Blog, Devotionals, Life, Family, Encouragement

Born This Way

What if I told you we are NOT born naturally good? In fact, that is EXACTLY what I am saying. We are born wicked and it is only through Christ alone that we can produce good fruits.

What?! How could you?

I think I am a pretty good person…

I would then have to ask you– measuring by what standards are you counting yourself as a good person?

At this point in time most people go on about how they help people, feel like they are a good friend/parent/etc., and say things like I mean I haven’t killed anyone.

Well, yes that is good and I am certainly glad to hear murder isn’t on the table. (insert chuckle)

However, if we measure by the ultimate judge on weather we are good or wicked, I think you may come up with a different conclusion.

I now ask you to be completely honest with me, yourself, and God. Answer the following questions.

  • Have you ever told a lie? Even a little white lie?
  • Have you ever taken something that was not yours or that you didn’t pay for? Think hard, because it happens on accident a lot! (a pen, something you carried home from work, something you found at a public location)
  • Have you ever said something about another person out of anger, hurt, etc.?
  • Have you ever talked about someone else to a third party, when it was not your place to tell?
  • Have you ever looked at another person in a lustful way?

If everyone is being honest, the answer should be ‘yes’ to all of the above questions. It is common for mankind (men and women) to naturally do these things because we are NOT naturally good. So, if we measure by God’s standard, which He has the ultimate say, then we are liars, thief’s, unforgiving, gossiping, adulterers.

YIKES! When you put it that way… we are not naturally good.

Which is precisely why the Bible tells us in John 3:3-7 that we need to be born-again.

John 3:3-7

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Why are we born this way?

God created mankind (Adam and Eve) and called it all very good. He gave mankind freewill and CLEAR instructions, in this case they could eat from any tree in the garden except NOT from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent and disobeyed God’s instruction and ate the forbidden fruit. If you read the whole story of the creation and fall of mankind in Genesis 1-3, God tells us that the land and mankind is cursed from the time we are born until we die because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.

From here the Bible is full of stories about the wickedness of mankind’s hearts. Stories of murder, stealing, betrayal, adultery, and so much more. (Doesn’t sound much different from what we hear today on the news and in social media.

As the story goes on you will read about periods of time that mankind used animal sacrifices in attempt to atone for our sins. However, nothing was good enough to cover the disobedient wicked ways of our sinful nature. None of these sacrifices were able to bridge the gap of separation between God and mankind (us).

This is where Jesus comes in and radically changes EVERYTHING from that point forward!

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus came and fulfilled many prophesies spoken. He is fully God and fully man, which is how he lived the perfect life during His time walking the Earth. Jesus’ purpose was to be the ultimate example for us to follow and to ultimately be crucified on the cross as an atonement for our sins.

Jesus conquered sin and conquered death. He was buried in a tomb and rose from the dead on the third day. He is alive today and will return for His people. Those who are born again– that repent of our sins, ask for forgiveness, and confess Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior

Just as John 3:3-7 says born again is by spirit and water. This is our new birth or re-birth. This is not just a stated prayer. It should be followed by devout study of God’s Word. It should be a life changing radical moment in a person life.

Being born again doesn’t mean we are instantly perfect and will never sin again, it means we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

Born again also doesn’t mean we are free to sin when and how we please or that we should continue down the same paths, making the same choices, it means the old has passed a way, we are free from the bondage of sin and we are a new creation in Him.

A born again Christian who has had true repentance and a life changing renewal spiritually will want to seek God’s direction and to know Him more. They will be intentional when it comes to prayer time and reading the Bible.

Reading the Bible and prayer is our way of communication with God, to learn His instruction and renew our minds and soul. An internal noticeable change.

There is a common misconception that ‘most people are naturally good. have your best interests at heart’. This is just NOT the case, the Bible tells us so and not in a ‘because I said so’ type of way. The Bible clearly explains why the evil and wickedness is in the hearts of mankind from birth. It goes all the way back to the original sin of disobedience to God’s Word.

What is the root of disobedience to God’s Word or disobedience in general? Pride, thinking we know better then God or someone else who has given clear instruction for our safety, health, and well being.

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

This is why in Luke 9:23 we are to to deny ourselves daily, and take up the cross to follow Him. Our ways are wicked and will lead only to destruction and death (an eternal separation from God).

