“Ask and it will be given.” ~ Why the Secret and the Law of Attraction are Wrong!

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

There are so many passages in the Bible that are misinterpreted. They are interpreted based on what we want them to say rather than what they actually say. I got caught up in the “Secret” and the “Law of Attraction” several years ago. Even my Christian friends were suckered into it because it is touted as being Bible based. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think of how Satan takes truths and slightly (really slightly) modifies them to make them not true anymore but really easy to swallow as truth. You know how GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms, aka “food that is not really food anymore”, aka “you can eat it but shouldn’t”) are just like the original only better? They grow quicker, yield more, taste richer, have less waste, etc, etc. That is what Satan hopes his “version” of the Bible does for each and every one of us. Pick and choose what we want and throw out the rest.

blueletterbibleSo, back to the above verse and why our friends who teach the Law of Attraction really have missed the whole point of this passage (and other verses in the Bible that seem to say the same thing.) There are some helpful ways to interpret Scripture through the hermeneutical process. Three main areas to always consider are: Biblical Context, Historical Background, and The Bible as a Whole.

Biblical context is simple. What context was the passage in question relating to? Read the verses surrounding the verse in question.

Historical Background may take a bit longer to discover through commentaries and other historical reading. What did the passage mean to the people it was written to? What was going on in their time? What historical events surrounded them at the time of the writing? Why was it written, for what purpose? Who specifically was it intended for? It is important here to look up multiple translations as well as the original Greek or Hebrew words used in the passage.

And lastly, understanding the Bible as a Whole can also take a while. This is often referred to as “Scripture Interprets Scripture.” You need to see where else in the Bible there is use of phrases or specific words that come up in the passage. One of my favorite resources is Blue Letter Bible. See image above. It is important to research words and what they fully meant, not how one translation has decided to translate it. It is also important to find out if the specific meaning you think it means is taught anywhere else in the Bible. If it is not, then perhaps you need to rethink your understanding of the passage.

So, let’s take a look at our passage in question (Matthew 7:7-11) and dissect it a bit.

What is the Biblical Context? Please read all of Matthew 7 right now if you have not yet. In reading the verses before and after it seems clear they are talking about how we live our lives and how that pertains to the glory of Yahweh, our personal salvation, as well as our deserved judgement. If our relationship with Yahweh and salvation is what is in context then it would make sense that the passage is telling us to ask for salvation and the things of Yahweh. Let’s dig a bit deeper by looking at the Historical Background.

What was the Historical Background? Jesus is at the end of his now famous ‘Sermon on the Mount” as read in Matthew 5-7. It is probably one of the most well know passages in all the New Testament. However, when he was giving it, and even when it was written down or passed along via pure memorization, the text in the early church was not well known like it is today. The last verse in chapter 7 states the people were amazed. What Jesus was saying was not only counter intuitive and somewhat odd at the time (in some cases very odd and downright heretical) the people were astonished. First because of what he was saying, but second because of how he was saying it. Think about it. When you hear someone speak about something they have studied, there is a sense of humility in that knowledge. It is like your pastor preaching from the Word of God. Now think about when you have heard someone talk about something they have discovered or created, like a scientist or book author. They speak with a much greater sense of authority (authorship). That is exactly how Jesus was speaking because he has authored it all! Everything. Every last word, note, hair, syllable, brick, dot, iota, cell, molecule, star, planet, you get the idea. EVERYTHING. So he has a right to speak with complete authority. People just did not talk that way back then, not even the scribes or the pharisees. There was great power behind how Jesus spoke and the people sat up to listen.

So, think about this. Jesus goes from “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” straight into the idea of “asking”. Then he states “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” If I look at this from the audience of the time’s perspective I would not think to my self: “Wow, you mean to tell me I can ask for anything I want and I will get it?” As I would say to my child, “Sorry, that is not correct.”

Finally let’s take a look at other passages that can shed some light on this one.

Scripture Interprets Scripture.

