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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5 Ways to Build Edifying Relationships

Relationships with the Body of Christ can be a frustrating thing…though it’s a necessary part of our walk with Christ. As Christians, we’re called to be in edifying relationships with other believers. However, there’s a lot of division, favoritism, backbiting, hate, and gossip that goes on in the Church that causes harm to the Body of Christ. I’ve not always dealt in a godly way in some of my friendships with members of the Body of Christ.

The Word of God has some things to say about Christ-honoring relationships among His Bride. It was His desire that we use our friendships to build each other up in the Lord and point each other to Him. These are just a few ways He’s called us to go deeper in our relationships.

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1. Invest in other Christians without expecting anything in return. Do we develop friendships because we get something from them? Or do we genuinely love the Body of Christ & unselfishly desire to serve them? It’s comfortable to find relationships that feed our insecurity and our need for acceptance. Being in a friendship because we’re getting something out of it is a selfish and empty way to live our lives. However, these relationships often end in frustration and emptiness. Instead, learning to give and serve others without expectations will bring true and lasting joy to our hearts. Genuine love for others may not always be reciprocated, as I’ve found out before, but I’m learning that it is better to give than receive.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, (1 Peter 1:22 ESV)

2. Give relationships space. It’s easy to have our “foots in our neighbor’s house” in today’s instant communication. Most of our relationships are a mere text, phone call, tweet, email, Facebook message away. Have you ever just wanted some distance in a demanding relationship? I know I have…when I’m constantly getting texts/emails/etc. from someone. It’s made me realize that part of edifying relationships is giving people rest from outside voices, including our own. Being respectful of our friends’ time and priorities is part of genuine love. It’s okay if we don’t hear back from them in the same hour, afternoon, day, or week.

“Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.” (Proverbs 25:17 ESV)

3. Speak Truth in love into your friends’ life. I’m realizing I’m a bit too eager to please in my relationships. It’s gotten me into a couple messy situations I could have avoided if I was willing to stand up for the Truth. In all of our relationships, whether it be with family or close friends, we are called to build up one another in Christ. Part of loving others is encouraging them and exhorting them to pursue Christ. It’s okay for Christians to gently and humbly discuss different opinions and thoughts on the Word of God. It grows us. We shouldn’t be afraid of reproof or debate…if someone is brave enough to humbly point out something to us they feel is contrary to the Bible, then we should be grateful they love us that much! Hopefully, we will be able to do the same for others. And…it’s actually good for us to have people who we’re close to that disagree with us on issues…”likemindedness” can actually be a warning sign for a mediocre Body.

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Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV)
 
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6 ESV)
 
4. Let go of relationships that harm our relationship with Christ. There is a point when we have to let go of a friendship that destroys other relationships in our lives. If a person who claims the name of Christ is dragging us down spiritually, not encouraging us in our walk with Christ, not listening to Biblical counsel and encouragement, and is being a distraction to pursuing a deeper relationship with God, it may be time to let that go. If a person makes us feel guilty for not spending more time with them, it’s time to let it go. When relationships with other believers cause more harm than good, it’s not a sin to walk away and we should seek to do it peacefully and humbly.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17 ESV)
5. Pursue a deeper walk with Christ. The biggest cause of conflict in relationships is a lack of Christlikeness. The cure for this is for us to grow in our own relationship with Christ. We need to be seeking Him first, before we seek out relationship with others. The quality of our relationships will often reflect how much we desire a closer walk with God. If we want quality, deep friendships, we need to be developing a deeper abiding in Christ.
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What are some ways you have found to build Christlike relationships with other Christians? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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Precious Promises

His divine power has granted to us…His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

Life can be…disappointing. During those times of trial, looking to Jesus and His promises to us is one of the most comforting things we can do. I thought I’d just name a few of the precious promises of our Lord with the references. I pray it’s an encouragement to y’all!

Christ is with us always. (Matthew 28:20)
 
He will reveal to us His Truth. (John 8:31-32)
 
He hears our prayers of faith. (John 14:12-14) (John 15:7)
 
His truth will bring us joy. (John 15:11)
 
He fulfills our longings. (Matthew 5:6, John 6:35)
 
The Truth will set us free. (John 8:32)
 
Our death to self & service to Him will be honored. (John 12:25-26)
 
You will abide in His love. (John 15:10)
 
He comforts those who mourn. (Matthew 5:4)
 
The Kingdom of God is revealed to those who seek Him. (Matthew 6:33)
 
He will give the weary rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)
 
He shows us mercy. (Matthew 5:8)
 
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There are many more promises of God found in the Bible. Here is a great list of some of the promises of Jesus. It would be good to print off a list of some of the promises of our Savior and review them in times of sorrow. Many times, we’re simply having a old-fashioned “pity-party” and simply need to cling to the Truth of Jesus Christ instead of looking at our problems!

