Tag Archive | forgiving

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 62 – Blessed are the Merciful

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 62

Blessed are the Merciful

Lord, teach me what it means to be merciful. It is a great gift directly from Your hand. You are a merciful and loving Father; You show Your kindness and compassion to Your people from generation to generation. Help me to be a representation of Your mercy.

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My blessed child, I created you in My own image; in the image of God, I created you. I am kind and forgiving, compassionate and loving, understanding and merciful. Practice My ways by the power of My Spirit within you. Show kindness and tenderness to everyone. Be willing to forgive, as you, yourself have been forgiven. My compassions are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Arise each day with a new acceptance of the one you find difficult to love.

I desire genuine devotion, not lip service. Practice My instructions; carry out My commands. Treat others as you want to be treated, with mercy and respect. This may require a change in the way you live. Stop and think before you act or react. Trade in a criticism for a word of kindness. Rather than exercising anger, willingly extend forgiveness. Hold your tongue; it can be a double-edged sword. Speak with words of encouragement and bring peace to a weary soul.

Show mercy and you will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7). Sow seeds of kindness, and a harvest of kindness you will reap. Practice humility with love. Do not wait to be served, but serve one another in love. Be compassionate to the hurting, helpful to those in need, and generous with your giving. Exercise grace and mercy whenever you have an opportunity. Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

Religious activities mean nothing without personal surrender to the Lord. The mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Matthew 12:34). Be full of blessing and understanding. “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

In My great mercy, I have given you new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by My power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5). I have blessed you to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2). Bless others with an attitude of mercy, love, and forgiveness.  

Prayer:

Merciful Father in heaven, thank You for Your compassion and grace. You have been so faithful with Your promises and provision. Thank You for Your compassions; they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your peace. Help me to know the meaning of mercy and to pass that gift along to the undeserving one. Lord, share Your heart with me now as we speak one-on-one. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, please remind me of specific ways that You have shown Your mercy to me. (Jot down all the thoughts He gives you.)

 

  • Lord, Jesus, show me ways I might be merciful to others; even specific circumstances recently when I could have shown more mercy. (Write down all the ideas He puts in your heart.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, empower me with God’s character trait of mercy. Fill my heart with mercy for the one needs to see it from me. Lord, bring that person to my mind right now and give me the opportunity to exercise Your loving mercy to this person. (Record what you hear and any examples of you are given.)

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Almighty God, You have made me in Your image. You are a compassionate, merciful Father. Lord, let me be as kind and forgiving as You are, so that I might be a good representation of Your character. Lord, teach me Your ways, and help me to be merciful that I might be shown Your mercy. Lord, help me be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Give me a heart full of mercy, even when I am not shown any. I desire to live in a manner which is pleasing to You. I humbly myself to You, in order to serve You wholeheartedly. Teach me Your ways, and empower me to live them out. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Genesis 12:2-3, 2“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Lamentations 3:22, Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Nehemiah 9:17, But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore You did not desert them.

Nehemiah 9:31, But in Your great mercy, You did not put an end to them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.

Psalm 25:6, Remember, LORD, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.

Psalm 78:38, Yet He was merciful; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them.

Daniel 9:9-10, 9The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him; 10we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws He gave us through His servants the prophets.

Daniel 9:18, Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.

Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Zechariah 7:9, This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Matthew 9:13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 12:34, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Luke 1:50, “His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.”

Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Romans 9:18, Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.

Ephesians 2:4-10, 4But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus., in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by race you have been saved, through faith—and this this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 Peter 1:3-5, 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 31 – Child of God

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 31

Child of God

Lord, what does it mean that I am Your child? How have I earned that awesome title? To what do I owe the amazing privilege of being a child of God?

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My child, you have not earned this privilege of being called a child of God. It was given to you when you were created by Me, and when you were reborn again by faith in My Son, Jesus Christ. I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I created you because I love you. I know you by name and you have found favor with me (Exodus 33:13).

Before you were born, I set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5) and called you by name (John 10:3). I have lavished My great love on you; you are My blessed child (1 John 3:1). I desire a more cherished relationship with you on a daily basis. You are My child, and I love to spend time with you alone. Will you put Me first and make Me your highest priority?