Below are a list of verses similar to Matthew 7:7 and are the ones most brought up in the discussion of the Law of Attraction. Before moving forward here is a simple definition of the Law of Attraction: Like attracts like. If you think it, you will be it. If you ask for it you will receive it.
HERE ARE THE VERSES:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22, ESV)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24, ESV)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14, ESV)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7, ESV)

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23, ESV)

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24, ESV)

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly (James 4:3, ESV)

When we look at all these verses that seem to imply that we simply need to ask God for our desires and he will give them to us it can be very enticing to go down that rabbit hole. However, when you use the above two steps to find out what the Bible is talking about in each verse you will quickly find out that they are all talking about God’s will and not yours. It is not about your job, your bank account, the school your kids go to, your retirement plan, or even the simple day to day things that we want and desire. Yes, God wants good things for his kids but when you really study scripture as a whole, cover to cover, you will see that there really is no promise of good things on THIS earth in THIS lifetime. He is talking about your salvation and what amazingly great things (and I mean uncomprehendingly GREAT things) he will be giving you then, not now!

Take a look at this verse:

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b, ESV)

This is quite possibly the MOST misinterpreted verses in the Bible when it comes to the Law of Attraction. People say, “Check this out, God WANTS you to have an abundant life!” I like how they take out the first part of the verse, because it is a bit confusing when it is put in the context they want it to be in. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV) Using hermeneutics, you will discover that Jesus is talking about salvation. You will also see that when you interpret this passage based on other scripture, the word abundant is used here to describe life upon life, or eternal life, or everlasting life, not a full and abundant life now.

So, what should you do with all of this? Here are 5 Simple Steps.

1. Read the Bible fully and often.

2. Utilize your brain by looking at the complete context of a passage in question.

3. Use tools like a concordance, lexicon, and Hebrew/Greek dictionary to understand the words better. Here are a couple good ones online: Bible Study Tools or Blue Letter Bible.

4. Find a church that has great Bible based, expository preaching and teaching. Check out 9Marks to find a church in your area that professes this as one of their goals.

5. Read the Bible fully and often.

Maranatha!

P.S. ~ All of the above is one of the main reasons I am learning Hebrew and Greek. It is that important!

Our Deep Desire to Feel Forgiven

jenosullivan_20131126_0001I was on a walk with my son and he mistakenly tipped over the Bob stroller while I was washing my hands because he was leaning out of it to the side. He is 6 so he’s a bit big for the stroller but he likes the ride. (Personally I would love to take a ride in the Bob too! ha!) So, in the tipping over, everything fell out of the cup holders onto the concrete: my iPhone and my brand new Bluetooth speaker. Both got a bit scratched up. He was horrified. The look on his face was such deep remorse. He knows the value of things and is a very careful child. I scrambled to pick everything up and to check if all was still working. Check. Then I looked back at him. “Sorry mom.”

I knew it was an accident, but when I went to wash my hands I gave him specific instructions to stay seated. He did not. I told him as much. I knew it was an accident but he also did not listen to my instructions. I said a short “OK” that meant I accepted his apology. It was not enough for him. For the next 10 minutes as we walked up the hill, he kept saying he was sorry, really sorry. I had forgiven him. We talked about it and all was done. Then why was he still pursuing my forgiveness? It dawned on me. I do the same thing with God! I know in my head that I am forgiven the moment I ask to be. Even my sin nature (not my actions but my sin being) is fully forgiven. But still, I bring things up over and over again. “I’m sorry! Really really sorry!”

My son needed to “feel” forgiven. The idea that he knew in his head that he was forgiven was not enough. I stopped our walk and went around to talk to him to let him know that I fully forgive him. I fully love him. I know he made a mistake. I gave him a hug. That is what he needed. He is my child. I am the child of God’s. Sometimes I need a hug. I need to be told in several different ways that I am forgiven. But how do we get to the point where it is not just head knowledge but we actually feel forgiven?

I remember asking a friend of mine a related question when I was in High School. “How come I cannot feel God anymore and how do I get that feeling back?” I’ve asked that question multiple times over the years to multiple people, pastors included. It always boiled down to something I was doing wrong. Sadly that is just not true. We speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us through His Word and circumstances. If you are not in His Word daily, and I don’t mean reading a verse or two, I mean really IN His Word, studying and learning, then what makes you think you are going to have any sense for what He wants to tell you?

