Category Archives: relationships

Love Everyone?

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Anyone who says they hate in the name of Jesus is deceived.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” James 6:27-28

Does that mean love the white supremacist? Yes. Does that mean love ISIS members? Yes. Love Donald Trump? Yes. Love Hilary Clinton? Yes. Love Democrats? Yes. Love Republicans? Yes. Love all races? Yes. Love those you disagree with? Yes. A follower of Jesus is called to love ALL in His name.

That doesn’t mean we agree with all. It doesn’t mean we believe the same way. It doesn’t even mean we never stand up for what we believe or that we never fight evil.

Having hate in our hearts is something else.

Hate destroys the one it abides in.

Jesus goes on to say in Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

We all were enemies of God but He loved us anyway and sent Jesus to die for us. He shows us mercy every day. We are to pray for those who are caught up in hate and evil. We are to pray for our leaders. Having hate in our hearts won’t change anyone except to change us into bitter, angry people.

We can’t do it in our own strength but Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us. With His power in us, we can love all, even our enemies.

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To Do or To Be? That is the Question.

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I like having a “To Do” list. Following the list instead of getting overwhelmed thinking about all there is to do is encouraging. I check things off as I go and see my progress. And a completed list feels good! But is a “To Do” list the most important? There are lots of tasks that demand my attention. Vacuum the house, do laundry, go to the bank, buy groceries, and the list can go on forever.

What about my “To Be” list? Do I think about that? When I wake up in the morning, my to do list is already in my head. Do I wake up thinking about what I’m to be?

If I made a “To Be” list for today, what would it look like?

To Be:

Be patient on the road, in the grocery aisle, waiting in line.

Be loving to those who wait on me today, to those who crowd the aisles, to those who “interrupt” my tasks.

Be kind and gentle with each person who crosses my path even when they irritate me or block my way.

Be self-controlled not over indulging with food and drink, not giving in to temper fits, not being lazy.

Be joyful walking in praise and thanksgiving to my Father who has given me this day of life.

Be faithful to Him. Putting Him first. Listening to and following His Spirit.

Be prayerful. Praying without ceasing.

Don’t forget to put on compassion and humility!

What if by following my “To Be” list, I can’t accomplish all that is on my “To Do” list?

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

How do I put my “To Be” list before my “To Do” list?

Begin the day with Jesus.

Slow Down.

Listen.

Follow.

Take a breath and pray before each task.

Open my eyes and see.

When I don’t focus on what I’m to be, I rush into my day working on my list, ignoring people who wait on me, getting irritated with those who get in my way, showing impatience to those who are “slow”, and acting prideful as if I’m the only one who matters.

It matters much more to God that I show patience to the checker than if I arrive home on time. He is more concerned about me giving someone a smile then how long it takes me to accomplish my task. He doesn’t care how long it takes me to do my list. He cares how I treat others as I go. Ouch! That hits home with me.

Jesus, please open my eyes to see those around me. Help me to remember what matters. You said if I seek you first above all that you would add the rest. Help me to make loving you and loving others my utmost priority and to trust you with everything else. I can’t do this in my strength. I confess that I am weak. Please Holy Spirit, move through me to show others your love.

I first published this at Internet Cafe Devotions.

 

 

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Encouragement is the Word

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S – “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

O – Paul writes to assure us that all who believe in Jesus will be with Him forever. We will either be with Him when we die or if we are alive when He comes back, we will join Him in the air. Either way, we are with Him forever. Our job is to encourage each other with this truth and build each other up.

A – Am I doing my job? Am I encouraging others daily? Reminding them that whether we are awake or asleep, we will always be with the Lord?
P – Jesus, thank you that you will return one day. Thank you that I am yours forever and nothing can take that away. Help me live to encourage others and remind them of this truth. Help me to encourage someone today. I love you Lord.

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With a Thankful Heart

 

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S – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

O/A – Let the word of Christ abundantly live in you. His word should fill my heart to overflowing. When His word fills my heart, I can teach and admonish others with wisdom as they teach and admonish me. To admonish is to warn, exhort, or caution. When His word fills us then we are able to teach others with wisdom. At the same time singing praise to Him, singing the Psalms and being filled with thankfulness in our hearts. My heart should be filled with thankfulness, not worry, complaints, judgments etc.

I need to let His word abundantly fill me and live in me.
I need to teach and exhort others.
I need to sing psalms and hymns continually in my heart.
My heart needs to be filled with thankfulness to God.

P – Jesus, please help me live this way. Help me make your word an absolute priority in my life so that it fills my mind and heart and comes out in exhortation and song and thankfulness. Thank you that you are so incredibly patient with me. I love you Lord.

