Day #2

1 John 4:18-19

I stumbled in the dark one night toward the bathroom. Suddenly, a manly figure loomed before me in the shadows. I gasped, preparing for a blood-curdling scream. 

Zoom in on my face at that moment: eyes wide, pupils dilated, nostrils flared, brows lifted, and mouth in a perfect, terrified “O.” Adrenaline has opened up every orifice in my head for one simple purpose–to help me take in as much information as possible about the perceived threat in front of me. 

It turned out to be my husband. I hadn’t seen him get out of bed at the same time as I did. 

The fear response makes us hyper-perceptive for survival reasons. If my wide eyes saw the glint of a knife I’d know to run. If I felt a hand close around my arm, I’d fight. Fight or flight can keep us alive; I thank God for it. 

But what about when we have that fight or flight reaction to God? After all, He’s quite powerful. And it’s clear in His Word that He’s not very happy about sin. Isn’t fear of God rational on one level? We’re told the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

It isn’t the end of wisdom, though. 

That initial rush of adrenaline humans feel when encountering a holy, sin-hating God makes us hyper-perceptive. Our wide-open eyes search for signs of anger. Our ears listen for words of condemnation. We wonder if we will live through the encounter. Fear of God arrests our attention. It focuses us on Him for perhaps the first time in our lives. And what do we find as we focus? Love. We learn that the one we fear may take our lives, actually laid His life down so that we could live forever with Him. And that perfect, self-giving love displaces fear. 

Think of how, in perhaps small ways, God has shown up in your life. How has God revealed His love to you? Perhaps a close relationship, a memorable experience, or a moment in nature. Speak out loud three ways in which you have felt God love you. 

Let us pray. Dear God, we are beginning to see Your love. Help us see more. Give us wide-open eyes to Your great sacrifice, and to all the small ways You tell us how much you love us. In the name of the Jesus Who gave all, Amen.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

66 thoughts on “Day #2

  1. Katrina

    So thankful for the peaceful experience this morning! My 12 year old daughter joined too! Makes mommas heart so thankful!

    Reply
    1. Jason

      There’s nothing quite like spending time with your children. If I, as a sinner, can have this much love and devotion for my daughters, imagine the infinite love God has for us!!

      Reply
  2. Annie

    One of the ways I have felt God’s love for me is being able to look back and see that God saved me from a very unhealthy relationship that was destructive to my overall well-being. I also feel God’s love through the wonderful family and friends I have in my life. Most recently, I have felt God’s love as He has healed me from Covid 19 and has sustained my husband’s life as he has been in the hospital for 24 days now, and is making great improvements.

    Reply
  3. Nowelle

    Three ways I see God’s love for me:
    1. He provided something that our family needed before I even asked.
    2. I love birds, so in nature, when I hear them sing as I’m walking, I imagine He sent them to sing for me, and I remember how much He loves me.
    3. In our travels, God has put many people in our path to encourage us. One woman in particular stands out. She didn’t even know our story, but she welcomed us, accepted us as we were, fed us and presented me with a love gift that was exactly pertinent to our story. God showed up BIG time through her!

    Reply
  4. Lisa Reynoso

    Just this morning a friend posted about how religious trauma affects people. I am grateful to not have that kind of trauma. But I do believe I have not always understood the true character of God, coming from a rather legalistic upbringing. Some people worry about the focus on love, as if somehow we are missing something by doing so, but it is God’s love that moves us. Emotion has the word “motion” in it for a reason.

    Reply
  5. Barbara Bolton

    I’ve been thinking more and more recently about the purpose of prayer. I’ve asked myself many times why I should pray? God already knows EVERYTHING – God already has a plan. So, the purpose can’t be to provide Him with information. I’ve concluded that prayer, like conversations with my adult children, is simply because I LOVE talking with them! Even when they are venting frustration about situations in their lives, when they are sharing nonsense or information I already have, I LOVE talking with them. God wants us to share our lives with Him. He wants us to feel safe, loved. He wants to give us good gifts. That’s why He says, “before they call, I will answer”. He knows what we need/want and He’s already preparing the answer, but He wants the invitation from us! I SO thankful for His great desire for me!
    I thoroughly enjoyed the meditations you’ve prepared, Jennifer, and the music is exquisite! The sound quality is amazing and gives an all-enveloping experience that, when I close my eyes, gives me a “Calgon, take me away” experience! Thanks for taking the best of meditations and making them a healthy spiritual experience!

