Posts Tagged With: devotional

What Does Your Love Look Like?

Love

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Everywhere you go you see hearts and candy and all kinds of things that encourage us to buy something special for those we love on Valentine’s Day. It made me stop and think about love and what my love looks like. The love that is talked about in Scripture is not a mushy, gushy feeling, it is something that is put into action.

We are only able to love others because we were first loved by the Lord.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Scripture also tells us God is love.

1 John 4:8

 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

It is easy for us to see what God’s love looks like in His Word.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

There is nothing we did or can do to earn God’s love for us. We don’t have to wait until we are good enough for Him to love us.

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Scripture even gives us a beautiful description of what our love is supposed to look like in the book of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Read over those verses and see if that description of what our love is supposed to look like. How does your love compare? Which areas are you struggling with in your relationships? Do you find yourself being rude or arrogant? Do you become irritable or are you resentful of others?

Perhaps the best gift we can give our loved ones this Valentine’s Day is to simply seek the Lord and ask Him to empower us to love the way that He loves. Ask the Lord to reveal to you people you are having a difficult time loving this way. What could loving those in your life in this way do to improve, repair or restore relationships?

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Recognizing God’s Blessings

DSC_0986 IMG_1929IMG_2239

Last May my family and I went to Colorado for a vacation. We were really excited to do some hiking and enjoy the cooler weather. What we didn’t expect was to get 12 inches of snow on the first night. We woke up the first morning and it had started to snow and just kept on snowing. As we watched the weather report and realized that it was going to snow all day and all night, we realized our plans for hiking were slipping away. We were feeling pretty bummed about our plans not going as expected.

However, as we looked out the window at the snow falling, which is something we never see in Houston, we realized it was an unexpected blessing from the Lord. The beauty of watching the snow fall on the mountain scenery was impossible to miss. It was a great reminder of the beauty of God’s creation and a wonderful reminder that His blessings come in unexpected ways sometimes.

When it was snowing, we could have been really bummed and upset that all of the things we had planned to do were now ruined and we weren’t able to do them. Instead, we enjoyed the beauty of the falling snow and made new plans. We enjoyed a day of staying inside, drinking hot chocolate, playing board games and then going outside to build a snowman together. The next day we were driving and saw a nice hill for sledding but had no sleds. So we improvised. We stopped at a grocery store and picked up some metal pizza pans and used them as sleds.

Out trip didn’t turn out the way we had planned, but we were able to see the beauty of God’s creation in a different way than we expected and we realize He blessed us with different adventures. How often do we recognize His blessings when our plans are changed and things don’t work out the way we had planned?

It is easy to become negative, frustrated and angry when things don’t work as we have planned. But, what we need to remember is that God’s plan for our day, vacation or our life is always greater than our own, even when we can’t see it in the moment. His blessings don’t always come in the ways we expect.

It is easy for us to remain negative, frustrated and angry when things don’t go our way. However, God is always at work in our lives and sometimes we just need to adjust our perspective or our vision to see where He is working. Some of the biggest blessings in my life have come from situations that were less than perfect, often they come from the most difficult of times.

Last year I went to take care of my sister-in-law after a foot surgery and was able to spend a lot of fun time with my niece. Because we have always lived 800 miles away and for 4 years we lived more than 7500 miles away. While I was there my sister-in-laws mother who was battling cancer took a turn for the worse. Instead of being able to spend Christmas with my husband and daughters, I went with my sister-in-law to help take care of my niece while she cared for her mom. It was very tough to be away from my family for the holidays, but God is good, all the time.

My relationship with my sister-in-law and her family grew by leaps and bounds and my relationship with my precious niece is stronger and closer than ever. The Lord used this difficult situation to draw my extended family closer together. I never would have had as  much time with my niece without her grandmother becoming very ill and ultimately passing away. But, the blessing was being able to support her, her mom and her mom’s family during this difficult time.

Look at your own circumstances. Are you feeling negative, frustrated or angry? Perhaps you need to look at where God is working and recognize the hidden blessings in even the most difficult of situations. God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good!

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Fill Me with the Holy Spirit

 

Fill Me with the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is often the most misunderstood part of the trinity. People tend to think that the Holy Spirit is a ‘thing’ rather than a person. The Holy Spirit is the third part of the trinity with God the Father and God the Son.

Here is a beautiful quote by Frances J. Roberts about the Holy Spirit: “It is My Life I am giving you. It is not an emotion; it is not a virtue, though these may subsequently follow. It is Myself. Divine Grace, heavenly love, infinite mercy, fathomless peace – all these will spring forth unbeckoned and irrepressible out  of the depths within you because My Spirit has taken residence there.”

