Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I have really been thinking about what it is to really love. We all say it so freely that we love someone or that we love something! We say that we love pizza or chocolate in the same breath that we say that we love our family! What is love? The more that I thought about it, the more I was challenged to ask myself whether my definition of love matched up with my actions and the answer is that more often than not, it did not. I decided that I better find out what real love is, from the One who created love and showed us real love through His actions – none other than Jesus Christ of Nazareth – God Most High! There is no one who can possibly top His love. He gave His very own life for me, for you, for us all – just to save us because He loved us! So what does He say about love?
1 Corinthians 13
The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (The Message)
After reading this passage, I have definitely come to the conclusion that I don't really love. Which one of these have I not broken in the past week let alone 24 hours! Every day I break one or more of these – for example, “...isn't always “me first”, doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of others sins...” Guilty as charged – not one remains that has not been broken – not one! I have broken them all. What a revelation this has been for me! I hold my husband to such a higher standard than I hold my own self to and I get very upset when he doesn't meet that standard. What about setting the standard for myself? It really is time to take a good look at my heart and make some changes!
God definitely got a hold of me and brought this verse to my attention. I have now made this verse my personal prayer and theme verse. Here it goes:
Philippians 1: 9-11
9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (The Message)
It is about time that I stop focusing on others faults whether legitimate or not and focus on what I have done and whether what I am doing is pleasing to God or satisfying my sinful self! It's for God to take care of others. He did not give me that job and I need that job no more, no more!
If you have struggled or are struggling with loving someone the way Christ told us to, my prayer for you is I Corinthians 13 and Philippians 1: 9-11. May God be with us and help us as we make those necessary changes in our lives ! OK God! start with me!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This year has been a year where God has allowed me to see first hand what injustice can do to me, my family and some of my very dear friends. I know that He allowed me to see this first hand many times over because He wanted me to be more like Him and hate injustice as much He does. Mission accomplished! Since I have spent days and months thinking about this topic in relation to my life and the lives of those around me and also in relation to the elections, I wanted to share with you what God says in His word regarding justice and how He feels about injustice. I pray that as you read this, you will also be challenged to make changes in your life, in the way that you deal with people that you know and with strangers and that you will step outside of your comfort zone and go out of your way to make sure that someone around you receives justice!
Here is what I found the Bible to say:
"Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd
"Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
"Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.
"Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow." Then all the people shall say, "Amen!
Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern
learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD
But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations...
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
(All above verses taken from the New International Version)
These are just a handful from the hundreds of verses that talk about justice. So what does all this mean for you and me? To me it means that justice is so important to our Father God and it cannot be stressed enough. Justice towards the unborn, justice towards the born, towards the widow, towards the orphan, towards the poor and needy and down trodden. Justice towards all people. Our God excels in that and seeing justice done makes His heart glad! We cannot address one and leave out the other. In His eyes that is nothing but sin! He is our standard to live by and so let's strive to follow Him today! I challenge you to go out there and find someone who has been treated wrongly (believe me, it is not that hard to find!) and show them the love of Christ. Not only will they thank you, our Father God will bless you for doing so!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This morning I was reminded of the use of words, by my husband. I had made lunch for my husband to take to work, this morning. We had talked about the lunch while he was eating breakfast. When he finally left to work, he forgot to take his lunch with him. I called him up to let him know that he forgot to carry his lunch but I said, "...after all that, you forgot your lunch." I meant that after talking about the lunch, you still forgot it. I didn't mean much else by it but he understood it as me giving him a guilt trip after I went through all the trouble of making the lunch. We talked about it and I explained that I didn't mean that. This incident reminded me that I need to be very careful in my choice of words - my carelessness can hurt another person and many times I may not even realize it.
I know that as girls we talk a lot. They say that we use about 10,000 words a day. How easy it is for us to say something that we shouldn't in the course of our talking. If we think through the words we say or the expressions that we use or the topics that we talk about, we probably won't end up saying half the things that we do! I remember someone telling me that when you are really upset or angry at someone, before speaking to that person, write a letter with what you are feeling and then tear it up.If we all did that what a better place this world would be! I am sure that there would be happier marriages, relationships, families, work places, churches and on and on the list goes! I know that I am guilty of this very thing and yes! I do need to work on myself. One of my weaknesses is to say things when I am upset and it is something that I am working on - I do have a long way to go!
A couple of suggestions to help you watch your tongue:
1. Start the day asking God to be in charge of all your conversations.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (The Message)
2. Think twice or even thrice before speaking a word. Do not be careless with your words.
"Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything."(The Message)
3. Remember that it is always better to say something nice and encouraging to a person than to say a single mean word! It will also make you happier!
"Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim." (The Message)
4. When you are upset or mad at someone or when someone hurts you, write down your thoughts on a piece of paper and tear it up before talking to the person. Don't talk to a friend who will agree with everything that you say rather a friend who will be objective and honest and will encourage you to say and do what is right. I can assure you that in the long run you will be a happier and more joyful person.
"A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire."
"Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget." (The Message)
So girls, my prayer for each one of you and for myself is that God will grant us the self control necessary to place a bridle on our tongues so that we will not hurt anyone by our loose tongues. I also pray that each one of you reading this will be blessed today by someone who uses their tongue to bless rather than curse!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
55-57 "I called out your name, O God,
called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, 'Don't shut your ears!
Get me out of here! Save me!'
You came close when I called out.
You said, 'It's going to be all right.'"
58-60 "You took my side, Master;
you brought me back alive!
God, you saw the wrongs heaped on me.
Give me my day in court!
Yes, you saw their mean-minded schemes,
their plots to destroy me.
61-63 You heard, God, their vicious gossip,
their behind-my-back plots to ruin me.
They never quit, these enemies of mine, dreaming up mischief,
hatching out malice, day after day after day.
Sitting down or standing up—just look at them!—
they mock me with vulgar doggerel."
64 "Make them pay for what they've done, God.
Give them their just deserts. (The Message)
I definitely know the feeling and I am so glad that I can go CONFIDENTLY to a God who cares and loves me so much and who sees the bad things that people around me do to me and my loved ones. I am so glad that He does not turn a blind ear to it!
In Deuteronomy 32: 34-35
Don't you realize that I have my shelves
well stocked, locked behind iron doors?
I'm in charge of vengeance and payback,
just waiting for them to slip up..."
As hard as it may be to let God be in charge of dealing with those who have acted in an unjust manner towards us, we need to do so! At the same time, let's ask God for the wisdom needed through every step taken. Let God be the one to lead us and guide us as we go through each second of the day! Hang in there my friends, you are not alone! My prayer for you today is that God will touch your heart in a very special way and remind you that He sees all and He cares and that He will in His own time and in His own plan, take care of the entire situation. I pray that you will have calmness and peace today!
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. Matthew 11:28
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, How I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; All the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared Before I'd even lived one day. " (The Message Translation)
Isn't it just amazing that our Creator, God Himself, took the time to weave our body together, piece by piece! To know that He cares for me that much, to know that He loves me that much just warms my heart! If you have ever doubted that God loves you or that you are special or if you have ever doubted that you are beautiful, rest today knowing that He does love and you indeed are more precious than diamonds and will always be so in His eyes!