Archive for the ‘what I really want…love’ Category

I came to Christ in college and over the twenty years that followed, God taught me to wait on Him with regard to His provision for a husband. But I must admit, by the time I turned 40 I really desired to be a wife and a mom. I had to face the reality that I may be serving God for the rest of my life as a single woman and had come to a point of daily yielding my desires up to Him.

The Scripture says, “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you…” Is.30:18 A more accurate translation of the original language could better be read, “therefore longs the Lord to be gracious to you” and “blessed are all who long for Him.” Through this literal rendition, we can better see how the Lord longs for us to long for Him in our waiting! We usually think we’re the only one that is waiting, but this verse shows us that God is waiting, too!

Are you waiting for a husband? While you are longing for him remember the Lord is longing for you! Take some time and tell Him your heart’s desire…He longs to be gracious to His children. Commit to serving Him wholeheartedly as you wait on His perfect timing. Ask Him to help you be patient as you wait for love. Song of Solomon 4:2 says, “…do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time.” Learning to avoid that which stirs us up before loves time is an important part of waiting. God knows that whenever I focused inappropriately on this longing, it would become almost intolerable to bear. And so, as I learned to stop ‘stirring’ I became more adept at waiting.

(God was gracious to me…. In 2005 I married a widower with 4 children whose dear wife had died 8 days after the birth of their 4th child.)

To read more of the story of God’s faithfulness in the author’s life, follow this link:


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Loving Yourself

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better then yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3,4

As it relates to the idea of “loving yourself”, I read in this passage the assumption that we will take care of ourselves without too much encouragement.  Linked to this assumption is a command to take care of others. In our human nature and with the influence of our culture, we often swing off balance and fall into the trap of self-absorption.

Perhaps the firsts thing we think of when it comes to self-absorption is selfish pride.  But as the author, Beth Moore, points out,  “Nursing inferiority can be just as self-consuming as seeking superiority.”  The point she is making is that either way, whether we wallow in poor self-esteem or whether we wallow in pride, we are still thinking of ourselves.  We are still trapped in self-absorption.

How do we find the balance?  Verse 5 tells us:  “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”  Jesus lived a life of sacrificial love thinking of others, but He never forgot Who He was or His purpose–the Son of God come to give life.  As you read through the account of His life in the New Testament, He was continually serving others.  But we also see opportunities for Him to be in solitude and prayer, times of rest and relaxation, time with His friends, times of enjoyment.  He kept the perfect balance of taking care of Himself and taking care of others. 

Have you  fallen into the trap of selfish ambition or self-absorption?  Are there actions you know you should be taking for other people’s interests but you have resisted?  Now is a great time to follow Christ’s example of living a life of balance.  Pray to Him and ask for His wisdom and His help.

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One day as Jesus taught a group of people, a religious expert in the law decided to test Him. Jesus had just told the group that God desires us to love our neighbor as ourself. And so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered by telling a story.

“There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead.

Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

In this passage, Luke 10:29-37, Jesus shows us that our neighbor is anyone whom He brings into our sphere of life. When God reveals to us the loneliness of the widow across the street, that person is our neighbor. As we shop in the grocery store and see someone who can’t quite reach a shelf, that person is our neighbor. When we read about families in Haiti who no longer have a home, they are our neighbor.

Yet again this week, we see more then just the shell of emotional love. The heart of true love is love in action.

But how can we possibly reach out in kindness to all who are in need who come our way? Humanly speaking, that is an impossible task! And so we pray to God with a willing heart for wisdom on exactly how He would have us love our neighbors.

His answer to us may be to write a check. It may be as simple as taking a few extra minutes to lend a helping hand. Listening to a favorite memory, discussing the weather, or writing a special email can be a wonderful blessing. Listen to God’s leading…He will direct you if you have a willing heart.

And best of all, we always have the ear of our Lord…we can pray for our neighbors, whether they are near or far.

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When encountering someone who is “against” us in some way, love does not normally top the list of feelings we feel.  Yet look what we are called by Jesus to do in Scripture:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’   But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”  Matthew 5:43-44

Yesterdays devotional on sacrificial love was about  loving with more then just our words since love is empty without action to accompany it.  And again today we see the concept of taking action in our love, this time towards those who are most difficult to love…enemies.

To call someone an enemy feels a little strong, but I have had my share of people in my life who were  “against”  me and who persistently found ways to throw obstacles in my path.  Can you relate?  There is a lot of hurt with this kind of relationship and no matter how you try to rise above the pettiness, no matter how strategic you become in avoiding contact with this person, somehow they remain a challenge in your life.

In the process of one such relationship I struggled to practice the above actions that Jesus encourages.  I blessed them when the opportunity arose.  I prayed for them.  But I just wasn’t feeling the love.  And then I stumbled across the key to loving my enemy…forgiveness.

Forgiveness wasn’t saying her negative actions towards me were justified.  Forgiveness wasn’t pretending I wasn’t wounded  in the relationship.   Forgiveness didn’t mean I couldn’t have healthy boundaries.  Forgiveness  involved looking at that person through the eyes of Jesus Christ, understanding that she is one of God’s unique creation and struggling with her own complex set of issues.  Forgiveness softened my heart to be willing to love her as God loves her, and to really mean it.

I experienced such  incredible freedom once I truly forgave.  It opened up whole new levels of ability to release the pain and hurt.  It allowed me to live my own life  with a renewed sense of joy.  And I no longer felt a dread of interacting with this person.  I had a new sense of calm that came from being right with God in my heart regarding this whole situation.

Is there someone in your life who is an “enemy”, who is against you in some way, who hurts you? 

*Take a moment to lay that whole situation before the Lord.  Write it out if you need to, and don’t hold anything back from Him. He knows it all anyways and it is helpful to release it personally.  Then shred the paper as a symbolic gesture of your willingness to toss aside the hurts and genuinely love this person.

*Ask the Lord to help you see that person through His eyes and to give you the strength to forgive. This kind of love can only happen through His power!

*Now ask Him to help you pray for this person with a heart of love. 

*Enjoy your freedom!

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“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:16, 18

Love is shallow when it isn’t sacrificial. Love is empty without actions.  Love is hollow when given from a dishonest heart. 

Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate example of perfect love when He came to earth to die on the cross in payment for our sins. He loved us so much, desired so greatly for us to be in relationship with Him, that He took action.  He literally sacrificed  His very life out of love.  And we are called to that same type of love.

My brother-in-law showed this type of love when he donated half his liver to his son who had liver failure. He was surprised when the doctors applauded his actions. It never occurred to him that he would do anything different but apparently there are those who are unwilling to make this choice for their child. He loved his little son and was willing to make the necessary sacrifices of time, pain, and risk to give his son a chance to live.

I have several friends with special needs children. Not only do they spend a lot of extra time caring for their child’s needs, they also spend extra money on the unique things that help their child function better.  Willingly and lovingly they serve their child day in and day out and sacrifice their own desires to see their children have all they need.  Their actions speak love louder then words ever could.

I know of a family who gives one day a month to serve at a local charity. It isn’t easy to take the time out of their schedule. Sometimes they would rather be doing something else. Yet they sacrifice their desires for the sake of loving people they may never even meet face to face.

To whom can you show sacrificial love today, this week, this month?  Is it with your time?  Is it with your money?  Is it with your possessions?

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers…let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:16, 18

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