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Monthly Archives: January 2013

I Love You More

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All the world seems to be looking for love. We were created to desire love, affection, affirmation, relationship, and the void in us is not easily filled. God set it up so no person on this planet has to be alone. People are born into families. Not only are we born into families, we are birthed with a great opportunity to know the Creator of the Universe.

I am often amazed that God, as perfect as He is, wants to be friends with us. He wants us to be recipients of His great love, forgiveness, and to adopt us as His children. I mean seriously, He can do whatever He wants. He could create the world’s perfect best friend or person. Yet, He chose and chooses to dwell with sinful man. God was not lonely before creating man. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all existed long before we did. God did not need us, He wanted us. 

There’s something to be said about being wanted. No matter how awful we are or have been, we are here because God loves us. We are here because He cares for us. We are here because He had and has a great plan for our lives. We are no mistake!

He created us to be recipients of His great love. We were made to be loved by Him.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding, Ephesians 1:2-7.

No matter who we meet on this journey, there will not be anyone who loves us more than God. There will not be a person who will sacrifice all that they are for our best interests. It’s not going to happen. My earthly father is wonderful. I have no doubt he would do all in his power to protect, provide, and be there for me. However, I do not believe he can or would do all that God has done for me. While I was a sinner, Christ died for me. No greater love in the entire world, than the love God has lavished on us.

We may not always feel His love. We may not always see His love. We may not always believe in His love, but the truth is, God is love. Every day He pours out His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, compassion, and wisdom on a world that rejects Him, denies Him, abuses His name, and blames Him for all that goes wrong. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. I as a human, I grow tired of loving people who I know will never love me. I grow weary in turning the other cheek and responding in kindness to people who are cruel. God, however, is infinite in patience and love. Love is who God is.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love, Psalm 103:8.

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you, Psalm 86:5.

I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us–yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according to His compassion and many kindnesses, Isaiah 63:7.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you, Isaiah 54:10.

God’s after relationship…with us.

Some don’t hear God’s voice; it’s challenging to be in a relationship with someone you can’t hear. I will say if you are a born again believer, you can hear from God. Pray and ask God for the ability to hear from Him. You can have a relationship with Him that is as close and intimate as you would like it be. As Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me,” John 10:27. Even if you don’t hear from God directly speaking to your spirit, you can hear from Him through His Word (which is the best place to start and He does not violate His Word. He increases our understanding, but does not violate His Word). God also speaks through dreams, visions, others, and sometimes our circumstances.

Lastly, here are the words God deposited in my heart today.

I love you more…I love you more than you can imagine. You are My workmanship, created for My glory. I chose you. I wanted you. I have never left you, and I will never leave you. You are an extension of My heart. Where you are, there I am. You are a part of Me. There is nothing that can separate you from My love. There’s nothing you can do to make Me love you less or more. My love for you extends from before the world was made into eternity. It is a love that cannot be broken. Your name is written on My heart. You name graven on My hands. I move heaven and earth to care for you. You are My beloved. You will always be My beloved.

Sweet friends, these words apply to you as well. God loves you. He is for you. His heart cries out again and again, I Love You More….Praying God blesses you richly and abundantly this year, above all you could ask or imagine. Love, Erin.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in From the Author

 

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A Greater Yes

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Last post I wrote about when God says no. It’s easy with Christianity to focus on what God says no to instead of what He says yes to. If we entered into a relationship with God only to be given a list of rules, it would not be a blessing. So, today I want to talk about the blessings that come from being with God.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him, Ephesians 1:3-10.

The Blessings of God

Forgiveness. God gives us forgiveness of sins. All of our sins have been paid for on the cross. Jesus paid the penalty for all sin. Why is this a blessing? It’s a blessing because the wages of sin is death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23. If we are not forgiven, we are not saved from eternal separation from God. We cannot save ourselves. We need God and His forgiveness.

God is not like us. We forgive and cannot forget. God removes the stains of sin forever. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us, Psalm 103:12. I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more, Isaiah 43:25. God gives us a clean slate. Not only does God forgive us our sins, He gives us freedom from being slaves to sin. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness, Romans 6:18.

