Always the Heart

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Isaiah 55:11 ‘so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’

This is a call to Christians. A call to please God, not man. ‘Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ A call for you to evaluate where your hearts are at. A call to draw close to the One who made you and called you according to His purposes. A call to really know Him and what He is calling you to. A call to be grounded in the Word. A call to know what is required of you. Micah 6:8 ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’

I feel like I need to write a caveat before I send this blog forth. It is possible I may offend people but before you choose to take an offense up, can I challenge you to ask your heart why? And forgive me please as my intention is not to cause offense. I write about this subject because God is burning it in my heart these days and I feel broken because of it. I write about this because I have been in the middle of these situations all the way back to when I first found Jesus. I have been a part of these situations. Because guess what, people are people. Even if we don’t purposely set out to let the enemy use us, when we don’t know God’s voice, we can become the accusers of our brothers and sisters. One word timely whispered and an offense can be set off. Revelation 12:10

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:pointing-1991215_640

“Now have come the salvation and the power
    and the kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
    who accuses them before our God day and night,
    has been hurled down.”

My heart is burdened because we cannot do His will here on earth well as a fractured body. And we can do so much more together. I mean, He is God and His purposes will be accomplished as the Word says above but will we fall by the wayside and will He have to raise others up to accomplish the purpose He had for you?

How well do you know God? Like really know Him and His Word? Would you say that His heart is for you? Would you say you know you are loved, forgiven, saved, righteous, His child? Would you say that you are following Him and not people?  Are you sold out to His commission for us as believers? Matthew 28:18-20 ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

My heart has been breaking for all of the stories I have been hearing lately about how people are hurt by Christian people and that becomes generalized to the church and then projected on who they think God is. Offence is picked up and if not dealt with this can turn to resentment. If they are Christian, their faith may suffer, reconciliation might never happen,  then they possibly fall away or in some cases plan never to attend church again. In the meantime a fracture happens within the church by the loss of these people and that particular body goes on but with a noticeable limp. I realize sometimes there is a grand purpose in God removing some people from a particular body of believers but it may not always be the case. It may be the enemy working his steal, kill and destroy program through his bait of offense.

I understand when someone is a Christian we naturally give them a higher standard to hit and that should be the case but I think it should be higher, not impossible. This also means if you are a Christian, you also are called to this higher, not impossible standard. It is not impossible with His spirit and strength, it will be in our own strength. They are not God, neither are we, we are all human and we hurt each other, often not on purpose. I also realize that church is not the only platform to display His glory but it needs to be a place where we grow together to be strengthened to go out into the world, in all the places He calls us. The local church is the hope of the world but a fractured one doesn’t always paint a beautiful picture of hope. Please don’t take this to the extreme because I know we are all broken in some way and the beauty of God doing what He does through broken vessels is often what it is about. I am just saying if we are loudly broken without Christ on display in our behaviour, hope doesn’t always shine through. What is your part in the restoration?

So what is getting in the way of your witness? Is it you? Can I gently suggest we get over ourselves? I love how Revelation 12 gives us the answer with verse 11 in the Message translation,

‘They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
    and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
    they were willing to die for Christ.’ 

Most of all I think God’s heart in all of this is not to equate who He is with who we are as humans. Remember the part, my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways? God said that. He sees us through the filter of what Jesus did, dying on the cross for our sins. Christ’s blood and His love cover a multitude of sins.

As I was praying through this blog, a few things came to mind that may get in the way of us not fulfilling the commission.  Pride, unforgiveness, inability to work through conflict, missing God’s heart, lack of identity, disobedience, blindness from our own wounds. This doesn’t just apply to issues within the church but  within our own hearts. Working through these things is not easy and I think we forget that we have the power of the resurrected Christ within us to help us get through these places.

