Love your enemies, part 4

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

If you want to go back and read parts one, two, and three of this 4-part series, just click on those links and it will take you there.

Today’s topic is love.  “Behold, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  1 John 4:7-8

God IS love!  And we love one another because love is of Him and we are born of Him and we know Him.  When we aren’t loving one another, then it’s an indicator than something is off in our relationship with God.  When we aren’t loving then something is wrong.

Vs. 10 says that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins.  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love on another.”  (vs. 11)

How do we love one another?  1 John 3:16-18 says, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  …let us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

We show love by meeting each other’s needs when we can.  We love by our actions, not just by saying, “I love you.”  Meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  Love requires sacrifice.

Pr. 17:22:  “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”  Some people’s bones have been dried through brokenness.  But we have the remedy for that.  Pr. 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Perhaps we can be the one who gives health back to that person with the dried bones with our pleasant words and our love.  Also, those wrathful people who stir up strife…perhaps their bones have been dried up for a long time.  Perhaps they are hard, unyielding and rank, but it could be our love and our pleasant words that brings the sweetness and health back to their bones.

Pr. 17:14 says, “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before it starts.”  We all know that’s true.  Once it has begun it almost impossible to get it stopped.  Maybe we could be the ones that choose to trust God instead, allay contention, and simply choose love.

Again, we can only control what we do, not what other do, or how others react.  If they don’t react with kindness, then we react with forgiveness, yes?  If you’ve forgotten, go back and re-read the last few blogs at the links above.

I know this all goes against our fleshly, human-nature, but when we do what God has asked us to do, we can trust that He will have our back and see us through!  We have to believe it!

Believing we can do it, in Him!

jamie

Love

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Love your enemies, part 3

Pr. 15:18:  “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”

Ok, if you haven’t read parts onetwo of this series, please go back and start there.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

So, the person (or people) who came to your mind when you first read this verse…do you still feel the same way about them?  I hope not.  However, let’s continue talking about what the Word says about how we, as Christians, are supposed to behave.

Eph. 4:31-32 tells us, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Bitterness=resentment, Wrath=extreme anger, Clamor=loud, insistent protesting, Malice=the intention or desire to do evil

Those things need to be put away from us.  Like away.  Not set to the side for us to pull out when we feel hurt again, but put away as in gone.  Imagine a box where we lock the scary things we don’t want to let out.

Instead, we bring out our kindness, our tenderheartedness (compassionate feelings), and our forgiveness.  Now it goes on to say that we should forgive as Christ forgave us.

How did Christ forgive us?  This way:  Dying on cross; flesh ripped and torn.  Naked and bruised, with blood dripping.  Thirsty and alone; forsaken by His own Father.  Spat upon and mocked.  Yet, He cried out in the midst of all that…in that exact moment of His torment, “Father, forgive them.”

And we hold a grudge when someone steals our parking spot.  We can’t get over the fact that someone raised their voice to us 3 months ago.  Well, you don’t know what they’ve done to me!  “Don’t you remember what he said to me?”  You’ve never been through anything like that!

“Father, forgive them.”

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Col. 3:12

It’s a choice.  Each day when we get up, we need to put these things on.  If they slide off during the day, we need pull them back up!  We are God’s chosen people…holy and dearly loved.  We need to act like it!         **I’m not talking to the other people around you.  I’m talking to you!  You can only control you!  I can only control me!**

Join me tomorrow for part 4!  Until then…

forgive them,

jamie

Wounds from a friend

Pr. 27:6:  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Have you ever been wounded by a friend or kissed by an enemy?  Did you know the difference?

Yesterday I was talking with one of my dearest friends.  We have both been affected by suicide lately and the subject of my attempted suicide in high school came up.  After a failed 1st attempt, I wrote a letter with my intentions to my friends before my 2nd attempt, and she took it upon herself to take that letter to the school guidance counselor who called my parents.  I was promptly enrolled in counselling.  Yesterday she admitted to me that she was so scared, back then, that I was going to be mad at her.

I told her that I was mad at her for a while.  Wounds from a friend hurt.  But aren’t they ever faithful?  Because of her loyal and caring action, I got the help that I needed and am here writing this blog today.  She could have allowed her fear of losing our friendship to cause her to not take action, but would that have been the best thing for me?  Absolutely not!  I would have died!  She had to choose between my life or our friendship.  I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for her, but at the same time, how easy it was…a no brainer, really.

Now, that one is pretty shut and dry as far as what to do, right?  But…Has your friend started drinking more and more recently and been justifying to you?  What about when your friend is flirting with men who aren’t her husband?  How about when your buddy’s jokes are only dirty ones anymore?  Have your friends started letting the youth hang out at their house and do things that are inappropriate?  Lines can get a little grayed at some point and subjects can get a little touchier.

It’s not always up to us to speak.  Sometimes, the Lord just calls us to pray.  If, after you have prayed; however, you still feel you need to speak then keep this in mind:  There is a popular mantra about thinking before we speak, and as friends, we definitely need to keep this in mind, because it’s so important HOW we say things.

When we are truly someone’s friend, and we say things from a place of love then they know it.  Even if they do get upset, if we have done it with the right heart, and we have prayed and thought before we have spoken, then we have done all we can to be faithful to them.  We never want to attack our friends from a place of anger or judgment.  So, as faithful friends, we may end up wounding our friends at times, but if we would pray first and think, then we would definitely have less to repair in our relationships.  My friend of 30 years would agree.  😉

Think first,

jamie

Clothing choices

Pr. 31:25:  “Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Strength and honor are her clothing.  This is such an interesting verse to me.  I like the idea of being clothed with strength and honor.  What a beautiful attire.

