Day 8: I have good gifts for you | Love Letters

Gift: Something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance.

I’m a huge fan of home makeover shows. I love watching skilled interior designers bring a space to life based on a pre-thought-out plan. They transform an old room into an incredible masterpiece–not only based on someone’s desires but his or her needs.

Then there’s the room reveal. Clients take in the fact that their old room has been made new. They might have had ideas of what they wanted their space to look like but didn’t know how to execute those ideas. This room is what they desired and better than what they imagined. Many times, there are personal details in the new space that make the room even more special–perfectly tailored for them. The final room is a special gift they never knew they needed.

Sometimes, we have an idea of how our lives should go, and we have a plan of action on how to carry it out. Other times, we might have thoughts of how things should be but no idea of how to make them happen.

We can get so caught up in a big dream that we forget the little details. God has a pre-thought-out plan for you. He knows the best way for you to get from Point A to Point B. And He knows whether or not Point B is actually what it’s cracked up to be!

Plans take time to execute. Designers must initially sketch out a space, find the right items, and consider the logistics of how to get everything done.

God’s love for you means He will provide good gifts in your life. He will give favor, honor, and assistance. Some of these blessings are for now, others are for later. Waiting for things to unravel might seem brutal, but the grand reveal is always better than what you expect. He knows you intimately, and He knows what you need at different points in your life.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV) states, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” God’s ways are above your ways, and He has blessings for you that are better than your best plans.

In Psalms 68:19, God reveals that He loads us with daily benefits. In Lamentations 3:22-23, we learn that God’s mercies are new every morning. Every day has a purpose in your story.

As a designer knows that every step is vital in a major room renovation, God knows that every day is a vital part of your journey. While He works out daily blessings, He’s pushing you to transform into who He created you to be.

Blessings are often right in front of us.

Maybe you had an uplifting conversation with a coworker today or you have family members who deeply care for you. You were able to catch up with an old friend or someone offered to help you on a task out of the blue. Perhaps God’s given you a talent you enjoy or healing after you were sick for weeks. No matter how big or small, all these things can be wonderful blessings–let’s not forget that!

Instead of focusing on the uncertainty of the future, focus on the good gifts God has given you now. Work with Him daily to follow the right path for your life, and you will start seeing the ways He’s moving parts together for the bigger picture.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 ESV)

Love Letter 8

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 7

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Day 7: I provide a way out | Love Letters

Path:

  1. A route, course, or track along which something moves.
  2. A course of action, conduct, or procedure.

[Source]

In the midst of challenges, we sometimes feel alone. We might feel as though our prayers aren’t working. That God doesn’t hear us. And that He doesn’t love us.

These ideas are sneaky lies the devil tries to seep into your thoughts. Satan wants you to believe God isn’t listening and doesn’t love you, because he doesn’t want you to turn to God. And so, these difficult moments are the times we must hold onto the Lord even more.

In a battle, the opposing side you’re up against doesn’t want you to win. Your enemy will try any tactics to get rid of you. It’s a huge bonus if your enemy catches you distracted, because that’s the best time to strike. Similarly, the devil–your enemy in this world–will try to get your eyes off God to distract you in order to attack you. Negative thoughts aren’t from the God of love and freedom–they’re from the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy you (John 10:10). Spoiler alert: God is more powerful than the enemy, so you have nothing to fear if you follow Him.

God doesn’t passively watch you struggle in life. He actively fights for you. You can’t know the future, and you can’t see things from miles away. However, your Heavenly Father can. Not only is God working on your behalf now–He’s clearing your path of future obstacles you can’t see.

God will not leave you hanging in the midst of the battle. He won’t suddenly desert you, leaving you to fend for yourself. He will provide the path–the course of action, or the route–that will lead to your victory.

Although you don’t see the way out now, it doesn’t mean it’s not coming. I urge you to keep your trust in God and find protection in Him. One way you can practice trust is by waiting on God–instead of rushing ahead and making final decisions without His instruction.

God’s instruction comes with peace. It may not be what you expect, but you’ll know it’s from God if you know Him. God keeps His word. He’s unchanging and acts based on His character, which you can learn for yourself by reading the Bible (His Word).

