How do you picture God?
Who do you see when you pause to pray?
A fireman who will put out the fires in your life?
A genie or fairy godmother who will grant your every wish?
A judge who will punish you when you fail?
A hard to please
An administrator who makes decisions from a distance?
Is He intimate or impersonal?
The truth is … how you and I picture God will deeply influence not only our relationship with Him but it will have a huge impact on the way we live our lives.
Let me explain…
For most of my life, I pictured God watching me from afar … blessing good behavior and withholding blessings for bad behavior. When things weren’t going well, I believed I needed to make life adjustments so I could once again please God and earn His favor.
I believed that “God is love” and “Jesus loves me.” I’d learned both things as a young child in Sunday School.
And because of those childhood lessons, I believed God loved me so much He gave Jesus as the sacrifice for my sins. I believed that it was through faith in Jesus, my eternal future was and is secure. All true!
This is how God loved the world: He gave His one and onlyJohn 3:16
Son,so that everyone who believes in H imwill not perish but have eternal life.
The problem … I was focusing on the eternal message and missing out on the things God was offering me every single day.
I didn’t understand the intimate personal relationship He wanted with me.
Yet, this is how intimate and personal God is … He gave my childhood pastor the following verse for me.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”Revelation 3:20
He told me as a child, that He wanted a personal friendship with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the message!
It took me another 40+ years to finally understand the truth … and in all honesty, I’m still a work in progress.
Recently, Rev asked me, “What’s
I have to admit, my voice cracked and my eyes filled with tears as I started to put my feelings into words. In fact, my greatest concern as I type this
♥ I missed out on experiencing God’s peace because I believed the enemy’s lie that I must obey God perfectly to gain His pleasure.
But the truth…
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.Psalm 147:11
♥ I missed out on God’s courage and strength because I believed the enemy’s lie that I was on my own for day to day living.
But God’s Word says…
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.Psalm 46:1
So, the most important thing I want you to know about God from my story is…
I want you to know how very much Your Father loves you and wants to give you everything you need to live each day.
I want you to know He meant it when He said…
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9
For too many years, I missed the promise part of that verse…
I was not strong and courageous.
I was afraid of:
- Death (my own or a loved one’s)
- Not being good enough
- Not being loved
- Not being a good mom
- Getting lost or losing my child in a crowd
- Not being in control of my weight, my health … my life
It wasn’t pretty!
On the outside, the picture looked good but on the inside I was a mess. I craved strength, courage, peace, contentment, and a whole host of other things God promises in His Word … but I wasn’t willing to surrender control of my life.
Because of another verse:
In this world you will have trouble.John 16:33 (NIV)
I know, I left out the other important parts of the verse, too. The…
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” and “Take heart! I have overcome the world” parts.
In my defense, all I had to do was look around. Bad things were happening everywhere and I’ll be honest with you, I saw very few people, even Christians, living in victory.
I saw people like me, who were going to church, putting on their Sunday smile … just trying to do it right and avoid “trouble.”
But troubles happen and they happened to us.
Many of greatest fears became reality.
I’d spent a lifetime trying to please God and people to control my circumstances and avoid “trouble” and it all collapsed around me.
But God in His mercy allowed me to hear the Spirit whisper Jesus’ words…
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”Matthew 11:28–29
And I did…
I surrendered it all at the foot of the cross, cried out to God for help, and started getting to really know for myself who God says He is in the Bible.
And I’ve spending time at His feet every day since … more than a decade of learning that God is who He says He is and that He keeps His promises.
Even when everyone else forgets, God doesn’t; when no one seems to notice, God sees; when not one seems to care, God cares; when you feel all alone, you aren’t.Life Application Bible Notes pg. 87
I laid my junk at the foot of the cross. I gave Him my fear, my need to control, my need to please, my doubts, my “self.”
I surrendered it all!
And God replaced what I gave Him with those things I’d been craving all along … strength, courage, peace, contentment, and so much more!
What’s the most important thing you need to know about God?
Your Father loves you!
You can know Him and have a relationship with Him through Jesus.
You can trust His Spirit to teach and guide you.
You can believe that He is who He says He is.
You can count Him to keep His promises.
When you seek Him first … HE WILL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED!
My story is the reason the tagline here at Counting My Blessings is “at the intersection of faith and life.”
Once you have experienced the saving power of faith in Jesus, God is able to give you everything you need for your life right now … today!
I want you to believe that when Jesus said…
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.”Luke 12:31
It is a promise you can count on.
He is not only able to give you everything you need
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.Luke 12:32
Your Father loves you!
He gave Jesus for you and to you because that’s how much He loves you.
He won’t withhold the thing you need today. In fact, It makes Him happy to give you His kingdom’s blessings!
So, don’t wait! Don’t suffer
Make today the day you surrender everything at the foot of the cross. The day you start seeking God with all you’ve got.
The day you start picturing Him happily giving you everything you need.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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