    Reply
  6. Rachel

    Hello, Rachel again!
    The meditation today was really cool to me. I’ve always wondered about the verses saying to fear the Lord, and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Having a little more insight on those verses have helped give them more depth and meaning to me.
    Three ways I’ve seen Jesus love me in my life:
    1) Through my parents
    2) My church family
    3) Through nature
    Thanks so much, Jesus!

    Reply
  7. Ann

    I live alone in northeast USA. I see beautiful nature from my living room window…snow, deer, blue sky, the sleeping pollinator garden, and swaying maple tree branches. It is a show of God’s love every day. He is my help when no one else is near. This week His strength helped me complete a home repair job that was way above my skill level. Ha! The promises He gives in the Bible are more precious than anything. I love these first two meditations. It soothes my soul. A couple of questions: are the breathing song words available anywhere? Are there any plans of having an Android app for this?

    Reply
  8. Joy owens

    I’m enjoying your Jesus meditations. I would love if there was also just the track of the scriptures to listen and learn to sing.

    Reply
  9. belinda Jacob

    This was powerful this morning! My greatest fear has always been that I am not innately loveable. But God has been showing and teaching me in recent times that he loves me. today’s meditation was a perfect reminder that the more I get to know God and his character the more loved I will feel and the more freedom I will experience from fear.

    Reply
  10. Onieka

    Given everything I have been through the last year, and all the pain caused by family that they do not want to acknowledge, it was hard for me to see God’s love. But thinking back on it, I see that He has saved me from so many instances where I would have been worse for wear. I know that God does not want us to endure these experiences and wants fullness of life more me, for everyone.

    Reply
  11. cree

    I’m enjoying these meditations so far, thank you!
    I love this: We learn that the one we fear may take our lives, actually laid His life down so that we could live forever with Him. And that perfect, self-giving love displaces fearWell put! My prayer is to meditate on His word as often as I can throughout each day..

    Reply
  12. Cheryl

    I’m seeking to know God’s love for me and I desire to know and love God and Jesus, His Son. To accept His love and forgiveness and to extend that to others.

    The three ways I’ve seen God show up for me and I’m grateful for are:

    1) An old stray dog I took in last summer who is quiet and stand-off-ish, climbed onto the porch swing with me one day while I was heavy hearted and crying, and he put his head on my shoulder (You know…it’s true D-O-G is GOD spelled backwards).

    2) Last summer, at night, I saw a huge dark cloud over the ocean but close to the shore, with lightening flashing inside the cloud, from every angle and so quickly. It was an awesome display of God’s power and presence! Then it struck me that there was no thunder, there was no sound coming from the cloud. All was peaceful around it. That was truly an amazing experience!

    3) In the last six months or so, God has finally answered one of my long term prayers. Through my brokenness, He has brought Jesus believing, Sabbath keeping, wonderful, strong, encouraging women, who are pray warriors into my life which all came through Jennifer’s Abide network and her Anxiety and Depression Relief Workshop. So, thank you Jen for all you do and for doing all that God has asked you to do.

    I look forward to the rest of the Jesus Meditations series. I hope to remember to leave a daily comment and connect with you, others and Jesus.

    Reply
  13. Megan

    Three ways I have felt God’s love:

    1. Natural beauty. I live in a subtropical part of Australia, and the flowers and vegetation are beautiful and lush.
    2. Caring people in my life. I have only a small number of friends, but those who are have been kind to me.
    3. My basic needs are met. Even though I don’t have everything I want, I have what I need for now, and I’m grateful for that.

