Receive God’s Love for You

Romans 5:5For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love (NLT).

Open up your heart today and receive God’s love for you. I think we sometimes have a tendency to label His love as unconditional for others and conditional for us. We’ll say things like, “God’s love is enough for that person, but the mistakes I’ve made and the problems I have are just too great or unique.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many people have only known rejection in this life. They are outcasts, misfits, problematic, and so on. Perhaps you feel this way. If so, listen to me carefully: Others have and may continue to reject and withhold their love from you, but don’t believe the lie that God has rejected you too. He loves you with an everlasting love.

All you have to do is set everything that hinders you aside and receive His love for you by faith. Doing so will free you from the burden of unworthiness and give you a glimpse at just how valuable you are in the sight of God. After all, you are His child.

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God Must be Crazy

Philippians 2:14Do everything without complaining (NLT).

To me, this seems like one of those biblical commands that’s impossible. I could understand and obey something more like: “Do most things, or more things than usual, without complaining.” But everything? God must be crazy. Perhaps auto correct changed one of Paul’s words without him realizing it.

The truth is we can make all kinds of excuses to justify complaining, but none of them are valid. More times than not, a complaint is birthed from discontent or some fickle emotion. Paul was an authority on not complaining. Besides being shipwrecked and beaten multiple times, he was falsely accused, bit by a snake, and much more. On top of all that, he wrote the words from Philippians 2:14 while imprisoned!

The key to never complain again is to learn to be content whatever your circumstance (Philippians 4:11-13). Focus on what’s right with God, not on what’s wrong with your life. If you and I will do that, we will be grateful instead of grumbling.

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Stay Amazed

Luke 4:32 — There, too, the people were amazed at His teaching, for He spoke with authority (NLT).

I want to encourage you this morning to stay amazed at the things God does in your life, even the small things. Have the mindset that nothing is trivial or coincidental. The longer I’ve been a believer the more I realize my own need to live this way.

Like in any relationship, it’s easy to start taking God for granted because He’s reliable, timely, and present. I try to discipline myself daily to praise Him for His faithfulness and thank Him for everything He does. If you will purpose to do the same, I believe you will value and appreciate those things you’ve been taking for granted.

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*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

The Gift of Peace

John 14:27“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (NLT).

I love how this translation of the Bible describes peace as a gift, and like any gift, we have to open it up in order to have it in our lives. Like anything else we receive from God, we open peace by faith. Living in His peace requires us to trust Him wholeheartedly.

Many people, including Christians, have a peace that is fleeting. Their peace of mind, or the lack thereof, fluctuates based on the state of their affairs. When things are going well, they’re at peace. When things aren’t going so well, they’re in chaos.

The peace Jesus gave to us cannot be received by someone who trusts in his or her senses. Your life will never be “just right enough” to live in God’s peace. As long as we live on earth, troubling things are going to continue to happen. But do not be afraid! Be encouraged today. Put your faith in Him and open the gift of peace He left to you.

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*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

The Mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:16 — For we have the mind of Christ (NLT).

Whether we ever have a revelation of this truth or not, believers actually do have the mind of Christ. When we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, Paul said, “Now all things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). “All things” includes our minds.

This does not mean we become perfect thinkers. We will still have wayward thoughts, but the mind of Christ will cause us to stop those trains of thought and submit them to Him. Having His mind also means we have the ability to make godly decisions in everyday life.

If you and I put our faith in the transformation that took place in us at salvation, and truly believe we are able to think God’s thoughts, we will begin to think, talk, and act differently. Embrace God’s way of thinking today. Doing so will radically change your outlook on life.

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*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

Imitate God

Ephesians 5:1 — Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children (NLT).

Imitating God isn’t a suggestion or good idea. Otherwise, Paul would have told us to try and imitate Him in some things. As it stands, being a model of God-likeness is an expectation we will be held accountable for. So before you completely discredit yourself and write off the possibility of ever being like your Creator, listen to this: If He expects us to imitate Him in everything, it is doable. Here are the words of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:9“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (NKJV).

Anything we do like God is the product of our faith multiplied by His grace. If you think it’s impossible to imitate God, you’re right. You’ll write off this message because your faith is in your ability rather than in God’s. You’ve totally removed Him from the equation. But I charge you with this: Put your faith in God’s grace—His power, or strength.

In the latter part of this same verse, Paul wrote, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” In other words, when we are willing to admit that imitating God has nothing to do with our strength (or the lack thereof) and everything to do with His, His grace enables us to do the impossible. Why? His power works best through our weaknesses.

I challenge you to get this right within yourself. Your deficiencies don’t disqualify you from being like God; they actually qualify you even more. Your weaknesses don’t prevent you from His grace; they permit you access to it. You just have to believe in His power and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

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*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.

I Will

Psalm 146:2I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live (NIV).

I will praise.

I will sing.

Making the decision to give God glory changes everything from your attitude to how you treat people. Every weekday morning, during the school year, I work the car line at Forest Hill Jr. High. Honestly, it’s not always my first choice to be there. We let in at 7:00am, so it’s an early start to the day as it is. Then, on days like yesterday, it can be 28 degrees. I’m not going to lie; my bed sounded really nice!

It’s because of such feelings that I make it a habit to praise and sing every single day before I report for duty. (A lot of times I sing as the students arrive too.) When I do so, it gives me energy, creates expectation, and makes me genuinely excited to greet the kids. Any ill feelings I had about getting up early to stand in sub-freezing temperatures quickly subside. I’m one of the first people hundreds of students see in the morning, and they don’t deserve to be welcomed by a disgruntled sourpuss.

One of the eighth grade students who daily helps in the car line frequently says to me: “Mr. Jonker, you’re always so happy and singing in the morning.” I always thank her and say, “It’s because I choose to be.”

Oh, how different the world around us would be if we’d just make up our minds and hearts to praise and sing when we want to moan and complain! I challenge you today to take inventory of the many blessings you have in your life. Start there. Give God thanks for them, and walk out the door this morning with a smile on your face.

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*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.