Day #21

1 John 1:1-2

Some of the people who first helped me understand the Bible showed me in various passages that Jesus said He would come again. They conveyed the idea that if I wasn’t sinless at that time, I would be overwhelmed by the brightness of His coming, calling for the rocks to fall on me and hide me

from its searing holiness, ultimately perishing with the lost. 

Whew, that was heavy for a new Christian who wanted nothing more than to please God! I began to see Jesus’ coming as a threatening spectacle, and my victory over all sin as a ticket to survival. The problem was that the more fear I experienced, the more self-focused I became. My self-focus placed me out of sync with God’s law of self-giving love, and I became less and less capable of true, heart-level victory over sin. A realization of my sinfulness drove me further into fear, increasing the cycle of insanity.  

Have you experienced something similar? Friends, this need not be. God would have us look forward to His coming as the crescendo of our earthly existence. Why would we be threatened by the One who has loved us through every dark chapter, an unfailing Friend and Helper? Why would we not look forward to that moment even more than seeing our earthly loved ones again? Here is the key to preparing for His coming: seeing Him as He is. As soft rays of light transform our picture of God, we unconsciously conform to that image of love. Growth in Jesus is really that simple. 

Reflect back on times when God has shown up for you in a special way, revealing His true character of love. Remember three such times right now, and thank God for them out loud. 

Dear soon-coming Savior, as a Father You have called us Your children. As a Friend You have seen us through dark and difficult times. As our coming King You will be no less of a loving presence. Help us know you better and see your character of love more clearly, is our prayer in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 1:1-2

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54 thoughts on “Day #21

  1. Cheryl

    For your post today, tell us: When has God shown up in your life as a loving Supporter and Encourager?In what specific life circumstances or experiences has He revealed His loving Father’s heart?

    I have always struggled with seeing God as loving, kind, forgiving and accepting. Probably because I’m not that way. I can’t forgive myself.

    Even though I’ve been struggling to know Jesus for most of my life and I’ve been in a dark place for quite a long time; deeper even than anxiety and depression. I can see that in the last 6 or 7 months God has shown up for me to show me His love through you, Jennifer.

    Through your 13 weeks books, the phone groups that go through your 13 weeks books and the facilitators and other callers, through the Jesus meditations, through your Anxiety and Depression Relief Workshop where I met the most wonderful, amazing women. I finally feel like I have a group of believers that are my friends and who actually care for me and like me, and support me. They uplift me and pray with me and share their struggles and how God is leading them.

    This is the biggest way God has shown up for me. He has finally heard my cries. He wants to show me His love and how to see Him as a loving Father. That He loves me and doesn’t want to leave me like I am. I have a long way to go but I’m thankful to be on the path back to Him.

    Reply
    1. cree

      Hi, Cheryl. Praise the Lord! I’m so happy for you! I know He will continue to walk with you into His marvelous light 😀 You’re right, God loves you! He always has and always will <3 You’re in my prayers 🙂

      Reply
  2. Jane

    Early on in my teaching career I needed to make a change of location in order to complete my master’s degree. The idea of resigning from my job before knowing where I would be heading next left me feeling terribly insecure. At the time, as a single person, I often thought my problems would be solved if I just had a “Knight-in-shining-armor” to wrap his arms of love and comfort around me, or if my parents would jump in and rescue me with a hug and with their wisdom as they did when I was a child. However, as I faced my dilemma, I knew that neither of these options could bring comfort to me this time. I cried out to God and said, “You’re the only one who can wrap your arms around me and give me comfort because You’re the only one that knows my future.” In that moment, as I sat at my kitchen table, it was as if I felt the arms of God wrap around me, giving me a hug, as He said to me in His still small voice, “I love you and if you know that I love you, you know that I’ll take care of you.” And indeed, He did. God led me to a new place where I was eventually able to complete my master’s degree. Praise the Lord for His “hugs,” comfort, and guidance!

    Reply
      1. Donna

        I love this part: “I cried out to God and said, ‘You’re the only one who can wrap your arms around me and give me comfort because You’re the only one that knows my future.'” I need to write that down somewhere and read it often. Thank you for sharing!!!

        Reply
        1. Jane

          So glad it brought encouragement. Looking forward to meeting you in heaven someday, if not on this earth first, to hear how God has comforted you with His presence of love!

          Reply
    1. Sabrina

      Beautiful! I’ve struggled with the same insecurities in my singleness, but reading of your experience encourages me!