    Reply
  14. Jane

    Hi, I’m Jane, from WI, and I’m thankful for this opportunity to try out a new tool which I pray will draw each of us closer to Jesus. Thanks to Jen and Peter for all the hard work to produce it, and how nice that it ends with gentle Scripture songs!

    Three ways in which I’ve felt God’s love:

    1. The sounds of nature – the bird songs, a rippling brook, soft wind through the trees- bring a sense of calm to my heart and I praise God for this gift!
    2. I’m grateful for my faithful purring pet whose presence helps me to relax and slow my pace of life.
    3. I’m amazed and thankful for the financial surprises God provided during this pandemic.
    Reply
  15. Steve

    I keep reflecting on your definition of courage: “the willingness to do what is right even when feeling afraid.” Oh, what sadness that brings up as I have allowed fear to drive the bus on this journey of life thus far. Fear has gripped me so tightly it has kept me from truly loving others. This creates a great sense of shame, particularly as a man. (Yet I feel like a child running from courage.) God help me so I can follow your example of meeting fear head on.

    Reply
  16. Karen

    Just being able to sit a minute and do these meditations affords me the luxury to stop and think instead of gogogo all the time!

    Reply
  17. Becky Campbell

    Becky from Georgia. I enjoyed both meditations and the scripture song at the end of each. I would love to learn the words and tune for each scripture. I find that is the easiest way to remember scripture. Thanks, Jen, for all the time and effort you put into this project. I look forward to the rest of them.

    Reply
  18. Valerie

    Enjoyed this one a lot. I’ve felt God’s love for me through my amazing husband, through my parents, and at various times on a mountain or in some other secluded place in nature. It’s good to remember.

    Reply
  19. Donna

    Did so much better on the breathing today … found my rhythm!
    I struggle with fear of God and love for God. I don’t know how to love someone I fear … God or man. I fear God, and He can take my life; if I love Him, I can live with Him forever? I have struggled with the phrase, “fear of God”, for most of my life. I have also struggled with the word, “love”, because all of what I have known in my life has been “conditional love”. I’ve been separated from my church through no fault of my own, and am suffering from trauma. I’m desperately trying to find a new and different “belonging”. When God allows such a massive “hit”, it’s difficult to see His hand in the healing. I’m going to write 3 gratitudes, and I’ll give God the credit.
    (1) Four Abide members reached out to me last week when I had to leave a session early, our of despair.
    (2) A couple of nights ago, I pulled together a ton of courage and called someone who just recovered from COVID to see how she was doing. My own esteem was so low, and this was not easy. We had a good visit, and she sent me a beautiful email yesterday of transparency about her own walk with God. I saw that we had a lot of commonalities and it was relieving to know that I’m not alone in my struggle.
    (3) I’m “here” … which means I haven’t given up.
    I read your webpage on mindfulness and biblical meditation. That was really helpful and I want to share it with my therapist.

    Reply
    1. cree

      yay for finding the rhythm!
      i’m so sorry about your trauma : ( but I am glad you are “here” ! : ) Praying for healing <3
      HUGE HUGS for you today!!!

      Reply
    2. Fiona

      Donna,

      Wow, sharing your real heart is not an easy thing to do. Many people (myself included), have a tenancy to hide and put on a fake face “oh, im good.” Or “I’m alright, getting through stuff”. But being real with yourself? That’s really the first step in getting to know God. He is a REAL God, not fake-faced.
      I have been in despair, like you. I have been there in the blackest of black. But now that I am in the Light… let me encourage you with this… the blackest of black and the pits of despair are really just the way the enemy wants to keep you so you will give up. Why? Because your heart is truly hungering for God. He made a promise, that Jesus spoke: I will not leave you as orphans, but I will send the Holy Spirit as a comforter and teacher. He will guide you into all Truth!
      As you fill your mind with these meditations on Truth (Jesus), keep filling your mind with scriptures by reading and then talk about it with a friend, or simply out loud. I know this is an internet “meeting”, but I would truly love to be friends with you and talk about God and our journey with Him.
      Your sister in Christ,
      Fiona

      Reply
  20. Amy

    3 Ways I feel God’s love:
    1. The peace I feel in our new home surrounded by nature.
    2. The joy in my little boy’s eyes when he talks to me.
    3. Safety during many times alone with my boys in a foreign country while my husband traveled for work.

