Love In Action

romans121913

Continuing on with our theme of “Godly Relationships” here at MOHL, I wanted to write a little bit on some of the practical ways we can show love to others.

Romans 12:9-13 reads as follows:

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

Wow… there are a lot of things written to us as believers just in that short passage.

Something I really want to point out from those scriptures is that a lot of those commands relate directly to the attitude in our hearts. It says that we ought to:

1. Honor others before yourself. This could mean a few different things, but I think mainly, it is really seeking to put the needs or wants of others above your own. Do you know of someone who is struggling with finances and they have no way to keep warm? Give them a coat to wear. Do you know of someone who is hungry? Bring them some food! Even giving a bright and cheery smile to the cashier in the store who has had a long day can bring some sunshine into their lives. You might be the only bit of happiness and joy that enters their life that day. You never know how God can use even the smallest things to encourage others. This goes into point #2.

2. Never be lacking in zeal and spiritual fervor for the Lord. As we continue on the paths the Lord has placed in our lives, He will lead us through the valley and the desert both. Sometimes, it feels like we have never been closer to the Lord, and everything is “going our way”. We’re in the valley…joy-filled, at peace, and excitedly going down the path of the Lord’s will. Then, He may choose to bring us through a dry, desert time. It seems as if everything is a struggle, like the Lord is far away and doesn’t hear our desperate pleas of asking for peace from the conflict, whatever it might be. Having walked through a time like this recently, I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing it was to have dear sisters constantly sending me scripture verses and praying for me. Do you know someone who is struggling in their spiritual life? The Lord may be calling you to be a witness to them as they walk through this time in the desert. Diligently seek to pray for them, look for little ways you can encourage them. Perhaps a note in the mail or some favorite scriptures written out on notecards and given to them will help them on their journey.

3. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. This part speaks for itself in many ways. Be joyful in hope… We have a great hope in the knowledge that one day, the Lord will return to take us home to be with Him for all eternity. We have a great hope because He chose, in His divine providence, to take on the weight of our sins and wash them clean. He took the punishment, that we rightly deserve, that we might be white as snow, and have this great hope! What a mighty, faithful and loving God we serve.  Patient in affliction… Our pastor was just teaching this past Sunday about how trials are brought into our lives for our good. We often do the most growing as we learn to further rely on the Lord, and less on our own efforts. When we are completely broken, we realize just how small we are, and just how mighty our Lord is. We may not understand in this life why He sent specific trials into our lives, but we can rest once again in the greater Hope- that the Lord works together all things for the good of those who are His own according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Faithful in prayer… once again, this part speaks for itself, but in many ways, how often are we guilty of telling someone that we will pray for them and then forgetting or never getting around to doing so? *raises hand* One way that we can really seek to show love to others is remembering to be faithful in praying for them, or over specific requests they may have shared with us. For myself, I’ve found that keeping a prayer request journal is a great way to specifically list out folks or requests that I am praying for during that time. It’s also neat to look back through and see exactly how God answered those prayers!

4. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Building somewhat on #1, sharing with fellow believers who are in need is one of the greatest ways that we can show love to others. One specific way my church tries to do this is by taking meals to families who have recently had a baby, lost a family member, are sick, etc. Having been on both ends of this, I can say that it is a blessing to both parties. Taking a meal to someone is a way of acknowledging to them that you know they are struggling with something at the time, and it is a very practical way of showing love to them. It truly blesses you knowing that you are lending them a helping hand in their time of need. When my family has been on the receiving end, it is so nice to not have to worry about cooking on top of everything else going on at the time, no matter what the circumstance is. There are obviously several other ways to help folks in need…I just used food as an example because here in the South, food is a big deal. :) As far as showing hospitality, the definition of hospitality means: “The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.” What better way to show hospitality to believers and non-believers alike than to host them in your home? Whether just for a meal or for an extended stay, oftentimes, one of the best ways we can be a witness to others is to have them in our homes, so that they can see the way we live, and Lord willing, to see the love of Christ in us and through us.

What are some different ways you can show “love in action” to others around you?

 

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Hallelujah, He is Risen!

He is risen! He is risen indeed.

