Victim or Victor?

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A victim has the mentality that everything that happens to them is someone else’s fault. They are easily offended and emotional. They generally either cry or react in anger. They feel like the world is stacked against them, no one is for them, and they are all on their own. They look into every situation, searching for the point where they have been attacked, rejected, or left out. Their eyes are always looking at how someone wants to hurt them. They can’t climb their way out of the valley because that’s where they live and stay.

They find their identity as victims. Their identity is caught up in never being wrong but always being wronged. They aren’t leaders. They are not successful. Half of the time, they shoot themselves in the foot. They will never say, “Here is what I did wrong…” But you will always hear them say, “Here is what so-and-so did wrong…” They complain. They are atmosphere-changers. They can take a joyful, loving atmosphere and make it negative. They can turn the tide of momentum into a crash. These people weigh things down because the glass is always half empty. Their eyes can’t see through new perspectives. Thankfulness is not on their lips. Everything they do, someone else is to blame.

How do I know? I used to be a victim.

On the other hand, a victor is someone who has possibly been wronged but has climbed their way out. They have taken their thoughts captive.
“Maybe this isn’t just someone else’s fault. Maybe it was mine. If it was my fault, I can’t change anyone else, but I can change myself. I can change my thoughts; I can change my perspectives. All things are possible. This pit is not where I belong. It is not my calling. It is not my purpose. I belong in a victory position on a mountaintop. I will believe that not everyone is out to get me; instead, people are out to love me and help me.

“I assume the best about people through what they say feels twisted like it’s supposed to be hurtful. I know their hearts. I have seen their fruit. I’ve seen the actions of their love. This one thing is not going to make me change my mind. I believe the best about them. I am not rejected or left out. I am accepted, loved, and safe. If they are angry, maybe I need to reach out to them and try to shepherd their heart back into life, out of an offended or victim mentality, and into victory.”

Victors want other people to be victorious with them. They want to pull people out of the valley and help them see their gifts. They truly put themselves last and others first—or they try. They know the truth. They are bold. When they are emotional, it’s because they see other people who aren’t walking in victory. They know there is a better way, a better side. They are not easily offended. They are loving, kind, and strong. They will probably intimidate you because their confidence is sure and is not in themselves. They have been on the losing end before, and they long to populate the winning side.

Anger

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Lord, help me in my anger not to sin.

Help me to think on things that are pure, lovely, and of a good report.
God, I know that a man who controls his anger is mightier than one who takes a city.
God, my frustrations are many and my fuse short.
Give me patience and wisdom, Lord.
Wisdom is worth more to me than anything else.
God, I will search for it as gold and seek it like rubies.
Lord, let me not be an angry man or partake in his ways.
Give me wisdom!
Give me love!
Take my anger far from me and give me
A pure heart!

Give me a new mind.
Help me renew my heart and mind.
Let me think on You.
Help me meditate on Your Word day and night.
Hide Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.
Bless me, Lord, with a pure heart,
One of flesh and not stone.
Give me compassion for frustration, grace for violence, humility for pride.
Lord, remove my anger far from me and fill its place with Your love.

• Authored by Josh Pugh •

Better a Neighbor Nearby

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I’m a mom of three. I enjoy watching my children participate in their activities.I frequent dance and vocal recitals, as well as music and worship nights. I do have a sense of pride and joy in my heart when I see them express their love for God through their gifts. When I watch Jaden Stanley lead worship, I feel the same way. When I see a friend’s kid dance and lead across the stage with joy in her heart—and I know her heart—I feel the same way. Yet I know so many mothers who do not have the same kind of love for anyone else’s kids or grandkids that they have for their own. I don’t understand it.

I think that having the same love for other people that you have for your own natural-born children is the spirit of adoption. How can you not celebrate every life? God does. I think sometimes we elevate the bloodline family so much that we miss the bloodline of Jesus’ family. We don’t step into the roles we need to because there might be a missing link. We don’t step into the roles where we truly love each other.

