Do You Believe The Love?

Do You Believe The Love?

1 JOHN 4:16 ESV
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has
for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God,
and God abides in him.

It is one thing to mentally assent that God loves you. It is
another thing entirely to know and believe it.

Do you truly believe that God loves you?

If not, you should meditate on God’s Word until it becomes
clear to you. You should think about the great price God paid
to redeem you.

This is foundational. You need to believe the love that God has
for you.

God delights in you! God rejoices over you! He truly loves you!
And you need to believe it! Because people act on what they
believe.

What you truly believe is what you are acting on. For example,
if I tell you the building is on fire, you may say a thousand
times that you believe me, but I know you don’t believe me
unless and until I see you leave the building.

Regardless of what people say, or what games we may play with
ourselves, the truth is that we act on our beliefs.

The reason people sin is because they believe that by doing so
they will be benefited. Once a person sees the truth that sin
is harmful instead of helpful, they can repent (which means a
change of thinking which results in a change of behavior).

Why do people not believe that God loves them? Two reasons.
First, because they know they are not perfect. Second, because
their life experience has not been better.

Can God love imperfect people? YES! Does He? YES! According to
Scripture, all people are imperfect. Yet God loves us enough to
die for us!

Can we accept our experience as valid evidence that God does
not love us? NO! We can believe that our mother still loves us
even when we have had a bad day. Why can’t we believe God loves
us even when we have had a bad day?

EPHESIANS 3:18-19 NLT
18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s
people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his
love is.
19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too
great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with
all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

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How Rich I Am

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Make Prayer A Habit

ROMANS 12:12 NRSV
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in
prayer.

Prayer is a habit that, like every other good habit, must be
developed.

You know you need to pray. You need God’s help, His wisdom and
His guidance. But you must persevere in prayer. The activities
of life try to keep you from praying. So persevere!

LUKE 21:36 BBE
36 But keep watch at all times with prayer, that you may be
strong enough to come through all these things and take your
place before the Son of man.

In communing with God, you gain strength that comes in no other
way. You find the wisdom and courage to face life and overcome.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:17-18 ICB
17 Never stop praying.
18 Give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you
in Christ Jesus.

Learn to always include God in your thoughts. Ask Him about
everything. Cultivate your relationship by continual
communication. And one of the most important things for you to
communicate to God is your gratitude. Thank God for everything.

Don’t relegate prayer to just when you’re on your knees. As you
go about your activities, include God by constant communion
with Him.

Talk to God about everything!

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Rejoice In The Lord

PHILIPPIANS 4:4 NKJ
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

At least five times the Bible tells the people of God to
rejoice in the Lord.

We may not always be able to rejoice in other people, or in our
circumstances.

People can be frustrating. People can be immature. People can
be undependable. Need I go on?

But the Lord is different! God is dependable. God is faithful.
God is honest. God is good. God is patient. God is kind. God is
understanding. God is merciful and gracious.

MALACHI 3:6 NLT
6 “I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you
descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.

When we focus on our circumstances, or on what people do, we
can lose our joy quickly.

But with a true understanding of what God is really like, we
cannot help but rejoice because of His goodness and greatness.

If you are not sure what God is really like, then look at Jesus
Christ in the pages of the Four Gospels in the New Testament.
Jesus Christ perfectly revealed to us what God is like.

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Jesus Does Not Force Us Out Of Our Boat

MATTHEW 14:25,28-32 NKJ
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them,
walking on the sea.
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You,
command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the
boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid;
and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him,
and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Most people like to “play it safe.” They don’t even want their
boat to rock, let alone consider getting out and “walking on
water.”

God allows us to make choices. God’s plan is that we would walk
with Him in His realm of miracles, but He allows us to grow and
develop until we are ready. He does not force us.

Notice that Peter was the one who chose to walk on water. And
Peter did walk on water, if only for a short time. As long as
Peter kept His focus on Jesus he stayed in faith, but when he
focused on the circumstances, he became afraid and sunk back
into the natural realm.