A blessed Resurrection day to you & yours!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. When Jesus gave up His last breath on Calvary, the veil of separation was torn in two & we are now gifted with the priceless gift of unadulterated communion with the Lord. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to give His disciples & followers power to carry out the great commission. I’m here to share with you, sisters, that that same Pentecostal power they were given in tongues of fire is ours.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2nd Peter 1:1-15

What does this look like in the day to day? Certainly appears to be a tall order. *smile* It’s so much more than an inspirational encouragement but the calling on all of our lives, in every season. In every moment. Through every trial, triumph, joy & even times of despair. We are new creations. We weren’t once new creations, nor are we trying to attain a brand new identity. We have been cleansed from our sins forever & the Lord casts them as far as the east is from the west. It’s a perpetual, & ongoing renewing, adding all these things to the next in the Scripture above.

These verses are God-inspired, & are a call to rise as He is risen this day. We are vessels made to declare His rule & reign over history, the present & our individual stories. On this blessed Easter morning, I encourage you to breathe deep & let it out. Bask in the Lord’s resurrection power & then, after you pray for these fruits to be cultivated in your day to day, you prepare. Prepare your heart to be tested with gifts disguised as trying people, situations or trials. When I pray for patience, the Lord sends me another short-tempered person or difficult personality or another waiting game to test that prayer.

The Lord does not call the already-equipped; He doesn’t bestow upon us the gifts of His grace & the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts like pixie dust. The Lord equips the called; day by day even in the mundane, we-His daughters & part of His beloved Bride-are refined as gold.

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Little Ways

This month, our topical theme here at Meditations of His Love is Experience Produces Character. Melinda asked that we share some of the different experiences that we have had through the years as we have walked with Christ.

This past year, my grandmother was diagnosed with and died from cancer. I wrote the following blog post shortly after she passed away, sharing about one of the unique and special ways the Lord encouraged my family and I through His word, as we walked through what was *undoubtedly* one of the hardest times in our lives. Perhaps you, dear friend, are walking through a struggle of your own. I pray that this testimony of the Lord providing encouragement to me during that time will be a blessing and encouragement to you. May we always trust in the Lord and seek to stay faithful to Him, even when it is hard. <3

~Miss C

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From June 10th, 2013:

 

It has been interesting to look back at many of the ways the LORD has sent encouragement to us over the past several weeks.

When I look back over the past few months, I can see where the LORD really spoke to my heart through very specific Bible verses. During the weeks following after we learned about my grandmother’s cancer, and then continuing on as we cared for her until her homecoming, the LORD revealed scriptural truths  to me as I sought comfort in His word. As they were laid on my heart, I felt led to write down those verses and hang them beside the sink, so that I could work on memorizing them while doing dishes or cooking during the day.

“The day we found out she had cancer, February 14th, the verse that came to mind after much prayer was James 1:2-4 :

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

While it was hard to see at the time of my grandmother’s cancer diagnosis, and admittedly, is still very hard to see at times now, we are to completely and totally rely on God and trust in Him. Even when situations seem to be at their absolute worst, we are to TRUST Him. Really, really trust Him- with our whole heart. God never sends us trials or situations greater than what His grace will allow us to bear. Never will He leave us or desert us in our time of need. We are to REJOICE when He sends trials to us. We should always seek to rejoice in the sanctification that comes from bearing burdens here on earth and know that working through those difficult situations in a godly manner is ultimately a manner or refining for us. A way of making us more like our beloved Saviour. It is so hard to rejoice in the midst of troubles….of worries…. of burdens that feel too large to bear, but through God’s grace, I pray that we all weary not of doing right and seeking to consider even the largest of burdens a JOY.

The second verse that God placed on my heart was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

I believe God was continuing to reveal to me that this season of my grandmother struggling with cancer wouldn’t last forever. Like many other things in life, this was a season and it too would pass. There were days when it was all I could do not to weep as the enormity of situation began to sink in. There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep thinking over all of the what-ifs and possible scenarios…

And that is when God laid Psalm 27:13-14 on my heart:

“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”

At this time, as we were approaching the second chemo treatment, we were watching my grandmother begin to slip away as the cancer began to take its toll. I can’t even begin to explain what it is like to watch someone suffer the way she was beginning to suffer. The pain that began to show itself on her face… watching the difficulty she was beginning to have just walking around our home. I found myself constantly praying the second part of that verse: “Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.. Lord, please help me to wait for you- please help me to be strong and take heart and wait for you.

The next verse that was laid on my heart was 1st Thessalonians 5:18:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

The day I felt led to write out this verse and add it to the others beside the sink was the day before my grandmother passed away.

