Jesus loves you

Colossians 1:7-14 ERV 

You heard it from Epaphras, our dear friend and co-worker. He is a faithful servant of Christ for us. He also told us about the love you have from the Spirit. Since the day we heard these things about you, we have continued praying for you. This is what we pray: that God will make you completely sure of what he wants by giving you all the wisdom and spiritual understanding you need; that this will help you live in a way that brings honor to the Lord and pleases him in every way; that your life will produce good works of every kind and that you will grow in your knowledge of God ; that God will strengthen you with his own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy and give thanks to the Father. He has made you able to have what he has promised to give all his holy people, who live in the light. God made us free from the power of darkness. And he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. The Son paid the price to make us free. In him we have forgiveness of our sins.

If being a Christian was about the church I would not be there. I was baptized in a Baptist church. I went to Church every Sunday when I was a Kid. I saw so many people act a fool in the name of Jesus I was turned away. I decided that if the people I knew from church were a reflection of God I did not want any part of that. I have always loved God and knew that he was the reason I was able to withstand the horrors of my youth. I always knew God made a way for me because there was no other way so many people would have offered me a safe haven without even knowing why. I always knew it was God that kept my mind when I thought I could not go on, but I was good on church. I can remember going to church and being given all these rules that did not line up with my vision of God’s love or Jesus’s sacrifice. These people were mean, judgemental and hateful. They talked about people instead of helping them and then tried to tell me how good God is. Needless to say, I did not go to church often.

Now I go to church weekly and I try to be the person I needed when I walked in the door. I was damaged from years of physical, sexual and mental abuse as a young lady. I was damaged from relationships and friendships, I was financially and mentally bankrupt and at my wits end. I walked in the door of Ebenezer Ministries and strangers hugged me and said kind words so I went back the next week. They kept hugging me and I kept showing up. Before long I met Jesus sitting on a pew on Center Rd Jesus chose me, with all my mess , he chose me. I didn’t accept it at first because I was giving Jesus the same characteristics of the people who hurt me, I thought if I didn’t get it right, he would stop loving me. In spite of my fear I kept showing up and eventually I got it. There was nothing I could do to change it, Jesus loves me. I became overwhelmed with emotion and decided to trust the process. I decided to trust that he would heal me, restore me and make me a new creature. It didn’t happen over night but he is working it out. I am not who I used to be. Don’t get that confused with thinking I’m perfect, I’m just a girl who loves a perfect God. 

If you don’t know Jesus for the pardoning of your sins, take a few minutes and say this. 

Dear Lord,

I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself only. I am sorry, and I repent. I ask you to forgive me.

I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life; I give it to you. From this day forward, help me to live every day for you and in a way that pleases you.

I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

Amen.

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Girls in Pearls

“Also, God’s kingdom is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. One day he found a very fine pearl. He went and sold everything he had to buy it. (Matthew 13:45, 46 ERV)

The finest quality natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.

Your heart and spirit reminds me of how pearls are made. People see pearls as beautiful, perfect gems, but never realize that they actually come from pain–from something sharp or dangerous getting trapped inside an oyster where it doesn’t belong, the oyster makes a pearl to protect itself. Pearls are almost indestructible, you never hear these words “my pearl shattered”, “my pearl fell and broke”, nope they are strong, just like you. Pearls are strung on thread that may break. If your string breaks you reach down, gather your pearls up and restring it. You may not know the actual order they were in before the string broke but you would add reinforcements so it does not break again. Jesus does the same for us, we don’t break but our string might. We get tired from dealing with things at work, having no work, husbands, being single, things at home, bills, kids, more bills than money, drug addiction, alcoholism, fear and rejection. I could go on and on but I think you get it. Jesus reaches down, grabs all our pearls and restrings us, stronger and rearranged in a way to make us better. 

These words from Mary J Blige “Stronger with each tear”, speaks to what I’m thinking.
You’re much more than a struggle that you go through

You’re not defined by your pain, so let it go…

You’re not a victim, you’re more like a winner

And you’re not in defeat, you’re more like a queen
In each tear

there’s a lesson,

Makes you wiser than before 

Makes you stronger than you know , 

In each tear Brings you closer to your dreams

No mistake, no heartbreak

Can take away what you’re meant to be!

I choose love

2017 is the year of love! It’s the year of believing love is enough, it’s the year of knowing that Love does vanquish hate. “Do everything in love.”‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭16:14‬ ‭ERV‬‬

http://bible.com/406/1co.16.14.erv

Love has been discussed, explained and defended since the beginning of time. What does it mean to you? Have you ever sat down and thought about the way you love? What you need from love? Have you ever asked yourself If you understand love? Me too!

I was evaluating love, really thinking about how often I say “I love you”. It’s a lot, I say it to family, friends and a few co-workers, but does it really mean love, like real love? I think it does, there is romantic love, familia love and friendship, all are different types of love and come with a variety of expectations.  
Love has a responsibility to be blameless and enduring. Once you have created a bond of love you are responsible for it. It can’t be dependent on how the other person treats you. Love stands alone, it cannot be not tied to expectations or requirements. If I tell you I love you, I do. If you don’t love me back, that is your right but it won’t change my love for you. Love has to be set free from other people’s expectations. 
“Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.”‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:7‬ ‭ERV‬‬

http://bible.com/406/1co.13.7.erv
Be responsible for your love, give it freely and expect nothing in return. 

“Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth.”‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:6‬ ‭ERV‬‬

http://bible.com/406/1co.13.6.erv

If you choose the path of love, remember love is its own reward. 

““If you love only those who love you, should you get any special praise for doing that? No, even sinners love those who love them!”‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:32‬ ‭ERV‬‬

http://bible.com/406/luk.6.32.erv

I choose love