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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Beloved Bride

Beloved Bride

Beloved bride.

What an absolutely beautiful name those of us carry who are in Christ. We are His beloved bride; His redeemed, sanctified and forgiven ones, set apart and chosen by Him before the beginning of time to be his very own.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” - Isaiah 61:10

He has provided us with beautiful bridal clothes of salvation, given by the ultimate sacrifice of His one and only son. What an amazing sacrifice the LORD has given that we might live!

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” - Ephesian 5:25-27

He gave up what He loved most of all, so that we, a fallen and undeserving people, could find salvation and life eternal through Him. Can you even imagine what pain He must have endured, sending His only son to the cross, in order that we might live? Can you imagine what Jesus must have experienced as He took on the weight of all of our sin upon himself? And yet, the sacrifice was made. The sacrifice was made so that we might be spotlessly clean, no longer clothed in the filthy rags of sin, but in the beautiful bridal clothes of radiant, sinless purity, and in the shining truth of righteousness.

While we are still on this earth, He knows that we will continue to fall short. We cannot, as humans, achieve a life without sin while we are still dwelling in our temporal bodies. When we do fail, the Lord is faithful to draw us back to Him and wash us clean once more, ever patiently sanctifying us as He continues to mold and shape us into whom He would have us be. He has promised to be our faithful bridegroom, drawing us ever nearer and closer as He washes us time and time again from the iniquities of our sins, and sets us back upon the path we ought to go. He is preparing us each and every moment for the glorious day when He will take us home, for He will be our bridegroom, and we will be His beloved bride.

“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,  in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” - Hosea 2:19-20

I invite you to celebrate with me today, dear sisters, of being counted among the Lord’s beloved bride- set apart, redeemed, forgiven, and chosen to be His own. <3

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Rejoice!

Rejoice!

Philippians 3:1 tells us that we are to rejoice in the Lord!

“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.”

If you are like me, there are days when it is difficult to rejoice. Perhaps your entire day has been difficult from beginning to end. Each and every thing you have tried to do has backfired. You were late on a project due, you burned your lunch, the car wouldn’t start, your favorite mug was dropped and shattered into teeny tiny little fragments of glass. You start to realize you feel a bit like that mug- shattered, broken, scarred, and burned by life.

The Lord is so much bigger than our circumstances. He tells us that we are to rejoice in Him, no matter what.

Oftentimes, the Lord will bring us to the end of our strength, so that we can more fully rely on Him, and on the blessed peace and calming strength found only in submission to His will. He wants us to open our eyes past our circumstances here on earth, and to focus our thoughts on our relationship with Christ Jesus and the glorious reunion yet to come when we are taken up to heaven to be with Him! <3

Psalm 119:18 - “Open my eyes, that I might see, glorious truths from your law!”

We are to rejoice when it is easy. When everything is going absolutely perfectly, and nothing could be better.

We are to rejoice when it is hard. When we are at the end of our rope. When everything in our life is going crazy and spinning out of control.

Philippians 4:4 - “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”

We are to rejoice in the Lord always, no matter what. God is our Abba Father, and we are to find our strength, our peace, our identity, our everything in Him. When we focus our eyes on the things of the Lord, we will find joy. The perfect joy that is found only in Christ. We will find ourselves rejoicing. Rejoicing that the Lord is our Saviour. Rejoicing that the Lord is our Redeemer-King. Rejoicing that He chose to save us, rather than condemn us to a life apart from Him. Rejoicing that there is a great hope to be found through Him.

My dear sisters, will you join me in rejoicing in the Lord? <3

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Another New Year

Another New Year | Meditations of His Love

It’s January again.

Seems like just yesterday, I was writing a post identical to this one.

Every New Year I do the same thing. {original, aren’t I?}

I open the 20__ folders, diary, calendar, think through all the things that might happen in the new year, make plans, set goals.

And now 2013 is over.

Time to do it all again for 2014.

As I look over the goals I wrote down a year ago, one in particular stands out to me: “Grow closer to God and become more like Him.”

Of course, if I were to flip through the pages of my New Year’s Notebook, I would see the same goal jotted down each New Year’s since I was 15.

 

So I think through everything that happened in 2013.

 

All the times God challenged me to take a step of faith.

All the times He answered prayer….whether it was what I expected or not.

All the times He sent me a little blessing that I wasn’t expecting.

All the times I failed him and He forgave me.

All the little lessons He taught me using ‘mundane’ things.

All the times I had a glimpse of His glory and power even in this sin-filled world.

 

And I realize that though I might feel that I failed Him over and over again,

He still used me, still cared for me, still taught me,

and still drew me nearer Himself.

I wouldn’t change a moment of it.

 

Maybe this year didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

But in it I learned more about my Lord,

and slowly but surely I’m becoming more like Him.

 

Now I face a new year.

New challenges, new lessons, new experiences.

God will stretch me, test me, grow me.

And I look forward to what this year holds.

 

Yes, I wrote most of these words a year ago.

Yes, I could have written something different-something witty and original.

But then why should I?

This year, I’ll have the same goal I have every year.

 

Because each year that goes by, I want to reflect Christ more.

 

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it, with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV

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