Rejection 27 – God Loves the Real You

An amazing aspect of God’s love is that He loves us just as we are. The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”. That love is not a poetic notion. It is not just a happy thought. It is the tangible power of God’s compassion released into human lives.

And God’s love for the world is not based on how lovely and endearing the world is to God. God loves people despite the fact that they are covered in sin and shame.

So this lesson takes you into a deeper appreciation of that great love which God has toward you.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)” Ephesians 2:4,5

Just as I Am

An important step in my revelation of God’s love was to realise that God loves me even though He knows all my sins, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, fears, shame, ignorance, foolishness and so on.

God loves me just the way I really am. He is not fooled by my empty promises. He is not bribed by my negotiations. He is 100% aware of all of my terrible failings. Yet God loves me anyway! Wow!!!

I don’t have to wait until I am good enough for God, for I never will be. I don’t have to make amends for my past before I can come to God. I will never be able to do that.

The only thing I can do is drag the carcase of my stinking self into His presence, with all of my failure and shame naked to His all-seeing gaze. I can make no appeal. I can make no bargain. I am undone. I am spent. I am incapable of impressing Him for a moment.

Yet, as I come to Him, just as I really am, He pours His love on me! That is just SO amazing! And it is SO liberating!

God Loves the Real You

I was so blessed to realise that God actually loved the “real” me. God was not impressed by the image I had created and maintained. He was not attracted to my reputation or the impressions other people had of me. God loved the real, miserable, fearful and insecure me that was hidden behind my mask of popularity and success.

The image I use of this shows God’s love directed down upon the real, hidden person, behind the inflated image that other people see.

Reject 27 - The Real You

God’s love is directed to the “real” you. That miserable, fearful person is the object of God’s love. That is the Real You and that is the “you” that God loves and sent Jesus to die for. God wants the Real You to receive His love and salvation. He wants the Real You to be released into all that He has prepared for you.

Act of the Will

In my journey through all of this I discovered that love is an “act of the will”. That is why God can command us to love Him and to love our neighbour.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is similar, namely this, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31

The revelation that love is an act of the will brought to me a new sense of confidence in God’s love for me and you.

Do you know why God loves you? God loves you because He chooses to love you! It’s an act of God’s will. And so there are no strings attached. God’s love is unconditional. God loves you as an act of His will and He will never change His mind!

Unconditional Love

Because God’s love for you is a matter of His choice to love you, then it is unconditional. It is not based on your age, or your potential. It is not based on your good looks, career path, willingness to serve God, or anything else you can do.

Unconditional love is something you can’t break. If God loved you because you pleased Him, then as soon as you stopped pleasing Him He could stop loving you. But, because there are no conditions, there is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you.

That’s why God describes His love as an “everlasting love”.

“The LORD appeared to me of old, saying, Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

God Loves YOU

Let me explain it straight for you. God loves you, just the way you REALLY are, failures and all. And God loves you, just he way your really are, because He has chosen to love you. There is nothing you can do that will stop God from loving you. You cannot even FAIL your way out of God’s love!

If you were to become the greatest enemy of God and lead thousands away from faith in God, God will still not stop loving you. If you were to step out for God and then make such as mess of things that God is mocked because of your failure, God will still not stop loving you.

Let me say it again, You cannot even FAIL your way out of God’s love!

Perfect Love Sets You Free

That kind of perfect love casts out fear. It sets people free. And it set me free from my fear, insecurity, shame, inferiority and rejection. I did not have to prove a thing. The opinions and criticisms from people counted for nothing against such overwhelming love.

That’s the love you need to receive. You need to be drenched in that love and soak in it for days. You need it to permeate your mind, emotions, personality, will, spirit, soul and body. Don’t just give God’s love a kindly assent, but press in for it, cry out for it, and make sure you experience it. It truly will set you free!

Let Me Pray For You

I want to pray again that God reveal His love to you.

“Lord, I ask You to reveal Your overwhelming love into the hearts of each person reading this. Let the love of God be shed abroad in each heart, by the Holy Spirit, so that every one of them is set free and transformed to be the people You created them to be. So reveal Your love that it dislodges all the wrong thoughts in their head and heart. Heal them with You love. Impact them with Your love. Transform them with Your love. I ask this in Jesus’ lovely and precious name. Amen.”

Rejection 26 – Overwhelming Love

While the Steps to Release describe the issues I had to deal with in overcoming rejection, insecurity, inferiority and the like in my life, it was God’s Love that actually empowered the whole process.

My inner pain, ill-defined as it was, left me feeling afraid of letting anyone into the areas of my need. I had created an external image of happiness and success, and I desperately wanted that image to be my truth. God’s invasion of my inner life seriously challenged my internal comfort zone.

Grace and Truth

Some people think that to live in happy delusion is better than living in an unhappy reality. I challenge that. No-one can truly live if they are living a lie. The people locked in mental institutions, completely deluded about who and what they are, are not better for their foolish notions. We are far better to face reality and find God’s power to be real in our true circumstances, than to live enslaved to delusion and brokenness.