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

A born again believer is a new man, a new creation, and you should see changes in their life as evidence of that.

Ephesians 4:17-24

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Matthew 7:15-16

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Fruits of the spirit are NOT produced by our flesh naturally. We are not naturally born with these traits. They are produced by and through the Holy Spirit from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Just as the Bible tells us we must be born again through water and spirit to see the kingdom of God.

Blog, Devotionals, Life, Family, Encouragement

A World Redefined

It is July of 2021 and it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between lies and truth in the world today. Society has lost it’s moral compass and is throwing out age old truths in attempt to redefine and recreate what is seen as right and wrong; to form a society that fits their agenda and/or reach their ultimate goal.

Along with redefining words, history, events, and more– society is intentionally misleading our young children and creating a sense of victimhood and self worship from the time they are in kindergarten.

This is a VERY dangerous game to be playing..

The world tells people today that our feelings are what matter most and that an individual’s perception is truth.

There are many problems with this ideology, so many I could probably write a book on it, however, I want to focus on just a few of the major points.

  1. If everyone’s perception is truth, then there is no real absolute truth. This can NOT be possible as we already know there are absolute certain unchanging truths. For instance, two plus two will always be four– a square will always have four equal sides, just as a triangle has three– the sun rises in the East and sets in the West these are universal, absolute truths that most people will always agree on.

    However, there are many absolute truth’s that are being redefined and questioned by a particular group or groups of people.

    For instance, God’s Word is never changing and always relevant– God’s Word is the measuring tool for right and wrong and good verse evil–God is alive today and will return for His people and there is only ONE true God. However, society is doing all they can to label Christian’s as intolerant, hateful, bigots that are oppressors for stating truth from the Word of God.
  2. If perception is truth then every person is always right in their own eyes–this is a recipe for selfishness, pride, and self serving motives that results in utter disaster when applied as a universal truth. For example, what’s true to me does not mean it is true to you. Perception varies from person to person and situation to situation. This can cause some serious division quickly.

    For instance, you may hear someone say something or see someone do something and to you it appears to be one thing, but if one were to ask the individual what they meant or why they did something it will likely not be the reason you perceived.

    With the perception is truth ideology you can see the set-up for division as each person will believe their perception is THE TRUTH; leading to arguments, hurt, anger, and possibly even more damaging feelings or actions.

The Bible tells us to lean NOT on our own understanding, that our hearts are deceitful, and our knowledge is limited.

As society continues to press for this agenda, we see America’s history being erased, classic songs and movies being banned, words and beliefs being labeled as racism, bigotry, hate speech, intolerant, and so on.

Essentially what this ideology is doing is causing mass chaos and pinning friend against friend, child against parent, spouse against spouse, neighbor against neighbor, and in some cases one race against another.

We must take a stand against this attack on our families, attack on our history, attack on our children’s minds and the attack against God and His Word; the Bible.

This ideology is allowing society to redefine what America has stood by for centuries. Redefining what is good and what is evil, what is truth and what is oppressive, what is acceptable behavior and what is not; the list could go on.

The thing I want to drive home is that we need to be doing our part within our homes and community to stop the spread of this division causing ideology.

Perception is NOT truth!

Perception can effect how you feel and think about a situation, but it is not a defining reality– especially not one that can be applied as the universal truth or absolute truth.

It is important for us to have a solid foundational set of truth’s in which we measure each interaction against. The Bible gives us these foundational truth’s. Revealing to us what is good and evil, what is sin and righteousness, what true love looks like and how to navigate through life’s most difficult storms.

Here are a few words or concepts rather that are being redefined in today’s culture.

  • Love
  • Justice
  • Equality
  • Marriage
  • Gender/Sex
  • Truth
  • Good/Evil

I encourage you today to turn off the television and stop turning to social media or other media outlets to find the moral baseline of what is right and wrong and what the actual meaning or design for the above concepts are. Instead, open your Bible and begin to discover REAL TRUTH, ABSOLUTE TRUTH in God’s Word. See what the creator has to say about these things, after all He is the ultimate example and author of love, justice, and truth.

** If you do not have a Bible and need one contact us and we will be sure to get one out to you. If you are unsure where to start reading I suggest the book of Proverbs. **

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Love is NOT Love

Listen to my podcast on FaithAnchored Speaks about Love is NOT Love. Discover the difference between worldly love and God’s love.