I have heard of the Scriptures being the Living Word of God. What? I never fully understood that. Being a highly churched person, the concept went right over my head. Now, however, I get it. We, as humans need life. We need living interaction with others. God is so distant at times. Well, Biblically He may be testing you, but naturally He wants to have you seek Him and He wants to be known. His Word is life and to us who follow Jesus it is also alive! If you claim Jesus as your savior I challenge you this year to read the Bible cover to cover plus do a study of a couple books over the year. My pastor, Mike Fabarez says “One of the greatest ways to guard against heresy is to read the entire Bible often.”

I know a lot of you may say, “Sure, I’ve read the entire Bible.” Really? Every Year? Maybe you have. I can tell you that I used to say that all the time. Then I actually did it. All the way. Cover to cover. It changed me. God changed me. It is amazing and I highly recommend you start today. Check out this very easy Daily Bible Reading plan. I love it because some days when I am in my car I can listen to it on my phone or even through my Bluetooth. No longer can the excuse be made to not read your Bible as I am giving you a link to LISTEN to it every day.

If you want to read more on my thoughts about why reading the Bible as well as wanting to read the Bible may in fact prove or possibly even disprove your salvation, check out this post: DO YOU LOVE GOD’S WORD?

No judgement, just a call to do a spiritual check up. 🙂

Shalom! (I’m learning Hebrew, yippee!)

My Journey in Learning Hebrew: How I got Started

Pray for the Peace of JerusalemI was heading home after dropping my son off at school. I pass by Temple Beth El every day. On this day I thought, “Why not give them a call and ask about Hebrew lessons?” So I quickly mapped the location on my phone and got their number while at the red light in front of the temple. I called and the receptionist exclaimed “Perfect timing! We only do one or two adult Hebrew classes a year and we have one today at 4:15!” I told her, “Sign me up!” I laughed most of the way home as I knew it was not my perfect timing but God’s.

I went to the first class armed with my note pad and pen, early as usual to anything academic related. Once the class started the teacher announced that anyone interested in taking more classes outside of this class that she would love to “give back” to the community by offering her tutoring services for FREE!

WHAT?!!! Again I said, “SIGN ME UP!” Yet another gift from God!

It turned out that I was the only student interested, so my lovely friend Barbara has been tutoring me for the past 2 and a half months. What a blessing she is and as I look at how it all came to be, the clear hand of God has been on everything related to this Jewish Temple allowing me, a Christian into their world to teach me the things of our Elohim. Amazing!

Maranatha!

My Journey in Learning Hebrew

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Over the past few months I have had a deep unexplainable urge to learn Hebrew. My journey has been so fascinating that I would like to share with those of you who might be interested in some things I have found to make my journey immeasurably fruitful.

Everyone from my Jewish step-mom, to my sister, to the secretary at my church have all asked “Why?” with some confusion laced in their expression. My first thought was “Why not?” But to say that would be disrespectful. I honestly had no idea. I know if you asked me 6 months ago what my interest in Judaism, Israel, and the Hebrew language was I would have said “slim to none other than the fact that my Christian roots come from Jewish history and that my step family is Jewish.” Fast forward 3 months and all I can think about is Israel. A whole section of my day is reserved for praying for Jerusalem. I am enamored with learning about Jewish tradition and their language. So the question still stands… Why?

I know for sure that one reason I desire to learn to read, write, and speak Hebrew is a need to understand what God meant when the Bible was penned. The words in Hebrew have a much larger breadth of meaning than the translated English words do. Therefor, passages are often literally lost in translation.

The reason for learning the traditions and cultures as they relate to “now” and to the historically understood “then” is to be able to understand the context in which it was written as well as how Jews translate or keep those traditions today and how that applies to me as a YHWH worshiping soul. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.) 🙂

Those two reasons are the only way I can explain it, but deeper than those is something I have no way of explaining. I just feel called to learn and to pray for Israel. As a side note, I am praying for the FINAL peace of Jerusalem, not a “peace treaty” or anything other than the revealed glory of God through the revival of his people.

Over the next few days I am going to delve into my journey and show you YHWH’s guiding and providential hand in it all.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3, ESV)

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good. (Psalm 122:6-9, ESV)

Maranatha!

Have you ever really counted the cost?

Follow MeHave you ever counted the cost? Did you find your “faith” in one of the following ways?

