Michael Furlonger Tips For Today: Love

women hugging and smiling

Michael Furlonger’s Tip For Today is Love. People think “Love” is just this passive thing. Now-a-days, to “love” is just to accept people. I don’t want to get into a big debate, but I want to encourage people, especially Christians, to turn their passive “love” into an active one.

James 2:14-17 reads,

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

In the same way that James is saying add “deeds” to your faith. I’m saying add actions to your “love“.

As Christians, we love to cut through scripture and say, “I just want to love people.” Which is fine. I think we need this desire to love people. And we can talk about teaching and other neglected roles in the church another time.

But, if you’re going to “love” people, how are you doing it? Are you reaching out a helping hand? Calling a lonely neighbour? Connecting with that person at church? Going out for coffee with that friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time?

Or, as I mentioned before, is your idea of “love” more of a “I’m going to ignore you and let you be” kind of love?

“I’m Just Checking In”

I received a text message from an old church group leader once. It said, “I’m just checking in.” Seriously? Not “How are you?”. No “We should go out for coffee.” Not even a “Did you catch the game last night?”

Nope. “I’m just checking in.” You know… It’s as if he works at a hospital. Just doing the rounds. Making sure you’re not dead yet.

How passive is that? Forgive me, but I replied, “Noted.”

Here Are Michael Furlonger’s Tips On How To Love:

  1. Reach Out: It’s great when you’re at a drive thru and you want to pay for the person behind you. You can’t overly make a connection there. But stop treating your church family like the person at the drive thru. If you can help them financially, great. But, at the very least, connect.
    • Repeat after me: How are you? How’s the wife? How’s the kids? Did you catch the game? Have you read any good books lately? Is there anything I can pray for?
  2. Go Out: Make time and go out. Leonard Ravenhill says, “There’s 24 hours in the day. Ideally you sleep 8, you work 8, what do you do with the other 8?” Of course, he is encouraging spending that time in prayer, but I don’t know anyone who locks himself in a room to pray for 8 hours. But on topic of showing people love, you have 8 hours. Ask these people you “love” out. It doesn’t mean a romantic dinner, just a walk around the block. Or a coffee, although COVID restrictions might make that difficult.
    • One time, two of the men in my small church group went out for a run. At first, I was upset that I didn’t get invited. But then I remembered, “I don’t run.” I laughed it off thinking of the scripture that says, “Only the wicked run when no one is chasing them.” But, truth, I was saddened that I’ve been locked up for months due to COVID lockdown and I didn’t get invited to spend time with friends.
  3. Connect: Let’s be real for a minute. The world is online. People are on social media, they’re working from home, we don’t go to the movies anymore, we watch Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime (Try Amazon Prime Free For 30 Days through the links at ChristianWritersBookstore).
    • My point is that we are in a completely different world today. Let’s try to connect. Due to Facebook’s silly algorithm, I randomly lose touch with friends, so I can’t just scroll through and click “Like”, I have to make an active decision to connect with people. So, try tagging a person in a post, maybe an old picture, just to let them know you’re thinking about them. Comment on their posts, as opposed to the passive “Like”.
    • If, like me, they have an online business or even a blog, share it. Let them know that even though we are separated, you still add value to my life.

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Is There a Law Against Love?

While Paul wrote that there is no law against love, Tolstoy wrote there is a law of love. He believed that no law prohibits choosing to do what is loving. The Christian is not threatened by external things when he is liberated within to love.

“The divine law of love, which is implanted in the soul of every man and is brought into consciousness by Christ.” –

The Kingdom of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy

Three hundred burka-clad women stood at the gate imploring to get in to give their last respects to their beloved doctor. Security forces had warned hospital staff to let only Christians in for the funeral. But these Muslim women would have none of that, they would bring down the gate if they couldn’t say good-bye to the German doctor who had loved them and delivered their babies for over 20 years. Hospital staff decided to open the doors, but under one condition. To ensure identity and that no militants entered disguised as women, every woman went against strict conservative norms to lift her veil, exposing her face to a male, as she walked through the gate.