Click the Photo to listen.

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The Ultimate Valentine

It’s the time of year where “love is in the air”. Couples showering each other with flowers and gifts in an effort to show the other how much they love them. For others it’s a time of sadness, loneliness, and depression. Often feeling unlovable because they are “alone” and have no one to spend the day with. Feeling as if somehow they aren’t “good enough” to have someone show them love on this specific day.

My hopes in writing this is to bring hope, joy, and the surrounding presence of God’s love to those whom feel “alone”. I am excited to share with you– you are NOT alone. Not on Valentine’s day or any other day for that matter. Let me share with you a love that is unconditional, unfailing, and unchanging!

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

The love of Jesus– there is no greater love than that of Jesus Christ– who was tortured and killed for you– yes YOU– so that your sins would be forgiven so you may live eternally– so you would know His love. Perfect- Unconditional- Never Failing Love!

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

There are many people that have the wrong idea of who God is– Thinking that He just wants to take the fun out of life or give you a list of rules that is impossible to follow perfectly. Some think He is mad at them–that He is to blame for the bad things in their life– some even believe that God hates them. As Joyce Meyer says and wrote a book on, God is NOT Mad at you!! I read the book and if you believe God is mad at you–you should read it too.

God doesn’t correct us or give us rules because He is mad or wants to be a party pooper. God corrects us through His word because He loves us! Just as a good parent loves their child– God loves us even more!

Proverbs 3:12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

The Bible is there to instruct, convict, and replenish your soul– not to chastise, condemn, and break you down. God instructs us in Matthew that love is the greatest commandment. This is because God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and lack of capability to uphold each commandment in the law. When Jesus was crucified He was sinless His death represented the love of God to all of us.

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God never stops loving us even on the days or years we do not choose Him. God authored the concept of love–God is love. God wants us to love Him, love ourselves, and love everyone as He loved us. We love because He first loved us.

You see no one is truly alone– that is a lie the enemy wants you to believe– so that you will remain in bondage to loneliness, sadness, and depression. God is always with us–He goes before us and prepares the way.

If you are feeling alone and vulnerable this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to seek out the Ultimate Valentine– God. He showers you with the perfect love all of the days of your life. He has many gifts (blessings) for you– you only have to receive Him and accept them. God is near to the broken hearted and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. What better valentine to have than the one who authored the concept of love.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being the ultimate example of unconditional love in Jesus Christ. Thank you for showing us love even when we did not deserve it and in our times of struggle. Forgive us Lord for forgetting that we are never truly alone, You are always with us. Remind us that regardless of what the world says or what our circumstances may seem like we are loved far more than we could ever imagine. Remind us that our relationship with Jesus is far more important and comforting than any relationship we could ever form on this earth. Lord I pray that in this season we remember that we love because You first loved us. Remind us that You are the author of love and we must learn to truly love ourselves and who You created us to be before we could ever show true love to someone else. Lord help us to be vessels for Your kingdom, give us courage and boldness to share the love of Jesus with those who cross our paths daily. Thank you for Your perfect and unconditional love and it is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Spreading Love

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spread-love.png

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


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Love Defined

What is love?

An age old question that people have been seeking the answer to for years- some find it- some never do. In a world full of so much hate and misrepresentation it is easy to get lost in what the world says love is. I say this because I was lost– for many years– due to false beliefs of what it meant to love or feel loved– in my case, this had a lot to do with my life experiences and lack of positive reinforcement to set healthy boundaries and concepts of love itself.

So in the spirit of the upcoming “holiday”- Valentine’s Day- I decided to dig deep into the origins of love-where it came from- what it’s suppose to really mean– and how healthy love is shown and received. The month of February will be designated to articles pertaining to love. I write this in hopes it helps someone fill the missing void and redefine their thoughts on the true meaning of Love.

Dictionary.com defines love in the following ways

  • passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
  • sexual passion or desire
  • Then notes Christianity: Gods benevolent attitude toward man–mans attitude of reverent devotion towards God.

Wikipedia defines love like this:

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Scientific research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades. The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests “intimacy, passion and commitment” are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

In the Bible love does not refer to an emotion but an attitude or behavior.

