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Award-winning gospel singer, songwriter, and teacher Babbie Mason expands her message of God's unconditional love from her spring 2012 devotional book to a small group study for women. The seven promises in this small inexpensive book invite women to acknowledge God's love for each of us, our limitless potential and God's plan for our life, regardless of mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities we may have had along the way. For women just starting out or starting over, this message of hope and inspiration ...
Award-winning gospel singer, songwriter, and teacher Babbie Mason expands her message of God's unconditional love from her spring 2012 devotional book to a small group study for women. The seven promises in this small inexpensive book invite women to acknowledge God's love for each of us, our limitless potential and God's plan for our life, regardless of mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities we may have had along the way. For women just starting out or starting over, this message of hope and inspiration will reenergize women.
You Are Loved Unconditionally by God
God loves you and finds great pleasure and delight in you.
Imagine the most wonderful love relationship you could ever experience here on earth. Envision a love without limits or conditions. Consider a relationship that is completely satisfying in every way; now visualize the height of this relationship and multiply that as high as you can count. If you could count all the way to infinity and beyond, your answer would still be far too small compared to how much God really loves you. His love for you is passionate, unconditional and far, far, beyond any love you could ever experience with another human being.
Your heavenly Father wants you to see yourself as He sees you—loved beyond your capacity to imagine, saved from your sins, healed from all diseases, delivered from bondages, and free to live the life He has planned for you. As you take hold of this life-changing truth it will impact the way you think and ultimately the way you live. Not only does the God of the universe love you; He wants more than anything for you to love Him in return. And the more you reflect on God's amazing love, the more you will do just that.
As you think about God's unconditional love for you, consider three incredible truths.
You are God's favorite.
That's right: you are God's favorite—just like every other child of God. God sees each of His children and loves them completely and shows them His favor. We are God's favored ones—His "favor-ites." God quickened my heart and showed me that not only does He love me but He loves me just as much as He loves His own Son, Jesus.
It's hard to grasp how a holy, perfect, infinite God could ever love sinful, unholy, imperfect, and finite people, but He does. The Bible says that God even loved us first, before we knew anything about love or were capable of love—"This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us" (1 John 4:10a NIV).
Our understanding of love is so different than the way God loves us. You see human love is temperamental, temporary, and tentative. God's love, on the other hand, is constant, eternal, unabashed, and overflowing. While we know about love, we cannot know the fullness of love until we get to know the one who is Love Himself.
God's love is perfect and meets us where we are—the good and the bad, the strengths and the weaknesses—and He loves us just the same. His love is perfect and extraordinary in every way. You are God's favorite. Don't just hear this with your ears; embrace it with your heart.
You can start again.
It doesn't matter who you are or what your story may be. Jesus will forgive every mistake, and He can satisfy every longing you have, if you ask Him. Everybody can use a do-over every now and then: another opportunity to get things right with the Lord. Life in Christ is the only road to discovering what true life really is. Jesus promises the forgiveness you need, the peace you long for, the acceptance you crave, and the love you desperately hunger for.
God knows your story and chooses you anyway! God will help you and give you not only a second chance but a third or fourth, or as many as you need to get it right. Your brand-new start is just a prayer away.
Talk to God and ask the Lord to free you from any guilt you carry about a "past life." Invite the Lord to shine His purifying light into the secret places in your heart and overcome even the most hidden sins. Remember that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).
You matter to God.
You are of great significance to God. You are not an accident or an afterthought. You are not illegitimate, a mistake, a slipup, or an "oops." Everything that God made, He made for a reason and said it was "good." This includes you.
Long before you were a gleam in your father's eye you were fashioned in the heart of God. Jeremiah 1:5a says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" (NIV).
Everything about you is important to God. He is interested in each intricate detail of your life. If something matters to you, then it matters to God. Your relationships, finances, and job situations are of utmost concern to Him. Your health problems, family concerns, and apprehensions for the future all matter to God. You may feel unimportant or even insignificant, but God says you have always been important and significant. Read the truth of God's word in Ephesians 1:4-5:
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)
God sees you through His perfect eyes of love. Though at times He will correct you when and if you veer off track, He does so with loving restoration in mind. God sees you, my friend. He knows your name. And you matter to Him more than you know.
