UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
February brings St. Valentine’s Day, a holiday that is best known for celebrating love. There are many different kinds of love. We love our spouses, our families, our friends, and our four-legged fur-babies. Of all these, which is your greatest love? My chief desire, my number one love is Jesus. I love my husband with my whole being, and even that love flows out of my love for Jesus.
I started a close relationship with God on August 15, 1991, at a Harvest Festival, held at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California. I was 22 years old and searching for meaning in my young life. When the invitation was given to ask Jesus into to your heart and life as your personal Lord and Savior, I heard God say to me, “I know you have been looking for Me. Come on.” And I said yes to the invitation.
I have been cultivating this relationship ever since, well, to be honest, with short periods of running and hiding.
I have never known such satisfying sweetness as I do walking with God. In the Bible, Moses prayed for a deeper relationship with God. This is my desire, too:
“Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way,
that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You,
perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and that I may find favor in Your sight.”
– Exodus 33:13 (Amplified)
Yes, to be more deeply acquainted with my Lord is my goal each and every day. Everything in my life is born from that love - all my work as an author, songwriter, singer, worship leader, wife, stepmom, daughter and auto-immune disease survivor/thriver. My relationship with God is the bedrock and home base for everything in my life. And I love it. It allows me to live with a supernatural confidence that no matter happens, God has got me. No matter what. I still get scared, but ultimately, my Lord loves me and wants His best for me.
Having a close relationship with God also gives me insuppressible hope. I mess up a lot. I struggle with thoughts of inadequacy, that I’m not where I should or would like to be in my life. I grieve over things that I have thought, said, and did, which I know were wrong. But always, there is grace. God’s unmerited favor and blessing on me that is in no way diminished by my bad behavior.
Such mind-blowing hope.
I will no longer be tormented by negative thoughts about how sinful I am, because I am a new creature with a close-relationship with Jesus. Guilt and condemnation don’t get to live in my brain for any more than a few breaths, before I cry out, “Oh Lord.”
“Think about how you’ve been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus,” Joyce Meyer wrote in one of her recent devotionals. “Thoughts turn into actions. If you want to enjoy the life Jesus died to give you, it is important to align your thinking with God’s Word. Every time a negative, condemning thought comes to your mind, remind yourself that God loves you, and that you’ve been made right with Him through Christ.”
Yes, and amen.
I know that as I walk with God, He is changing me for the better all the time. He will never give up on me. How great is that? I also know His plan for me is more amazing than I could ever imagine. And He will work those plans to completion. How super-cool is that?
I pray that God will help me stay more aware and focused on the fact that I’ve been made right with Him, than on the lingering memories of my mistakes. I am so grateful for His gift of righteousness.
God’s great gifts inspire/motivate/strengthen/encourage me, and they give me life every day, so it’s imperative that I keep Jesus and His kingdom first. So how do I do that? (I’m glad you asked...)
Whenever I wonder whether something is acceptable to God, or whether something is right for me to do, I ask myself (and God) two questions:
1. Does it glorify God?
2. Does it expand His kingdom?
If the answer is “no” to either of these, then it’s a big NO to whatever it is I’m wondering about. It always shocks me when I have asked God about something I thought was small and insignificant and seemingly barely worth asking Him about, how He shows me how that thing will tear me down spiritually, bring me under its power, caused me to have an uneasy conscience, and/or cause someone else to stumble in their faith. I am so grateful for His wisdom, guidance, and protection. So very, very grateful.
I will close out my declaration of my greatest Love, my Lord Jesus, with one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Treat yourself by reading it out loud slowly, three times:
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to
behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful
loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.”
— Psalm27:4 (Amplified)
So lovely, right? He sure is.
Angela Dolbear is the author of contemporary Christian novels, such as THE GARDEN KEY Series, and THE TORMENTOR’S TALE, all available in paperback, Kindle and audiobook formats on Amazon. Angela writes real, relevant, relatable, and reverent fiction, with an aim toward spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, while inspiring readers to laugh, cry, and crave certain varieties of food. She loves reading, writing and leading worship music with her husband Tim at their church in Nashville, Tennessee. Please drop by and sing-up for news and free goodies at https://www.angeladolbear.com/subscribe.htm Blessings to you!