Take your hands off, and allow God the space to move in your life. He won’t force you–He’ll look for your willingness to let Him work. But whether God has told you to wait, leave, go ahead, or stop, your obedience will be worth it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Love Letter 7

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

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Day 6: You can tell Me anything | Love Letters

Con·fide:

  1. To have confidence; trust.
  2. To give to the care or protection of another; entrust.

[Source]

There’s great comfort in being around a close friend. You can talk for hours about anything or you can say nothing, enjoying each other’s company in silence. Your presence together is effortless; you feel comfortable to share what’s on your mind, and you’re free to be yourself.

This effortless relationship with a good friend is the type of relationship we can have with God. As we learned yesterday, when we accept Christ as our Savior–reconciling our relationship with God–our sin no longer separates us from Him. We have complete access to go to God in prayer and confide in Him.

When we confide in God, we have confidence in Him that He will care for and protect us. Because of His everlasting love, we know we can give everything to Him.

Giving something to God, means you know longer have it. It means entrusting Him with something. This can mean giving sinful habits to Him, trusting and knowing He has better for you. After all, sin might feel good or justifiable in the moment, but it never has better for you.

We can also give Him our worries–trusting and knowing He has better for us. The Bible shows us that God is all-powerful, and when we trust in Him, we’re trusting Someone who is more powerful than our biggest fears.

Either way, He has you. He’ll lead you to the better path.

To build a close relationship with a friend, we have to get to know them and communicate with them regularly. We can build this close relationship with God by getting to know Him, reading His Word and speaking to Him prayer. This way, we learn more about His character and His love, and we understand His plans for our lives.

A close relationship with God is even better than a close relationship with a good friend. God loves you enough that He wants you to confide in Him–to be honest with Him. Where there is honesty, there is freedom. When you do wrong, He offers His forgiveness. When you’re afraid, He’s there to take away your fears.

Take the weight off your shoulders. Tell God what’s on your mind today.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12 NKJV)

Love Letter 6

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 5

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Day 4: I can give you Life | Love Letters

Life-giving: having the power of providing sustenance, spirit or life.

[Source]

One of the most fascinating things about the world is how one thing can give life to another:

  • A mother can give birth, giving life to her child.
  • A flower can leave pollen behind to reproduce, giving life to other flowers.
  • A cell can divide itself to multiply, giving life to other cells–which give life to life.

In all cases, the source is vital. One living source is necessary to provide life to other things.

This fact about nature also reflects a fact about the Lord. God manifests His love for us by remaining the Source in, of, and for our lives. 

If you need to be filled, He fills you: “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19 ESV).

If you are searching for answers, He provides answers: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5 NIV).

If you need peace, He gives peace: “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11 NIV).

In short, He’s the living Source who will sustain you in this life, and the next one.

The next one? Huh?

Death is real. But life after death is as well. God gives us plenty of heads up about it in His Word–because just as God doesn’t want to hide Himself from you, He doesn’t want to hide this from you, either. He loves you so much that He wants you to find life in Him. And He wants you to know that you need to receive life in Him for later.

God provides security after death. He offers a place for you in heaven, because He loves you. And it’s free for you to take today.

This is not a place that is hidden from you or can be taken from you. When you make a personal decision to trust in God and live for Him now, you have this place in heaven forever.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past. He provides renewal, a new life. And He freely offers Himself for you to receive Him.

Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11:25-26 NIV).

Love Letter 4 bold

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

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Day 3: I can offer you more | Love Letters

More: to a greater extent.

“Maybe this is as good as it gets.”

Have you ever found yourself saying that? That you have no choice but to stay where you are, because it will only get worse from here?

You might feel you must stay within a bad relationship, because there’s no one else for you. Or, you feel you have to hang out with toxic friends, because otherwise you’d be alone. Maybe you feel you need to sacrifice your health to get perfect grades, because you’re convinced you’ll fail if you don’t. You feel you have to perform perfectly at work, or else you won’t be valued.

Whatever the case is, you feel as though if you don’t hold onto something, you have nothing.

Any of these things–relationships, grades, or careers–can disappear at any moment. And you probably know this, which is why you feel the need to maintain them constantly.

These are all things you can enjoy, if they are good things. But when you find your entire worth in them, you’re going to find yourself empty.

You were not made to find your security in temporary things. God has more for you than that. He provides more, or to a greater extent. But how do we get to this “more”?

Understanding God’s love for you is the first step. His love for you is unchanging, and it lasts forever. When you secure yourself in God–a sure and permanent thing–you’re able to make better use of non-permanent things in life.

