Love In Action

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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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A thought or two on Godly friendships

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For many, many years, I prayed that the Lord would send me Godly friends.

Over the past couple of years, the Lord has been so very gracious and answered my prayer in abundance. He has sent specific people into my life at the most perfect moments.

When it seemed as if my family and I were the only ones walking along a particular path, He sent a special group of friends to me that I “met” online. I’m still writing back and forth with several of those ladies, and each one of them hold a special place in my heart. There were many times when I would be having a particularly rough day, and I would have a letter or email from one of them in my mailbox or inbox. It literally brightened my whole day! These ladies have shown the love of Christ to me in incredible ways, and while many of them I haven’t yet had the privilege to meet in person, I pray the Lord will allow me to meet each one of them if it is His will.

Along with these special online friends, over the past year especially, He began to bring ladies into my life that I see in person quite often now. It is so wonderful to get together with them and simply fellowship, or if the situation arises, to stop and pray for one another. There have been a couple of girls in particular who have literally stopped what they are doing right then to pray for me, and made it a point to encourage me if I had been struggling with something. They have prayed faithfully and diligently for us as my family has walked through some rather difficult situations over the past year, many of them making themselves available to help with things as we have had needs arise.

It’s really made me think a lot about the blessing that the Lord has given us through Godly friendships, so I was excited to see that our topic for the month here at Meditations of His Love is “Godly Relationships”. I’m going to focus specifically on Godly friendships today.

In the scriptures, there is a lot of value placed upon having Godly relationships with others.

We are encouraged to seek out relationships with those who are of like-mindedness to us. We, as Christians, should be constantly seeking to encourage other believers to strive ever more in the pursuit of Christ, and in becoming more like Him each and every day. We need to love each other. REALLY love each other. Not the lovey-dovey sort of love portrayed in sappy Hallmark movies, but with a sincere, sacrificial  love. A mirror of the love the Lord showed us when He took upon Himself the burden of *our* sins, that we might live a life unshackled by the chains and bondage of sin, so that we will go one day to live with Him in heaven for eternity. We should seek to show the beautiful, sacrificial love of Christ however we can to encourage and edify other believers, encouraging them to seek the higher things of the Lord.

“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

Sometimes, it is difficult to put aside our wants, needs or desires to be a servant to others. To love them, even when they are at their most unlovable. However, it’s not up to us to choose whom we will show love and grace to and whom we won’t.

“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.Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud,but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” - Romans 12:9-16

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.- Romans 14:10

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” - Romans 14:13

We are to put aside our selfishness and pride, and endeavor to show our brothers and sisters the love and mercy the Lord has shown to us.

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” - Romans 15:7

“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” -1st Corinthians 10:24

I’m so thankful for the grace the Lord showed us when He chose us to be His very own. I feel overwhelmed with joy and awe that He would choose us, despite our wickedness and sinful natures. I’m awestruck that He continues to pour out His love and mercy. To even further demonstrate how much He loves us, He set apart a people for Himself, and equipped them to minister and love one another so that we might all be mutually encouraged in the faith. What an extraordinary blessing! <3

May we all seek to show the love of Christ to one another in our relationships with others, faithfully seeking to show His mercy and grace in our day-to-day walk alongside each other. Remember to pray for one another, and look for ways you can be an encouragement in someone’s life. You may never know how big of a blessing you are to them while they are struggling.

~Miss Court

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Holy In All You Do

By Rose H.

1 Peter 1:14-15 (NIV)  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;


We are now the children of God. Called, loved, set-apart, and redeemed.

In this verse Paul encourages us to not conform to our evil desires, but to be holy.

Not conforming or giving into evil desires can be hard sometimes. Especially when it sounds so attractive. Evil desires never come up and present themselves as evil. It’s always under some guise of being good or fun. “Well, this movie won’t be so bad. I mean the graphics are so amazing.” “Doing this one little thing won’t hurt all that much.” “After all I’m sure it will be good for me in the end.” And so we deceive ourselves. We think that it’s not so bad. It’s not so evil. It won’t hurt anyone.

But anytime we choose to give into an evil desire it always ends up with bad results. James 1:15 (NIV) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.


Being holy begins with saying no to these evil desires, no matter how harmless they seem.

One thing that I find helps stop evil desire is not to put myself in situations where I am tempted to do evil. Sometimes this has meant giving up something I love. But it has always been worth it.

Sadly though because we live in a sin-filled world, evil desires will rise within. Therefore we prepare to combat them.

