we don’t see people the way God sees them; we look at their behavior, how perfectly they perform, but God looks beyond all that. the people saw a notorious sinner; God saw the one that He loved. if you clean up how you live your life, God will be more pleased with your behavior, your life will go better, but it doesn’t affect His love for you. will you receive this love, or will you let condemning voices convince you that you’re all washed up? you have to say by faith, “Lord, I believe that I’m the one You love; despite my failures and mistakes, You still have a great plan for my life.”

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

if we try to perform to obtain this love, there will always be something that we can’t do right, to keep us from feeling good about ourselves; take the pressure off, and receive God’s love for you.

that’s with this lady had to do:

John 8:3-11 (NLT)
3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery… 4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”… he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”… 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

he didn’t say, “go, and sin no more, and then I won’t condemn you,” “change your ways, get your act together, quit giving into the temptation, then I’ll love you, be for you”; it’s just the opposite, he said “I don’t condemn you” first. before he talked about her behavior, addressed her issues, Jesus wanted to make sure that she knew that she was the one he loved.

but sometimes religion tells us, “clean yourself up, do right, perform correctly, then God will love and help you; if you don’t, He won’t have anything to do with you.” that’s not real love, that’s conditional love. your heavenly Father’s face is turned toward you. if you’ll receive this love, you’re going to live confident, secure, overcoming obstacles, rising higher, and becoming everything that He’s created you to be.

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