God

Love

The Love Month is here!! The bible is filled with examples and verses on how to love others. Of course, it begins with the fact that “God is love.” It’s who he is. It is not just a character quality. We are able to love because he first loved us and because he lives in us.

Love lives in us!! This makes our capacity to love unending because God is eternal and love is who he is! As we focus on God in us, we can love others the way he does. Let’s look at some ways the word of God tells us to love others.

 First Jesus tells us to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then he says to love our neighbor as ourselves. I’m going to assume you love God. If you don’t, I encourage you to make Jesus the Lord of your life. That’s where loving God begins. We are unable to truly love ourselves if we don’t love God because we are made in his image and likeness.

Second on the list is to love yourself. We can’t love others if we don’t love ourselves. When we don’t love ourselves is when we react negatively.

After loving God and loving ourselves, we are able to love people. Here are some verses that tell us how to do that.

Jesus tells us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:27 & 35. In these verses, he encourages us to bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who use or persecute you. In our flesh that is the last thing we may want to do, but it’s what God does all the time. He sent Jesus before anyone accepted him. After we accept him, many times we do things that are contrary to what he wants. He never stops loving. One of the last things Jesus did before he died was to ask God to forgive the people for what they did.

In Matthew 5:46 Jesus asks, “If you only love those who love you what good is that?” It’s easy to love people who are kind to you or who love you. The difficulty we have in loving people who do not love us is dealing with the fear of rejection. We don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we might get hurt. God has a different idea. He put himself in a place of huge vulnerability when he sent Jesus to the earth. It was a gamble, but the gamble paid off in spite of all the people who have not received him. We have the same capacity because he lives in us.

Most of us are aware of the statement Jesus made about laying down our lives for our friends. He said this is the greatest love. It’s what he did. Most of us won’t be required to die for anyone, but we can lay down our lives for others. We do it by not insisting on our own way, by giving of our time and resources, by thinking of others and putting them first….

1 Corinthians 14:1 states, “Let love be your highest goal.” Wow! Most of us do not put loving people as a goal, but the bible tells us to make it our highest goal. When we love others, that’s what real success is all about. 

Let February be the beginning of your quest to love God, love yourself, and love others and you’ll have a very successful life.

Generosity

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What is something God cannot do without? According to 2 Corinthians 9:7 in the Amplified translation, he can’t do without “a cheerful, joyous, prompt-to-do-it giver whose heart is in their giving.”

Christmas is a time for giving, as we all know. Sometimes the purpose of our heart is not to give. Sometimes we give because we have to. Have you ever given somebody something because they gave you something? Many times I’ve heard people say they needed to send someone a Christmas card because one was sent to them. OR how about buying someone a gift because they bought you one?

God’s not looking for us to give without having heart. 2 Corinthians 9 talks about allowing giving to be the purpose of our heart. It exhorts us to give not because we have to and not to give reluctantly, half-heartedly, or unwillingly. It should be a main part of the purpose for living.

God’s nature is to give and if you are a Christian, it’s your nature too. John 3:16 is the most familiar verse in the world. What does it say about God? It says because he loved, he gave. This doesn’t mean we only give to people we love. God gave to us while we were in a vile state, as sinners. God didn’t love that about us, but he loved us and wanted us to be part of his family. The only requirement for it was to receive his son, Jesus as the Lord of our lives. It was to receive his gift.

When someone is given a gift, they can receive or not. They can decide to use it or let it sit on a shelf. It’s the same with the free gift of God in Jesus Christ. We can receive him and allow him to make a difference in our lives, or hear the truth and let it sit dormant somewhere, or say “No, I don’t want this gift.” It seems crazy for us to do either of these things, but we do.

When my husband, Robb, first received the Lord, I said, “No thanks. I’m a good, religious person. I’m not like you.” Then I saw the change God made in Robb’s life. He was a completely different man. It was faith in God that changed him. I realized I needed what he had. He had a relationship with God that I did not have, although I was religious.

Let’s get back to allowing giving to be the purpose of our heart. When we have God’s nature in us, we can give to people we don’t want to because it’s the purpose of God’s heart to be a giver. Our purpose should be to give, not because we have to, but because we get to. What a joy and privilege it is to give to others! 

During this Christmas season allow God’s love to control you so the purpose of your heart is to be a giver like he is.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Shame

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All of us have experienced shame of one form or another. It may have been in a minor way (which actually is embarrassment), like having your pants split in public, or in a major way, like something really bad you did from your past. NO matter what, we all deal with it.

The truth is Jesus bore our shame. He wiped our slate. He made us righteous in him. We are his masterpiece. As we embrace what God’s word says about us, it enables us to stand tall knowing who we are in Christ and whose child we are.

Romans 10:11 is a powerful affirmation of this.

Rom. 10:11 “NO ONE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL HAVE REASON TO FEEL ASHAMED.” Weymouth

Rom. 10:11 Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.” God’s Word Translation

Colossians 1:22 says that we are blameless in God’s sight because of the blood of Jesus. This means we are innocent of wrongdoing, without guilt, faultless, above reproach. With this there is nothing to be ashamed of. When God looks at us he sees Jesus.

Recently, I saw a movie about a girl who was a little chunky and did not like herself. She fell and hit her head. As a result of the fall, she began to think she was pretty. She walked confidently, faced people and challenges, and went after her dreams as a result of the change.

When we come into a relationship with the Lord, we change our thinking. We renew our mind to what God says about us in his word. Shame leaves because we embrace what God says.

Shame keeps us from walking confidently.

Shame keeps us from pursuing our dreams.

Shame makes us shrink back.

In Christ the shame is gone. It’s been lifted.

We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.

We are more than conquerors because of God’s love for us.

We are without fault.

We are blameless.

We are God’s masterpiece created in Christ.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are made in God’s image and likeness.

No matter what kind of shame tries to come our way, we have the antidote. It is a Father who loves us and has written many wonderful things about who he created us to be. We look and act just like him.

We have the ability to stand with confidence before shame or any negative thought that comes our way and declare,

“NO SHAME FOR ME. I AM FREE.”

 My prayer is that we would believe what God says about us so we can walk free from any shame.