Embraced by God: Celebrating Who & Whose You Are
by Babbie Mason
Have you ever pondered, Does God really love me? Does He accept me unconditionally? Is He concerned about my problems? Do I really matter to Him? If these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, take comfort, you are not alone. You join millions of people who, throughout the ages, have asked these same questions.
I can admit that I have joined these ranks, and I’ve been a Christian most of my life. In fact, I was raised in church. I’m a preacher’s daughter turned Christian singer, songwriter, and recording artist. Still, I have dealt with these very thoughts at different points during my life’s journey … at times my mind may wonder, God’s love for me never changes.
If you sometimes question God’s love for you, consider this: I believe God places these longings in us to create a hunger for Him. I believe we long to be with Him and desire to be loved completely by Him so that we still stay in His presence – where He desires for us to be.
I accepted Christ when I was eight years old, and in another year I will celebrate what I call my “Year of Jubilee,” fifty years of knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior. Yet just a couple of years ago my eyes were opened to a new awareness of God’s love when I heard my good friend Dr. Tony Ashmore, pastor of the Life Gate Church in Villa Rica, Georgia, preach a life-changing sermon. On that Sunday morning he instructed each person in the congregation to turn to one’s neighbor and say, “I am God’s favorite.”
My friend’s words troubled me at first. Initially I thought, How could I be God’s favorite I have a past filled with mistakes. I have issues and challenges in my life. There are so many people who must stand ahead of me in line for that prize.
Don’t get me wrong. I have always known that God love me, and honestly speaking, just knowing this was enough for me. I was satisfied with that. But to consider that I could ever be God’s favorite? That seemed to be overstepping a boundary, even a bit presumptuous. I reasoned to myself that if God had favorites, then I certainly couldn’t be one of them.
This motivated me to seek God and the truth of His word. As I studied the Scriptures, two passages stood out to me. In John 17:22-23, Jesus said, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (NLT). Roman 8:17a adds, “Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory” (NLT).
Suddenly, God quickened my heart. I realized that God not only loves me; He loves me just as much as He loves His own Son, Jesus. I also became more deeply aware that everything God gave to Jesus, He has also given to me! This has taken my love relationship with Him to another level. The realization of these promises has made me more keenly aware of God’s loving presence and purpose in my life. I now have a little better understanding of how David felt when he wrote these timeless words in Psalm 139:6 (NIV):
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
Too lofty for me to attain.
In other words, the knowledge of this truth rocked his world! So I have concluded that if I, a Christian for nearly fifty years, could come to a profoundly new understanding of God’s love, then maybe you could too. This book, Embraced by God, is the result of that discovery.
Come with Me, Experience His Embrace
Allow me to invite you to a special event, a symphony of sorts, for which this introduction served as an overture: the first orchestral movement in exploring the depths of God’s amazing love. I have already asked the Holy Spirit to set the stage, paint the scenes, tune the music to your key, adjust the sound, and focus the spotlight. Each time the curtain opens, I’ll be here, making wonderful discoveries with you. During these daily concerts of love, I’ll share my experiences, insights, highlights, and even the secrets of my heart. Sometimes I’ll share a few verses of a song. Don’t get too comfortable in your seat, though, because you’re the reason why this “Embrace” celebration is about to begin. I encourage you to participate fully, completely, and without reservation. I have also asked Someone very special to join us during this encounter, and He is the most exciting participant: Jesus. He is the Great Orchestrator. I asking Him to lead us and accompany us according to Zephaniah 3:17, which says, “The LORD they God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over three with singing.”
Get ready, my friend. Jesus is about to sing over you! This is a concert experience you don’t want to miss! During each session, you’ll learn how to live loved by your heavenly Father.
So, let our celebration begin! As we prepare for the downbeat of this experience, I want to serve as your trusted friend, encouraging you along the way, for I am someone whose life has been transformed by the power of God’s amazing love. My prayer is that you, too, will be changed as you realize that God not only loves you, He loves you passionately and completely. He loves you without condition and without exception. He loves you as much as He loves Jesus.
As a matter of fact – you are His favorite as well. You see, this is not a message of favoritism for a select few. This symphony of love is for all God’s children. As you draw near to Him, you will experience your own unique place in His favor and grace. Your heavenly Father desires to have a deep and intimate relationship with you through His Son, Jesus Christ, and He wants His love to impact every area of your life. No matter what you are facing at this moment, He wants to embrace you: in your challenges, victories, or defeats, and in your strengths, weaknesses, or fears.
The world is in a love crisis. Many people suffer from a love deficiency, but not those who enjoy the rich and satisfying life that only Christ can give! If your “cup” is nearly empty, don’t worry. As you come into His embrace you will receive refills over and over again. Oh yes, the refreshments at this event are always on the house. They have already been bought and paid for by our Sponsor. So take all you need whenever you need it. The more you enter in and receive Jesus’ unconditional love, the more you will truly enjoy abundant life.
Enjoy Twenty-one Days of Love …
Research has proved that if you are not satisfied with your current life experience, you must examine your habits. Anything you repeatedly put into practice will become an integral part of your life, and these practices will influence the quality of your life. For this reason, developing good habits is fundamental and essential. Without them you will not enjoy success in the things you desire to accomplish.
Psychologists, counselors, and life coaches say it take twenty-one days to develop a new habit. In light of this, for the next twenty-one days I encourage you to treat this book as more than just a daily devotional. Instead, use it as a manual to help you develop and deepen your spiritual love life – to understand with more clarity God’s deep, sweet love for you.
