Archive for ‘Scripture’

June 12, 2013

A thousand times, “Yes.”

So much has gone on lately.  The ups and downs of life have been in full force and I find myself clinging to Jesus.  Holding onto Him with everything that I have because I know it’s the only safe place.  In the good and in the bad, Jesus is constant.  And, oh, how I need Him.

God is good.  He never fails.  He is sovereign.  These are the truths that I am coming to believe more fully than ever.  That everything is grace.  His ways are not my ways.  I can’t always understand.  But I will trust in the goodness of a Savior that died to give me life until the day I breathe my last on this earth… and I know that on that day I will enter into glory, eternally in the presence of the Almighty God, the One whose love is better than life.  In His presence is fullness of joy.

I’ve found myself staring difficult questions in the face lately.  Could I accept all that God gives?  Could I continue to praise Him in the face of loss, death, cancer, blindness?  Could I?

And the answer is, “Yes.”  A thousand times, “Yes.”

I’ve come to realize something: it always happens to someone else.  Until… it doesn’t.  Until it’s you.  Until you’re picking up the phone receiving horrible news.  Or you’re sitting in the doctor’s office hearing what you never imagined you’d hear.  And you cannot control it.  We don’t have control.

God does.

Now, I can’t get into all the theological implications of what that means in one post.  I know we live in a world saturated with sin.  A world that has so often run from God instead of to Him.  And God does not force us to worship Him.  He desires honest, heartfelt worship; not robotic religious “devotion”.

I know that Jesus promised us that we would have trouble in this world.  But he followed it up with some wonderful truth: “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  I know that He is no stranger to our trials, temptations and sufferings.  I know that He spoke of storms coming and that the house built on the sand fell, but that the house built upon rock was able to withstand the storms (Matthew 7:24-27).  And Jesus has proven to be my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.  I will not be greatly shaken.

Whatever the coming weeks, months and years bring, I will choose Jesus.  I will take heart, because He has overcome the world.  And I will fix my eyes upon Him, the Author and Finisher of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  And in Him, and in the truth of His word, I will find hope, strength, rest, peace and joy.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.  Amen. (Romans 11:36)

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June 10, 2013

What are we missing out on?

Lately I’ve noticed something in myself.  Some sin in my life.  It was something I swore that God had dealt with right out of the gate when I surrendered my life to Jesus.  But that old sin is poking and prodding and I’ve allowed it to creep up in some rather unexpected ways.  God has begun to convict me of it and to reveal how it has permeated so many areas of my life.  Through this process, I’ve come to more clearly see one of the reasons God deals with those sins in love– it has been robbing me of my joy in Him.

Have you ever come across a portion of scripture and been so filled with joy and gratitude that you just love Jesus all the more?  I love those moments.  His love, His worth, His power– they just become so clear that the only way to respond is with praise and adoration!

There are passages that I believe should be stirring that up in me.  The very word of God should be capturing my affections and drawing me nearer to Christ.  These passages should secure me in my identity in Jesus and remind me of the overwhelming, all-encompassing, mysterious love of God.  And yet… they don’t.  Instead I find myself nitpicking.  I’m trying to figure out what it “means”, when what it means is plain.  It just makes me uncomfortable.

You’d like an example, you say?  Let’s take a look at Ephesians 1:3-12:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

There is so much there to rejoice in.  So what’s the problem, you ask?

The problem is that when I read this passage I see certain “buzz words”: chose (v.4) and predestined (vv.5,11).  While these certainly won’t be a problem for everyone, they have been for me.  Why?  Because immediately my mind thinks: Calvinism and/or Reformed Theology.  Having been heavily influenced by Arminians (see: free will) for much of my early Christian life, I have a tendency to respond poorly to these words instead of rejoicing in them as I ought.  But why? (Hint: here’s where my sin comes in)… I’m fearful of what others think of me.  I’m fearful of being caught up in the “us and them”.  I’m fearful to be labeled as something or someone without even fully knowing or understanding all that lies behind that label.

