"Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” - Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT
I love how much this verse highlights that you and I matter to God. We aren’t just a number; we aren’t random, and we definitely aren’t here by chance. God planned your life because He loves you. Repeat this: “I bring my Father great delight.” Read that verse again. “Even before He made the world, God loved us.” (God loved you long before you were born!) It also says, He “chose you in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.”
Revelation 13:8 refers to Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (NKJV). Before He even created the world, God loved you; He knew about sin; He planned to pay the price Himself so that you could not just be in right standing with Him, but adopted into His family; and He planned for you to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
Wow! That’s a lot of planning, for a lot of people, by a God with a lot of love. Read the last part of that verse because it's a key point. “This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” You matter to God. He thinks the world of you.
“I declare that I am valuable to God. He chose me. Before the foundations of the world ever existed, I was on His mind. Because of Jesus Christ, I matter, I am valuable and I am loved…”
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" - 1 John 1:9 NKJV
God doesn’t hold grudges. No matter who we are, not matter what we have done, when we confess our sins before Him, He is quick to forgive. Often when we forgive someone, we can still hold onto the memory of what they have previously done, and even though we may not mention it again, the memory still has the potential to affect our ongoing trust of that person. This is not the case with God, and there are two things I want to briefly look at regarding how He forgives us.
Firstly, He no longer accredits those sins to us. Psalms 103:12 says that He separates us from our sins. That means they aren’t just out of reach, but totally gone. In fact, He says they are removed as far as the East is from the West. That’s a long way — a never ending line. East never meets West.
Next, Hebrews 8:12 tells us that He doesn’t even remember our sins. It’s not that He has a bad memory, it’s that He chooses to never remember them again.
Think about how much love that demonstrates. Every time we confess our sins before Him, He removes them from us and chooses to never remember them again. God’s grace is amazing.
“I declare that I am forgiven and cleansed. Every time I confess my sins my Father forgives me. I accept His forgiveness and I walk in the joy of the knowledge that I am His, and that I am in right standing with Him…”
"He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!" - Psalms 111:9 NLT
There is a line from the play, Romeo and Juliet where Juliet says, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Consider that for a moment. The name of someone you know, or maybe know of, stirs something in you because of the character of the person behind that name. There is meaning because of who they are, not just because of their name.
Well, Philippians 2:9 tells us that Jesus was given the name that is above every other name. Before He even came to earth, He was given a name that demons trembled at. But as we read through the New Testament, we clearly see that Jesus has well and truely proven He is worthy to hold the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:10-11 also says that there is not one single knee that doesn’t need to bow to Him. Jesus left heaven to live on earth and die in our place to make a way for us come back into right standing with Him. He didn’t have to, He chose to. He paid the ransom for us and in doing so guaranteed His covenant with us for eternity. It’s clear that God loves you and I, but the extent of that love we will never know till we stand before him in eternity.
When I think about everything Jesus has done for me, I can’t help but be in awe of Him. He is worthy of our praise, admiration, applause, worship, love and even more. He holds the name that is above every name, and every time I hear His name I continue to be in awe of everything He has done for me.
“I declare that God has a holy, awe-inspiring name…”
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God. ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.’” - Revelation 1:8 NLT
As human beings, we are limited by time and space. We think in terms of what we can see, comprehend and measure. Just trying to comprehend God never being created is a stretch for our minds because of our limits to time and space.
Well, understanding our ability to work with time and space, let’s look at something regarding God that we will understand. God is the ‘Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end’. As He is the beginning, He is also the first. The enemy is not. He always comes to try and bring division. He will tell you that he is too powerful, that you don’t matter that much, or God can’t respond, or whatever lie he can come up with to make you think God is either not going to, or is not able to do anything on your behalf. But lock into the truth that the enemy has no power, God is your first. You are in covenant relationship with Him; you were made in His image; and you have His authority. You are part of Father’s immediate family and you matter a great deal to Him.
Now, say this out loud, “My Father is my beginning and my end.” Everything starts and ends with Him. He is your boundary line. Nothing exists outside of Him because everything is in Him. Today, no matter what you face, know that you will do it with God because He is your boundary, He is your beginning and end.
“I declare that that God is the beginning and the end of everything. He created all things and He is more powerful than anything we will ever face. My trust is in Him...”
"Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord!" - Psalms 111:3-4 NLT
The place I grew up in was known for the large trees that grew in and around the rainforest which was only a short drive away from our home. I remember one day being on the bus on my way to school, and we passed one particularly tall tree and the trunk was absolutely massive. As I stared at that spectacular piece of Father’s creation, I remember thinking, “God, you're awesome!” What I wasn’t expecting was what came next. I clearly heard Him say, “I don’t care about the trees as much as I care about you.” I was amazed to think how much more valuable I was to God than a massive tree that had obviously existed for many, many years.
I am still regularly amazed at God’s incredible creation. Every time I look up and see the stars in the Milky Way, I can’t help but think about how amazing, how creative, and how incredible our Father is. The same happens when I look at the detail in a blade of grass. No matter how large or small the creation, God made it all.
