Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Spreading Love

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In my post Love Defined I explained how the word love is perceived one way in society– an emotion or attachment and another in God’s eyes–an attitude or behavior. Further I explained that God is the creator of the concept of love and without God love simply doesn’t exist.

We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Society has become extremely hateful and negative as a whole. God created us and instructed us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) The intolerance, discrimination, and anger/bitterness that people hold against one another is out of control. It has got to the point for some, that those who are different or think differently than oneself is immediate grounds for hatefulness, slander, and down right bigotry.

God never intended for our world to be full of so much hatred– however by choices made by each person in society– here we are in 2021– God is not allowed to be talked about in school, prayer is frowned upon– yet sex, violence, and other sinful nature runs ramped and no one blinks an eye. I think this year needs to be the year we choose change–choose to spread love–healthy, Godly, unconditional love. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sin.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.

We are called to walk in love, to share the love of Christ with others, and to be the example of Christ’s love to the world. You have everything you need to walk in love. You already have compassion, empathy, patience to love– you only have to accept Jesus and access it through the Holy Spirit. Love is believing the best in people and not the worst.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

I want to be clear that when I refer to society being hateful and negative as a whole–this INCLUDES many self proclaimed Christians. In fact if I am being honest–I have had some experiences where the Christian folk was far more rude, hateful, and unpleasant than the unsaved folk who had never heard about the love of Jesus.

This is disheartening and exactly why Christians get a bad stigma. When people see someone whom is claiming to be a Christian and love God acting in such a way– it detours the lost– why would they want to live for Jesus and act like that? We have to be very careful and be sure that if we are talking the talk– we need to be walking the walk. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t mess up because you will– we aren’t perfect. Being aware of your talk and actions during your day to day interactions will help you recognize when your fleshly emotions are starting to take over.

In the Bible God gives us instruction on how to behave like a Christian.

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor (Hate) what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God wants us to love like He loves– not like the world loves. God designed the concept of love and wants us to understand how perfect His love is. When we spread love in the way God tells us too– It pleases Him. God even went as far to say in Matthew 25:33-40 that when you help others you are helping Him. I have often heard people say why doesn’t God stop all the terrible things in the world or why does He allow people to go hungry and without a home. I usually respond with something along the lines of “God created us and called us to do His work– often times we see these things because God is calling one of His children to help those in the world around them and unfortunately we don’t always make the move when we are called into action.” One person alone can’t fix all the “problems” in the world today BUT if we all did our part and acted when called upon to help and show love like Jesus–society as a whole would be much, much better.

Matthew 25:33-40

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

5 ways to spread love everywhere you go

Smile at people
Hold the door open for someone
Compliment a stranger
Pay it forward (buy someone a meal, coffee, etc.)
Leave positive post-it notes in public places

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for another day to serve and spread Your love! Thank you for the direction and instruction on what love is and how we are called to spread Your love everywhere we go. Father, I confess at times I get wrapped up in the stress and things happening in the world and quickly forget to spread Your love instead of joining the world in spreading division and hate. I pray that You would remind us of Your love and the examples You have given us through the Bible. Lord, help us to be great and loving servants, help us to spread Your love to all those we come in contact with. Touch our hearts and lead us each day to those You have sent for us to share Your love and truth with. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen


Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- 6 Characteristics of Strong Families

Think about the last time you remember facing a situation that threatened your life– what were you last thoughts? Were you fearful for your job– bank accounts– status– or dirty dishes in the sink?

Probably not! Aside from our relationship with Jesus the next important thing in our life is family. Our family is our most important responsibility, achievement, and legacy. What we teach our children daily– through our words and actions– is crucial. The quality of family is important to our happiness, emotional well-being, and mental health.

Happy strong families have these 6 characteristics in common.

Commitment

The warm fuzzy feeling and loving environment in a home comes from commitment. It offers a shelter for family members against the destructive feelings of fear, anxiety, and loneliness.

Ephesians 5:25-28 NKJV

The heart of the commitment to a family unit is the dedication to the marriage relationship. God sees the commitment so important that He strongly condemns any violation of that marital relationship. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

Commitment means to be there and never abandon each other– doing whatever it takes to love one another as we should.

Appreciation

Expressing appreciation and affection strengthen relationships and build strong families. God has made it known that He wants to be appreciated. One example in the Bible tells of Jesus hearing the pleas of ten lepers who cried out for healing– and He healed all ten. However, only one of them came to say thank you. Jesus was pleased with the one that came back to give Him thanks and glory– He was displeased by the nine who did not.
(Luke 17:11-19)

Members in strong families express appreciation for even the small things. Showing gratitude– pointing out the good qualities in one another– encouraging each other– and sharing humor and affection.

Communication

Every person needs to know they are part of a whole. No one wants to feel alone. Elijah was becoming in low spirits when he was the only one standing up for God. Feeling alone carries its own mixture of feelings of fear and hopelessness. God assured Elijah that he was not alone.

Healthy communication is key in the process of having the sense of belonging– it helps us to feel connected to one another by exchanging information. Healthy communication also helps us with problem solving and conflict resolution in constructive ways.

Quality Time

Typically our best memories are from simple quality time spent with our family and friends– time that did not require a bunch of money or some form of elaborate plans.

Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes that the energy, time, and talents that we extend to things that are not of God’s will is a waste of time. Members of strong families spend a lot of time together playing, talking, laughing, having fun, and just hanging out. We need large quantities of good and healthy quality time together for families to flourish.

Our time is in high demand, which is what makes the quality time together such a precious gift.

Coping with Stress and Crises

People who are part of strong families are not exempt from stress or crises– they face the same daily challenges and frustrations as everyone else. The difference is that those in strong families call upon their commitment to one another and their communication abilities to resolve the issue. They manage to find good in the situation regardless if the only good they see is having each other. They rely heavily on their faith in God through times of difficulty.

