Jesus Asks Us to Love, Not Hate

I didn’t intend to blog much tonight, but I checked my blog site and read a blog I follow called Daily (w)rite. She wrote about the children that were killed in Pakistan. As a girl growing up in India, she learned to hate the Pakistanis. She eloquently decries murdering innocent children and she feels deeply for the grieving families. I wrote a comment giving what I feel the Bible says about Jesus’ love for all of mankind and how He must cry when He sees us hurting one another.

Instead of building each other up and sacrificing our selves for others’ sake, we often live for ourselves first and foremost. I am as guilty as anyone. Our Wednesday night Bible study is covering 1 John 4 and other books in the Bible we chose, like Matthew 5:38-48, and 1 Corinthians 13. We decided they highlighted how to love God more and how to love others more, which is our focus for this study. We are talking about really loving others, especially those that are not as lovable to us as others might be. What does that look like in actuality? How do we live it?

We are also bringing in ingredients to make soup each week, and I’m finding the breaking of bread and working together in  the kitchen beforehand is creating an unexpected bond.

One of our participants accepted the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior in October and the Word of God is coming alive for him now. He is so eager to learn what the Bible has to say and he tells us he’s been delivered from addictions and sins that he’s lived with for many years. Not everyone has that experience. They may find some relief and then God helps them be set free of other burdens over time. Each person is unique. So this new believer asks questions that brings depth to our studies as we tell of our experiences over the years with God and His word, or we begin a search and learn along with him. His face radiates with the joy of a new life in Christ.

I intended to write a short ditty about receiving two copies of “Live Magazine” in the mail today. My article is featured on the cover of the January 11, 2015 issue. What a delightful surprise. Somehow it seems insignificant in the face of the heart-wrenching loss of precious children. I’m content with the byline, but hoping to comfort hurting people in Jesus’ name seems a much more appropriate use of blogging space and blogging time; Thanks for reading, if you made it this far. May God enrich your heart today.

Hearing from God

Do you ever hear a Scripture over and over again, through prophesies, preaching, and/or casual conversation? I’ve been hearing and reading in the Word, Isaiah 64:6. Here it is in the Amplified Version of the Bible:

For we have all become like one who is unclean (ceremonially, like a leper), and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction). (Leviticus 13:45, 46)

Then I hear that even though all fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23), it is for sinful man that Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth. He took the curse of sin, and the sin itself, upon Himself (He who knew no sin), took my sin on Himself so I could be washed clean. Then Father God says, “I see you my beloved child, free from sin,” because I repented and believed on Jesus, God the Son.
When I die, God will say, “Come into My heaven, your home. Your mansion awaits. There’s no crying here. Enter into rest and be free of all aches and pains. Experience the joy and love of God forever.”

Why do I keep on hearing about “none are righteous, no not one.”? Maybe so I’ll be less hard on myself when I miss the mark of the high call of God. Maybe because pride is the basis of all sin, C.S. Lewis thought so. Then I’ll know any good thing in me is because of Jesus Christ, the Savior.

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) says: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

To stay rooted and grounded in Jesus, I must live a repentant lifestyle. When I sin daily, hourly, moment by moment sometimes, I need to repent daily, hourly, moment by moment. God forgives and I must forgive myself. To live in God’s joyful presence, what a privilege. Grace – not striving, not legalism – but grace!

We are able to hear from God because of His grace.

Commitment: Are You For It or Against It?

Hi! I am writing tonight because I made a commitment to write more regularly in July of 2014 at Montrose Christian Writers Conference. I’ve been crazy busy with family, a writing project for a client and unfortunately, three funerals over the last three weeks. I began to realize that my blogging schedule fell by the wayside. So, I got to it shortly after remembering. Here goes:

I wonder what you think of commitment? I think of it often because I really care about marriage. I started a book on marriage but I am more eager to finish my novel, so that book is second on my list. I am writing for other people because I feel God wants me to and I know my husband appreciates me working to help carry the load. So, since I’m committed to God and to my husband, I’ve set priorities in my writing life.

Today I spent time in the Word early in my day because that’s something God’s been nudging me to do, and it amazes me how much better my day goes when I take those minutes to read the Word and pray. During prayer I felt as if God said to write today.

We had four little ones and their mom here for four days and my house, which is never perfect, looked so beat up, I knew I’d be restoring order and doing laundry. Since I try to obey God, (and believe me, I’m not perfect), in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the writing. So, I did dishes and threw stuff away and found toys in unexpected places which went back in the toy box. My daughter did a ton to set things right, but she has very active children and couldn’t get it all done.

At three p.m., I called it quits and got on the computer. I finished a short story I’ve been working on, and blogging was my next priority. I was about to get ready for bed when I realized I didn’t get beyond signing in to WordPress.com, so here I am.

My husband and I have been married for thirty-nine years. That’s a commitment that seems tiny compared to a couple we know. We just attended their seventieth wedding anniversary. She said it’s been good, there have been times when it wasn’t good and then times when it was horrible. They stayed the course and she gave the credit to the fact that they met Jesus in a tangible way in their adult years. Not just as an idea in church, but as Lord and Savior, friend and judge, peace-giver and provider, protector and director of their paths, parent and confidant, healer and trustworthy authority. The list could go on, but then it would be too long. 🙂

Are you for commitment, or against it? I see people not getting married because their parents’ marriage didn’t work out. We are still married today, by the grace of God. I’m definitely for it, but sometimes it’s hard. The good definitely outweighs the bad.

Have you ever committed to something and then been sorry? Have you ever committed to something and been glad? I’d love to hear from you.