Joyce Meyer said,‘ The gap between desire and doing is determined by how much pain one is willing to endure to do God’s will.’ . It is always a heart issue. How sold out is yours for our Saviour that you will do whatever it takes to live at peace with others and be obedient to His purposes?  Please read the following out Romans 12 out loud, stop on each verse and challenge your heart to see if you are living these words, if not, repent, ask His forgiveness and move forward knowing He is for you, and Holy Spirit will empower you to live this out. Be blessed brothers and sisters.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’

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Great & Unsearchable

bible-1388427_640 ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.’ 2 Timothy 3:1-5

I know when God repeats a passage in 3 different forms to me in less than 12 hours, He is speaking and commanding my attention. Imagine my surprise when He speaks that I should have nothing to do with myself! The book of 2 Timothy has been heralded as the apostle Paul’s famous ‘last words’. He knew he was to be executed soon and so as he was in prison he wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy. It was a passing the torch kind of letter and it tells of the urgency Paul knew to be true for God’s people.

This same urgency has been placed in my spirit, to not just know about God but to have a transformative relationship with Him and to urge others to do the same. I feel many of us are walking around as Paul says above, ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power.’ We go to church, we speak the language, but have we truly allowed the living Word of God to transform our minds and hearts? Can you read in the list above and see yourself in it? ‘lovers of money’, ‘boastful’, ‘proud’,’ungrateful’, ‘unforgiving’, ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’. To name a few.

My heart is repentant and heavy today, I had to come before Him and confess that there are many areas in my life I have not let His Word change. I have often been as 2 Timothy 3:7 says, ‘always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.’ Repentance is a change of heart and mind that is a literal turning away from our sin and brings us closer to God. The first step to receiving God’s forgiveness is admitting that we need it. Needing it is not just at the point of salvation when we realize we have sinned in the world and need Jesus, it is an everyday part of walking with God, realizing that we fall short and have a great need for Him to  help us in our humanness. How easily and quickly we can fall.

I think I have skimmed over these verses with thoughts of all the terrible things that are to come but dare I say it is here, and it is in us. Corrie ten Boom once said, ‘If satan can’t make us bad, he will make us busy.’ I fear in this we do not take time to know God and there are too many distractions from really sitting with Him and knowing His heart and having ours changed in the process. Louie Giglio said, “Why do we look so forward to eternity but we do not want to spend time with Him now?”

Verse 16 in 2 Timothy 3 says, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ How are you letting the Word do its work? Do you know enough of it and God’s character that it has changed yours?

Has the time come that Paul talked about in 2 Timothy 4:3,4 as he gave Timothy a charge to speak the word, correct, rebuke and encourage others with it. ‘For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.’

We like to have our ears tickled don’t we? To hear all the grace filled things in God’s truth but if we are true followers of God’s Word, we need to give heed to all of it. A lot of it is correction, not because He is against us but He is for us! Do we discipline our own children just for kicks? Well neither does He. Our heart is for their best and if we take the time to know God’s heart, we will see clearly His is the same.

The beautiful thing is that He waits for us to come. He is a gentleman, He stands at the door and knocks, He does not barge in and force His ways upon you. He wants us to know Him but He has given us free will. My deepest desire is that I know Him and He knows that so I heard these words out of love and not condemnation today. He wants all of my heart, the hardened parts included. As He does yours. Are you willing to give it? Are you willing to sit with Him and listen, read His Word and ask Him to open your understanding. Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ This does not necessarily mean the secret to world domination. Today it meant, see these places in your heart that keep you from me, bring them to me. Turn your heart from them and turn toward me. I love you and want you to know me.creation-1906289_640

Go to Him. What are you waiting for? He is waiting for you, just as you are.

Waiting Well Addendum

‘You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.’ Galatians 5:13

‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ Hebrews 10:24,25

In the shower, I was shown that my Waiting Well blog was not a finished story. By the way someone needs to invent a waterproof whiteboard so I can take notes in there and if that is a thing please let me know. Anyway, I forgot a couple of important ways that I know have helped me in the waiting and that I think are imperative for healing. In my initial blog I suggested these ways to wait well; Remember that our life is not our own, Seek Him, Be Real & Receive. Going through the process of waiting does not necessitate being idle. We need to participate in the waiting. The enemy’s plan is to steal, kill and destroy,  and this directive does not change. Waiting around for the miracle or change can cause us to become isolated. Often isolation is the devil’s vehicle to drive the destruction he seeks.