Labels can be dangerous.  Not just in the church, of course, but I would say especially in the church.  I’ve become so fearful (in my sinful desires to be accepted by my peers) of labels that I’ve disregarded beautiful truths in the Bible!  These aren’t extraneous words that someone added later, and they certainly aren’t heresy.  I may not fully grasp all of the implications behind those words but here is what I know:

I am chosen.  I am predestined.  I am adopted.  BY GOD!

Isn’t that incredible?  That is really good news.  And the craziest part?  Paul says in Ephesians 2:8 that I have been saved by grace through faith– not that of myself, but a gift from God.

When I fear the label and the potential alienation that comes with it, I miss out on joy.  I miss out on the gift.  I elevate the opinion of man and minimize the opinion and truth of God.

No matter where we stand on the spectrum from Calvinism to Arminianism and everywhere in between, we should never shrink back at the incredible truths in the word of God.  May scripture lead us to know God more fully and rejoice in who He is and all that He has done.

Christian, you are chosen, predestined, adopted.  And it is a gift of God, not of yourself.  Rejoice!

January 16, 2013

Words of life for an anxious heart like mine.

Feeling incredibly thankful this morning that I can take God at His word.  He is not a man that He should lie! (Numbers 23:19) The words and promises of this world will all pass away.  Some will be kept, yes, but many will be broken.  The only sure, steadfast words belong to God.  His word doesn’t change and will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).  When He says something, I can trust that it is true – regardless of how I may feel at the time.

Take Him at His word, anxious heart of mine.  Believe that what He has promised will come to pass.  Believe that you are accepted, having been adopted into the family of God in Jesus.  You are not illegitimate, but legitimate.  You are dearly loved.  You are cared for, right down to the very hairs on your head, of which God knows the number (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7).  Believe that all of your sins and shortcomings were absorbed by your Savior at Calvary, and that when you stand before the judgment seat of God, you are declared, “Not guilty!”  Believe that in Jesus you have an intercessor who will not allow you to stand condemned (Hebrews 7:25).  Believe that Jesus knows and sympathizes with your weaknesses and temptations (Hebrews 4:15).  Believe that through His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, you are able to obey Him.  Believe that obedience is good and right because He already loves you.  Believe that you were never a mistake or an “uh oh”, but that God knowingly and purposefully knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  Believe that even if every earthly family member and friend were to leave you, Jesus would still be enough.  Believe that your identity is not wrapped up in your ability to be everyone’s best friend, but is found solely in Christ Jesus.  Believe that trouble will come, but more than that, believe that Jesus is with you when it does, and even more, believe that He has overcome the world–take heart! (John 16:33)  Believe that though you were dead in your sins, Jesus rescued you and made you alive together with Him (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:1-5).  Believe that you are chosen, called out of darkness and into the light, to proclaim God’s excellencies (1 Peter 2:9).  Believe that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for you, so that where He is, you may be also (John 14:2-3).  Believe that your treasure is being stored up in heaven and not here on earth (Matthew 6:20).  Believe that generosity is much more freeing than greed.  Believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  Believe that these present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).  Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation to all who believe (Romans 1:16).  Believe that when you see Him, you will be as He is (1 John 3:2-3).  Believe that it is good to wait upon the Lord, and that His plans and timing are exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that you could even ask or imagine (Psalm 27:14, Ephesians 3:20).  Believe that He is concerned for the poor, the widow, and the orphan, and that He has called you to be His hands and feet (Isaiah 1:17).  Believe that discernment is good, and that upholding God’s truth is noble.  Believe that love covers a multitude of sins, and that without love, your gifts are rendered useless (1 Peter 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13).  Believe in Jesus.  Love Him.  Serve Him.  Preach Him.  Believe in His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and eventual return.  When you sin, repent quickly, and know that His blood is sufficient, His grace abounds.  Die to yourself that you might live for Him.  Believe that when you lose your life, you will find it (Matthew 16:25).  Believe that you can bring your anxious heart, with all its prayers and petitions, before a God who hears, and that in return, He will impart to you His perfect peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Now rest, anxious heart.  Cease striving, and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).