While God’s Love is powerful and was the awesome antidote to my inner pain, it came with a solid dose of “reality check”. And that’s Biblical. The Bible tells us that both “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.

“And the Word was made flesh (Jesus), and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

Grace is the special favour of God, His love, His mercy and His blessings into our lives. Truth speaks of reality and facing up to the whole picture, for what it is. Both these things came at the same time, in the same person, Jesus Christ.

In the same way, God brought both His truth and His love to my heart at the same time.

Supreme Love

God loves me just the way I am. His love is supreme. His love is unsurpassable. God’s love is overwhelming.

God’s love is SO wonderful and SO powerful that it totally outweighs all the love that every other person could give. If the whole world hated you and God loved you, you could experience total joy, complete fulfilment, overwhelming satisfaction and abundant delight in being alive. That’s how supremely powerful and wonderful God’s love is

Love Revealed

God’s amazing love was revealed to me through many preachers who taught on the subject over several years. Messages about the Father heart of God, the Biblical definitions of love, the example of the Prodigal Son’s father, and the many Bible verses that talk about God’s love opened my heart and mind to realise that God truly does love me.

I had been raised in good evangelical churches and heard the gospel message of faith in Jesus Christ a thousand times. The cumulative effect of that, however, did not leave me with a sense of God’s overwhelming love. It took some time before that new truth could settle in my heart.

Slowly I came to trust what the Bible said. Slowly I came to believe that God was not some angry potentate ready to judge all who fail His standards.

jesus hugsYes Jesus Loves Me

Somehow in my Christian journey I came to think of God’s love as the nice message to tell the children. It was fine for the children to sing “Yes, Jesus Loves Me”. But I thought that as we become mature in our understanding we are to move away from the childish notion of God’s love, and realise our responsibilities.

I carried a weight of obligation, linked to judgements upon those who “looked back”, were “unfruitful” and so on. In the development of those ideas I lost complete sight of God’s love for me.

Yet such passages as Romans 8 spoke clearly about the impossibility of being separated from God’s love. And the love of Christ was spoken of in many places too.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will it be tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39

“And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

I came to realise that Jesus does love me. God loves me.

Jesus Loves You!

You need a revelation of God’s love. That comes through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, illuminating the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit who pours God’s love through your wounded heart.

“And hope does not make us ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.” Romans 5:5

A prayer I often pray for those needed healing from rejection and inner pain is that God’s Holy Spirit will release the Love of God through their heart, like ocean waves of God’s love sweeping over them. I want to pray that prayer for you. Then, in the next lesson I will take you even deeper into consideration of God’s Love.

Prayer for You

“Lord God, I pray for each person reading this, that You would pour Your love upon them. Let Your love be shed abroad in their heart, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Give them a revelation of Your great love for them. Let it flow over them like ocean waves of Your compassion, care, grace and blessing into their innermost being. And Lord, deliver them from rejection, shame, fear, insecurity and all inner pain. Let them enter into the joy of living in the glorious liberty of the children of God. I ask this for them, in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”

Rejection 2 Love Receptors

Since Rejection was such a big problem for me I often reflected on why it should be such a serious issue for people. How could something as invisible and insidious as rejection be so devastating for so many people?

My reflections on the subject led me to a simple observation, which I can attest to from the Bible. So that’s the starting point in my pictorial series on the subject of Rejection.

Our Design

Mankind was made by God, for fellowship with God. And that’s a Bible truth. God made man, right back there on Day 6 of creation. And God is “Love”.

“He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.” 1John 4:8

“And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.” 1John 4:16

Putting those two Bible facts together enables us to recognise something about our design. Just as a radio is designed to tune in to radio signals and a television is designed to tune in to television signals, man is designed to tune in to God.

Love Receptor

If man is made to tune in to God, then man is designed as a “Love Receptor”. Somehow, among all our faculties, we have the capacity to tune in to and resonate with God. And, since God is love, that means we must be able to tune in to love.

We must have within us the capacity to fully interpret, receive and respond to the waves of God’s love which are broadcast from Him. If we could not sense love, then we could never have real fellowship with a God who is love.

You are I are ‘love receptors’. Apart from our sight, hearing, touch, taste and other senses, we have the innate ability to sense God’s most wonderful quality.

God and Man

As a love receptor we deeply desire to receive God’s love and the love and affection of our fellow man. We expect to find love from our parents, siblings and family. We expect people to be friendly to us and to be interested in us. We look for loving interaction from all we meet.

This is especially so when we are children and have not yet felt the amount of rejection and disinterest which we are likely to face in later years.

We are designed to live in the luxury of close fellowship with God and with family, friends and society. However, many people experience no sense of God’s love and also experience the feeling that they are rejected, neglected, abandoned and abused by fellow man.