As the writer of Hebrews says above, spur one another on, do not give up meeting together, encourage one another. This is a necessary step to protect from being isolated. Who are your people? If you don’t have people, what are you doing to create that community to grow together with others and protect from seclusion. How are you serving one another in love? Or is it just all about you?

Community. The Lord tells us in Psalm 23 that He is our Shepherd and we lack for nothing. He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep. The thing about sheep is sometimes they aren’t very smart. We need to stick together so that we aren’t scooped up by predators who are carrying out the enemy’s plans. Sometimes we do have desert seasons in order to draw closer to God but in these seek others out. I know when we moved here 6 years ago, it was one of the most difficult seasons in my life. We moved away from a daughter who had barely graduated and was getting established and further away from our other daughter, the only people I really knew were my husband’s family and friends who all had lives. In this though we didn’t stop looking to create community and I held tight for a season to the ones we left. God stepped into our looking and gave us a greater community than we could have ever imagined through our church family. This has impacted every area of our life greatly and made our world larger. In community we can better deal with the things that waiting brings up in our character. Together we can fulfill the commission to tell others about Jesus.team-386673_640 Renew your mind with these truths;

‘Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’Acts 2:46,47

‘Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.’ 1 Peter 3:8

‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!’ Psalm 133:1

Serve. We forget about others in our pain. Isolation keeps our pain locked in. I once heard someone say, give to others the very thing you may be missing. If you are in need of nurturing, offer that to someone else. If you need an ear to hear you, listen to someone else. In giving you will receive. Do not make that your motive but it is a by-product of giving of yourself. I understand there are seasons, especially in loss where we need to be served but even in reaching out then, God meets us with healing. 2 weeks after my Mom took her life, I had to speak at a women’s retreat. God only gave me strength for that but I look back on that time and also see it served to create a place of great healing in me. Serving moves us from navel gazing to an outward focus. Serving is how God works through us as His hands and feet to meet the needs of His people. We are most like Him when we give of ourselves. Roll up your sleeves and look around you and see the countless needs. hand-1331323_640Renew your minds with these truths;

‘But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.’  1 Samuel 12:24

‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’   Mark 10:45

‘In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

Now go friends, Wait Well. Serve. Be with Others. See what He will do. Live amazed.

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Waiting Well

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Psalm 27:14

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. MSG

 Wait patiently for the LORD . Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. NLT

 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. NIV

Did you think the title Waiting Well is an impossible feat? I heard a quote about financial planning that said usually you are coming out of a crisis, in the middle of one,  or one is on its way. This may be a good reference when dealing with money but if it refers to waiting, it doesn’t bring much hope. Although the definition of crisis can mean a time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger, it can also be a turning point when an important change takes place.
We all have our own definition or experience of crisis depending on our life filters. We all have different ways of responding. My heart is to wait well through things but often my faith in attempting that is not pretty. Often it results in me taking things into my own hands and messing with the outcome God may have wanted, or I may become suspicious, resentful or full of doubt toward the situation and sometimes even God.

Trying to help things along on my own often reminds me of the story of Abraham and Sarah, once Abram and Sarai. I invite you to read this fascinating story beginning in Genesis 15. In short, God promised Abraham in his old age, offspring as many as the stars. Sarah did not believe after all this time that the God who had kept her from having children would fulfill this promise through her. Now before we persecute Sarai too much in her decision, know that it was common practice in that day and culture to give a female servant to her husband to produce an heir. Often women were shamed when they were unable to conceive. Imagine for a moment how that felt to her, now imagine trying to wait well in that situation. Notice Abram didn’t seem to protest too much about her suggestion. (Genesis 16:1-4)

This created a series of problems from Sarai feeling rejected, her barrenness highlighted even more as the servant conceived,  to blame towards Abram and the maidservant running away. These are all seemingly difficult situations that arose from independence from God’s plans. But God…

He not only brought restoration to these relationships but He gave Abram and Sarai their promised son, through their 100 and 90 year old bodies, and He gave them new names. The meaning of a new name in that culture was that God was calling them to submit to Him and His promises, it wasn’t to shame them for their mistakes but to create more intimacy with them.

