How Can You Know That God Loves You

The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” (Psalm 145:9)

One of my pet peeves is water-saving shower heads. I can’t stand them! It’s just a tiny stream coming down. It’s not a shower; it’s a dribble! I’m a pretty big guy, and it takes me a long time to get wet with one little dribble.

Don’t call it a shower unless it’s a shower! 

That’s why I think it’s so important what the Bible tells us about God’s love. 

The Bible says, “The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation” (Psalm 145:9).

God’s love for you is no dribble. The Bible says God showers his love on us. He isn’t stingy like water-saving showe heads are with water. 

Psalm 42:8 says, “Each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me.”

When I use salad dressing, I’m not one of these people who dips the fork in the salad dressing for a little bit of taste. I pour it on! In fact, sometimes it looks like I want more dressing than salad!

That’s how God loves you. God pours his love on you all the time. He doesn’t approve of everything you do, but he loves you unconditionally. 

How can you know God loves you?

  1. God pays attention to every detail of your life. He watched every point of your life from conception. He’s seen every up, down, good, bad, and ugly moment, and he’s never had his eyes off you. God pays attention to all the details. That’s what love does. You pay attention to what you love.
  2. God took action on your behalf. Love is about giving. When you love people, you make their problems your problems. Jesus did that. He made your problems his problems before you even knew you had them. In fact, he solved your biggest problem by dying for you on the cross before you were even born. Love is action. And Jesus takes initiative on your behalf before you even know you need it. He came to be your Savior.

In the Christmas story, the Bible says, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

You need a Savior! If you didn’t need one, God wouldn’t have sent Jesus.

If there was any other way you could get into Heaven except God’s way, believe me God wouldn’t have wasted the effort. He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die for no purpose. And that is the greatest example of love one person giving his life for another.

Knowing God Is What Matters Most

“Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8

You’re never going to become a friend of God in your spare time. To become his friend, you have to make knowing him your number one priority. 

Paul says it like this: “Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8)

Are you doing that? Are you seeking God with all your heart every day?

Remember: You are as close to God as you choose to be. You’re going to become a friend of God only when you decide you want to become a friend of God. 

If you feel far from God, guess who moved? You did. You can’t blame anyone else. You can’t blame your spouse, your parents, or your friends. It’s you who didn’t make him the number one priority of your life.

Knowing and loving God is humanity’s greatest privilege. And being known and being loved by God is our greatest pleasure. 

I’ve noticed that you can tell what’s important to people by what they brag about. If their kids are most important, they brag about their kids. If their job is the most important thing in their life, they brag about their job. If travel and having experiences is most important, that’s what they talk about. If partying or buying new clothes is what you talk about most, guess what you value most? You brag about what you value most.

God says in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “The wise should not boast of their wisdom, nor the strong of their strength, nor the rich of their wealth. If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me”.

Knowing God is what matters most it’s what life is all about. The God of the universe loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. And getting close to him will give you peace and perspective. That’s good news!

God’s Love Frees You To Love Fearlessly

“Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid . . . this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18

Are your relationships characterized by freedom or by fear?

If you’re like most people, you find yourself in a dilemma: You long to be close to other people, but you also fear being close. You want the freedom of intimacy with others, but you’re also scared to death of it.

Fear often causes a battle for control in relationships. When you’re afraid, you’re insecure. And insecurity makes you try to control others and resist efforts to be controlled! As a result, you can’t get close to other people because you’re just battling back and forth for control. So insecurity prevents intimacy and destroys your relationships.

If insecurity destroys relationships, then what builds them? Love! Love builds relationships.

The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, this . . . shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love”.

Love expels fear by taking the focus off of you and putting it on others. People often ask me, “Do you ever get nervous when you’re talking to a lot of people at Devoted Heart Ministries?” The answer is, “Of course!”

But here’s what makes the difference: I take the focus off of myself and focus on the people in front of me instead. If I stood there thinking about what they thought of my hairstyle or my way of speaking, I would be afraid. But the minute I start thinking about how much I love my church family, the fear leaves.

It’s the same in any relationship. Focusing on the other person gives you the power to throw fear out of your life. 

How do you find that power to focus on other people? You start by realizing how much God loves you. The moment you begin to understand how much God loves you, you don’t have to prove yourself anymore. Because you’re secure in God’s love, you don’t have to spend your life trying to impress other people.