  1. I grew up in the Church so I have known God and loved Jesus since I was a child.
  2. I gave my life to Christ in Junior High at a camp. It was very emotional and a wonderful “mountain top” experience.
  3. I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” with someone to have Jesus come into my heart.
  4. I was baptized as a child so I’m covered.
  5. I raised my hand at the end of a sermon when the pastor did a call to salvation.
  6. I walked the isle at a church when I was in college and gave my life to Christ.
  7. I had hands laid on me and was prayed over to receive salvation.

These are just a few ways people in the 21st century tend to “find” Jesus. Your salvation may, in fact, be true and you have lived a change life ever since. However if you fall into the category of “I gave my life to Christ but never really saw a change because I’ve always been a good person” you may want to do some digging or even just a simple look into how you live your life. Here is a list of what the cost is to follow Jesus as it states in the Bible. The gift of salvation is free, we do not have to pay a penalty or work to get salvation, however there is a worldly cost, or rather loss to us if we are true followers of Jesus.

  1. You must deny yourself. (Mark 8:34)
  2. You must be emphatically, overwhelmingly, and fully in love with Yahweh (God). (Matthew 22:37-38)
  3. You must love Jesus more than you do your kids. (Matthew 10:37)
  4. You must love Jesus more than you do yourself. (Luke 14:26-27)
  5. You must consider what you spend your money on. (Luke 9:56–62)
  6. You must consider your comfort compared to the comfort of others. (Luke 9:56–62)
  7. Do you look like everyone else on the planet? Could anyone look at your life who is not a Christian and say, “Now there is a follower of Jesus!”? (Romans 12:2) (James 4:4)
  8. Does anyone literally hate you because you are outspoken for Jesus? (John 15:18-21) (2 Timothy 3:12)
  9. When we sin as a child of Yahweh (God) we will get disciplined. (Revelation 3:19) (Hebrews 10:31)
  10. Do you suffer more now that you are a Christian than when you were not? THIS IS BIG FOR TODAY’S “CHRISTIANS” AND IS OFTEN WHY THE COST IS TOO HIGH. (1 Peter 1:6-9) (2 Corinthians 1:8-10) (James 1:2-4) (Romans 5:3-5)

Below are some great articles for further reading:

The Cost of Being a Disciple

The Cost of Following Jesus

Are you a “Politically Correct Christian”?

Yeshuah Jesus Yahweh is SalvationHow do you feel about Jesus? While this may seem obvious, let’s unpack the idea a bit more. OK, so you are a Christian. What does that mean, exactly?

  1. You love Jesus.
  2. You believe in Jesus.
  3. You have put your faith and trust in him.
  4. You have turned from your sinful ways and toward righteousness.
  5. You go to church.
  6. You volunteer.
  7. You pray.
  8. You read your Bible.

That is great! Welcome to eternal salvation. Well… hold on. We have been going over in our Friday discussions, week after week specific things that may or may not validate your salvation even if you do all the above mentioned “Christian” activities. So, this one is simple. How do you feel about Jesus? Your first thought might be, “I love Him.” Now put yourself against these scenarios:

  1. You are at work, you are on your break at your desk reading your Bible. How do you react when you hear someone coming?
  2. You are at a restaurant with friends. Do you pray before a meal or do you pass it up for lighter conversation?
  3. Do you ever pray for an extended period of time with another friend out in public?
  4. You are at work in the lunchroom. Do you pray before your meal in front of everyone or do you quietly pray in your mind without anyone being the wiser?
  5. You are at a social event and someone you have never met asks you what you do. Do you bring up your reason for living by bringing up Jesus or do you talk endlessly about what you do for a monetary living?
  6. You are at the park with a friend who is definitely not a believer (make it more real and imagine your Muslim, gay, lesbian, or outspoken atheist friend), and you casually tuck your cross necklace into your shirt before you see them.
  7. You are at your kids school picking them up and you get into a conversation with another mom. Does the name of Jesus ever come into your conversations day after day?
  8. Generally speaking how often does the name Jesus enter into your daily conversation with everyone around you? Never I bet if you are honest. A very few of you will answer “All the time.” Praise YHWH for you and your boldness!