    Reply
  21. Sharon

    Another amazing mediation and Scripture song! Very blessed to be able to use these.
    Three ways God has revealed His love to me:

    1. Rainbows, especially during this one storm about 4 years ago. It was a double rainbow, the most brilliant colors I have ever seen, with the second rainbow nearly as intense. My route home ended up being in the center of the rainbow, so I had one end on either side of me, always staying just in front of my car, until I got far enough into the storm for the light to no longer be visible. I still struggle to describe the colors and emotions of that afternoon.
    2. Fog. Seriously. It’s like having God wrap me up in a soft blanket.
    3. The Covid restrictions here in California have been a blessing in disguise for me. Not quite 6 1/2 years ago, my mom had a massive stroke, and I became her sole caregiver. I asked for help multiple times, and the two times I got a positive response from someone, my mom pushed them away because she could not handle having someone in her house without playing the proper hostess. At the same time, I had several well-meaning people asking me when I was going to get a job, so I could start saving for retirement. (My caregiving was volunteer.) And then there was the Camp Fire that destroyed our house and so much of the surrounding communities. By the beginning of last year, I was completely burnt out. I knew I needed help, but everywhere I turned, I found closed doors and what seemed to be darkness and silence from God. My mom died at the end of March, just as California was entering its initial Covid shutdown. All the closures, distancing, and other various measures that have been implemented have served to provide the respite I have so desperately needed. The only way I can possibly explain this is to echo Paul’s declaration in Romans 8:28: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him.” Even the ugly, heartbreaking, seemingly inexplicable things.
    Reply
  22. Mel

    I know I said it yesterday, but honestly taking the time to slow down and think and pray over the passage is opening my eyes to how much I rush through everything. Including my quiet time. Im sensing God’s love through the timing of this program, and the unconditional love of my family!

    Reply
  23. Kristina

    Such a good reminder that there is no fear in love! So thankful to the Lord for my dear husband, daughter and for providing all our needs!

    Reply
  24. WayAnne

    I’ve felt God’s love when I spend time in the mountains, when I watch seeds grow and when my friends and family love me while I am in pain. Thanks for today’s meditation!

    Reply
  25. Nicky Dube

    I woke up this morning with a bad headache and that is rare for me. Halfway through the meditation, the headache was gone. I am truly enjoying these mediations!

    Reply
  26. Joelle W

    I’ve felt God’s love for me when I see how he’s prepared friendships for me in the various places we’ve moved… through an abundance of volunteer cherry tomatoes when we were too busy for the desired garden…and how He spoke to me repeatedly through a Psalm during a challenging season.

    Reply
  27. Arieta

    Day 2 done, I love the breathing exercises & soothing background music. You’re right Jennifer Jill, it’s pretty calming at bedtime. After a long day of worship/zooms& family fellowship, this was a treat! Esp enjoy the scripture song & scripture thought.

    Yay we’re at a new week! Blessings to everyone in our little community.

    Reply
  28. Jason

    Three ways God expresses His love for me:

    1) Early morning (3:30ish am) cuddles and smiles with my 6 month old daughter as I bottle feed her
    2) Bike rides in nature with my 7 year old daughter, enjoying fresh air and time with my eldest
    3) The freedom of being forgiven – I have done some horrible things lately, but praise God I feel enriched and encouraged for the grace He has bestowed upon me. I love Him because He first loved me.

    Thank You JESUS!!

    Reply
  29. Erin D

    I am thoroughly enjoying these. As soon as Neville start singing “I am with you, I am your God” it brings me to tears each morning. It’s such a lovely reminder that God is always with us, loving us. Three things that show me God’s love for me are my husband, my pets and nature and what I call my little “hugs” from God, small things He does here and there that tell me without a doubt He is there.