      Reply
  3. Valerie

    There are so many instances… He is a constant, faithful and loving God. He showed His love to me as a high school student who realized He had a real plan for my life. He showed His love to me as I navigated uncertain and exciting travels, ministering around the world, and always took care of me. He showed His love to me through my husband first dating me and then asking to marry me. God is such a loving Supporter and Friend and I am thankful!

    Reply
  4. Shirley Mann

    I have been trying to think how to answer today’s question. The time that came to mind was when I was expecting my third child and I woke up to discover I was bleeding. I don’t remember how long I was in the hospital. It wasn’t long I know. A friend from church visited me and didn’t understand why I was not worried. For some reason I just knew everything would be all right. And it was. Several months later my first daughter was born. That was over 50 years ago. I know God was with me, loved me, and wanted what was best for me. And he still does.

    Reply
  5. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    God has shown up throughout my life journey. In the peaceful times and hard times. He has given me a blessing in giving me my husband. I’m so thankful and in awe at what God has brought us through and that He will continue to be faithful to us! May I never lose sight of that! Prayer is very special to me. I’ve seen God’s encouragement, support, love through prayer. He’s guiding me to wait on Him, rather than doing what comes naturally to me.
    Thank you!!!
    Peace

    Reply
  6. Sharon

    This is one thing I constantly struggle with. I was raised in a home where the focus was always on what was being done wrong. Whenever relatives came over, the favorite dinner time topic was going down the list of everyone they knew, listing their sins, and what that person needed to do become free of those sins. Naturally, I’m really good at focusing on myself and all my failures. I know that by beholding we become changed, so I do my best to pray, read my Bible and other books about God, listen to uplifting music and Biblical sermons, etc., only to get frustrated and discouraged with myself when I once again stumble and fall, seeming to have not changed at all. I’m learning to be more patient with myself, but I’m still on the self-centered side of the equation. I read/hear about God’s love, especially Calvary, and I still don’t fully get it. I know God loves me on an intellectual, theoretical level, but deeper down, on an experiential, life-changing level, I still don’t get it. I’m going in circles…that seem to be shifting ever so slightly. Invisible progress. Is that a thing? Maybe they’ll straighten out someday.

    Reply
  7. Amy

    This meditation was a beautiful reminder that I don’t need to be afraid. Too often, I forget to look back at what God has done. Sometimes it feels my life is just a string of stressful events. But looking back I can see how God has been there. I just need to trust he is here now too.

    Reply
  8. Kristina

    He has shown up so many times through out my life’s journey! Most recently through this time of COVID and political and civil unrest he has proven Himself faithful once again. He has shown me that He is still in control and He is still my problem solver and my provider. During this time He has shown me things that I need to change and has supported me with an on line bible group, a group going through 13 weeks to Peace and these Jesus meditations. And He is also showing me how I can support others and be a better wife and mother. God is good!

    Reply
  9. cree

    What a beautiful message. What a loving Heavenly Father we have. He shows Himself in so many different ways. I’ll share one here.

    Before I gave my life to Christ, I have always been a regular visitor–for at least 10 years. !

    I had 5 piercings in my ears but never–not once–did anyone “notice” it. I didn’t perceive any judgement for it, nor did I feel like I was treated differently. In fact, it felt as if I fit right in!

    The funny thing is, I never really noticed that nobody noticed my piercings. I only realized this post-baptism, and long after I stopped wearing them. Amazed by thinking about it, I realized that the seeds planted in my heart through sermons/prayers/hymns would most likely have been choked if I ever felt a sense of condemnation because of my appearance.

    God didn’t convict me of all my wrong ways and philosophies in one time. He has been very gentle and understanding. He didn’t want to overwhelm or burden me. He is such a remarkable Rabbi / Teacher who nurtures, forgives, gives many chances, and wants only the best for us.

    I know He has a lot more to teach me, and I have to remind myself not to be worried or nervous about it because He is such a gentle and loving God. And that thought helps me to be open to His leading. There were times when I would even look forward to it! I haven’t felt that in a while, I probably should go back into that state of mind.

    May God’s will be done in our lifetime. Amen.

    Reply
    1. cree

      …forgot to add this… not that earrings are “evil” , but what I learned from this is that God is more concerned about what’s in our hearts. Many times, He would point out to me when my heart is not in the right place, or if I’m hiding skeletons in my heart’s closet.

      hey, it’s a good thing that God doesn’t look at our appearance! i think i’d be so broke from plastic surgeries and whatnots if that is the case : D

      “…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7, ESV

      Reply
    2. Jennifer Schwirzer

      Love this. I think the majority of church members could care less if someone has piercings! So thankful they didn’t make an issue out of it in your case, and that you heard the gospel and responded.

