“All the Love that was Told”, a worship poem from L.Willows

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All The Love That was Told

Facing the Beloved we ask, we long,
Seeking his peace we hope, hearts hold on.
Throughout different journeys,
Throughout times that quest,
Here are his Children, held dear to his chest.

Strengthened by a faith that deepens with time.
Met with unmeasured amounts of love’s brine.
Here in the valley that is softened by grace,
Here walk those tendered by mercy’s sweet pace.

Held by the Beloved, we pray, we see.
Seeking his peace, we live, walking free.
In places unknown, some new, some old,
There are his Children that care to be bold.
Daring to share all the Love that was Told.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Genesis 28:15
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

2 Corinthians 12:19
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 1:20-22
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

 

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“Self-Worth, Worth and Basking in the Love of God”, from L.Willows (worthy God, respect, love)

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In past decades I have noticed an emphasis in many cultures that seems to have shifted to values that lean heavily upon “Self-Worth” and “Worth”. These appear to depend upon characteristics that are temporal. To gain either, one needs personal strength, achievements and character traits that are shaped by outer factors;  things that we respond to from an outer environment in the world or from the circumstances in our lives. 

I need to bask in the love of God. That is what brings joy to my heart and my life.

Going back to those values, again and again, is like a life-skill, an art form.

Finding Worth from being loved by God means that your heart and mind are shaped by the direct imprint of God’s Truth.

The environment that forms your nature is eternal Truth. Your heart listens to the words, promises, and love of God and is nourished as His Child. From that relationship, you develop a sense of worth that is defined by your eternal Nature as his son or daughter.

The self that is Worthy is the one that is born in His Love for you and awake to His Truth.

From there, you awaken to a new understanding of Self-Value, of Self-Worth. We are worth what we respect. We are worth what we look up to. In a way, we draw to ourselves what we admire. When that is only things or character traits, we are setting a ‘low expectation’ and actually allowing ourselves to deserve less than we are.

Self-Worth is defined (according to the dictionary) today as a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.  In psychological terms, it can go to greater depths. I agree that we each need healthy Self-Esteem. It is important to not confuse esteem with Christian humility. A humble person does not undervalue himself. True Self Value is equal to being filled with the Love of God in Christianity.

Wordly-worth is defined as concerned with material things or matters that are immediate. Both kinds of worth seek approval and respect from others, from ‘horizontal’ sources.

When we seek Respect, we are really seeking a form of love.

We are asking that others fill us up. We ‘need’ something from them or from the outer world that is lacking from within us. It is a thirst that we have that longs to be filled. We long for love, for belonging, for security, for the reward of feeling respected as a person. Then we feel Worthy. But that cup is never really filled because this world can never fill it up.

The great markers of self-respect and self-worth, even by the standards of ‘this world’ are still filled by God.

We want to be respected for good reasons. Sometimes, our hearts feel de-valued because of loss in this life. Other times it can be because of trauma or pain. It is a very tough path. It is a difficult journey for many.

This world’ can be challenging. 

  • Some experience loss of jobs, finances, opportunities (life is filled with unexpected change).
  • Some experience loss of youth, health, physical ability (we all will).
  • Some experience loss because of their environment, culture or nation- it is attached to a group experience. (think about our neighbors, your international neighbors).
  • Some experience loss in relationships, family, and friendships. (think about your friends).
  • Some have lost loved ones. (have you? I have)

Loss shakes us. It causes us to want to hold on to “things” and understandably find solid ground in this world that we feel that we can rely upon. We have all done that.

But the only True Ground that we can rely upon is God. The only real foundation for our hearts is his love. When we learn to seek him and find our Solid Worth in him, then we are getting to the Truth. We fill ourselves with him. We can rely upon God.

Jeremiah 31:3 – I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Job 11:18 – You will feel safe because there is hope.

Respect and Worth really can only come from God. The Love of God is the source of all Worth, all Value.

Here are some scriptures on our worth to God.

Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Matthew 10:29-31 – Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Isaiah 43:4 – Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.