    Reply
  30. Sabrina

    Here are three ways God has shown His love for me:
    (1) Through spontaneous invitations to someone’s home on a day I was going to eat lunch by myself
    (2) Through the unconditional love I receive from people close to me
    (3) Through the way I can look back and see His guidance over and over in my life

    Reply
  31. Lauren

    I listened to this on Sabbath. I’m going through a really hard time, and by the end I was just breathing and crying, breathing and crying! Beautiful to be reminded that God’s love is a perfect and PERFECTING love!

    Reply
  32. Sarai

    This reminded me of David, the shepherd boy, turned warrior, turned king. He had such an intimate relationship with God; he knew Him. He understood His greatness, His tenderness, His majesty. And even in all of this splendor, he could still commune with Him, cry out and receive an answer or deliverance. God’s majesty does not keep Him from connecting with us “commoners.” He seeks us out, and we can receive Him.

    Reply
  33. Tara

    Three key times when I felt the love of God (above and beyond the “little” things in scripture, nature, friendships, marriage, etc. of each day):

    1 – When God showed me how much He loved me in spite of the depraved life I was living.

    2 – When God gave me not only what I needed, but also what my heart wanted when I was looking for a new job.

    3 – When I hiked Half Dome and God gave me a very personalized spiritual lesson from the experience that spoke straight into my heart.

    These are three pivotal experiences that moved me to tears.

    Reply
  34. Sarah

    The breathing is easier today – my mouth muscles aren’t so tired.
    I love the Scripture songs. As a musician and trauma survivor, I struggle to find joy in music like I once did. I feel like there’s a huge void in my life without music, but so much of the music I used to enjoy causes intense pain and anxiety so I’ve found it’s easier to live in silence without any music at all. These Scripture songs are especially meaningful because they are not songs I’m familiar with and don’t bring that rush of anxiety when I listen to them.
    Three ways I have felt God’s love for me in my life… One is when I look at the stars. As a child, afraid of the dark, I started looking at the stars and praying to God because I knew if He created all the stars, then He could keep me safe from the unknown, and that sense of closeness has continued throughout my life when I look at the beauty of the night sky. Another way is through a dream I believe He gave me when I was at a breaking point due to abuse. Probably the biggest way is through my parents – their love for me taught me more about God’s love for me than anything else.

    Reply
  35. Breannna

    Greetings from Iowa. I am working on my doctorate in music. This is the first episode I’m participating in. Answered prayed is one way Ive seen Gods love for me.

    For feedback: The many instructions for breathing–spoken with background sung counting is distracting. Also, the timbre/style of the the sung instructins is annoying. I would prefer simpler mood music/nature sounds with spoken breathing hints. For me, the exhale time could be longer.

    Reply
  36. Daniel Parsons

    This scripture 1 John 4:18-19 is one of my top 5 passages in the Bible. God healed me of some serious mental & emotional disorders & relying on HIS Promises in Scripture opened the door to a new life in HIM.

    Reply
  37. Fiona

    This theme has been stuck in my head. The fear of God. Honestly, I have not yet listened to the other ones yet because my mind is just in fear and in awe of God.
    We must let the fear of God ARREST our attention in order to see His love and goodness behind it/around it… why? Because ee are so busy in the darkness of this world, we NEED the shock to wake up and look around, so we can DECIDE what to do -run to Him or run from Him?

    Reply
  38. Ann

    It’s a great practice to recall God’s working directly in my life. I don’t do it enough. God gave me a loving husband. This is a cool story about my father’s prayer for me. I needed to change out broken zippers in the legs of my husband’s insulated bibs. I hate putting in zippers. It’s like why can’t he buy himself a new pair? We bought the zippers and a new package of needles because I was sure to break several. The process went easily and didn’t break even one needle. When I called my elderly father that afternoon, he said I prayed you would get the zippers in easily. What a cool God. He cares about zippers in insulated bibs.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.