I am learning so much more about the Love of the Father.
For years, I used to think that bad thoughts, bad feelings would hinder my ability to understand, to receive God's love for me.
I actually believed that God's presence, His loving caress, depended on how I was feeling and what I was thinking.
Can you imagine going through life thinking that how you feel, what you think, is going to affect your standing before God? The torture, the trauma that it created it was just beyond comprehension.
The tension, the trauma, the terror was so great.
I am finally understanding how real, how present, how prevalent God's love is for me. It's really exciting.
I can lose my temper, I can have wayward thoughts and feelings, and yet God's love is still there, still present, still refreshing and rolling over me.
For decades, I was stressed out internally, constantly playing catch-up with my feelings, trying to keep a lid on sexual temptations, lust, anger, fear, etc.
Fears was particularly damaging, because I feared that because I felt fear, that would make God angry and He would not answer my prayers.
This verse started to make so much more sense when I realized that my feelings don't block God's love:
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)
I used to think that there was something wrong with me if I was feeling fearful. Now I understand that any sense of fear was then undercut with a sense of condemnation: "Oh, you are feeling fearful now, therefore, God is not going to bless you!"
But that's now what "perfect love" is! He loves me perfectly, completely, and it is not dependent on me at all.
In fact, God's perfect love came first. It's not about whether I was fearing first. That never comes into the equation:
"We love because He first loved us."(1 John 4:19)
God loves me and cares for me not because of anything that I have done or will do, but because of everything that Jesus has done!
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
The Angel of Death passed over the houses of the Israelites with blood on their doorposts, regardless of how the family members may have felt. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, not our belief in the blood.
Now, we do need to believe in His gift of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. It's not a work that we have done, and it's not some universal salvation. A gift has to be received, after all!
At any rate, the stresses, the pressures, the upsets, uptight sentiments which were so prevalent in my body caused my blood presure to go up! It's incredible! This kind of thinking and feeling was so common in my day-to-day life, that I hardly noticed it.
After suffering a stroke, after giving up all the diet soda, and after giving up much of the fast-food, I did notice that my blood pressure was going down considerably. I got off the blood pressure medication at one time, and then my blood pressure shot up again. It was really strange how this kept happening.
Since then, I have begun to realize that there were a number of stressors that had been working within me automatically. I was constantly looking at myself, trying to catch myself so that I was not fearful, angry, or falling into bad thoughts and feelings.
Now that I recognize that His love is completely independent of my actions, i.e. I don't earn it, I can let feelings, thoughts, bad ideas come and go. They have no chokehold on me, they no longer serve as a hateful stronghold over me, because I know that the love of God has taken hold of me.