God’s timing in things is always perfect. Oftentimes, we can’t see why He directs things a certain way or puts specific situations in our paths, but we can rest in the fact that HE does know and that His ways are always perfect! What an amazing peace it is to know God directs all and that He has already numbered our every step here on this earth! I believe His timing in revealing that verse to me was perfect. I certainly didn’t know that God would take my grandmother home the next day, but God was telling me to rejoice in my circumstances whatever they might be. While my family and I are still suffering the loss of my precious grandmother, we can rejoice in the fact that she is no longer suffering- no longer in pain. She is in the joyous presence of our heavenly Father, and what a blessed thought that is!

Which leads me to the last verse I wrote out and hung beside the sink- Jeremiah 17:14:

“Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”

God revealed this verse to me through a Bible study I was doing a few weeks ago. I felt very strongly God was showing me that verse specifically as a balm for our wounds. An encouragement that healing would indeed come. We serve such a faithful and merciful God- it is so true that His mercies are anew each morning! As we continue through both of these seasons of mourning and healing, I know that through His mercies, our hearts will be restored. I am so thankful He continues to whisper His truths to us each day, in the most amazing of ways. What a mighty God we serve!”

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Walk in Newness

WalkinNewness

2014 is five days old.

How have you spent the past five “pages” of this glorious, blank, unopened book?

Now that the major holidays are through, perhaps you’re getting back into the swing of things. Perhaps you’re valiantly adhering to your resolutions scrawled nobly in the last hours of 2013.

Or maybe you have moments like I did on New Years Day. Moments of remembering, cringing, sighing in regret & wondering how on earth progress is truly made. Counting my countless blessings did not happen till later on the first day of this year, I am sad to say. It didn’t help that, with reading some kindred spirits’ New Years blog posts, I compared my 2013 & hopes for 2014 to their’s, & fell quite short. Of what, you ask? I’ll tell you flat out. My own unreachable high expectations.

The expectations that the control freak in me dresses up all nice & pretty & Godly. The expectations that are all very good things-but are elevated to such a high place as God never meant them to be. Therein is my disconnect, sisters. Doing life in such a way that does not remember I am a work in progress. Living my days with an endless to-do list-& I miss the freedom that comes with the prayer of, “Not my will, but Your’s be done, Abba Father.”

Jesus, the speaker of the words above, came to save us from our sins-the ultimate sacrifice of love to fully, once & forever, atone for our sins. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 NKJV. He is Immanuel-God with us. Before the Cross, there was a wall of separation between full, unadulterated communion with the Lord of Lords … thanks to the fall of man in Genesis. Jesus came & tore the veil of separation in two. He bridged the great divide-everything I could ever strive to do to work my way to the Lord will fall short. In spite of that-our best days, our worst-we have hope.

We can walk in freedom as we enter into this blank, 365 page book. Forget about last year-but for the memories, blessings & lessons learned. Walk in the newness of everlasting life that is ours through Christ Jesus-embrace it every day. Let Him fuel your passion. Your drive to complete that list of resolutions. Remember He is our strong one because even on our best days, we are not strong enough.

Walk in the newness Jesus gives-the newness of the fresh start, a brand spanking new beginning, that 2014 is.

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A Time to Search, A Time to Give Up

                By Rose H.

                One of the great things about this passage of scripture is it reminds us that there are times for everything. There are seasons, times, journeys, that we all go through.  Today we’ll look at searching and giving up.

                A time to search. There have been times when I wanted answers from God. I have searched, prayed, and sought out answers. Yet God kept me on the path for answers for a long time. Sometimes when I’ve been on the path for answers, God doesn’t tell me the answer right away. He seems to leave me in limbo for a while. Many times I’ve asked the question “Why?” But I think I know part of why God gives us times of searching. Have you ever noticed that when you are asking and searching you are much more apt to hear God’s voice? When I need His answers I am more likely to listen than to speak. The searching process gives me a chance to examine my motives and see whether they come into line with God’s.

                Searching is the hard part, but God is with us to will and to work. As long as we keep searching after Him and His things we will never be disappointed.

                A time to give up. Giving up? It’s hard isn’t it? In today’s society (yes even in the Christian society) we are taught that you should never give up. You should never lose, never give in, and never back down.

                I beg to differ. There are times when we should give up, stop striving, and walk away. Where did we ever get the idea that we were never going to be wrong? We are still flawed human beings after all. Thankfully we have a God who always provides us with a way to get back on track and sometimes that involves giving up.