When we see ourselves as His, and as belonging to God our hearts are filled with the love that he has for us. He defines our true value. The values of God shift our heart and perspectives in a profound way.

It isn’t easy to turn from the values of this world and turn towards the values of God. Our hearts resist and so do our minds. Everything in our worlds is structured to support living to continue on as we are. We don’t want to change. In my own experience, there are some great motivators though.

We are faced with trials and challenges that suggest that we need to change. 

  • Life experience begins to teach us that it is time to change.
  • Sometimes because of illness or pain, we have no choice but to change.
  • We wait until the end of a cycle, I call it ‘end times’, then we are forced to change!
  • We are fortunate and are part of a team that is supporting change and mentors help us.
  • Your heart is inspired to change, infused by God’s Spirit.
  • As a Child of God, you are walking forward in his Love, trusting Change!
  • Resist. Resist. Then by surprise, change comes anyway.

The common denominator is that we have no control. We, our mortal selves- value Control.

Do we have to give up mortal heart values so that we can gain Godly Value?

I have noticed that we do. You cannot fill a full cup. When we seek to fill our hearts with God’s love and become new, we need to let go of what is no longer true about ourselves. There are values that we need to see as belonging to an old version of ourselves, the part that holds on to “Self Worth” and a temporal “Worldly-Worth”.

Our mortal values to look at might be:

  • Needing to be in control of what life looks like. We try to control relationships too. We have a core need to be loved.
  • Gaining and acquiring possessions for the sake of security, as a source of belonging. We desire to belong, it is a core need: belonging.
  • Achievements and ambition as a source of identity. We have a core need for identity.
  • Relationships as a source of fulfillment and self-love. Core need: relationship.
  • Money as a means to self-worth, value, and security. We have a core need to feel secure. Core need: security.
  • Appearance as identity. Core need: identity.
  • Personality as identity. Core need: identity.

Core Needs: Love, Relationship, Belonging, Identity and Security.

The way that God values us is based upon our eternal nature. When he sees us he gazes at our hearts, he sees what is real in us. It is true that he does see all of the ‘stuff’ even the circumstances that we are going through in the ‘right now’. I am so grateful for that. So many prayers include an asking that he look at those things and help with that. God sees it all! He sees the small and the large. But when he gazes upon the details he sees them with an Eternal Perspective.

God sees the now with an Eternal Perspective. What is Valuable is what is Good and True.

I love that!  God fills all of our core needs with his own Goodness.

1. He knows our True Identity.

2. He gives us a True Relationship with Himself. 

3. From this, we are given True Belonging.

4. He secures me as His Own. I rest in The Family of God.

5. He offers us True Love with unending mercy that fills us.

I can rest with that. Beyond that, I can pray for the wisdom by the power of his Spirit that he guides me to walk and make good decisions. I desire that God be in control, not me. The Eternal Perspective comes from God and from the Truth of His Promises.

God is the most Worthy of all. When we see him, we see what is True.

Revelation 5:12 – Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Good and True is what is Valuable. I want to Bask in thatBasking in the love of God is resting in what is Good and True.

I want my heart and mind to be soaked in everything that is good and true!

Psalm 100:3 – Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 139:13-14 – For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

We can be encouraged that God is there with us. He sees our hearts and walks with us on our journey through this life. Whatever the present circumstances are, we are, not any of us- alone. There is a loving God that can see our hearts and that desires to pour love and hope into this very present moment.

We can be filled with his Spirit and by the presence of his Son, Jesus Christ. We are his sons and daughters. That is our Value, our great fulfillment. Worthiness in that is a gift to us from him. When we remember that, we are new, filled in and with hope and healing because it is his promise to us and his promises are True.

Let’s Bask in the Love of God for each of us. He is Worthy. He teaches us what is Truly Worthy in life, in us and in this world and the next. He fills all of our needs.

© 2019 Linda Willows

“Green, hold my heart in such canopy of”, a worship poem by L.Willows

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Green, I walk in your tendered soft,
Leaves you bend,
A path to meet-
Ripened low, tipped with dew’s greet.

Here in the hushed forest
Live wonders unseen,
Paths cut by footsteps,
In prayers at dawn’s glean.