Jesus told us that all things are possible if we believe (Mark
9:23). Therefore, our limits are self-imposed, not imposed by
God. If we change our beliefs to line up with God’s Word, we
can see amazing results.

Right before Jesus and Peter walked on the water, Jesus fed a
crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children, starting with only
five loaves of bread and two fish. Most think only Jesus could
do such things, but Jesus told us in John 14:12 that those who
believe in Him would do the same works He did.

So if we believe what Jesus said in John 14:12, we must believe
we can multiply food as He did.

But Jesus was not the first, or only one, to supernaturally
multiply food on earth.

Not only did God supernaturally provide food (manna) for 40
years in the wilderness for all the children of Israel, but
food was also multiplied through the ministry of Elijah (1
Kings 17:9-16), and Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-7, 2 Kings 4:42-44).

JAMES 5:17 NKJ
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours….

It is easy to think we could never do things like Elijah, but
Scripture says Elijah was a man just like us. Obviously, we are
being encouraged to believe great things can happen through our
lives, too.

The key is to realize that the power is of God and not of us.
God has done great things through others, and He can do them
through you, also! But you are the one who must choose to
believe that God’s Word is true. If you never “step out of your
boat” and act on God’s Word, you will not see miracles happen.

God will not love you any less if you are afraid and choose to
stay in your little boat. But you were not created to be
imprisoned in a little boat. You were created to grow up to be
like Jesus and walk with Him.

It’s great to “walk on water” with Jesus. So don’t be afraid to
launch out into new areas of faith. Step out in faith on God’s
Word. Even if you begin to “sink” Jesus will rescue you, so
don’t be afraid.

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Gift Or Purchase?

There are four possible ways to obtain something you do not
have.

1. Steal it.
2. Create it.
3. Purchase it.
4. Receive it as a gift.

As you know, stealing is not a legitimate way, and we have not
yet learned how to create something from nothing. So that
leaves us with paying for something or receiving it as a gift.

If you pay any amount, or trade anything in exchange for what
you are receiving, then it is a purchase. For something to be a
gift, you cannot pay anything to get it.

If someone said “I will give you my new car for only one
dollar” they would be wrong. Paying only one dollar for a new
car would be a great bargain, but it would not be a gift, but a
purchase.

We need to understand this clearly. When the Bible says God has
given us a gift, we need not — in fact, we cannot — pay for
it in any way.

Trying to pay for a gift is a refusal to receive it as a gift.

EPHESIANS 2:8 NLT
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t
take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Salvation is a gift! (Salvation means more than going to Heaven
when we die, but includes deliverance and safety from all that
would harm us.)

Your salvation is a completely free gift! Jesus paid the full
price, so you don’t have to pay anything for it! And you CANNOT
earn it by anything you do.

The New Testament tells us that right standing with God is a
gift (Romans 5:17, Romans 3:21-24). We receive this wonderful
gift when we receive Jesus.

JOHN 1:17 ESV
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came
through Jesus Christ.

Too many have not yet understood that the New Covenant is based
on an entirely new approach. The Old Covenant (the law of
Moses) required people to perform to gain God’s help and favor.
It was based on our human performance. But the New Covenant is
based on the performance of Jesus Christ, and our faith in Him.

If we have to be “good enough” for God’s blessing, then we are
trying to pay for a gift. But it is impossible to pay for a
gift! When we start paying for a gift we turn it into a
purchase. And God does not have anything for sale! God will not
allow anything so precious as His love to be bought by our good
performance.

GALATIANS 5:4 NLT
4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by
keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have
fallen away from God’s grace.

When we try to pay for God’s gift, we “fall from grace.” That
means we are trying an inferior approach that will not work. It
means we are still trying to earn God’s love and acceptance
instead of receiving it as His gift to us.

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God Is A Person

2 CORINTHIANS 13:14 LB
14 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. May
God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s friendship be yours. Paul

God has feelings, emotions, and desires.

God does not enjoy being neglected any more than you do.

God has none of the weaknesses we associate with people, but
nevertheless, God is a person.

God knows, thinks, and communicates.

