Monday Morning Meditation: How Does God See Me? (Psalm 25 series)

Another installment of the Psalm 25 series, my patient friends.

This week’s verses (v. 6-7):

Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD.

One of the main themes of this psalm is guidance. It’s a patient waiting on God to show up. There is no reference in the psalm about the situation to which it was written, as there sometimes is. Just a longing, almost as if in laborious prayer.

Show up, God.

I imagine King David at this point beginning to wonder if he has done something to cause God to delay. Why is God staying away? Is He silent because of my sin? 

Because David committed a lot of serious sin.

Adultery.
Murder.
Pride.
Getting ahead of God.

Remember not all the wrongs I’ve done. My rebellion. My childish mistakes.

How many can relate to this prayer, almost a begging reminder:

God, You are good when I am not.

Lord, let Your love be primary.

Oh, friends, it is!

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.

Romans 5:6-8, emphasis mine

His love is primary. It’s the filter through which He sees us. Not in a “When God looks at me, He sees the cross” sort of way. I’ve heard that said before, and I don’t really think it’s an accurate depiction of what happened on Calvary. I believe when God looks at me, He sees me! And because of His desperate love, when He saw humanity, drowning in its sin, He gave.

He loved. A love so deep and tender that it kills its only Son.

How does God see you? He sees you as – well – you. He sees you in your messiness and powerlessness, and reaches down to scoop you up, just as any loving parent would. He’s a God who’s not afraid to get dirty. And He choose to use the cross to begin the process of making us not only clean, but changing us into who He created us uniquely to be!

April, 2011: Scooping up my sweet youngest

He sees you. As you are. And desperately loves you.

Embrace that place today. The place of being beloved and recklessly accepted.

God sees you as you. And in response, He loves.

A resource consulted in writing this post:
Kidner, Derek, Psalms 1–72: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 15 of Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. IVP/Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973.

Freedom Friday: Are Your Dreams Suffocating?

What have you been dreaming about lately?

Are there dreams that God has deposited in your heart?

There have been many times God stirred a vision in my heart: for my life, my family, my marriage, His calling. Thinking about the dream, praying through it, processing it made me come alive. It stirred a longing in me that is often silenced.

Then something changes.

Life happens, circumstances are difficult, my perspective tells me it’s not worth it to hope. My dreams are too big, too ludicrous – just too much.

It reminds me of the parable of the sower that Jesus told in Luke 8. My dreams become like the seed that fell among thorns.

“The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.” verse 14

What are the thorns suffocating your dreams?


If we serve a God of hope, and hope does not disappoint….

If hope that is seen is not really hope (“if we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it,” Romans 8:24 NLT)……

Why do we allow our dreams to be suffocated?

There is a simple answer.

Fear.

My main thorn is fear.

Fear drowns hope. It keeps my dreams bound, caged, suffocating.

How do we combat fear?

With love.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18 NIV84)

If God is love, if His love is unfailing and never-ending, why do I fear? Why do I doubt?

When I look to the cross, can I still believe anything is impossible for God?

This thought popped into my head today: I never want to stop dreaming.

I need to find a way to keep my dreams alive, to fight off the thorns that threaten to silence them.

“And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Luke 8:15

Is fear suffocating your dreams today? What would happen if you received God’s unfailing love?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

What dream of yours needs to be revived today?

Other helpful posts:
Are Your Dreams Asleep?
How To Keep Dreams Alive
Living Your Amazing Without Suffocating

Monday Morning Meditation: Receive God’s Unfailing Love

Good morning, Monday Morning Meditation readers!

I feel a few more Psalms series coming on in the near future. For now, I’ll share with you these verses.

Psalm 33:3-4:

For the word of the Lord holds true,
and everything he does is worthy of our trust.
He loves whatever is just and good,
and his unfailing love fills the earth.

I had the privilege of leading the church I attend in the song portion of the worship service yesterday. The pastor who heads up the worship schedule requested that I teach the congregation “How He Loves.” I written about this song before on the blog.

