Loving Others

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Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

I heard a really good sermon last night on love. It was a reminder of how we should love our neighbor, how we should love ourselves, and how if we loved our neighbor we would care where they ended up when they died. Truly it was a wonderful reminder to witness to others and to bring your friends and loved ones to church and let God permeate their hearts. I appreciated the sermon and I needed it.

This sermon also reminded me of how Jesus showed love to those in scripture and how we can use that example in the way we approach others. What I find interesting, is when Jesus approached sinners (such as the women at the well, the woman caught in adultery) He did it with compassion and truth. He told the women at the well that he possessed “living water” which if she drank it she would never thirst again. Then He told her to get her husband of which she said she didn’t have a husband. He then told her the truth of her life – He knew she had five husbands and the one she was with wasn’t her husband – Read John 4  for the full story.

What I want to point out here is Jesus first gave this woman respect even though in this time in history, Jews didn’t speak to the Samaritans. They were considered unclean. They were part Jew and part Gentile. In fact, in those days a Jew would take the long way around so as not to even step foot in Samaria. Yet, here is our Savior, God’s son, a Jew talking with a Samaritan woman and giving her respect.

Second, Jesus witnessed to the woman of who He was and what He was there to offer her. He was there to offer her “living water” that only He could provide. He was there to offer her eternal life. He didn’t care who she was or where she was from – He loved her just for who she was right then and where she was spiritually. He knew the only way to change the heart is through Himself. He offered her LIFE!

Lastly, He exposed her sin. When He asked her to go get her husband and she said she didn’t have one. He told her she had five husbands and the one she was currently with wasn’t her husband. He didn’t beat around the bush – He exposed her sin. We, as Christians, must understand that the exposure of sin is not a hateful act. It is an act of love. HOWEVER, we aren’t very good judges of this practice but what we are is equipped with God’s word to show the unsaved how they are lost, why they are lost, and that they are in need of a Savior – Romans road is a wonderful way to lead an unsaved person to Christ. We are not only made to share this but it is every Christian’s calling to share the good news! We expose sin, like Jesus did, using His Word.

Please join me in Part 2 when we look at how Jesus loved those who should have known who He was. Those who professed to know who God was, yet treated others unlovingly.

Till then….

Nothing Matters but Jesus

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

My friend directed me to an article she had read and thought it was awesome and wanted me to read it to see what I thought (I recommend reading it (https://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/acts/handling-dissension). Needless to say, when I finished this article I was moved. I believe the part that made me break down was this:

All we need to do is get the truth out to people. The Bible is the truth, it is the way things really are. We are living in a world ruled by illusion and fantasy where people are confused, disturbed, and upset. They feel that there is nothing certain, nothing to be trusted. Everything is a phantasmagoric cloud of uncertainty and illusion. They do not know where to turn or what to believe. The truth hits with wonderful impact upon such minds. There is an immediate awareness, as there was in Jesus’ days on Earth, that what is being said is right. There is a ring of truth conveyed. As the word of truth abounds, disciples multiply because men and women are drawn to the truth. They want to know what is right and what is real, what is honest, what is genuine.

All that is important – all that truly matters is Christ and Him crucified! Paul said:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

There is nothing but Christ. The answer to anything is Christ. We are so imperfect and yet He chooses us to tell others of Him. Praise the Lord! What a humbling truth.

Everything in this world is ruled by our thoughts, our feelings, and what we think is right. Yet scripture tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

In all our ways we should acknowledge Him – the answer is Christ!

Truth is, I have made choices and decisions without prayer, without forethought; I have just went rough shot at what “I” thought was right. When I have done this, usually, it hasn’t turned out well. I have hurt others, I’ve not followed the Lord’s leading – I leaned unto my own understanding.

BUT GOD! He restored me after much prayer and repentance! He is such a good God who allows us to stroll down our own way so that we learn. I have learned that when I am being attacked, or when I’ve made the wrong decision and things are going badly to look at what I need to do (if anything) and to learn what I need to learn as I’m going through that valley moment.

Every experience is an opportunity for growth. Whether what you are going through is something you directly created or caused or something with which you were not directly involved. When you are feeling attacked by the enemy, allow yourself a moment to rest in Jesus, pray, and to ask Him to show you what you need to learn from this experience. I believe we stay in those valley moments until we learn what He wants us to learn.

I guess what I’ve learned is this – “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

I love y’all!

If you don’t know who Jesus is and you want to know more, go here. If you need prayer go here and myself and a group of Godly women will keep you in prayer.

Connection Connection Connection!

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Photo by Rosie Fraser

When God called me into the Women’s ministry in my church it started like this:

(Prayer)

Lord I really would love it if I had some really good Christian friends. I long for more connection with women of like mind. I wish we had a Women’s ministry.

(The answer immediately)

Then get involved in a Women’s Ministry.