The lady doctor had served the people in a tribal part of Pakistan, in an area that even police officials dared not trod. Everyone received special care at the hospital whether they were Muslim, Christian, military or Taliban. All experienced the doctor’s loving care, especially the women. She was so well-loved and respected that the Government of Pakistan awarded her a prestigious national award for her dedicated humanitarian work in that region.

The women poured into the church and wept for the one who had loved them so much. Her love, kindness, and gentleness turned potential hostility into friendliness.

Is There a Law Against the Fruit of the Spirit?

Paul says there is no law against the fruit of the Spirit. But that was centuries ago, what about today? A quick search of Google says it is still true. There is no law against the kind of love Paul writes to us about. Rather, the fruit often breaks down barriers and binds enemies into friends.

I live in a restricted country where we must be careful what we say and who we associate with. We must be mindful not to loudly declare our displeasure with anything or anyone in the establishment. That is if we value our lives. My husband and I laughingly say, “We have no rights, only responsibilities. And ours is the bigger word.” No one can object to love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Some have bad-mouthed us in the face of kindness, but we will never be charged for having and demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Others have seen the fruit and it has softened the heart and bound us together.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

No Water for Ablution

To illustrate I will share one more story.

Adil’s employee approached him, “The water pump at the mosque is broken and no one can wash before prayers.” Adil picked up his toolbox and with his employee in tow, went to the neighbourhood mosque to repair the pump. Fortunately, it was an easy fix he could do with a little help from his employee. A gaunt old man, leaning against his cane, watched. When the repairs were finished, he turned to the religious leader and asked, “Where are all your rich cronies? Could they not do this task? Look, here is the one you call a kafar (infidel) doing it for us. He didn’t have to do it, but out of the kindness of his heart he came.” An act of kindness is noticed and usually well-received.

And that, folks, brings my posts on the fruit of the Spirit to a conclusion.

The next time you see that prostitute, that gay person, that transgender, that Muslim, Hindu, atheist, whoever it might be; how can you demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit with that person? How can we love our neighbour as ourselves? In what ways can we be a Good Samaritan to those who are outside our comfort zone?

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The Fruit of Kindness by Helen Khan

“Kind words of a friend when your outlook is gloom, how it brightens your day like the dawn” are two lines from one of my mother’s favourite hymns, The Best Things in Life are Free. We all need kind words and we all like to think that we are kind. Maybe we are kind some of the time, but can we say that we are overflowing with the fruit of kindness? Do we need to always bear fruit? Do we bear fruit in season only and when is that season?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5: 22-23 (NIV)

I don’t find a Bible verse that says I can pick the season when I bear fruit. When I read passages that say, “always be ready”, that means I need to always be fruitful. But the truth is I am incapable of bearing fruit all the time. I am not always kind. I need help, I need to be filled. Where can I get a good outpouring of kindness to fill my cup?

Jesus is Kindness Personified

Jesus is the ultimate example and outpouring of kindness. God, in his great lovingkindness towards us, laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all so that we might be saved from destruction and have LIFE with him, now and forever more. He bore our transgressions while we were yet sinners so that we would be saved from death. This is called unconditional love, a condition of kindness

God calls us to be imitators of him, as beloved children to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But this too is impossible without God’s help. It is through Jesus our minds are renewed when we “put on the new self that has been created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 24 NIV). It is only in Jesus we bear the fruit of kindness in and out of season.

Kindness is Love in ACTION.

Kindness has many synonyms: generousness, consideration, mercifulness, charitableness and many more. It is only kindness if there is no expectation of praise or reward. (I think most of us fail this test.) I know of only one who passed it. His name is Jesus.

Every act and every word that Jesus did while on earth was an expression of pure lovingkindness. His kindness was of the radical variety for he befriended prostitutes, tax-collectors, the poor, the ragged and even a thief on a cross. Oh, what a liberal he was!