Relationship. God is after a relationship, not our rule keeping. He invites us to have a fruitful and blessed relationship with Him. Jesus paid the price so we could have full access to God.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me, John 14:6.

In Him (Jesus) and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence, Ephesians 3:12.

Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me, John 15:4.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need, Hebrews 4:16.

This relationship comes with so many benefits. God is our Provider, Advocate, Helper, Healer, Wise Counsel, Wisdom, Redeemer, Friend, and so much more. We have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  Also all the things He asks us to do, He gives us His Holy Spirit to enable us to do those things. He only asks us to do things that will lead to blessing. He invites us to know Him. He is the greatest reward. We don’t have to go through a bunch of rituals to get to Him. We can go boldly to Him with confidence.

Eternal Life: God offers us life eternal in paradise. This life is just a blip on the screen of life. Eternity is so big and vast beyond measure. Our minds cannot fully fathom what awaits. Heaven awaits. There will be no sickness, death, evil, fatigue, pain, suffering, poverty, no bad news, and we will reign with Christ forever and ever. For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

The only alternative is life apart from God in eternal damnation. God invites every person to bypass hell which was created for the devil and the angels who rebelled with him. He says, “Come to Me and find life.”

Spiritual gifts: God gives us His Spirit and the Holy Spirit has numerous roles in our lives. He is at work to transform us into the image of Jesus. He also is at work so that we can operate in the gifts of the Spirit and have the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other, Galatians 5:22-26.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

This post does not even begin to capture all the benefits of saying yes to God and His will. He withholds nothing good from us. The world has many things to offer, but saying yes to anything outside of God’s will leads to bondage and death. God is good. Everything He does is good! If He says no it’s because He has a greater yes.

Bless you friends. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, Love Erin.

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Why God Says No

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First, I will say this post isn’t to condemn. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (myself included). If we are in Christ we claim the righteousness of Jesus and not our own. We sin sometimes and have no idea we are sinning. God is always willing to forgive us if we sin. This post is hopefully to shed some light on why God says no to us doing whatever we want (sinning) instead of what He says to do. I have been, over the past several years, watching as our world becomes more and more wicked.  I read blogs, articles, and responses. I see a trend that is disturbing. It’s something the Bible warns us about, and I suppose I did not expect to see it in my lifetime.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear, 2 Timothy 4:3.

The trend is calling wrong right and right wrong. In some places, God’s word is being twisted to fit the culture and lifestyles of the masses. People say they are a Christian, yet they openly admit to living however they want with no conviction and claim grace. I want to define grace and point to some of the things Jesus taught, while I still have the freedom to do so.

Amazing GRACE…

Grace has been defined as God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Grace is far more than that. God is so patient, loving, and kind. He gives us so much in His Son. Grace is God’s unmerited, undeserved, lavish favor on those who have sinned. We did not deserve to be saved. We deserved His wrath and death. God sent His Son out of love for us (John 3:16). There is no person who is so sinful that God would not forgive them, restore them, and heal them. Present company included. His love offering for sin was enough for all. Jesus paid the price for all sin. So any person who comes to God in faith, can receive forgiveness. His grace also enables and empowers us to do His will. If we could save ourselves or will ourselves to be like Jesus, we would not have needed a Savior.

What Grace Is Not…

Grace is not a free ticket to keep on sinning. Grace is not a license to live how we want, do whatever we want with no consequences. Here’s what Paul says.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin, Romans 6:1-7.

If we claim to belong to God, we will have a heart and grow to have a heart to do what He says. This does not mean we will do everything perfectly. It does mean we rely on the Holy Spirit to submit to God’s will for our lives.

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21.

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love, John 15:10.

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God, 1 John 3:6.

People have come up will all kinds of things that say God has changed His mind about obedience. He hasn’t, and He wont for the following reasons.

1. Sin hurts us, the people He loves.

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:20-23.

