You Are Loved- Week 3: The Rival

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Four rocking chairs squeaked gently as we sat quietly on my front porch in the cool of the mountain sunset at the end of the day. A cherished friend of many years shared the moment with my two daughters and me. All of us had shared our hearts and thoughts and conflicts and issues bubbling up inside.

I realized that, in my life, and in the experiences of all of us who were together this evening, there have been many conflicts, bruises, separations with people over many years. All of us will confront many challenges in our lifetime in a broken world. Our sweet fellowship of friendship gave comfort to each of us and we shared each other’s burdens with understanding and gentle sympathy.

So often we allow these times of difficulty to effect how we perceive God looks at us.

We think, “Because I have scars or have a failed relationship, God must be disappointed in me. Perhaps we are disappointed with ourselves because we have the illusion that somehow if we try hard enough, we can create a perfectly harmonious life. And so we feel we have failed God and He looks down upon us with angry or disappointed eyes.

But when Jesus looks upon us, he looks at us with compassionate eyes. I love the scripture in Psalm 103: 14 that says, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

Jesus died for us, because He loved us so much, he wanted to restore us to the perfect love that God had always wanted us to know. We read, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”Romans 5: 8

Amazing–while we were stuck in our own selfishness, our own pettiness, our own scars, he loved us so much He died for us.

It is the cross that bridges the gap between our hurts, disappointments, brokenness and God’s perfect love. It is the cross that brings us hope for what we will experience in eternity.

Consequently, Satan does not want us to know this freedom, this amazing grace. He seeks to steal our joy, destroy our image of the living loving God. He wants us to think somehow we are able to heal ourselves by trying harder.

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“It is easy to be cynical, it is brave to be joyful.”-Joy Clarkson

As we were speaking of these issues, we all were captured by a field of wildflowers in our view. Swaying in the wind, they seemed to dance and sing of the beauty, the glory of the artist who planted them there for our pleasure. It is as though God reminded us that He was with us–that He had seen and heard our hearts, but that the beauty He had shown us was a hint of the exquisite loveliness had has prepared for us in eternity, where we will live in a perfect relationship with Him, and everyone else who dwells with Him there.

My daughter Joy observed that our sense of God’s provision was a choice of faith that it is our glory to make. All around us are evidences of His reality and presence, but we must open the eyes of our heart to see His beauty and to embrace His love and joy. She finished her thoughts, “As we experience the disappointments in this world, we have a choice to make–to look at the reality of God’s beauty and fingerprints to remind us of His provision of love or to ignore what He provides every day and to live in despair or disappointment. She concluded, “It is easy to be cynical, it is brave to be joyful.”

We must understand, our peace will not come from our circumstances, our only hope is God Himself.

We cannot control the behavior of others in our lives. We cannot force someone else to be understanding, responsive, forgiving, sympathetic, when we experience broken or disappointing relationships.

But we do have the choice of controlling our own responses.

We can choose to forgive, to grow in humility. We can choose to give difficult relationships to God. And then we must leave the consequences and results in God’s hands to work out in His time.

If we allow a broken relationship to consume us, to take up too much brain space, it will create anxiety and despair. However, if we give it to God by faith, and seek to leave the consequences of our difficulties in His hand, then we are able to move forward, to cultivate hope, to learn the pathway of His love. When we meet Him at the cross and allow Him to take our broken hopes, we can leave with peace, knowing that He knows us and still loves us and has healed once and for all, the places of our own failures. Only as we live in this way, can we experience His love–when we forgive ourselves and when we accept His amazing accomplishment and victory in our lives.

It is my prayer this week that you will learn to live into the light of His promised love, that you will give your burdens into His capable hands and that you will accept your Father’s desire to love you and carry you through this world until you see Him face to face.

May you live free from burdens and worries to day, and rest in His amazing love.

You Are Loved: Chapter 3 Video

(Click here if you can’t see today’s video)

Thank you for joining us this week!

sally

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Week 3 Reading Plan

Good Morning Girls- You Are Loved Week 3 Reading Plan

 

Week 3 Memory Verse

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Week 3 Challenge

Good Morning Girls- You Are Loved- Week 3 Challenge

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. I’m new here. Caught up on this current reading plan through Youversion. Thank you for the great post.

    Pray for me. I constantly worry about salvation. About eternal security. Wondering if I’m pleasing enough to God or is He frowning on me.