Liberal you say! This is not a political statement – that is a whole different discussion. I am playing with words because Jesus was liberal with the sinner but never liberal with sin.

Jesus bent down and told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He had compassion for her but not for her sin. Jesus showed mercy, compassion, sorrow for the downtrodden sinner and righteous indignation with the religious bigots. He touched the leper, the blind, the repentant sinner and wept for the self-righteous who didn’t recognise their disease and need for the Physician.

This was LOVE in ACTION.

This is what kindness is, an outpouring of love that is active and touches lives. In Aesop’s fable The Lion and the Mouse, “the moral of the story is no act of kindness is ever wasted.” God’s kindness towards us is not wasted. Let us pour out the fruit of kindness unto EVERYONE because God has so generously poured out lovingkindness for us.

I would love to hear back from you about stories of kindness. Has someone shown kindness to you? Have you shown kindness to someone who needed “kind words when their outlook was gloom”? Please leave a comment about kindness.

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The Fruit of Love by Helen Khan

man and woman pose on a cross monument

The love I want to talk about today isn’t the 1955 film Love is a Many Splendored Thing kind, although it is needed in every relationship. And pure love is certainly multi-splendored. Jesus said that we will know a tree by its fruit. But to pull this analogy further, a tree can only produce a certain kind of fruit. The fruit doesn’t determine the tree, but the tree determines the fruit it bears.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23

If that be true, the tree determines the fruit, what tree produces love?

Love is From God

We cannot love outside of God’s realm. We can only love because he first loved us. If he hadn’t shown us his love, we would be incapable of love. So for those outside of Christ, true agape love is impossible. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

There we have it folks, unless we are rooted in Christ, we cannot bear fruit. We can’t bear the fruit of love. If you are fruitless, then maybe you want to anchor your branches in the vine who is Christ Jesus.

Now, none of us are perfect and we do have our bad days when not much fruit is falling from our branches. And bearing fruit takes time. A small tree (even one anchored in Christ) takes time to mature, blossom and produce fruit. Weak, immature branches cannot bear the weight of heavy fruit. It is the desire to bear fruit for God that is important. I am not saying because I don’t see love in your life today, you are not in Christ. I leave this for your self-examination.

Love, especially agape love is indeed a many splendored thing. There are so many facets to love that flows from God and channels through us. So what does the fruit of love look like?

Love for God

I heard a lady on a Christian program say that the fruit of love was what we directed towards other people. Somehow she missed saying that this fruit is also directed to God, maybe foremostly directed towards him. I believe that you can’t love without loving God first.

To love God is to know him. Without knowing him, how can you love him? To love God is to put him first. He is top priority above all else. We are commanded to love him with all our soul, mind and strength. Of course our love for him is seen in how we love others, but he is first. To love God is to praise him, thank him, fall down and worship him. And to love him is to desire him as the “deer pants for the waters, so our soul pants after him, our souls thirst for Him”, to paraphrase the Psalmist. We will spend time with him in prayer, reading His Word, communing with him. And we will obey him.

Love for Self

Proverbs 19: 8 tells us those who acquire wisdom love themselves. Where does wisdom come from? From God. The Psalmist in Psalm 139: 14 calls us to give thanks to God because we are wonderfully made, and for those who know God’s love, who love God have learned from him that we are beautiful, and our soul is aware of it. There is a love for self that is humble and rooted in God and that love is needed for a believer to bear much fruit.

Why did I put love for self before other loves? I believe that we can’t love others without loving ourselves first. When we are caught up in low-self-esteem and negative thoughts, turning our thoughts inward to the self, it is difficult to bear the fruit of love.

Love for the Church

A love relationship with the Father means we love our siblings, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We might not always agree, we might not always like them, but we are to love them. Constantly throughout scriptures, we are admonished to love one another. This is a direct commandment to love those in the church.