What are some promises of Jesus that have gotten you through some difficult times? What are some of your favorite verses that bring hope and healing to your heart?

Dear sisters, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

 

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Embrace Growth (even when it hurts)

Imagine if I woke up one morning and decided to learn to repair cars. I went to the library and borrowed a bunch of books on car repair. I studied those books until I knew them by heart. I visited mechanic shops and asked questions while observing different aspects of car repair. Finally, one day, after I had read as much as I could read and watched as much as I could watch, I decided that I was an expert at car repair.

What’s missing from that example? Well…despite all my knowledge of what to do and how to do it, I had no experience in actual car repair. Everything I knew was head knowledge. Part of learning  and growing is experience. Experience requires effort, effort included trial and error, and in the end, knowledge becomes a lifestyle of belief.

It’s somewhat the same in our walk with Christ. We can read about what Christ said, study the Word of God, listen to as much teaching as possible, and observe other Christians…but until we get our hands dirty and experience the “school of hard knocks” known as Christianity, we won’t build on the knowledge we have in our heads.

Growing up in a Christian home, I learned a lot about God and the Bible. I learned to study His Word daily. It became a habit to read, study, memorize, and meditate on the things of the Lord.

However, when I became an adult, I found that many of the truths I studied in my childhood became real to me when I experienced what I would call “the school of hard knocks”. Life gets hard when adulthood with all its responsibilities hits. Relationships with other Christians and non-Christians that we develop will provide opportunities for us to grow in character and experience.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

As an adult, I’m bombarded with expectations, life experiences, choices, relationships, and trials. It’s up to me to apply the truth of God’s Word to my life so I can learn and grow with each experience and relationship, good or bad, difficult or delightful. Each experience that God brings my way He uses for my good (Romans 8:28), and I can either balk at His leadership and allow mediocrity and apathy to grow in my heart, or I can rest in His will and allow His character and Likeness to radiate from my life.

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV)
 
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I’m praying the Lord will instill a willing and ready heart for the experiences He has coming for me. I want to be willing to “trust the manual,” “grab the tools,” and “start working on the cars” in life. The Word of God is true and I believe it, so may I show that belief by acting on it, and by acting on it, may the experience grow me closer to my Jesus.

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Giveaway!

It’s time for a giveaway!

This week, I, Melinda, am giving away a few of my favorite things as a special thank you to our readers! Thanks for reading the Meditations of His Love blog and for your sweet comments you leave us! I’m giving away a dainty pink mug covered with lovely roses, some tea to fill your cup with, a lovely scented candle, and the devotional “Joy” by Lydia Brownback.

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To enter this giveaway, please use the following rafflecopter. The giveaway ends on Saturday!I hope you have a blessed week!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Branches Entwined

“I am the vine; you are the branches.” - John 15:4

I’ve read those words many times in my life as a follower of Jesus. Jesus’ last exhortation before His death, found in John 13-17, is a hope-filled passage that is a precious treasure to me. However, reading over those words tonight, I’m amazed at the beautiful name our Jesus called us believers.

We’re His branches. If we fear that we’re alone and have to face the Christian life on our own, those fears should be gently cast aside when we read that we’re branches of the Vine of Christ. We’re entwined in Him.

The roots of Christ are deep, no worry of being blown over. The stock of the Vine is steady, firm, and filled with Life abundant. The Vine has a Vinedresser whose love abounds for His Vine and the branches. The branches, that’s you and me, are attached and have direct access to the Life found in Christ.

There will be droughts that come and the plant will suffer. The branches will feel the pang of the drought as they gasp for water. Those times of trial are not meant to quench out our faith, but to make us rely more upon our source of Life and Living Water.

Storms will come and threaten to rend us asunder. Sometimes part of the twigs of our branch may be ripped. Other times the Vinedresser may prune other branches we love because He has need for them elsewhere. Those times are not meant to destroy us and leave us doubting, but through our sorrow and our pain, we’re to find our strength in the sureness of the Vine’s foundation.

Whatever our lot, as branches on the Vine, we’re entwined in Christ. We’re apart of Him, He’s a part of us. We’re also a part of each other. We’re His Body. We need our Savior, and we need each other.