John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). The world will know we belong to Christ by the way we love each other in the body of Christ—not by the way we love our own family, strangers, or lost people. It’s not by the way we serve the homeless. They will know us by the way we take care of the body of Christ.

My kids have been without a grandma for many years. One year, a friend’s mom stepped in and blessed them with the voice of a grandma in their life. She met once a week with a little group of girls just to pour the Word into them. It was so precious. I loved her so much for doing that. I have also had an aunt step in who never forgets a birthday. She always remembers them. They feel dearly loved by her. Sometimes I have so many friends who could step in, and I ask the Lord why someone hasn’t. Why hasn’t someone nearby stepped in?

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away,” says Proverbs 27:10 (NIV). I believe our family is supposed to be nearby, but it’s the family of God that fills those shoes while our family is away. When our family is together, we can take on the roles we were naturally born into. When we are far apart, it seems we should fill those places with spiritual roles. I should be a spiritual mother to somebody when his or her natural mother is not present. Someone should be a spiritual grandmother to my children because their natural grandmother is not present.

I think life is too busy. We’re too busy. It’s too easy to travel and fill those roles on a periodic basis rather than filling them where you are. I went through a season where I really grieved that loss for my family. It has made me realize that if something ever happened to me, I would pray to God that someone would fill that spiritual role of mother in my kids’ lives.

I wonder today if you have in your heart that love—that spirit of adoption—you need to give away to someone. Do you need to step into a spiritual family role and be a love bug to someone in your life?

When I was a little girl, I had a home with a mom and a stepdad, but I went to church all by myself for years. I went alone from the time I was ten until I was seventeen. I wonder why no one ever really adopted me and had the spirit of adoption to bring me into her family. Why didn’t anyone ever pick me up and take me to dinner or get me off of the church bus and start inviting me over for lunch? Why didn’t anyone start investing in me and teaching me the Word of God? The only conclusion I can draw is that the people there didn’t have the love in their hearts to give away.

That is why we don’t step into a role where we may be needed. We don’t have the love in our hearts, or we don’t have the time. The enemy will do anything to keep us too busy to demonstrate the love Christ put in us and show the world, “Hey, look how the people in the family of God take care of one another. Isn’t it awesome how this family cares for these children?”

As long as the enemy can keep us busy—too busy to love—the love of God will not be on display. It’s easy to love your own family, but it’s hard to find time to love others. I encourage you to look around in your life and see how you can truly love others today.

Nothing Should Separate the Love of God’s Children

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A small bit of yeast makes a whole batch rise.

It’s truly sad how friendships grow further and further apart because a little bit of poison, offense, or hurt builds up walls, breaks down relationships, tears apart partnerships, and destroys the intimacy a friendship once had. Maybe you have a friend with whom you once were close, but you slowly grow further and further apart. There is less pursuit of and desire for the things you used to do but don’t do anymore. Before you know it, you’ve got a divided friendship where once it was unified.

I think we should be people who forgive and forget quickly, tear down walls, and destroy barriers so we can stay one in Christ because Jesus’ last words were that we would be one like He and the Father are one. There should be nothing separating us from the love of God’s children. Nothing.

My Friend, My God

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God, You cover me in cloaks of grace and love.
I will live my life for You.
I have fallen short of Your glory.
Let Your mercy reign and cover my sin.
Let Your grace hide all I have been.
Let Your love consume me now.
Make me new.
Like a hammer, life hit me hard, but You caught me in Your web of love.
I am new.
My heart and mind will change.
Only for You, my heart will sing all of what You do.
You took my life, a life of sin, and said you can start again.
All you need is to ask and receive all I have for you.
My life is not my own, but please let me show I am new.
My life belongs to the Savior of my soul, the Redeemer of my life.
You have done what only You can do.
You have won me.
You love me.
Your love stays with me even when I’m beneath the sin no child of Yours should know.
Can You show me I’m not too far? There’s still hope for me?
You came to me.
I didn’t choose You, but You chose me to be part of Your family.
I want to know, do I show what You did for me?
Do I shine with Your love?
Do I give to the least of us?
Am I a friend to the lonely?
Do I go beyond religion?
Do I show all You want us to know, that You are never mad, never angry, never bitter towards what I’ve done, but You love and still call me son?
Your grace is with me.
I will be a family to those who cannot see; I will be their eyes.
To those who cannot hear, let me be their ears.
To the girl who ran away and lost herself, she needs to know that she can still follow You.
Give her Your hand and save her from sin.
She is Your daughter, and You love her still.
To the boy who lost everything, all your days trust the Lord. He is good. He will follow You, too.
God forgives all we’ve done.
He will still call me son.
He doesn’t want anything more than for us to know His love.
His grace carries us in this rat race.
He covers my sin and will carry me till the end.

