He Leads and Loves Unconditionally

Confession: I haven’t pursued God like I should have the past week. I’ve been getting up early and neglecting my morning prayer and meditation on him in order to workout. Which it’s good to stay healthy, but it’s even more important to exercise our spirits through intimacy with his Holy Spirit.

1 Timothy 4:8,
“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.”

I was sitting at a cafe at lunch today having a coffee and talking (no practically begging) Jesus to let me draw near to him. I felt distant. It was my fault. I felt like I had to do so much stuff and so many things and processes to get back close to him. Do you know what I mean? It feels like I have to bridge the gap. I repented and begged him at lunch in my heart and mind. Like a child begging his mom to be let out of timeout after misbehaving or a beloved begging to be let back in to their Love’s embrace after an argument. And after all this trying and working to be close again to him, time almost stopped and his face appeared in front of mine. His lovely beautiful face.

“I love you. You don’t have to do anything to be close to me. I want you close to me.” He said.

In that one moment, I saw my strong and beautiful Jesus, the Son of God, leading me back into his arms. I’m doted upon.

We all are doted upon as his children, as his beloved. Even if we mess up and don’t pursue him.

The key here is a very important fact about us and God:

This isn’t a fair relationship. He will always be the better One between us and Him. We will always mess up. He is okay with that. The cross proves that He will do anything for us.

His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I never want him to say about me as he said about Jerusalem,

How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Matthew 23:37.

I need that in my life. I need to see him as the Leader. And I know, we always say he’s our King (and he is!) and use all of this power terminology in ethereal phrases. But I’m talking about in the way that your (good) boss at work knows more about what is going on than you and leads you to complete the work you are given correctly in wisdom and kindness. Or as your mom sits across from you at a cafe at lunch and tells you she loves you like crazy amd then tells you practically what you need to know to be led into doing the right and wise thing. He is beautiful and even more so when he enters into our world and walks us through life, understanding our hiccups. Loving us unconditionally – so no conditions, nothing you can do can mess it up with Jesus. We need that.

I need that.

Like how Jesus says to His children in Proverbs 8:32,

Proverbs 8:32, “Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.

I pray and hope you are wonderfully and joyful and happily blessed and wrapped up in His lovingly arms today. And I hope you smile because of it.

Joel

Isaiah 49:15, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!”

26 thoughts on “He Leads and Loves Unconditionally

  1. my therapist all those many years ago had done some research that showed that combining physical exercise with God – worship, praise, listening to teaching, etc, increased the benefits of both. something to consider 🙂

    i don’t think God bases our love for Him or commitment to Him based on the same things we do – i often think it’s measured in minutes spent or verses read or some other form of measurement … and, idk, i just think that God’s ways are different from mine … and sometimes i have to get past my own false guilt to dwell with God.

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    1. Agreed. I find I am at peak human performance when I am deeply close to God, while spending myself for others in service and love, and while being very physically and mentally actice.

      I totally agree with what you said on how God loves us. We measure love in other ways…5 love languages, etc…his is truly unconditional in ways we don’t understand. I keep thinking about 1 John…”God is love.”

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      1. thank you for asking, Joel – he came home today!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        sorry i haven’t updated you – i’m just so tired that my brain is mis-firing. and i don’t do ‘body-things’ well at all, so my anxiety level has been on the top of the edge the whole time … but he’s home. i am SOOO thankful. he was one pretty sick guy, but he’s well enough to be on oral antibiotics, so he was able to come home 🙂

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  2. Can’t count the times I’ve been there!!… literally. So I totally understand the thoughts and the pleading begging prayer. Did that just the other day actually.
    I’ve been on a spiritual rollercoaster myself this past year and found myself going back in time to find a part of myself – pre Christ – that I lost but needed. It’s too hard to explain in a comment and right now my blogs are kind of stagnant because I’m writing my book, but let’s just say that I’m discovering a new “me” in Jesus.

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    1. Doesn’t that just suck? I hate the pleading and begging. But here’s my suspicion…I bet most of that is generated by us. I definitely think God wants us to go through catharsis to draw near to him, because its good for us and burns off the sin (the furnace) but the sin is already paid. I think I beat myself up because I know I failed, willingly failed at that (like I knew what I was doing and I made the choice to do it anyway), and he just draws me back in love because the sin is paid for on the cross. I don’t think my flesh and brain can accept that! It’s so alien to our world of choices and consequences. Not that there aren’t consequences – there are. Goodness in an extreme example I know several pastors (family and friends of friends), high level and high visibility, that really messed up, I’m betting in the style of 1 Corinthians 11:30 (which I highly recommend reading that chapter – no one ever talks about it and it is really important) and God cut them down.

      I know what you mean too about finding your old self. My thoughts on it are that we may leave part of our originally created selves in the past (for whatever reason) and somewgere down the line during our walk with God, the Holy Spirit takes us back to pick up our old self, the holy original part of our self, not the sin, and reintegrate it into who we are in order to get back the original image we were made to be. Maybe not always this is case, but ive experienced it. Its a good thing. It cam create chaos in the heart if the abandoned parts of me in the past were emotionally tied up in a bad season of life – so I have to handle with care!

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  3. Nothing can separate us from the love oh God. We can’t be snatched from the fathers hand. He chose us before the foundation of the world. These are promises that came to mind. Sometimes our feelings waver and sometimes we stray like sheep do, but He being our good shepherd calls us by name and we hear it and we know that voice.
    I know exactly how you feel, I just sometimes can’t feel His presence. We can’t always be on the mountain top. It’s in the valleys that God is doing something big, I always think of Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.
    Trust and obey. He is faithful! Thank you for sharing your heart. It is an encouragement.