Love for Non-believers

Nor are we to neglect love for outsiders. Some believers withhold their friendship and love for non-believers, but in God’s kingdom there is no place for that. I believe a good summary of how we should treat non-believers is found in Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

So how are we to treat non-believers? With love, do good to them, lend to them, show kindness and mercy. It is okay to be friends with non-believers, just don’t conform to them – be in the world but not part of the world.

How splendid is this love that God calls us to bear! It is multi-splendored. This is the first fruit that is mentioned in Galatians 5: 22-23 and if we bear this fruit, the others will follow. I encourage you to love, first the Father and then yourself and others.

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Michael Furlonger Vs. Francis Chan (Emotional Spirituality)

In the video below, Michael shares his concern for people who are left with doubts due to emotional spirituality.

Michael Furlonger shares his thoughts after watching a video by Francis Chan on the topic of genuinely loving Jesus Christ. His great concern is this new emotional spirituality or sentimentalism that has flooded many churches. So Michael took time to discuss what Francis Chan lacked in his teaching.

Make it clear that Michael also didn’t go on a personal attack of Francis Chan. Michael’s main concern was for those who are left with fear and doubt of their faith.

Verses:

  • John 1:1-5, 14
  • Romans 1:20
  • 2 Peter 1:3-11
Selections from the Conversations and Unpublished Writings of Rev. Edward Payson, D.D., Late of Portland

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Living in the Light


Like you, I have been experiencing the whole spectrum of grief, horror, shock, and even shame as I read the news. I read what my friends have shared, watch the news clips, and pray.  

I have kept asking God what one person can do?

How can one person, how can I bring God’s grace? Jesus’ healing love and transforming power into such a broken and hurting nation?

Will my vote help? Does my heart aching help?

Will my wishing things could be better help?

Will my prayer help?

And the Lord has been giving answers—giving wisdom through unexpected conversations. God’s giving practical advice through a midweek sermon, and giving God’s own word in scripture.

Today’s short talk—originally given at New Hope Chapel—is a lot of scripture, a little Tony Evans, and some thoughts on Jesus.

It is from my heart to yours.

Grace and Peace, Joanne

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Love by Ron Clark

Let’s look at the “agape” or brotherly love of the Bible.  Love for fellow Christians and our brothers.  No matter the degree of relationship, Christ calls us to have “agape” love for the other person.  This means consideration for their best interest, especially their salvation.

Let’s define “brother” as Jesus defined him: our “brother” is the whole world and remember Matt. 22:37 calls for us to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Paul tells us, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:12)

I believe that implies we are to yield ourselves to God and bring the “Good News” to others.  The “Good News” is salvation through Jesus Christ and for floundering Christians, it is the “recovery” of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.   Every step we take is about growing our faith in God and we want our faith to live within us.

James 2:17 warns us, “Faith by itself if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” 

Carrying the message, the “Good News” is the action or works. 

Action feeds our faith; it is evidence of our living faith in God.  We have faith in God, so even if witnessing frightens us, we carry the Word in obedience to our Savior.  As you carry the message you will grow to care about the salvation of “total strangers” and their spiritual welfare.  As you’re caring grows, so grows the character of Christ within you and then other changes begin to take place.

First of all, fear begins to fade.  Thankfully, love drives out fear.  Fear is the source of anxiety, anger, resentment, fatigue, and often ill health.  Fear raises your blood pressure, your hunger response, and blood sugar.  As your fear fades, these problems will begin to fade as well.

As your desire to carry the “Good News” grows, your dependence upon God the Holy Spirit grows as well.   You depend on God to keep you in His will and you depend on the Holy Spirit for daily guidance.  It follows that you will go back to God’s word, the Bible, to learn more about Him. 

This is the goal of any service we perform in the name of Jesus. 

Not only do we carry the “Good News” on our tongues, but we also carry it within the very example of how we live and serve.  In 1 Corinthians 16:14, it says, “Do everything in love.”  If your actions are motivated by and performed in love, your brothers will see that very love which is modeled after Jesus.  