Spiritual Well-Being

The importance of having a spiritual center in God cannot be stressed enough. Strong families rely upon the power above and beyond themselves– it is the glue that keeps them strong and holds them together. Jesus talks about how important it is to have a foundation in Christ.

Matthew 7:24-15

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Spiritual foundations give meaning and purpose to our lives– giving us freedom from fear, guilt, anxiety, and low self-esteem– as well as giving us hope, encouragement, and a confident outlook on life.

Spiritual foundations are the basis of all the guidelines we follow for daily living. Honesty, forgiveness, patience, kindness, and helping others. Families that have strong spiritual well-being know that God is there watching, guiding, and helping them every step of the way. They know they can turn to God at any time for help. (James 1:5)

When people believe in these basic truths and abide in God’s Word– they know their life has direction and with God’s help, they can know what is right and wrong. They have found value in putting God’s Word into practice.

James 1:22 tells us that we are called to ‘be doers of the Word, and not only hearers’

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for this message. Open our hearts and minds to hear your Word and your direction. Thank you for giving us the tools to build strong foundations that no storm can destroy. Forgive me for not seeking Your word and direction in my life and for my family from the beginning. Restore the relationships that have been affected by my lack of faith and willingness to stand upon your truth. Help me to grow in the six characteristics for strong families. God, we need your guidance and direction to know how to guide our children in the right direction– passing along Your foundational truths to building strong families. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Learn to Love Your Spouse in a New Way

Falling in love might just be one of the greatest feelings one can have. It begins with warm fuzzy feelings– butterflies in your stomach– heart skipping a beat– and quickly develops into a full blown euphoric feeling. The euphoria of falling in love can make you do some pretty “crazy” things– often quickly escalating to an emotional obsession– leading you to do all you can to please the other person and “win” their heart.

Research shows that the “falling in love” or emotional obsession lasts about two years. A lasting relationship can not be built on this feeling alone. Often times people get wrapped up in their current feelings and fail to see the bigger picture.When the realization happens– somewhere within that two year mark– they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

Everyone is born with the desire to feel loved. As the saying goes “falling in love is easy-staying in love is the hard part”. This is because at the beginning stages we go so above and beyond to win the others heart– that we express our love in a multitude of ways. Once the “honeymoon stage” is over and those “falling in love” feelings subside– it leaves many feeling lost– searching for what happened– why is it so different–where did the romance go?

Often times this is a result of taking a step back from the “courting”– at this point-it’s safe to say- you have won their heart. However what happens is– when you take the step back– you are no longer expressing your love in all the different ways you once did. So what are you missing? There are five love languages and each person has a primary language. Perhaps, you are no longer speaking the same language– it’s like trying to communicate and one of you speaks English and the other French– you will not understand each other.

Did you know?

It’s common in a marriage for one to genuinely express their love for a spouse, while still failing to connect emotionally.

Before we dig into the love languages let’s take a look at what the Bible says to us regarding marriage and how to love our spouse. After all– God is the supreme example of love!

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Titus 2:3-5

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

1 John 4:7-11 Knowing God through Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Okay-Okay I get it!

But do you?

God loves us unconditionally–even when we are in our most unlovable state– God is right there waiting for you to call on Him– He will surround you in love and compassion– like you have never felt! The Bible tells us if we do not choose love-it signifies we do not know God. God’s love draws us near to Him and then to others.

Now it’s time for the fun part (not really). This is where many want to stop reading or stop following God– its the hardest part– the “staying in love” hard part. The Bible tells us that if one spouse is not showing love– the other must STILL LOVE– following the example of God who still loved us as sinners (Romans 5:8).

Ouch! That is NOT easy to do– trust me– I understand. Loving someone who is being down right mean and selfish takes some serious self-control and lots of prayer!

There are five basic love languages– by understanding each and discovering which applies to you and which to your spouse– It will help make showing love towards your spouse easier and more effective.

Each person has a primary love language and when love is expressed in that language– they feel truly loved.

1. Words of Affirmation

  • Uses words to build each other up
  • The smallest affirmation goes a long way.
  • Encourage one another with words
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1 Love edifies- builds up
  • Goal: Make spouse feel affirmed.

2. Gifts

  • Tokens of appreciation
  • Gifts even inexpensive ones to this person makes them feel loved and thought about
  • This person feels love through thoughtful gifts- a tangible reminder they are loved
  • Goal: Give spouse inexpensive, thoughtful, tangible gift to remind them they are loved

3. Acts of Service

  • Actions that one knows the other will appreciate
  • Ask spouse what can be done to help them–Do it– without complaining
  • 1 John 3:18 love in deed and in truth

4. Quality Time

  • Gives undivided attention to spouse
  • Activity is unimportant– Focusing on each other is
  • Time is a powerful communication of love
  • Time = Love

5. Physical Touch

  • Tender caring touch
  • An embrace, a kiss, a hug, a hand on the shoulder are all expressions of love
  • Physical touch helps reduce depression.
  • Mark 10:16 Jesus took time to have children come to Him, despite being busy
  • Never too old for a loving touch

Discover Your Spouse’s Love Language

  • How do they usually express love towards you?
  • What do they complain about most often?
  • What do they request most often?

Answer the above questions and this will point you towards how your spouse feels truly loved.

It’s common for a person to express love in their own primary love language– which is what causes those “in love” feelings to fade. As we get comfortable in our relationships, we often stop putting in the extra effort to express our love– resulting to what we know best– our own primary love language. When we get to the comfortable state– this is when we begin expressing our love and failing to connect emotionally.

Love your spouse unconditionally– in their love language– and see the unlocking and working of miracles in your marriage and family!


For more on the Five Love Languages Check out this great read!

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