I have a Scandinavian heritage and remember my Grandma Johanna telling us about the special 'May Day' celebrations in Sweden. After a long cold winter there was much rejoicing when the earth warmed, flowers bloomed, birds made nests and the promise of summer pleasures was on the horizon.
May is always a fun, busy month for us - our anniversary, Mother's Day, and my birthday. It's also a good time to travel most anywhere. We just celebrated our 40th year together. I have been so blessed to be loved by a man who has listened to my every dream and worked to make each one come true.
It's easy to see God's loving hand on our life when all is going well. Not so easy when we feel lonely, overwhelmed and confused as to how to cope with day-to-day problems. I've taught many women's Bible studies and so often, I've noticed that those who are most unhappy dwell on their problem, rather than the Lord's love for them. They gaze at the problem - concentrate on it, study it, and worry about it. If we would glance at the problem and gaze on the Lord, recognizing His love and forgiveness, we'd have a lot more peace and joy in our life.
Let's look at another one of the "Ten Most Important Things About God."
# 5 God's love in unconditional and His forgiveness is complete.
Our home is in the shadow of a jail. Well, maybe not literally, but a mere two miles away. This facility houses nearly 1,000 inmates. At one time women were incarcerated here and I had a ministry for them for ten years. Then, they moved all the women to another facility. I joined my husband's team and now visit the men who come to hear about God's love and forgiveness.
Over these many years, twelve now, people have asked why we do this - go into the jail to teach and encourage those who have committed crimes. I look to Scripture for an answer. . .
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
I was sitting in a Bible study one day listening to a young woman talk about her experiences in the woman's prison. We were living in Raleigh, North Carolina at the time. The Lord spoke to me, not audibly, but in a voice I knew, "You will teach My Word in a jail." He had already determined that this would be part of my life and gave me the desire to fulfill what He had planned in advance. It took twenty years for the Lord to arrange the time and place. I just waited knowing His timing is perfect.
One of my teaching partners, Jerry, told me about an incident that happened to him recently. The deputies brought a young man in shackles to the room where we meet. They unshackled him, let him come in and sit down with others. He took note, as this was the first time he'd experienced a shackled inmate brought to 'church service'. This young man was twenty-three years old. God had changed his heart and he'd accepted Jesus as his Savior. He was waiting to be transferred to a state prison where he'd spend the rest of his life for the crime he had committed.
Jerry asked this young man what he thought about most. He replied that every day he thought about the terrible thing he had done. This caused him great sadness and guilt. Jerry suggested that rather than dwell on what he had done, he should instead concentrate on God's unconditional love and forgiveness. His whole face brightened. He hadn't understood that God no longer looked at his sin. God saw His Son, Jesus in him, loved him completely and had totally forgiven him. Jesus had paid the penalty for his crime, now he could be free of sadness and guilt.
I'd like to share a few verses. It doesn't matter what I say, or think, it only matters what the Bible tells us is true. When we feel we are not worthy of God's love, we are not a good witness and don't have a good testimony to share with others. It is never the Lord that puts negative feelings in our heads, Satan does that. He delights in causing us to doubt and steals the peace and joy that the Lord wants us to have. Scripture tells us Satan "masquerades as an angel of light", II Corinthians 11:14. In other words, he looks good! We always need to fight Satan with the Word of God.
Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. . ."
Psalm 25:3, Romans 10:11 "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Romans 8:1 "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. . ."
Romans 8:37 - 39 "Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God."
Jude 24 "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy . . ."
I do hope you will look up each of these verses in your own Bible and ask the Lord to apply them to your life. You will then see yourself as God sees you, as righteous as Jesus! When others perceive your peace and joy, they will also want this and be open to God's call.
Knowing you are loved unconditionally and have been totally forgiven, washed white as snow in fact - Psalm 51:7. Your sin has been "removed as far as the east is from the west", Psalm 103:12.
John 8:32 tells us that the truth will set us free. What a great way to start the summer!
Thank you Lord for what you have done for us. I ask that those who read this will go to your Word and read for themselves and that You will bring more joy and peace into their lives.
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.