Open my Heart to Your Love God

 

His banner over me is love…

Wow! I loved last week’s lesson on mapping out the scripture. I am so thankful that Jana shared on Suzanna Eller’s blog how to do this. I want to keep using this technique so that I can fully appreciate and understand what the scripture is saying to me.

 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:6-8

Continue mapping out the verses- this week’s verses are Romans 5:6-8.

When I was little I remember telling my mom I was going to memorize all the verses in the Bible and I wanted her to tell me which words in the Bible were the verses. I laugh at this thought. I had such a pure desire to study God’s word from such an early age even before I even knew what a verse was I had in my mind that I would memorize every single verse.

Such high ambitions for a little 7 year old!

My love for seeking out God’s words are still strong today. I am so excited about taking time to study with God and learning from Him. I am also very excited about how this weeks verses show God’s amazing love.

He was willing to die for us not just when we were good and following His ways. He was willing to die for us when we were sinners and not following Him. He loves us that much!

I believe that God wants us to get into His word to truly speak to us and help us recognize just how deep and strong His love for us is.

That’s exciting to me! Is it to you?

Share your story of wanting to learn more about God’s love, When did you start feeling drawn to God and His word?

 

 

 

Create a Desire for Me to Surrender to Your Word

Maybe you have been wrestling with something in your life and you feel God’s call for you to surrender. I’ve been learning that God is seeking more of my life to be surrendered to Him. One way I am learning to do this is through an intense Bible Study where I map out His words for my life. I am attempting to do this and I am finding such riches that Christ is teaching me.

I want to share with you one way I am surrendering my life to God. It is through this intense map study. I learned it through reading a blog from another Christian woman whom I don’t really know, but she shared on her blog  what she was learning from Jana. So I would like to share with you how I am learning to study scripture more deeply and passionately.

Please join me as we study this month’s scripture together.

I began this year praying a new prayer and that was; Lord help me to surrender to you. Completely surrender in every area of my life.

This prayer scared me because I wasn’t sure what exactly that was going to mean. But here I am and so far nothing crazy or tragic has happened to me in fact what has happened is that I am growing closer to my God and finding His love so rich and perfect filling my heart each day.

So let’s break it down.

Just like we are suppose to read God’s word. I have been noticing that the more I study his words the more the words are jumping off the pages and into my heart. I am talking to God on a regular basis and He is unfolding His words for me to learn to live by and to surrender to. A new way that He has taught to me is through something they call verse mapping.

This involves really opening up my conscious so I am awaken to His new truths. This is developing in me a chance to explore every little word and phrase that He has to offer me.

For the time being we will work at this step by step:

  • Read the first verse of our Bible Passage: Romans 5:1-11
  • Now write out the first verse leaving room around and in between each word.
  • Personalize each word placing your name where the pronouns are.
  • Mark, circle, underline, highlight words and phrases that stand out to you. Are there any words that make you want to dig deeper? Look up and define any words that need clarification.
  • Read the verse in context: Read the preceding and following verses or whole chapter. See how it ties in to the verses before and after it.
  • Read the verse in other translations: Note which words or phrases help you understand or apply the verse.
  • Cross-reference the verse: Find, list and read other verses which speak about the same topic.

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How does Verse Mapping Help Me Grow?

This is what I have discovered. As I read the scripture passage we are studying this month a few of the verses seem to stand out to me. My humanity let my eyes drift to the problems that we face in verses 3-5.

Paul wanted us to know that we can rejoice in our sufferings. That seems so polar opposite of what happens. I mean think about it, suffering says “hardship” “misery” and “misfortune” It doesn’t say “celebrate” “beat the drum” and “bless”.

So this makes me ask the question what is so good about suffering?

What is good about__________?

Let’s look at the list Paul gives us. I love lists and this list is packed full with wonderful attributes that I want to possess.

What is good about endurance?

The thesaurus uses words like capacity, courage, and fortitude. Those words sound promising.

What is good about character?

The thesaurus mentions words like humor, kind, and nature; again pleasing words

What is good about hope?

The thesaurus shares words like optimism, promise and prospect. These are exceedingly pleasant words.

So what I am gathering here is information on how my suffering can be a positive thing. It is all in my perspective. If I realize that the torment that I am going through can produce in me some greater good than I can embrace this negativity in my life with a new found wish that it is through my struggles that I can grow closer to God.