Dear heavenly Father,
Thank You for helping me understand more clearly just how much You love me and that Your love is greater than all my faults. Knowing that I am your favorite and that I matter to You brings me a great deal of comfort, joy, and security. I am so grateful that You are the God of second chances. This new day is a gift from You, and I thank You for another opportunity to walk in your love—another opportunity to please you with my life. Forgive me for trying to fix things on my own. I'm appealing to You, gracious Father. I desperately need You now. I always have needed You; I just didn't know how much until now. I don't want You to be an outsider or stranger in my life. Like the great hymn writer Frances Ridley Havergal said, "Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee." I make You first priority in my life. Please take Your rightful place. Once again, Lord, thank You. In Jesus' name, Amen.CHAPTER 2
You Are Beautiful to God
Everything God made is beautiful, including you.
When God created the heavens and the earth and everything they encompassed, He proclaimed it was all good—and this includes you. How so? Before you were conceived in your mother's womb, you were in the mind of God. To Him, you will always be beautiful. You are His masterpiece.
There is no television commercial, magazine ad, or human opinion that can change this fact. You don't need anyone's approval or validation. The only thing that matters is what God says about you. If God says you are beautiful, favored, chosen, blessed, and free, then it is so. Now, it's time for you to believe it completely. From the very beginning you have been a part of God's great big, beautiful love story.
As you think about God's view of you, know that you are validated, vindicated, and valued.
You are validated.
God has placed His stamp of approval on your life. Have you ever been told things like these:
You'll never amount to anything.
You're a failure.
You're a constant disappointment.
These verbal assaults and a host of others cut deep, right to the soul. Maybe one or both of your parents verbally abused you. Perhaps someone you looked up to, someone you really trusted, wounded you with careless words. And if you were told any of these things as a child, no doubt you remember specific and countless times and places when those verbal bombs were hurled at you.
Let me ask you a question in review. Who is the originator of these verbal assaults and the relentless, repetitive attacks you might be hearing over and over in your mind? You might say:
The bully on the playground
No, my friend, these people may be most immediately responsible for insulting you, but they are not the author of these destructive words. The enemy is the author of every attack, whether it is against your body, your mind, or your spirit. Remember the enemy is your adversary. He will do all he can to keep you from becoming everything God has destined you to be.
I truly believe our world is suffering from a love deficiency. Like the old song says, "Everybody needs love." Each and every soul needs love. We crave it. So many people today sense a void in their hearts, an acute emptiness that can only be satisfied by love.
So, where can you find real love? Lean in and listen closely. Love is not a warm and fuzzy feeling. Love is not an emotional urge or even a deep desire. Love is not feeling good about yourself or someone else. Love is not a sexual drive. Always remember, dear friend, that love is a person. That person is Jesus.
Right now, stop and think about the truth—not your feelings or the opinion of someone else wrapped in flesh—but the unchanging, undeniable, absolute truth. The love you crave and long for is embodied in one person, Jesus Christ. He is the only one who is both qualified and able to bring real love, meaning, and purpose to your life.
You are vindicated.
God also vindicates you. He sets you free from your past—from all accusation, allegation, guilt, and blame. Jesus is a master at fixing ruined lives, repairing busted families, mending broken hearts, and shoring up dashed dreams. Like no one else can do, Jesus takes damaged goods and gives them a new lease on life.
When a crowd of accusers brought a woman caught in adultery before Jesus and pressed Him to grant the stoning the law prescribed, He said to them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (John 8:7b ASV). One by one they went away, from the oldest to the youngest. When He saw no one but her, He said to her, "Woman where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" She replied, "No man, Lord." Jesus answered, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (vv. 10b-11 ASV).
Jesus was the only person who was qualified to throw stones that day, yet He refused to lift a condemning hand against her. He genuinely cared for her soul. I don't know about you, but to know that Jesus does not condemn me, even though I'm guilty, unlocks the door to freedom and throws away the key.
Jesus is your defender. He is ready, willing, and able to vindicate you of any guilt and accusation. Romans 8:1 is a promise you can stand on: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (NRSV).
You are valued.
Jesus is not only your defender; He is your comforter. You can "give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). You are greatly valued.
When my husband, Charles, suffered a stroke, he was admitted to the hospital and taken straight to the intensive care unit. I refused to leave his beside. Each night I slept in the chair beside his bed, where he lay connected to wires and IVs. It seems that every dire situation has the potential to be magnified at night. As I sat in his room, reality set in and things looked bleaker in the dark hours after midnight. But I can attest to the fact that during those hours I felt God's presence more than at any other time I can remember. During those moments, the long hours when I cried and prayed, I found the Lord's presence to be the sweetest of all.