L—love God first

O—open up to healthy relationships

V—verify your love through works

E—embrace service for others

Luke 8:16-19 tells us, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.”

How you live shows what you believe, you can’t hide it.  Let your life show your love and your faith.  

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Is Righteous Hatred an Oxymoron? by Helen Khan

“Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loath those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try mean and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 19-24

I have spent the last number of months moving through Psalm 139, sharing how precious we are to God; how he loves us and created us, a wonderous creation. I have shared the precious thoughts God holds for those he has made. Then, I come up against Psalm 139: 19-24. What happened here? We have moved from pure love to hate, or so it seems. Is this some sort of contradiction?

Protective Love

We have a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. With us he is warm, friendly, funny, and just a loving dog. We have had him since a pup, and he thinks I am his mommy. We have a loving relationship. But his loyalty also means he is a very protective guard dog. In contrast, if anyone who is not a member of our household comes too close to his mommy, he is upset; ferociously upset. Maybe he even hates.

The first eighteen verses of the Psalm are a major love affair between God and his creation. By now the Psalmist has fallen helplessly in love with God who loves him and thinks about him intimately, all the time. Up to this point it has been just God and him. He now turns his eyes off God and onto the world around him. There he sees evil men who hate God. Therefore, furious indignation ignites David. He uses strong words to these godless evildoers as he stands up to defend the God who loves him.

Is it Okay to Hate?

And he hates what God hates. The intimate relationship between him and God has been intense. He has come to know God, personally. He knows God hates evil and so he too hates it, with righteous hatred.

We have become averse to the word hate. We perceive it is always bad to hate. But sometimes it is okay to hate, it is even the righteous thing to do. We are to hate evil, passionately hate it. When we see evil we ought to pray that God will help those under its evil clutches escape. When we see human trafficking, racism, murder of the innocent, misogyny, child slavery, oppression – the list goes on; it is okay to hate. It is called a righteous hatred. We hate the evil and stand against it and side with the victim and fallen. This hatred is far different than when we lash out at the closest person to us because we had a bad day at the office. It is different that the indication we feel when we are slighted or suffer a minor offence. That is plain old hatred and maybe we need to learn tolerance and forgiveness.

So self-hate towards ourselves, hate towards others for unrighteous reasons is not hate that is acceptable, either by God or in society. It is unrighteous hate. We need to develop a hatred that parallels God’s hatred.

When we think of God’s hatred, we must remember that although God hates evil and evildoers, he still sent Jesus Christ to this world to reconcile us back to Him. “For God demonstrated his love to us, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Are we capable of that kind of righteous hatred while loving ultimately?

Fearful Self-Reflection

The Psalmist is not just some self-righteous snob. He is not arrogant for he recognises that he could also succumb to adopting an evil mindset or acting against God and his creation. Thus, he calls out to God and says, (my words); Lord God, I could fall prey to that too. I pray that you, God, will search my heart and if I have any hint of evil in me, lead me away from it, lead me to the way everlasting.

The Psalmist had a realistic expectation of what his body and mind can do. He knows that all have fallen short of the Glory of God. He knows he needs help from God lest he too become a godless hater.

All scripture is written for our benefit. Our takeaway today is that we, like God, should hate sin, love righteousness, and love the God who loves us.

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I Can’t Even Count That High!

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139: 17-18

Scientists have no concise number of thoughts a person thinks about in a day. Some will say we think about 12,000 thoughts, most of them useless. Other researchers estimate we think up to 80,000 thoughts per day, again, much of that useless thinking too. But even if we go for the lowest number, thousands of thoughts a day is a good number. Depending on what we are thinking, that is. We can have negative or positive thoughts, and then there are precious thoughts.

Negative Thoughts

We all have negative thoughts from time to time. “I didn’t study hard enough, I’m going to fail this exam,” you might say before walking into the examination room. Or “She doesn’t really like me, she just pretends. I’m not her type.” Negative thoughts.