Jesus told the disciples that His Spirit would come make His home with them. In other words, His Spirit would reside in them.

John 14:23

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Look back at the quote by Frances J. Roberts. Could you use some divine grace in your life today or do you know someone who could use it? You have His Spirit dwelling with you to give you His grace and to help you show His grace to others.

Need to feel loved or know someone who does? Tap into the power of the Holy Spirit and show His love to a broken world.

We are all in need of mercy from time to time and are called to show mercy to those around us. On our own, we aren’t very good at being merciful because we are too judgmental. However, when we choose to submit to the Holy Spirit, we can be merciful rather than judgmental.

We can never have enough peace in our lives but have access to it all the time. We need to ask the Spirit to help us feel His peace and to empower us to be bring peace to those around us.

Take a minute today to thank the Lord for His presence that abides within you. Ask the Lord to show you how you can use His Spirit to minster to those around you today.

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Stop Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Rearview Mirror

Sometimes we spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror of our life that we miss what God is doing today. Our past does play an important role in our life, but we are not supposed to be so focused on it that we are not living in the present.

Isaiah 43:19-19

“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Where is your focus? Are you constantly looking back at things you have done or things that have been done to you? We need to keep our past in the proper perspective. We are to learn from it and use it as a way to give God thanks and praise for all He has done in our lives. But, it is not to be our focus.

God is constantly working in our lives and we need to be focused on the present so we an see where He is working in our lives and hear what His plans are for us today. This is the verse the Lord highlighted for me a couple of years ago. I was focused on my history with a church and all God had done in my life during that time. But God was about to do something new. He was calling me to a new place to do a new thing.

It was hard to leave a place where I had come to know the Lord, served and had many friends. It wasn’t until after I responded in obedience and left that the Lord revealed the way He was making in the spiritual desert I found myself in. It is easy to stay where we are comfortable but that is not always where God wants us to be.

A history we have with a place or with people is a blessing we are to treasure in our hearts, not what we are to cling to. God wants us to cling to Him, lean into Him so He can reveal what He has for our present and our future. If I had only focused on looking back, the past and the connections with it, I would never have seen what God had for me today.

I cannot begin to explain the blessings upon blessings God has given me in this new adventure. It was not always easy and some of the lessons were tough to learn but so worth it.

Think about how you are viewing your life. Are you constantly looking back at your past? Are you allowing the things in your past to hold you back from what God has for you today? When driving, we glance in our rearview mirror from time to time but we don’t keep our eyes there. That is what we need to do with our past. Glance at it, appreciate it, learn from it and then focus forward. Who knows what God has in store for you today!

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Money

money

Money is something we need to survive but it can easily become a snare when our perspective on money and our desire for it becomes skewed.

Jeremiah 48:7a

Since you trust in your deeds and riches,
    you too will be taken captive,

Money becomes a problem when we put our trust in it rather than in the Lord. This verse is talking about a physical captivity, but putting our trust in our riches can lead to a spiritual captivity. We can find ourselves captive to acquiring more and more riches. Captive is defined as held in bondage or enslaved. Are you enslaved to acquiring more and more money? Do you feel like you are held in bondage to making more and more money?

Proverbs 11:28

Those who trust in their riches will fall,
    but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

Placing our trust in money will lead to a fall. It will be difficult for us to stand firm in our faith and thrive in our lives if we replace trusting the Lord with trusting in our bank accounts. Only the Lord can give us what we need to thrive. He created us and knows our relationship with Him is what will help us to live into His plans.

Proverbs 23:4-5

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
    for they will surely sprout wings
    and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Do you find yourself worn out trying to make enough money to live a particular lifestyle? Are you working so hard to get a promotion or get raise that you don’t have time for your family or for God? Everything we acquire here on earth remains here. It is temporary and we can’t take it with us. We need to be more focused on our relationship with the Lord and our relationship with others than we are on making more money.

Proverbs 15:27a

The greedy bring ruin to their households,

Money is one of the things people fight and argue about the most. Do you find yourself arguing about money or finance? When we put to much focus on money, we find ourselves bringing ruin to households and our relationships. How many families fall apart when someone dies and there is a battle over an estate? How many relationships are destroyed over money?

We do need money to survive, but our perspective on it needs to be grounded. Look at how much time you spend acquiring money and what impact money has on your relationships. Do you have broken relationships because of arguments over money or do you have strained relationships because you are to busy making money to spend time with the people you love? Ask the Lord to help you get a right perspective on money and put your trust in Him rather than your bank account.

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