More than likely, you have cried many tears during your own long, dark nights. Perhaps you wondered if anyone cared; you might have even pondered if life was worth living. Friends are such a blessing, but they can go with you only so far, especially during times of deep trouble and distress. But praise the Lord, we do not ever have to go the distance alone. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1 ASV).
Jesus understands exactly how you feel. He knows what concerns you during the day and what keeps you up late at night. Take refuge in Him. Nothing will build you up like being in the presence of God. Even at times when you don't seem to feel His presence, it's all right. Don't be led by what you feel. Be led by what you know is true. You are deeply loved by Jesus. Your life is worth more to Him than silver or gold. No matter what circumstances life may bring, look to Jesus to complete you and reveal your true identity.
Dear sweet Father,
I am so grateful that you have placed your seal of approval on my life. Thank you for healing my brokenness and meeting all my needs. I am grateful that Jesus is an advocate who has never lost a case; I can roll my guilt, shame, doubt, and every other dead weight I carry over on Him, because He cares for me. When I can trust no one else, I can share my deepest secrets with Him, knowing I will not be condemned. I praise Your name, merciful Father, that I can receive your grace and forgiveness for my sins and move on with my life. Hallelujah! Amen.CHAPTER 3
You Are Never Alone
Because God loves you, He will never leave or abandon you. He recognizes your voice, ever ready to attend to your needs as only He can do.
What do you do when facing a difficult situation? Do you share your concern with a family member? Do you talk to a friend or get information from the Internet? Though at times each of these "earthly" options can aid you in your time of need, the best place to find life's answers is from the pages of God's word. And the only place you can find real love, unexplainable peace, and complete deliverance is in the arms of our loving Lord, Jesus. My dear friend, He is able. Jesus is just as close to you as the mention of His name. Amid the deafening voices of today's culture, you can still hear the voice of God: either as a still, small voice or one that resounds as deeply and widely as the sea. God is calling to you in an unmistakable way—through both His word and your everyday experiences—so slow down and listen closely.
As you think about God's presence with you, be assured that God is near, God hears, and God cares.
God is near.
God created us to enjoy good relationships: first with Him and also with others. You and I were created and called to enjoy God—to know Him and to make Him known. The reason we exist is to bring attention to Him, pointing all people and nations His way. My sweet friend, you were born to fellowship with God, bring Him pleasure with your life, and put His love on display. You must do so to such an extent that others will desire His love. When people see you, they should think of God and be absolutely convinced they cannot live another moment without Him.
It pleases God to call us His own. He desires our intimate companionship and friendship. A lot of people think they are a burden to God. Too many think they bother Him. Some believe that God is easily irritated and short- tempered. On the contrary, the Bible says that God is patient and longsuffering toward those He loves: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9 KJV).
When Jesus was walking on the earth, He was confined to being in one place at a time. But now we have the Holy Spirit, our dear Comforter who is constantly with us. Now, our Lord is everywhere all the time. Most important, He lives inside me and you. Once you have trusted the Lord Jesus as your Savior, you never have to be lonely again. His loving presence began to dwell in you the moment you asked Him to come into your heart. Because God loves you, He wants you to return His embrace and accept this gift of friendship. He desires you to reciprocate by coming into intimate fellowship with Him.
Recognize God's presence today through the Holy Spirit. Think deeply about His love for you as you take time to look around and inside you. When you look in the mirror, reflect on how wonderful it is to belong to Him. Everywhere you go, and with every breath you take, He is there.
God desires to have an ongoing, loving, and life-giving conversation with you. In Jeremiah 33:3 we read, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (KJV). When the Creator of the universe speaks to you through His word and says, "Call unto me," He's giving you an open invitation to call Him. Just think about it. You have a direct line to talk with the God of the ages! That's what prayer is—talking to God.
Through the miracle of prayer, you can communicate with God—the King and Master of the universe—who loves you deeply. He's never too busy. You don't need to make an appointment. You won't get a busy signal or get put on hold. He promises that when you call, He will answer.
More than anything, God wants to be with you and help you with all your decisions. So take Him up on His invitation to bring all your requests before Him. Tell God the deepest secrets of your heart, and even more than this, take time to listen to Him. You can learn to recognize God's voice by reading the Bible, looking to the life of Jesus, and paying attention to your own experiences. And always remember that when you can't see God's hand, you can trust His heart.
Excerpted from Seven Promises for Every Woman by BABBIE MASON. Copyright © 2012 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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