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Sweet and Sour

  • The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NASB

    There is a saying that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Yet when I was growing up, most of the things that I heard about God were seasoned with vinegar. Sort of like: God does love you, but He will kill you if do not do what I said. Over the years, I have learned that God is not like that at all and that people will create a god for you, then want you to bow down to it much like Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3:1).

    It took years for me to put aside that baggage, and I still struggle against it even now. For some reason it is easy for us to believe that God is mean, or hates us, but hard to believe that He truly loves us. But this is what scripture teaches throughout. The first time that I read the Bible through, I was most amazed by what was not in there. So we have a choice: believe what we have been told is in the Bible, or believe what is actually in the Bible.

    What is in there is this: God loves us with an everlasting love, and that love never changes based on your behavior. He does not love you more when you think you are good, or less when you think you are bad. He draws us with His loving kindness. When you fall, get up, He still loves you. The Lord is fresh out of vinegar. You will only find honey on His shelves.


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40 comments
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kylie dempsey
kylie dempsey The lies that the enemy uses through others to get at us can be so destructive....I was told that Jesus couldn't hear me because I wasn't a Christian...I was told this as a ten year old. Broke my heart. Years later I heard that that wasnt so...thanks for your honesty Pastor Dion, regarding your own battle with old ideas of whom God is 
March 14, 2015
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Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield Oh how I can relate! I was raised Catholic; attended Catholic school in the early '60's, so you can guess what I thought about God! I viewed Him as an austere old man with a long white beard and perpetual frown! My own father was also quite stern, so God seemed rather unapproachable until I began a relationship with Jesus. Thank you so much for the supportive, encouraging words to start my day with! I've been awake since 3:30 EST; my Uncle "Arthur-itis" woke me up again! LOL!
March 14, 2015
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Denise Holmes
Denise Holmes That's why we must have a relationship with God for ourselves . I've learned that we have the choice to do right or wrong. 
March 14, 2015
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Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell Thanks Dion, God loves us so much that He wants us to come to a place He calls "REST". In Hebrews 4:!-16, the Bible describes how to enter this rest. Be yourself, you are unique, and you were put here for this time. Enjoy it! 
March 14, 2015
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Sunnie McPhetres
Sunnie McPhetres So true!  God loves us and he wants us to love each other!  I am always perplexed when I attend my daughter's high school basketball games and I hear the coaches (including hers) berating their girls.  Don't they realize that they get more with kindness?  God knows that!
March 14, 2015
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Dion Todd
Dion Todd They turned me away from the altar and told me that I was too young to be saved once, but I knew better because the Lord followed me home that night... :)
March 14, 2015
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Sheri Stewart
Sheri Stewart if i were not raised to believe God loved me and accepted me UNCONDITIONALLY i probably would not be here today.  i honestly feel sorry for all the Catholics who are not taught to pray, read the Bible,  to ask God in their own words what they wish for...my husband is very devout Catholic and he is learning through me-i am Methodist and went to Lutheran schools-how to pray, talk to God, meditate and read the Bible.   God is the only one in control-not religion
March 14, 2015
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Carol Pady
Carol Pady I was raised Catholic when the services were still in Latin. I was taught to fear the wrath of God. I got hold of a King  James Version of the Bible in my teens and decided that there were so many differences in this Bible and my Catholic Bible that I politely brought up to my Dad. I told him I didn't want to go to church anymore. He told me he respected my decision and that I should decide for myself whether I should be Catholic or not. A few short years later I found Jesus. I embraced this new life of belonging to a Loving God. Still I struggle at times with fear that God is angry at me for my shortcomings. I go to Him in prayer for forgiveness and He never fails to fill me with his unconditional love!
March 14, 2015
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Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus for everlasting love.
March 14, 2015
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Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith Praise God that we can get to know him for ourselves.  He is awesome
March 14, 2015
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Debbie Bible
