facebook friend.

The other morning I was sitting outside, drinking coffee and enjoying the beautiful weather. I had my Bible open and was reading the day’s lesson in my study group’s current series, A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit: 5 Habits From the Book of Ruth by Nicki Koziarz.

Someone walking by stopped and looked from my books to me and said, “Oh. You are doing your spiritual part of your life.” After I replied, “Yes, I’m doing my Bible study lesson,” and he walked on, I kept thinking about his words.. doing .. your .. part of your life..

This person has known me for many years and has been a regular church attendee for as long as I have known him. His comment was not one that I would expect from a fellow Christian. Something just did not feel right about his awkward words and behavior.

Two questions kept running through my mind:

(1) Does my faith in God encompass my entire life and being or just “a part” of it?

As Christians, we are commanded to live out each day in a Christ-like manner, displaying the love of God in every facet of our lives. As I strive to meet this commandment, am I exuding the love of God in all my daily activities? Do I walk each day on the path God has laid for me?

(2) How can I encourage fellow Christians to seek a [more active] relationship with God?

Going to church does not equal having a relationship with God. I have many Facebook friends; however, I do not have a personal relationship with each person, only the ones that I engage with in community and fellowship. God desires more than Facebook friend status; He desires for us to be actively engaged in a personal relationship with Him. Yes, He wants a personal relationship with you, with me.. not just a select few of us, but everyone!

The following passage is from the letter written to the church at Phillipi. In it, the apostle Paul reminds the community of new believers that the goal they are striving towards is Jesus Christ, trusting Him and knowing Him in a personal relationship. Faith is strengthened within a community of believers working towards a common goal and encouraging each other along the way. Paul suggests that practice makes perfect, as he urges the church to imitate him in his walk of humble dependence on Christ.

“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.” -Philippians 3:12-21, HCSB

Let your faith infiltrate every part of your life. Let the perfect love of Christ absorb into every fiber of your being. Allow God to work through you and display His majesty in all that you do. Encourage one another to walk in faith at all times and to seek the leading of God. Set good examples for fellow Christians to follow, and mimic the Christ-like behaviors you see others displaying. We become what we practice.

HCSB = Holman Christian Standard Bible

bye. grudges, part 2.

I wrote earlier this year about grudges (see Grudges make smudges. ) and the energy they can deplete from your being. A grudge will hold your joy hostage before you ever knew what happened. Now that I am (one year older. one year wiser.), I have learned even more about the long-term effects these grudging ailments will have on your health. They are not worth your time, only your goodbye!

The day will come, even after you have diligently “spring-cleaned” your heart of any known grudges, that an old grudge will bubble to the surface. It may be older than your grandma, but still feel as fresh as a new baby. DO NOT STRESS! This horrifying, and possibly embarrassing, moment of recollection is NOT a sign of early onset dementia or temporary insanity.

I struggle to identify the revealing source sometimes, but if it is the work of the enemy, I am certain that God can turn that evil to good. He can use the upsetting memory as a way to prune you, to cleanse your mind of hateful thoughts and shameful memories, and ultimately draw you closer to Him. These blasts-from-the-past may be brought to light because they are a barrier between you and God. Ouch! Let it go, sister!

There is a catch. He only heals what we reveal. Anywhere that our hearts have hardened, the LORD can renew and refurbish, but only if we are willing to acknowledge our wrongdoings and repent. God forgives all things. We must just ask Him.

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” – Psalm: 103:8-11, ESV

Read these words of assurance again, and again. Know that God loves you and will forgive you. Know that his grace and his mercy extend further than your eye can see and your mind can comprehend. Know also that God only wants His best for His children. He corrects us in love, so that we can grow closer to Him and the perfection He planned for us.

Take heed of this spoiler alert: this is where the enemy enters the scene:

“Be sober-minded: be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8, ESV

What? Ole Pete just put “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” to shame! Total stalker status.

YOUR ADVERSARY (as in someone against you) is prowling around just looking for someone to destroy. In the words of my mother, “Horrors!” He is just watching and waiting for a chance to prance on you, to catch you when you are down and not on your guard. What better opportunity for his attack than when you are pouting about getting scolded?

Although it may feel like God is defining your impurity, He is actually refining your purity.

Hang in there, and remember that trials will come. We will be tempted and tested, and we will stumble and fall. By the grace of God, stand back up and seek His forgiveness. Repent and let it go! His love covers all things, even the dreadful grudges we may hold.

 ESV = English Standard Version Bible

 

 

let them see love.

This post is inspired by another one of my new tanks from the light blonde shop. I am borderline obsessed with all these super cute tees and tanks hand-made by a fellow Jesus-loving lady. Y’all must check it out!

How are we, as believers, showing love to others in our day-to-day lives? Do we, as Christians, display behaviors that align with the Word of God? Do we treat both believers and non-believers with the same mercy and love that Jesus showed us?

L E T    T H E M    S E E    L O V E.

How we treat each other can be a truer display of God’s love than any testimony we can write. Our actions often give an unfiltered truth louder than any words we can speak.

Let them see love … by speaking truth and kindness.

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” – Psalm 34:13

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

“These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another .. do not devise evil in your hearts against one another..” – Zechariah 8:16a-17a

Let them see love … by keeping your mouth shut!

We have always heard: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Turns out that is biblical, and we cannot ignore what our mamas told us!

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” – Psalm 141:3

“Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.” – Proverbs 11:12

Let them see love …  by reflecting the light of God that is within us.

Jesus is the “true light” that shines into every heart that believes in Him. God overcomes all darkness in our lives with His light, bearing love and mercy and grace (John 1:9).

“You [who are in Christ] are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In she same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

“So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”- Romans 13:12b

“.. come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.” – Isaiah 2:5

Let them see love … by being a humble servant to those around us.

“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”- 1 Peter 4:9-10

“.. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for  ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'” – 1 Peter 5:5b

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord… Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” – Romans 12:8-11,16-17

Let them see love … by welcoming others without judgement.

JUDGING AIN’T LOVING! God has accepted us just as we are, and he also accepts others just as they are. He does not ask for our help in matters of judgment. He only commands us to “love our neighbors as [ourselves]” (Matthew 22:39).

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” – Romans 8:1

“Judge not, that you not be judge. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1-2

CHECK YOURSELF! Take a step back and make sure your words and your actions are speaking love to those around you. Make sure you are aligned with God and walking in His will for your life. If not, humble yourself and ask for forgiveness and direction. He will provide. He is faithful and just and the sole author of genuine and unfaltering love. 

All passages in this post are from the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible.