Love                                                               

A LOVE-ly Day

 Whenever I see a digital clock at 2:14 PM (not AM, because I like to sleep in the early mornings) I like to use that as a reminder of God's love.  I use the time 2:14 because that is also the date of Valentine's Day, 2/14, the day of love.  Its one small thing I have put in place to remind myself in a quick unsuspecting moment of what Christ did for us on the cross and His great love that made it a reality.  It's not more than that; I'm not superstitious or into numerology, it's a simple reminder just like my wedding ring reminds me of the commitment I made to my man, Chuck.

Valentine's Day has evolved over dozens and hundreds of years starting with Christian roots and ending with cupids, cards, and conversation hearts.  In our culture it can sometimes be more secularized than God honoring. Yet, Valentine's Day and the martyrs who gave their lives for people in the line loving Christ, can serve as a reminder of the kind of love we should exhibit year round.

There are a few stories floating around out there about who the real Valentine is.  What is agreed by many historians is that there were probably three men in history, all martyred Christians, with the name Valentine all around February 14th.  Huh, go figure….  The most famous story is of a man who secretly married young couples against the ruling of the Roman government law.  The Roman's discovered they needed uncommitted men to fight the war because ones with wives and children were unwilling to sign up for soldier duty.  He served people in secret by marrying them in the name of God because of His love for God.  These acts of service resulted in his life being taken by the Roman government.

The example of Valentine is His love for God, which spurred on his love for people.

The historians tell us that Valentine (all three of them) were real Christian men who lived and walked the dusty roads of earth.  The example of the one we just talked about is an example of how to live in sureness for the name of Christ while loving your neighbor.  His personality and character should remind us that we should be living in a like manner.

Luke 10:27, "And he answered, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'"

Somewhere down the road this holiday became a romantic one, and that's fine, too.  The message is the same, love.  What a wonderful sentiment with many Christian applications, to remember to express godly love your spouse.

However you celebrate today, Valentine's Day, let's make a pact to let it serve us as a reminder of God's love for us and how we should love others.

What can you do today to make sure someone sees the love of God through you?

Love because God loves. 
 
By Andrea Simmons
2.14.17
  

Luke 10:27, "And he answered, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'"
The Love Response, Part 1
My husband, Chuck, and I bought a laptop; it was a really nice one with all the features we wanted. We were so pleased to tote that thing around the house and use it for all our daily purposes. Then one day when my oldest daughter was done using it, she grabbed the top right corner and pushed it away from her. That wouldn’t be a big deal except she used just enough force to crack the screen in several places all the way across the screen up and down and everywhere. I remember it clearly because I had to sit out a six week session of my master’s program while we shipped it off to Florida for the $600 repair job.

Yes, I did day $600. Ouch!

We got our laptop back in perfect working condition and we resumed using it. I wish I could say this was the end of our laptop troubles but less than a month later I ran over my school bag with the laptop in it. I sat that bag up against the side of the car while I buckled my littlest one in her car seat, got in my driver’s seat and backed out of the drive way. Chuck was on the porch waving at me like a mad man trying to communicate for me to stop the car and I stopped a little too late. Since we live on a budget I was horrified at the new expense I just created for us- not to mention I was in the middle of another class that I absolutely needed that computer for! At that moment my dear husband only hugged me and repeatedly said, “It’s just a thing. It’s just a thing.” Thank goodness computers were covered under our house insurance.

A few months later Chuck did something equally as stupid. Well, maybe not as stupid as what I’d done, but I wanted to be really mad at him for it. However, my mind would not stop replaying his graciousness to me that day on the driveway and I knew I had to extend the same grace. It did not escape me that his expressed love for me over the computer situation created a response of love in me back to him. That’s a full circle of love.

The same is true with those who know God’s love for them. God created us out of love. He created a plan of salvation for us out of love. He gave His one and only Son out of love. He is coming again out of love. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength,” Deuteronomy 6:5. Similarly, Matthew 22:36-37 says, “’Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your hart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Our response to God’s love for us should be to love Him back.

Just like I considered how Chuck had previously shown his love for me, King David considered what God had done for Israel.

“Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.” (Psalm 77:10-15.)

We should remember to consider who God is and what He has done out of love for us. Our response should always be love back to Him, a full circle of love in relationship with Hm.

“Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: ‘Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13.)