                I don’t like to be wrong. I don’t like giving up or feeling defeated. No one does. But sometimes when I am going the wrong way giving up is a much better option than crashing into a brick wall. There are times (many times) when I haven’t wanted to admit I was doing the wrong thing. Thankfully God gently whispers in my ear, “You need to say you’re sorry” “You need to retract that.” You need to give up this.” It’s hard, but if I just listen to His voice, He leads me exactly where I need to go through times of searching and giving up.

                A time to search and to give up. God will show you in each season what to do. Follow Him and He will lead you through all seasons of life.    

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In Everything…Trust

A Post by Melinda
   The verses in Ecclesiastes 3 are sharp reminders of the changefulness of life.  Stark contrasts give the verses a mournful flair. “A time to be born, a time to die…a time to break down and a time to build up…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time to seek and a time to lose…a time for war and a time for peace.”  
     Growing up is hard.  Although I tend to be what someone once called a “card-carrying-drama-queen” and everything tends to be taken with extremes, I never imagined my life to be this, well, hectic and uncertain.  In my blissful, innocent childhood years, when life was less complicated, I always imagined growing up to be a wonderful thing and everything would just be as it always had been, only I would be able to do the things I couldn’t do then because I was “too little”.  
     Little did I imagine the nights of tears, the heart wrenching struggles, the daily uncertainty of the future, the hard work…and all the rest that came with growing up.  I fought, I cried, I argued, I resisted, I begged.  I don’t do much of anything without a struggle and growing up as been no exception. :-)   Through it all, I spent time in God’s Word, longing for a heart truer and more devoted to Him.  
     Last year, I had an amazing year in the Lord.  He revealed Himself to me in ways I could never thought possible.  “This is it,” I thought, “I think I’m finally maturing, mentally and spiritually.  God is really doing a work in my life!”
    And then, it was 2011.  I don’t know why I thought things were going to be easy.  I have never lived in such a roller coaster manner…and the year isn’t over yet.  Relationships have been up and down.  Decisions I have never faced have been thrown at me.  My whole idealistic perspective on life has been shaken up, smashed, and blown away.  A tornado blew away our family’s milk barn and chicken barns.  Currently, a drought causes the grass to turn brown, the earth to crack and a constant fire danger.  We live on a farm and as you know, farmers need rain for gardens and animals. 
     In all of these trials, in all of my tears and pain, I keep telling myself to trust and obey.  That’s what God has called me to do.   Trust God in everything.  We tend to trust Him when things are going good.  In Ecclesiastes, that means when we‘re planting, building up, laughing, dancing embracing and loving.  But we still have to trust Him, yes and it is even more important to trust Him, when there is death, weeping, sorrow, mourning, hate, war, casting away, breaking down.  
     It’s not for me to be certain.  I have no assurances that I will have an easy life, a happy life, and that all my desires will be fulfilled.  I do have a promise that in this life I will have hardship, trial, persecution, famine, sickness and pain.  Can I trust my God for everything?  Can I trust that He is sufficient to meet my needs and take care of me?  Can I trust that He will give my perfect peace, overwhelming hope, unquestioning faith, true love and overflowing joy?
     I’ll end with a song that has become dear to my heart over the last few months.  It speaks of the blessings of God, that often come in surprise packages.  That’s been my story the last few months.  I can now see a tiny glimpse of the blessings that have come through the hardships, and it’s a beautiful thing.  I pray that you will see the trials of your life as tools to bring you closer to Jesus and to give you grace to trust Him more.
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There is a Time to Plant and a Time to Uproot

written by Rachelle

Ecclesiastes 3:2, “[There is...] a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.”

I see this as the ultimate verse for those of us writers who like to edit everything. Sometimes I think it’s chronic. My fingers itch to ‘uproot’ the grammatical mistakes or typos I detect in books. I am ruthless when I spot a spelling error in the local newspaper. I take great care to spellcheck everything I write (my personal journal being the only exception), not just by using that handy Word feature, but by reading, re-reading, and self-editing any and all scribbling. I’m not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. I am only starting out in this daring adventure called writing and have had errors published that made me blush.

Am I as diligent about errors that pop up in other facets of life? Do I uproot sin and selfishness and fear from my heart as quickly as I correct sentences? I would like to say that I am, however, unfortunately I let things slip (especially those less noticeable sins). When I am in an especially blustery season of life and so much is coming at me like so many gusts of wind, I too often neglect to take the time to do self-examinations and ‘spellchecks.’

