Let God Love You!

by Nancy Kay Grace

Why is it that even though we know John 3:16 by heart, we still doubt God’s love? We think of His love in general terms of loving the world, not specifically for loving us—you or me. Or maybe we even think that God doesn’t like us. We struggle to believe and accept the basic truth. We make up excuses saying we are unlovable.

Yet God still loves us.

I’d driven 350 miles to celebrate my grandson’s third birthday. It was a fun weekend with lots of giggles and cake. I loved reading car stories to him and seeing his interest in the details of his favorite construction toys. He’s full of questions as he tries to understand life, such as “When will I be two again?” and “If possums hang upside down, do they get a headache?”

It’s easy to respond in love when the questions are innocent. But when an independent spirit rises to challenge the status quo, our response becomes a loving decision.

When it was time for me to leave, he ran to a different room. He wouldn’t let me hug him one more time. He hid.

He probably wanted to make a game of hiding from me. I left without a final hug from my little guy. Although I felt a bit saddened, I still love him. He’s only a child of three. I’ll see him again and there will be more hugs and books to read.

Too often we are like that with God—we hide from Him. We don’t accept the love that is expressed in the written Word, through the life of Jesus, or shown through other people. We hide in a childlike manner.

At the core of God’s nature is unconditional love, which spills out into every other attribute. It is sacrificial and life-giving, not sentimental and syrupy smooth talk. Even on our worst day, God loves us deeply.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1John 3:1 NIV).

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10 NIV)

We try to understand God’s unconditional love, but wrestle to fully grasp it. Sometimes we reject this gift when we struggle with low self-worth, but that is when we need it most.

God continues to reach out to us with love anyway, faithful and steadfast.

May we pray Ephesians 3:18 for a deeper grasp of God’s love:

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is” (NLT)

His arms are open. Won’t you let God love you?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of time. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives.  

Visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly Grace Notes devotional newsletter.

You can also connect with Nancy on Facebook or Instagram.

Join the conversation: Are you comfortable at the thought of God’s love?

Identity Crisis? None for Me, Thanks

by Rhonda Rhea

I told all five of my kids when they were little that they could grow up to be anyone they wanted. Of course, present day, that sounds like identity theft. So, oops.

I’ve always figured I should be safe from that kind of identity theft myself. I’m just not sure anyone would want to be me enough to take that kind of risk. I mean, I enjoy being me and all. But I still have a hard time imagining a whole lot of people fighting over who gets to be the gal with the hair that won’t stay appropriately poofed, has some pretty ridiculous attachments to coffee and chocolate, and has enough of an attention deficit to…wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I was probably about to say that when I think about it, there are actually some parts of my identity I would give those identity thieves for free. If they do ever attempt to steal my identity, maybe we should consider punishing them by making them take it. The whole thing.

Every now and then I think about how long I’ve been working at being me, and I sort of wonder if someone else might be better at it than I am.

Then it comes to me that I was created this way. On purpose, even. And my real identity can never be stolen. It can’t be lost. No need to give it away either. My identity is in Christ. It’s completely wrapped up in Him. Every part. Every movement. Paul said, “For in Him we live and move and exist…’For we are also His offspring.’” (Acts 17:28, HCSB).

As the offspring of the Lord, we are who we are in Him. And we are treasured as the most beloved children of God. “Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!” (1 John 3:1, HCSB). This! This is who we really are!

What a relief that I don’t have to worry about who steals my identity, drinks my coffee or takes my things. I don’t even have to worry about someone being better at being me than I am. The God of the universe loved this me—this very one—enough to create me and even to redeem me back to Himself. “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21, HCSB). That is what I’ve become. The righteousness of God. I am loved. I am redeemed because of Christ. I am His.

If you’ve given your life to Christ, you are His too. And you are exactly the same kind of “loved.” The same God who loves you as His child is at work in you by His Holy Spirit, making it possible for you to truly become all you were meant to be—according to the plan He’s had for you since the beginning of time. You are the best kind of “becoming.”

Take it from me, Rhonda Rhea (and it’s the real me), when your identity is in Jesus, because of Him, you really are the very best you. Leave the identity crisis for the one who feels he needs to steal one.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” 1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV.

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Rhonda’s book, Fix HER Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God-Renovated Life,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What are the things that define how you view your identity?