Do you know how freeing and enjoyable it is to live life that way? When you’re secure in your relationship with Christ, you’re no longer pressured by everyone else’s expectations. Your identity and self-worth are in Christ not in what others might think of you.

God’s love frees you to love others fearlessly.

Humility Builds Relationships

Be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.”Philippians 2:3

Pride destroys relationships. It shows up in a lot of different forms, like criticism, competition, stubbornness, and superficiality. 

The problem with pride is that it’s self-deceiving. When you have too much pride, you don’t see it in your life but everyone else does!

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin”. I love that same verse in The Message paraphrase: “First pride, then the crash the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”

While pride destroys relationships, humility serves as its antidote, building relationships instead. Philippians 2:3 tells you how to combat pride by choosing humility: “Be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves”1 Peter 3:8 gives more details: “Everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble”.

How do you grow in humility? You let Jesus Christ begin to control your thoughts, heart, attitude, and reactions. Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person”.

The basic law of relationships is this: You tend to become like the people you spend time with. If you spend time with grumpy people, you get grumpier. If you spend time with happy people, you get happier. 

If you want to become a new, humbler person, you need to spend time with Jesus Christ, because he is humble. By building a relationship with him through prayer and reading his Word, you’ll get to know him and become more like him.  

Philippians 2:5-6 says it like this: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. He came from heaven to Earth to become a man, live for you, give his life for you, and be resurrected for you. When you spend time with him, it makes you humble. That humility, in turn, builds your relationships.

Healthy Relationships Depend On Selflessness

The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8

Selfishness destroys relationships. It is the number one cause of conflict, arguments, divorce, and even war.

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?. Every trouble starts because of self-centeredness.

It’s very easy for selfishness to enter relationships. When you start a relationship, you work really hard at being unselfish. But as time goes on, selfishness begins to creep in. People tend to put more energy into starting and building relationships than they do in maintaining them.

If selfishness destroys relationships, then it is selflessness that makes them grow. What does selflessness mean? It means less of “me” and more of “you.” It means thinking of others more than you think of yourself and putting other people’s needs before your own. As Philippians 2:4 says, “Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others”.

Selflessness brings out the best in people. It builds trust in relationships. In fact, if you start acting selfless in a relationship, the other person changes too; when you’re selfless, you’re not the same person anymore so they have to relate to you in a different way.

I’ve seen it many times. Some of the most unlovable people that no one wants to be around are transformed when someone is kind and selfless toward them. When someone is given what they need, not what they deserve, they change in beautiful ways. 

The Bible says in Galatians 6:7-8, “The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others ignoring God! harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

This is the biblical principle of sowing and reaping. What you sow, you’re going to reap. When you sow selflessness, you reap God’s blessing. This is how he’s wired the universe: the more unselfish you are, the more he blesses you. He wants you to become like him, and he is unselfish. Everything you have is a gift from God, a result of his unselfishness toward you. And, ultimately, God rewards selflessness with eternal life.

While you’re here on this Earth, though, you’ll be most fulfilled when you give yourself away. Jesus said, “Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live” (Mark 8:35).

To Love, You Have To Listen

“We must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others.” Romans 15:2

Listening is probably the most important skill in building friendships and relationships. You can’t love people without listening to them.

But sometimes people run into trouble in their relationships when they think hearing and listening are the same thing. The truth is that there’s a big difference between hearing someone and listening to them. 

You can hear something and not really be listening. Someone can say to you, “I’m fine,” but the way they say it tells you that they’re not fine. Listening means you also hear what the person isn’t saying.

When you listen that way, you’re showing empathy. Empathy means to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and learn their point of view. You ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were in that situation?”

Listening with empathy means you listen without interruption and you listen for what’s not being said the feelings and fears behind the words. And you don’t need to try to fix the situation; sometimes healing comes just from someone listening!

Romans 15:2 says, “We must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others”.

What does it mean to be considerate or to bear the burden of someone else’s doubts? It means that when people are in so much pain that they don’t even know what they believe they need the devotion of a loyal friend. They need someone who will be present and listen with empathy. Will you be that friend today?

