EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Real Encouragement for Real Life by Jeff Schreve (From His Heart Ministries).

DOES GOD LIKE YOU?

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. —Jeremiah 31:3

When my wife and I first started dating and getting serious, my future mother-in-law was less than thrilled. She thought I was all wrong for Debbie, and she made no bones about the fact that she did not like me very much. When I asked for Debbie's hand in marriage, all her mother could do was cry. That was not the response for which I had hoped.

It was tough in those early days of our relationship, when we would get together with Debbie's mom (Debbie's dad liked me just fine). I tried to love her mom as she was, but it was uncomfortable being around someone I knew did not like me.  

Do You Like Me?

Have you ever had to be around someone who did not like you? Someone at work or at school or at church or in your own family … and you had to spend time with him or her. It is awkward and uncomfortable, isn't it? It is something that you dread, isn't it? 

Let's face it, we do not like to be around people who are disappointed, disgusted, and displeased with us. We shy away from encounters with those who don't like us very much. 

What about God?

I am convinced that the reason so many people spend so little quality time with God is because, deep down, they do not think God likes them very much. Sure, they know in their head that He loves them, but they are pretty sure He is displeased and disappointed with them most of the time. Listen, it is a chore—not a joy—to spend time with the Lord when you believe He is negative toward you. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. God thinks you are terrific! He thinks you hung the moon (well, actually He did, but you get the point). He has your picture in His wallet and your name on His lips. He thinks about you all the time and loves to spend time with you. He loves you with an everlasting love! He calls you His special treasure (Exodus 19:5).

"But Jeff, you don't understand. I have so much sin in my heart. How could God be anything but displeased with me?" Remember, God is displeased with sinful actions, but He is not displeased with you. There is a big difference between the two. 

My Girls

God has blessed me with three wonderful daughters. I am so proud of them and love to spend time with them. I think about them with joy, not disgust. Do they ever do things that displease me? Have I needed to discipline them for disobedience (although they are a little old for that these days)? Yes … but I am never displeased with them, just displeased with their actions from time to time. I would love them and want to be with them no matter what they did. They are my girls … and because they are my girls, I am well pleased with them. So it is with God and His children.  

Will You Accept It?

It is time for you to believe and receive the truth. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32). If you've asked Christ to come live in your heart, you are a child of God. And God is inviting you to spend time with Him … to rest in His unconditional love and enjoy it! He wants you to know that He not only loves you, but He likes you and thinks the world of you. He wants to be your best friend. What do you say to that?

THE HARDEST LESSON TO LEARN

For God so loved the world … John 3:16 

When our girls were little, we taught them this familiar little song: "Jesus Loves Me This I Know, for the Bible Tells Me So." What a simple message, easy enough for a child to understand. But the sad reality is this: so many people have trouble believing it is true.