Sometimes these negative thoughts overwhelm us. They come from all around us. For example, when a loved one, be it a parent or spouse condemns us, puts us down or even abuses us, we start seeing ourselves that way. If we are called stupid, then stupid we become! At least in our minds. Maybe what that person said is true? We start to maximise the negative and minimise the positive. Even if we once thought we had wonderful attributes, they now are subdued, pushed underground.

If we are a child or woman subjected to violence, we develop negative thoughts. Sometimes though, life can be good, but our negative thoughts come from within. And they don’t stop. They become like a run-on sentence, a replay that keeps repeating in our mind until the rut is entrenched in our mind. What happened once or twice now happens repeatedly in our minds. Negative thoughts. They don’t go away. Our thoughts become shrouds over reality.

Positive Thoughts

Positive thoughts can belong to the optimist, and the optimistic mind looks for happiness, health, and positive results in every situation. This optimistic person may have become so because of positive reinforcements in his or her life. Perhaps, there was an encouraging person in their life.

Once in awhile, life is difficult, but for the most part, a person with positive thoughts can look at the future with a smile and rejoice about today and tomorrow. They have made a different groove in their brain, grooves of positive thoughts. It isn’t that they don’t have problems, they do, they just handle them differently. Furthermore, they embrace the challenges of life.

Precious Thoughts

Precious thoughts don’t come from us originally. They come from a Source outside of us, even outside our realm. If we look at the verse above, it says that God’s thoughts towards us are precious, and more than the sands. How many thoughts are those?

Scientists have done an estimate by calculating the number of grains of sand in a teaspoon and then multiplying it by all the beaches and deserts in the world. The rough estimate is seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains. That is a number I cannot even comprehend. I might have been able to handle 80,000 thoughts but in the quintillions. Forget it! I can’t even count that high!

That is how many precious thoughts your Creator thinks about you. Whether you are a man or woman, boy or girl, you are treasured in his sight. So much so that he thinks about you all the time. Whether you are sleeping or awake, God is with you, watching over you, calling you his cherished child. That is how much you are worth to God Almighty.

Now if the God of the universe thinks about you that much, how does that help you move from negative thoughts to positive thoughts? Maybe what man has said about you is wrong? Could you be precious and worthy of love? Maybe you are a wonderful person after all? After all, God thinks precious thoughts about you.

Moving from Negative to Positive Thoughts

If we know the precious thoughts, is it now possible to move from negative thoughts to positive thoughts? It might be worth the try. You see, God says, we love because he first loved us. So maybe we can’t really love ourselves until we know that God loves us. Is that possible?

God isn’t like man. His love isn’t dependent on what others think of you, or what you think of yourself. He doesn’t ask that we be perfect and flawless when we come to him. He takes us just as we are. Why? Because he looks at our potential. He looks at how he formed us, not at what we have become or what we think of ourselves.

If you are abused and broken, come to him, and let him put his healing hand upon you and heal you. Let him love you so you can love yourself. If you have sinned and lived a miserable life, he can cleanse you and make you whole. After all, that is why Jesus came to earth, to reconcile us back to God. No matter what condition you are in, God’s thoughts towards you are precious. No matter what you think of yourself, negative or positive, God has precious thoughts towards you, quintillions of them.

If we know the love of God, can we learn to love ourselves? Can we look at the future with a smile when he turns ashes into beauty? You are loved and wanted by the Almighty, the One who has precious thoughts towards you.

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Are We Created by Design or by Accident?

You saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came into being. Psalm 139: 16

Our environment tells us we are just here. Parental abandonment tells us that we are unwanted. Some societies value sons over daughters. Perhaps we are made to believe that we are unwanted and unloved. Scientists say we live and die without purpose, maybe we are just a mass of cells and chemistry, nothing more. We exist but without love, without purpose and without happiness. In fact, life is miserable. Gloom fills our days and we are walking in the valley of darkness. We believe we are unloved, unwanted and without hope. Death may even be sweeter, so suicidal thoughts creep into our lives.