Find The Courage To Connect With Others

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.” 2 Timothy 1:7

When you’re full of fear and anxiety, you don’t get close to other people. Instead, you back off. You fear being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used, and these fears cause you to disconnect from the people around you.

This fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned, God came looking for them. Then Adam said, “I was afraid . . . and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10). People have been hiding ever since.

You may not physically hide, but you hide your true self. You don’t let people know what you’re really like. You don’t let them see inside you. Why? Because you believe that if you show people your true self and they don’t like it, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle. Instead, you pretend to be someone you’re not.

This fear leads to three things that will damage your relationships:

Fear makes you defensive. You’re afraid to reveal yourself, but people inevitably spot some of your weaknesses. And when they point out those weaknesses, you defend yourself and retaliate.

Fear keeps you distant. You’re afraid to be open and honest—to let people get close to you. Instead, you withdraw and pull back so you can hide your emotions. You become defensive and distant.

Fear makes you demanding. The more insecure you are, the more you try to control and dominate. For you, it might look like always having to get in the last word in a conversation. Being demanding is always a symptom of fear and insecurity.

Clearly, fear only damages your relationships. But where do you get the courage to take the first step to connect with someone and move toward deeper intimacy?

You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them”.

How do you know you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re filled with God’s Spirit when you’ve become more courageous in your relationships. Rather than fearing people, you’re free to love them and enjoy being with them.

The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 TLB) and that “perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18). The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have in your life.

The starting point in connecting with anyone is to pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.” Are you ready to pray that for one of your relationships today?

Enjoy Life No Matter How Old You Are

People ought to enjoy every day of their lives, no matter how long they live.”Ecclesiastes 11:8

It’s the first common denominator of great families: Awesome families are playful.They know how to have fun. They enjoy life together. They know how to play. This is the missing ingredient in so many families today. These days, many families are too busy, too tired, too negative, too worn out, and too serious. Who wants to come home from school to that? Families should be fun. 

The Bible talks about this and actually commands it. Ecclesiastes 11:8 says, “People ought to enjoy every day of their lives, no matter how long they live”.

Why is it important for you to enjoy every day? Because you don’t know how long you’re going to live. You don’t know if you’ve got the next week or the next month. You don’t even know if you’ve got tomorrow. Whatever living you’re going to do, you better do it now

You can think beyond your biological or adoptive family for this kind of fun too. If you don’t live near your family, learn to have this kind of fun in your church family. Being part of a Sunday School class or small group can give you a great opportunity to find people of all ages with whom you can enjoy life.

You need to keep this in mind: People don’t remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel. That’s important advice for a boss, boyfriend or girlfriend, parent, or spouse. 

“I recommend having fun . . . That way [you] will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives [you]” (Ecclesiastes 8:15).

Leave A Legacy Of Hospitality

Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

Awesome families teach their kids that they’re not the center of the universe. They teach their kids that God made them and shaped them for a mission. They model dedication, service, generosity, and prayer. Average families don’t do those things. Awesome families do. 

I am the man that I am today, first of all, because of my mother. She instilled in me the value of caring about other people.

My mother didn’t have much money, but she had the gifts of hospitality and generosity. She loved to give to others even though they didn’t have much.

That’s what awesome families do. They teach each other to show love and to do good deeds to minister and to serve.

A good example of this is Cornelius’s family in the book of Acts: “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2).

What a great legacy! Wouldn’t you like to have people writing that about you and your family one day?

Whether you have children or not, God wants you to leave a legacy like that. You’ll find people younger in age or younger in the faith all around you. Will you take the time to help others become what God has made them to be? Take time today to help them discover God’s mission for their life.

Relationships Are A Raincoat In Life’s Storms

“Two are better off than one . . . If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him.” Ecclesiastes 4:9

Relationships are a raincoat during the storms of life. When friends or family members are going through a storm, you help each other. People committed to one another protect each other in the storm. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better off than one . . . If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him”.

Life brings all kinds of storms when you’ll need to protect your loved ones. Sometimes life brings storms of change; at other times it’s a storm of harmful ideas. 

But the most painful storm of all is rejection. When your friend, or your spouse feels rejected, you and others close to them need to rally around them and be there as a raincoat in the storm.

Awesome families biological, adoptive, and spiritual protect each other in the storm.

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