Do you know our God this way? Have you experienced His redemption in the midst of your waiting even in the form of the strength to keep standing? I have a feeling like the financial saying about crisis above, that waiting is more a normal in our walk with Him, than the manifestation of answers or miracles or removing of circumstances. I think He trusts us more than we trust ourselves.

Marlo Schalesky said, “Waiting is not a punishment from God, it is a tool in His Hands to make and mold us into who we are meant to be.” We are always looking for the ‘there’ aren’t we? Once we get _____ or do ______ or accomplish ______ we will be happy or successful or have ‘arrived’. It is an elusive chase though. Marlo also said, “There is no ‘there’ here in this life. When God brings us to a place, He doesn’t want that to be the answer. He wants Himself to be. True fulfillment comes in God.”

In the Mercy Me song, Even If, they sing this sentiment. ‘I know you’re able and I know you can, Save through the fire with your mighty hand. But Even If you don’t My hope is You alone.’ Can you sing that? Is your heart convinced that there is purpose in this process? Or are you in a place of discouragement? Of not being able to believe for that?

What do we do in the meantime, in the wait? How can we wait well?

Remember that our life is not our own. I know this statement is a newsflash to many in this self-centred, what about me world? I can relate and I still sometimes struggle with this. But it really is Not about us. Jesus died, buying our freedom at a price, so that we could be reconciled to God and in this bring glory to Him by living for Him. Our lives are because of Him and in Him. Renew your mind with these truths;

‘LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.‘Jeremiah 10:23
‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.’ 1
Corinthians 6:19,20

Seek Him. Yes Him, not always His hand. I once heard it said that He is more concerned with our character than our circumstances, but He uses our circumstances to make us more like Him. His heart is for relationship, it is why He created us and He promises that we will find Him if we look. Renew your mind with these truths;

‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ Jeremiah 29:13

‘Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.’ Psalm 105:4

‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ Matthew 6:33

Be Real. He knows you better than anyone else. Go to Him with all of your emotions, honesty, discouragement, praise, frustration, anger, sadness, confusion, questions. It is in this place of honesty and surrendering all of this along with your opinions, ideas or thoughts that He will come and meet you and minister to your heart. You know when He says to love Him with All of you heart, ya He meant that. Renew your mind with these truths;

‘If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.’ 1 John 1:8-10

Receive. Take in the love He wants to give you. Don’t let it bounce off of the filters of your wounds or shame. Ask Him to help you receive all that He has given you. And this is everything, by the way. When you sit with Him, be expectant that He will meet your heart. We can’t buy, earn or deserve His mercy love and forgiveness, we just need to receive these free gifts. Not because we are good, but because He is!  Renew your mind with these truths;

‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’ Matthew 7:7
‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’ Hebrews 4:16

 

Pray. Submit. Surrender. Trust. Hope. Persevere. Choose. Pray. He’s Got You.

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FED up! 


‘And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.’ Ezekiel 36:26 NLT


I am FED up! This acronym popped in my head as I was getting tired of myself yesterday. Tired of struggling with the same issues, tired of doing the same things over and over again and being so tired I am not even expecting different results anymore. I decided that I needed to become FED up with my behaviour and know that this is not part of my new identity in Christ. This is old actions that repeat to the tune of this is getting old already. FED arose from Finances, Exercise and Diet. These have been areas of a lifelong struggle of a lack of discipline but I felt God say this is the end of it Deanna, you need to submit this to me (ALL of It, all the ugly emotions and the I can do it attitude and the belittling words to yourself and the lack of discipline and and…) to do a heart change and not just a temporary behaviour change that you have mustered up.

‘For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.’ Philippians 4:13

I must have been skipping past the ‘through’ things and just thinking I could do everything on my own. As I look around me and listen to people and see how the world is changing and moving so quickly, I am once again reminded how crucial it is to know who we are in Christ. We need to know our identity and live from that place. We need to be rooted and grounded in the Word of God or really what is left when things happen to us and circumstances are difficult and our world changes, sometimes in a moment. A lot of people have asked me lately how is it different being a Christian than not, being married as one and not and my defining answer is that when we don’t know God, we are the end of ourselves. There is no other hope, nothing to look toward, no divine guidance, no grace or mercy. We think we have to know the answers and this is a tremendous pressure because truly we DO NOT know all the answers. But God does. Even if we don’t hear one immediately or get the one we want, He Always knows best.