As we sang this song, I pondered the love of our Father God. What does it mean for His love to be “unfailing?” I imagine it is so much more than we could even imagine.

Then, I came across these verses.

His unfailing love fills the earth. That’s how expansive it is.

There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. And there is nothing we can do to make Him love us any less.

God is love. It is the core of who He is.

And everything He does is worthy of our trust.

I prayed as we sang yesterday that the congregation would be able to fully receive God’s love. I pray the same thing for you today. Stop for a moment before continuing on in your day, and pray that for yourself, as Paul prayed for the Ephesians (ch. 3):

I pray….may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be fillws with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Amen.

Have a good week! See you Friday 🙂

Note to readers: I am currently reading the Life Recovery Bible. The NLT seems to have slight differences there when compared to the NLT at Biblegateway.com.

Freedom Friday: God’s Specific Plan


I recently had an interesting conversation with a group of friends about whether or not God has a specific plan for our lives.

It seems many were brought up in a generation that was very focused on uncovering your specific “plan & purpose” that God created you for. Having prayed for years, hoping to discern this purpose, some have given up on finding it.

As you all know, I’m reading Joshua. Slowly.

I have to admit that getting in the later chapters, it can be a little tedious to read all the town names and valley names and which tribe got what land, etc.

But as I read, I can’t help but think about how specific God’s plan is. He spelled it out for them. It was His job to make His plan clear, not their job to somehow locate it.

I used to kill myself trying to find God’s plan. I understand the brand of frustration my friends shared about. I’d get on my knees and tell God I wasn’t moving until He spoke to me & told me everything I wanted to know about my future.

Then, one day, in May of 2004 while teaching at a student ministry conference, He spoke. Here is part of what He said.

“I do have a plan for you – a wonderful plan that will shock, delight and surprise you, a plan that will blow your small ambitions out of the water.” He then went on to tell me I wasn’t ready to hear about that plan.

This wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

God spoke to my heart that day that I needed to be still and experience Him as God, that He is so different than any other relationship I’ve ever experienced. He called me to climb up into His lap and allow Him to change me, to lean back & rest my head against His heart so I might know & experience all the wonderful things He feels for me.

God didn’t primarily want to “use” me, as in have me do great things; He primarily wanted to change me. His goal for me in that time was to deposit in my heart His love, the new identity He died to give me, and His vision for my wholeness.

It’s amazing to look back on that time in my life, and see what God has done in those 7 years. When I look at His children now, I wish I could literally take what God has deposited into my heart (His deep & passionate love for each of us, His tender care & compassion, His desire to see us walk in freedom & live abundant lives) and transplant it into someone else’s heart. I now do this little by little, bit by bit, through teaching, writing, and blogging. I would not be able to do that now if I hadn’t allowed God to work in me for the past 7 years.

Let me be clear. I absolutely believe God has a specific plan for each of His children who call Him by name.

But we can kill ourselves (and kill our faith) trying to “find” it.

Jesus said my sheep hear my voice. Period. The God who spoke the whole world into existence can make His voice heard by you when you need to hear it.

God does not give us a road map. It would be easier in some ways if He did, but then we wouldn’t have to trust in Him and cling to Him so tightly; we’d simply have to trust in the map.

I don’t want to get to know a map. I want to purpose to know my Creator, the One who shaped me & formed me & laid out my life.

I’m not going to argue over whether or not God literally maps out every minute of every day. What I do know is that God created each of us with gifts & talents, passions & desires, that He wants to use in specific ways.

Rather than strive to find the map, it’s been much healthier (as my friends mentioned above have also realized) for me to try and follow His commands and teachings, to love Him and continually surrender to Him, to dream, to live out Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting He will make my paths straight as I go, rather than always seeking after the next big thing or sign. In the midst of that, as I cling to God, as I read His Word & spend time with His people, God will show me what He has for me.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

If you’re looking for help discerning whether or not you are hearing God’s voice, this blog post might help.