You’re Truly Loved


Thank you Holley Gerth for today’s message:

I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God ~ Ephesians 3:17-19, CSB

I’m a girl who’s serious about coffee. One morning I poured water into my machine, pressed the “on” button and waited for the magic to happen. But my much-desired beverage failed to appear. I began investigating and discovered somehow the grounds had overflowed the filter and clogged the whole process. I cleared the way and soon I had a hot mug of something wonderful in my hands again.

The lies we believe are a lot like those grounds in my coffee maker. They may seem small and harmless but they can end up totally blocking the love God wants to pour into our lives. So let’s get rid of the lies and get back to the goodness that’s rightfully ours.

As I’ve connected with thousands of women as an author, life coach and speaker, I’ve found the following three lies about love can cause us the most trouble.

1) I’m only loveable if I’m perfect. We often wear ourselves out trying to have hair, hearts and homes that are just right. When that doesn’t work, our solution is usually to try harder. Unfortunately, that’s like pouring more water into the clogged coffee maker. It only leads to a bigger mess. Instead we need to take hold of this heart-freeing truth: “I don’t have to be perfect because I’m already perfectly loved by God”

2) The amount of love I receive is based on what I achieve. Even if we become convinced that we don’t have to be perfect we can still believe love has limits. We then end up living like we’re on a reward system. For every good thing we do, we get a little more of God’s love. When we fail, He takes the love He’s given us away. But God’s love for us is infinite. We can’t do anything to gain more of it, and we can’t lose what’s already ours

3) If God loves me, nothing bad will ever happen in my life. The reality is that we live in a fallen, broken world where hard things happen. I went through a difficult season and kept thinking of Jeremiah 29:11, a verse in which God promises He has a hope and future for us. I asked Him, “If that’s true, why is this going on in my life?” And I sensed this in my heart, “I had good plans for my Son and they still included a cross.” Jesus was perfect and He still suffered. When we face challenges it doesn’t mean we are being punished by God or He is withdrawing His love from us. It simply means we are not in heaven yet.

This month as we celebrate love, “I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19). Unlike my little coffee pot, God’s love never runs out. He has more than enough to share with us. And He’s always willing to give us a refill whenever we need it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You are Who God Says You Are

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

I have learned a lot from Charlie Brown, which is a little scary. Here is one truth that his psychiatrist, Lucy, taught me. She is counseling Charlie Brown at her lemonade-stand counseling booth. Charlie Brown is all ears.

Frame 1: “Your life is like a house, Charlie Brown.”

Frame 2: “You want your house to have a strong foundation, don’t you?”

Frame 3: “So don’t build your house on the sand.”

Frame 4: (A strong wind swooshes by and blows Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the makeshift stand into a heap of rubble.)

Frame 5: Lucy’s final advice: “Or use cheap nails.”

There’s a lot of talk about self-worth in our culture. But true self-worth is not an issue of giftedness, talent, intelligence, or beauty. It’s not an issue of how much money you have in the bank, if you are married or single, if you are a mom or childless. Those are the cheap nails compared to knowing Christ.

When we base our identity or our worth on the accomplishments, opinions of others, or appearance, we are in danger of crumbling to pieces with a word of criticism, a bad hair day, or hint of rejection. We will always fall short in our quest to be better, look better, or accomplish more.

Self-worth is really an identity issue. When you base your self-worth on your identity in Christ and His finished work of redemption on the cross, it is unconditional, unshakable, and unchangeable.

Listen, the devil will do anything and everything he can to keep you from believing the truth about who you are, what you have, and where you are as a child of God. Make no mistake about it, he knows that you are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who has been forgiven of all your sins and created to fulfill a great purpose that God has already planned for you. He knows it, and he hates it. His goal is to keep you from believing it. And if he can keep you from believing the truth about who you are, what you have, and where you are as a child of God, then he has won.

You can access the power of God’s promises about who you are, what you have, and where you are in Christ to consistently subdue and eventually erase feeling of inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy that keep you stuck in a mediocre faith. You can reject the devil’s overbearing lies and replace them with God’s overriding truth about your identity in Him and His power in you.