      Reply
  10. Nowelle

    So many ways. God has been answering very specific prayers for my children. He has provided for all of our family’s needs, in spite of a global pandemic. He is carrying us through one trial after another so that all we can do is praise Him for these trials.
    He is really encouraging us right now, and we’ve needed it. He is also teaching me how to open my eyes and see the encouragement He is giving, and has been all along. It’s too easy to justify things, explain them some other way or even take credit for them ourselves. God is the giver of all good things.

    Reply
  11. Donna

    I’ve been searching along with you, Cheryl. I had such an amazing break through today. It’s like God put a new thread in my life, and it’s attaching to people that I previously didn’t know existed. I’ve been in ministry for decades, and yet these women are more “spiritual” with me than my “real life” (meaning I can touch them :-)) friends. I think it’s because I’m being vulnerable and transparent … like you … and they aren’t repulsed by it. Maybe cuz they’ve “been there” in some way too.
    The last few days have been horrible. This day started with great fear (counseling session with my husband). The session ended in disaster. Then I got on the phone and called a new friend. Soothing. Then I called the phone conference. More soothing. Came home and apologized to my husband and he was quietly amazed. Now he’s going to massage my feet!

    It’s almost too much to take in.

    Reply
      1. Donna

        I tried to get my husband involved in understanding my fear of him, in the therapy session, and he resisted for about 15 minutes. He was extremely frustrated, refused to take part, and the therapist wanted him to listen to me. I’m hoping that my therapist saw a side of my husband that he hadn’t seen before … the controller/dominator. I’ll know next week. I apologized to my husband for trying to push him into doing something that he clearly didn’t want to do. That’s when he smiled and softened. But I’m not going to be a pushover. I hope to find a different way to do this.
        I’m overwhelmed at the way God … and His team of helpers … seems to be “exploding” all around me and it’s almost too much. It seems like I’m getting a crash course of Who God really is in a matter of months … and I’m old … so I keep pinching myself to see if it’s real. I’m still “frozen” in trauma and living in a different reality … I hope I wake up soon.
        One of my affirmations: “I can trust the timing of God’s lessons”. That’s a challenge too for this dot of humanity (me).

        Reply
  12. Sabrina

    God has shown Himself to be my Supporter and Encourager in so many ways! I can look back and see so clearly how He had led and guided me, giving me opportunities to serve Him and grow in my own walk with Him. Recently, as I’ve faced some situations that left me feeling insecure, I’ve been sensing Him speaking to me and saying, “I’ve got this; just trust Me.” And He truly has been faithful to come through for me!

    Reply
  13. Ann

    I know God is showing up for me because I am feeling less anxiety. I know He is knocking on my heart’s door wanting to come in because He loves me immensely. I know He has been with me all my life. Just right now, I can’t remember specifics.

    Reply
  14. Karen

    I did not want this JMeditation to end. I have a craving to know more of God’s loving character.
    I found God’s amazing comfort during grief, as I was morning the loss of my 2 babies. There is nothing on earth like the comfort of my loving Heavenly Father. I truly believe that their is no loss that supersedes His ability to comfort. As my ‘loss load’ increased in my life, so did His comfort. His comfort grows to the level that I need in all my losses. 
    He cries with me and whispers to my heart that He died so I would never have to suffer again. I want to cup Jesus’ face in my hands, look Him straight in the eyes and thank Him and tell Him I love Him. I want Him to feel my overwhelming gratefulness to the point that His heart is overwhelmed too. 
    May His name be praised.

    Reply
    1. cree

      awwww. Karen.. that’s so powerful … a comfort like no other … ! you’re so right “there is no loss that supersedes His ability to comfort ” — earth has no sorrow Heaven cannot heal! Thank you for sharing your inspiring testimony! <3

      Reply
  15. Monica

    I can relate to what happened to you at the beginning of your Bible study experience. Jesus has helped me trust in Him so that I don’t need to be scared or discouraged. He died to make a way for each person and is well able to save those who lean on and walk with Him. Self-focus really is a core problem. When I focus on Jesus and what’s best for others, it takes so much of the pressure and stresses off of me. I learn day by day to trust in Him and care for others. His yoke is truly light and His burden easy.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      Yes, the gospel frees of from self-focus by first answering to our need for safety. We’ve dangled safety in front of people as something they earn rather than showing how God has adopted the whole human race in Jesus.