But what if all the above is a lie to rob you of your joy and hope of a fulfilled purpose in life?

There Wasn’t an Accident

Over the years you heard the whispers when people thought you weren’t listening. Or perhaps you have been told directly that you were an afterthought, or an unwanted child. Perhaps due to a violent twist of events, your mother was raped, and you were born nine months later. Or due to parental abandonment, you feel your life is a failure, you are to blame for your parent’s marriage problems. Or perhaps your parents are so consumed in their lives, you feel emotionally abandoned. You feel unloved and unwanted. Depression digs deep you wish you hadn’t been born.

But may I tell you another story?

Imagine an architect who designs a home. Mathematics and straight lines and curves, exact measurements are penned to paper so when it comes time to build, what has been conceptualised can be brought into existence at the construction site. A beautiful edifice evolves. I had the privilege to tour architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House in Pennsylvania. It is indeed a wonderous structure above a waterfall. Just to hear the water cascading downward is reason to live there.

But he didn’t do it without thought. There was a plan, a blueprint and then the construction material was brought to the site. Then the rubble of bricks, wood and stone took shape as the blueprint was followed and a work of art stood where once was barren ground. The structure was not an accident. It was constructed due to intent, for a purpose.

You Were Perfectly Made

God is your architect. He visualised you before you were even conceived. He saw your incomplete substance in his eyes and then he fashioned you in his mind. God perhaps didn’t use pen and paper for his blueprint, but he wrote it on his heart. His knowledge of us is intentional. His knowledge of us comes from sight, not hearsay. We are not an accident. We were planned and creatively designed by the Almighty. You were born just the way He wanted you to be born, the exact shape and size and with purpose. And in everything he does, love defines his actions and his finished masterpiece.

“That’s hard to believe,” you may say to me. “Look at me, I’m too fat or too skinny. I was born blind, without limbs, look at me, I’m a misfit,” you may yell at me.

You have looked in the mirror. Who can know you better than yourself? You have seen the imperfections. You cringe at what you see, and you believe the world joins the chorus. In fact, they are the ones that started it with their taunts and bullying. Our beauty culture demands perfection and we are not perfect. We try diets, exercise, cosmetics but we see the same body every time we look in the mirror. We become dejected and depressed. “If only I looked like a movie celebrity, I would look beautiful,” we lament.

What the world calls imperfect, God calls beautiful. His design, his blueprint comes with beauty and purpose. How can a man born without limbs have beauty? Yet when you hear Nick Vujucic’s story, it is there.

God looks at the heart of a man or woman, he is most interested in our inner being. Yes, he is concerned about our body too, but he has the whole picture of what we are all about, inside and out. He sees where people can’t see. This should bring comfort that we are whole beings who matter to him. He has no limitations to his love.

You Were Born for a Purpose

We were not born just to exist. While it is true that we live to die, we do not live a purposeless life just drifting through until we are buried never to be resurrected. Science may teach us so, but science doesn’t have all the answers. God does.

All of our days have been ordained. Ordained has two meanings: One is that we are appointed, invested, and/or anointed. All these words imply purpose or position behind the one who does it. For example, if we are appointed to a position, it is expected that we carry out certain functions, have a specific role. Human resources call it a job description. In the second instance, ordained means to decree, to order or command. For example, a nation may decree that certain laws must be followed. People are ordered to follow the laws of the land. Again, we see purpose for no law is given without a positive purpose to it.

And so, all our days have been ordered, or appointed. Paul says in Ephesians 2:8, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Your work was cut out for you even before you were born, while it was only visualised in God’s mind.

“But what must I do,” you cry. “I don’t know my purpose in life. What is wanted of me? I don’t have direction.”

Jesus can answer those questions. When you “abide in Christ”, you will find joy, hope, self-worth, and purpose. God loves you and wants you.

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