If we base our significance, self-worth, or self-esteem on anything other than the strong nails of our identity in Christ, then we are at risk of collapsing when the strong winds of adversity come our way. The truth is: You are who God says you are.

You, my friend, are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who is equipped by the Father, enveloped by the Son, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. And that truth will withstand the strongest winds.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Stop Doubting Your Value

 

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

I may look confident and put together on the outside (when I’m not in my yoga pants and a ponytail) but on the inside I often wander back to that little girl who questions her value and wants to make a difference.

There are lots of ways this inner struggle presents itself in me …

I tether my value to how I look.
I tether my value to how my jeans fit.
I tether my value to how I perform.
I want my husband and kids to love me perfectly,
even though they can’t.
I want to love others perfectly, but I don’t, so I 
juggle guilt like a hot potato.
I get distracted and waste time, so I feel unproductive.
I want to make a difference, but I try to do too
 much.

The Bible showcases a perfection that I implement pathetically. Like that love chapter in 1 Corinthians that most of us had read at our weddings. Verses like “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way” (13:4–5 ESV). Wait, what? Geez! The way I love doesn’t even come close to this list! And then the big left hook smacks me hard: “Love never fails” (v. 8).

The magnitude of God’s perfect love is epic. The magnitude of my love is minuscule.

I try to be patient. I try to be kind. I try not to envy or boast. All of it. But my efforts are less than. I stub my toe on my ego all the time. I get edgy and loud. I insist on my own way. And then I beat myself up!

If I were a better mom, I would’ve ____.

If I were a better friend, I would _____.

If I were in better shape, then maybe _____.

If I were more talented, I would be able to _____.

And because I’m not content with my own body, my own behaviors, and my own abilities, I struggle to see how a perfect God can look past my brokenness. I know in my heart that He loves me, but I sometimes struggle to accept that He likes me, because sometimes I don’t even like myself.

These doubts and insecurities cause me to question my value and my ability to make a difference. They cause me to feel insignificant. Invisible and ineffective.

Yet I know that the Bible says the opposite. And because of this, I’m reminded to, instead, tether my value to truths like these:

I was created in the image of God.
I am sealed with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus loved me so much that He endured a horrific death so I could be saved.
These truths matter. And because they matter, they confirm to me that I matter. And they confirm that you matter too.

Don’t think for one little minute that I don’t sense you bristling up. It’s what we girls do when the spotlight of attention is shined on our significance. We shy away. Throw our hands up to shield the light. Contest with our best excuses …

Some of us contend, “I’m really nothing special. That word valuable makes me nervous. My life is less than. Average at best. Mac and cheese is my jam. I drive a minivan, wear ponytails, use off-brand detergent, and live paycheck to paycheck. Where is the value in that?”

Others of us contend, “I cannot believe you’re going to go there! Did you not read my bumper sticker and T-shirt? I am nothing. Jesus is everything. Hide me in the cross and stop trying to make me feel special. Slap! Slap! Slap! Shame on you for even bringing up such a topic of the flesh!”

Some of us acquiesce: “Okay. Let’s talk. I know in my mind that I’m precious to Jesus, but that often gets lost in translation on its way to my heart. Yes. Let’s have this conversation. I want everything God has for me, and I’m ready to move forward as a woman of greater impact.”

Wherever you find yourself in these responses, my prayer is that you will join our last friend with an expectant and curious heart. With a heart that is ready to move forward in the truth of your significance so that you can live out the purpose for which you were created.

 

You are Accepted

Thank you to Jennifer Rothschild for today’s message:

Several years ago, my friend Lisa was going through a crafty phase and wanted to make a piece of word art for me. So, she texted this question: “If one word could become a reality in your life, what would it be?”

Girl, this took me awhile! The one word that kept coming to mind was “accepted,” but I was too embarrassed to admit that feeling accepted was what I really longed for.

I was a Christian, so I knew God accepted and loved me unconditionally. Wasn’t that already a reality in my life?

The reality was, I was afraid God accepted everyone but me.

In pondering my one word, God began to show me that I associated my performance with my acceptability.

Here’s what I (wrongly) believed: If I am good, I am acceptable. If I help people … if I am a blessing instead of a burden … well, then I am accepted. But, if I fail, blow it or mess up, then I feel like a reject — not acceptable to me, not to others and certainly not to God.

