It's You I Like

One thing that has been tricky for me to wrap my mind around is that God not only loves me, He likes me.  I have heard all my life that God loves me, but could He also like me?  So often I don't like me - my personality, my quirks, my interests even.  Yet grace would mean that God accepts the whole of me, including my personality and quirks and interests.  If He actually created me a certain way, could it be He celebrates that creation?  Yes!

Remember Mr. Rogers?  I once saw a documentary on him, where he sang one of his songs to Joan Rivers during an interview.  The song was called "It's You I Like" and Joan Rivers actually broke down in tears!  It was a wonderful grace moment!  Every person has that deep-down longing to be truly, unconditionally loved AND LIKED.  I like to think that this is what God is singing to each one of us today:

It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair -
But it's you I like
They way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you -
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys -
They're just beside you.

But it's you I like -
Every part of you, Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when your're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself,
It's you -

It's you I like...

(Song written by Fred Rogers)

We Never Lose His Smile

Fill in the blank:  When God thinks of me, He -
     a) groans
     b) fumes
     c) frets
     d) smiles

So often I have seen God as standing over me with a look of irritation.  Or if I have seen Him as loving me, it has sometimes been more of a disappointed kind of love:  "Sure I love you, but why can't you just get your act together?"  And yet...

And yet...Isn't it true that God is the perfect parent with the perfect love for His kids?  The best parents love their kids and think they are great!  They don't focus on their kids' faults but on their kids' identity: their beloved children!  Surely God is a better parent than any of us..

God smiles at us, His kids!  We NEVER lose His smile!  God is always smiling at us, and His voice is always full of love.

"The Lord your God is in your midst, the Lord of hosts mighty to save.  He will renew you in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy!" (Zeph. 3:17)

God is happy with His kids!  He's proud of them and loves to see them happy!  His face lights up when we smile at His love for us!  Like most good parents, He thinks His kids are perfect and beautiful, and He loves us unconditionally! 

So we may be failures.  We may be messed up and have tons of struggles.  We may have trouble believing such a love could be true for us.  But it doesn't change this fact: we are still His pride and joy!

Grace Is For Losers

It seems that the times in my life when I feel the most undeserving and the most messed up are often the times when I seem to experience His grace toward me the most.  It's almost as if He's showing me the real definition of grace at those moments - that it is favor shown to the undeserving and unworthy - for if He could love me at my lowest when I have nothing to offer, that must be totally unearned love.  That must be real grace.

Don Milam writes in his book, The Ancient Language of Eden, that he once experienced God's love for him right in the middle of an empty time in his life when he had drifted out of the ministry.  Suddenly one day he felt God's love wash over him out of the blue.  He asked God why this should happen now, and felt God reply, "Why not now?"  Yes, why not now.  We don't have to do anything to get it.  We don't have to deserve it.  We don't have to be worthy.  Isn't that why it's called "grace"?  I believe that gentle rain of grace is really falling on us all the time, but it is only in those moments of acute failure and dryness that we can see it for what it really is - totally unearned, totally free acceptance.  Any other time we might feel we had somehow earned this favor by our good works or spiritual progress.  But we can't feel that way in the gutter.  We can't feel deserving when we've fallen in the ditch.  And that is precisely when the beauty of grace shines the most!  For His acceptance and love reach down to us even then.

Grace is for losers.  It's for rejects and failures.  It's for the unworthy and the unlovely.  Thank God it's for me!  It's for everybody, for all the broken lives that He sees as His beautiful creation, His children who have forgotten where their home is, who don't know who their Daddy is.  Thank you, God, for grace!

He's Given Us All the Love There Is To Give

The news of God's unconditional love comes like sunrise over a peaceful stream, gleaming and beautiful.  It dawns on our hearts like a lovely new day dawns over the open water.  And it frees us to be ourselves, to rest from all our efforts to "make" God love us. Why?  Because we already have the love we are trying to get!  We already have all the love God has to give us!