But scrutinizing the heart is important.

I shouldn’t be more obsessed with detecting worn-out cliches and correcting my writing than ensuring that I am encouraging my family and friends, reaching out to those Jesus came to save (Matthew 9:13), and worshipping my Lord without being distracted by that scene I long to ‘get right.’

Allowing God to get me right should be my priority. After all, “your heart… is the wellspring to life” (Proverbs 4:23). This heart that Jesus died for should be full of His life! Cleaning out my heart of those selfish tendencies and fears that prevent me from wholeheartedly living the life Christ calls me to live should be my aim.

Some practical techniques I use to do a little ‘heart-cleaning’ include:

  • Take long walks and drink in how the trees dance in the wind.
  • Make a date every once in a while (in addition to daily devotions) to sit at His feet and just listen.
  • Put on ‘Jesus glasses’ for the day and attempt to see people as He did ~ and love them.
  • Challenge yourself to say ten encouraging sentences to others in a 24-hour period (half in writing).
  • Lay out all activities (this includes to-do lists) and ask God, “Which of these are really important?” (Caution: Can cause serious kinks in plans!)

What ideas do you have for uprooting that which doesn’t belong in the gardens of our hearts?

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Holding on, and Letting Go

Written by Julia

Good day, reader! I hope you are having a pleasant week – I know I am! Some very good things have been happening in my life lately, including more rain falling on our dry garden, a beautiful pink-and-brown bedroom makeover (my late birthday present) and preparations for an upcoming visit from some of our family.
Our current topic is based on the first 9 verses of Ecclesiastes chapter 3, but the ‘theme’ is stated in verse 1.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
The verse I chose to expound upon was Ecclesiastes 3:6 – A time to get, and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
I found that verse and immediately thought “oh wow, how perfect – I’ve been working on organizing my bedroom and closet all week, and my memory has certainly been refreshed on how important it is to ‘cast away’ junk and clutter!!”
But then I realized this applies to our hearts and minds and spirits too, not just the physical world around us.
Let’s start with “a time to get”. What, according to the Bible, should we ‘get’?
Psalms 104:28 That thou (God) givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.
The things God gives us are good. We should definitely ‘get’ them, not lose them or throw them away. Sometimes the blessings God would give us we might not fully understand or want at the time, so we push them away instead of receiving them with thankfulness. But we should always be striving to listen to God’s voice and for what he wants us to accept from him. Whatever God has planned for us is SO much better than anything we could have imagined!
I looked up the word ‘get’ in Ecclesiastes 3:6, and the root word meaning also means ‘search or seek’. 
1 Chronicles , 11 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
That puts it very clearly, does it not? When we seek the Lord, our hearts rejoice… because he is good, and he is God, and he loves us.
We should seek him, and ‘get’ him, and search for more of Him every day.
Other things to ‘get’ and ‘keep’ –
-God’s word in our hearts. The more scripture we tuck away in our hearts and minds, the sweeter and cleaner our souls will be.
-Memories of special times spent with loved ones. Our family and friends and fellow Christians should be ‘kept’ close, and nothing should drive a wedge between us.
-Hope in our spirits. Even when the hard times come, our hope in Christ will buoy us up and keep us afloat even in the stormy, wind-tossed waves. These are some important things to get and keep.
~-~-~
So…What are some things we hold onto that we shouldn’t? Well…
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Ephesians And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Bitterness.
Oooh. Ouch. This is a tough one sometimes. I’m pretty sure all of us can think of a person or two that we have had a really hard time forgiving. People can be so mean to each other. It’s so hard when someone hurts us, badly, to turn the other cheek and forgive, rather than lash out – or worse – turn it inside and let it smolder like a bitter toxin, poisoning us from the inside out. But if we want to be children of God, we can’t do that.
We have to forgive, and let go, and cast away bitterness, being washed in the cooling, cleansing flow of forgiveness.
Clamor and Evil Speaking.
When you go around speaking evil things… like gossiping behind someone’s back, or being sarcastic, or complaining about your circumstances… it causes a black cloud of sin and evil to hang around you like smog over a dirty city street. Yuck. Who wants to be like that? None of us, I’m sure.
I would rather speak good things, sweet words, and praises. A golden ribbon of truth and love and honesty flowing from my mouth, floating up on high to delight the ears of our Almighty Lord, who is always listening.
One last thought before I close –
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
We need to come to the realization that we shouldn’t be holding tight to our lives. Our ‘rights’. Our ‘privileges’. Are any of us better than Jesus himself? Jesus called himself a servant. We should try to be like him as much as possible – We should serve. Not demand service from others.
Serve your family with your actions and with your words. Do things for them. Think about their needs instead of your own. Serve your friends, your fellow believers in Christ. When we let go of the tight-fisted grip we have on our life… God can fill our now-open hand with blessings.
Lay down your life so that the Lord can use it.
I hope and pray that this post has encouraged and challenged you in some way today! We always welcome your thoughts on our articles in the comments section.
Blessings!
~Julia
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A Time to Mourn

