Friday, March 16, 2018

Love Your Life

'Blessings crown the head of the righteous.' Proverbs 10:6

Love Your Life
Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to throw in the proverbial towel? Have you thought about packing one suitcase and hitting the road for parts unknown? What about locking yourself up in a closet with a flashlight and a pan of brownies and simply hiding out for the rest of the day?

Well, I think we all feel like that at least once in awhile! Sometimes life just gets a little too hard to handle. We don't always have supernatural strength to be Super Mom or Dad, and we can't always make that dollar stretch all the way to Hawaii, either. And then there are the demands of those outside of our own family, people, jobs, church, clubs, all the entities who just do not think you should have any 'time of your own'. Heaven forbid!

Our society has become a society of 'do this, do that, don't forget me, go here, go there, hither and yon, and most of all you better not be thinking of yourself but of me' these days! I mean, it's just plain old complicated. I can't please anyone, it would seem. Even the mailman thinks I leave the mail in the box too long! What's up with all that???

Well, I have good news, for you, and for me! God just doesn't see it that way! He knows what we go through on a regular basis, day in and day out. He knows how hard we try, and He knows how hard we fail. But He never fails. He always delivers, He always hears our cries, He always knows what we need, who we need, when we need, and how we need. He will meet ALL our needs!

One of the jobs God has to do, and maybe one of His favorite ones, is blessing the socks off of His children. That's you and me, in case you didn't know! He loves to lift us up, to encourage us, and to show us His love. He is not hiding out in the Heavenly Places.He is right there with you. He makes Himself known in nature, in the beauty of the day, and the shining of the sun, and in the graceful lull of a summer night's moon. He will meet our every need, just as the Apostle Paul stated in Phillipians 4:19. 'But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' This is God's promise to the righteous in Christ.

Who cares what the world thinks? Why would we give a rip what the man down the street says about the color of our house? Whose opinion is REALLY important to us? If we are indeed followers of Christ, children of the Most High God, then His, and ONLY His, opinion is the one that we want and need. He is the one who blesses us, now and forever.

Because of the wonderful, loving, giving, blessing God we serve, we should LOVE OUR LIVES! We have more to laugh about, to enjoy, to share, to experience, than anybody else on this earth.

You have been given a gift. Nobody could wrap it better, no one could have it delivered in a more glorious way. You are loved and you are blessed. Now get out there and LOVE YOUR LIFE! —Lili Richey Willard

Friday, March 9, 2018

Love with a Believing Heart

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

Love with a Believing Heart
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.

The young woman watched the hungry flames devour her temporary home as her young children clung to her legs. “We’re going to be okay,” Lori assured them as she wiped their tears away.

The hour was late, but the neighbors awakened by the sirens and lights, gathered outside their homes to watch the blaze. Lori’s street was usually quiet and uneventful. Most of the neighbors kept to themselves except for an occasional ‘hello’ wave from across their yards. Tonight was different. Dogs were barking, kids were shouting and parents were gathering to help Lori and her two preschoolers.

“Here, dear, wrap yourself and the kids in these blankets. These autumn nights are getting pretty chilly.”

“Oh thank you, Mrs. Davis.” Annie was shivering as Lori draped the blanket around her tiny frame and Jimmy pretended his blanket was a magic cape. Smiling Lori softly spoke, “I’m thankful to God that we made it out safely.”

As the firemen got the blaze under control, the curious crowd thinned out. Helen, an elderly neighbor from across the street, offered to take the children and get them to bed. “Yes that’s a good idea. Thanks so much.” Annie and Jimmy kissed their mom goodnight and followed Helen. From the upstairs window they saw their mom talking to one of the firemen. “Now children, try to get some sleep,” Helen said softly as she tucked them snuggly under an old patchwork quilt.

When Lori walked over to Helen‘s, she already had a pot of tea on the burner. With genuine concern, she asked, “What will you do now, Lori?”

“I’ll pray, Helen.”

“Well, if you don’t mind me saying, it’s a little late for that. Guess your God was sleeping at the wheel to let such a thing happen.”

“Oh, Helen you’re wrong. He’s a good God and He was watching out for us tonight. If I hadn’t woke up when I did, we would have succumbed to the smoke. Don’t you see, an angel of God nudged me awake and I’m sitting here sipping tea instead of . . .” Lori’s voice grew thin as she imagined the worse. “Anyway, I’m grateful for His mercy and love.”

“Love? I don’t get it,” Helen said shaking her head. “You talk about your God watching over you, but now you’re homeless and your husband is still off doing his duty overseas. You have nothing left but the pajamas you’re wearing. Ya know, Lori, she said shaking her finger, I’ve never put much stock in things I can’t see. And I dare say, I’ve never laid eyes on God. How is it that you can sit here so calm when you‘ve just lost everything?”

“Because I love Him and I know He loves me and Annie and little Jimmy. He won’t abandon us in our time of need. You’re wrong when you say I have nothing, Helen. People that go through life without ever knowing their heavenly Father are the ones with nothing.”

“Well young lady, you have a strong faith, I’ll give you that.” Pouring more tea, Helen blew some gray wispy hairs from her face. “So you’re gonna actually expect God to make everything all right?”