One thing I do know as I get older is I do not know a lot. This is very humbling but also very freeing. It helps me to trust the One that made the Universe, the One that loves me and is for me not against me, to know the best thing for me. It liberates me to love the others around me without needing to feel like I always need their answers but I can point them to the One that does. I can’t remember where I heard or read this the other day but we think faith needs to be pretty to be effective. It is quite the opposite, He wants us to come with all of our sin and realness and ugly emotions, He will meet us where we are at.

Timothy Keller said, “As we adore God and He delights in us, it is the greatest experience of love. If we built our whole life on someone else, we are not free to love them because we need them to affirm us and for them to be ok. We will use them to get value out of them. But, when we are loved by God, we are liberated to love others freely and do what God made us to do. We don’t expect others to fill us.”

No person, place, thing, role, job, title, activity or idea will ever fill the brokenness or longing or sense of purpose like the maker of your heart and identity will. Oh there is temporary pleasure,  as they say sin is fun for a time. Or worldly success but sometimes at a cost. There is genuine fun and delight but the deep longing or desires can lurk under the surface unfulfilled if we try to fill them with things other than God.

If we don’t have our identity rooted in the solid foundation of God and what Jesus did for us we can flounder and what we think is our identity is rocked by; 

One relationship or lack of relationship

One injury

One job loss

A death

Words from others

Trauma

Financial loss

Please hear my heart, I know all of these situations cause heartache and I have experienced most of them, but knowing God and who we are in Him gives a reason to hope. It allows us to trust that He will meet us in our pain and can give purpose to it. He is the steady in our uncertain and when we believe how He loves us we know there is a greater plan. 

So how does this align with being FED up? We sometimes have to come to the end of ourselves to ignite a desire to change. It is in these places we see our need for God. I know renewing my mind with truth in the areas that I have believed is how I will get my freedom. Launching from a place of identity rather than lack, will create sticking places for truth to land. 

How are you renewing your mind today? What lies are you believing that create repetitive patterns in your life? 

Here are a few verses to get you started in God’s truth. Read them, declare them and believe. 

I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)

I am a child of God (Galatians 3:26 John 1:12,13)

I can resist the enemy (James 4:7)

I am a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)

I have the ability to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19)


Unfailing Kindness

I love this stage of life that I am in. Although it has taken me a while to embrace it and to be present in it, not thinking there is something I have to do or somewhere I have to be every waking minute, I appreciate everything about it. I get to spend time with my God and my family. I get to write and I get to minister to others. I now am working but very part-time, enough to bless a couple of people a week and take the pressure off our finances as I do that. It creates opportunities for stories and to listen. It is a place I know I won’t be in forever but for now I celebrate the possibilities.

I may have missed my latest adventure if not for this season. I was running to the store to pick up some things to love on people this Valentine’s day when this moment was captured. An elderly couple were unloading their groceries in front of me, he very slowly, when all of a sudden she stepped in and starting throwing the items at him to the conveyor belt. Oh my that tickled me and I couldn’t help myself, I said to her, good throw! She shuffled back to me with a smile and said, “67 years of this and he’s getting slow and I have trouble being patient.” I said, well done, that is amazing. You have made it this far. I asked her if they were going to celebrate today. “Well, a little bit, ” she said, “we will go out for supper. We have coupons from the kids and that helps.”

I then asked her if they had children and she proceeded with joy to tell me the plethora of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren they have been blessed with. Her eyes lit up as she shared stories. What a delight she was! It was just a few moments and I giggled all the way home thinking of her throwing those items (by the way, he was a good catch for a slow guy) and I thought for a brief moment of time she forgot her frustration. Sometimes that is all it takes for someone to feel the love of God.tulips

 

I know it is Valentine’s and there is so much hype around this day and difficult feelings and expectations and disappointments. As one of my wise, single friends said, “I just make sure everyone feels loved. You shouldn’t save all the love for one day.” Amen.