      Reply
  16. Megan

    During the first few years of being sick and mostly stuck at home (kind-of like a lockdown, but with no end date, mostly on your own while watching others live it up and either forget that you exist, or insinuate that you’re imagining it, or must’ve surely done something to deserve it), God showed up. I was angry and frustrated at times, though, and hadn’t always seen Him in the situation. In fact, I lashed out in bitterness, more than once. Yet, He’s always been there. Sometimes simply through some wisdom gleaned from Scripture. On occasion, through dreams, or just as a comforting, unseen presence. When everyone else put me in the ‘too hard’ basket, Jesus showed up, and He never left. In that sense, He is unlike anyone I’ve ever met, and truly worthy of praise and honour.

    Reply
  17. Mel

    So recently God has shown up for me in lovingly and patiently showing me that some of the challenges I face are the result of my own pride and unwillingness to let Him into certain areas of my life. The covid pandemic brought me to a breaking point and led me to a wonderful Christian counsellor who helped me to see this. Ever since, my relationship with God has been more fulfilling, I’m learning to gain my affirmation from God instead of seeking it from others in unhealthy ways and I’ve got greater peace than I’ve had in years! I’m so grateful!

    Reply
  18. Sarah

    God has revealed His loving Father’s heart many times in my life, but I’m thinking of one in particular. When I cry out to Him for help, especially when I am facing some kind of difficulty, He always answers. The answer isn’t necessarily a solution to the problem; rarely does He solve my problems right away. But He always answers with the assurance that He is with me. That He knows. That at the right time a solution will come. And that I’m never alone even if I have no earthly friends to help me or sympathize with me.

    Reply
  19. Daniel Parsons

    For your post today, tell us: When has God shown up in your life as a loving Supporter and Encourager? In what specific life circumstances or experiences has He revealed His loving Father’s heart?

    Most incredible experience would have to be when He woke me up in the middle of the night to save me from an apartment fire. I can also just look back over 6 decades of living and see His Heart has provided for me all along. Just the right people, just the right life experiences, the right help has always shown up.

    Reply
  20. Tara

    For your post today, tell us: When has God shown up in your life as a loving Supporter and Encourager?In what specific life circumstances or experiences has He revealed His loving Father’s heart?

    *God revealed so much of His heart toward me when He pulled me out of the miry pit, into which I had jumped by my own choices, and set my feet on solid ground.

    *When I began looking for a different place of employment, He showed me that He was taking care of not only my needs, but also my desires. I actually remember vacuuming my house and starting to cry tears of joy when I realized that the place He was leading me checked off every single box on my list of “ideals”.

    *I divorced after ten years of marriage to my first husband. I spent the next three years living however I pleased (read “miry pit” from first point above). When God rescued me from myself, I was convinced (happily so) that I would never remarry. I actually really enjoyed being single. I worked in a boarding school and LOVED my job. I lived in a gorgeous part of the country and was able to enjoy mountains and ocean all in the same day. My relationship with God was growing like it never had before. I was completely content. And then God introduced me to a man. Everyone thought we were perfect for each other. We weren’t interested in each other at all. AT ALL. And through a series of events and circumstances we were married a year later. I picture God chuckling to Himself as He both respected our free will and orchestrated circumstances that grew our friendship with and, ultimately, our love for one another. We’ve been married for three years now and we’ve never looked back.

    Reply
  21. Vanessa

    Time and time again, when I am in a precarious situation, I’m reminded of God’s promises to me that He’s right there with me in the midst of it all. “I will never leave you nor forsake you, Vanessa. You can do all things through Christ’s strength. I will guide you with my own eye.”

    Reply
  22. Ericka

    i believe God has shown up as supporter and encourager in the people i talk to. i dont have a huge group of friends or anything, but i have enough people around me that i know can support me. people have given us groceries when we are out of work, people have given me words and info when i needed it, people have prayed for us… also with my sister having cancer now, He has shown us first of all my sisters deep belief and peace, but also the love of so many people. He has shown us how much people care – people who dont even know her and barely know me are donating to her so she can get the care she needs and take care of her two little girls…. thats been encouraging and supportive for sure.

    Reply
  23. A J

    I absolutely love this sentence. God would have us look forward to His coming as the crescendo of our earthly existence.”

    I would happily quote sections of this message on my FB page. It’s lovely.

    You asked to share how God has shown up in our lives in the past and I can think of many. But for today, I can say God showed up by giving me friends and family to support me during a challenging period in my life. These people came and offered support when I did not even dare to ask. God is good and my Comforter is real.

    Reply

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