First step back and take this desire and thought captive to God. Tackle this desire together. Be honest and open. Tell God how you are struggling and ask Him for a way of escape. Many times I find that the desires of evil lessening as I talk to my Heavenly Father. As I turn my eyes to Him, my heart is drawn away from the world and closer to God.

The next step is to walk away. Say no, get out of the closing trap, pray for a change in attitude. This is a simple action and takes obedience. But again, it’s well worth it.

Now it’s easy to think that by avoiding evil that we are holy. Yet God calls us to do more than just not do evil things. He calls us to be holy in all that we do. All that covers everything. From getting dressed in the morning, to responding to e-mails, to cleaning, to cooking, to working, to reading, to getting back into bed at night.

One thing to remember He has already given us His holiness. We are covered by His blood, cleansed from all sin. What Paul is inviting us to do us to live out this holiness in all that we do. It’s something we get to live in through God’s power. As we live in Him He will help us to live a holy life.

So as you respond to e-mails, clean your room, or do the dishes, invite Him to join you. Live in the holiness that He has provided for you. Do everything with an attitude that says, “I’m set-apart to God. I bring Him into everything I do.” Live and breathe in Him and in His holiness.

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Be Salty

written by Rachelle

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
Matthew 5:13 (NIV)
I took Chemistry last fall. I’m not a science major, I just needed the lab credit, and I never imagined how brutal it would be (or how much math was involved!).
When we came to the lesson on pH, though, some basic principles came into play that I already knew.
Below 7 on the pH scale meant the substance was acidic and tasted terrible.
Above 7 on the pH scale meant the substance was basic and tasted terrible.
Then there was that scary little 7 smack dab in the middle. Seven meant the substance was neutral and tasted like nothing at all (water is neutral).
When Jesus talked about His followers being the salt and light of the world, I don’t think the pH scale had been invented yet, but He knew about it. God invented chemistry, after all (a fact I had to remind myself of quite often last semester).
I think Jesus knew, too, how hilarious I would find the idea of becoming, as a Christian, the salt of the earth. I mean, really, can you think of anything that sounds more unflattering than being compared to white powdery sodium chloride that tastes terrible?
Yes, (as recipe cards are swift to remind me) salt is essential to a successful loaf of bread and spicing up the flavor of just about anything. Even sweet desserts call for a teaspoon or two of salt!
Why?
Because salt is a preservative. Salt enhances flavor. Salt kicks it up a notch. Salt can even sweeten. Our bodies need it.
Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth. Acidic. Below 7.
It’s when we let the storms of life drive us up into the neutral range and steal our saltiness that things become dangerous. If we climb the scale and hit the numbers above 7 we even become bitter, not only losing our saltiness, but losing our effectiveness.
What are you today? Are you salty, spicy, a sweetener, acidic?
Or neutral, like water, wet but tasteless?
Or even basic and bitter?
Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth, different, set apart, holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16). Every day, He gives us opportunities to add flavor to someone’s life with a smile or a helping hand. Often, He asks of us to stand up in the face of fear or failure.
Remember, God can use everything for good (Romans 8:28). Even Chemistry class (I’m writing this devotional, aren’t I?). So don’t let life make you bitter.
Be salty.
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Are You Running on Empty?

{A Post in our Holiness Series}

source: Google

I was sitting in the parking lot when it happened.

I turned the key in the ignition and the car started nicely as usual. I reached for my seatbelt but froze when I heard a little noise. It was a benign, harmless sound, but it sent ice through my veins - because I knew what it meant.

“DING.”

Sure enough. My gaze found the gas gauge and then I realized…

…I was running on empty.

Thankfully, I was only a few feet away from a gas station and I had my debit card with me. Fuel was easily accessible. I even had my big, strong brother in the car to help me pump it. But I had to fill the car up, or the car might have stopped there on the side of the road, on the way home, unable to roll another foot.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was relating the incident to my sweet fellow authors here at MOHL during our weekly chat, amid a lot of online giggles and ROFLOL’ing, when the thought struck me that… it was a striking parallel to my life as a Christian sometimes.

So much of the time, I run along my path in life nearly on empty. Feeling fatigued but too ‘busy’ to stop and fill my cup to overflowing with the water of the Word. Exhausted, but passing by the opportunity to spend a few quiet minutes “tanking up” on quality time with the Lord and Creator who tenderly loves me.