God is not just a force. God has personality. We are made in
His image. We are like God, even though the image has been
marred by sin.

God is a Father. His intention is no less than a close,
personal relationship with you.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 ICB
9 God is faithful. He is the One who has called you to share
life with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

God desires a relationship with you. But a good relationship
cannot be one-sided.

Love, respect, and communication are essential in any healthy
relationship.

When we ignore God and go about our lives like He doesn’t even
exist, we can’t expect our relationship to flourish.

And if the only time we talk to Him about anything is when we
run into a problem we can’t handle, what kind of relationship
is that?

Fortunately for us, God is not touchy and doesn’t treat us the
way we treat Him. But for us to continue treating God in such a
way is wrong.

It’s time for us to grow up, quit acting like self-centered
babies, and treat God as He deserves.

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In The Valley He Restoreth My Soul – Canton Junction

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Make Friends Of Enemies

PROVERBS 25:21-22 LB
21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food! If he is thirsty,
give him something to drink! This will make him feel ashamed of
himself, and God will reward you.

Why would anyone want to be an enemy of someone who treated
them well?

Your actions should cause your enemy to reconsider being your
enemy.

When you treat your enemies well, not only do you have a good
chance of making them friends, but also God will reward you.

ROMANS 12:19-21 LB
19 Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God,
for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it. [Don’t
take the law into your own hands.]
20 Instead, feed your enemy if he is hungry. If he is thirsty
give him something to drink and you will be “heaping coals of
fire on his head.” In other words, he will feel ashamed of
himself for what he has done to you.
21 Don’t let evil get the upper hand, but conquer evil by doing
good.

The way to turn an enemy into a friend is to treat them in a
friendly manner.

This is God’s plan. It should be your plan, too.

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Focus On God

2 CORINTHIANS 4:18 NIV
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is
unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is
eternal.

Many people are convinced they are too bad for God to help, or
they have problems that are too big for God to handle. They
seem to have more faith in their inability than they do in
God’s ability. They seem to have more faith in the problem than
they do in God. This happens when we focus on the problem,
instead of looking to God who is the solution. As long as we
focus on the problem and let it consume our attention, we will
have faith in it to defeat us.

1 JOHN 4:4 NIV
4 . . . the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in
the world.

We have a choice in what we focus our attention on.

The Old Testament contains an account illustrating how we must
look to Jesus and His finished work on the cross, instead of
looking at our problems.

NUMBERS 21:4-9 NLT
4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the
road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the
people grew impatient with the long journey,
5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you
brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they
complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink.
And we hate this horrible manna!”
6 So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many
were bitten and died.
7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned
by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the
LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the
people.
8 Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake
and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they
simply look at it!”
9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a
pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the
bronze snake and be healed!

When deadly snakes are everywhere, biting people on every side,
it would be extremely difficult to look up and focus your
attention on a pole instead of looking down at the ground where
the snakes were. But that is exactly what God instructed the
people of Israel to do, and all who did were healed and lived.

Some might wonder why a snake was put on the pole, which was a
type of Jesus being hung on the cross. It was because Jesus
took our sins on Himself when He hung on the cross. The Bible
says that He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us. And on
the cross, that old serpent the devil, was defeated and
de-fanged!

So, no matter how urgent the problem biting at your heels may
seem, God’s answer for you is to look up and focus on God’s
provision. Have faith in God!

God is bigger than any problem you face and can deliver you
from any situation, no matter how bad it is.

JOHN 10:29 NIV
29 My Father . . . is greater than all . . .

Instead of thinking of how bad you are, focus on how good God
is. His goodness is more than enough to overcome your badness.
Instead of looking at what you lack, look at all God has. And
remember He is your Father and loves you.

The devil tries to get us to focus on ourselves and our
shortcomings, instead of focusing on Jesus and His ability to
carry us through to victory.

Whenever the focus is pointing to us, instead of to God, you
can be assured the devil has some involvement in those
thoughts.

As long as you are focusing on yourself, you are not focusing
on God. You have to make the choice.

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