In Christ Jesus, you are My child through faith (Galatians 3:26). Your sin separated you from Me. However, I provided the way to reconciliation with Me. When you received Christ as your Savior and believed in the risen Jesus Christ as My Son, I gave you the right to become My child, adopted by Me, through faith in Christ (John 1:12-13).

For My Son, Jesus Christ, has said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me” (Matthew 18:2-5). Take on the nature of a child of God, a lowly infant who is: dependent, pure, humble, meek, inquisitive, unassuming, obedient, passionate, loving, forgiving, and merciful. Be merciful as I am merciful, love your enemies and do good to them Then your reward will be great and you will be a child of the Most High (Luke 6:35-36).

You no longer need to remain in darkness. I am the light of the world, follow Me and have the light of life! (John 8:12). Believe in the light and walk in the light as children of the light (John 12:35-36). You are the light of the world; do not hide your light or allow the enemy to extinguish it. Let your light shine before others and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).

You are a child of God, and therefore, you are led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit you received when you confessed Jesus as your Savior and Lord brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him you are given the right to cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with your spirit that you are God’s child. Now if you are His child, then you are His heir—heir of God and co-heir with Christ, if indeed you share in His sufferings in order that you may also share in His glory (Romans 8:14-17).

You are human and you disobey Me occasionally. However, because you are My child, whom I love, I discipline you when you need it, in order that you may share in My holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:10-11). Consider yourself a legitimate child of God, when I love you enough to discipline you in the training of the Lord for a future harvest of righteousness and peace.

My blessed one, being a child of God is a privilege. It is an honor and a freedom. Along with any hardships you endure, you will also experience My favor in life, as My child. I will take care of you and provide for you. I will protect you and shield you. I will rescue you and uphold you. I am your loving Father, the Great Shepherd of His sheep. You are My little lamb that I love dearly.

Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You so much for creating me, loving me, and adopting me as Your child. I am so blessed to be included as your little lamb in Your sheepfold. Thank You for Your favor as a child of the King. Thank You for your protection and provision. I live to bring You all the glory, honor, and praise You are due. Lord, please share more of Your passions with me right now as we sit in conversation with one another. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God: 

  • Father God, will You now speak to Me personally about my privilege and role as Your child. What do You desire from me? (Record all the words and thoughts He gives you now.)

 

  • Jesus, my Savior and Lord, thank You for providing the way back to God, the Father. Thank You for the many blessings my faith in You affords me. Please tell me what my faith in You offers me as God’s heir, co-heir with You. (Write whatever pops into your mind right now as you listen to His voice.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, help me assume the lowly position as a Your child. May I desire to be led by You in everything I do and say. Teach me how to remain in step with You all throughout my days. (Journal all ideas you hear in your thoughts.)

 

Review God’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank You for Your love and the ability to hear Your voice in my thoughts. Thank You all for the work You have done in my life to bring me into a saving relationship with the Lord, an abundant life on this earth, and an eternity in heaven with You. I am truly blessed to be called a ‘Child of God,’ and I am eternally grateful for this privilege. Spirit please lead me and guide me through this life, so that I may let my light shine for others to see Your goodness and Your grace bringing all the glory to My Father in heaven. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Exodus 33:12-13, 12…You have said, “I know you by name and you have found favor with me.” 13If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You…

Deuteronomy 14:1, You are the children of the Lord your God.

Psalm 139:13-14, 13For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers’ womb. 14I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Matthew 5:14-16, 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 18:2-5, 2He called the little children to Him, and placed the child among them. 3And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one such child in My name welcomes Me.”

Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Mark 10:13-16, 13People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them.

Luke 6:35-36, 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 18:16-17, 16But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

John 1:12-13, 12Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 8:12, When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 10:2-4, 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.

John 12:35-36, 35Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walk in the dark does not know where they are going. 36Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

Romans 8:14-17, 14For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.

Romans 9:26, and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people.’ There they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”

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

Hebrews 12:7-11, 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9Moreoever, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

1 John 3:1, See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 16  – I am the Lover of Your Soul

Pursuing the Heart of God – Day 16  – I am the Lover of Your Soul

Dear God, how is it that You, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, love someone like me? How do I know that you love me for sure? I do not deserve your love. I cannot earn your love. And yet, Your Word says You love me. Why is it that You love me, Lord?