    • Angela,
      We are so glad that you are here! I am praying for you this morning — that you would have peace and assurance about how completely God loves you. The fact that you are even worried about this is proof that you are His — you want to be pleasing and right with God. Thankfully, our works to not determine where we stand with God. The work of Jesus on the cross is what made the difference. He stand with us, and when God looks at you, He sees the blood of Jesus covering all your sins. Here is a verse that really encourages me about eternal security: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). You are marked as His, my sister.
      Blessings to you,
      Lyli
      Good Morning Girls Leader Encourager

  2. Sally,
    This was such a timely word for me today. You have encouraged my spirit.
    Thank you!!!
    Lyli

  3. Dear Sally,

    This morning as I lay in bed praying before even getting out of the bed to start my day, I felt the sweet Holy Spirit telling me to lay it all – all the experiences that have yet to even come to me today – at the cross. Your message this morning confirms His sweetly spoken words to leave the cares of this world behind me so that I can truly see God’s beauty and love around me with unclouded eyes.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  4. I like this. Im about to get the book. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • Stacey,
      Thank you for joining us and I know you will love the book!
      Blessings,
      Martha ‘Leadership Encourager’

  5. Susan Tweedy says:

    I’m almost a bit in shock at how perfectly Sally’s video sharing (ch. 3) spoke to where I am right now (dealing with a relationship with a friend.) Amazing. But I shouldn’t be amazed – we serve a pretty Amazing God! He can orchestrate things like this. =) Thank you, Sally!

  6. Loronda says:

    I started reading this blog this morning, stopped at the part with the flowers had a pointless argument with my spouse, that left me pretty defeated then picked back up the blog and read the rest about dealing with broken relationships and releasing them to God. I am soo thankful for this blog post this morning. It really uplifted me and encouraged me. I love God, he is so also I really try to live a life worthy of him but feel like a failure so often. I thank him, for loving me truly unconditionally. Learning through this study gives me much more hope, strength and faith. Thank you for sharing!

    • Praying for you, Loronda. Isn’t this just how life goes–ups, downs and putting ourselves back in His hands. Thanks for taking the time to encourage us. May You know His favor and love today.

  7. Sally, thank you for these tools of thought and scripture. I find that the closer I get to God, the more of these insecurities creep into my head. I am appalled sometimes about what goes through my mind, when I know I am not “that person”! It sounds so contradictory that this would be when I am seeking God, but I realize now that it is for that reason, that I am closer to my Savior, that my faith would be challenged by the rival. But these reminders today help me to remember that I can fight back. Thank you again for arming us with the powerful words of God!
    Praying for you, my fellow sisters :)

    Blessings,
    Brandi

    • Brandi,
      Yes, through Christ we are strong against out rival. I think its easy to get “comfortable ” when things are okay which is probably what you experienced. The devil will find ways to sneak in, in all situations, so we must stay focused on the Lord continually and keep our eyes looking up. Praying for you :o) {Marlene – Leadership Encourager}

  8. Thank you for this excellent post. Although it’s written by women and for women, I sent it on to my son who very recently is going through an extremely difficult time with his wife. I had sent her the book at the beginning of the study, but now I’m sending my son the website and information, because I can see how the Scriptures you’ve chosen and organized can really bless and minister to him.

    • Renee,
      My husband is participating in the study with me and I bought him the book too. It has helped him a great deal. Prayers for your son!
      Blessings,
      Martha ‘Leadership Encourager’

  9. kATHY HART says:

    PLEASE PRAY FOR MY FAMILY, ESPECIALLY MY MOM. ONE OF MY BROTHERS AND HIS WIFE STARTED SHUNNING MY MOM ABOUT 12 YEARS AGO. THEY HAVE MADE NO EFFORT TO BRIDGE THE HUGE CHASM THAT CURRENTLY EXISTS BETWEEN THEM. MY MOM IS 83 AND HAS LATE STAGE PARKINSON’S DISEASE. WHILE NONE OF US KNOWS HOW LONG WE WILL LIVE, SHE IS DEFINITELY FACING THE END OF HER LIFE. AND SHE IS CONSUMED WITH THIS BROKEN RELATIONSHIP. PLEASE PRAY FOR RESTORATION. AND PLEASE PRAY THAT I WOULD KNOW MY PART. I’VE ATTEMPTED TO MEDIATE IN THE PAST. BUT NOW I AM ALSO NOT INVOLVED IN MY BROTHER’S LIFE. FRANKLY, I AM TERRIFIED OF THE REJECTION THAT I MIGHT FACE WITH THEM. ESPECIALLY MY SISTER-IN-LAW, WHOM I BELIEVE IS INSTRUMENTAL IN THIS SHUNNING. THEY ARE BELIEVERS. BUT THEY FEEL THEY ARE NOT ACCEPTED BY MY MOM, WHO HAS APOLOGIZED REPEATEDLY FOR “WHATEVER” SHE HAS DONE.” I ALSO NEED TO KNOW HOW TO ENCOURAGE MY MOM AND DAD. THANKS!!!