Investing in your love walk with God will require a commitment on your part. I’ll ask you to read a chapter a day. So, just as you have a designated place to park your car and a specific place to store your shoes, determine to meet with God at the same time, in the same quiet place, where you will not be distracted or disturbed. Try to find somewhere you would feel comfortable reading or praying out loud, or perhaps singing a verse or two of a beautiful hymn. Make you special time with the Lord a priority, and anticipate spending this time with Him daily.
Together, we will explore and experience that love is not a feeling. Love is much more than an emotion. Love is a person. Spending time with this person – Jesus – will be the respite you’ve needed for so long as you linger in His embrace. My hope and prayer are that your experience over the next twenty-one days will alter the course of your life and take your love relationship with the Lord to a new level, one that you’ve never know before.
Encounter Seven Promises from God’s Heart
I have divided our daily concert experience into seven segments, each containing three devotions, which reflect God’s promises to us as His beloved children. I refer to these segments as themes because each addresses a pertinent area in our love relationship with the Lord. As we move through each theme we will address, discuss, and reflect on it together. Then when a new theme begins, we will encounter a different area of your relationship with Jesus and wee how His love covers it all. Let’s start by taking a look at these seven wonderful promises:
God’s passion for you is unconditional.
God’s picture of you is beautiful.
God’s presence in you is perpetual.
God’s provision for you is immeasurable.
God’s plan for you is exceptional.
God’s power in you is accessible.
God’s promise in you is incomparable.
Each day’s reading will close with a heartfelt prayer and give you four significant areas to consider and act upon. I call this closing section “Embrace Your Day” because as you put what you read into practice, you will live loved by God and be able to embrace all He has for you. Our daily love exercises include:
Think about His Love.
This part of your daily reading will serve as a recap, encouraging you to really think about what you have read. It will challenge you to meditate on God’s promise. It will help you consider how it relates to your life, so you will turn the promise over and over in your mind throughout the day. Write your thoughts down in a notebook to track your progress and your request of the Lord. As you consider this section each day, remember that Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Read About His Love.
This section contains a theme scripture from each day’s reading. One of the best habits you could establish is reading and memorizing God’s word. It is active and powerful, transforming our minds, piercing our hearts, and exposing our deepest desires and intentions as it divides between soul and spirit (see Hebrews 4:12). As you work through this daily exercise, remember Psalm 119:11: “They word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Pray About His Love.
Throughout our series of devotional gatherings we will talk to God often. I encourage you to talk to Him on your own, as well. As you spend time with the Lord, relax and enjoy your conversations with Him. You can be completely real. God loves conversing with you. So, talk with Him about everything. Candidly share your challenges, relationships, dreams, hopes, and aspirations. Tell God what you are experiencing as you learn to live loved. He already knows your experience – gut you need to tell Him anyway. Just knowing that He knows will bring you great peace of mind, particularly when you are facing difficult challenges. As you take time with the Lord each day, let Psalm 5:1-2 guide you: “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.”
Be About His Love.
You can expect your love walk with Jesus to bring about changes in your life! As a result, you will impact others as they experience His love through you. This section will help you put your love walk into action. Let this exercise challenge you to activate your faith daily according to Ephesians 5:2, which tells us, “Walk in love, as Christ also hath love us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
Endeavor to Return His Embrace.
My prayer is that this twenty-one-day encounter in God’s embrace will increase your capacity to love Him and receive His love, allowing Him to impact every aspect of your life. Give God permission to transform your thinking and change any misconceptions you have about Him, or yourself, for that matter. No doubt, you will learn many new things about your loving heavenly Father. You may even make some surprisingly new discoveries about who you are.
My dear friend, let me encourage you to return His embrace. As we enjoy each concert in the Father’s symphony of love, ask the Lord to form His will and purpose in you. When you emerge from this “Embrace” celebration, you will understand with more clarity who you are in Him and who He is in you. When our Embraced by God experience is complete, and we’re on our feet asking for “The Encore” (at the end of this book), I pray you will have a new perspective concerning who and whose you are.
There is absolutely nothing more important than developing an intimate, life-changing relationship with the God who made you, loves you deeply, and knows you better than anyone else. He knows you more intimately than your mother, your father, or your best friend. He even knows you better than you know yourself. God knows everything about you – the good things printed in your resume and other things nobody else knows – yet He loves you just the same. Respond to His love. Return His embrace.
Finally, before starting this special event together, let’s set the record straight. If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, this is the perfect opportunity to make that life-changing decision….
If you have given your life to Christ, this would be a great time to pause and pray a simple prayer asking the Lord to renew your Christian experience. Share openly from your heart with the Lord, surrendering to Him completely, trusting Him to complete the work He has started in your life. Now, you can relish twenty-one days in His embrace and enjoy His promises to the fullest.
As you ready to get started? I’m excited as we begin this wonderful celebration for His glory! You could even ask a friend or a small group to join you. Your group could meet in a friend’s home, at church, in a local coffee shop, or even get together in a conference call. However you choose to walk out twenty-one days of being Embraced by God, prepare your heart, arrange your thoughts, and get ready to find the real love you’ve been searching for.
Now, get comfortable in your seat and focus your eyes on the stage. Everything is ready behind the scenes. The curtain is about to open. Let’s begin our journey of discovering what is means to be unconditionally loved, approved, accepted, forgiven, blessed, cherished, favored, and treasured by God!