Jesus Christ our Savior
Growing up I learned that love had to be earned based on how well I performed. The giving of love was by works and not by grace. This way of receiving love was instilled in my father by his father and he naturally brought it into his parenting relationship with his own kids.
“We love because He first loved us.” (1John 4:19)
Performance based love is rooted in fear and not in the freedom of grace love initiated by God. My earthly father inflicted a ton of rules that I had to adhere to. Eventually I figured out that I would never be able to consistently meet his standards. God accepts us as we are, with all our imperfections and shortcomings. He not only loves us first but wins our heart with His kindness towards us.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us…but according to His own mercy…” (Titus 3:4,5)
God is love and He delights in pouring out His love on us. So much so that He sent His Son Jesus to remove the barrier of ‘works based love’ which could never satisfy our longing to be loved and accepted.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life…In order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16, 17)
There is no fear in the perfect love of our Heavenly Father, there is peace of soul knowing that we are loved and accepted just as we are. His love brings freedom to soar into fulfilling our God-given purpose on this earth.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” (1John 4:18)
Nothing can separate you from the love of God! (Romans 8:38, 39)
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” (Song of Solomon 2:4)
Image: Nature’s Love, J. Shauk
From the moment we gasp for our first breath at birth we announce our need for a Savior. With the second breath our struggle begins with embracing it. Instead of embracing this need we strive toward building a self-sufficient lifestyle that conveniently obscures our view of the One who has known us since before we were born, who saw our unformed substance. (Psalm 139:13-16)
The crazy belief around building a life of self-sufficiency is the false belief that independent living is possible, that creating enough resources to get along without help is obtainable. And yet we find that in the last chapter of our lives we suffer regret over relationships that have been sacrificed for gain in life.
We were created for relationship and dependence upon God from the beginning.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
God also provided the resources that we would need during our life on earth and the abilities, gifts and talents to bear fruit, to live a prosperous life balanced in spirit, soul and body.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1)
In our pursuit of self-sufficiency we presume that our resources have come about from our own hard work, gifts or talents. God warns us that when we trust in our own ways all that we build for ourselves will be destroyed. (Hosea 10:13) He encourages us to turn from pursuing a self-sufficient lifestyle to one of dependence upon the One who owns it all.
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10)
At the age of 14 God showed me my need for a Savior and the futility of trying to build a self-sufficient lifestyle. I believed falsely that it would protect me from being betrayed by others and the world in general. God was inviting me to journey through life with Him as my provider and One in whom I could depend on for provision that would result in works that would not be destroyed. His invitation was simple;
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Everyone needs a Savior and His name is Jesus.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
A beautiful day just doesn’t happen, it is intentionally driven by our perspective.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What is beautiful to one may not be considered beautiful to another. We tend to qualify beauty by that which gives pleasure to the eye, ear or mind that appeals to our own ideals and inspirational delights. God take on beauty is eternally driven and designed to inspire us each day of our journey as we grow in our relationship towards knowing Him.
We must learn to receive each new day as a gift from God.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Finding beauty in our day also begins with looking up to the One who formed us, “…to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” (Psalm 27:4).
We must learn to see life through God’s beauty.
Finding beauty in our day accepts that although “man is born to trouble” (Job 5:7) we have a Savior in Jesus Christ who has overcome the world.
“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We must learn to guard our hearts with peace.
Finding beauty in our day embraces a purpose filled life and the pursuit of fulfilling our unique mission on this earth. This involves submitting ourselves to God’s best route of transforming us into the image of His Son. Outward and inward beauty can seek no other course but the path God has chosen.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
We must learn to submit to God’s word, and trust His word as our guide.
Finally, we find beauty in our day by waiting gracefully for God’s timing to establish us when we have satisfied His heart in the transformation process. He promises to make everything beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (Psalm 37:7)
We must learn that God will accomplish all His desire towards us.
“He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him; He also hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:19)
May you find God’s beauty today!
Photo Credit: Love-Nature