The person who believes in God loves and honors Him, which is an appropriate response to Him who first loved us.

by Andrea Simmons
Psalm 77:10-15
“Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.” 
A Gift for All
Acts 11:18, “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, 'Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’”

I knew a pastor once who said he never went through the only check-out at the local grocery story that had cigarettes for sale. His reason was because he didn't want any people in his congregation to get the wrong idea about his purchases. He was not going to be found causing anyone to stumble! He is a dear man and he was avoiding a socially undesirable situation and it is an honorable choice.

In the Bible, the Jews and the Gentiles did not associate with one another; it was a social faux pas. More than that, it was unthinkable. They would not eat with one another either. To eat with someone in this culture meant that you identified with them, accepted them, and approved of them. Gentiles ate meat from animals that God commanded in Genesis to be unclean. In no way would a Jew be found eating unclean food or with someone who did, it would taint them for life. There was an extreme social divide, you were one or the other and there were no crossed lines.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the Jews lived and followed the laws of Moses. Jewish heritage was passed down generation to generation in the Old Testament. It was mostly preserved by families, the parents teaching the children about their rich past. It was almost as if the next generation didn’t have a choice whether or not they would follow suit because it was who they were, it’s what they were born into. You were born Jewish and you follow the Mosaic Law under God’s authority. This was just the way it was. There were generations and generations of amazing history that they claimed as their own and it was very different than the rest of the world's heritage. What must it have been like to be a child growing up in Jewish home?

Then, all-of-a-sudden, Jesus enters the scene and this spiritually preserved Jewish heritage opened up and did not only belong to the Israelites, but now to the world. Now, just like that, their heritage was for all people. The promise God gave to the Jews through Abraham is now the promise to all nations.

Jesus changed things. He was super radical!

The Mosaic Law was to be no more and the saving Grace of Jesus, once and for all, replaced it. Salvation is now for everyone, the playing field was evened out, and God has made a way to cleanse the world from our sins.

“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter, kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘Bo no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean do not call common.’” (Acts 11:5-9).

Those of us not born into the Jewish culture now have what they have, a Savior! In Jesus, you are not an outsider. You are not unclean. You are not common. You have a loving God who made a way for your repentance that leads to real life. You have been provided for. The choice is yours, though. Are you going to accept the God of the Jews, your God, or head down a different path, one that leads to sin and death? This is the ultimate question. Without God, you are an outsider, you are unclean, you are common. That sounds really harsh, I know, but, outside of God there is no good; it is only in Him that we find goodness.

We cannot have our cake and eat it too. We cannot be clean and unclean. We cannot be common and uncommon. We cannot be with God and outside of God. There is no room within us to harbor both; we must choose one or the other.

I love these verses in Acts! It almost seems like we are so ‘lucky’ to be counted the same as God’s first loved people. Their heritage is my heritage. Their God is my God. He is the real God who came to us and gave real salvation we didn’t even earn. My works are not done to try to appease the divine and find acceptance. I was already accepted and my works are an outflow of love and obedience to my LORD. Luck has nothing to do with it, but rather the other "L" word, love. We are so loved.

Do you accept the gift of Jesus?

Dear LORD, thank you for a history that points to you and for having a love for us where salvation was made available to all; thank you for including even me in your master plan. Thank you for loving. You are amazing, God. I love the heritage you haven given us and the identity in you that comes with it. Praise your holy name! Amen.

by Andrea Simmons

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Acts 11:18
 “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, 'Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’”

Nehemiah Love
Nehemiah Chapter 1, Compassion and Prayer

I am studying Nehemiah chapter 1, and at first I thought, “Oh, how boring! What can I get out of this chapter? Lord, please help me to learn something.” I can just hear Him thinking something like, “You should know by now, I do not waste words! There some piles of gold in there.” Well, let me tell you this, I have fallen in love with Nehemiah in just one boring chapter. It’s not so boring anymore.

This man is on a first name basis with the king. Not just any king of a small unimportant country no one has ever heard of, no, the King of Persia, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the earth of its time! Nehemiah is kind of a big deal in the honored and trusted position of cup bearer to the king. The king has to trust Nehemiah thoroughly with his life otherwise poison would be served to the king and well, you know.

During Nehemiah some of the Israelites have already gone back to Jerusalem after seventy years of bondage in Babylon, just like God promised. Obviously, Nehemiah did not return with them because he was still in Persia working in the palace. But, I loved a verse from Ezra (chapter 1 verse 5) that says the heads of households that returned to Jerusalem were those that ‘God stirred’ to go and rebuild. There was a reason Nehemiah was left in Persia next to the king, he wasn’t stirred by God to go. It may have seemed like a life event unrelated to anything but daily living, but it was ordained by God.

