Tag: transformation

When you think of the word “love” what does it mean to you? There are all different kinds of love all around us and many different ways to express love too. We love our families, we love our children, we love our spouses, we love our friends, and we also love food. Hopefully, we love ourselves too. There is only one perfect love though, and that is the love of God.

THE DEFINITION OF LOVE IN THE BIBLE

If we look at the dictionary, we find a definition of love. It describes love as an intense feeling of deep affection. What does the Bible say love is? We find a solid explanation of what perfect love is.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

So if we look at this list of what perfect love is and we look at this verse, we find that perfect love is God, and what is listed in Corinthians 13 is exactly how God loves us as His children.

He loves us intensely, deeply and perfectly.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:16 NIV

As a little girl, I was always dreaming of falling in love one day, and having a perfect fairy tale love. Truth is, that was what the world placed on my heart, and it caused disappointment for me as my expectations of humans to love me perfectly went unmet. This is what I am so grateful for, is that I did receive my perfect fairy tale love, but just not in the way I expected it. I received it through the intense depth of God’s love, which is better than any other love I could hope for.
The love we receive from God is like no other we will ever find on earth, we will always be completely overwhelmed by how deeply He loves us.

GOD’S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL, IT’S FREE

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17 NIV

I think this verse speaks for itself, “for God so loved the world that He GAVE His one and only son”. Although it was a huge cost to Him, he freely did it to save us because He loves us.

“Yet, Christ paid the full price to set us free from the curse of the law. He absorbed it completely as he became a curse in our place. For it is written: “Everyone who is hung upon a tree is doubly cursed.”
Galatians 3:13 TPT

He paid the price for us, and therefore we don’t need to do anything in order to receive His love and nothing can separate us from it either.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39 NLT

He made us to love us. We can never do anything to earn or deserve it; there is no price on it. We don’t need to prove anything to God for him to love us. No good deed can give us more of His love and no bad deed can take it away. He loves us even if we’re bad at loving him back. The debt had already been paid on the cross. His love is unconditional.

GOD’S LOVE IS A REDEEMING LOVE

We don’t feel or live in His love because we get hurt along our journey through this life. We get hurt through broken relationships, our own failures, our fears, our sin and our insecurities. These put chains around us and cause a hindrance to us experiencing the love of God.

“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
1 John 4:9-10 NLT

God loves us so much that He wants to see us free from this hurt and pain, from sin, He wants us to break these chains so He can freely love us and for us to experience his love for us. This is why He sent His Son to die on a cross for us, to save us from our ways and make a way for us to experience Him in all His fullness.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NIV

Sometimes even though we have already turned to Him, we don’t experience the fullness of His love because we limit our perception of just how much saving He did in our lives.

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Isaiah 44:22 NIV

To live in the fullness of God’s love, we need to understand that because of His love, we have been redeemed. We are no longer the same; we are no longer dead but alive in Christ. His love is a redeeming love.

GOD’S LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR

Fear is unhealthy and it is a lie. I have so often found myself living in fear over many things. I feared losing the people I care about, fearing failure was a big one for me, I feared setbacks in life, and the list goes on.

“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 NIV

When we live in fear, we are not living in the fullness of God’s perfect love. This is when we need to seek Him, and allow Him to wrap His loving arms around us and comfort us in this place.

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Psalms 147:11 NIV

The only healthy form of fear is the fear of letting God down or not being close to Him. He delights in those who put their hope in His unfailing love. Let’s put our hope in Him today, because we have Him we have no reason to fear.

GOD’S LOVE IS EVERLASTING

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

One thing that really comforts me is that God is eternal. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We get to share eternal life with Him, if we believe in Him. God’s love is also eternal, it’s everlasting. If there is nothing we can do to take it away, then there is no end to His love either.

“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Psalms 86:15 NLT

People have come and gone in my life, friends who have promised to love me deeply, but that love faded at the first sign of trouble. I was left devastated and hurt, crying myself to sleep over it. I found myself so disappointed and not believing I was lovable, or that there was no such as thing as perfect love, whether it be between friends, family or a partner. This weakness was made perfect when I experienced the everlasting love of God. God is perfect and though people in this world may fail us, His love never fails us. He is faithful and full of compassion and mercy for His children. There is so much evidence of this in the Bible and through the many stories of how He has restored, healed, loved, saved and forgiven. These are stories that were documented, if we look around us there are even more stories that continue still today in the lives of all the people around us. He still continues to show His love today and will forevermore in generations to come and in our eternal life with Him.