• Authored by Josh Pugh •

People Pleasers

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People-pleasers—they are dangerous. They will run over someone to make someone else happy. This might be good if you are on the receiving end. But at what cost do you want to be pleased?

They are dangerous because their god is not stable. Their idol is a moving target. Their god is the one they seek the most approval from in the moment.

They are angry. When they disappoint someone, they can easily lose their temper because they feel like a failure; they feel like they are not high and lifted up in your eyes.

People-pleasers live out of their emotions. They need to feed their flesh so they can have the fulfillment of approval.

People-pleasers cannot be a sold-out follower of Christ because it’s impossible to please man and serve Christ. You cannot serve two masters.

Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

People pleasers are selfish. They are self-protecting. They call all of their efforts servanthood, but they’re striving to make themselves look good. James 3:16 says where there is a self-serving motive or selfishness, wherever someone is striving because of their selfish desire to be approved, they will find disorder and every evil work. Wherever there is a self-serving motive, you need to watch your back.

James 3:16 (NIV)
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

People-pleasers are disobedient. We are supposed to work for the Lord in everything we do. But when you work for man, you may cut corners or be deceitful in everything. You are working for man whose expectations are always changing.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:22 (NIV)
 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

Numbers 23:19 (NIV)
God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

People-pleasers are always seeking praise. They practice their righteous efforts for others.

Matthew 6:1-34 (NIV)
Giving to the Needy
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Prayer
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Fasting
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

People-pleasers are unsafe. They are never safe or stable, because the Lord’s shelter is the only safe shelter.

Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

The fear of man is a snare. It’s a trap.

People-pleasers are adulterers. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

People-pleasers take advantage of others. They have a self-protective nature.

Leviticus 25:17 (NIV)
Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.

People-pleasing makes them step on anyone to get what they want to please.

Psalm 1 (NIV)
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

1 Thessalonians 4:6 (NIV)
… and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.

They smooth-talk you and try to make what they want your idea so they won’t have any opposition. Once again, they are self-protecting. They deceive the innocent.

Romans 16:18 (NIV)
For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

Heed the voice of the people pleaser. Let no man deceive you. They secretly hate having to please you.

Matthew 24:4 (NIV)
 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.”

1 John 4:20 (NIV)
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

As a man bringing you into bondage. If you are in bondage, you are not free.

2 Corinthians 11:20 (NIV)
In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.

Rebellion comes from bitterness. Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft. Stubbornness is as inequity and idolatry.

Top 3 Beauty Tips

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Are any of you addicted to reading about beauty tips and secrets? Do you regularly scan through websites and blog posts, looking for ways to become skinnier and more beautiful?

If you do, don’t worry; I used to be just like you. I have always wanted to be skinnier. Every time I saw an article about weight loss or dieting, I pored through it, trying to figure out the new tips and suggestions. I tried most of the workout routines I found. It was a terrible feeling to discover that the newest fad, tip, or secret wasn’t working.

After doing this for years, I realized that most programs were more about making money than actually helping people meet their goals.

The rest of what I discovered I made into my top 3 beauty tips.

