It can sometimes be difficult for us to fully understand the love that God has for us because often times we see love within the confines of what we can comprehend. Most of us love conditionally and were loved by people whose love would come and go depending on what we did. The love of God is probably one of the greatest mysteries for humans. It’s not a mystery because God doesn’t explain it; it’s a mystery because we can sometimes think that we don’t deserve it. If you have a poor self image then you will doubt that anyone, let alone God, could love you. That is why many people end up making bad relationship decisions because they don’t think that they deserve to be loved because of their appearance or because of their personality flaws.
God’s love is not limited to your appearance or your flaws. In fact, God made you and when He made you He broke the mold. He didn’t make any mistakes. Love who God has made you to be and know that whatever personality flaws you have, God and only God has the ability to help you correct them. He doesn’t stop giving His love because you are too big, too small, too dark or too light or whatever else. You are precious to Him. Another reason that someone may have trouble understanding the love of God is because they don’t take God at His word. If your word is no good, then you will think that everybody’s word is like that including God’s.
We have to learn that God’s word is no lie and that when He says that He will love you and care for you no matter what mistakes you’ve made, you must believe Him. Mistakes are not love stoppers for God. In fact in 1 John 1:9, that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. He doesn’t withhold His love and He’s not standing over you wanting to ”strike you down”. That doesn’t mean that there are not consequences for your actions, but He is waiting on you to return to Him standing with open arms ready to forgive you and restore you.
One of the last reasons and the biggest reason that we can think God may not love us or care for us anymore is if you were raised by someone that didn’t love you unconditionally. Maybe it was a demanding father or a condescending mother that always extremely critical you when you made a mistake and always made you feel ostracized. Your challenge is to first forgive them and release them for their actions. Many times parents do the best job they can with the information that they have. Most families have some type of dysfunction.
Next, you can’t view God through the eyes of your parents, you must view Him in the eyes of the Bible and the Bible teaches us that He loves you so much that He died for you and conquered death for you so that you could be victorious. God will never stop loving you ever for any reason. According to Romans 8:35-40, nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even you!!
Prayer is an essential weapon that believers have. It is a primary source of communication with God. A strong devotion to prayer is essential to living a victorious Christian life. If there is no prayer, there can be no power with God. Most simply, prayer is communication between God and you. Prayer is not limited to the four walls of a church building, or limited to kneeling or having any special trinkets, beads, or other items.
Christ gives us a very good example of how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 AMPLIFIED.
9Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name. 10Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 13And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
When you start praying, start with worship and praise unto God for who He is. Next, we want to declare that we wants God’s will to be done through our prayer and not our own. Sometimes we can pray for things that aren’t God’s best for us and when we commit our prayers to God’s will, we keep ourselves from getting things that aren’t good for us. Another key to our prayers not being hindered is forgiveness. When you’re praying for something be sure to seek forgiveness from God as well releasing those that may have hurt you.
Un-forgiveness is a prayer blocker. 14For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.
Don’t Complain to God. God already knows what we have need of and prayer is not meant to complain, but rather it is meant for us to ask and then thank God for those things. You pray for something once and then every time after you thank God that He has answered your prayers. Even if it doesn’t happen overnight it doesn’t mean that God forgot about you or didn’t hear you, it just means the appointed time hasn’t come. Since you’ve committed your prayer to God’s will, it’ll be done in His timing, which is always right. Don’t go to God with your laundry list of complaints, go to Him with praise. Like the old adage, you get more with honey than with vinegar.
Seal it in Jesus’ Name. While Christ was on the earth, prayer did not need to be sealed In Jesus’ Name, but once He ascended to the right hand of the Father, we need to seal every prayer in His name. The Bible says that He stands in the presence of the Father making intercession for us and when we seal our prayers in Jesus’ Name, it authorizes God to move on our behalf. Amen is simply a closing word to stand in agreement with God’s will.
Attach Scripture to Your Prayer. Pray the Word of God over your situations and circumstances. Find scriptures throughout the Bible that correspond to what you’re believing God for. God is moved by His word and by faith. Not by emotions. For instance, if you are trusting God for financial increase, don’t pray “Lord, increase me like how the Dow Jones went up 400 points in one day!” That doesn’t move God. Instead pray, “Lord, your word declares in Malachi 3 that if I was faithful with my tithe, offering, and first fruits, you promised to open the windows of heaven and pour me out a blessing that I wouldn’t have room to receive.” That prayer moves God.
Make a Prayer List. Make a list of things that you cover in prayer on a daily basis. Knock and keep on knocking. The first knock is to acknowledge your petition and every other knock is to thank God for bringing it to pass even if you haven’t seen it yet.