Debbie Bible It's not only Catholic. I was raised Southern Baptist with hell fire and brimstone, at least that's what I remember. That, and the social club mentality tuned me away from the church for many years. Thank God for ministries such as these that teach God is love.
March 14, 2015
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Paula Neace
Paula Neace I have been trying to apply this in my life as well. It is hard to imagine that God loves us this way but I truly believe he does too! There have been times where I thought of God in the manner of my actions determining God's feelings toward me. Thank God his love is unconditional! 
March 14, 2015
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Dion Todd
Dion Todd I was a southern baptist when I was young as well and this is what I wrote from. There is nothing wrong with being a Baptist, there are some wonderful people there, but we watched videos about people burning in hell regularly, but it had no lasting effect. The night club was full the following night. I know little about Catholicism, but I believe that each denomination has its own issues with legalism, control, teaching traditions of men as scripture...  :)
March 14, 2015
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Dion Todd
Dion Todd It is very easy to fall into a performance based relationship, but the Bible teaches that we are His children. We still love our children even when they are in prison. Why would He do less  :)
March 14, 2015
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Barbara Mango
Barbara Mango Great message. Yes, sometimes it's hard to imagine that God actually loves us with all of our imperfections. God's lovingkindness is the sweetest gift that continues on forever. Praise God!
March 14, 2015
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Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield I can honestly say, without an ounce of doubt, that my parents would NOT love me if I was incarcerated.That would be a disgrace to "the family".
March 14, 2015
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Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield SO TRUE!! Thanks for the reminder!
March 14, 2015
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Sonya Stanley
Sonya Stanley The late, great Andrae Crouch sang a song  "I Don't Know Why Jesus Loves Me" I feel the same way. God's love is unphathomable to our human minds. We sin and get on our own nerves, but it's so good to know that he never tires of us and wants to save us....by any means necessary
March 14, 2015
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Irene Burgon
Irene Burgon Love your message. I know there have been times in my life where I will say why me God, what have I done wrong to deserve this. Now, I have put everything into God's hands and I feel so much better.
March 14, 2015
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Dion Todd
Dion Todd It is actually difficult to click off the love button... You can always say "I would never" but usually you will eat those words. :)
March 14, 2015
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Mayra Prado
Mayra Prado Dion, I am a Catholic and in my late 60's.  The message I heard in church as a child was very different from the message I hear now about God loving us always.  As a child it was more about do the right thing so He doesn't punish you, though the focus was never on fire and brimstone.  I am also a mother and grandmother and this has helped me understand more God's love.  As you say, if we can love our children no matter what, how much more God.
March 14, 2015
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Twila Stierwalt
Twila Stierwalt My parents were Christians and always tought us 4 children That we were special and that God created us for a purpose. My Dad would read Psalm 139 to us. I always knew in my heart that God created me and had a purpose for my life, for this I am very thankful. Even though I knew this as an adult I had to learn to trust Christ no matter what my circumstances are. I think God is more concerned about how we handle our circumstances than what our circumstances are. I know it is Gods love that holds us up and His Spirit teaches us how to live.
March 14, 2015
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Kelli Lane
Kelli Lane Very good message Amen!
March 14, 2015
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Lissy Verghese
Lissy Verghese Thank you for the great message! It is a reminder all of us need at times, I feel.
March 14, 2015
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kylie dempsey
kylie dempsey Lol....God is so good!! So faithful and loving. I'm glad He followed you home...The enemy always thinks he has the upper hand....but God surpasses this and triumphs in the end :-D
March 14, 2015
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Ruth Martin
Ruth Martin It is terrible when a young child grows up thinking all the fights and trouble in her family is her fault. Worse still when it carries over to any fighting done around her has to be her fault. If she had just done this or that no one would have been fighting. Or that when she was molested by her daddy that it was her fault. That her mommy wouldn't beleive her over him if she told. Or that living with a father that didn't really want her except to have a piece of his personal property to do with as he wanted. And on top of all of that she kept hearing in "Church" that she had to do as she was told, no matter what, because God wouldn't love her and/or would punish her otherwise. Sorry, this really hit a sore, tender, painful spot in my heart. I was an adult, mother of two children, before I learned that all of that is NOT what God and His love is all about. Please, Pastor, continue reaching out through the web to reach all those that will take a glance at what you have to say. I know that someone, somewhere, will find the strength they need to know they are loved by our true Father in Heaven and are worth saving. Thank you.