3. Our bodies are the temple of Christ.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

Our bodies are temples of Christ. We need to respect this by respecting ourselves and our bodies. This means we need to take care of our bodies. We need to learn self-control so we can regulate our eating and exercise habits. We also need to respect ourselves so we don’t abuse our bodies in any way. Take care of the body God knit together for you. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV)


2. Inner beauty vs. outward beauty

Your inner beauty has more importance than you may realize. Scripture has this to say about inner beauty:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

I suggest that you live each day trying to make the inner you more beautiful! Start by making sure you show the fruits of the Spirit in all you do.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Use these to guide your ways, and your inner beauty will shine the light of Jesus in the darkest of places!

 
This leads me to the most important beauty tip:

1. God looks at the heart.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

When God is looking down on us, He does not see us the way the people of the world see each other. He sees each one of His creations as beautiful!

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)


I pray that each of you realizes how special and beautiful you are. I pray that you discover and live the way God views you. I pray that you share your joy with others as you discover all the wonderful works of Jesus!

Thank you so much to all of you who have been reading my blogs!


Emotions — 3 Practical Steps to Change

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CHANGE is COMING!

Today, we are going to look at the Word, God’s word. It is sharp; it will penetrate your heart and change you!

The Bible gives us truths and tools to train our soul (our mind, will, and emotions) to agree with the Spirit of God.

Read one or all of these passages:
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
2 Corinthians 10:5
Matthew 6:33
1 Samuel 16:1
1 Samuel 30:6
1 Samuel 31:13 
Galatians 5:24-26
Colossians 3 
Isaiah 26:3
Isaiah 54:17
1 Peter 1:8
Proverbs 23:7
Deuteronomy 30:19
Romans 8:6
Romans 10:17
Zechariah 4:6

1. From these verses, make a list of practical things the Bible teaches that you can do to make your emotions submit to the Spirit.

2. Take time to write down any emotions and thoughts that spiral you down into places that are set against God’s truth. For example:

  • “I’m insecure”
  • “I’m unlovable”
  • “I’m alone”

3. Take these lies captive and make them obedient to God’s truth. Write down the truth next to your negative thoughts. For example:

  • “I’m secure!”
  • “I’m loved!”
  • “I’m in Christ, and Christ is in me!”

Work on your list all week. What lies did you identify? What truths did you replace them with? What questions do you have?

The Invisible Mom

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Wake up, wipe noses, wipe bottoms, feed kids, draw out Cheerios, dry eyes, discipline, teach, love, snuggle, hug, laugh, cry, wash and fold the laundry, cook, help with homework, run the bathwater, comb wet hair, snuggle in the PJs, fall over into bed.

I spend my day caring for everyone in my house—sometimes even for a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger. At the end of the day, I’m just invisible and exhausted. There is no time for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. I love caring for others. It makes me feel valued and wanted. Even on a bad day, I still feel special and important. It’s worth it to put myself on the back burner for a while. It’s okay to take care of everyone else but me. It’s just a season—a season when I am invisible. There isn’t much credit in my job, but there is the satisfaction of knowing that I am doing it.

But I slowly become too tired to get up early for my quiet time and too tired to get in that ten minutes of exercise I promised myself.

The kids were so hungry today that I scraped my own plate onto theirs so they would have plenty to eat. So I missed lunch. But that’s okay because when we were out running errands, I picked up a Snickers and a Coke. That was good. It kept me full enough that I wouldn’t hurt anyone. It’s worth it to me to skip a meal so my kids can have plenty to eat. I never loved anything more than I love them. I would give everything that I have for them.

Oh, these jeans—they are a little bit too snug. Maybe I’ll go up one size. The pounds have crept on over the years—just a pound here and a pound there. Before I knew it, I didn’t recognize myself in pictures. I would ask people, “Do I really look like that?” and they would always say, “No. Oh, no. That’s not what you look like. You’re much thinner, much smaller.”

Soon enough, I had traded my size 2 figure for a 10. How did that happen? Why did the waist of my jeans look so large? Surely, I was not any bigger than my teenager. Was the scale really telling the truth? That would be the heaviest I had ever been without being pregnant. I probably wasn’t that big. But then I asked the littlest voice in the house, and her voice rang in my ear: “When I used to hug you, Mommy, I could wrap my arms all the way around you, but now I can’t touch my fingers!”