Adam and Eve didn’t believe God’s word when He said if you eat from this tree you will die. They did not die a natural death, they died a spiritual death. They opened the door for evil to reign in our world. They lost dominion on this planet and gave it to the devil. All the evil we see around us, death, sickness, suffering, all come from their disobedience. Sin cost Jesus His life, as He came to pay our penalty for sin. It costs us to disobey God. It costs others when we disobey God. God says no to protect us.

2. Perpetual sin (with no repentance) gives the devil an entry way into our lives.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory, Roman 5:2-17.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7.

I know this post is long. My heart was grieved by an article I read of this person stating they were a Christian, yet they frequently sinned and didn’t think it was a big deal. I dare not judge or condemn, I just know sin hurts every person who succumbs to it. What God offers is always infinitely better.

Our behavior does not change God’s love for us. We cannot mistake His unconditional love with unconditional approval. God does not delight in disobedience or sin. No loving parent says to their child, “Keep doing what you want. Oh, yeah play with those matches. Yes, run in the street. Oh, you like drugs keep taking them. Oh, you like killing people-do whatever feels right for you….” God loves us more than any earthly parent ever could. He says no to sin because it leads us down a path of destruction, destroying us or others. I encourage people to read Romans,1 and 2 Corinthians, & the gospel of John. I encourage people to spend time studying the Bible and praying for wisdom and strength to do God’s will.

Take it from someone who tried life my own way and I can tell you God’s way is best. I thought I knew what I was doing and what was best for me. Well, I didn’t. My only regrets come from not listening to God’s wisdom or choosing things without asking Him for wisdom. Only God is perfect in wisdom. If we choose our own way or the way of the world or our culture, we will end up in a bad place. Our culture says, “Do what you want. Do what feels good to you and for you. Think of yourself. Whatever feels good is good” God says, “Think about what’s best for others. Don’t be selfish. Love Me and love others. Do what I say and find life. Everything that feels good is not good for you. Ask for My wisdom.” Our culture says, “Experiment, test the waters, live it up, try it, taste it, enjoy it.” God says, “Wait; do things My way. Live My way. I will bless you.” Our culture has called what’s evil good and what’s good evil or old-fashioned or out of date. God has not changed. We are blessed to do things His way. If we think there are no consequences for sin, we can watch the news and see there is.

Father I pray for an increase in truth in our world. I ask that we would seek Your will and not our own. I ask that we would not conform to the ways of this world, but stand strong and firm on Your word. Help us to say no to sin and yes to Your will. May we receive Your love and give it back to You. Our freedom cost Jesus His life. May we receive His forgiveness. In Jesus name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in From the Author, God's Heart, Uncategorized

 

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It’s a Hard Knock Life or Is It?

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I love Jeremiah 29:11 as seen in the photo above. We’ve been talking about suffering. Depending on where we are focused, on the evil in the world or on God, determines whether it’s a hard knock life or an adventure with God. Let me unpack this statement.

If I were a person who had an easy life, you could dismiss me and move on. I have not had the luxury of an easy life. It’s been filled with challenges just like your life. I know what it’s like to be abandoned, rejected, persecuted for my faith, to watch someone I love die a slow and painful death to cancer, to experience my own health issues, and I’ve cheated death numerous times including a car accident that left me trapped in my car under water. I understand pain; physical, emotional, and mental pain. The problem with pain is that if that’s where we stop, it’s not the full story.

Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. He came so that we could be free! It does not mean a life free of problems, challenges, heartache, or pain. It does mean we have a Healer, Comforter, Advocate, and someone who suffered beyond what we could bear or would even dare to bear. Many of us would bypass the cross for the pain of it was beyond our ability to handle. We have someone who will never leave or forsake us (Duet 31:6). We have someone who bottles our tears (Psalm 56:8). We have someone who is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

So I ask, “What is the purpose of this life?” If it’s to be comfortable, then we will never be fully happy. If it’s to win the approval of people, that’s another unsure thing. If it’s to be rich and wealthy, money can not go with us. If it’s to have all the pleasure we can consume, then we end up addicts and slaves to what feels good.