March 14, 2015
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Alane Grosz
Alane Grosz I was taught that we are evil and are unworthy of grace, but somehow by the skin of our teeth we may be allowed into heaven.  God's love and goodness were spoken about but not lived. It has been a journey learning the truth
March 14, 2015
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Sunnie McPhetres
Sunnie McPhetres Very powerful words, Ruth!  Thank you for sharing.  God bless you.
March 14, 2015
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Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler Your words of people make a god they want you to believe in spoke to me with slant I have not thought of before. I did not grow up in a Christian home.  When we moved to a house where my Great aunt lived in I started to watch someone who lived for God.  She slept in front room on third floor & I slept in room before her.  I was 11 yrs old.  I watched her read her Bible, listen to her pray at our table for dinner, and watched others walk thru my room to visit her.  They were from the Salvation Army.  My Great Aunt was the oldest senior in the army in our city.  All were dressed in black with bonnets & Black heels.  I learned as she told me she started with tambourine playing in bars at age 14.  She married one time and their baby died & he left the marriage.  A larger framed picture of a baby with wings sitting on a cloud hung on her wall.  Before her we got dropped at a Baptist Church in the country where we use to live.  I always new God was close...it helped.  Much evil was around me in a very different way.  When we moved to the city tipical every day worldly ways which I got mixed up in later. You are such a blessing to my husband & I as we read your devotions together. Thank you Pastor
March 14, 2015
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Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler Thank you for sharing your sore spot.  A very sore spot!  I watched my Mom when she got up with a purple face.  My Dad also was verbally abusive.  My brother fought with fists even into the gutter in front of our house.  I personally wanted to beat him for my Mom.  Yes things are there that are scars yet thanks to Jesus He really worked in me for years to get it out and to a forgiving spirit for my Dad.  
March 14, 2015
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Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler A singer named Mandisa has a song I love....what scars are for....words I like are these......They remind me of Your faithfulness & all You brought me thru...they teach my brokenness is something You can use .....they show me where I've been & I'm not there any more.  She has a well known song named Your an Overcomer.  Love all her songs for they are real & feel the ministry in them.  Maybe some of you have heard the song.
March 14, 2015
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kylie dempsey
kylie dempsey What a beautiful upbringing you had!! God blessed you :-D
March 15, 2015
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Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello AMEN !
March 15, 2015
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Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello I struggled with thinking of God as a fiercely authoritative,disciplinarian.I thought He was always ready to punish us whenever we sinned, with little mercy. That way of thinking made me fearful and judgmental of others. It didn't help either having a dad that was negative,short tempered and judgmental himself. When I was a child though, he didn't seem that way. God has taught me through observation and experience that the pressures and failures of life can change people; unless they fully rely on God for help to deal with the circumstances of their lives. I'm thankful that Jesus drew me to him when I was a child,about 4 yrs.old in Sunday school,as we used to call it. He made me aware that He is real and that He loved me...
March 15, 2015
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kylie dempsey
kylie dempsey God is good...my dad wasn't the best...I've had anger over this....but God has shown me that his father never showed him how to be a good father....through His healing I'm beginning to forgive my own dad.
March 15, 2015
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Ticardo Williams
Ticardo Williams Thank God for grace and Truth!
March 15, 2015
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kylie dempsey
kylie dempsey Amen!
March 15, 2015
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Tania Ribeiro
Tania Ribeiro Amen. 8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9  Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.  Hebrews 13:8,9 Blessings to all
March 15, 2015
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Liz Birnschein
Liz Birnschein The Lord is fresh out of vinegar. You will only find honey on His shelves. I love this thought! 
March 16, 2015
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Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler Glad He is out of vinegar!
March 22, 2015