Abu Da'ud

Good news for the seeker: God wants to be found

Many of you know people who are seeking to begin a relationship with the living God. Some of you are in that position. I have good news for the seeker: the God of this universe wants to be found. He loves and cares for each of us, wanting each one to be part of His family so that He can love them as a good father loves a child, and also as a faithful friend loves a friend.

Rather than try to provide an answer for the intensely personal journey of a seeker, may I suggest the following for those seeking God: ask Him, “Please show me who You are, and I will follow You.” If a seeker prays that prayer sincerely, I believe He will lead and direct that person into the truth about who He is and the steps to take to enter into a personal relationship with God.

Keywords: seeker, evangelism, prayer

Feeling rejected? Rub love in like a lotion.

That’s what I was told a few months after I had become a Christian. It was great advice, but took me a while to discover what it meant, even though my friend told me.

He said that though I was being loved a great deal by others, I still felt rejected because of the effects of being disowned and disinherited after becoming a Christian. He said that the love was rolling off of me like water off of a duck’s back because I did not have a way to receive it.

I knew he was right, but told him I did not know how to change it. He said that much of it was about focus. I told him that in my mind my focus would often go to the thing that screamed the loudest — in this case the pain from the rejection. Acceptance and love were not being received because their voices were being drowned in the noise from the storm of pain.

He paused for a while, looking down, brow furrowed. He took so long that his wife reached out to gently touch his shoulder, reminding him of the need to speak. I think He was praying, asking God to speak through him. I believe He did.

He continued to wait, then finally told me to rub love in like a lotion. He clarified that the kind of love I should focus on was love that agreed with the description of love in 1 Corinthians:4-8 and came from people that wanted the best for me. He said I should actively focus on that love, and continue to think about it until it went in (to my mind and soul). He said I should rub the thoughts in until all the love was absorbed into me, and that I should not stop doing so until I knew that I had been loved. I should note that I was being loved by people and by God.

He said that God was building in me the ability to receive love, and eventually I would be able to take it in fully. He said that receiving love would overcome the rejection, leaving me free to grow in Christ fully, with the ability to help others.

Receiving love in my life has brought healing, comfort and confidence. It takes time, but rubbing love in like a lotion has been helpful in receiving love and practicing Philippians 4:8-9. I recommend actively receiving love if you feel rejected or are being oppressed or persecuted — yes, even rubbing love in like a lotion. It works.

Keywords: Receiving love, lotion, rejection, persecution, oppression

You’re worth it

God gave Jesus for all of mankind. He had and has infinite worth to God. What does that say about the worth of each individual? About your worth to Him?

Infinite worth, divided by any number of people on Earth, results in every person always having infinite worth (though I believe that Christ’s life paid fully for each one of us). This means that to God each person on Earth has infinite worth.

John 3:16 speaks of God so loving us that He gave His Son for us. To Him, you’re worth it. He knows everything about you, knew what you’d do before you did it, and loves you. His opinion is more important than any, and He thinks you’re worth paying/giving the life of His Son, Jesus. That means you’re worth it.

Keywords: Love, God wants to relate, you’re worth it

How much does God love you and me?

He loves you so much it’s difficult to properly describe. The Bible gives us great help in seeing that love. Psalm 22 contains a prophetic description of Jesus on the cross. In part of it, Jesus looks forward to telling his brothers and sisters about the salvation that they can have. Yes, He was looking forward to being with us and was talking to us while He was on the cross.

Hebrews 12:2 (WEB) says:

looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Please note the phrase, “for the joy that was set before him.“ That was not about taking up His eternal position again – He had already had that and would not have gone through everything He did to simply regain what He already had. He was wanting to gain, and that gain was you and me. His entire effort was to make a way for your salvation. His joy, then, must have been and must still be the people that He loves.

That is How much He loves you. You are so special to Him that even when He was on the cross He looked forward to being with you. You brought Him so much joy that He could endure the horror of the cross itself — the physical pain — and of becoming sin — the spiritual pain. He did all of that so that He could spend eternity with you and others. He loves each of us fully, as well as fully loving His entire church. The extent of that love for us is further shown in John 17, in which Jesus is intent upon asking that He could be in those that He loves. He, the perfect One, chose to give up everything and endure the most excruciating pain while thinking of you and me He chose to make his dwelling place inside those who believe and fully yield to Him (who follow Him as Lord and Savior). That is how close He wants to be to you and me. All of the things above show how special you are to Him and how much He loves you.

Keywords: God’s love for us, God in us, cross, crucifixion, God wants to relate

A key for MBB (and all Christian) leadership success

Christians are called to love God and others, as well as seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness. To do this, Christians should love as Jesus did – by serving others for their benefit. For an MBB leader, and all Christian leaders, the outworking of your calling often involves magnifying God by building up others.

A key understanding to leading this way is that the kingdom is not yours, but God’s. Though you lead, your leadership is a stewardship of service rather than seeking your own glory or position. A true leader serves others for their sake and for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Jesus did this with His disciples. They had no track record of leadership success in the church. There was no church. He saw what was in them, and led them by investing time and effort in them. He taught them truths that developed their giftings and callings. He did not wait for them to succeed and then side with them. He led them by siding with them, encouraging them, equipping them and then releasing them into ministry when few if any believed they could lead anything.

Potential MBB leaders are often in geographical areas where there is very little of the church nearby. Because of the great need for leaders, those that lead potential MBB leaders often must commit to those potential leaders before seeing success. The process of selection must be led by the Holy Spirit, and should be free of the perversion of self-reference.

As indicated above, leaders are most effective when operating with a motive of serving another for the benefit of the one served. The leader can be derailed if they serve self-referentially, often asking, “What does that do for me or to me?” That attitude is a form of pride. It can manifest in many ways, including not fully training someone for fear that they might surpass the trainer; withholding support or blessing; preventing someone from operating in their calling; or not supporting someone until that person is fully established as a leader. The last one indicates that you are not really leading — you are simply jumping on bandwagons. All of the listed manifestations lack the hallmark of love — serving for another’s benefit.

Leaders, if you lead self-referentially, you do not have to stop leading. Repent of your sin, ask for God’s grace, change your motive, and lead in a way that encourages others to find their giftings and callings, support them actively, and release them into ministry. You do not need to protect your position nor seek your own advancement — God is the sole giver of both position and advancement.

In a sense, leaders, the way you choose to lead — serving or self-referentially — will bring spiritual life or death to others. Those you lead will either flourish in God’s kingdom or be restricted by your selfishness, leading to a loss in their ministry and thereby in God’s kingdom. God holds you to account for the way that you lead. Please pay close attention to your motives and actions when leading, ensuring that you are serving others without self-reference and for their benefit.

Keywords: leadership, MBB, love, self-referential