Nehemiah learned from some relatives (maybe a brother) that visited from Judah that his people and homeland, which he had never seen, were in great distress. Their walls and gates were torn down and burned leaving them open to enemy attacks. They were also a pitiful group that neighboring places could laugh at, helpless and dishonorable. Laughingstocks!

When Nehemiah heard this discouraging news he wept, prayed, and fasted for days. Since he had never actually been to his home country I can only conclude his strong response was due to his love for God. He had a heart for what God had a heart for- His lost and hurting people.

Don’t you just love Nehemiah’s heart?

This next part is a little foreshadowing and leaves you hanging at the end of the chapter just reeling you into chapter 2. Nehemiah says to God at the end of a prayer that is reminding God how important the Israelites are to Him when he says, “…and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in sight of this man.” Please just tell us what you are thinking, Nehemiah! What plan do you have that you need success in? And, ‘this man’ is the King of Persia. His compassion for the desperate Israelites end in plan for some kind of action he is talking to God about. Don’t you just want to know what it is? Me, too!

What we can learn from Nehemiah is that we need compassion for the lost and hurting and we need to pray for them and this kind of response comes out of our commitment and love to God. Not only that, we need to let our compassion move us into action. If there is a lack of compassion in our lives we need to ask God to give us a heart for a need that He shows to us. God is faithful to answer prayers that are lined up with His will. My friend, let’s ask Him together in prayer right now!

Dear LORD, you are a God of love and compassion! Thank you for this and for what you are teaching us through the book of Nehemiah. Please show me your heart for a need that you have chosen. Give me prayers to pray, needs to fill, actions to take, and a way that brings you glory. Thank you for hearing our prayer, in your name I pray, amen.

by Andrea Simmons

Nehemiah 1
Friend, You are Loved
When you stand at the top of the Grand Canyon don’t you all of a sudden realize your own smallness in comparison to its great vastness? Job realized his own smallness when God spoke to him. Job 41:5, “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” He had a good idea of why he should be humble and who God was at this point.

The Israelites realized their own humbleness after asking Ezra to dust off God’s word and read it to them. Nehemiah 8:9 reads, “And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.’ For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.” They wept because when the words of God were read to them by their own request, they saw how far they had gotten from God and how awful they were in His sight.

When people see God in His written word, His spoken word, His prayed word, or His holy workings, one natural first response is to realize how ugly we are. While repentance is a must, we are to not to stay focused on our inadequacies, yet rejoice in who God is and what He has done on our behalf to restore us to Him and make us beautiful. It is good when we grasp this because it should naturally turn back into praise and glory to Him who created us. Then, all of a sudden, it becomes real to us why we were created and we become fulfilled. It is not and never will be in the things of this earth- the blinding focus on the physical, that we will find our ‘why’. It is in God.

Seeking God is a life long journey that never grows old. Personally, it is always full of joy and excitement. Sometimes, it is discipline, but God’s people have never been disappointed when they chose God’s path in any given situation. As a matter of fact, it always proved to be such a rewarding journey that we should always want to “Keep on, pressing toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me (us) heavenward in Christ Jesus,” in the words of Paul, Philippians 3:14, parenthesis mine.

God is where you go to get comforted, peace, healing, love, acceptance, joy, filled, patience, kindness, and understanding. Why do we so often look for these things in the world? We will not find them there. God calls us to something deeper; into a relationship with Him that changes everything! When we accept Him as our LORD and Savior, we will find great treasures the world knows nothing about.

Let’s follow the command of Nehemiah and not stop being stuck on how awful we are as born sinners. Let’s move on into a relationship with God where we focus on Him, love Him, and gleefully receive gifts and treasures abounding for us.

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all- how will he not also graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32.

Friend, you are loved.
Nehemiah 8:9
"This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep."
His Very Best
1 Corinthians 15: 20, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

Dave Smith, a former youth pastor, was talking to us about tithe. (Teens and tithe, I think you cannot start teaching this truth too early!) One thing I remember him saying was that he and his wife, Brooksie, tithed everything they got. One year he said the amount they gave shocked him; he didn’t realize it was going to be so much. He followed up with saying, and I could almost quote him, that they didn’t even miss the money. It was part of their habit of obedience to the LORD. They were blessed in many other ways by the obedience of giving their first fruits.

