Outdo Others in Showing Honor

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Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10 ESV)

Honor. If you study the meaning of the verse above “outdo one another in showing honor” in the Greek, you’ll find a convicting, humbling call for every Christian.

Outdo: (Greek: proēgeomai): to go before and show the way, to go before and lead, to go before as a leader.
 
One Another: (Greek: allēlōn): one another, reciprocally, mutually.
 
Honor: (Greek: timē): deference, reverence
 

A loose paraphrase of this sentence would be: Be a leader in showing others honor, reverence, and deference.

Be the leader of deference (meaning: humble submission and respect).

Be the leader of reverence (meaning: deep respect for someone or something).

Most of us expect other Christians to show us honor and respect. If they don’t, we complain and get bitter or resentful. A lot of times, we expect others to give to us what we don’t give them.

Speaking for myself, on an average day, I’m not jumping up and down to be the leader of Christlike submission and respect. I’d rather be the on the receiving end of it. It’s humbling to die to myself and give honor to others.

I live in a disrespectful culture. Just a trip to town and a short bit of people-watching shows how little people show genuine honor to those around them.

Christ calls us as His children to forsake this disrespectful attitude and pursue humble reverence to everyone.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:17 ESV)

When you’re disrespected and reviled, reciprocate with honor.

When you’re gossiped about and slandered, respond with humble respect.

When you’re mistreated or ignored, continue to love with Christlike reverence.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

Today, let’s begin to be leaders. Humble, respectful, submissive leaders in honor. Let’s lay down our lives for our fellow Christians and find ways humbly serve them. Let’s walk in genuine love. True love that puts other Christian above ourselves.

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Friends Like Diamonds

It seems to me as if there’s something in the water around here-everyone seems to be getting into relationships, engaged or married! This past Friday I was blessed to witness and celebrate the marriage of a long time friend, Morgan, to a fantastic guy-her Mr. Right, Josiah. I’ve known Morgan since she was five. Now she has not one but two rings on her finger. One of my best friends, Michaela, is Morgan’s older sister, and the maid of honor at the wedding. Both of our ring fingers remain bare-but did that deter us from celebrating, dancing the night away and smiling until our faces hurt? Not one bit. I must’ve hugged Michaela a gazillion times Friday night and we just laughed. I am so grateful that I can laugh with all my friends, no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in. Each of my friends is utterly unique-like a unique facet on each and every diamond. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of them recently on the hands of my friends!

Romans 12:6 says, Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…

Through each of my friends, I have been the recipient of much grace. Each of our unique gifts only enhance our friendships, our relationships with family and everyone we come in contact with. What’s funny is that my dearest friends and I-we don’t even go to the same church. But we all serve, love and worship the one true God and further His kingdom in a myriad of ways. Each of our callings is different-but one thing remains the same, one reason I am eternally grateful to God for MOHL. As God’s daughters, our Christian walks are not meant to be walked alone.

Also like diamonds with many facets are the gifts we have that may have been borne through a difficult time or season in life. Diamonds are mined. Then pounded and broken. Then, slowly but surely, diamonds are refined until they gleam and sparkle in the light. Proverbs 17:17 says, A friend loves at all times, and  a brother is born for adversity. Those friends who have stuck by you in the heartbreaking times, the best times and everything in between? Our gracious God gave them to you so you could be drawn closer to Himself, so gifts and skills could be developed by His perfect plan.

I wrote in the back of my book to two such diamond-like friends, I am forever thankful for all you are, all you give, and how you love. Every person we ever come in contact with impacts us and is used by the Lord for His divine purposes, yes, even those no longer in our lives. But there are those you can count on for a lifetime, who have been there for you all along, thanks to the abundant grace of God.

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Loving God’s People

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren,
see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
1 Peter 1:22

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As believers in Jesus Christ we ought to be walking in harmony and holiness, 
and yet we often struggle with our relationships with one another - we struggle with showing love.
Unfortunately, we don’t always get along with everyone,
but from God’s divine point of view there is only one body.

There is one body, and one Spirit,
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all,
through all, and in you all.
Ephesians 4:4 - 6

. . . unto unfeigned love of the brethren.

We should not attempt to “manufacture” love,
but the the love we share with each other must be generated by the Holy Spirit.
This is not only a spiritual love, but a sincere and fervent love.
We must strive with all of our energy to bestow love unto the brethren.
We show love to others when we treat them the same way God treats us.
It is not a matter of feeling but of willing, and this is something we must constantly work at
if we are to succeed.

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. . . see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.

pure heart ought to be in each one of us
and it should encourage us to build and maintain unity among God’s precious people.

St. Augustine said it perfectly,
In essentials, unity.
In nonessentials, liberty.

In all things, charity.

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May your week be blessed, dear friends!