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So if you sometimes struggle in your walk with Christ, as I do, keep in mind that you and I have immediate access to Life abundant, the Vine, our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. We’re His Branches, entwined by Him into His Body. He promised to never leave us, nor forsake us.

We’re His.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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.” John 15:1-5

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Press on!

This year…

You’ll make mistakes and have regrets; don’t be defeated, press on! Christ is your victory!

You’ll be discouraged and feel oh-so-weak; don’t be insecure, press on! Christ is your hope and strength!

You’ll fail and sin and need to repent; don’t stay and wallow, repent and press on! Christ is your Risen Savior!

You’ll have trials and times filled with pain; find comfort in Jesus and press on! Christ is your comfort and peace!

You’ll be ignored, betrayed, or resented by someone you love; don’t grow bitter, press on! Christ will never forsake you!

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It’s going to be a good year, and it’s going to be a hard year for all of us. Trials and tears are inevitable, but then, so is the love, hope, peace, and grace of Christ. This year, instead of letting the trials defeat us and make us bitter, let’s allow them to build our faith. Let’s let the love of God bloom in our hurting hearts.

I don’t want to fear the trials and battles ahead in 2014, because I know that if I’m experiencing them, I’m growing through the grace of Christ. It is good for me to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Life isn’t easy, and it’s the difficulty that makes me more like Christ as I allow His work to be done in my life.

Out in the World
-Edgar A. Guest

I would not shirk the task nor scorn the fight,
Nor ask a life untouched by doubt or care;
Lord, give me strength to battle for the right,
And courage for the burdens I must bear,
I seek not always shelter from the rain-
A timid child at life’s small window pane.

The wind blew yesterday. A cruel storm
Snarled at the toilers of the busy world,
And at my little window, sung and warm,
I watched the angry snowdrifts as they swirled.
Thought I: “The weaklings at their firesides stay,
Only the brave men venture out today!”

Grant me the open world where tempests blow
A man’s place in the ranks of men I’d fill.
Grant me to brave my share of doubt and woe,
To dull complaining let my voice be still;
Let me be out there, fighting might and main,
Not an on-looker at some window pane.

Don’t live a comfortable life, sitting at your window pane, this year! Press on! Fight brave and might battles of the Lord! His upward call resounds, answer the call and press on.

“..One thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal
for the prize
of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13-14)

 

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The Former Things Have Passed

It’formerthingss the book I’ve wanted for quite some time. I’ve had in on my wishlist and my to-read list I’m finally, I’m holding it in my hands, admiring the cover, tracing my finger across the title, flipping through the pages, and sniffing the smell of new book with delight. Flipping it open, I began to read. Savoring every word, I eagerly read the first chapter. With a smile, I finish the chapter and turn my attention to the second. I continue reading, but try to forget the adventures in the previous chapter and not apply them to the circumstances in the chapter I am currently reading. And so I proceed until I finish the novel.
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We all know that’s not how you read novels. Each chapter is intertwined. Even though you finish a chapter and leave it behind, you apply the knowledge gained to each proceeding chapter. It’s how we read and discover.

With the beginning of a new year, like a new chapter, we carry over many things from the former year. Things such as memories, life-lessons, dreams, and promises follow us into each new year. We find them lurking in our thoughts as we make plans and goals for the new year.

I’d like to be able to just forget some of the former things that happened in 2013. It would be wonderful if I could just rid myself of some of the painful memories. However, I can’t do that and I shouldn’t feel like I have to forget the past. I can’t and I shouldn’t. Until my memory fails me with age, I’ll remember.

With the new year here, and many exciting new things happening in my life, I am filled with gratefulness and hope for the future of 2014. I’m looking forward to what the Lord has for me this year! However, I’m also seeking to learn the lessons of last year that the Lord sought to instill in my heart. The former things, no matter how painful are there so I can grow up in Christ and mature in Him.

So as I “read this new chapter” of 2014, may I approach it with eager expectation of what the Lord will do in my life and humble gratitude for what He did in the former year of my life. The former things have passed, and I’m grateful for His steadfast love which carried me through the year. New things are going to happen this year, and I’m joyfully surrendering to the work the Lord has for this year.

It’s a good year to live for the glory of my King and I’m blessed to have a new year to shout His praises.

 

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New Year, New MOHL!

Happy New Year, readers! We here at Meditations of His Love hope this new year is full of many joyous blessings of the Lord in your lives!