I am not strong in body, but with God I can absolutely be strong in spirit.  It is the Lord that gives me strength.  It is in my weakness that the Lord perfects His strength within me.  It is the Holy Spirit that empowers and equips me.  The Lord, alone, is my strength; for nothing is impossible with Him.  No matter what this life brings, the knowledge that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me gives me such strength that I can continue forward, in His care.

Honor can come in many ways.  When we do what we say we will do, we are being honorable: keeping promises and commitments, following through, showing up.  Telling the truth is honorable, especially if we can also understand that sometimes truth needs to be delivered in a loving and kind way.  (Sometimes the truth can hurt)  Treating others kindly and respectfully shows them honor, and thus brings honor back to ourselves.  I could go on and on.

Honor is a beautiful accessory to our wardrobes, for sure.  It is something we can ask the Lord to continue to grow in our lives.  I think it is something akin to holiness, which is never out of style.

“She will rejoice in time to come.”  When we have been wearing such beautiful things in our lives, of course when we look back over our lives we will rejoice.  What a wonderful legacy we will have been leaving behind us.  What beautiful footprints we will have laid down in which others can safely follow.  What a glorious testimony we will have given; one of glory to our God and trust in the One who gave us strength to make it through.  🙂

I can’t help but smile as I think about it.  The clothes in my closet certainly won’t bring any level of satisfaction at the end of my life, but this strength and this honor…Oh, Lord, let it be.  Help me, daily, Lord, to wear the attire that has been described in this verse.  I want to honor You above all, Father, and to bring glory to Your name.  I want to be able to show that it was by Your strength that I was able to do things that would have otherwise been impossible.  Help us all, Lord, in the matchless name of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Richly clothed,

jamie

Plotting

Pr. 24:8: “He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer.”

As Christians, this is definitely not what we need to plotting.  That being said, there have been times when I have found myself doing exactly that.

Is it just me?  Not all of my choices in life have lined up exactly with God’s immutable Word, and I have intentionally chosen sin and evil on occasion.

When I think about being a schemer, however, I tend to think about intentionally plotting against another person.

I’ve been thinking all day that there is one thing for me to encourage us to do this week.

This week, let’s plot to pour love into 1 person.  Let’s choose 1 person we can encourage, support, uplift, guide, or saturate with love, kindness, mercy, grace, and goodness.

Do you have someone in mind?  Good.  If not, ask the Lord to show you who needs a special touch this week.  Someone we know needs us to plot to do something for them this week from a heart of love.  💓

Who can you plot against this week?  Who will you pour God’s love into?  Who will you encourage or uplift?

This week, let’s be schemers of love.  Let’s choose to intentionally make someone’s life better, just because we can.

Plotting with you,

jamie

A good name

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Pr. 22:1

Yesterday was my son’s 8th birthday.  He did have a good day and by the end of the day, declared it “the best birthday ever!”  That’s a win!

He liked his presents, but more than all of that, he enjoyed the closeness we shared as I read him our traditional birthday book.  He hugged me over and over as we looked at his baby pictures and I answered his questions about when he was born.

It thrilled his heart that his sister worked really hard and enthusiastically to make him a special birthday cake just the way he wanted.  His heart was overjoyed when we surprised him by having his old friend show up at our celebration last night.

He appreciated the work we did on his decorations.  He enjoyed having his grandfather, uncle, family, and some friends there to celebrate with him.  He was just happy to be loved and favored.

He was grateful and thankful for all we did and gave, and he expressed his thanks to all.  Everyone was happy to celebrate with him because he is a such a great guy.  He is kind, generous, loving, sharing, encouraging, fun, and is a joy to be around.  In other words, he has a good name.

And that is what I want for him most of all.  As much as he was grateful for the “riches” he received, he was much more nourished and made to feel complete by the favor shown to him.  As much as I enjoyed giving him things, I feel much more proud of the fact that people enjoy being around him and that he is a kind person.

My prayer is that he continue on this path all his days and that he grow to truly know for a fact what ‘things’ are most important to be chosen in this life.

It’s a reminder we can all use from time to time.  Riches and things can be helpful, pretty, and can make us smile temporarily, but can all be taken away or destroyed.  At the end of the day, what really matters are those who love and care for us.  How we make others feel is what they remember about us.  We have to make sure we are choosing to give ourselves a good name by our actions towards others.

Thanks for being a great illustration for this important verse, my amazing son!  We are so proud of you.

Mom, aka jamie

 

How loud is your ROAR?

Pr. 17:12:  “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.”

In the heat of folly…of foolishness and sin, a fool cannot be controlled.  That’s what the last part of this verse means.

What extreme danger there is in meeting a mama bear that even thinks her cubs are in danger, much less, a mama bear who has lost her cubs.  We all know that spells almost certain death.  Her anger cannot be controlled and she will rage against the world.

Not my best look!

Same application applies for meeting a person whose passion has become so extreme that they are no longer in control of themselves.  That passion can be anger.  It could be lust.  It could be dependence on anything external, really.

Can you imagine that in the midst of our passionate desires we are more irrational than a wild bear?  This verse says it would better to meet an angry bear.  Wow!

The first chapter in 2 Peter tells us how to escape the corruption of lust.

Starting in verse 5, we read, “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

That’s pretty self-explanatory.  This advice can certainly keep us from passionate folly.

Vs. 9, “For he who lacks these things is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”  That passions causes blindness.  All we see is the moment.  Folly, indeed.  We cannot forget that we were cleansed from our old sins.

Vs. 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble…”

I love it!  The proposed problem and the solution both presented in God’s Word for our learning.  Isn’t God good?  Truly He supplies all our needs.

We don’t have to be more irrational than a beast.  Through diligence with God, we can develop all that we need to remain in control and increase our long-sighted vision.

Keeping the growling to a minimum,

jamie