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He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds Titus 2:14 (NLT)

Freedom. It’s something that every one of us wants to have. It means so many things to so many people. To the child freedom means ice cream for every meal and the absence of fruits and vegetables for every meal.

To the political activist freedom means rules and government involvement to a minimum. Religion defines freedom by a list of rules and dogmas that must be followed in order to, someday, attain freedom. Every war, every political party, every religion has freedom as a basic tenant.

As a human race we’ve never done well with freedom. From the first day, when Adam and Eve set foot in the garden God gave them freedom. “Do anything you want. Anything at all. Just don’t eat from that one single tree.” We failed to handle the complete freedom God gave us in the garden and have been struggling to regain it ever since.

The real tragedy in our quest for freedom is that in Jesus we already have it. God saw that man would never, in his own power, be able to be completely free. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus death and resurrection gives us the freedom to be everything we were created to be.

So what keeps you from living in that freedom? Is it addiction? Is it lust for the things you want in your old self, the flesh? Is it the daily reminders sent from the enemy that you are a failure and always will be? It is the exhaustion from trying to please a bunch of outdated religious rules? Is it the fatigue encountered by trying to please others or the futility of placing your value on the size of your bank account or the depth of a human relationship? Is it anger, hate or bitterness from being hurt?

Jesus tells each of us, “You don’t need to struggle anymore. Rest in me. I can take the guilt away. My only rule is to love me and get to know me more. Church won’t do that. Rules, relationship and resources won’t do that. Only faith in me will give you true freedom. His freedom gives you permission to be you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I want to be free. I want to be free of worry, hate, guilt, anger, my desire for things and a whole list of other things that have held me captive. Religion hasn’t done it for me. People have failed me. I’ve failed myself. Empower me by your Spirit to live in the freedom you came to give me. Give me wisdom to grow in relationship to you so that I know how that freedom looks in my life. In your name I pray, Amen.


Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, Hebrews 6:1

Ever noticed how everyone is drawn to a baby? It’s always amazed me how a little, helpless bundle of flesh can turn otherwise normal and intelligent human beings into babbling idiots! Okay, maybe that was a bit strong, but how else do you describe the antics, silly words and gestures we do to make ‘baby’ smile?

We coo and aah. We smile and make funny faces. We say senseless things like “So Big!” What does that mean? What’s the significance of a 12 pound, 25 inch, bald bundle of joy spreading his or her arms and smiling like they have a clue as what you are talking about?

Okay, I’ve ranted on long enough on that. The fact of the matter, as I’ve stated earlier, is that we all love babies. There isn’t a one of us parents that haven’t said something to the effect of “I wish they wouldn’t grow up” as they leave the toddler years and become more independent. Then, of course they become teenagers and we change our tune to “I wish they’d just grow up!”

Fact of the matter is, if a baby doesn’t grow up and become more mature physically, emotionally and intellectually they simply can’t function in society. All of life is centered on the idea of maturing, growing and becoming more independent.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. The Apostle Paul talks of the Corinthian believers as being immature children still needing milk when they should be eating steak! Peter says something similar when he tells us we should long for the milk of the word so that we can grow up!

Too many times we get hung up in our walk with Christ. We are, so to speak spiritually, developmentally delayed. We focus on our failures when we should act on our freedom. We worry when we should work. We criticize when we should cooperate. We protect the ways we always did things when we should press on to new horizons.

Our God is not a shallow God. He is not stagnant. He is unchanging in character but not in how he interacts with others. Remember that in order for relationship, any relationship to be strong it must grow deeper. A love relationship is one in which two people continue to learn more and more about each other.

The same is true with God. Don’t get hung up on your past. Don’t get hung up on your failures. Don’t allow yourself to become stagnant because you don’t have this gift, or that ability or the right amount of money or resources. Grow deep with God. Devour His word. Don’t just read a passage, study it. Mediate on it. Talk with God often. Grace teaches us that your heavenly Father wants to deepen his relationship with you so that he can show you great and mighty things.

Be willing to listen and learn. Don’t be like the infant that never grows up. The closer you walk with God the deeper and more exciting your life will be.

PRAYER: Father God. I confess to you that sometimes I act more like a spiritual two-year old than an adult because I demand my own way even if it will harm me. Other times I’m like a teenager and think I know more than you do about how things should be. I get hung up on me rather than growing in you. Empower me with your spirit to grow deeper in my understanding of you. Help me love you more so I can live in the freedom you intended. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 


No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 (NLT)

What can separate us from God’s love? The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from His love. The only thing that stands in the way of a love relationship with God is our sin. Sin separates us from God’s love because God can’t look at sin, not because He doesn’t love us. All of us, no matter who we are or what we believe are God’s creation. He made ALL men (mankind) in His image for the express purpose of having a passionate, fulfilling love relationship with us.

Jesus came to earth to give us a living example of God’s love. He died to pay the penalty for our sin. He rose so that even death would have no power over us. Today He is seated at the right hand of His father pleading our case and reminding the Father that He died for us. He works in us though the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us, protect us and assure us of His love.

What can separate us from His love? If we believe that God is the creator of all things then He is also in control of all things created. He created all we see (the earth, universe, life) and the unseen (the spirit world, fear, doubt, etc.). Therefore He will not allow anything He has created to keep us from His love.

What can separate us from His love? Can our past? Can debt? Can illness? Can political agendas that are anti-God? Can present frustrations and disappointments? NO! The enemy uses these things to try to veil God’s love; to make us question His love, His existence and His forgiveness.

The enemy says, “He can’t forgive you this time. You’ve gone too far. You are nothing but a hypocrite.” The enemy says, “If God is a God of love why is there illness and disaster? If your God is alive and loving this would never happen”

But our Father in heaven has always warned us that in this world we will see adversity. We’ll see hatred and disaster and struggle. He’s told us we’ll struggle with sin and with those intent on destroying us. He’s even warned us that we will be unfaithful at times. But even these things will not separate us from God’s love.

Our attitudes towards God may affect our ability to sense His love for us but they will never affect how much He loves us!

What can separate us from God’s love? Nothing. Nothing you can see. Nothing that is hidden. Not the past, not the future. God loves you and He sent His own Son as proof. Your value comes because of God’s love for you and not because of anything  you can do to earn it.

PRAYER: Holy Father. I thank you today for the reminder that there is nothing that separates me from you. I get scared sometimes. I get frustrated with my own feelings of inadequacy to follow you the way I want. I’m angry sometimes at the evil and injustice around me. Even during these times I ask that you would help me to live in constant awareness of your undying, eternal and unending love for me. In the name of my Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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