If we follow history back far enough it all begins in the same place–In the beginning was God. He created all the Earth, all things that walk the Earth and swim in the sea, every creeping creature, and He created man and woman in His image.

Love is of God. God authored the concept of love. Without the presence or existence of God there is no love.

1 John 4:7-11 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.

As you may already be able to see our society’s view on love vs what love was designed by God to be are two different things.

Although they have similarities the biggest difference is the love we learn from society is broken– it can and will fail, it’s usually not an unconditional love, society’s version of love is emotionally charged and can change based on circumstances– where God’s purpose and design for love is based on an attitude or behavior. We love because He first loved us.

Let’s explore more of God’s design for love–a love that is fulfilling, peaceful, joyful, and patient among many other things. God describes love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest gift He has given us.

1 Corinthians 13- Love the greatest gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Could you imagine a world where we loved ALL people like God tells us to– no matter their background–no matter their sin. I encourage everyone to put love to the test and love like a 1 Corinthians 13 warrior.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for loving us in a perfect and unconditional way. Thank you for giving us the ultimate example of love through Jesus. God this world is so lost and has distorted the meaning of love so badly that it’s overall meaning and design has been nearly erased. God we know that You are love and without You there is no love. I pray that you touch each persons heart that reads this, open their eyes and hearts to the truth in Your Word. Remind us that regardless of what the world says love is, we know in You there is a perfect love that drives out fear and it renews us from the inside out. God, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and embrace us in Your loving arms. I pray that those who do not know You would seek to know You and would feel your love and presence surround them. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Be a part of making someone’s day

We all know that the world is full of people who hold on to hatred, act of violence, and speak with bitterness. Regardless of where you work, what city you live in, or the places you go in your free time, I can guarantee you have seen someone having a rough day.

I have had plenty of rough days myself, you know the days you wake up late– forgot your clothes in the dryer– spilled your coffee in the car on the way to work– and just can’t seem to catch a break– all before 8 o’clock in the morning.

A few years back I use to work full time with the public. If you have ever worked in customer service (at any level), you know that not everyone you come in contact with is pleasant.

There were days I would come in to work barely making it on time, having one of those rough days, only to be met by my first client who was NOT happy to say the least.

I often wondered how someone could be in such a fowl mood so early in the morning.

So, here it is 8:15 AM I have had a terrible morning, sit down with my first interview and before I can speak a word I am being cursed out. The famous ‘You people..’ (referring to the workers) comments were mind blowing. My intelligence questioned and my patience tested.

I did my very best to remain calm and help in any way I could. Many left feeling much better than they came in; however, some you just couldn’t please.

On the contrary, I have also had terrible morning’s only to arrive at work to a client who is happy, grateful, and willing to share a smile.

These days meant so much to me, it literally could take a bad day and turned it around in an instant.

The Bible instructs us to let go of bitterness, anger, evil, and anything of bad intentions. We are to treat each other with kindness. soft hearts, and quick to forgiveness.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

God calls us to share His love and spread His joy, even to those who are not so kind to you. Gods greatest commandment is to love one another. (John 13:34-35) He also instructs us to bless those who curse us. (Luke 6:28) We are not to repay evil with evil. (1 Peter 3:9)

Reflection

Having read the scriptures above what is God speaking to you?

What if anything do you think God is calling you to change in your life after having read Ephesians 4:31?

Call to Action

I challenge you today to make it a point to stay positive and set out each day to spread love to at least five people. Through a smile, a kind word, or a kind gesture; it costs nothing to be kind.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy, and love. God we are not always quick to listen and slow to anger, forgive us for responding to others in any way besides love and kindness. Lord I pray that each person that reads this will hear Your message; touch their hearts and move within them Father. I pray each of us would seek to know You more and set out each day to serve You and spread Your perfect love. Lord, thank you for Your many blessings and Your hedge of protection each day. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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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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The Ultimate Valentine

It’s the time of year where “love is in the air”. Couples showering each other with flowers and gifts in an effort to show the other how much they love them. For others it’s a time of sadness, loneliness, and depression. Often feeling unlovable because they are “alone” and have no one to spend the day with. Feeling as if somehow they aren’t “good enough” to have someone show them love on this specific day.