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Friends Are Flowers

FriendsFlowersMOHL

 

I have no two friends alike. There are a scant few I’ve known for the same long amount of time. Others I’ve known for a comparatively less amount of time but am inexplicably close to. Each of my relationships-friends & family-has had their share of ups & downs. As all the beautiful flowers & even the bright dandelions in the yard now that spring’s finally sprung-each of our relationships, present, past & future-serve a purpose.

This purpose is God’s alone. One we may never be able to see, even looking back, until we reach Paradise. When I was younger, I wanted so much to have a whole big crowd of friends to do things with every week & be invited to their birthday parties & sleepovers. As I grew older & saw that many of the girls who went to school together every day were a little inclusive, my shyness morphed partly into being overly sensitive & feeling slighted at the littlest thing. All the while in these formative years I made friends in other avenues, wrote letters back & forth, made up stories & plays & make-believe. And I am blessed to say two of these friends I slightly took for granted at a young impressionable age I am still close friends with. And next year I’ll stand beside one as a maid of honor.

My friends & I  have had our misunderstandings & issues we’ve needed to air. For my long distance sisters, it’s increasingly bittersweet to not be able to visit or see each other in person for special events & moments. But because of each & everyone of my friends, I have been challenged. Encouraged. Embraced even across the miles. I’ve been taught. I’ve been accepted & loved for just who I am. My friends are the hands, feet & heart of Jesus to me.

Think back on the times of utter happiness & the heartbreaking times when your friends were there. When they spoke God’s truth to you even if you didn’t want to hear it but God spoke through them. If you have broken friendships in your past that left scars on your heart, thank God for how He drew you closer to Himself & how He brought your current heart-sisters into your life.

Thank our gracious Lord for those friends who continue to love you unconditionally continuously.
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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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Happiness Vs. Joy, Contentment Vs. Abiding

Hey Darling,

I want to explain the differences of words and how we use them, and importance of these differences to you.

 

Happiness Vs. Joy

When I started to think about writing about joy, I wasn’t happy about it. Honestly, I actually had a good cry not very long ago at all about this very idea. Yet, it was my happiness that was gone, but not my joy.

Happiness is the product of situations and what I perceive about what’s going on around my life. If “good” things are happening, then I’m more prone to being happy. If “bad” things are happening, then I’m prone to being unhappy. Happiness is an emotion, a feeling, and a product of our sinful hearts. We are not promised happiness all the days of our lives, nor are we promised that we’ll get our way (which often makes us feel happy).

Joy is the product of having peace in Jesus Christ. Peace is the confident assurance that God will keep His promises. This is why we have the ability to remain calm even in trials. Our Joy comes from knowing that Jesus is King, and nothing can ever dethrone the Son of God. We have joy when we realize God has allowed everything that happens, and that God is still in control. He will never lose control, thus we can be confident and joyful in Him.

When you have Joy, sometimes you will have happiness too! God gives us GOOD gifts! It’s okay to laugh and play and enjoy life. When troubles come, it’s acceptable (and good, healthy, and healing) to cry and mourn.

The world can steal your happiness, but it cannot steal your Joy.

 

 

Contentment Vs. Abiding In Christ

Contentment: “a state of happiness and satisfaction”, or as Wikipedia puts it, “Contentment is the acknowledgement and satisfaction of reaching capacity. The level of capacity reached may be sought after, expected, desired, or simply predetermined as the level in which provides contentment.” ”

So, contentment is the fulfillment of a predetermined desired endpoint. The desire is completed and satisfied. The action has ceased, and now there is no movement or continued motion.

To be content, makes me think of Thanksgiving, when you eat so much, you go take a nap. To be so satisfied you’re chilled out.

But while God has called us to be resting in His peace, that doesn’t mean we get to lie around digesting because we stuffed ourselves of “good things”. We are called to action. We are called overcomers, that we are more than conquerors! If we wear armor then why does our culture suggest that we become content with a status quo of our Christianity? Is this what we were called to? Is it the end of the journey here? To merely be content and sedated that we no longer yearn and fight on in faith?

 

John 15:4-5

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

 

Here we see that Jesus commands us to abide in Himself. What does that even mean? No one talks like that anymore. It comes from an old English word that means to both wait and go onward! Abide means to act in accordance with that which you are abiding in. You see, it’s both a condition and an action. When you abide in Jesus Christ, you have peace, rest, and you are able to have that gentle state in your soul, yet at the exact same time you are acting and going onward. It’s a movement. To continue the growth of our faith, you move forward. Just because you can’t see the place your foot will land, doesn’t mean that God hasn’t prepared that step for you. Keep going.


Stay in Christ, move onward in faith.

 

To tie both Joy and Abiding together, look at another verse a bit further down the page.

 

John 15:9-11

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy maybe in you, and that your joy may be full.”

 

 

 

Love,

Jessie Bear

 

P.S.