A Message from God’s Heart to Yours:

My child, I am the lover of your soul. I knew you and loved you long before I created you. You are mine. You belong to me. I love you with a deep, unconditional, everlasting love. My love for you will never change. I am the same yesterday, today, forever (Hebrews 13:8). I am love (1 John 4:8).

My love for you is My greatest gift to you. You cannot earn My love. It is a free gift, just like My grace. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). My love defines who you are and whose you are. I demonstrated My love for you in this, while you were still a sinner, I sent My Son, Jesus, to lay down His life for you (Romans 5:8). I loved you then, and I will always love you. I am dependable. You can count on Me to love you into all eternity.

I love you no matter what you do. My love for you is unchanging and consistent. My love is forgiving and forgetting. My love is unfailing and wonderful. Nothing you do will increase or decrease My love for you. You are My beloved child. I love you no matter what. You do not understand the depth of my love for you because you cannot grasp it. It is so much different from any other love you know and feel.

You need not wonder whether I love you and accept you as you are, I do. You are worthy of My love because you are My child. I created you to love you, and ask that you, in turn, love Me with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). If you love Me, you will obey Me, and I will come and make My home in you (John 14:23). I will never leave you or forget about you (Joshua 1:5).

Respond to Me in love. Accept My free gift of love and grace. When you invite Jesus into your heart, I give you another indescribable gift. I send My Holy Spirit to live in your heart. I not only love you, but I live in you. Your body is My temple, My dwelling place (1 Corinthians 3:16). I love you from the inside out. You have a member of the Godhead living in you and loving you at all times. How wonderful is that? I am the lover of your soul, because your soul is My home. I have made My home in you, and I love My home. I love you, My friend. I have loved you before the beginning of time, and I will love you through all eternity. 

Prayer: 

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your good and perfect love. Help me to grasp the depth of that love as we communicate today. Lord, will you show me Your heart for me as Your child. Lord, help me to know and feel Your presence with me right now as we talk heart to heart. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Two-way Conversation with God:

  • Father, describe to me what it was like to send Your one and only Son, Jesus, to die for me. (Write the thoughts that come into your mind.)

 

  • Jesus, so great is Your love for me, that You were willing to die in my place, for my sin. Please share Your heart with me about this sacrificial love. (Record any words or impressions that enter your heart.)

 

  • Holy Spirit, You are the gift of God’s love, who dwells in me. Please share with me what You want me to know today. (Jot down all thoughts and senses you experience in your mind and heart.)

 

Review the Holy Spirit’s thoughts and impressions you’ve sensed and written above. What Scripture comes to mind as you review your notes? Use the concordance of your Bible to look up an impression from God’s Word. Record the verse or passage here. Write all insights and encouragement the Holy Spirit illumines for you as you read God’s Word right now.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I cannot thank You enough for Your unconditional love and Your sacrificial demonstration of that love on my behalf. Thank You for making a way to be reconciled to God, the Father, and for the gift of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, so that I may communicate with all three members of the godhead any time of the day or night. This is such a spectacular gift. I so appreciate all that You have done for me and continue to do for me. I love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Scripture:

Joshua 1:5, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Psalm 25:10, All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of His covenant.

Psalm 32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Psalm 100:5, For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 86:13, For great is your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.

Psalm 108:4, For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 117:12 For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 118:1, Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:3, Give thanks to the Lord of lords; His love endures forever.

Psalm 144:2, He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

Song of Songs 2:4, Let Him lead me to the banquet hall, and let His banner over me be love.

Isaiah 54:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Mark 12:30, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

John 14:23, Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them.”

John 15:13-14, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command.”

John 16:27, “No, the Father Himself loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.”

Romans 5:5, And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:8, God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 3:16, Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Ephesians 2:4, But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 3:16-19, I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know His love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

James 1:17, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1 John 3:1, See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 4:8-10, Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:19, We love because He first loved us.

Revelation 1:5-6, To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Copyright © Sindy Nagel. All Rights Reserved

Roadblock #2 – Fear – The Enemy of Confidence

Apprehension about the unknown can keep us from understanding the mystery of God. But fear is not from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” I had a fear of God, but not the right kind of fear. Before I got to know God better, apprehension shrouded my desire to speak in conversation with Him. I feared that everything that came out of God’s mouth would convict me. I dreaded His wrath, because I did not know the truth about His character.