Look at Life

Have you not noticed how powerful love is? People who sense love are keen to be near those who supply it. Children respond to the love shown them by others. We all love to be loved.

Some people spend their whole life looking for love. It fascinates us and impacts us like few other things do.

We celebrate our addiction to love in stories, song, poetry and lifestyle. People’s whole personalities can be transformed by the addition of a loving person into their life.

All this testifies to the fact that God has designed us as love receptors. Those who defy the need for love often do so out of their hurt. They are trying to shut down a faculty which has become a source of pain for them. But that only goes to prove the point. If they were not love receptors by design, then the absence of love, or pain through expectations of love, would not affect them.

Substitutes for Love

Craig Hill, in his Family Foundations course, points out that people who are not loved by their parents can go headlong into sexual relationships, in a quest for the love they sense they are missing. A girl who is denied her father’s love is more likely to end up in a cheap, sexual fling with a man, than a girl who is secure in the love of her dad. Similarly, a boy who feels rejected by his mum will tend to seek the affections of another woman, to fill what seems to be a void within him.

The lack of love never justifies sin. I am not suggesting that the parents are to blame for their children’s wrong choices. We must each give account for our sins. God doesn’t use psychologist couches. He has books with written records of our sins instead.

Other substitutes for love can include attention, notoriety (as with the trouble maker), fame, success, cheap popularity or sexual attraction. If people are not shown love they may well immerse themselves in a substitute, to at least get some compensation for how they feel.

Love Completes Us

Because we are love receptors, then love completes us. We are designed to be in intimate fellowship with our creator, the God of the entire universe. His love is meant to be “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).

We are meant to receive such a revelation of God’s love that God’s ‘perfect love’ casts out all the fear we are feeling, including the fear of rejection.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” 1John 4:18

As you follow through this series I will eventually have more to say about God’s awesome love. By the end I trust that you are experiencing and enjoying God’s perfect love in much richer dimension and that you are wonderfully set free.

Henry Moorhouse Teaches Moody How to Preach

This is the day that … Henry Moorhouse was born in 1840, in Manchester, England.

For the first 20 years of his life he was constantly in trouble and in prison more than once. But at the age of 21 “in the engine room of a warehouse,” a young Christian pointed him to Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The biographer tells of the outcome. Henry Moorhouse “saw, he believed, he rejoiced, he confessed, and he was ready from that hour to bear witness for Christ…” Before long he was preaching the gospel, on street corners and in packed halls.

And he is best remembered as the “man who moved the man who moved millions.” In ‘Life of D.L. Moody’ by his son, a whole chapter is devoted to the influence of Henry Moorhouse: “Moorhouse taught Moody to draw his sword (of the Spirit) full length, to fling the scabbard away and enter the battle with a naked blade” (page 140).

Henry had become a preacher with the Plymouth Brethren and had learned the importance of expository preaching. When Moody visited Dublin in 1867, he was told of the preaching of a zealous young Brethren evangelist named Harry Moorhouse. By this time, Moorhouse had established the reputation of being one of the leading evangelists in England. Initially, Moody was not very impressed with young Moorhouse. To Moody, Moorhouse appeared to be so young and frail. Moody, however, did invite Moorhouse to visit him in Chicago, not expecting him to come.

Moody’s wife, Emma, upon hearing Moorhouse, told her husband, “I like Moorhouse’s preaching very, very much. He is very different from you. He backs up everything he says by the Bible.”

On one occasion, young Moorhouse challenged Moody, “You are sailing on the wrong tack. If you will change your course, and learn to preach God’s words instead of your own, He will make you a great power.”

When Moorhouse first arrived in Chicago, Moody was unexpectedly called out of town and asked Moorhouse to preach for him at Farwell Hall. Moorhouse preached nightly for one solid week on the love of God using the text of John 3:16. When Moody returned, he was greatly surprised to find Moorhouse still preaching. As he listened he discovered Moorhouse was still on the same text, and that souls were being wonderfully saved. Moody confided to a friend, “I never knew up to that time that God loved us so much. This heart of mine began to thaw out; I could not keep back the tears. I just drank it in. So did the crowded congregation. I tell you there is one thing that draws above everything else in the world and that is love.”

Not only was there an emphasis on more use of Scripture in Moody’s sermons (“Stop preaching your own words and preach God’s Word,” Moorhouse had said to him), there was also a new emphasis on God’s love for the sinner. “Moody’s evangelistic preaching was to take on a different tenor than that of so much previous revivalistic preaching in the American tradition.”

Henry Moorhouse died on 28 December, 1880, at the age of 40. Among his dying words were these: “If it were the Lord’s will to raise me up again, I should like to preach more on the text, ‘God so loved the world’.”

He seemed to pass away, but means employed by the attending physician revived him.

“Why have you brought me back to such dreadful suffering?” he asked of those at his bedside, “I was in heaven …”

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.