My hopes in writing this is to bring hope, joy, and the surrounding presence of God’s love to those whom feel “alone”. I am excited to share with you– you are NOT alone. Not on Valentine’s day or any other day for that matter. Let me share with you a love that is unconditional, unfailing, and unchanging!

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

The love of Jesus– there is no greater love than that of Jesus Christ– who was tortured and killed for you– yes YOU– so that your sins would be forgiven so you may live eternally– so you would know His love. Perfect- Unconditional- Never Failing Love!

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

There are many people that have the wrong idea of who God is– Thinking that He just wants to take the fun out of life or give you a list of rules that is impossible to follow perfectly. Some think He is mad at them–that He is to blame for the bad things in their life– some even believe that God hates them. As Joyce Meyer says and wrote a book on God is NOT Mad at you!! I read the book and if you believe God is mad at you–you should read it too.

God doesn’t correct us or give us rules because He is mad or wants to be a party pooper. God corrects us through His word because He loves us! Just as a good parent loves their child– God loves us even more!

Proverbs 3:12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

The Bible is there to instruct, convict, and replenish your soul– not to chastise, condemn, and break you down. God instructs us in Matthew that love is the greatest commandment. This is because God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and lack of capability to uphold each commandment in the law. When Jesus was crucified He was sinless His death represented the love of God to all of us.

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

God never stops loving us even on the days or years we do not choose Him. God authored the concept of love–God is love. God wants us to love Him, love ourselves, and love everyone as He loved us. We love because He first loved us.

You see no one is truly alone– that is a lie the enemy wants you to believe– so that you will remain in bondage to loneliness, sadness, and depression. God is always with us–He goes before us and prepares the way.

If you are feeling alone and vulnerable this Valentine’s Day I encourage you to seek out the Ultimate Valentine– God. He showers you with the perfect love all of the days of your life. He has many gifts (blessings) for you– you only have to receive Him and accept them. God is near to the broken hearted and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. What better valentine to have than the one who authored the concept of love.

Blog, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Love Defined

What is love?

An age old question that people have been seeking the answer to for years- some find it- some never do. In a world full of so much hate and misrepresentation it is easy to get lost in what the world says love is. I say this because I was lost– for many years– due to false beliefs of what it meant to love or feel loved– in my case, this had a lot to do with my life experiences and lack of positive reinforcement to set healthy boundaries and concepts of love itself.

So in the spirit of the upcoming “holiday”- Valentine’s Day- I decided to dig deep into the origins of love-where it came from- what it’s suppose to really mean– and how healthy love is shown and received. The month of February will be designated to articles pertaining to love. I write this in hopes it helps someone fill the missing void and redefine their thoughts on the true meaning of Love.

Dictionary.com defines love in the following ways

  • passionate affection for another person
  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
  • sexual passion or desire
  • Then notes Christianity: Gods benevolent attitude toward man–mans attitude of reverent devotion towards God.

Wikipedia defines love like this:

Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure.

Wikipedia goes on to explain that Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Scientific research on emotion has increased significantly over the past two decades. The color wheel theory of love defines three primary, three secondary and nine tertiary love styles, describing them in terms of the traditional color wheel. The triangular theory of love suggests “intimacy, passion and commitment” are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

In the Bible love does not refer to an emotion but an attitude or behavior.

If we follow history back far enough it all begins in the same place–In the beginning was God. He created all the Earth, all things that walk the Earth and swim in the sea, every creeping creature, and He created man and woman in His image.

Love is of God. God authored the concept of love. Without the presence or existence of God there is no love.

1 John 4:7-11 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.

As you may already be able to see our society’s view on love vs what love was designed by God to be are two different things. Although they have similarities the biggest difference is the love we learn from society is broken– it can and will fail, it’s usually not an unconditional love, society’s version of love is emotionally charged and can change based on circumstances– where God’s purpose and design for love is based on an attitude or behavior. We love because He first loved us.

Let’s explore more of God’s design for love–a love that is fulfilling, peaceful, joyful, and patient among many other things. God describes love in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest gift He has given us.

1 Corinthians 13- Love the greatest gift

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Could you imagine a world where we loved ALL people like God tells us to– no matter their background–no matter their sin. I encourage everyone to put love to the test and love like a 1 Corinthians 13 warrior.