It does make us become more intentional to share with those we love though. In that sense the hype is worth it. As with most things, it is what we make it right? My prayer for all on this day that focuses on love, of whom God is the Creator and is Love Himself, is that they would know Him better through loving or being loved. That they are drawn by His unfailing kindness. He is extravagant in His love, get in it.

I pray that all wounds that have skewed hearts or broken them or caused rejection will experience healing on this day. I pray for no landing places for the hurts and rejection and strength to not choose to dwell there. As another wise friend of mine said (yes all my friends are wise lol ) “Rejection doesn’t feel like a choice when it hits your heart so fast, but we do choose to harbour the thought and let it grow into an offense or to rebuke, renounce and repent of feeling offended.” I pray you will choose to let God heal that place.

I pray for hearts that are hurting from loss, that they will be comforted today. I pray for those that do have a special someone to share with to not take that for granted and to celebrate well. I pray that we will give love away, even in a small measure. Even if it is to stop and listen in a grocery store.

I read this the other day, I believe it was someone who had been married for decades, Love is not about give and take, it is about give and give. What can you do to give love away today? Or how did you? I would love if you would share.

John 13:34 ,”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

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All we need is…

loveapple-570965_6401Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE! There is nothing more telling to me that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine than seeing what He says about love, and watching how we all try to execute this. Our broken brand of this mission is tainted with our wounds, disappointments, rejections, shame, guilt, insecurities and lack. I failed in at least half of these directives about love just today and I haven’t even left my house yet.

But God…

He is love. He is the model of love. If we know Him, we are a demonstration of what His love did for us. He sent His only Son to die for us. Who does that? GOD did! And when we do choose Him, He gives us a new nature, one that is powered by the Holy Spirit to execute the kind of love that He showed us. Our mission is grand, to love the Lord with all of us and to love our neighbour as ourself, but it is not impossible with Him, despite our brokenness.

It keeps no record of wrongs…this is the portion that jumped out at me as I read this familiar love chapter from Corinthians today.  Ironically, I am co-leading a women’s bible study about the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst and it is all about rejection. Rejection hijacks our normal emotions and we absolutely keep a record of wrongs within all of the jabs of rejection that we have experienced if we don’t allow God to heal these wounds.

When our son was smaller he would often scrape his knees when he was playing. No sooner did one wound start healing and scabbing over, when another one would happen in the same place. The scabs showed the healings were happening but were insignificant as another owie ripped the scab off and irritated the sore. We had to watch that they didn’t get infected.

This is often what happens with unhealed rejection in our lives. Escalated emotions during an incident of rejection is a good indicator of past unhealed hurt. An antidote for this is acceptance. As Lysa Terkeurst says,”Acceptance is like an antibiotic that prevents past rejections from turning into present day infections. The need for belonging runs deep.” She also says that, “No amount of outside achievement fixes inside hurts. Those hurts have to be soothed by replacing the lies with truth.”

Rejection changes what you believe about yourself and so if you don’t inject God’s truth in those places, it can be a festering wound waiting for the next scraping. Belonging comes from God. His love is like a balm to the soul. His truth goes deep to our roots.

The word tells us in Colossians 3:14. “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Love is something we do, not something we feel. It is a choice. Love is something God does for us, He brings fullness to our empty places. Lysa says,” I can choose to bring my emptiness or God’s fullness into any situation I face. It saves us from begging for scraps of love.”

Love in its fullness is…heart-598048_640

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18, 19

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8

I think you get the idea. In the New International version of the bible, love is mentioned 551 times. I think God was trying to tell us something significant about putting on who He is. As you know from the start of this post, walking in love is not an easy thing to do but we are called to do it. We need to practice walking in love. It not only is an antidote for rejection but for all of the hurts that may be contained in our hearts. He is not finished with us yet and the more we act like Him by being loving, the more we resemble His heart to others that don’t know Him yet.

How does your love reflect God’s heart? What parts of your heart do you need Him to bring healing and correction with truth? How are you bringing God’s fullness to situations? How have your hurts broken the mission of leading others to know Him? What will you do to seek the healing God longs to give you?

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