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WEIGH DOWN: PRACTICAL EXAMPLES OF GOD'S ATTENTION AND LOVE

God does love us so much, and we are not alone. God is right there with us at all times. Even though you might think you are far apart, He is always in your heart. Recently, as I was driving to work, I worried that God was mad at me or that He was not "with me." So I pouted to Him and explained to Him that I had kept my end of the bargain and that I could feel the love I had for Him in my heart. It was a strong love. So I asked for something visible from this invisible God to show me that He was still there with me and loved me. I really could not come up with a creative sign for God, so I prayed that He would just send maybe a bird into view. Well, before the words got out of my mouth, I came upon a mail box that I had passed every day on my way to work. That day, the dove and the word "Faith" on the mail box jumped out at me.

God was telling me to have faith that He loves me.

I started crying as I saw how kind He was to hear

my prayers and answer them so quickly. All logical evidence shows that He is keeping His end of the "marriage" covenant relationship.

Physical reassurance builds our faith. I have never found God to get upset when we ask for evidence of His love; however, scriptures indicate that God does not like unbelievers to keep asking for signs to prove His existence. How annoying that must be to God. We see the stars, His handiwork, His sunsets that have a different color scheme daily, and we witness the birth of new life. Yet some still demand a miraculous sign to prove the existence of God. Please! The writer of Romans put it this way: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities —his eternal power and divine nature —have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse".

God is tired of showing off in such fantastic ways and having people still demand a sign to prove His existence. But for the person pursuing a loving relation- ship with God, He provides whatever takes to make His beloved secure in His presence. Asking for reassurance from God is not testing; God—it is seeking God. That is His command for us.

There are some who think, "Well, that is great for you. But God does not like 'low-life' people like me." The Apostle Paul killed and imprisoned many people. But he turned to the Father, then turned out to be one of God's favorite people. The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-28) had been married five times and was living with a sixth man; yet, Jesus showed compassion for her. Let me know if you have done worse than murdering a lot of people or are on your seventh marriage. You cannot mess up badly enough to stop the love God has for you.

In my seminars, I tell people who are feeling low or rejected or separated from the love of the Father to do just that. Ask for a sign of His personal love. Once again—try out these truths and see if what I am saying is from God! God will bring to your mind a fleece or sign to look for. One preacher wrote to me and said that he took me up on it. Take a look at what he found:

Dear Gwen,

As I drove to a friend's house for lunch today, I listened to your tape, "Beyond the Jordan." My family has been struggling for the last two years through some very dark and difficult times. Our faith has been greatly tested (and at times our marriage, too). At times my soul has felt barren and God's presence distant. We have wondered, "Will this ever pass?" Weigh Down has been an answer to prayer.

Today, while I was listening to a Weigh Down tape in the car,

you said, "Ask God for a sign of His presence." As I entered the

subdivision, a huge flock of blackbirds lifted off yet another blanket of thick white snow. I thought to myself, "OK, Lord, we've

got plenty of blackbirds, hundreds of them; give me a cardinal… No, make that a bluebird… No, God, if You are truly there, if You are still with me, give me both birds ... together."

After visiting awhile, my friend and I sat down for lunch. Right in the middle of our meal I glanced out the window and almost came unglued! I literally shouted, "Oh, my gosh!"

My friend said, "What, have you had a vision or something?"

Indeed, I had. For there, outside her window, seemingly having lunch together themselves, sat a cardinal and a bluebird on the same bird feeder. It was not even thirty minutes after I had asked God to give me a sign of His presence.

God is good... He is faithful... He is the jewel-giver. There is hope.

Richard Ryan, Indiana

There is nothing more fun in life than looking for the attention and personal love of the Father. He doesn't always use birds; He is waiting to "show off" His love and character to us in totally fresh and unique ways. He is such a genius! It would bore Him to be anything but incredible and mysterious in all of His ways. In Weigh Down7, we call the gifts and signs of His love jewels, and they are as numerous as the sands on the seashore. We will report on jewels from God in each of the following chapters. Start looking for your own.

When Satan comes in and tries to lie to you, telling you God is too important and busy for the details of your life, just remember the following story. One day I was outside sitting still. Some sparrows lined up on a low roof edge. The first sparrow suddenly spread his wings and flew down so fast, it looked like he "fell" to the ground. The rest of the sparrows dropped to the ground one at a time in the same fashion. I looked up to heaven and asked, "Oh Father, so that is what you meant when Jesus said, 'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father' " (Matthew 10:29).

That day I felt I had more Scripture to back up what I already believed about the attentiveness of God. He knows not only when a sparrow falls down, gets hurt, or dies, but perhaps not one of the sparrows will "dive" to the ground without the Father's knowing about it! He knows when they are coming and going. How much more attentive He is to us, because we are His precious lambs. He loves us so much that He is just like parents who want to know where their teenagers are going and when they are coming home! God is even more interested than that! It is almost impossible for our hearts to comprehend this kind of attention. We are not used to it, but we need it.

"And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:30,31)

In other words, do not be afraid. He loves you and knows you so intimately that He has counted the hairs on your head. He has a digit assigned to each hair! He knows when one falls out! He knows you better than you know yourself!

... I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19)

I am absolutely delighting in exploring the boundaries of His love. I have not reached the edge of the width or the length, nor have I experienced the height or depth. Have faith and start looking for this love. If you have already found it, then there are still more surprises ahead for you. Just as love between a man and woman will result in the conception and birth of a life, this love of God to you will spring forth life in you.

So, God has called you. Now, follow Him into the desert. "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."

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