Actions Not Just Words

1 John 3:16:18:  16 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 and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.kind

We frequently hear this scripture: Love your neighbor as yourself Leviticus 9:18.

But how does that look?  If your neighbor’s yard is on fire and they are standing in their yard waiting for the fire department to come. Stand with them. Bring them a glass of water, a chair to sit on, or maybe just be there.

Is your neighbor’s house being robbed?  If  they are unarmed don’t just call the police; tell the robbers to stop. (if they are armed -call the police but don’t interfere.)

What if your neighbor’s yard need mowed, looking like a jungle mowed; check on your neighbor or mow their lawn.  Want to take the extra mile? Ask what else you can do to help.  I get it some neighbors are just lazy.  But if they normally mow and then all of the sudden it isn’t perhaps something is wrong. overgrown yard

We tend to have the “It’s not me” attitude. But it could be you.  Wouldn’t you like someone to help you?

 

Accepting Help – it is as hard as asking

Recently I talked about how hard it is to ask for help. What can be harder is accepting help. You’ve been there. Someone offers to help or asks if you need anything and you turn it down.  Claiming that everything is okay, when in truth; you are falling apart.

help

We don’t want to put anyone out. You are afraid they don’t mean it.  You are afraid that your friends won’t want to talk to you any more because you might ask for a favor. Sometimes it is true, when you ask for help sometimes it seems as if people are avoiding you.  Accepting help means dropping your pride.

It means accepting that you NEED HELP.

The next question is how do offer help? You know someone in need, you feel the Spirit prompting you to go help, but there is a fear that you will insult them. They will reject your claiming they don’t need it. Maybe it is not your mission to help this person. offering help

Have you prayed about it?  Is the Spirit prompting you to help this person?  It is not your job to help every need.  God shows us who we should help.  Say for example you see a person with a sign requesting help.  You wonder if you should, are they faking it, should you give money, food, clothing, or just pray with them?  Trust God to tell you.  God not only tells you who you should help, but how. If you do not feel the Spirit prompting you to help, don’t feel guilty.  There is a drive at church, I want to be a good Christian, but I am not feeling any pull to give this charity.  They came to our church; and I want to look good.  If that is your motivation, then don’t help.  Your motivation to help someone should not be about you. It should be about sharing God’s love with someone.  If you are hesitant about accepting help allow the help. You have asked God, Right? Then trust he is giving you the help that you have requested. Even if the person offering the hand of help is someone that you don’t like.

White as Snow

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There is nothing more beautiful than that first snow all white and clean.  You can be clean.

There is hope for eternal life

It doesn’t cost a dime.

By accepting Jesus as your savior, you have eternal life.

Your since are washed away.

Your are free of guilt and shame.

We still make mistakes but forgiveness is there and we are white as snow- blameless before the Lord.

 

Love your neighbor-even the annoying one-HA

We have a neighbor that makes this extremely difficult, throws trash in our back yard to include chicken bones that could seriously hurt our dogs.  Speaking of dogs, he breed his then kept them locked up separate from their mother except for a few hours a day so she could feed them – only after a visit from the humane society. He and his significant other have drunk arguments until the wee hours of the morning OUTSIDE. When he is not drunk, he is polite keeps his lawn mowed, over waters the lawn running into ours. (oops that is another negative)

boy-666803__340 annoyed

He probably doesn’t like that we struggle to keep ours mowed especially this year. We aren’t perfect neighbors, our lawn and house need work.

I am sure everyone has a neighbor that they don’t exactly like.  I know some of our neighbors don’t exactly like us.  The one complains about how we need to paint our house and fix the driveway all the time.

I remember the one time that I tried to talk to her; she just ignored me.  Her dog had gotten out of the yard when they were gone.  We placed the dog in our back yard.  I just waited for one of the kids to get home.

So how do you love that neighbor?  What can you do?  Sometimes the best way you can show love to your neighbor is to pray for them.  I try not to make my prayer sound grumble grumble.  Instead I try to say Dear Lord, he is drinking in his hot tub alone again Lord, Keep him from passing out.  In my imperfect human mind, at this time it is the best I can manage.  I pray that God helps me in this because I know on my own; yeah there are nights when they are screaming obscenities at each other and I have to get up in the morning, I have very unkind thoughts running through my head. So on my own, there is no way that I can love them.  On my own, the best I can do is smile and wave when they go by.  Smile and wave when we are all outside. But with Jesus’ help someday I will show them His love.  Just Lord forgive me it is not today they are yelling again.  Tomorrow I will try again but for tonight, I am just going to try to ignore them.

Leviticus 19: 17-18:  17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.