The Old Testament law required obedience in animal sacrifices. The idea was that since the wages of sin is death someone must die for sins committed. The animal was a substitute for the sin of the person sacrificing the animal. The sin was transferred to the animal thereby cleansing the person from sin. The requirement for the animal was that it had to be flawless, healthy, with no broken bones or crippled. It had to be the very best! It had to be a ‘perfect’ animal. It also had to be from the first of the flock.

A sacrifice offering could also be the first fruits of a crop or harvest, too. The idea was that it was from the first of what they received and it was perfect- the best. However, the Old Testament sacrifices were not perfect and did not fully accomplish what they were supposed to.

Jesus fulfilled the law of sacrifices.

God sent Jesus to us to take our sins once and for all. He was the perfect lamb and flawless. He was the first fruit of God.

This is a short devotional, but the point to be made is following. I love to think about it and let it sink in deep to exactly who we are and how much God loves us… God gave us the very thing He required.

God gave us His very best.

…And, it was more than good enough.


by Andrea Simmons

1 Corinthians 15: 20
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

Forgiving in Love
Have you ever done something so wrong that every time you remember it you are gripped with a feeling of horror in the pit of your stomach? You know, that thing you would never dare utter audible words over because it's just too embarrassing or painful to admit that this story belongs to you? Joseph's brothers did. It was around two decades from the time they hated and sold their brother into slavery, is there ever mention of them speaking of it? They probably remembered it every time they witnessed their father's undying sorrow. What a tragedy they had to live with in the depths of their hearts.

Imagine being in their shoes when they had walked a dreadfully long, hot, dusty trip from Canaan in order to beg for some food from the pagan Egyptian rulers. I wonder if they secretly kept their eye out for that dirty slave on the side of the field that might be their brother, or if they only counted him for dead. As they approached Egypt I imagine the haunting memories of what they'd done to their brother, their father's beloved son, must have grown more present in their minds. They could not have been prepared for what they were going to encounter.

Skipping forward, they took their second trip to Egypt with a goal of taking more food home Canaan. A kink was put in their plans when their unknown brother would only give it to them if they brought Benjamin back with them. Benjamin was Joseph’s only full brother from his very own mother. He wanted to see him and know he was doing well. This is the son that Israel could not bear to loose being the last child of his most beloved wife, Rachel. Israel would not let him go anywhere with his brothers. (I wonder if their dad suspected them...) They reached their destination standing before this Hebrew-Egyptian ruler with the hope of meeting their earthly need for food and found something much more.

What amazement and horror must have overcome them when Joseph revealed himself once Benjamin came. Now the tides have turned; he had the authority and power to imprison them, or even worse, to have them killed. Could it be? Oh yes, it was true, it was Joseph! They couldn't speak in his presence, how could they, their sins were at full revelation when they realized Joseph was standing before them only second to Pharaoh. Take a minute to feel this very tense moment filled with emotion from the past and present.

How much more do we stand before our Lord, filled with our sin? We also have nothing to say before the Lord about ourselves, do we? How can we? In His presence we are fully aware of our own sinful nature.

Joseph unexpectedly lavished love on them. He burst into tears of pain and drew them close to himself to pray for them. Kissing his beloved brother, Benjamin, and then kissing all of his brothers. What a sight of forgiving love. Our Heavenly Father forgives us that way when we stand before Him with our deepest regrettable sins. Saddened by our sin, but turning it into forgiveness while pulling us close to Him. No worries about our past, present, or future because Jesus has taken care of it all. Forget what you've done, all is forgiven! Come to Him and ask!

Once the sin of the brother's had been revealed in a moment of great fear, the blessings followed. Reconciliation between the forgiven and the forgiver was so very real, like rain on dried cracked ground. Do you feel like dry cracked ground right now? Let the Father rain His forgiveness and love on you with no more past to remember, but with a promised future!

by Andrea Simmons
Genesis 37 & 42
Loved First
My children add greatly to my happiness. Even though they add little to our finances because they actually take a lot of money, I love them. It doesn't seem to be on their radar to think, “Hey, I think I’ll clean that up for mom and give her a break.” No. Sometimes they make messes and either wait for me to clean it ask them to do it. That makes me feel a little grumbly inside. I serve them continuously. I cook, do laundry, and take them places. I help them with homework and teach them about life. I teach them about praying and dating. (Can I put those two things in the same sentence?) I worry about their relationships, especially with the Lord, and pray for them every day. Oh my goodness, I love those girls!