We sing songs about “Jesus, only Jesus” but then are afraid to mention His name in mixed company for fear we will lose our jobs or lose that friend or lose respect. We think in our hearts I cannot wait to see the face of Jesus shining like the sun, but then can’t seem to say his name to others during our day.  Is this how someone treats someone they love? When you are in love you want to shout it from the mountain tops. When you find your spouse you cannot wait to introduce them to everyone and anyone. When you have your first, second, third, twelfth grandchild how quick are you to whip out those photos of them even to perfect strangers? But Jesus? No, that is not politically correct. It’s sad. More importantly it may mean eaternal damnation.

Ask yourself: “How do I really feel about Jesus?” The world sends thousands of signals to us like little darts all intended for us to dislike or even hate Jesus. We are in a literal battlefield. If only we could see what the angels can see. Take a look at what the Bible says about it.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5, ESV)

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33, ESV)

Based on personal experience, I thought I was a Christian but realized I was actually ashamed of Jesus. I was the politically correct “Christian.” I praise YHWH for showing me my folly. Pray about this one, my friend. Don’t be ashamed of Jesus! If this convicted you even a small bit, please read through the other Fruit Audit topics to the right.

Maranatha!

What’s in a Name?

Your name is the most important word you know. It is the first word you fully understood and continues to be an integral part of who you are. When people call us by another name or mispronounce our name or misspell our name it is offensive to us. My son’s name is Jacob Timothy O’Sullivan. He goes by Jacob. Some people choose to call him Jake even though we have never told them that is his name. He gets angry and a bit sad when he tells them his name is Jacob and not Jake and yet they continue to call him Jake. Because his middle name is Timothy, we sometimes call him JT. That also upsets him to no end. These are variations on pretty much the same name. The word God is not even close to Yahweh’s real name.

Imagine, for a minute, how Yahweh feels when we call him God. It is a translated name but the origin is a bit obscure. Did you know that the English word for יהוה (which is the tetragrammaton of YHVH) is Yahweh, which is what most feel the pronunciation might be? Yahweh is the actual transliterated name of God. Did you also know that the word God comes from pagan origins as noted in the Bible? It’s root is actually found in the Bible in Hebrew text as GD or “gimel dalet” (גד). Vowel pointers in Joshua 11:17, 12:7, 13:5 create the word to sound like “Gawd” or our present day “God.” You can see more on this topic HERE or see below for more links to interesting studies. Why do we assume that God is not offended by what we call him if we are so vehemently offended when others mess up our name?

So, is this a real issue? That is up to you and your own walk with Yahweh. The argument could be made that if YHVH/Yahwey/God were upset he would have done something about it. Instead he has allowed millions of Bibles to be printed without his original name spelling. We live in a fallen world, however my goal for my walk with Yahweh is to do all I can to honor Him so I have been practicing and slowly but surely changing my verbiage in my mind and prayers and writings over to YHVH (Yahweh). Please share your comments on this topic as it can get a bit controversial and I know you have an opinion. I encourage you to take a look at some of the writings below.

Yahweh

Other Relevant Studies

Knowing the Bible: The Meaning of Yahweh
Truth of Yahweh
Scriptural Truth 101: Origin of the Name God
Eliyah: Importance of using Yahweh’s Name
Kosher Messiah: What’s in a Name (drop down to page 19 to get the commentary.)

James 1:16 “Wanderer from God”

Wanderer from God

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. – James 1:16 (ESV)

This short verse is a transitional verse, however, there is much to be learned from it. “Deceived” in Greek expression means to go astray or wander. Deceived in our present day language seems to have less impactful weight than it did in James’ time. They may have thought of Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
A sheep wandering off for me today has less weight than a shepherd of James’ time because I don’t fully get the scary thought of that. I suppose I need to consider what they considered and fully understood: if I wandered off I would get slaughtered by a fox. It was my choice to wander. Lesson to be learned: Be careful not to blame God for my sin.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

Study through the Book of James with HolyJustLove.com!
James 1:2-3
James 1:4
James 1:5
James 1:6
James 1:7-8
James 1:9-11
James 1:12
James 1:13
James 1:14
James 1:15
James 1:16

Fruit Audit ~ Do You Love God’s Word?