What I have acquire directly:

I have acquired a list of words that I want to produce in my life. I have acquired a verse that I can pray over my life and over the life of my children and husband.

Words I want to try to incorporate into my life:

exult, triumph and rejoice

Patience, unswerving endurance and fortitude

mature character approved by faith and tried by integrity

joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation

Verse that I want to pray over myself and my family:

and hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by [the] Holy Spirit which has been given to us: Romans 5:5

I love to take verses I am learning and pray it over myself and my family inserting their names into the verse like this:

Father please give Ryan hope that does not make him ashamed, because your love is shed abroad in his heart by Your Holy Spirit which was given to him. Thank you for pouring your love into his heart today, let him feel your love and be aware of your presence. Amen

Then I go through and pray for each of my family members the truth that I have acquired directly from God.

Now it is your turn: Take some time today or this week before next Tuesday and map out Romans 5:1-5.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me by using the comment button below. Remember we are in this together as we are growing closer to God and learning of His great love for us.

Let’s focus on the Hope that God has given us this week. Let’s lean on His Love that He is so generously flooding our hearts with.

When you are tired of disagreements and dislike

I pray that since we have been

              Justified through Faith,

                                        We have

Peace with God through our Lord Jesus       Christ.

Because God’s love has been poured out

into our hearts through the Holy Spirit

Who has been given to us.

You see, at just the

                  right time, when

we were still powerless,

Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:1-11

Nothing makes me feel more alive than when I see God working His peace and Hope into people who are facing disagreements and dislike of the situations they are in.

Recently while talking with a mom who was feeling pushed aside, not wanted and not loved. I prayed for God to give me wisdom as I spoke truth into this hurting mama’s soul. This feeling of hopelessness and unrest was eating away at her and she felt completely void of love and appreciation.

This baggage that she was carrying around was exactly what Satan wanted her to be carrying, because while she was feeling weighted down by the possibilities of loneliness and  alienation she was missing out on the possibilities of popularity and sociability. She was missing out on one of the most important things, she was loved by God and she was loved by her family.

There are other people who feel weighted down by feelings of being nonessential and undesirable. No one asks for these feelings and yet they seem to surface in people at various times in their lives.

Today I want to look at a different feeling. It is a beautiful legacy of love handed down to us from God……

Let’s see what Paul had to say about it:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:1-11 NIV

Recently I have enjoyed reading scripture in various translations.

Let’s read it a few more times but in different versions of the Bible.

Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace, in which we now live. And so we boast[b] of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory! We also boast[c] of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.

For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! By his blood[d] we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God’s anger! 10 We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! 11 But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends.  (Good News Translation)

 

1-2 Since then it is by faith that we are justified, let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things he has for us in the future.

3-5 This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.

6-8 And we can see that it was while we were powerless to help ourselves that Christ died for sinful men. In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us.

9-11 Moreover, if he did that for us while we were sinners, now that we are men justified by the shedding of his blood, what reason have we to fear the wrath of God? If, while we were his enemies, Christ reconciled us to God by dying for us, surely now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain of our salvation through his living in us. Nor, I am sure, is this a matter of bare salvation—we may hold our heads high in the light of God’s love because of the reconciliation which Christ has made. (J.B. Phillips New Testament)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (KJV)

Paul is reminding the Romans and us today that God has given us a gift offered by Christ. It is a gift that was brimming with all that they needed, and all that we need as His children.

Now that we have studied these verses lets ponder this question.

Why are we feeling so despised and unappreciated when God has loved us enough to die for us?

We can have real peace with Him because of what Jesus Christ did for us.

Because of our faith, He has brought us into a place of highest privilege.

We can hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well for we know how dearly God loves us.

Maybe at times we feel rejected and shunned because we never truly understood God’s warm love everywhere inside of us.

For the rest of the month I would like to unpack these 11 verses. Every Tuesday from now until the end of the month we will focus on these verses and God’s amazing love.

Today let’s just look at the first two verses.

Therefore, since we are justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have also obtained access through faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in hope of sharing the glory of God.

Take out your journal and write down these two verses adding your name to it to make it personal. For example… Therefore, since Laura is justified through faith, Laura has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Next:

  • name 1 thing that robs you of the peace that God has given you.
  • Ask God to help you reclaim that peace in your life.
  • Name 1 new hope you have now that you understand God’s love for you.