With the new year here, there are new changes here at MOHL! First of all, this blog has a brand new domain and a brand new look! We also have some changes in our writers.

It’s with great sadness to announce that all of the founding members of MOHL are retiring as well as several of the new writers. Rachel, Jessica, Sarah, Rose, Rachelle, Julia, and Rachel H. will be missed. I’m so grateful for each of them and their faithfulness to share the message of hope from God’s Word for the past (almost 6!) years that MOHL has been in existence. These girls remain some of my dearest friends and I’m thankful that I’ve been a part of the ministry here at MOHL with them. Love you, girls!

With the departure of 6 of our team members, I, Melinda, as the new MOHL administrator, was praying for new writers with a heart for the Lord and a passion for writing and encouraging others with His truth. The new writers He has brought to MOHL are an answer to prayer. I’m very excited to introduce each one to you. (You can read more about each one on our “Meet the Team” page)

Meghan

Meghan, who wrote the Sunday Specials on MOHL, will still be writing for us, and I’m so happy! Thanks, Meghan, for sticking with us! :-) She’ll be continuing on with the Sunday Specials on the first and third Sunday of each month, introducing each new theme we’ll be writing about on the blog.

 

Micaela, writes at Everyday Encouragements. She’s a pastor’s daughter, homeschool graduate, writer, author-to-be (yay!), and a speaker for a ministry (Hearts for Purity) she founded in 2010 for young ladies. I’m excited to have her on our team as a writer and MOHL’s blog techy. :-)

 

Jen

Jen, is a adventurer-at-heart, sidekick to her co-adventurer husband, shepherdess of two toddler-girl hearts, and head mistress of The Wheelburrow. You can find her scribbling her journeys, over a cup of Kurdish Chai, at the Yub Nub Café. Jen is a “real-life” friend of mine with whom I’ve had the privilege of fellowship and chats over tea. It’s such a blessing to have her as a writer for MOHL.

 

Stephanie is a young woman in her late 20′s who is a daughter of the King of kings, Wife to an incredible man, and Mother to a precious boy. She is also a delightful blogger at The Enchanting Rose. She’ll be joining us as a writer for MOHL and I am so thrilled. Her love for the Lord is encouraging.

 

Jessie Bear

How could I forget my dear friend, Jessie? She’s another “real-life” friend. Her bubbily personality and sweet love for the Lord are truly a delight. I’m excited she agreed to be a writer for this blog!

 

 

Courtney Lambert

Courtney is a 22 year old homeschool graduate and resident of the deep south! She’s the oldest of 12 (almost 13) children, a photographer, musician, a political junkie, and an artist in training. She blogs at …little blots of ink… Courtney will be managing our social media pages as well as writing for MOHL. I’m glad to welcome her on the team!

 

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I’m excited about this new year and what it will bring to MOHL! Please pray with us that we would bring glory to the Lord in what we write on this blog. It’s our hearts desire that we bring encouragement and hope as we worship our Savior through our words.

May the Lord richly bless you all!

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A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven

A very merry, belated Christmas & a happy new year to you all! By now you all have heard about the huge transition MOHL is about to take with the dawn of 2014 here in a few days{?!}. For being a year-old newbie to MOHL, I can still say that it has been bittersweet to see these wonderful young women I am proud to call friend, step down from MOHL as writers. I am so thankful to God for each one of them, the unique friendships I have with each one of you & I am prayerful, hopeful & excited to see where God takes each of you in the New Year.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
-Robert Frost-
This year has been a year to Live It! & I think I speak for everyone when I say that 2013 has surpassed our expectations for what the action-phrase entailed. I so wish every single one of these awesome girls-& the new writers soon to be introduced!-lived close to me so I could see them & fellowship & hug them in person! Okay … before I get too sappy & start tearing up:

I’ve been thinking a lot about the seasons. They come & go with startling big-picture swiftness …  but seasons like winter seem to drag on & on. The cold & darkness are two negative traits we tend to dwell on once the holidays are through. But they serve God’s purposes the same as the heat, humidity & light. Not to mention-how beautiful is sunlight & bright blue sky glinting blindingly off of fresh, white snow?
So we are to root our hearts deep in Him, & not be shaken no matter what season of life we are in-even those pesky, nameless in-between seasons. On this last Sunday of 2013, may each of you be blessed. I pray that 2014 brings much joy, peace & newness of life in our Lord & Savior.
Stay tuned next week for the awesome launch of the “new” MOHL after tireless hours of heartfelt dedication from Melinda Pound, the new moderator.
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