daily Broadcast

Held Tightly by His Promises, Part 1

From the series He Holds Me Forever

Do you feel defined by your mistakes? No matter what you’ve gone through, what you see as a damaged or tattered life, God sees every one of His children as a masterpiece, displaying His glory. If you’re struggling to believe that’s true, join Theresa Ingram, as she shares her story and why we can hold on to God’s promises.

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Message Transcript

What we want to talk about today is that we can experience His love in our lives. We can experience it on a regular basis.

In fact, God expresses His love to us in many ways and every day. But many times, we keep missing the signs, don’t we? We don’t see His love.

Often we fail to recognize God’s love, or sometimes we find it hard to believe that He loves us. And why is this? Why do you think that it’s so hard to experience God’s love?

What the hindrances are to experiencing God’s love in our lives and then how can we remove those hindrances so that we can know His love and experience it in our lives?

When I grew up in West Virginia, I remember my bedroom so well that I spent hours and hours in. And in the winter sometimes it could be really cold and we could have a lot of snow. And the winters could be pretty harsh sometimes. But then I remember when the springtime came and it finally warmed up. And you could smell the flowers in the air, and you could hear the birds singing. And I just loved it when it could finally be warm enough that I could open up the window in my bedroom, and I could have that fresh breeze blowing through. And I could even see the curtains moving as that breeze would blow through my bedroom window.

And I thought today, we are going to pretend that there’s a window to our soul and when the window is closed, then we close ourselves off from experiencing God’s love, but when we open it, then we begin to experience the love that He has for us, a love that is already there, it’s there already all the time. You see, it’s a choice we make, just like I could open and close my window, it’s a choice that we can make whether to open or close the window of our souls, whether to experience His love or not, because it’s there all the time.

And we are going to look at four ways that we close the window. What keeps us from experiencing God’s love in our life? And then how do we open it? How do we remove those hindrances so that we can know how wide and how long and how high and how deep His love really is for us?

And so, the first closed window that we see here is that sin in my life and disobedience to God’s Word keeps me from experiencing His love. In John 15:9 and 10 it says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. When you obey Me, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father and remain in His love.”

Now, Jesus is talking here and He is saying, “I love you in the same way that My Father loves Me. That’s how I love you.” He says, “Stay close to Me and you’ll experience the joy of knowing My love, if you stay close to Me.” And He says, “I tell you how it is, that you can remain in My love. It’s by obedience to My Word.” He says, “I came to set an example for you, to show you how to do this. As I have obeyed My Father, then you obey My Word and remain in My love.”

You see, God is holy. And His holiness is incompatible with sin in our lives. It just doesn’t mix. And He can’t associate with sin or have any part of that. And so, when we have sin in our life, when we are disobeying God, then we separate ourselves from Him, we pull away from Him. And that intimacy that He desires for us to have with Him is broken.

In Deuteronomy 5:10 it says, “But I lavish my love on those who love me and obey My commands, even for a thousand generations.” You see, being able to experience God’s love is conditioned on our obedience to Him. He is holy. And even though He loves us more than we could ever imagine, as a loving Father, He disciplines His children as any loving Father would.

And He does it for our good. And it’s only in our obedience then as we obey His Word, that we open the window to God’s love and to have that intimate relationship with Him.

And so, we open the window by living righteously because God’s love is perfected in lives that are pure. 1 John 2:4 and 5, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.”

It says the love of God is perfected in the believer. The word perfected here does not mean that we reach a state of perfection. That’s not what it means at all, but it means that we are continually growing and continually maturing in our walk with the Lord.

And as we live in obedience to Him, and to His Word, that we are growing in Christlikeness. We are growing in our knowledge of His love for us. And He proved His love by dying on the cross to pay for our sins and then forgive us so that we could come to Him and be close to Him.

But every day, He shows us His love by forgiving our daily sins. I don’t know about you, but I sin just pretty much every day. I do something, you know, I may have a bad attitude. Or say something unkind. Or worry about something that I should have trusted God for. But every time that I ask Him to forgive me, He embraces me with His love and He forgives me.

Now, did you ever think that the forgiveness of your daily sins is a sign of God’s love? Did you ever think about it like that? That every day that He forgives us, He’s showing His love to us?