Oh Lord, inform our hearts. Let us get a glance of your love that you are pouring into our hearts. Some of us are carrying around baggage of animosity that is bulky and chaotic, which is robbing us of peace and hope. Will you help us to  begin to accept and generate an area in our hearts for your love?

Can I see God’s love this Easter Season?

For God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten son,that whoever believes in Him should not perish but……

Have Everlasting Life

John 3:16

I have been thinking a lot theses past few days about God’s love for us. You know it really is what the gospel message is all about. Our amazing God created the world and then when he saw all the sin that was taking place He came and offered His one and only son as a sacrifice for us so that we may be saved!

This March I want to focus on the love of God! Each week I hope to send out a devotion about God’s love. After all it is through His love that we have a chance to live eternally in heaven with him. This Easter Season let’s focus on the true meaning of what Easter is all about.

Let’s focus on the love of God!

For some reason this time of year people tend to get wrapped up in the commercialism of Easter. The pretty bonnets and pastel colors….Easter eggs and Easter bunnies…..Tulips and daffodils……New chicks and New Starts.

Nothing is wrong with all these Easter things but we shouldn’t replace the true meaning of Easter with all the hype of the season. It is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and to think like everyone else is thinking.

I wonder if that is what happened with Nicodemus. The story is told in John 3, after Jesus had gone to Jerusalem for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went to the temple and found people selling cattle, sheep and doves. He also saw people sitting at tables exchanging money. Jesus was horrified at the disrespect that these people were giving God and how they were stealing from those who were coming to offer sacrifices. Instead of respecting what the Passover was all about people were taking the opportunity to make this into a personal profit for themselves. (Hint: Kind of like what our economy tries to accomplish at Easter time.)You can find this part of the story in John chapter 2: 13-25. Of course Jesus wasn’t going to stand for this abuse of power and money scandal so he overthrew the tables and commanded the people to get out of there. This was not the place for this kind of behavior. The Jews responded by asking Jesus what kind of sign can you show us to prove you have the authority to come in here and do all this.

While Jesus was still at the Festival many people saw the signs and miracles Jesus did and believed in Him. So there was two types of people, those who believed and those who were questioning who Jesus was.

Scripture doesn’t record exactly what Nicodemus thought on the matter was. We do know however that He was a member of the Jewish ruling council. I think maybe he was confused and starting to doubt what he always believed and wanted to know from the Rabbi himself how Jesus could do all of  these signs if He wasn’t from God.

And yet, even through his confusion he did something pretty interesting, he went up to Jesus privately one night and sat down and discussed some of the questions that were troubling him.

This wouldn’t even had been a story if Nicodemus wasn’t willing to take time to confront his turmoil and be bold enough to ask the questions he was facing.

This story encourages me because often I think people look at doubts and confusion as some sort of weakness, but instead I look at Nicodemus and feel encourage that even a Jewish teacher, was willing to take time and learn from others.

Jesus shares with Nicodemus how He came to this world to save the world. He is here for a purpose and that is to help others be born again. Born with a new Spirit. Born by giving their lives to God by being baptized and surrendering their whole life to following and living for God. Jesus had a purpose and that was to help others believe in Him so that one day they could be saved from their sins and have an eternity living with God. He came to the earth to die! He came to offer himself so we could live.

As I look back on my life and some of the past Easters I realize I haven’t always had the focus that I was suppose to. As a child I was more concerned about the chocolate bunnies and the pretty dresses that I looked so beautiful in. In fact my sister and I would often twirl around in our room to see which dress went out farther as we twirled and then we knew who had the more beautiful dress.

So maybe this year can be different, maybe this Easter along with the chocolate bunnies and peeps and pretty little dresses, maybe we could also focus on the Love of God.

As Nicodemus learned that evening, we have to be born again in order to be saved. We have to completely give our life to Jesus and surrender to Him. We have to see who Jesus is and recognize his love for us is so totally filled with awe and wonder that He was willing to leave His perfect home in heaven to save us. That is unconditional,  outright decisive love that Jesus came here to give us.

Dear Lord, I am so sorry that I haven’t always focused on your love for me, I haven’t always seen your wisdom and your power. I want to be the woman who looks to your love first instead of getting caught up in the deals that are going on around me. I need your love. In Jesus name, Amen.

Featured Bible Verse About God’s Love: Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Reflect and Respond:

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about how you view God’s love what would it be?

Why is it hard to see God’s love this way?  List your reasons for your resistance to accepting God’s love for what it is?