You won’t put pressure on others to reassure you. You won’t feel defeated over your mistakes. You’ll be able to walk away from negative people and situations, because you know your worth is not in them. You’ll be able to enjoy your blessings–knowing your worth is not in them, either.

Your value is not based on what you have or don’t have. God sees your value. He created you with value.

God can do more for you than what you can do for yourself.  What you see with your own eyes is the surface. When you commit your life to Him, you’ll find that good moments in life can get better. And better.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV)

Love Letter 3

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

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Day 1: I have good intentions towards you | Love Letters

Char·ac·ter: the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

Character makes up a person’s core. One’s thoughts and intentions–why we do the things we do. There’s nothing more shocking than discovering someone was not who she/he claimed to be. We don’t always get a chance to know the truth up front.

But you know what’s comforting? God intends to reveal His true character to you.

He does not want to be a mystery to you. He wants to come near you. He wants you to identify His traits, to understand His thoughts towards you. You, the individual. You.

The basis of God’s character is that He wants the best for you. He has the best for you. And He’s on your side. He’s not an enemy, not a tyrant. You don’t need to be scared of Him. He’s not here to manipulate you or lead you on a path of confusion. He’s actually your biggest support-system.

His intentions are to provide good for you. He wants you to live a good life you can’t imagine.

His character, or His mental and moral qualities, are good. He’s the Creator of good things.

When struggles arise, remember this: Evil is the devil’s job. God’s not the author of the struggle, but the solution to it.

If you’re looking for God, know that He’s here–whether you believe in Him or not or are unsure. He wants to reveal Himself. Just ask. Psalm 86:5 states we will know of His steadfast love when we call upon Him.

God’s love is free-for-all. And He’s reaching out for you. Are you ready to grab a hold of His goodness?

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. (Psalm 86:5 ESV)

Love Letter 1

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 2

 

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How To Be A Better Friend | Video

What makes a good friend? What’s the purpose of friendship? What kind of friend are YOU? All these seemingly simple questions require us to look deeper at the people we surround ourselves with and the person we’re becoming. Today, I talk about friendship and God’s purpose behind it.

Click below to watch the video!

 

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Feeling Stuck?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)


Imagine this:

Complete darkness.

You can’t stand, because the place you’re in is too narrow. You can only crawl. You can’t see up ahead, and there’s not enough space for you to turn around if you wanted to. The only direction to move is forward, even though you have no idea where you’re going.

One Way_Blog Featured Image
Photo: Brendan Church

Not ideal? Yeah, I know.

When I was in elementary school, I went to a science museum with my brothers, and we experienced the Touch Tunnel. Eighty feet of pitch-black darkness, and the only way to move through was to crawl. The purpose of the tunnel was to show the significance of sight in our experience of the world.

All we had now was ourselves and our ability to feel our way through a strange abyss.

I may or may not have been afraid of the dark, but one consolation was the employee’s voice that came through the speakers any time we stalled in the tunnel: “Stay to the left, the left, the left…”

(Try not to think of Beyoncé’s lyrics. Okay, now you’re thinking about them. Anyways…)

That was the key to escape: Keep left. There were alternate routes that could lead us off course, but because we listened to the voice, we were out in no time and free to enjoy the rest of our day at the museum.

Looking back, I knew I would escape (of course), but the feeling of being stuck in a cramped place was uncomfortable.

We like our freedom. We like to know we can move around whenever and wherever we want. We like to know we can show up when we want and leave as we please. We like the lights on to see, and we like to turn the lights off when we’re done.

When something comes in and restricts us or takes away what we always had, it’s not only shocking, it can be devastating.

Maybe your top university rejected your application or you didn’t get the job at the only company you could see yourself working. Perhaps you lost a relationship that was dear to you or experienced the death of a loved one. Your finances didn’t improve the way they needed to or an important event you were waiting on got canceled. You didn’t get the score to pass that exam or you weren’t qualified enough for that program.

Disappointments can come in many forms: rejection, betrayal, failure…you name it. Each case leaves the same feeling: You had a wonderful grasp on your future, and now it’s gone. The future fell far out of your hands before you could even reach out and rescue it.

You did your best. You’ve exhausted all your efforts. Now you don’t know where to go.

So, what do we when we’re stuck?

Continue reading “Feeling Stuck?”