Had I taken care of everyone else so well that I forgot about myself? What kind of example had I set for my children—take care of everyone else and never take care of yourself? For fifteen years, I never came up on the list of priorities. Sure, now and then I would go for a run or do an exercise video, P90X, or hit an exercise class. Yet the way I took care of myself, I never completely turned everything I put in my mouth over to God. I just continued to take care of others.

In my own pride and arrogance, I allowed myself to be invisible. I was the one who has no needs, no wants, and no desires. I was holier than thou. I was the perfect mother, set apart, who needed no care—who only needed to be pampered periodically with more rest.

At first I couldn’t figure out why my husband wasn’t pursuing me the way I wanted him to. It didn’t take long, however, to figure out that I wasn’t pursuable any longer. When you don’t take care of yourself, you don’t look your best on the outside, but you don’t feel good on the inside, either.

I found myself becoming more and more exhausted every day. I didn’t have the energy to do anything fun. I would take a nap on a date night. I lacked energy and strength to keep up with the man  God created my husband to be. I lacked the ability even to go race-car driving—fun stuff he wanted to do, that would engage him. Instead, I made him enjoy more womanly activities.

You can spend your life by laying it down to take care of others, but eventually, if you don’t take care of yourself, someone else will have to lay down his or her life to take care of yours. Refuse to be invisible. Live your life by example.

After I decided to come out from behind my works and into the light, my oldest child said to me, “Mom, you have always taught us how to live and how to eat. You have taught us that we should exercise and eat healthy and take care of ourselves. But you never actually lived it for yourself. It’s impossible for us to live what you don’t show us by example.”

Come out from behind all of those things you do to puff yourself up and make yourself feel good about yourself—including serving others constantly and sacrificing yourself. Your body is valuable, and it houses the temple of God within you, so you need to take care of it. You need to treasure what you have, the life that you have been given, and value it enough to take care of it.

When will you choose to stop being invisible?

Love

I was twenty-four years old before I heard of agape. It was a time of trial in my life. I was driving in the car with a coworker when he started explaining to me the differences among three types of love: erosphilia, and agape.

 

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I had been in church, on and off, for most of my nearly twenty-five years, yet I had never heard of agape. My coworker described agape as unconditional love. It is always there for you no matter how righteous or wicked you are. You cannot do anything to lessen it or increase it; it is the same, steady love day in and day out. This type of love does not keep track of your sins. It does not stifle you or imprison you. It is the kind of love that fills you and frees you. It is the kind of love that changes you.

 

I had spent the last fourteen years deprived of love. I had sought love in every corner. I had pursued passionate love, romantic love, and friendship. I had searched high and low for a love that would make me feel valuable. I yearned for love. I simply wanted to be worthy of someone’s love.

 

You can only be rejected so many times before you start to believe you deserve it. At that time of my life, I felt alone and unlovable. Then my coworker guided me to the truth of unconditional love. I did not fully comprehend the significance of this concept at the time, but I have since come to understand that I am loved. When I felt rejected and worthless, those feelings were not my true identity. In truth, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). God Himself “created my inmost being”; He “knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV). God set me apart before I was born as one who was and is and always will be loved—by Him.

 

The church needs to wake up and stop constantly fixating on everyone’s flaws. We cannot afford to forget who God is and what He did out of His abundant love for every single one of us. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV). We did not and cannot deserve His sacrifice and love for us, yet they are ours to receive. How dare the church allow another child to endure a life of desperately searching for love because no one shared with her the blessing of God’s free gift!

 

Jesus Christ issued His disciples this command: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35 NIV). Will you rise to the challenge and share agape with someone every day this year? In one year, 365 days, I challenge you to convey this message of unconditional love to the people God brings into your life. Tell someone, “You are loved. It is part of your identity. It is etched into your being, and it can never be removed. It is in your very fingerprints—every indelible line testifies that you are loved.”