February 13, 2012

I’m sorry, John.

Yesterday morning on our way to church, a homeless man approached me on the subway.  With no regard for the game I was playing on my cell phone, he loudly greeted me, “Hi.”  I look up and say hello, noticing that this man is certainly not in his right mind.  I see Adam turn on “protective husband mode” immediately.

“My name is John.”

Hello, John.

John goes on to explain that he knows a lot about the Bible, that he lives on the train and goes to Coney Island so that he can stay alive.  John throws several expletives in and seems not only mentally unstable, but angry.  Then he says it,

“I’m sick of the way people are treating me.”

His words are like a punch in the gut.  I give John a dollar, tell him to please get something to eat.  And then Adam and I both say to John, “John, we’re sorry for the way people have treated you.”  John looks right at us, says thank you a couple of times, and goes on his way.

And then I watch him approach others.  I watch others blatantly ignore him.  I watch people give him looks of utter disdain and disgust.  I wonder how he deals with that and think it must make him feel less and less human.

But then I watch him sit down.  Adam tells me someone has just asked to pray for him.  So John sits down and this man prays for him and gives him a dollar.  Off John goes again.

At this point I’m crying, realizing how many people like John I’ve neglected.  And I pray that Jesus would give us eyes to see the Johns of this city, the ones who are sick of the way people are treating them.  I pray we would help where we can, bringing physical healing and also the healing words of an Almighty God and a merciful Savior.

I turn my Bible to the parable of the Good Samaritan and read the very words of Jesus.  Who was the man’s neighbor?  Not the priest, not the Levite, but the Samaritan–the one who showed mercy.

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37)

I’m sorry for the way people have treated you, John.  And I’m sorry for all the times that person has been me.

October 6, 2011

It’s all about Jesus.

Seeing as I haven’t blogged in nearly two months (consistency has never been my strong suit with this blog!), I thought I’d share some thoughts from my journal on Philippians 3.  Philippians never ceases to challenge and encourage me.  And the third chapter (like all of the Bible), is so chock-full of good, deep stuff.

In verse three, Paul talks about putting “no confidence in the flesh”.  For Paul, it almost seemed right to put his confidence in the flesh (his works and accomplishments).  Often it looks right and noble, but when compared with the righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, it’s garbage.  As Isaiah said, our righteousness is filthy rags before a holy God (see Is. 64:6).

Where am I putting my confidence?  Is it in myself and my ability to follow the letter of the law and to be a “good person”?  Or is it all in Christ, whose righteousness is imparted to me by faith?  Do I believe that His reward is mine?  Do I believe that I am now righteous and blameless before the living God?  Do I rest knowing how God sees me (adopted and beloved) instead of “saving face” before man?

May I press on and press in to more deeply know Jesus and to more deeply understand who I am in Him.  May I come to realize even more the worthlessness of pursuing the law in the flesh, recognizing my inability and helplessness apart from Jesus, and in that may Christ become all the more beautiful, glorious and wonderful in my heart.  Jesus is a teacher, yes– but more than a teacher, He is a Savior.  He is my Rescuer and Deliverer.  No amount of teaching could change the condition of my soul.

Paul moves on to talk about forgetting what lies behind.  Not forgetting what God has done, but letting go of those past accomplishments and deeds.  No longer finding safety or hope in those things and instead looking ahead to JESUS.  Not dwelling on past wins or losses, failures, etc., but knowing that all that matters is Jesus.  Dwelling on anything else is futile.

If we get nothing else from Philippians, let alone all of scripture, let us know this one thing:  It’s all about Jesus.

August 15, 2011

Overjoyed.