God is loving, kind, compassionate, forgiving, faithful, trustworthy, and so much more. He loves us so much He wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us. I had to get to know God more intimately before the only fear I felt toward Him equaled awe and reverence. Psalm 147:11 says, “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” God delights when we fear Him with a reverence that acknowledges we can put our trust in Him and depend on Him for everything.

Now that I know God better because of spending time in His Word and listening to His voice, I no longer fear Him with anxiety and apprehension. I can’t wait to speak with Him because He amazes me. I now fear God out of reverence and respect because He has made His loving character known to me through His Word and His voice. I can depend on Him to meet all my needs. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10).

            Read Acts 9. It’s the story of Saul, later renamed Paul. After the death and resurrection of Christ, Saul threatened to kill Jesus’ disciples and take His followers as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus, however, he saw a light from heaven flash around him. “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’” (Acts 9:4) It was the voice of Jesus. Saul could have fallen from the fear and dread of what was about to happen, or from the awe and reverence of being in the presence of the Lord. As he met the Lord face to face, Saul may have feared his own identity as one who persecuted the Jesus who stood before him.

Is it possible your identity causes you anxiety in communicating with Jesus? If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are a child of God. No longer are you a slave to fear. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” However, you may not feel connected to God. Maybe you’ve strayed from living a life that pleases God, and the shame you feel causes you to fear God’s wrath. Perhaps you have stopped attending church, reading the Bible, or praying regularly. As a result, you experience apprehension about how Jesus would relate to you if He spoke to you.

Many times, we claim our identity from external sources in our lives. My identity branded me early in life when I heard my mom repeatedly refer to me as “an accident.” Accidents are unwanted, unexpected events that we don’t plan for and that sometimes cause pain: physical, emotional, or spiritual. I knew my mom had not planned me; therefore, I believed I was unwanted and unloved. My conception and birth had caused my mother undue emotional pain and then emotionally scarred me for much of my life. The external label “accident” spawned an internal insecurity about my identity that stuck with me for more than thirty years.

Another fear that blocked my communication with God was the fear of intimacy. I feared He wouldn’t speak to me; therefore, I didn’t want to experience the pain of rejection. I wasn’t even sure He listened to me when I talked to Him. I hesitated to get emotionally close to God and become too dependent on Him because I feared He would let me down, as others had.

I knew I was a child of God, but I didn’t feel like His child. What if God also viewed me as an accident? What if He didn’t love me either? What if my sins were too big for God to forgive? God wouldn’t speak to me. I was nothing to Him. I was nobody special. Why would He talk to me? Do you ever experience conversations like this within yourself? Are you insecure about your relationship with Jesus? Are you unsure about your identity in Christ? I was. My uncertainties caused me to approach the throne of God with fear and trembling, not in confidence with awe and wonder.

The first time I sat down to listen for God’s voice, I needed reassurance from God that He wasn’t angry with me. I wanted to know how He felt about me. I longed to know who He saw when He looked at me. I craved His attention, positive or negative. I prepared myself for whatever He would say to me. I wanted to know who I was to God and that He had a plan for my life. Battling depression for the second time, I desperately needed a reason to go on.

My depression counseling sessions had turned into spiritual mentoring meetings. My counselor described how he listened to Jesus’s voice and encouraged me to try it. He instructed me to record my conversations with Jesus in a journal. During one session, we talked about how God has His own special name for each of His children. My counselor invited me to consider asking God, “What is your name for me?”

A name is more than a way to identify someone. It’s a birthright; it represents our heritage, our legacy, our inheritance. It becomes our own challenge to make our names good and live up to our full potential as God’s creation. This starts when we seek God for His name for us. We can’t live into our God-given identity and purpose until we understand what that is.

God’s chosen name for you may be different than the name your parents gave you. Many people throughout the Old and New Testaments received their names, name changes, or identity, directly from the mouth of God and Jesus: Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), Isaac, Jacob (Israel), John the Baptist, Jesus, Simon (Peter), and Saul (Paul), to cite a few.

Considering the possibility that God had a special name for me, I was excited to learn it.  It was the missing link to my identity, my sanity, and my confidence in Christ. One evening, I escaped the noise of my family and retired to my quiet bedroom. This marked the first time that I really tried to hear God speak. I wanted to capture whatever I heard from God that night, so I wrote all my thoughts in a notebook.