I was going through life as a “Christian” and the one thing that bothered me the most is that other Christians always said they loved reading God’s Word. Pastors would often preach that when you become a Christian you would thirst and hunger after the word of God like a newborn baby thirsts and hungers for his mother’s milk.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. – 1 Peter 2:2-3, ESV

I don’t know about you, but I just was not getting it. Sure, I read my Bible a couple times a week. Every once in a while I would “commit” to reading the Bible every day. That always lasted about 5 days. I remember the longest I ever consecutively read my Bible was 34 days. You’ve heard it said that to create a habit you have to do something every day for 21 days. I remember vividly thinking “I’ve done it! I’ve created a habit of reading my Bible!” Only to fail on day 35, 36, 37, 38, 39….. Oh shoot, was I supposed to be reading my Bible? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!!!! Oh the shame. But really, who else knows other than me, myself and God? On I went stumbling through reading (or not reading) my Bible.

So, there you have it. I was convinced that I was doomed to always be burdened with the chore of reading the Bible. I knew it was supposed to be enjoyable and I knew I was supposed to be refreshed by it, but honestly I just wasn’t. Here are a couple verses in the Bible that told me something was wrong.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, – Romans 7:22, ESV

David said it perfectly in Psalm 19 as seen below and I still did not get it.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; – Psalm 19:7-8, ESV

David made it sound so simple and pure and revitalizing and joyful and enlightening… but for me it was sometimes just boring. I could hardly understand the stuff I read and the things I did understand seemed antiquated or impossible to put into practice. But still I tried. I even prayed as Tozer did for God to open my mind to understanding. It worked sometimes but I knew deep down I was missing something. Something no one could answer for me. Perhaps I was just dumb. My college educated brain was too stupid to understand the Word of God.

And lastly I got to John 8. 😦

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” – John 8:47, ESV

There was my answer. Hindsight is 20/20. I did not realize it at the time, nor could I have predicted the outcome. After 25 years, thinking I was saved and struggling terribly through the Word of God, practically beating myself up with my lack of love for God’s Word, I now understand fully that I was not actually converted. You may take issue with this controversial thought. I can tell you, however, with absolute certainty that the very thing I struggled with has become a complete and utter joy in my life. The Word of God, now that I am truly a “new creation” has been opened to me like I never could have imagined. I literally cannot get enough of it.

The best way I can illustrate this idea is from the perspective of being a mom. Before I had a child people would tell me all the time that my life would change in ways I could not even imagine. “Oh the wonder! Oh the joy!” or so they would say. I remember thinking, all these people are nuts! I love my life and no child is going to change it THAT drastically. Sure it would be different, but all these moms who keep blabbing on and on about motherhood were close to making me puke at times. Flash forward to the day I have my baby, then flash forward 5 years into motherhood and I get it. I drank the “juice” and know EXACTLY what they are talking about. If you don’t have kids yet, this won’t make much sense to you, but if you do, this is what it is like when you become a true converted soul, fully and wholly consecrated to the Almighty Father and LORD Jesus Christ. The Word of God is literally life. I cannot get enough of it now.

With all of that said, you may be wondering about your own salvation and may even want to find out on a deeper level if you are truly saved or have just been in love with Jesus, in love with what Christianity offers, in love with the community, but not fully and 100% devoted to Christ. It is OK to test yourself. Paul asks us to do it.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV

Don’t get crazy and start freaking out just yet. This is not meant to scare you but it is meant to give you a reality check. I recommend checking out some of the series below as well as heading over to the Fruit Audit section on www.HolyJustLove.com. Be blessed and be confidently assured of your salvation. It is an amazing thing!

Attributes of God: He is Love

God Is Love

Your love is so crushing when I think deeply about it. Who would do what You did? You did not have to solve our problem. We were the ones who disobeyed You! But You came! You came and lived a perfect life among us. There was no fault in You at all. I could only imagine being Mary when you were a child; a confusingly perfect child. Your solution is humanly unthinkable. You did no wrong and yet You took the ultimate punishment. You died a horrendous humiliating death on a stake; fully beaten, bloody, and naked. You were innocent and yet You kept silent because You had a plan. A plan that no one would ever, ever conceive. But You did. Because You are love. That kind of love is crushing. It crushes my heart. It overwhelms me. You are not just loving, You are the epitome of love. YOU ARE LOVE!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-21, ESV)