Sometimes we all have times when the mistakes of our past, the bad decisions in the people we allowed to be around us, and the things that we “should have, would have, could have” will try to interrogate us. Life sometimes will interrogate you and if you’re not careful you’ll allow it to put you in a place called “yesterday.” The problem with yesterday is that God no longer dwells there and the problem with tomorrow is that it causes you to miss what’s in front of you today. There’s a MP3 download in our Online Store called “Stuck in Between Two Thieves” that you should certainly listen to.
Sometimes we can act as our own judge and jury always punishing ourselves for what we could have done differently. The Bible teaches that hasatan (the adversary) stands before God accusing us day and night. Literally, that means that his role is to tell God every thing that’s wrong with us, what we did wrong, what we confessed wrong, and the list goes on.
But check out Revelation 12:10…
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. - Revelation 12:10 NKJV
Think of it as a trial. God is the jury, you’re on trial, Satan is the prosecutor and Jesus is pleading THE BLOOD on your behalf as your defense attorney. Right when Satan comes with his smoking gun, God says “Objection Overruled” we find the defendant NOT GUILTY!! In other words, when we repent (change directions) for what we’ve done, our negative confessions, etc. the Lord has one thing to say to the enemy AND to you and that’s “NOT GUILTY.”
Don’t miss today because you’re stuck in yesterday and don’t let the worries of tomorrow suck the life out of you.
A few weeks back, I saw what was probably one of the most impacting shows I’ve seen on TV in a while. I am a believer in learning from the experiences of others and using their lessons as wisdom in your own life. You don’t always have to “go through” to learn “how to.”
A former Oprah show relationship expert named Iyanla Vanzant appeared and they engaged in a no-holds barred discussion of how and why they fell out.
To alleviate explaining sixty minutes worth of a TV interview, Iyanla made some revelatory remarks. She was a regular on the show for some time and Oprah was preparing for Iyanla to have her own show. Iyanla was contacted by Barbara Walters about doing a show sooner than Oprah and her Harpo productions team was ready. Through befuddled and mixed communication and misunderstandings, an attorney for Harpo contacted Iyanla and told her they wished her well and for her to move forward with what she felt like she was supposed to do. In doing this, Iyanla said that she had a horrible time with this deal she took for her own show and that it was so bad she didn’t even have an office and after one season, her show was cancelled.
Several lessons from the show:
First, it takes great maturity and humility to sit down with a person and discuss a falling out especially from Oprah’s point of view, which appeared to be betrayal from Iyanla. This isn’t to say that you should do this with everyone, but from Iyanla’s perspective, reaching out to the person you’ve hurt may be a wise thing to do, but don’t be surprised or hurt if they decline to speak with you. If you were to shoot someone in the foot, regardless of if it was intentional or not, there’s still a hole in that person’s foot. We must think about what we do to people and how we treat people, while they’re still in our lives.
Second, Iyanla said to Oprah that she had been treated bad all of her life and it was her normal cycle to find people that would treat her badly (like the new show she ended up going with) and gravitate to them. Iyanla said that Oprah was “too good” to her and that Iyanla living her dream came too easy. She went on to say that her background was that everything she ever got, she had to fight, kick, and scream to get it and now Oprah was just laying it all out there for her and she didn’t know what to do with it….WOW!! As a pastor, I can not number the people that have lived out the same thoughts of Iyanla. She didn’t feel like she deserved it. She was so badly conditioned by her previous circumstances that the thought that she could live her dream was TOO MUCH for her to handle. How many good friendships and relationships have you destroyed because it was too easy? How many job opportunities have passed you by because you didn’t have to fight to get it? The Word says that there are some battles we DON’T have to fight, but if you’re in fight mode all the time you’ll end up defeating yourself like Iyanla did. As a mentor, I see people that will run because to be that close to what they call their own “destiny” is just too good to be true.
Third, Iyanla asked for forgiveness. When you’re wrong, guess what? You’re wrong. There’s no shame in apologizing and repenting. There’s a difference between the two. Apologizing is to admit that a breach occurred, but repenting is to “change your mind or change directions.” It’s not enough to know you’re wrong, you have to know how to fix it. Fixing it doesn’t mean that things will go back to the way they were. While I was watching the pre-recorded show, I just knew that at the end Oprah was going to make a big announcement that she was giving Iyanla a show on her new OWN network…but to my surprise, the show ended with Oprah saying to Iyanla that all was forgiven and she thanked her for being there….. WHAT? No car, no iPad, no show…. NO. Sometimes you breach a place of no return and while you may be forgiven, you’re not allowed back into the sacred place you once occupied. What’s the lesson? Control your anger AND communicate before it’s too late.
Ineffective communication is the root to every problem. Ineffective communication in your body is called disease or cancer. As a matter of fact, cancer comes from a cell in the body not getting the message to turn off or to stop growing because it’s size is excessive for it’s purpose. The list goes on.
Here’s the whole show summed up - Live. Learn. Forgive. Live Better.