All Because of Love

It’s been a journey for me, but over the years I have come to truly believe God is a good Father. From a very young age (maybe two years old) I’ve been aware of God’s presence in my life. He was always my friend. And I’ve come to trust that no matter what I do (or don’t do), He never changes. He is dependable, trustworthy and always responds to me with an abundant, overflowing, immeasurable love.

In Romans 5:8, God reveals His faith in action: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Our Heavenly Father’s love is not an emotion, but a decision. Perhaps the very first decision God made about us was to love his creation (you and me) unconditionally.

Everything He’s done from the beginning of time is all because of love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.[1]

He had faith that His creation (you and me) would return to fellowship with Him. God’s love produces goodness. Everything good originates from love. Everything bad is a distorted, twisted form of love. Because of His love for us, by faith, He gave Jesus.

God’s desire for relationship caused Him to create man, and that same desire continues to draw us to Him by His love working in us. I am so thankful He pursued me and never gave up.

First John 4:8 says, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. It’s who and what He is. It’s His makeup—His essence— His character. So we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.[2]

Thank God He is conforming us into His image and likeness.

When we make a decision to accept Jesus, we choose by faith to accept Him, and what He’s done for us. Why should love be any different? We love God by our very act of faith—believing that He exists and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We love God by accepting that He is a good God and wants the very best for us. This takes faith. And loving others takes a daily practice to choose to love no matter what.

As you choose to love others with God’s supernatural, unconditional love, what changes do you believe God for in your relationship with others? And in your relationship with him?

 

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Ask Anything

Do you imagine God so big that He is too busy for you? Perhaps you feel compelled to handle things on your own so He can spend His time taking care of “bigger” issues. Maybe you know people who are “worse off” than you are, or you think someone deserves His time more than you do.

Don’t believe the lie!

God desires to be there for you no matter how small you think your problems might be. He has endless capacity to do and be—far beyond anything you can imagine.

Imagine yourself the child of a father with endless resources who loves you, wants to provide for you and give you the desires of your heart. There is only one condition—He wants you to ask. You serve a God without limits. He is unrestrained in what He can do for you.

What things are you holding close to your heart today? Your Heavenly Father is just waiting for you to ask for His time, His wisdom, His intervention. He wants to give you the desires of you heart. It’s not a matter of deserving it. You’re His child and like a good father, He wants to do you good!

Open your heart today and relinquish to Him anything you’ve been holding back. He wants to be a part of the answer. Take a moment and invite him to intervene on your behalf today.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything.

Very truly I tell you,

my Father will give you

whatever you ask in my name.

Until now you have not asked

for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive,

and your joy will be complete (John 16:23-24 NIV).

 

Ruth’s Reward – God-given Friendships

The relationship between Ruth and Naomi has always amazed me. Naomi was so overwhelmed with grief in the death of her husband and sons that she changed her name. Her given name, Naomi, means pleasant, but she no longer felt worthy of that name. She asked her friends to call her, Mara, which means bitterness (Ruth 1:20). That puts a whole new light on Ruth’s determination and commitment to stay with her mother-in-law. She chose to love and support a bitter woman, who possibly felt angry toward God. No doubt she was suffering a crisis of faith when Naomi decided to stay with her.

I want to imagine when times were good for Naomi’s family living in Moab, Ruth saw something in Naomi—something to believe in—that carried her in the touch times and caused her to make the decision to stay with Naomi. Perhaps at some point Ruth witnessed a strong faith in the God Naomi now was angry with.

What about Ruth’s own grief? She had lost a husband, a father- and brother-in-law. She’d lost security that came with her status as a married woman. Yet, the story is about Naomi’s grief, crisis of faith, and Ruth’s decision to follow her.

Ruth walked with Naomi when she decided to be Mara. Eventually God provided for Naomi, restored her faith and family and used Naomi to do it. Two women who needed one another and held on to each other long enough to see God perform His promise . Ruth’s reward for her love and faithfulness brought her a second husband and a son, and eventually the Messiah was born through Ruth’s linage.

Where will a God-given friendship take you? Are you willing to endure with unconditional love to see God’s plan come forth?

Thank You for the Journey Together

I had the honor and privilege of becoming a Grief Recovery Specialist. It has given me the specific things I needed to navigate the pain and loss in my own life and the  tools to assist others that the Lord brings across my path. I am so thankful to those who have opened their hearts and lives to me and given me such a wonderful opportunity of friendship and hope.

Below is a letter expressing my heartfelt thanks to those who have invited me to be a part of their journey.

Dearest Friend,
You have experienced an insurmountable amount of loss in your life—and yet, each day you find a way to rise above it and even encourage others.

I am so very proud of you.

  • You are real with your emotions. You don’t hide them, but instead give voice to what you feel with those you trust. Thank you for trusting me.
  • You are unwilling to isolate and grief alone. Instead, you encourage others to join you in your grief—even when they can’t possibly understand. I am grateful to you for sharing broken heart with me.
  • Forgive me when I say something I shouldn’t.
  • Thank you for allowing me to sit with you in silence—a silence that is neither awkward nor uncomfortable. You let me be me; and I let you be you.
  • You inspire me as I watch you navigate these difficult journeys. I love you and want to walk with you the rest of the way.

They are blessed who grieve, for God will comfort them.
Matthew 5:4 NCV

Friendship is Good for Your Health

It may seem odd to you, but Krista McLennan found that cows have best friends and become stressed when they are separated . She made the discovery while working on her Ph.D., at Northampton University, measuring how cows respond when isolated, specifically looking at their heart rates and cortisol levels. She believes her findings could help improve milk yields. According to McLennan’s findings, the cows are social animals that need friendship to ease their stress and anxiety.

If cows need each other—what about you and me?

I find when I spend time with girlfriends, it reduces my stress level significantly. As I’ve opened my heart to girlfriends, I’ve noticed my heart rate slowing and concerns from the day that weighed heavily on me slowly subsiding from my mind—much like when the tide sneaks out into the ocean.friends talking rgbstock

2 Samuel says, Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I’ve known—or ever hope to know (2 Samuel 1:26 MSG).

It does us good to open up to others on every level. When we laugh or cry and express ourselves to one another, we share a piece of ourselves. We also can’t help to take a little something from one another.

I have girlfriends who add to my physical strength just by spending time with them. Others stir my creativity and help me to think in new and different ways. When girlfriends get together to offer positive support, I leave the gathering relaxed and ready to press in again to face another challenge.

Take some time this week to share a cup of tea or coffee with a girlfriend and recharge.