I asked God, “What do you think of me? Who am I to you? Do you have a name for me?” I listened intently but heard nothing. I kept asking the same questions but didn’t know what to expect or how the answer would come to me. Would I hear an audible voice? Again I inquired of God, “Who do you see when you look at me? What is your name for me?”

In one very distinct moment, I heard a name whispered in my thoughts. I wrote it down, but I quickly dismissed it, not being able to relate to it at all. I asked God again, “What is your name for me?” Again, the voice in my head repeated the name. Once more, I thought I’d heard it incorrectly. I couldn’t identify with the name. I didn’t understand its meaning. I had expected to hear a name like “beloved one,” similar to the name one of my friend’s had heard.

A third time, I requested God’s name for me. Yet again, God confirmed it in my thoughts, and this time the words took center stage in my head, displayed in all capital letters. Three times God clearly spoke the same name to me in my thoughts. I knew it must be the name He had given me—but I didn’t recognize the meaning behind it.

One way to confirm and comprehend what God says to us is to go to Scripture. Using the concordance in my Bible, I began a two-hour search for all the verses and meanings I could find about the name God had spoken to me. Seeing the name appear in more than twenty-five verses surprised me. As I read each verse and the surrounding passages, a feeling of peace and joy came over me. Emotion overwhelmed me. When I discovered the meaning of God’s name for me, it resonated with me. This name would most likely not mean the same thing to any other person, but it embodied everything I longed to be to God and everything I desired to hear from God at that moment.

That evening, God met me at the bottom of the pit of depression I occupied. He showered me with His loving kindness. He lifted me up out of the darkness and washed off the mud. I connected with Him in a way I never had before. I had a new understanding that God is alive. He’s a loving Father who cares about me and wants to have a relationship with me. I felt special, wanted, and loved by God. I felt important to God, a priority to Him. When I discovered how God felt about me, nothing else mattered. My fear dissipated and my confidence in the Lord replaced it. When I felt loved and wanted by the God of the universe, I had a new reason to live and a new excitement about what the future would hold for me. No longer did I fear spending time with God.

Shortly after I received God’s name for me and began spending more time alone with Him, my church went through a 40 Days of Purpose study from the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. From this study, God revealed and confirmed many things to me as He healed me and strengthened me.

God brought to light the reason He created me and His purpose for my life here on earth. He wants me to help set His captives free, like He set me free, by awakening hearts to Him. He wants me to help lead His people to the promised land, which is the abundant life in Christ, through a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He wants me to be a light to the Gentiles, people who do not know God yet. Really, these assignments represent activities He calls all of His children to carry out. It’s what Jesus did when He walked the earth. God’s Word promises, in John 14:12, we will do even greater things than Jesus did. Can you believe it?

If you have not yet heard the voice of God, I encourage you to listen. If you do not yet know God’s name for you, I pray you will ask Him. If you find yourself imprisoned by Satan’s lies about your identity, I invite you to seek God’s truth and let God Himself set you straight.

God is a gentleman. He pursues us, but He doesn’t crash in on us and take us over. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” Jesus continually pursues us. He is pursuing you now. He stands at the door to your heart and knocks, saying, “Here I am!” He patiently waits for you to listen, hear His voice, open the door, and let Him in to enjoy intimate relationship with the living God.

Open the door to Jesus. He will come in, sit with you, and eat with you. Are you hungry to hear God’s voice? Are you desperate enough to listen? He waits for your response. Will you open your door, and your ears, to what God has to say to you? He calls you by name. No need to fear God because of who you are or who you are not. You are His child, loved and redeemed by Him. Identify yourself with the name God so carefully chose for you before the world began. Your name is engraved on His palms (see Isaiah 49:16).

Some lies swirling around in our heads evolve from the idea that the only things God will say to you are: He will convict you of your sin, or God will ask you to do something you don’t want to do, or He’s full of only wrath and fury toward you because of your sin. Are these falsehoods feeding your fear of intimacy with God? Get your copy of 7 Roadblocks to Hearing God Speak, and start identifying and eliminating any lies you may be unknowingly investing in.

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Book Two in Hearing God’s Voice Series