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    1. Our pastor said during a sermon the other month, “You grow fruit in the valley, not on the mountain.” I really liked that. Another one of my favorite pastors from our old church once said, “The foundation of your relationship with God is not based on your emotions. Your emotions are not always reality.” Isn’t that the truth?!

      I know we can’t always be on the mountain top, but I really wish we could, Johanna!! That would be just awesome! Maybe we could try to be high altitude fruit growers – I’m not sure that’s a thing though!!

      So one more little story…I’m in kids church last week. I’m the 1st grade boys small group leader. Both of my sons are in my group and I help lead the service on stage. It’s super fun and such a blessing. Anyway I digress…so we line the kids up on two sides to make an aisle surrounded by the kiddos. The kids are pretending we are in the jungle and are making wild animal sounds. Then we take two kids and they are supposed to walk the aisle blindfolded with their small group leaders at the end of the aisle shouting to them on how to navigate the aisle to them – while there are fake snakes and bugs on the ground. The whole point is even when everything is shouting fear and false things at you, you have to discern God’s voice in it all and let him alone guide us. I just loved that!!

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    1. Thank you Faith!! Been there too many times to count – but he is always faithful to bring me back 🙂

      Hey just out of curiosity – you had mentioned you’re a student. If you don’t mind me asking what are you majoring in?

      Hope you have a blessed day!

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  4. No kidding–I had the exact same aha moment when I was putting my book proposal together earlier this summer. We went on vacation, I didn’t have a lot of time alone to pray, etc., felt like I’d neglected Him, and then acted as if I had all of these apologies to make when we got back home. And I think I was worried that I wouldn’t have His favor if I didn’t follow some repentance process before I dove back in to write the proposal. He gave me a loving little smack on the forehead. I kind of think He was telling me that I can’t perform my way to His purpose and I can’t mistake my way out of His purpose. He accomplishes His purpose. If I’m willing to be a part of it, and I’m hoping and praying to be a part of it, then surely my sovereign God reigns over those things and I’m not going to screw it up.

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    1. So you bring up a point where I have struggled for years, Katie – vacations. Which our family travels a lot. I think out of 10 years of marriage, 9 of those years with kids, and more vacations than I can count, I’ve only had maybe 2 or 3 that were truly successful where I didn’t just totally neglect God. I am so bad at vacations and staying close to God. Maybe I’m being harsh on myself…honestly when I just wrote that I started to remember all the times that have been good with God on vacation so maybe that was the Spirit reminding me it’s more like 4 or 5 times haha! Do you have any good strategies on still staying close to God during vacation or when you are out of your normal routine? The best practice I’ve found is since my surroundings and schedule are so out of whack from where they normally are on vacations (and I am a creature of habit by the way. I like consistency) i have to intentionally carve out time that is inconvenient for me and sacrificial in order to stay close to him. So I’ll set my alarm for 5:30am one day on a trip and take a walk with God or stay up late reading the Word after everyone goes to sleep. Its hard because I always think of vacations as rest periods – but for me they almost always at some point turn into times of refining and I always struggle because my expectations are for rest and I feel God asking me to go back into the furnace.

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      1. I don’t have a strategy for that. But I’ve become more and more comfortable over the years with the introvert in me who craves time alone. So I’m more likely to leave and go for a run than I am to get away from the group to pray. I should probably use one to accomplish both.

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      2. Same here. Runs are a great space to get alone time with God. I had a really great run when we were in New Mexico in May. I went for a run around a mesa one early morning and had some wonderful worship time with God.

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  5. 😁 of course it’s generated by us. He is perfect and loves us perfectly… so He isn’t the one messing up 🤣. But I totally agree with you, our limited brain power can’t grasp that He doesn’t leave our side.

    For me I think rediscovering myself has more to do with the expectations from others as well as for myself. “How to be the good Christian godly woman” and all that Jazz. I was trying very hard to live up to those expectations all the while watching two-faced godly and highly praised people wreck havoc in my soul. Left me feeling inferior and yet with a nagging sense that it was just wrong. Going back to my pre-Christ life, where I simply cared that much less and found life to be easier to deal with. Eg I didn’t care about people’s expectations of me. I’m still hidden in Christ but that part of my old self was needed for me to see whom I should love and whom I shouldn’t waste my time on. If it doesn’t make sense, no worries friend. It’s hard to explain as I haven’t yet fully grasped it myself.

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    1. I can understand what you’re saying there. In fact I was talking about this concept at lunch today. In the church today we almost have a pharisaical approach to our conduct in the world and we set these unrealistic standards that nobody can live up to and then those in power police everyone else who struggle to match those standards and make them feel like sinners when they fail. The problem is those standards, at least in part, may not even be fully biblical.

      That’s not fair and it’s more about a power struggle than pleasing God. I can sympathize if that’s what you’re referring to.

      Or not! Haha and I might be totally offbase. If I am, I’m just babbling friend lol!

      Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

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  6. My friend DO both at the same time!!! We live in the world of multi tasking! Get the Gospel on mp3. That way you can get a Spiritual work out and a physical one at the same time and lack neither! God bless you!

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  7. God bless you to Joel! best thing I ever did was take off walking with my bible on MP3. Even though I still read, I am constantly listening to it also. it brings me great peace! To some they might say I am too much but honestly this is who God created me to be and all I know now and when I try and change it I loose my peace. so I have totally accepted it as a life style now. and when I fight against it. Seems like a piece of me is missing!

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    1. I love that Michelle!! No its never too much when it comes to Jesus!! I always want more of him! I’ll need to try that out as part of my run. I also love to just get that still quiet time before him too. I need that every day!! Jesus’ presence is the best!

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