GOD’S LOVE CHANGES US

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT

From the moment we enter into relationship with God, he starts breaking chains and reshaping us. He picks up all our pieces and puts us back together again. We may come to Him broken but He loves us enough not to leave us the same. Our lives have now entered into the Potters hand and He begins His work remoulding us into an even more beautiful piece of art.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV

As we get deeper in our relationship with Him we start to realize more of His perfect everlasting love for us. We start to re-evaluate how we spend our time and our priorities change. We realize our identity and start to love ourselves more knowing that we were created perfectly in His image. We start to feel compassion for others because of the compassion and mercy he has shown us. We find it easier to forgive others, showing them the same grace He has shown in forgiving us. Experiencing the love of God causes an outpouring of His love to others. Our faith grows stronger, our love grows deeper.

“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
John 14:26 NLT

He gives us his Holy Spirit to gently guide us, teach us right from wrong, to comfort us in times of struggle or sorrow, to give us His joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Seek Him, spend time in His presence and let His goodness overwhelm you. He delights in you. Let His perfect, redeeming, unconditional, everlasting love wash over you and change you forever.

Much Love

Di

Then He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”
Luke 13:6‭-‬9 NIV

In the passage just before telling this parable, Jesus was speaking to a group of people about repentance of sins. He used this parable to illustrate the importance of repenting of our sins, as sin separates us from God and prevents us from bearing fruit in our lives.

This really got me thinking how we, as humans, tend to hold things off until the pressure is on. We hold off dealing with our sin, we hold off on following our calling, we hold off on spending enough time with God, or really putting effort into reading our Bibles. We become so in tune with getting through each day that we miss out on hearing His whispers, while the enemy shouts his way through our lives. We are so busy doing life that by the time we look again we realise that we’re still stuck in the same motion, the same rhythm.

For a tree to bear fruit, it’s needs to be nourished, cared for, fertilized, it needs food. So do we. We need to invest in spending time in God’s word, spending time with Him, hearing His words over our lives and with Him guiding our steps.

I love that we serve a God of second chances. He may watch us for years bearing no fruit in our lives, but He still loves us unconditionally and will forgive us if we just turn to Him and repent. This is illustrated in this parable when the man kept coming to check for fruit, until one day after 3 years, He puts pressure but still gives him a second chance of another year to fertilize and allow the tree to bear fruit. His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness.

As we step out of 2019 and into 2020 let’s choose to fertilize, nourish and care for ourselves so much that we bear healthy fruit in our lives. I pray that in 2020 we make it a commitment to spending more time in God’s Word and in His presence. Let’s spend some time digging and repenting of our sin, getting rid of all that which is too heavy for us to carry. Let’s realize the beauty of God’s forgiveness and soak in the depth of His love for us. Let’s sow His righteousness in our lives. This is how we fertilize, nourish and care for ourselves. This is what brings us every step closer to the very best that God has in store for us.

I want to leave you with this verse as we head into the New Year:

“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord , until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”
Hosea 10:12 NIV

I pray the very best for you and your families in 2020, May God’s will be done and may He place His desires in your heart.

Much love
Di

As I look back on 2019 I realise it has been a year of growth, love, of many lessons and of the kind of blessing that can only come from the grace of God. At the beginning of 2019, we were losing everything we owned, including ourselves. Watching everything we had worked so hard to build over the years crush all around us, crushed our spirits at the same time because we were so focused on our emotions that we allowed it.

God placed the right people around us, at the right time, to open opportunities for us that would help us to rebuild everything we had lost. He not only helped us to rebuild all the material things we had lost, but also helped us to heal and restore what was broken inside of us as we drew closer to Him.

On Christmas Eve, I found myself sitting on the edge of our bed looking all around me at everything we have now. I found myself just feeling so overwhelmed with gratitude for everything I have and that God has done for us over the past year. It may seem like very little to others, who have fancier pieces of furniture in their homes, perhaps a home all to themselves. Everything in our little home (one bedroom flat let) just feels so beautiful, feels so refreshing. I looked over the Christmas tree we put up this year and I was reminded of an empty tree we put up last year, with no decorations because we couldn’t afford it, but we put the tree up anyway. This year, we put up our white Christmas tree with shades of blue and silver decorations.

I found myself feeling as though the room is full, not just filled with items / furniture, but filled with love, filled with so much more than money could ever buy, filled with the presence of God. I was reminded of a sermon by the pastor of our church.  He said: “you can have the kingdom of God right where you are, in the room you are renting, in your granny flat, in your middle class home or in the mansion in you live in. The Kingdom of God is not a place, it’s a person.” Back then I didn’t really understand the extent of those words because with everything I was going through, I felt empty, our home felt empty. I even felt empty in the presence of others. I couldn’t bear to be alone, that’s when the emptiness felt even stronger.

I wasn’t empty though, I wasn’t lonely either, the emptiness I was feeling was all the gaps of my life I wasn’t allowing God into. When there are spaces that we don’t allow God into, we leave room for the enemy to lie to us. If God isn’t filling those empty spaces, the enemy is.

If we are to have the Kingdom of God in our lives, feel whole and fill all our empty spaces, we need to unleash His fullness into every area of our lives. We need to allow Him to take control and let Him guide our steps. Let him take control of our relationships, our finances, our hearts, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams. Let Him have more than just our spare time, let His Holy Spirit fill every part of our being.

“Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.” Colossians 2:9-10 MSG

It’s when we start allowing God into our empty spaces, that we can start focusing on what we do have rather than what we don’t have. This is when we can sing His praises, even when we face life’s storms, when we can find comfort and rest in Him. This is when we can know the depth of His love. Even though we are so undeserving, He loves us so much and we can let that love rise above every pain, every fear, and every insecurity. We can know that He surrounds us, He wraps His arms around us and we are under His protection. With Him we lack nothing, we have all we need.

We serve a God that is all powerful, a God that created the universe from an empty space, a God who parted the red sea, a God that gave His one and only Son to save us. He has set a table aside for us, we have a purpose, we just need to show up and welcome Him.

“Now may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Let your Kingdom come Lord, lets us continue to allow you into every empty space in our lives, unleash your fullness in each of our lives Father God. Let us have encounters with you like never before Jesus, let us encounter your love in the strongest way. Come fill our hearts Lord, come fill our homes, our lives with your presence. Let your Holy Spirit wash over us Lord and guide our steps that we may live our lives in the fullness that you have set aside for us Lord God. Thank you that we can trust you with our whole lives Lord God because you created us and love us so deeply. Amen.

Is this you?
You are overloaded with work, you can’t keep up. Theres some family drama going on, separating each other and there’s an uncomfortable silence that tears you apart.
You’re battling to meet your monthly commitments, financial stresses are just too much.
You and your husband aren’t getting along as well as you used to, or perhaps life is so busy you hardly have time for each other.
You battle to sleep because all these worries keep you up at night.
You feel tired but you have to keep going.
You feel consumed by all your troubles and you feel like you’re in the middle of a hurricane and you’re just going deeper and deeper, feeling like the storm will never be over.

This really does sound like a lot going on at one time, and anyone who is human would naturally feel consumed by this. It’s absolute turmoil, and you do have a right to feel however you’re feeling because it’s your life and your battle. However, what we’re consumed by is not actually our problems, but rather our emotions. When we’re going through stuff, our emotions take over and control and lead the way for us. This leads to burnout, tiredness, lack of motivation, which in turn causes so much more stress.

I randomly came across this verse the other day while preparing my new blog site. It totally captivated me, I love it.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

It’s beautiful isn’t it.

God’s love for us is so great, He gave us His Holy Spirit to Iive within us and bring us a peace that passes all understanding. So when we face the trouble of this world, we can know that He has overcome the world. So that we know we may be in it but we are not of it. His peace guards our hearts and minds and fills us with comfort.

Philippians 4:7(ESV)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27 (NIV)
… Christ in you, the hope of glory.

John 16:33 (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

It is very clear then that Christ lives within us through His Holy Spirit right? So we also know then that He is all powerful and has supernatural strength. Why then, do we continue to live in our emotions and feel consumed by the troubles we face? We are human, we are made up of body, soul and spirit. Body and soul go hand in hand as we take on and act in our natural human form. But then there’s Spirit, which is the Spirit of God in us. We just need to make a choice on where we are channeling our energy through, spirit or our human form.

When we first ended up in the homeless shelter, I was filled with worry, grief, shame and anger. I let each and every one of this emotions consume me to the point where I nearly went off the rails. With the right people around me and God’s Holy Spirit nudging me to draw nearer to Him, I made peace and chose to spend more time with God. It’s through this that I found new hope and new strength to fight through it all and rebuild our lives. I opened myself up to learning what God wanted to teach me and He used this terrible time to bring me to another chapter in His plan for my life. When we we got there, I was living in soul and body, consumed by my emotions which in turn lead my body to be tired and worn out. As soon as I turned to God though and decided to live more with His spirit guiding me, suddenly through His comfort, His love and His peace, I had the energy and strength to fight.

You see, when we shift our focus off of our problems and onto God, that’s when things become clear and we are not consumed by all the noise drowning out His voice. A stillness enters our world and with His peace, hope and strength, we are able to bring order to our lives again. We are not consumed, we are mislead, which is exactly where the enemy wants us.

I love the rest of the passage from Lamentations, and the Message translation puts its across sometimes just the way we need to hear it.

Lamentations 3:25-30 MSG
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God . It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.

We may think that what we are going through is the worst situation, but there is always worse. God doesn’t promise us that we won’t have trouble but He does promise us that He will be there for us through it. Sometimes he allows things to happen in our lives because He knows He can use it towards His plans for our lives. Sometimes He allows it so He can catch our attention because He can see we’re making a wrong turn. His plans are always good and we can take comfort in that.

What may initially seem like a setback, could end up being your success, or your hopes and dreams falling into place. Trusting God and His process is worth it in every way. Let’s rather consume ourselves with His word and His truth, with that we can move any mountain and calm any storm.

Much love
Di