Bonus Notes:

It never ceases to amaze me how much Jesus loves me. Here is what I mean.

 

John 15:9
“As the Father has loved me, so I loved you. Abide in my love.”

 

That’s wonderful! Jesus just stated that just as much as God loved Him, that’s how much He loves us!

To try explaining this, when we say that God is holy, that means that 100% of God is 100% holy, such that every part of God is constantly exuding the most holiest holiness possible. Same when we talk about God being pure, that there is no blemish in Him. We mean that God’s purity is so undefiled that there is no way for Him to be more pure than He is.

Here is the crazy part.

When Scripture talks about God being love, and loving us, it’s the same deal!!!!

When God loves me, there is no way He could love me more than He does, because He is loving me with His entire infinite being!

Now, for the kicker.

 

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

God loves Jesus with all He is.
Jesus loves His Bride with all He is.
We are commanded to love with all we are.

God does not command us to that which we are unable, for, He makes us able.

 

(Another side note, verse 35 says that the world shall know that we are Jesus’ disciples for our love for one another. Not how smart we are, nor how many people we are a witness too, Scripture says they will know us by how we love each other. Remember that, you represent Him, are you being a good representative? Have you loved your brother and sister lately?)

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"MORE Love"

This week we are sharing an update on how we have lived it in loving others. Maybe I’m too critical (I think not) but I don’t feel I am worthy of saying how “well” I’ve done in loving others in the last two months.

 I’ve been selfish. I’ve been mean. I’ve argued and bickered, I’ve snapped and I’ve been whiny. Loving others? Maybe, but was it for recognition or praise, or was it truly in concern for someone other than myself? The farther along in this challenge, the less I feel I’m “living it” - more and more I am humbled by my lack. Instead of being able to say, “look what I did”, I have to say, “Look what Christ is doing in my own heart.” And I’m thinking that just might be what He’s wanted me to know all along…

 All I can offer today is a prayer; to lay my life down at Jesus feet again and ask Him to fill me with His love that I feel so lacking in. 

~*~
Father, fill me with Your love. 
Teach me Your ways. 
I see the pain and hurt this world brings, 
use me Lord to bring comfort…
I want to be a shoulder to cry on, 
to be a friend that listens,
a heart that truly understands. 
I see my failings everyday, 
and I know I don’t measure up 
without You in my life.
When I am selfish and want my own way, 
make me sacrificial and thoughtful of others.
When I am tired of giving of myself, 
give me Your strength to give of myself again.
When I am fearful of loving, make me bold with Your love.
 Give me the courage to love the unlovely…
- those who are hateful and hard, broken and hurt, 
and need You so much.
I want to be filled with Your compassion.
Help me to forgive, Lord, as You have forgiven.
Work in me and through me to show a lost world or
a broken spirit a glimpse of Your great and powerful love.
~*~
“More love. 
More Power. 
More of You in my life.”
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Taking Advantage Of The Moment

By Rose H.

Lately I’ve been feeling so rushed and out of breath. Life has been busy. Sometimes I get to the end of a day and wonder, Did I tell my family I loved them? Did that lady I helped out at the hospital feel God’s love? In the midst of all my frantic running around, I get plenty of opportunities to share the love of God with those around me.

For me it comes in so many forms. Most often I love just by taking advantage to of the opportunities as they arise.

I try to ask family members about how their day went, even if I’m tired. Putting them before myself is one way I say I love you. Doing things without being asked. It’s my joy and pleasure to take care of them.

Defiantly volunteering gives me many opportunities to love. Whether it just helping a family member find a loved one, or comforting someone who is sick, or rejoicing with a mom over getting to take a baby home.

Or today when I got to help a blind law student find her way around the capital. It was a small thing, but I hope that she felt God’s love today.

Yes there are still times when I struggle. Yes there are times when I grit my teeth and pray hard for God to help me love. The good thing is, I know I’m not the one that has to magically find love in my heart to love. God has already loved me more than I will ever know. All I have to do is share some of the love that He has given me. And I enjoy sharing it.

Keep Living it! Keep Living out His love!

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Loving Roberta

She was one of those people that makes you want to turn around and leave the store and come back later. Her bitterness so con summed her that I didn’t think it was possible for her to open her mouth without something negative coming out. An atheist as well as a feminist, she questioned every decision I had ever made in my life.

As you can see this woman, who I will call Roberta, is not one of my favorite people. I had to endure two weeks in her company when I worked elections, and it was not fun. Never I have I not enjoyed working with anyone so much. The worst part is that she lives in our town and I see her on a regular bases. She doesn’t seem too loath talking to me as I do her and so we often talk when we see each other.

When my mom invited her to our house for a party we were having, I was angry. How could my mom invite that surly woman to a party? She was going to ruin everything and scare all our guests away. I spent most of the day angry that my mom had invited Roberta. It wasn’t until the evening that I listened to the still, small voice in my heart.