ME??!! I have always been the type of church goer who got involved when it was convenient and avoided those things that required a lot of commitment. I wasn’t a “joiner.” I just wasn’t that kind of woman who wanted to be a part of leadership. To be honest, I never felt worthy of the calling and most days I still don’t feel worthy.

HOWEVER – God doesn’t call the qualified or the ones who seem the most likely to do ministry, He qualifies the called (in my case He’s still working on that.).

I say all that to get to this – God wants us to be connected. I know I’ve said this in other posts but I can’t stress this enough! He created THE CHURCH for this very reason. In James it says:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16

In order to feel comfortable confessing our faults we need to connect to people. We need to feel loved by God and by His people. God made us this way!

It’s interesting that when I bring up the subject of connection and what James 5:16 and the first couple chapters in Acts says, Christians will defend the reason why they don’t do this with the following verse:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23

….and they stop there. Read the passages before this verse:

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Proverbs 4:19-24

The reason why we keep our hearts with all diligence is so that the only voice we hear is God’s voice and not the wicked. This verse isn’t there so we don’t make connection, it is there to encourage us to use discernment and to listen to God’s words because they are “life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

I am SO THANKFUL for a young man in our church, who was just recently called to preach, who stood up in front of our congregation and spoke the truth about connection and how much we need one another. It was as if he breathed on the fire in my soul and it rose higher and higher. I needed that word!

There is a lot of the time in ministry where you don’t feel like what you are doing is making much of a difference, and then God brings a word to a young man who is almost young enough to be my son and it makes all the difference in the world to me. I am so grateful for his obedience to our Savior! Thank you David W.!

So ladies (and Gents), connect, connect, connect. We are made for it, and we need it!

Love y’all!

 

If you are wondering what being a Christian is all about or why having Jesus in your life will make a difference, click here. If you have a prayer request, click here.

Forgiveness & Redemption

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Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra

I finally watched I can only imagine. What a fantastic movie (make sure you have plenty of tissues ladies, its a tear jerker)! It got me thinking about forgiveness and redemption. How one plays off the other in our Christian lives.

THE example is Christ; how he purchased us, paid the price for our sins, and redeemed us from a life of bondage to sin. All we have to do is believe He is the Christ – The Son of the Living God and confess with our mouth and POW – We are forgiven and born again! It is such an awesome gift. I wonder how forgiveness and redemption look from person to person. I know we can forgive someone but can we redeem them?

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that we can’t forgive someone else of their sins and pay their debt like Jesus did – I want to make that perfectly clear. No man can do that.

None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: Psalms 49:7

But can we forgive someone for something, and then redeem them? First to understand this question, let’s look at the definition of redemption.

Finding its context in the social, legal, and religious customs of the ancient world, the metaphor of redemption includes the ideas of loosing from a bond, setting free from captivity or slavery, buying back something lost or sold, exchanging something in one’s possession for something possessed by another, and ransoming.
From Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

So what can this look like from one person to another? Here is a scenario:

Two friends get in a serious argument. It seems one of the friends (we will call her Sally) promised her friend (we will call her Jane) that she would come to her child’s graduation. Jane and Sally had been friends ever since they met in church and their children were elementary school age. Jane’s daughter was the valedictorian of her class and was giving a speech and her daughter really wanted Sally to be there. Something came up and Sally got sidetracked and forgot to go. Jane’s daughter was crushed and as a result Jane was furious with Sally.
After their big blow out, Jane refused to talk to Sally. She withheld her friendship and her counsel that Sally had depended on for so long. Sally did all she could to regain the friendship; she apologized, she sent flowers, she sent texts and emails all to no avail. Finally, Sally had an idea that she would send her a hand written, heartfelt letter telling Jane what she meant to her and how she missed their talks. This softened Jane’s heart and she called her, they had a long talk, and Jane forgave her.
Today Sally and Jane talk everyday as if nothing ever happened.

Is this story just a story of forgiveness, or is it also of redemption? Personally, I think it’s both. Jane held her and Sally’s friendship hostage. She required a “ransom” to gain it back. Sally paid that ransom with her heartfelt letter and as a result, Jane forgave her. Through that letter, Sally redeemed the friendship. She broke the bonds of bitterness by pouring out her heart. In return, Jane offered forgiveness.

As Christians, we talk all the time about living our lives like Jesus (or at least try really hard). We look at His life and we model ours accordingly. Jesus is our redeemer; He forgave our sins and redeemed us – He broke us from our chains! In a small way, isn’t that what happened with Jane and Sally’s relationship?

If you are withholding forgiveness and a friendship with someone because they did you wrong – you need to fix it. Even if they were wrong; talk about it and get it fixed. We are called to forgive one another as Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:31-32). Redeem the friendship through forgiveness.

Now is the time.