My skewed belief was I was acceptable only when I was at the top of my game or in the center of God’s will. Clearly, I had not truly embraced my identity in Christ because acceptance is what I already have.

So, I texted Lisa back with my one word that I needed to embrace and believe: accepted.

Lisa’s gift showed up in the mail a week later. It was a wooden ledge with the Scrabble letters A-C-C-E-P-T-E-D glued on it. This is a treasure to me because it is a constant reminder to see what I already have in God rather than seek it in the wrong ways and places.

Lots of us struggle with trusting the truth that we’re acceptable to and accepted by God. We are accepted not because of what we do or don’t do; we are accepted not because of how we succeed or if we’re good. We are accepted not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and to as many as receive Him, He gives the power to be sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). Talk about accepted!!

We are not only accepted “in” the beloved, we are accepted “by” the Beloved Himself!

My Scrabble word “accepted” reminds me I already have what I want. When I am feeling less than acceptable, I hold it in my hand, wrap my fingers around it and the truth it represents, and tell myself, “This is what God gave me. This is who I am.”

Can you take that truth in?

If you feel invisible, it may be because, deep down, you never really embraced the truth about yourself — that you are accepted by God, admired by Him and have His full and unconditional love.

Just like Lisa glued the word “accepted” to a Scrabble ledge for me, ask God to glue the word “accepted” to your heart so that, with every heartbeat, this truth is reinforced and becomes woven into the very fiber of your being.

Oh my friend, you are accepted by God. That is your reality.

When you accepted Christ, He accepted you. You may sometimes feel rejected, but how you feel is not who you are! You are acceptable, accepted — no exceptions!

Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

She Got More Likes Than I Did

Eph 1-4 AEG

“Should I delete my Instagram pic? I only got 12 likes in the first five minutes,” I overheard one of my daughters say to the other.

In typical mom fashion, I took that opportunity to remind them that their beauty, value and self‑worth did not hinge on the opinions, approvals or disapprovals of others, much less how many “likes” they received on a picture.

And of course, in typical young adult fashion, I got a couple of eye rolls. But that’s okay. Because every now and then, we all need to be reminded of the truth.

I get where they’re coming from, especially considering today’s online culture. I vividly remember what it felt like as a young girl to long for the approval and acceptance of others. I also remember the insecurities that festered in my heart over feeling like I didn’t measure up or wasn’t accepted by my peers, or by boys. I remember the painful sting of rejection or being excluded — and that was long before everything was on the Internet.

Unfortunately, those longings for acceptance, approval and love don’t end after high school or even college. Deep‑seated insecurities and the hurt of feeling rejected and unwanted are no less painful as an adult. In fact, those emotions are often personified as we look at others’ social media pages and see how many “friends” they have, how perfect their families look, how awesome their husbands seem to be, how great their lives appear and how many “likes” they get on their photos.

But the truth is, behind those photos, real life happens. And it’s not always pretty or perfect. In fact, those same women we think have it all together or get the most “likes,” probably struggle with deep hidden hurts and the constant unmet need to feel accepted and wanted. To feel loved and treasured, instead of set aside and rejected. To feel we’re enough, instead of inadequate.

I’m one of those women. Maybe you are, too.

But what comfort it brings to read Paul’s words to God’s people in today’s key verse: “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4).

How reassuring to know there is One who always accepts us and thinks we are priceless. But the reassurances don’t stop there. Paul continues by telling believers, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:5-8, NLT).

Whether we are 9‑ or 99‑years‑old, we all want to feel accepted, loved, approved of and liked. Maybe you long for the acceptance and love from a husband, a child, a friend or a community. Maybe there are days when you wonder if you are enough. Days when you lose sight of all the wonderful, unique things about yourself and instead focus on all the wonderful, unique things about everyone else. Everyone else who seems to be more accepted and “liked” than you.

Those are the days when the verses from Ephesians 1 become the perfect poetry to recite in our hearts. They serve as sweet reminders that we have not only been individually chosen by a sovereign God, but that we are also blessed, accepted, forgiven and redeemed. And you can’t get any more “liked” than that.

Thank you Tracie Miles.