Written by Miss Rachel

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to *mourn*, and a time to dance” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1;4

In this list in Ecclesiastes, God tells us that there is a time for everything. And in this list, He says that there is even a time to mourn and to cry. We don’t like to think about that, we like to move on to the happier parts like “a time to dance” or “a time to laugh” as in the verse above. But in this world there is sin, and when sin entered the world, so did death.

Many of our readers may have experienced the loss of a loved one. My heart goes out to you, dear reader! That is never an easy thing to go through, losing someone we love so dearly. But if we look, we can see many verses in the Bible that bring us comfort and peace in times such as these. :)

Though I have not experienced a deep personal loss of a loved one that was close to me, I do know some of the pain death causes to others from things that God has brought into my life. 3 of my 4 grandparents are no longer with us. I miss them though I have never met them (I met my one grandmother when I was 3 or younger, but neither grandfather). Also, last Autumn, one of my dear friends went through a traumatic time when her brother was killed in a car accident. As soon as I heard, my heart broke for her and her family’s loss. I ran in tears upstairs to my parents and could barely speak the words to tell them what was wrong. I stood there in my mother’s arms truly weeping, crying harder than I have ever cried in my life, as I thought of the grief my friend must be experiencing and as I thought of my own siblings and how I would feel in such a case as hers. That week was so hard for me and I know it must have been even that much harder for my dear friend. But I know my God is a big God and so I got down on my knees to pray to Him who knows our pains, to pray for my dear friend. I am happy to say that although it is still very hard for her, I can see God’s goodness pouring out in her life and comforting her. :) God has used not only her family’s testimony in this hardship, but the testimony of her dear brother and his life used for the Lord, in many ways, and it still is being used in my life. :)

There have been other times when I have mourned. For dear elderly friends who are now gone Home, a young lady in our church who died after her battle with cancer soon after graduating from high school, and for friends I’ve met online and their losses of dear loved ones.

It is not wrong to mourn for the loss of loved ones. God tells us in His word that He understands the pain and hardship of losing one whom we love so dearly. I am sure that God as the Father in heaven was mourning for the loss of His Son, Jesus, when Christ died on the cross. :( Yes, friend, He knows our pain and He is always there and ready to catch us and uphold us in times when all we can do is cry out to Him. :)

In the Bible, I found one instance of a time when there was great mourning…I am sure they are more if we look (David and Job mourning for their children, David mourning after Saul’s death, the disciples and followers of Jesus after His death on the cross, etc.). The story though that I want to talk about is that of Lazarus (John 11). I would encourage you to follow along in your Bible or read it before continuing (yes, even if you know the story) as I will only be sharing snippets of verses from the story. ;)

Here we have two sisters who call on Jesus to come heal their brother who is very ill. But Jesus *waits*, He does not go immediately (John 11:6) - He waits TWO DAYS before leaving! :O That may make us stop and think, for if our loved one was so very sick, such as like the dear friend Lazarus was to Jesus, we would drop everything else and go! So why didn’t Jesus go right then? Why did He wait? We know now, that He did so so that He could show God’s power over death (John 11:14-15). :) We have that same example of power later when Christ was risen from the dead!

When Jesus arrives on the scene, Lazarus is dead, and has been buried for THREE DAYS!!! :( Martha does not understand…“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). Oh, how many have spoken words such as these in times of the loss of loved ones! We may ask, “Why does God let things like this happen?” That is difficult for us to know and understand, and we may never know why certain circumstances are allowed to happen. I do not have the answer other than to say from what God has shown me in His word and in my life experiences, is that He *does* have a purpose for them. :) A good purpose. We never may know how our example in times of hardship may bless, encourage, inspire, or challenge others around us. God can use that to share Himself with others. And we cannot see how this or that circumstance may be changed into a good thing later on. There are also some times when God reveals it to us how even the very difficult and hard instances He has used perhaps for good.