"The good news says that God loves us no matter what - not because we have deserved that love by making ourselves pleasing to God, but just because God loves us.  As we begin to believe that, we find ourselves free, for once in our lives, to see ourselves for exactly who and what we are.  We don't need to be more beautiful, richer, stronger, wiser, more powerful, more in control, better, more perfect - not, at least, in God's eyes.  None of these attainments will make God love you more.  God cannot love you more.  God has already given you all the love there is to give."
                                                     L. W. Countryman

My Psalm 23

Jesus takes care of me,
I never lack, I'm complete in Him.
He causes me to rest in the green meadows of His grace,
He brings me to float peacefully in the river of His love.
He gives me back my life and I feel renewed just being with Him.
Even in the worst situation, there's really nothing to fear
Because You're there with me.
You put Your arm around me and comfort me, make me feel safe and secure.
You've put so many blessings into my life, I feel like a princess at a banquet..
Even in the midst of opposition - opposition can't stop Your blessings from being upon me!
You shower me with love and accept me as I am,
I feel greatly loved, my life overflowing with You!
Your goodness and grace will be upon me always,
And I'll always be with You, at home in Your heart!

You Are the Child God Always Wanted

Here's a special quote from Steve McVey that I read recently:

"You are the child God always wanted."

I come down hard on myself sometimes, wishing I could do better or be better.  I compare myself to others and come up short in my eyes.  I wish I could chage parts of my personality or be more like someone else...

I was doing that a little recently, and then I ran across this quote.  I felt such a quiet peaceful breeze blow over me spiritually.  I felt renewed.  What relief to be reminded that I am the child God always wanted, accepted as I am even now with my imperfections and quirks.

We can all say, "I am the child God always wanted!  I am wanted and loved, just as I am, warts and all.  I am special to God, with the personality, interests, and abilities that He gave me and delights in me having.  I am loved and valued for free by grace, not by what I have to be or do to "look" acceptable.  I don't have to be anyone else but me.  God delights over me and sings over me!"

I believe that is true of every person on this earth.  To each one, God says, "You are the child I've always wanted."  We are all uniquely made by God, and we all have dignity, beauty and worth as His creation.  God loves us just as we are with our unique personalities and quirks.  I needed to hear that today!

God Is Good and He Always Will Be

Here's a beautiful quote from Graham Cooke about the heart of God:

"The glory of God is the nature of God - that He is good.  God is good, and He always will be.  He's the kindest person we know.

"He is consistent.  He will never change His heart towards you, no matter what you do.  He cannot be anything other than what He is.  He's a covenant maker and a covenant keeper, and He's good.

"We live in His faithfulness and His security.  He will come and do all that needs to be done.

"God is our only security.  His great heart will sustain us in any and all situations."

(from "The Nature of God" by Graham Cooke)

What Grace Is

Grace says that in Christ and because of Christ's work, we are accepted just as we are, with no regard to good or bad actions.  To me, this is the definition of grace - acceptance for free because of Jesus!

Grace is the unconditional and unearned love and acceptance of God freely poured out through Jesus and His work on the cross.  Jesus is God for us, not against us.  He is God with us, not God distant from us.  He is God accepting us, not God rejecting us.  "To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved!" (Eph. 1:6)

It is so wonderful and such a relief to be accepted for free!  For free!  Oh, how cool and refreshing the grace waterfall is after all those years of struggle in the performance desert, sweating and languishing, trying to earn what was free - His love and total acceptance!  His love and acceptance are already freely given in and through Christ and His wonderful work on the cross.

Cool drops of grace dance on my face - oh, how refreshing it is!  Let's enjoy the grace waterfall that's flowing over us.  Come on in, the water's fine...

My New Blog

This is my new blog on God's grace. I hope to write about things I'm learning and thinking about on my journey to understand the grace and love of God. I'm looking forward to this blog journey!
May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14