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By Sarah Young
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 Sarah Young
All rights reserved.
The very name I use to address you—Beloved—proclaims how dearly I love you. I showed you the full extent of My Love by enduring humiliation, torture, and death for you. No greater love than this is possible, or even conceivable.
You have tucked into your memory many experiences of My unparalleled Love. I want you to dwell on these memories: Enjoy them over and over again! This practice will help convince your doubting heart that My extraordinary Love is really yours—every nanosecond of this life and throughout eternity.
When you abide in Me, you also abide in My Love, for I am Love. As you live close to Me—communing with Me more and more—My living Presence permeates your entire being. This empowers you to trust in My unfailing Love, secure in the salvation I won for you.
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
John 15:13 NKJV
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:16 NASB
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Rejoice in Me always. This is a moment-by-moment choice. It is possible to find Joy in Me even during the most difficult times. Because I am always near, I am constantly available to help you. I can even carry you through times of extreme adversity.
Imagine a woman who has become engaged to a man she deeply loves and admires. Her heart overflows with pleasure whenever she thinks about her beloved. Problems fade into the background, unable to dampen her enthusiasm and excitement. Similarly, when you remember that I am your perfect Betrothed and that you are promised to Me forever, you can rejoice in Me even though you face many problems.
It is in the present moment that you find Me ever near you. My Presence in the present is an endless source of Joy: a continual feast! The soul-satisfaction you find in Me helps you relate well to other people. As you enjoy My abiding Presence, you can bless others with your gentleness.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15 NKJV
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
John 15:4 NKJV
My Light shines on you continually, whether you are aware of it or not. During the wee hours of the night, your thoughts are often distorted—even catastrophic. Although you may feel as if you're enveloped in darkness, remember that darkness and light are alike to Me. I am with you, and My Love for you never fails. You need the Light of My Presence supremely more than you need the light of day.
When the way before you seems dark and threatening, you can still trust Me to guide you. Walking by faith is akin to using radar to discern the way you should go. Instead of trying to see through clouds of uncertainty up ahead, fix your eyes on Me. I can show you a way forward where there appears to be none. Moreover, as you strive to stay in communication with Me, your soul opens up to Me. Even in the midst of your struggle, My loving Presence can fill your soul with warm delight.
Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:12 NASB
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In My Presence you have infinite approval. You often judge yourself on the basis of what you see in the mirror, even though you know how fickle and shallow that ever-changing image is. You tend to be equally enslaved to viewing yourself through the eyes of other people, rigorously evaluating your personal performance and almost always feeling displeased with something you've said or done.
"Enslaved" is an appropriate word. You are indeed a slave when you try to measure yourself through any perspective but Mine. Evaluating your worth based on how you look, to yourself or to others, is always a trap. It's as if you are sifting sand in a search for gold—looking only at the grains of sand filtering through the sieve, while ignoring the priceless nuggets that remain. The gold represents the eternal part of you: your soul. It is invisible to everyone but Me, the One who plans to spend eternity with you. Though invisible, a well-nurtured soul can actually improve your appearance: As you rest in the certainty of My unfailing Love, your face glows with the Joy of My Presence.
My approval of you is infinite because it will continue forever. It is based entirely on My righteousness, which is yours for all eternity. When you look in a mirror, try to see yourself as you truly are—arrayed in perfect righteousness, adorned in glowing approval.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Come to Me with the difficulties that are weighing you down. Even though there is no relief in sight, your troubles are actually light and momentary—from an eternal perspective. Your problems feel so heavy because you have given them too much power. Each time you focus on them and forget about Me, you empower them a bit more. Even small objects placed very close to your eyes can obscure most of the vista before you. I want you to put your troubles down long enough to view the vast expanse of Life that is spread out before you—all the way into eternity!
The best way to lay your problems down is: Bring them to Me. Unburden yourself by pouring out your heart to Me, for I am your Refuge. As you release your woes to Me (even temporarily), your vision improves and you can see Me more clearly. Linger with Me while My Light shines powerfully into your heart. This Light illuminates the knowledge of the Majesty and Glory revealed in My Face. This is the eternal Glory that outweighs all your troubles.
Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah.
For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
2 Corinthians 4:6 amp
I am the firm Foundation on which you can dance and sing praises and continually celebrate My Presence—just as you long to. Most of the time, however, you feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshiping Me requires the engagement of your entire being—something you delight in and yet somehow resist.