    • kATHY HART says:

      *Sorry about the caps;P

      • Kathy,
        I’m sorry to read about your family, heartbreaking. My family have similar issues – mainly I’ve learned my actions and reactions are my responsibility. We all answer to God for our own actions. Praying for all involved.
        Blessings,
        Martha ‘Leadership Encourager’

    • Martha E. says:

      Kathy, it must be hard for your heart and especially for your mom’s. There are also problems in our family. My daughter is cutting out of her life her brother, and also I am the victim because whatever I do is wrong and bad in her eyes. During the last year I only could stay healthy by doing two things every day: forgive and bless.
      Forgive – important for me to let go, important for God to forgive me, forgive and let the burden and anger go, ask God’s forgiveness because they do not know what they do.
      Bless – that something good may happen.

      Maybe your mom could do these two steps to be ready to go to the next level of life.
      Blessings to all of you!

  10. Thank you for this blog and for this study. I had given Satan a foothold and he threw the door wide open and made himself at home. I listened to the voices that were whispered in my ear. I physically hurt myself because I had lost hope and felt so unlovable. I still feel unlovable, but I have kicked Satan off the couch and am learning to take thoughts captive. I have not hurt myself in a few months now. I still feel that God does not love me. I know in my head that he does, but not in my heart. Growing up, performance and achievement equaled love at my house. I find that I must be performing for God as well, but just can’t reach his standard (and never will). Oh how I want to feel his love! I want to be loved by others. It’s so easy for me to love others, but not to accept love in return. How can I change this?

    • Kari,
      Thank you for sharing. God is not asking us to be perfect, He does not base his love for us on performance. He loved us first. I’m so glad to hear that you have stopped hurting yourself. I would suggest seeking a Christian counselor that might be able to help sort through the issues that are have caused you to hurt yourself. Sometimes we need help trying to sort through the messiness of this life. Keeping you in my prayers.
      Blessings,
      Martha ‘Leadership Encourager’

  11. Wow, thank you Sally for the perfect timing of this post of yours! In your video, it’s like you knew a couple of the things that had been weighing on my mind lately. Thank you also for sharing your daughter’s words – I need to copy them down and bring them with me into my day tomorrow. Times have been especially challenging due to work and relationships lately and I needed those reminders from you and your daughter! Thank you for sharing and for your prayers.

    • Ellen,
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I’m with you, I need to copy down those words and take them with me everywhere. Lifting you up in prayer!
      Blessings,
      Martha ‘Leadership Encourager’

  12. I love this study. Worrying is big for me as a single parent needed this reminder to give it over to God. Staying focus is a prayer that I pray often.

    Thank you!!

    • Hello Joyce,
      I use to be a single parent and I do understand where you are coming from. I pray that you can give that worry over to God and let him guide you. Praying for you to stay focused.
      Blessings,
      Martha ‘Leadership Encourager’

  13. I just wanted to share how grateful I am to be doing this journey with you all. I grew up Catholic and never felt like I had a true connection with God. I feel as if my heart is on the verge of opening up and that relationship is about to blossom. Please pray for me and my journey as I learn more.
    Robin

  14. Due to being on vacation, I’m a little behind on this study. Today is Sunday and my thought was to spend my entire day with The Lord and use this day for myself to “catch up”. Little did I know, that I won’t be “catching up” today, LOL…..I have really been spoken to by week 3’s message and so feel the need to kind of “hang out” here awhile :-) This is an area where I have repeatedly struggled. I have listened to the lies of the enemy for way to long now and I’m so thankful for this message, a needed reminder of how I must take these thoughts captive and replace them with God’s truth. I love God’s timing and how he always gives us just what we need, when we need it! Thankful for all the ladies at Good Morning Girls and really enjoying this study!

  15. Hello,
    I’m on week 3 of the lesson. I’m so thankful that this lesson was introduced to me. I’m having trouble with relating Revelation 12:10 to the subject. I know the main focus is You Are Loved. The subtitle is the Rival. Is that scripture a vision seen by John? Who is speaking in the vision? How can I relate it to the subject/subtitle? Thanks for helping me. My husband always say I dig to deep while studying the word. That I’m not going to get every scripture. My reply is I like a challenge when studying. I’m hooked on learning & applying God’s word. Have a blessed day!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Este artículo está acompañado en su original en inglés por un video de Sally Clarkson. Puedes verlo en este enlace – http://www.lovegodgreatly.com/2014/06/loved-week-3-rival/ […]

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