On February 18, 2011, I underlined and dated three verses in my Bible:

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Psalm 37:3-5

I sensed the LORD was telling me at that time to quit “planning ahead”.  I was discontent with a lot of aspects in my life and had been trying to re-work everything to be what, in my limited understanding, would honor God the most.  I was reminded that He asks for faithfulness where I am now and that it is Him who prepares me for what’s to come.  I don’t need to know and control the future, because He knows it and He’ll carry and sustain me through everything.  I clung to those verses for weeks (and still do).

Two days before, on Feburary 16, 2011, I met Adam.  (If you can believe it, I wasn’t the one to remember this day.  He was!)

On March 13, 2011, I went on my first date with Adam to the Bronx Zoo.  From what I knew of him, I liked him.  I thought he was cute.  But I could never have known all that God would do.

Yesterday, on August 14, 2011, just five months after that first date, Adam asked me to be his wife.  I said yes!

I look back at the past five months and I see God’s faithfulness written all over our lives.  I see two weak, sinful human beings relying on God’s grace and being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I see mistakes being made and grace being shown.  And God has reminded me that He provides good gifts to His children, to those whose hearts are fully His.  I see how He prepared me, not by making me a good girlfriend or wife, so to speak, but by teaching me to rely fully on Him, to wait on Him, to trust in Him.  He had me stop trying to peek around the corner to figure out what was coming next and taught me to dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Not that I do it perfectly, but by His grace, He has enabled me.

The coming months will inevitably be exciting, and the past five certainly have been.  I am praising Jesus for every moment and pray that whatever we do, Jesus might be glorified and made beautiful through it.  This is all about Him, all about reflecting the gospel to the world, all about displaying His love.

This morning I am thankful for Jesus and the gift of being able to serve Him and make Him known.  This morning I am thankful for a man who loves Jesus first and foremost and who loves me well because of it.

To God alone be the glory.

July 15, 2011

A promise fulfilled.

But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.  For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Matthew 10:19-20

Lately Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa (Acts 26) has been blowing my mind.  The boldness and courage Paul has in the face of those who had imprisoned him and could very well kill him is incredible.  Paul says he considers himself fortunate to stand trial.  Fortunate!  Can you imagine?  That boldness comes through the Holy Spirit.  It is not Paul speaking, but the LORD speaking through him.  And it’s both powerful and beautiful.

“In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today…”

Acts 26:2

What makes it even more beautiful to me is that Jesus promised the disciples testimonies such as this.  He promised them that when they were persecuted and imprisoned that He would give them the words to speak (Matt. 10:19-20; Luke 12:11-12, 21:12-15).  He specifically told them not to prepare beforehand but to trust that He would speak through them.  So when we come to Acts 26, we see Jesus fulfilling this promise in Paul’s life, and we can be sure He can and will do the same in our lives.

“So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem; since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.  And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve Godnight and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?

So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them.  And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.

While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from theJewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

“So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem andthen throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer,and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Acts 26:4-33

How often I rehearse what I can say in situations X and Y.  “Oh yeah, if they ask this, I’ll say this.  But if they ask this I’ll say this.”  That mental preparation is time wasted.  Not to say that you or I should not know our God and His word inside and out– we should!– but it is the Holy Spirit who speaks through us in those moments of questioning.  We might come up with some pretty clever responses ourselves, but it is God’s words that have power.  Just look at King Agrippa’s response:

Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”

Acts 26:28

May we consume His word daily, seek Him diligently in prayer, and then trust that in every moment the Holy Spirit will equip us with all that we need in order to make Him known and bring Him glory.  Jesus’ promises are true and trustworthy.  Just ask Paul!

May 4, 2011

In Light of the Resurrection

Here we are, a week and a half after Easter.  Another celebration of the resurrection has passed.  But is it really over?

Of course not.

As believers in Christ, we are called to live in light of the truth of the resurrection.  What does that mean?  What does it look like?

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.

