Devotional for Thursday July 16th

Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Fresh wind, fresh fire”
Our Bible verse for today: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
Our thought for today: “God’s love frees you to be real.”
 In Jeremiah 31:3 God was talking about His love for the nation of Israel, but the truth He taught applies to us too. He loves us with an everlasting love. The other day I came across a cute story told by Pastor Chuck Swindoll which he borrowed from an old children’s book; it teaches a lesson about the impact of this kind of love. It’s a little lengthy but I want to share it with you this morning because it’s a great illustration of how, and how much, God loves you:
            “The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
            “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
            “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
            “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
            “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
One of the most freeing moments any of us will ever experience is when we finally realize that God loves us fully, completely, and with an everlasting love, exactly the way we are. It takes time. Usually we have to live with God and experience His love for us for an extended time before we really begin to appreciate how perfect and complete His love for us is. But once we finally get it, the realization is transformative. You suddenly understand that you don’t have to be like anyone else, you don’t have to lose weight, you don’t have to own more things, or achieve great things, or look like a movie star in order for God to fully and completely love you. You are perfect and precious to Him just as you are and the sooner you realize this, the happier you will be.
I encourage you to relax and be comfortable in your own skin. Spend some time savoring the long and close relationship you and God have had. Re-live the special moments you’ve shared over your long time together. Know that you are precious to Him. Such knowledge gives you the freedom to be real, to just be you.
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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