Green, hold my heart in such canopy of-
Mists and lush gardens,
Worlds of your love.
There the birds sing, they fly from such joy,
Nesting among, all the blossoms above.

When I enter your mercy
Through green portals, winds lift.
Soft comes aroma, like honey’s sweet drift.
Here in your garden, I am captured, beguiled,
All of me dances awakened like a child.

© 2019 Linda Willows
(The biblical meaning of color Green is immortality. (The leaf shall not wither –(psa 1:3). Green is also symbolic of resurrection which we see each Spring. Purple is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and blue (word of God).

1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

“Blessed by God- your heart, mine; His”, from L.Willows (near to God, in Christ)

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“Blessed by God, your heart, mine; His”, from L.Willows

I have heard people say that they feel “Blessed” or “Blessed by God” when I ask how they are. Usually, the person is joyful and feeling appreciative of something; they are grateful. This causes me to wonder what this really means for all of us, especially in trying times. It is possible to feel Blessed even when things do not always go quite ‘right’ according to what we may have been expecting or desiring. Do Blessings or the does the state of being Blessed by God have anything to do with our circumstances at all? What does being Blessed really mean?

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Being Blessed is about God’s Heart not our hearts.

I thought about the many circumstances in my own life that I have prayed about in the past year (or years) both for family and friends. Some prayers were answered miraculously, some were ‘yet to be fulfilled’. I have felt so grateful. Many times I have wondered about the immensity of God’s mercy and his ability to answer prayer.

I also know of a number of people that had lived lives that are sacrificial, many that I had loved- who had been struck with fatal illnesses or great misfortune and suffering. How had the riches of Christ’s glory touched their lives and those of their families?

I am aware that God holds us all in his heart. His heart must be so vast, it is beyond my ability to imagine. I love verses like this one in Jeremiah that describe God’s greatness and his closeness. I need to find God, who is so unfathomable- very near and reachable!

Jeremiah 23:24-25
Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

What are God’s Blessings? Who is “Blessed” in our world? How does God determine whose need he fills, how and when? 

What is the Biblical Definition of Blessed? (What does God mean?)

According to the Key-Word Bible, the meaning of Blessed is: Blessed: makarioi – “Greek word translated blessed in these passages is which means to be fully satisfied. It refers to those receiving God’s favor, regardless of the circumstances”.

That means that God’s favor or blessing is independent of circumstances. We need not feel that life circumstances have a relationship to the ‘status’ of Blessings. Or that affliction and suffering determine his favor or lack of favor.

God’s Blessing is anything that gives us satisfaction in him. He is longing for us to desire to be filled by his presence, to be satisfied by “only him” and “only things” that reflect his nature.

These are the things in life, yours and mine- that are true Blessings.  We are drawn into His Heart and His Life, lovingly. God desires to fill us with the blessings of knowing him and becoming closer to him. There are purpose and intent to each and every circumstance. He is “working all things for good”, for eternal good, meaning His eternal cause, He is The Eternal One.

The Blessing of God’s Heart calling us to himself.

When times are pressing we are challenged to ask ourselves what is really important in our lives. In essence, we review what we, ourselves favor. What are we choosing in our lives and why? In a way, God is asking us to look at things with new eyes, actually from a perspective that may be bolder and different than the past. We are asked to open the spiritual eyes of our heart and gain a new perspective.

Ephesians 1:18-19
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glory of the inheritance of his saints.

We might be called on to shift directions even temporarily. God wants our attention. Perhaps even our full personal favor and focus. The cup that we have been holding and asking to be filled from worldly sources may need to be turned wholly and fully turned towards God.

We learn that when we turn to him in weakness, he fills us up with his strength. He fills our cups up with his Blessings. We are drawn near to him. Our cups run over with his mercy and goodness.

Psalm 16.5
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

The Blessing of Drawing Near to God.

The truth about being “Truly Blessed” is obedience. We tend to shy away from the term in Western culture but I actually like it. The Biblical definition of obedience is – (shama`; hupakoe):. 1. Meaning of Terms: In its simpler Old Testament meaning the word signifies “to hear,” “to listen”. Realizing that it means listening to God is helpful because listening encourages me to draw closer. When I draw closer, I can feel and know his love for me.