“Jesus said unto her [Martha], I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die…” ~ John 11: 25-26

“*Fear not*; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” ~ Revelation 1:17a-18

We need not fear death. It is not the end, but only the beginning for those who are the redeemed of God. :)

When Jesus was taken to the place where Lazarus was taken, He “wept” (John 11:35). He mourned for His dear friend and I think also for Mary and Martha as well [even though He knew what He was about to do!]. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, *wept*. Do not think dear friend that He does not care, that He does not understand what you are or have gone through. He knows. He cares.

Then, my favorite part… :D Jesus called out and says, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43)! :D Out walks Lazarus all bound in the strips of cloth used in that time to wrap the body up for burial (or rather, to place in a tomb formed in the rock). Can you imagine!?! :D The joy and surprise of all who were there? Mary and Martha going to see their now risen brother? The disciples standing in wonder and awe at their Master? And the mourner’s standing near now rejoicing in the return of their friend/family member? :D

This is my favorite part, not because the brother was restored to his family once more, but because it reminds me of the power that God has over death. :) Here on earth it is sometimes rather difficult to remember how amazing and wonderful and POWERFUL our God truly is! But we must remember, God does not give Satan *full* power….ONLY *GOD* has that full power and that full power that He gives to His Son, Jesus Christ. :) And through the death and resurrection, if we believe in Him, we have the promise to see our loved ones in Christ again. :)

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

I love these verses! Death can have no victory for those who are in Christ. :) Sure, one day, unless Christ comes first, we will all die. Our mortal bodies here on earth die, but then we shall be with Him through all eternity! :D Oh, how glorious!

So, although we weep and do mourn for loved ones who are no longer with us, we can also rejoice for them! :) We can rejoice for ourselves too for we will see them once again someday. :) So, although there are times for mourning, we need to remember that it’s okay to let ourselves feel, and cry, and remember. We need to remember that God understands our pain and understands if we have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness for loved ones now gone. :) Don’t be afraid to mourn, don’t be afraid to cry. It’s okay. :)


“…But I trust it to You
’cause you’ll bring me through
And it helps me to know that I’m not alone

When I cry, You cry
When I hurt, You hurt
When I’ve lost someone
It takes a piece of You, too
And when I fall on my face
You fill me with grace
‘Cause nothin’ breaks Your heart
Or tears You apart
Like when I cry”

One day, there will be no need to mourn. No need to cry.
For the things of this world will pass and our Lord will reign forever more! :)

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” ~ Revelation 1:8

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

“Behold, I come quickly” ~ Revelation 22:12

May God bless and comfort you!
~Miss Rachel~

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There is a time for everything; I time to be silent and a time to speak

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to be silent and a time to speak.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1&7b


In our culture, to concept that there is a time and a place for everything is as foreign as some of the customs of African tribes.  We are constantly bombarded by ads, talk show hosts, books, and even friends to do things when we feel like them.  Over the next two weeks we will be exploring Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 together and reminding ourselves there is a time for everything.

“A time to be silent…”


I have to say that I have a hard time being silent.  I am a very opinionated person and I feel like I have all the right answers after all I was homeschooled, I wear modest clothes, my theology is right, and I have high moral standards.  Yes, I am always ready to call people out and tell them what is what but what I am learning is that, most of the time, I need to be silent.

Many people just need someone who will listen to them more than they need someone to talk at them.  Often, they need a listening ear, not a lecture.  Keep this in mind the next time someone asks you opinion or advice.

“…a time to speak.”

There are times we should speak, yet we remain silent, mostly out of fear.  We fear what people might think, we fear losing friends, we fear of being laughed at or hated for speaking up for what is right.  There are times we need to speak up and speak boldly for what we believe even if our knees are knocking.

We shouldn’t remain silent if someone asks why we are different.  We shouldn’t be silent is someone is being wronged.  We should speak if we feel that is what God is asking us to do.

How do we know when it the time to speak and when is the time to be silent?  I will leave you with this veres that I use as my guid to know when I should speak.  If I can’t speak in this manner, I know it is time to be silent.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15&6 NIV

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