As you go through today, be challenged to look at the detail in different parts of God’s creation. Think about what God created, and how much joy He took creating everything. Then, considering how much detail He put into everything, remember this one thing — He doesn’t care about any of that as much as I cares about you.
“I declare that God’s glory and majesty is revealed in everything He does. His righteousness never fails. He shows us to his wonderful works daily. How gracious and merciful is our Lord…”
"Even Death and Destruction hold no secrets from the Lord. How much more does He know the human heart!" - Proverbs 15:11 NLT
How amazing is it that God knows everything? He knows every thought you have, every secret you have, and every struggle you have, no matter what it is, no matter how insignificant or substantial, no matter who it’s about and no matter how happy or painful it may be to you. There is no secret you have that He doesn’t know about.
You may wonder why that is so amazing but the truth is, that it means that you can never bring anything before Father that will surprise Him. There is nothing you can say that will cause Him to fall off His throne in shock. Not only that, He can sympathise with our weaknesses because He was tempted in all areas like we are. (Hebrews 4:15). He knows you intimately, and He still loves you unconditionally.
That is so freeing, because it means that no matter what secrets we have, we can share them with Him, knowing that He isn’t shocked, surprised, or even disappointed. He wants to us to share everything with Him.
Go to Him in faith. The very think you don’t know how to put in words, He already knows. Just go before Him and be open and honest and let Him lead you. You’ll be glad you did.
“I declare that there is nothing that God doesn’t know. Even death and destruction hold no secrets from Him. He even knows the secrets of my heart and I know can trust Him with them all…”
"But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." - Hebrews 1:8-9 NKJV
In order to read this properly, let’s first look at a few words we need to understand. Firstly, a ‘sceptre’ is a ruling staff. Next, the first use of the word ‘righteousness’ comes from the word rectitude and literally means ‘right or straight’. Lastly the word ‘kingdom’ doesn’t just refer to the kingdom, but the authority to rule the kingdom. If a king doesn’t have authority, he doesn’t have a kingdom. So, as we look at this part of the verse we see that Father is saying to Jesus, “The ruling staff of authority you carry is because you do things according to My principles.”
It goes on to show us an extreme. Jesus loved righteousness (integrity, upright, keeping the commands of God) and hated lawlessness (or a violation of the law). Notice that it doesn’t say that he tolerates lawlessness, it says He hates it. Because of his simple stand on loving what is right and hating what is wrong, He was anointed by His Father more than His companions. In other words, the phrase ‘rules were made to be broken’ didn’t apply to Jesus.
Today, if you desire to see an increase in the authority and anointing on your life, then I encourage you to press simply repent, and realign yourself with what you know God is wanting from you.
“I declare that my life will reflect Jesus in all areas of my life. I choose to live according to His principles because my pursuit is for His anointing and authority in my life…”
"The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." ‘ - Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV
Some people have had a poor image of Father God, because their earthly father did not adequately model a life that accurately reflects a loving, gracious and compassionate Father. His goal is not to beat down on us at every moment, but for us to have an incredible relationship together, and for us to be so in love with Him that we point people to Jesus simply through how we do life.
None of us would want to live our lives to honour a God that hated people and I’m glad to say that we definitely don’t have to. The opposite is actually true. God loves us and we are blessed because of and through Him and it’s important that we know that.
From this verse it is obvious that Father’s desire is to bless you and keep you. That word ‘keep’ is a reference to protection. He wants to bless you, He wants to protect you. He wants to make His face shine on you, to be gracious to you, to let His presence remain with you and to give you His peace. That isn’t an angry God — that is a God who is deeply in love with you.
I love the picture of God’s love that this verse portrays. If you have ever had any doubt, put that aside. Let every person that has modelled a father to you be measured against God rather than the other way around. He loves you! So smile. He wants you as part of His family, because you matter a great deal to Him. Yes you do!
“I declare that I am blessed and that God is happy with me. He rejoices over me with singing. I accept His blessing and I receive everything that comes…”
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." - Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT
God’s faithfulness is something that I will never cease to be amazed at, because I will never see the end of it. Romans 5:8 is one of many verses that confirm God’s love for us and it tells us that Jesus died for our sins and made a way for us to be in right relationship with God before we ever accepted Him. He chose you and I first knowing that there was a chance we may never choose Him, and yet He died to provide a way for our our salvation whether we choose Him or not.
Further demonstrations of His amazing love for us are His mercies. They aren’t ‘stale left-overs’ from last week, they are fresh and new each and every day. Every time we repent, He says He will forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). There is nothing we can do that will surprise Him or cause Him to fall off His throne and He has in fact promised that He will continue to pour out His mercies on us, fresh and new, every single day.
Know that today is yet another day that Father will again pour out His mercies over you. None of us deserve His love, but it isn’t based on what we deserve, it is based on His choice to love us. It’s because of what Jesus did that He thinks the world of you.
“I declare that God will never stop loving me. His mercy and kindness towards me never cease, but are daily fresh and new every. Every day is a new day and I will face it knowing that I will do it with the great faithfulness of my Saviour…”
“I declare Lord God that You are good. I give You thanks for all You have done. Your faithful love endures forever.” (Psalms 107:1)