I believe the purpose of life to be the following:

1. To know God. Knowing God trumps all the world can offer. He’s simply the best, better than all the rest.  Knowing Him is more valuable than anything this world has to offer. For this life is but a whisper in comparison to eternity. We will reign with Him forever and ever!

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness,~Jeremiah 31:3.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you,~Jesus. John 14:2.

Because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,~2 Corinthians 4:14-18.

We have a greater life coming. A life with no sickness, no sorrow, no death, no fatigue, no evil, no sin, and we will be reunited with loved ones who died before us loving Christ. Jesus paid for a better ending! An ending that is unfathomable. He also paid for a better today. We have a friend for our time here on earth; to learn about Him, to be with Him, to become more like Him. He still heals, comforts, and provides in this life. He gave us the Holy Spirit so we have a Helper. He did not leave us powerless or without help.

2. To Make Him Known. We are His ambassadors of love in the world. We are not here just taking up space until Jesus returns. We are called to live a life that helps others, blesses others, and demonstrates God’s love to the world. When the purpose of life is to make Him known, the journey is more enjoyable. Anything we go through can be a testimony of God’s greatness for another. I am truly inspired by people who overcame tremendous obstacles and continued to trust God. It causes me to trust Him even more. You may be someone’s inspiration. You may lead others to Jesus with your story! You are here for a reason.

Lastly, I will say if you have pain in your body, I am praying for healing.  If you have pain in your emotions or mind, I am praying you are healed. By His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). We don’t ignore pain, dismiss pain, or pretend we don’t have pain. We take all pain to the Healer. Often we cry or mourn. We lean on Jesus. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory, ~Isaiah 61;3.

God has prepared something great for you. It may not seem like it right now, but the best is yet to come! Hold fast to hope. This life is 100 years at the most, eternity is forever (no end). God is working things together for a blessed future for you and not just in eternity-here and now as well! You are deeply loved.

 

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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Where’s God When Bad Things Happen (Part II)

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More Than Conquerors Romans 8:28, 31b-39

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

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.

Can God stop all the bad things from happening in the world? The answer is God is Sovereign and can do what He pleases. He does not, however, force people to live holy. It’s unfortunate and good as well. How can I say it’s good? Glad you asked.God promises to work all things together for the good of those who love Him. Right now in this present world it does not always look good or feel good. From an outside perspective Jesus’ suffering and going to the cross seems cruel. It does not seem very loving of the Father to put His only Son in harm’s way, until you see the final picture. The crucifixion of Jesus leads many sons and daughters, who would be lost forever, into right relationship with Him. He gave His very best, and raised Jesus up to heavenly places. He gave Jesus the name above all names. Something amazing came from one man’s suffering. One man’s obedience, leads many to eternal life.

I don’t always understand in the moment why God allows certain things to happen. I don’t believe He causes the evil in the world, but He does not stop all the evil in the world. He is the One to turn to in times of suffering, not the One to avoid. God knows the depths of suffering. Jesus suffered and there’s no better person to cling to in all seasons of life. Our personal suffering may lead many to Christ. Though uncomfortable, it’s great if heaven is enlarged by our life story.

Closing Thoughts:

God will use everything for our eventual good. I can say that as someone who has suffered. When I turned the pain over to God, He gave me something better in return. He gave more of Himself. He is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He heals and restores. He comforts. He becomes a trusted a friend. When we choose Him in the midst of suffering instead of bitterness, hatred, and turning away from Him, we find beauty in the ashes. If I recounted all the tragedies of my life, you’d think I was insane for following God. What people don’t see is that God takes the ugly and makes it beautiful. He uses the bad for a greater purpose of good. He is just and fair. It doesn’t seem good in the midst of trials, but these afflictions are working out a greater glory for us (2 Corinthians 4:17). They are also giving us a testimony and building compassion in our hearts for others. A person who’s suffered, will normally reach out to another suffering person.

Father I pray healing over every person who is hurting. I ask for healed emotions, healed diseases, and freedom unlike anything they have experienced. Bless them richly, in Jesus name. Amen.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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