I don’t have to go it alone. Help is easily accessible. I can stop at any time to talk to the Lord…. I don’t even have to wait until I get to the next ‘station’ on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. I can be washed clean and filled up at any moment.

There are even brothers, in Christ, (and sweet sisters too) ready and willing to help us if we’re struggling in the filth and emptiness of the world in which we live.

1 Peter 1:14-15:
But as he which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy.

And I almost forgot to mention the best part! Unlike having to pay for your fill-up with paper or plastic, the glorious, holy ‘filling’ of the Lord is totally and completely free.

Yes. I just said free. No strings attached, and no monthly payments.

Revelation 21:6:
And he said unto me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of life, freely.

So what are we waiting for?

If you’re running on empty, stop and fill yourself to overflowing with the love, grace, mercy, peace, and holiness of God.

Thank you, Father, for always being there for us when we need you, at any moment of any day, as close as our very next breath. Please help us remember to stop and rest and be still, knowing that you are God. Fill us with your spirit and your love today as we walk along this road, running the race that is set before us.

I hope this post has encouraged you today to stop and be refreshed. :)

Love & Blessings,
~Julia

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What *Is* Holiness?

Written by Miss Rachel

…we hear it all the time in church and in the Bible. “Holiness”. But what does it mean? What does God’s Word have to say about it? How are we, His daughter’s, supposed to be Holy? I’d like to answer these questions today, because I know that I’ve had a very vague idea of what it means and if God calls us to be Holy like He is (1 Peter 1:15) then we’d better become more acquainted with who He is and what this calling to Holiness truly means! :D

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;
worship the LORD in the
beauty of holiness.”
~ Psalm 29:2

* First, what does Holiness mean, anyway?

- Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes Holy as: perfect, pure, set apart, free from sin, hallowed and sacred, guiltless, perfectly just and good. Hmm, that sounds a lot like God doesn’t it? ;)

* Why are we called to be Holy?

- “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). The Old Testament is FULL of verses on Holiness. Look up the word “Holy” on an internet bible search and you get 546 matches (on mine at least). Wow! God calls us to live lives of holiness because He wants us to be more like Himself. And to be more like God, we must strive to obey the Lord in all things, just as His Son Jesus Christ did when He walked on this earth. :)

* If Holiness is “sinless, perfect, guiltless”…then how can we ever be holy?

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” - Romans 3:23-24 (NIV).

Holiness comes from walking with God in obedience to Him, being faithful to the work that He has given you. :) As we obey Him more, and the more we follow in the ways that He leads us, the more we will grow spiritually and in our character. While on this earth and in our sinful bodies (though those of us who have accepted Christ as our Saviour have been redeemed and “free” from the bondage of the penalty of our sin) we will never be holy. No, not until Christ’s return for His people. Not until we reach heaven. But we can be encouraged that God is working in us to mold and shape us into the godly young women He wants us to be — every day! :D

“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” ~ 1 Peter 1:15 ESV

That’s a pretty tall order, isn’t it?


We’re not striving for “perfection” here, but to reach for God’s standards as far as we can in our own sinful humanness with His Almighty guidance each step of the way. :) There is no way we can earn our salvation, that’s not what this is about. And we cannot do any of this in our own strength - we *need* to seek God’s help in all we do for if it’s done in our own strength then not only will we burn out with our energy and spiritual strength, but God won’t get the glory…we will. So seek Him daily, moment by moment. And when we stumble and lose our way, He’s always there to help us back up again and get back onto the right path in obedience.

Jesus Christ payed *everything* for us. He was the perfect One and yet He sacrificed it all because He loves us soo very much. Can we do less than to strive to please Him and our Father in heaven? :)

“What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life its name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?”

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 7:1

May God bless you as you strive to serve Him every day! :)
~Miss Rachel~

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Holiness; A quick Journey through the Bible

The seventh day was made holy by God Genesis 2:3


There is such a thing as holy ground Exodus 3:5

Israel was called to be a holy people and a nation of priests Exodus 19:6


A mountain trembled, was covered with smoke, and a fence was put up around it because it was holy Exodus 19:23


The temple was a holy meeting place Exodus 26:33


We serve a holy God Joshua 24:19


There is no one holy like the Lord1 Samuel 2:2


Elisha was a holy man of God 2 Kings 4:9


Holy is our God Isaiah 6:3


Herod new that John was a holy man Mark 6:20…


We disowned Jesus, the Holy and Righteous one Acts 3:14…


“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ ” 1 Peter 1:14-16 NIV


“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV emphasis mine

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