God reminded me that he loved even the most unlovable of people. He also made me think that perhaps reason Roberta said she was an atheist was because no one had bothered to show her the unconditional love of God. Swallowing my anger and my holier-then-thou attitude, I decided I was going to try to make Roberta feel loved.

The day of the party came and secretly I hoped Roberta wouldn’t come. I know, an evil thought but one I had. God had better plans (thank goodness) and Roberta showed up. I was in the middle of a conversation when she came so it took me a while to make my way over to her. When I finally started talking to her, my mouth nearly dropped open. She actually sounded happy for the first time since I had known her. She said that most people didn’t want her at parties, she was so glad we had invited her.

God used Roberta to remind me that we are called to love all those we meet. And maybe, just maybe he will use me to change the bitter, atheist Roberta into one of his beloved children.

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Love Turned Into…Action?

Written by Miss Rachel


I’m so excited by this topic we’ve been on the last two weeks! I know I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed each of my fellow teammates posts. And if you haven’t stopped by the MOHL Daily blog yet to read some of the posts the girls in the challenge have written, then you are missing out on seeing some of the most beautiful messages of God’s working in the hearts of young women just like yourself!
…Now we shall move on to our regularly scheduled blog post. ;)
 ***

Here on MOHL we’ve talked about love numerous times. Why? Perhaps it’s because it’s something we desire so much and it’s also something the Bible speaks on quite a bit as well. As young women, love is a well-talked-about topic amongst us isn’t it?

God has swept away my false idea’s of worldly love and showed me what real love looks like. Love has to be selfless. Love has to be abundant and sacrificial.

Believe it or not, recently it’s been my family, and most especially my youngest brother (16) who has greatly taught me how to take action in loving others. I have carpal tunnel, which makes it hard to open jars, hurts to lift heavy pots, and basically makes it impossible to complete a number of other little daily tasks on the days when my hands are weak. Yet he’s always ready and willing to come help me at any time with a big smile on his face, a kiss on the cheek for me, and a big hug letting me know it’s all going to be okay.

He comes to carry my heavy sewing machine upstairs from the basement every week for my sewing lessons I give and takes it back down again. He’ll take the garbage out when I ask him. Never a complaint or a sigh, never grumbling. Sometimes I look at him and wonder how he got to be so wise and so kind and grown up. :)

{via Pinterest}
I wanted to put love to the test. 

When I found this image on Pinterest, I saved it knowing I’d want to put it to good use when we reached this topic. For the month of January I’ve been using it as a guideline for my actions and behaviour. I challenged myself to a month of loving others.

Now when you tell God you’re going to do something like this, inevitably you’re certain to be given the opportunity in ways you really didn’t want to look into. Sure enough, that’s what happened. Over the course of the first 2 weeks I realized that I had a problem: I am selfish, prideful, and neglectful, and even sometimes fearful when it comes to my relationships. The more I tried to love the more I allowed circumstances to control my actions, instead of love, and the more I’d blame others or my circumstances, giving myself an excuse that I couldn’t be loving right now.

I was downright discouraged. It was only after I started to quiet my heart that I finally began listening to the Lord’s prompting in my heart that maybe it wasn’t so much what was going on around me but my own sin that was keeping me from loving. Suddenly the blinder’s had been taken off and I saw the way I love in clear focus. And I didn’t like it one bit.

I’ve said it once before:  
Love is hard because it’s not just an emotion; it’s also action.

I wish I could say I had a long list of “good deeds” of how I loved more this month, but I don’t. And maybe that’s more the point than anything else I could say here - because love, if it’s real and true and good, must be from our heavenly Father. It cannot be forced or faked; that is not the way He loves. His love is proven by the actions He chose to take (Romans 5:8). His love was sacrificial, humbling, bold…and that’s how love really ought to be. That’s how I want my love to be.

“Only as I keep turning to God can I keep loving the people He places in my path.” - Elizabeth George

I’m learning that unless I am reading my Bible, praying, and having a close relationship with my Father, that my love will be selfish or maybe not even there at all. If my heart isn’t right and not in that sweet communion with God, how can I have Christ-like love? I can’t take action to love without my heart being right. And I can’t have my heart right if I’m not obeying the simple things that keep me close to Him. It’s only as I humble myself and accept His love for me that He enables me to love others in my life.

So I continue on, learning to love more like Christ every day, in every situation. And by His grace…perhaps I’ll be loving a little more like Him by the end of the year, and brave enough to put love to the test in my actions. “He will help us recognize opportunities to move on beyond speaking words of love to doing the actual work of love.” {Elizabeth George}

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech 
but with actions and in truth.” 
- 1 John 3:18 -

Learning to love more everyday,

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