Unconditional Love

As I sit here and pet my small dog, I think of how she loves me unconditionally.  No matter what, she is there ready to cuddle, play or give me little kisses.  She is so tiny yet has so much love.

It reminds me of how Jesus loves us, unconditionally. He does not care about our past only our future. He loves everyone even those who have not yet accepted him. Forgiveness is free we just have to accept him as our savior.   There are gifts that come with Salvation.  Gifts such as peace, everlasting life, hope, and everlasting JOY.

Does Jesus expect anything from us.  No he does not expect us to do anything but Love and Honor Him.

When we Love Jesus unconditionally, we love others unconditionally.  It is not something that we intend to do, it just happens.  Just like my little dog, who weaseled her way into my heart, with her unconditional love.  I found myself loving her back.  I bought her as a pet without any idea of how she would change our lives.

Through her, I have learned to be more open to people. See that is one of those things Jesus does, he brings people or in this case an animal into our lives so we can grow into better people.

Sometimes, he brings people into our lives so we can share His Love with them.

Like my little dog was an example for me, I have to be an example for others. He places people into our lives that don’t know him or maybe have heard of Jesus, but do not understand His way.

Unlike our pets, we have to learn to Love unconditionally.

Sometimes the people he puts into our lives are hard to love.

It would be nice if we could all love as a pet does. But there are days when I have to pray for grace. I have to pray and ask God to show me how to love those people. I ask God why are they in my life. And I hear because they need to learn how to love unconditionally.

Think of all the unkind people in your life.  Think of how much they need Jesus.  Think about how you will feel when you realize the tiny seed that you planted helped lead them to Jesus. Because you were a good example even when you did not want to be.  Even when you found the person disgusting or irritating.

See Jesus tells us to go out into the world. If we follow His example, we will remember that he associated with prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners.  He had very little time for the So called Men of God, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  They did not share God’s love with their fellow-man.  Instead they walked around pious with an attitude that they were better than everyone else.  They were the men Jesus stood against.  They were also the ones that God used to make Jesus the sacrificial lamb for our sins.

Jesus puts us in place to share His love.  He uses crap that man piles on us to share His light in the darkest places. Something we can’t do if we think we are better or have not learned to love unconditionally as He does.

 

 

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Forgiveness is for you not Mr. Moose

I will never forgive Mr. Moose, what they did to me is unforgivable. Why should they have the satisfaction of knowing that I forgave them?  They don’t deserve it.  Don’t you know what they did?

Forgiving is not for the person that hurt you; it is for you.  holding on to that anger and hate, festers in your soul. It poisons you. According to John Hopkins , forgiveness can reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and so much more.

Besides the truth is the only one holding onto the hate in the relationship between you and Mr. Moose, is you.  Mr. Moose is long gone has forgotten about it and no longer cares if you like him or not. Okay, there maybe Mr. Mooses out there that want your friendship, want things to be the same and are still sad that things between you are not the same.  Those Mr. Mooses actually love you.

So there are two sides of the coin, someone who actually loves you has hurt you and is in just as much pain as you are

someone who hurt you and could care less about your pain.

Either way, if you forgive, you win.

Now here is the real snag, just because you forgive does not mean that you have to be a doormat.   It does not mean that you have to allow Mr. Moose to hurt you.  It does not mean the relationship has to be the same.

When it is someone who loves you, you set ground rules. Write them down.  According to Forbes magazine,  you are more likely to meet your goal if you write it down.  Notice not type it, write it, with pen and paper. (you can type it later).  tell Mr. Moose exactly what you expect from them.  Let Mr. Moose tell what he or she expects from you. Write it down all of it and then sign it. Post it on the wall.  Read it every day.  Now where have I seen that before?  (Deuteronomy 6:8)

What it really boils down to is how can you share Jesus’ love if you are holding onto anger and hate which are against His Command of Love thy Neighbor?

John 1:5 tells us that light and darkness can not coexist.

Easier said than done

Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are supposed to trust in God in everything and then be filled by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is easier said than done. If you are like me, you fail. The Evil One is constantly trying to whisper to us that we are not worthy.  Nothing could be further from the truth. God says we are worthy.  He sent his son to die for us.  Jesus would not have gone to the cross to save us if we were worthless.

So many of us, myself included, are good at looking as if nothing is wrong, even when we feel as if we are falling apart.  (allowing the evil one to trick us into thinking “worthless”)

My weakness is I am very insecure. There are days, when I look completely confident.  Thanks to a dear friend, I have learned how to look put together.  The harder I work to look put together, the less secure I actually feel.  (allowing the evil one to trick me into thinking “worthless”)

If you see me in jeans and one of my husband’s shirts, that day when I look a mess, those days , I feel confident.  There is no need to try to look confident that is how I feel.  Or at least that is how I start out.   (allowing the evil one to trick me into thinking “worthless”)

Then someone looks at me as if I am crazy, or someone treats me poorly.  Then all those insecurities just rush into my head.  Those days, I wish I was more put together. That I looked more confident, because I don’t want people to see how I feel. I want people to look at me and think she has got it all together (if they only knew). I need to remember Jesus says I am not.