All day, every day I oversee them. They take much more than they give. And, let’s be honest here, there are days that they create a great deal of frustration in me. Sometimes I want to just be left alone to get something accomplished (like dinner) and I am constantly pined after and sometimes they complain when I ask them to help.They can be downright selfish.

Sigh.

Yet, I love them. I can even go as far as to say I need them and would be lost without them. I train them up, teach them, and continuously give for a reason, and that reason is I love them and they add greatly to my happiness.

When I wonder how God could love me with all the work I need, I realize He loves me in spite myself. I do not add much to Him if anything at all, yet He loves me. Just like a child does not question their loving momma’s reasons for loving them, we also need accept how God loves us.

Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (ESV) Not only were you loved after you were born, you were loved before. Human minds and hearts knew nothing of you, but, our Heavenly Father created you in His mind and then physically made you. Take a deep breath when you ponder this…

The absolute truth is that everyone is planned.

Each and every person was planned by God and with a purpose and is not created by a game of genetic rootlet. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We were not just loved and created, but we were created for a real and meaningful reason. We were created with something to do, a purpose!

We are not going through the motions of this life for nothing!

You may not think you add greatly to God’s happiness because of things you have done, the way you think of yourself, or what others may say, but, it does not matter because you are still loved. God simply wants you to know that. Think about it often and remind yourself often. Let this thought replace any other negative thoughts you have throughout the day. Let God show you how much you are loved.

Spend time talking to Him and reading His word. He is the first one to love you, let Him also be your first audience of love. Bow in His majesty and rest in His sovereignty. In Him you have nothing to worry about, but simply be loved.  In this, you will bring Him glory!

by Andrea Simmons
Jeremiah 1:5
 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” 
Fairytale Love
Twirly dresses. Stories of magical kingdoms. Princesses. Fairies. Angels. Floating on clouds. When I was a little girl I loved to imagine all things beautiful that would allow me to dream and be the best version of myself in a perfect world. I dreamed of growing up and marrying the most wonderful man and my future had no flaws. These were things worth dreaming about! They brought me joy then and I still get a flutter in my stomach when I recall these dreams of old.

However, the reality is I grew up and found that life did produce thorns and had flaws. As a matter of fact, life got down right depressing at times. Not that my life has currently reached perfection because we will only be perfect when we live with our Father in heaven, but, abuse and emotional trauma is not a part of my daily life anymore- praise the Lord! The results from my struggles were a closer relationship with God and a loss of naivety. No more rose colored glasses for me. I learned to view myself and my surroundings soberly. I also learned to pray that God will help me see life and others in a way that glorifies Him rather than from a point hopelessness.

The way God views us is one of my favorite things to ponder, that and His vast majesty and power. I am never disappointed with either. Right now, let’s stick with How God views us. Below are some things to ponder that God give us through the Bible and they are identity molding nuggets.

You were pre-thought and planned. "For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very wel". Psalms 139:13 and 14 NKJV.

He made us conquers.  "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37 NKJV.

He made us with a spirit of power. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV.

He made us with a choice. :Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:21 and 22 NKJV. Jesus gave the man a choice and let him chose.

God loves you. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8 NKJV.  "As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love."   John 15:9 NKJV. "You did not choose me, but I chose you."  John 15:16a NKJV.

The last one is my favorite of all time because of the way I tend struggle. Whenever I try to compare myself to someone else or someone tries to make me feel like less than worthy I do not own what they say any more. I perceive myself through my creator, which makes me loved despite what is brought to the table; I am completely loved and so are you. I love it! Perfect love. Dare I say fairytale love?  God’s love is that good and even better because God is perfect and loves us perfectly. Ponder that amazing truth. He made us more than a conquerors and powerful. Yes, you! You can claim that; it is solid truth.

If we would just wrap our thoughts around these kinds of things every day and replace negative self-talk with these thoughts, it would transform how we see ourselves and others. It will strengthen us in this real and flawed world we live in. The more we learn about who we are in Christ the more we know Him and who we are. Ephesians 3:17-19 displays to us that living under the blanket of God’s love and His thoughts of who we are make us deeply rooted and is the perfect place to live while journeying through this sober world.  The result is that we are fulfilled. This is true.

What next? Pray, read your Bible, and make the focus of your thoughts on Him. Maybe find an accountability partner/friend.  It's about Him, nothing else. Then, prepare for something so much better than the perfect childhood dream; prepare for a real and perfect love to bring you peace. His love is real and perfect, and includes you.

by Andrea Simmons

Romans 5:8
 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."