God loves you very much and this fact doesn’t change with how you behave. God’s love is even more constant than taxes 😉 Romans 8, 1John 4, Ephesians 2 & other chapters and examples throughout the Bible show us God’s faithful& consistent love for us. God’s love for us is based on Who He is (God is love) and not based on our efforts or good deeds.
On the other hand, God’s pleasure with us is something that is based on our behavior. In 2 Cor 5:9, Paul says that we make it our goal or aim to please God. In Psalms 67:1, we read that God can make His face shine upon us – in the NLT it says that He smiles on us. In Col 1:10-12, Paul tells us 4 ways that we can please God (make Him smile):
- bearing fruit in every good work (being fruitful)
- growing in our knowledge of God (growing in knowing God)
- being strengthened with His power for attaining all steadfastness & patience (being steadfast & patient)
- joyfully giving God thanks (being thankful)
When I think about God’s love versus God’s pleasure, it helps me to consider the difference when I look at my kids. I deeply and highly love my kids – indisputable, unchangeable, consistent . . . . But there are times that they are more pleasing to me than at others. I’m not very pleased when they fight with each other. I don’t like it when they’re messy. I don’t like it when they are argumentative with me. I do like it when they snuggle with me. I like it when they help me in the kitchen. I like it when they’re kind to each other. These things give me pleasure and make me smile. Today, let’s determine to do the things that make God smile 🙂
I Cant Help Myself
I was recently asked to talk about my adventures in Hinduism. You see when I was in my early 20s, I wrestled with what faith would mean in my own heart. It was a rough season in my life & I’m glad to have peace in my heart with the decisions that I made. When I was recalling my Hindu explorations, I started to think about why Jesus is distinctive to me.
As I thought about this, I began to remember that wherever Jesus went, He brought change: deaf ears heard, leprosy disappeared, blind eyes could see, dead people were raised to life, religious folk were offended, people were changed in how they treated others & some of His followers were transformed into world changers. Very few people, if any, were NOT changed when they came into Jesus’ presence.
And this is why I can’t help myself – I find myself continually drawn to Him, watching for Him, challenged to trust in Him, listening & watching Him live throughout the daily routines . . . . The more I’m around Jesus, the more clearly I see. The more I listen for Jesus, the better I hear what’s happening around me. The more I open my heart to Jesus, the greater truth & freedom I experience in my life. When I turn to Jesus, I find calm in chaos & stillness in the storm. I can’t help myself – I’m madly in love with my Savior
I’ve been in Albania now for about 4 days & I’m simply amazed at how wonderful this country is – truth be known, I’ve wanted to come to Albania for more than 20 yrs. Now that I’m here, I’m finding myself becoming more & more connected w the Albanian people. They are very strong in their hearts & relationships. They’re rich on love & community – simply amazing!
We’ve made some fantastic connections w wonderful opportunities for saving Moses. Like Moses, many babies have been abandoned & like Moses they have tremendous potential but just need some help to have a better future than present day.
We’ve seen God do some completely miraculous things that take your breath away – a 10 year old boy whose hearing was compromised was totally healed after his mom prayed for him. We’ve also been able to provide essential humanitarian support for some very impoverished Muslim communities – such warm & gracious people!!
Thanks so much for praying, your encouragment & support. We live to be part of Jesus’ love revolution!
I’m almost speechless from my experiences here in Albania – almost 🙂
Yesterday, we had the privilege of visiting a maternity hospital where they care for abandoned babies. What an absolutely incredible time. In Albania, if a woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock, it’s considered VERY shameful & consequently, the moms are embarassed, try to hide the pregnancy & often neglect their health while carrying the baby. As such, the hospital we visited is trained to care for newborns in distress as well as for ailing mothers. Some of the unwed mothers abandon their newborns in the hospital and the staff and nurses are left to care for these tiny treasures whose futures are very uncertain. I was deeply moved by my experiences yesterday & I get to return to this hospital this morn. Check out the pic we took yesterday:
Greetings from Albania! Yesterday we had the privilege of experiencing a wonderful ministry / NGO for little people under 5 yrs old. We were able to meet around 50 small people between 0-5 years old. Many of these children have been abandoned by their moms & families & consequently need a stable & safe place where they can grow, be fed & cared for.
We also had the honor of meeting 2 new moms – one has a little girl who is 2months old & the other mom is about 6months preg. Both of these unwed moms do not have a permanent place to live nor employment by which to support themselves or their babies. One of the moms is from an orphanage & as such has no familial support. The other mom has been estranged from her family when they found out that she was pregnant. In Albania if a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock, it is common for her family to disown her so she is often left to fend for herself & for her baby, in a country w rather high unemployment. It is a very fightening time for a new mother & I was deeply moved by the tremendous pressure & uncertainty these mothers are facing.
I find in my travels that it is a universal human desire to be loved & secure. As a mother, with Jesus, nothing is more important that we want to give our children than love, security & a future filled w hope
I just landed in Tirana Albania & I’m really excited to see what God is doing here!! I’m excited in many different ways because of the diversity of ministry opportunities that we have here. We get to do some humanitarian relief, we get to pray for the sick in our evening meetings & we get to minister to Christian leaders from throughout Albania. On a personal level, I’m extremely excited about what we get to do in Albania w saving Moses. In a few minutes i’m going to leave w some friends to visit a ministry (NGO) who is very tuned into the needs of kids under 5, infants & pregnant moms. I’m eager to get to bring saving Moses to Albania, the homeland for Mother Teresa – what a fantastic privilege to be in the country where such a powerful & impacting woman was born. Even though she was a flawed human, Jesus used her life in extravgant displays of love. I pray that Jesus would use saving Moses & me to express His deep & profound love to “the least of these.”
Here’s something really cool: today, I have the privilege of getting to minister at Gospel Life Center in Munich Germany. This is particularly meaningful to me for lots of different reasons. First, German was my major in my university studies. Second, I almost always sense a special presence of God when I get to minister internationally. But most importantly, twenty years ago when I was studying in Germany for my degree, I turned my back on Jesus to explore other faiths & make my own decisions as they related to what I believe. Twenty years ago, I visited this exact church when I was wrestling with my faith. Twenty years ago, I felt disconnected from God & almost like He had forsaken me.
Today, I get to breathe redemption. I get to share about loving Jesus & having an intimate relationship w Jesus in a place where I had been lost & turned away from God.
I love getting to be in Gospel Life Center in Munich. I love the people. I love the heart of this church. I love getting to experience God in this place, with this spiritual family. I love getting to worship God in German. They’re rehearsing now for worship & I can hear them singing “how great is our God, sing w me, how great is our God”.
Yes and amen, how truly great is our God.
Tomorrow I get to experience Gods greatness in Albania w saving Moses. I’ll be blogging everyday – so come along & let’s enjoy this trip together!