If you want to learn how to celebrate Me more consistently, more abundantly, begin by lingering in My peaceful Presence. As you relax in My everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. I am indeed the rock-solid Foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in Me.
My very Presence radiates Joy in vast, unmeasured fullness! When you praise Me, your Joy increases, as does your awareness of My holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but I see into your heart. That is where the ultimate celebration of My Presence takes place.
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might.
2 Samuel 6:14
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV
I want to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop striving for a lifestyle that feels safe. I know how ambivalent your heart is in all of this: You long for the adventure that a life abandoned to Me can be, and at the same time, you cling to old ways because change frightens you. Though you feel safest when your life is predictable and things seem to be under control, I want you to break free and discover the adventures I have planned for you.
The greatest adventure of all is knowing Me abundantly: discovering how wide and long and high and deep is My Love for you. The power of My vast Love can feel overwhelming. That is why many people choose to limit their knowledge of Me, keeping Me at a distance. How this grieves Me! People settle for mediocrity because it feels more comfortable. Meanwhile, they continue to battle fear. Only My Love is strong enough to break the hold that fear has on you. A predictable lifestyle may feel safer, but it can shield you from what you need most of all—Me!
When unexpected events shake up your routines, rejoice. This is exactly what you need, to wake you up and point you toward Me. Recognize that you are on the threshold of a new adventure, and that I will be with you each step of the way. As we venture out together, cling tightly to My hand. The more you abandon yourself to Me, the more exuberantly you can experience My Love.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
DEPENDING ON HIM
Your awareness of your deep need for Me is a profound strength. People who think they don't need Me are in serious trouble, because they rely on their own insufficient abilities. I am training you to depend on Me—your Strength.
Living in a fallen world can weigh you down. However, as you keep looking to Me, I make your feet like the feet of a deer. I lighten your load so much that you hardly notice the jagged rocks beneath your feet or the steepness of your ascent. Before you know it, you are on the high places—with Me!
You need to remember that I am Sovereign. I will not help you go along a path that is not My choice for you. So it's vital to commit your way to Me, asking Me to lead you each step of the way. This is how you collaborate with Me as I enable you to go on the heights.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:30–31 NASB
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:5 NKJV
I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus: My continual presence and the hope of heaven. You'll find no deeper comfort than knowing I am with you always, both here on earth and throughout eternity in heaven. You have known this great truth in your head for many years. However, your heart is fickle and tends to chase after other gods. Only as My Spirit helps you can you grasp the awesomeness of My Presence with you forever. I am indeed with you—watching over you wherever you are, wherever you go. Simply accept My Presence with you as reality: the deepest Reality. Build your life on this absolute truth, which is like building your house on a rock.
Your heart and mind will wander away from Me, but My Spirit within can remind you to return. You need only to ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this way. He delights in being your Helper.
Rejoice, for I am with you not only in this life but in the life to come. Let the promise of heaven flood your heart with My eternal Presence!
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
John 14:16–17 NASB
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Your weakness and brokenness draw Me ever so near you. You can open up to Me because I understand you perfectly. My compassion for you is overflowing. As you open yourself to My healing Presence, I fill you with Peace that transcends understanding. So stop trying to figure everything out. Instead, lean on Me, letting your head rest on My chest. While you rest, I will be watching over you and all that concerns you.
Trust Me in the depths of your being, where I live in union with you. My healing work in you is most effective when you are actively trusting Me. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing Love for you will not be shaken. This is the essence of My compassion for you: No matter how desperate your circumstances, the one thing you can always count on is My unfailing Love.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 amp
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Ever since the Fall, people have wanted to make idols of themselves and their own creations. They find it easier to deify something visible than to worship My unseen Reality. You have spent years trying to perfect yourself. Now you are more vulnerable to idolizing what you have made or done than what you are. This is a rather subtle sin, especially when you have created something for My Glory and purposes. I have deigned to use some of your creations to bless other people, and this has delighted you. When they express their appreciation to you, you soak up their praises. You forget that everything you make is as flawed as you are. Just as you are a jar of clay filled with heavenly contents, so are the things you have made or done for Me.
Excerpted from Jesus Lives by Sarah Young. Copyright © 2009 Sarah Young. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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