As a result, I find myself ever thankful to that friend who taught me how to look put together.  I put forth the effort. Because I am not worthless, Jesus died for me. I want to show the world, Jesus says I am wonderful.  Jesus says we are wonderful.

The truth is I am forgetting that God really doesn’t care if I am “put together”. He says I am His creation: beautiful.

I am forgetting that God gave me the gift of the ability to think on my feet.

I am forgetting that God has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me.

I am forgetting that if I depend on God, I can be confident, I can hold my head high; people don’t see all my sins from years gone by.  (I just like to think they do.)

But most of all I am forgetting that most people are just like me insecure afraid. Yet we do not have to be because Jesus sent the advocate to guide us.  When we depend on him, we don’t need to be afraid, insecure.

 

Cup of Coffee and Jesus

I know so many people, myself included, that make it their goal to start their day with a cup of coffee and a Bible or at least a Bible app.

It really depends on how early you wake up whether it is just the verse of the day or an actual chapter.

There are days, when I really don’t pay attention to the verse of the day either, it is just a chore that I check off.

Yesterday was one such day, I read the verse of the day and then two seconds later, I couldn’t remember a word.  It is easy to blame it on the time change.

Yet really it is me getting sloppy in my Bible reading habits, my prayer life.  When I reach that point, you know the one where you are barely spending time in the word, say an obligatory prayer

The point, where you look around and realize everything is making you angry.

That is when you realize that you are just drinking a cup of coffee.  I am ineffective in my walk with Christ, ineffective in my ministry. And it is time to remember Peter’s advice:2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV: For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Repeat, place it in your HEART

Ever wonder why your pastor seems to repeat lessons?  Perhaps they use a different story, but it is the same message?  They do it this way because God knows how we are. We forget.  We might not mean to forget, but we do.   Deuteronomy 6:1-9:  We all learn different ways. God’s instructions to the Jews is to repeat it.  There is not a place that God does not tell us to put His word so we do not forget.  But if you notice, God gives them several ways to help them remember.  He knows that some of us use visual cues, tie the symbols on your hands, your garments.  Others the sense of smell reminds us (talk about it at the dinner table).  There are those that memorize by verbally repeating information. However you remember; it requires reminders.

This stuck with me because recently, as I was tutoring someone, they told me, ‘I learn by repetition.’  I believe everyone learns by repeated exposure to information. The problem, even when we have memorized verses, we forget.  If you attended Sunday School, you most likely memorized 100s of verses. How many do you remember today?  Maybe a small handful.

The big question:  If God taught us to teach this way, why do we expect to remember after one lesson?

1These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God: directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Comfort in Jesus is like Friendship bread

What do you find comforting?  A bowl of mac-n-cheese, a special robe, a certain movie, a hug from a loved one, a puppy dog lick, a special chair, or some other thing?

Me, a cup of coffee, my favorite robe, and a typewriter. Those are comforting.  I can tell that blank page all my fears, anxiety, pain and then when I am done, I can delete the whole thing; or share it with you.

That type of comfort is fleeting.  It lasts for as long as we are involved in that activity maybe just a bit longer.  Once that bowl of mac-n-cheese is gone, it is like NOW WHAT??

True Comfort comes from God. 

When we turn to Jesus that comfort lasts all day.  Actually it is always there, but we have to feed it through prayer and reading the word.

The best way to feed it, is to share it.

When we share Jesus with others it is like we are making a batch of sour dough.  If you have ever made any type of friendship bread, this analogy is  self-explanatory.  This is for those that haven’t.

Sourdough works like this.  You start with the starter recipe. (Salvation) You place it in a glass jar like a mason jar.  (you are the glass jar) Then you feed it. ( you feed it by hearing or reading God’s word) You feed it by adding more ingredients  Before you know it your jar is overflowing.  Right before the sourdough or

friendship bread is ready to overflow, you put some of the mix into another jar  and share it with someone.  (sharing Jesus)

The other fun thing you do with the mix is bake it into bread or a cake (the recipe comes with the instructions on starting the sourdough or friendship bread.)  When you bake the cake or bread, most people don’t sit down and eat it all by themselves, they share the cake or bread with others. 

When you were introduced to Jesus, someone should have shared with you things that you can do to share Jesus.

As we share this delicious comforting food, our comfort grows.  Just like when we share Jesus, our permanent comfort grows within us.  The more we share, the more comfort we feel.  It is like that song we sang as a kid.

My little light will shine, let it shine, let it shine. Put it under a bushel, NO.  (a bushel basket)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

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