Sometimes drawing near to God during a difficult time can be hard because we secretly blame him for the difficulties that we experience. This is not easy to admit. But facing this is helpful. Our God is so loving that he knows each part of our hearts very well. The Psalms have many examples of persons sharing their burdens with God in very raw ways.

Psalm 22:14
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed. My heart is like wax; it melts away within me.

Psalm 38:10
My heart pounds, my strength fails, and even the light of my eyes has faded.

There is nothing that is kept apart from God. When we harden our hearts with the smallest care that separates it we are the ones that lose. It is us that moves away, not God. We can speak to him as intimately as in the Psalms pouring our hearts out. He hears every word. The Love and Mercy of God are near, soft and willing to guide us back into every sweet blessing and promise of his heart.

We need not run away from God’s heart. If we realized how miraculous and vast it is, we would never depart. Truly, we are Blessed because we are his sons and daughter. All we need to do is remember who we are. We have already been freed when we were saved.

The Blessing of Listening to God, Sweet Leaning in.

We need to learn to choose what we ‘lean into’, what we listen to. Perhaps first we need to realize that our hearts and minds are always on an active listening mode whether we realize it or not and we need to take charge of that. We are like sponges that receive messages from the world around us all the time. By the end of each day, we have gathered more than we realize. We need emotional and mental cleansing! One way to circumvent that is to prepare for life with prayer and scriptural meditation. It is living with spiritual armor. We live in a world of noise. We can create a filter of intentional choosing.

Many resources from the Bible can be used for listening to God and drawing near. I love to start each day in the early morning with a “Prayer Walk”. Many begin with reading Scripture, prayer, and meditation. Some prefer the Psalms and returning at mid-day and in the evening.

King David, author of most of the book of Psalms, gave us a model for meeting with God,

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

We learn to listen and to become like children that lovingly, longingly lean in to our Father. We learn to hear his sweet voice. It becomes an intimate wondrous relationship, the most important one in our lives. This voice restores us and heals us. When we listen we find that God has been with us throughout the entire journey. His unfailing love has held us up all the while. He will show us the way.

The Blessing of Being Children of God

As Christians, we become born into the blessings of The Beloved. (Read: The Seven Blessing of Being in Christ) We call to his Promises as true in each hour, each day. No matter what trails are faced, we recognize that we are on a journey towards an eternal prize. That is the greatest Blessing. It benefits our hearts in this world with a peace that does not depend upon circumstances. Drawing near to God is drawing near to Love itself. What is temporal becomes small and what is eternal becomes great and wondrous.

John 1:1-2
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Galatians 3:26
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

The Blessing of Being Born into Faith

Are you “Blessed”? Do you know that Jesus Christ is King and Saviour? That is joyful living. Anything that draws us closer to Jesus is a blessing. We can read scripture. We can enjoy Fellowship. Some do not have Bibles and they speak of what they know or remember. Some are in faraway places and long for community. We can pray for them.

Many long to know and feel his presence in their hearts. Pray that they do. Pray that their lives are Blessed by his Love. Many are vulnerable and need his protection, some feel alone even at this moment. They need to know his Blessing. Pray that they know the Blessing of his Protection. Let them be Blessed. May Jesus be near to all and Bless everyone.

Praying that each receives and knows what it is to Be Blessed!

God’s Glory is rich, abundant in life around us in ways that heart can see if they lean in close to him, listen to him and desire to love him first and foremost. When we desire the riches of God’s Kingdom first, they will be granted to us. Those riches are far different from those that we seek in this world, from these things. My heart is confident in God’s ability to fill every need and in his wondrous timing when I rest in his love.

When I call him my God and declare gratitude and praise that I am his own, fully and completely- that my heart, mind, and life belong to no other, then I am free to receive his full Blessings. I hold no other God before him, no false god no worldly good before him. He is One, and All.

Blessed in Christ, with Christ, for Christ.  

© 2019 Linda Willows