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Fiction That Gives Hope

Jennifer Slattery writes fiction that’s entertaining and keeps me turning the pages but at the same time manages to teach me about God’s grace and challenges me to reach out to those around me who are hurting.

    Restoring Love is a follow-up to Jennifer’s first novel, Beyond I Do. Restoring Love shows us what happens to Ainsley’s mom, Angela several years after the events in the first book. Angela is a woman who has made lots of mistakes in her life and had stopped believing her own life could be redeemed until she sees the grace and forgiveness her daughter shows her. As Angela moves on to find a new start, God opens doors for her to show that same grace to Bianca, a struggling mom who lives across the street. With her husband in jail, a rebellious teenage daughter and two challenging young sons, her life is in crisis.

Will Angela be able to give Bianca the same kind of help she herself once desperately needed? And what about Mitch? Why has God allowed this man into her life? Why would any decent man be interested in her ever again? With her history of promiscuity, abortion and manipulation of others, she feels unworthy of love. This story makes me wonder how many people around me are hurting in ways I can’t imagine and who around me needs a word of encouragement or for someone to be willing to give sacrificially. Restoring Love is a love story, a redemption story, a story of hope, a challenge to forgive and a picture of what Jesus meant when He said others would know His followers by their love.

If you want a book that goes beyond being escapist fiction and has the potential to change lives, I highly recommend Restoring Love.

And don’t forget to read Ainsley’s story in Beyond I Do!

Find more about Jennifer Slattery and her other books here:

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Jennifer on Amazon

 

 

 

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There is Hope

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My dad went to be with Jesus in 2000. One of the last times I saw him alive was on a visit I made to the VA home where he lived in another state. I was only able to visit him there two or three times a year. He had been in the home about four years and he hated it. As a former reformatory guard, he referred to it as “lockdown”. But my mom was no longer able to work and take care of him by herself. I wanted so much to encourage him somehow and on this visit I felt the urge to share these verses:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:1-3 (ESV)

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Looking at my mom, he choked, “Did you hear what she said”? He was blessed and encouraged. He would not be stuck in that bed forever. Jesus was preparing a better place for him.

This world is a place of suffering. We may have moments, even days when we are personally free of suffering. But truthfully, with how the world has shrunk so that we know what is happening around the world instantaneously, suffering confronts us hourly if not by the minute. Suffering in this world is a reality and has been since the day Adam and Eve sinned.

Our encouragement, our hope is in knowing it won’t be this way forever. Even if we live into our hundreds, life on this earth is short. Those who believe in Jesus will then live with Him for eternity free of suffering. Someday, He will return to earth and those still alive on earth will see the end of evil and pain.

The tragedy is for those who never know or do not believe that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and set us free and then enter into eternity without Him.

The longer I live, the faster the days go by. Life on this earth is fleeting. Even if I manage to have a life of ease and comfort it won’t last long.

“For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b (ESV)

I feel it.

The longing we each have in our hearts for a perfect place free of pain and sorrow will be fulfilled in heaven.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

Believe in Jesus. Believe He died for your sins and rose again.

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:13 (ESV)

Believe in Him and know you will spend eternity in perfect joy.

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Originally published at Takin It To the Streets

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Filed under Christianity, death, Eternity, Faith, family, grief, heaven, hope, Jesus, loss of a loved one, personal, relationships

Ditch the Labels

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As one of a kind human beings,  let’s stop using labels to put each other in groups.

A label only tells us one small part of who a person is.

I’m an introvert but still different from every other introvert.

I’m a white female but that doesn’t fully define who I am.

I’m American but that doesn’t reveal my soul.

Because I vote a certain way doesn’t mean I’m like all others who vote that way.

To say someone is OCD, autistic, ugly or beautiful doesn’t tell me who he or she is.

We are individuals. One of a kind souls wrapped in bodies unlike any other. Each of us is a wonderful miracle. Assigning you a label doesn’t mean I know you. To know each other we must communicate, listen, understand and love. We need to look for the exquisite colors He put in each soul. Some of us hide them well so we need to be willing to take as long as we need to see.

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;” Psalm 139:13-15 (NASB)

Father, Please help me to take time to see your unique design in each soul. Help me look for your fingerprints all around. Help me let go of labels and judging others without knowing them. Please love others through me and help me to see how much you love each thoughtfully created human being.

Most of us have the tendency to judge others based on appearance or an obvious label.(often one someone else has assigned)

Together let’s determine to know who each person is inside and show them God’s love.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB)

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NASB)

*It’s estimated that throughout all of history, approximately 100 billion people have existed on earth.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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