And it doesn’t matter what we have done, how big we have messed up. It doesn’t matter. When you recognize you’re wrong and you come to Him with a sincere heart, He is waiting to embrace you and forgive you.

And so, the steps to take is daily confession of our sins. Don’t let sin stay for long periods of time. Keep short accounts. When you are aware that you have done something that is in disobedience to God’s Word, confess it right away wherever you are. You don’t have to hold onto it. You don’t have to wait until you can get in a room all by yourself. Just confess it and be free of that. And stay close to God. As soon as you’re aware, confess it right away.

In Psalm 51:1 and 2, David prays, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love, according to Your great compassion, blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from all my sin.”

And so, the steps to take, first of all, is make confession a part of your daily life. And the second thing is spend time in God’s Word on a regular basis. And I am going to be bold enough to say: five to seven days a week. We need to be in God’s Word.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” You see, God wants to speak to you. He wants to tell you how to live, how to live a good life, how to have a life filled with joy. He wants to be close to you. And He wrote you a love letter! It’s in His book, the Bible, because He cares for you so much, He wrote this book as a love letter to tell us how much He loves us.

And so, a question that I would ask for us to take to heart: is there any area of my life that needs cleaned up? Any sin in my life that I have not confessed to God that is separating me from Him?

And secondly, do I spend regular time reading and meditating on God’s Word so that I can know Him and have an intimate relationship with Him? We need to answer these questions individually in our own hearts.

Well, secondly, we close the window of our souls by a believer’s learned way of thinking about themselves – the self-talk – what we say in our minds to ourselves can keep us from experiencing God’s love.

In Proverbs 23:7 it says, “As a man, or as a woman thinks in her heart, so she is.”

As she thinks in her mind, that’s how she’s going to act. And we learn to believe certain things about ourselves that may or may not be true. They may not be true. We live in a world system and a culture that is telling us every day that we need to have certain things and we need to behave a certain way. We need to look a certain way. We need to believe certain things in order to be loved, accepted, and significant in our lives.

And what we believe about ourselves affects our actions and it affects our emotions, it affects the decisions that we make, it affects everything in our lives – what we believe about ourselves.

And particularly in our growing up years, we learn to define ourselves in a certain way. I grew up in a home where I was afraid to mess up. I was afraid to even make an accidental mistake, because even those things were punished. And during those years at home, I was afraid of my dad.

And then early in my Christian life, as an adult, every time I messed up I thought God didn’t like me. You see, that’s what I learned about myself. And so, it’s very important that we take a good look at what we think and what we believe and compare it with God’s Word to see what our self-talk is. To see if it’s really true or not.

And because of what we believe about ourselves, we may not believe that God really loves us. And so then we close the window of our soul from experiencing His love.

Well, we can open that window by filling our minds with God’s truth to overcome the negative belief systems we have learned and we will cling to His promises for our lives. That’s how we can open that window.

In Philippians 4:8 it says, “And now dear friends, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” In this passage, the apostle Paul is putting on his psychology hat. Did you know he was a psychologist too?

And he tells us: how do we deal with the lies we believe? How do we deal with all these negative things that we think in our minds? And he says to think about what is true, think about what is a fact, what is statements that are real, that are not lies, that are not rumors, but they are real, they are sincere and they are genuine. Think about things that are true.

He says: Think about things that are honorable, that are respectful. Think about things that are right. Things that are in keeping with God’s truth, with His Word.

If someone could hear your thoughts about yourself, what would they hear? Would you want them to hear it? For a long time, I believed down deep in my heart that I was unlovable, and that because I kept messing up, God wouldn’t give me good things. He did that for other people. He does that for smarter people, but He wouldn’t do that for me.

But I learned that through God’s Word, that I was wrong and that He tells me in His truth that His love for me is eternal and that I am His and that His desire is to be close to me, that I am His child and that He treasures me and that He will withhold no good thing. He says He will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly.

And He gives us the desires of our hearts. And so, let me ask you, are you lovable?

Do you believe that God sees something infinitely precious in your life? That when He looks at you, you are precious to Him? Do you believe that God wants to do good in your life? Well, this is what He says, this is what His Word says is true, but we must begin the process of recognizing the lies we believe and choose to replace those lies with God’s truth.