Romans 6:5-9

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Certainly if this is true, if Christ has conquered sin, death and the grave, our lives and our hearts should be radically changed.   We should not only die to the world but we should live to God.  Let’s not live lives categorized by what we aren’t or what we don’t do.  Let’s live lives that reveal the goodness and love of God, the forgiveness and redemption offered in Christ, and the transformative power of the Holy Spirt.

The power that conquered the grave dwells inside of us.  Let’s not take that truth lightly.  Let’s meditate on it, rejoice in it, and seek to bring Him glory through it.  Not only on Easter Sunday, but every day.

What does it mean for you to “live in light of the resurrection”?

Some verses to check out: Colossians 1:25-27; Romans 8:10-11, 14:7-9; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:29-30, 15:17-22; 1 John 4:13; Acts 2:24; 1 Peter 1:3

April 14, 2011

Something’s not right.

Murder.  Hunger.  Cancer.  Hatred.  Addiction.  Heartbreak.  Disease.  Abandonment.  Abuse.

Something’s not right.  Something’s not right when little children battle cancer.  Something’s not right when women are forced to sell their own bodies in the hopes that their family might have something to eat.  Something’s not right when children are left to die by the parents that were supposed to love them.  Something’s not right when we use others and step on them in order to make it to the top.  Something’s not right when a child lives in fear of the next beating.  Something’s not right when people are dying in poverty and disease while Americans battle obesity and spend frivolously.

Something’s not right, and it makes me angry.  It makes me angry at myself, and at the world.  And while most of the world wants to blame God, or use these things to defend their view that He does not exist… I cannot blame God.  I will not blame God.  Why?  Because I know that He’s angry, too.  I know that He’s heartbroken.  I know that He laments over the fallen state of our world.

He created us to live in Eden.  He created us to live in His presence.  He created us to live peacefully and joyfully in communion with Him.  That is the place we long for.  That is where He longs for us to be.  So when we feel as though something’s not quite right… it isn’t.

I don’t have all of the answers, but here’s what I know: this world is broken, and that matters to God.  Please believe that.  And there is coming a day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no death, no crying, no pain.  Not only will we bid farewell to the ills of this world, but we’ll live without memory of them.  This is the world and the life God so desires for us.  And it is only found in Jesus.

He gives us hope for the future through His promises.  But He also gives us hope, joy, and life now.  It’s not always neat and tidy, but it is a gift.  He is a gift.

Hear Him when He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Come to Him.  Cling to Him.  Rest in Him.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Revelation 21:3-5

April 4, 2011

Let the morning bring word of Your unfailing love.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Yesterday morning I found myself once again overwhelmed by the fact that God loves me no matter how I “perform” on a given day.

I think for many of us, we have, at some point or another in our lives, been surrounded by people who are never quite impressed with what we’ve done.  We are constantly pushed to do better and to be better.  (Or maybe this is just me and I’m projecting it on all of you… Ha!)

Christianity is not a performance-based religion.  I don’t care what anybody tells you.  God does not say, “Do better and be better and then I’ll love you.”  Now here’s the thing: He probably should do that.  Face it, we aren’t all that good and moral.  We couldn’t uphold the law in full.  And even when we outwardly perform, the truth is that inwardly we’re full of filth.  We carry envy, jealousy, bitterness, hatred… all sorts of ugly junk resides in our hearts.

So what strikes me is this:  God does not shake His head at me and say, “Well, Brittany, today you weren’t so good.  Do better and try harder tomorrow, please.”

Instead, He sees me and looks upon me with pure, perfect love.  Not because of what I’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done on my behalf.  Jesus’ record is perfect.  He IS better and He DID better because I wasn’t capable.  Not only did He bear all my shortcomings and wrongdoings on the cross, but He also imparts to me His perfect righteousness.

And therefore God, seeing me as He sees His Son, loves me perfectly.  And nothing I do or say today, no matter if I perform horribly or if I perform well, can change His unfailing love.  And yet, by His grace and through the power of His Holy Spirit, He is sanctifying me.  He is daily conforming me to the image of His Son.

And if that can’t compel me to love and worship Him, I’m just not sure what can.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8