18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

God my BFF and being Holy

1 Peter 1:13-15:

 

What exactly does it mean to be holy?  I mean, on my own, I am not holy. I mess up every day. Today, I lost my temper.  I felt justified, but I really wasn’t.  Let’s face it; it is hard to be good all the time. We sin all the time. We don’t mean to sin; it just happens.  We think an impure thought, have a twinge of jealousy or fear, maybe it is gluttony, or self-pity.  We are after all, human, full of faults.  The great thing is there is forgiveness.  Jesus died for our sins giving us forgiveness.   Forgiveness does not give us a license to sin; no, it gives us the responsibility to strive towards perfection.  Even though we will not achieve it, we are called to be holy.  To live a life as honorably as we possibly can.

The catch, we have to remember that accepting Jesus as our savior, we are made holy.  Being holy does not mean being perfect. It means that we follow, that we try, and we do our best to be a light for the world. We share the LOVE of Jesus with everyone that crosses our path.  Losing our temper is bad because we lose an opportunity to share God’s love. Being holy means that we strive to use every opportunity.

Being Holy means that we accept that Christ is the Messiah, the savior, the Lord of all.

Moreover, it means that we accept Christ as our BFF.  Because that is the relationship, God wants with us.  He wants to be our BFF to talk to him the same way we would our BFF. To honor him as we would a BFF. We also need to acknowledge that God is more; we are supposed to follow him. Following and obeying God makes us holy.

 

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Heroes and Christians are ordinary people

I am always talking about being a good example for Christ.  But does that mean you don’t have bad days?  No Christians have bad days.  Bad things happen to Christians as well.

Think about all the hero stories, the hero has bad things happen to them all the time.  Think about it. Indie almost always gets captured, Luke got stuck in garbage, and people in Harry Potter’s world laugh at him.   A Heroes and Christians have something in common.  It is how they react under pressure.  Indie never gives up, Luke never stops trying, and Harry Potter ignores the laughter.

I would like to say Christians never let you see the sweat, but we do so do those heroes.

What we have in common is the fact that we struggle. We also have this in common, we deal with our struggles.  Wait a second doesn’t every person in the world deal with their struggles?  OK, you have me. Then what is it?

It is how we deal with out struggles.  Christians know that they have Jesus and have peace.

The peace of Jesus brings grace.  Grace is the ability to know that no matter how dark it gets, God will be there.  Grace gives us the ability to share Jesus’ love with the world.  Even if we are not able to tell it to everyone, we can show God’s love by what we do.

With Grace, Grace does without shouting it.  Grace doesn’t keep score. It isn’t some box you check off every day, it is just how you treat people every day. It is noticing that someone needs help and reaching out. Thinking about the heroes, when the deed is done, where do the heroes go? Indie goes back to his classroom unnoticed, Luke fades into the distance, Harry disappears to find Ron and Hermonie.  Spider man takes off his mask and becomes the unassuming Peter Parker.

As Christians we  don’t go around waving the “Holier than thou” flag.  We are ordinary people with ordinary struggles, who trust and extra-ordinary God.  A God who wraps His children in LOVE.  Christians become more when we share His LOVE with others.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:5-6 NIV

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.

 

 

Marriage is not DISPOSABLE

Valentines day is almost upon us. The holiday for Love. We send hearts, jewelry, candy and flowers, telling our beloved how much we adore them.  It comes after what is often considered  “divorce month”.  According to Focus on the Family, more couples file for divorce in January than any other time of the year.

In today’s society, we divorce for a multitude of reasons.  Infidelity, money, I thought I liked … but now I can’t stand them. I have heard I just can’s stand how they…

Then the other day, I heard someone say “everyone tells me I should dump my husband, he is addicted to meth”.  He is clean right now, I know he might not be tomorrow; but he needs me.

I remember thinking WOW someone that actually loves their spouse.  While I might not know about meth first hand, I do know the testimony of a couple of addicts.  One lost her children, was in jail several times.  One stole from everyone and finally wanted a big score and had jail time.

Not all families forgive their addicts. But this lady knew what to expect.  She was an addict.  She said, he might lie to me, steal from me, he might end up in jail.  But he is my husband, God gave him to me and I will Love him until one of us dies.  She had been clean for several years.  He had relapses and had only been clean for a few months.

But the important point: She said “He is my husband God gave him to me and I will LOVE him until one of us dies”. Her marriage is not disposable. 

See God did not intend for marriage to be disposable.  God intends for marriage to be for as “long as you both shall live”.

We have to learn to work out our differences.

STAND UP AND SAY, MY MARRIAGE IS NOT DISPOSABLE.   MY FAMILY IS NOT DISPOSABLE. 

1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 NIV

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If this valentine’s day your marriage is floundering, give the gift of I want to work this out- The gift of LOVE.

You can get help- many pastors/priests offer free marital counseling.

Focus on the Family: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/

Family Life Ministries: http://familylifeministries.org/

James Dobson: http://www.drjamesdobson.org/

Are just a few of the ministries that have counselors that are there willing to help.  Connect with one because your marriage is not supposed to be disposable.

 

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