“Yes, I am. He has a way of making things turn out just fine no matter how bad things seem at first. You’ll see.”

With some eye rolling and head shaking, Helen cleared the cups from the table and encouraged Lori to try to get some sleep. Grateful for the hospitality, Lori wearily climbed the stairs. Kissing their foreheads she scooted the kids over and slept in their bed. She wanted them close to her tonight. Dear God, thank you for your blessings today. Please keep Jim safe and bring him home soon. . .and help Helen see. That said, Lori gave in to the sleep she desperately needed.

Early morning calls to her family and husband kept Lori busy before the kids got stirring. Helen had left a note on the table inviting her guests to eat the muffins cooling on the counter. The shaky writing indicated she’d be home soon.

“Mommy, what clothes can I wear?” Annie asked coming down the stairs. It was as if she expected her mom to pull something out of the air. Jimmy didn’t care if he stayed in his pj’s all day. At only three years he was more interested in the tasty treats on the counter.

By mid-morning Helen came bursting in the room with bags from the local resale shop hanging from her skinny old arms. “I guessed at your sizes, but figured something was better than nothing at all.” She dumped the shirts, sweaters, jeans, shoes, and jackets on the table in various piles. Hope I’m not insulting you by going to The Bargain Bin, but I know the owner and she’s mighty fussy about what she takes in. Oh, and I picked up some new underwear and toiletries too, so you should be set for now.”

With tears filling her eyes, Lori threw her arms around Helen’s neck. “You’re an answer to my prayers,” she said.

“Oh, don’t start with that nonsense—just trying to be a good neighbor is all. With your family so far away, I figured I could step in and help. And you’re welcome to stay here as long as you need to. Truth be told, I‘ve often thought this big old house should have more than one old lady rattling around inside.”

Laughing, Lori accepted the kind offer and knew a part of God’s plan was unfolding as she spoke. Charla Diehl

Dear Lord, thank you for all I have. As I begin a new day, help me to recognize where you are working in my life. Help me trust in you completely for all my needs. Amen.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Love with the Love of God

1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Love with the Love of God
If the question was raised, why must we love with God's love? This is because God is love and loves us all inspite of ourselves. God loved us when we didn't love Him in return. Even in our most rebellious days God still loves us. He is the unseen hand that is guiding, protecting and caring for us as well as providing all our needs. God loved us so much that He gave His best for us—His Son Jesus Christ.

That being said, we as children of God are encouraged to love all just as God does. There maybe times when our fellowman may act unkind to you; love them anyway. Why, because we are God's children who manifests His love at all times.

Let's love all because love conquerors all. Dr Willie B White

Friday, February 23, 2018

Love Reservoir

Love Reservoir
EACH ME, O’ Lord, how to be content with just belonging to you! I woke up this morning with this prayer because I was missing loving on someone. I had been loving on a man for ten years, and whether he deserved it or not he got that love because I was devoted to my husband. Now as a single Christian woman, with three kids and a youth praise dance ministry, I have a lot of love to give but every woman reading this right now knows what I’m not talking about that kind of love!

God gave us the innate desire to love and want to be loved. So I’ve been feeling this tug to love again. But then my thoughts went to the scripture about the woman at the well. Even after six husbands, she was still thirsty. Jesus assured her if she drunk from the living water she will not be thirsty again!

Jesus is telling us today, “Let me fill your love reservoir with my eternal living water and you will thirst no more!” And the great part about it is, Jesus will meet you where you’re at. Jesus was at the well before the woman got there. Even in your place of emptiness, loneliness, and solitude, Jesus is already there waiting to fill you up, comfort you and walk with you. He wants to be the lover of your soul!

We have to continue to thirst after him daily and long for HIS love or we will be thirsty for anything! Shawanda Harden

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 NKJV

Friday, February 16, 2018

Love One Another

Love One Another
What would happen if for one 24-hour period everybody got along? I mean what if for one 24-hour period we actually lived by John 15:12-13?

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

I’m not speaking to the world, those that have not accepted Jesus Christ, I am addressing the blood bought born again believers! 

Jesus didn’t say if you feel like getting along, or if it is convenient, nor did He say love only those that agree with your doctrine, or attend your denomination. No, He said, this is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

So what would it look like if the Christ Followers loved each other in spite of our differences? 

Here’s what I imagine it to look like: 

The world we’ve preached to for years would be speechless!
There would be breaches in the wall!
There would be no gaps in the hedges!
We would be a united front!

As the days grow darker, we need to be a unified body more than ever! We need to realize that we are one, or at least should be behaving one!

As the world grows darker and we face more and more tribulation, let’s lay aside our petty differences and squabbles over doctrine – stand shoulder to shoulder, representing the body of Christ! Jounda LaMance

Dear Jesus, You gave the commandment and walked out the perfect example for us! Forgive us Lord for wounding our own and not loving those around us! Help us Lord to walk in Your Word, and to set aside our differences. We want to be a united front in this dark world, and to be a testimony of Your amazing LOVE! In Jesus Name, AMEN!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails
First Corinthians 13:8 has as its opening sentence the phrase, "Love never fails." I was struck by the power of these simple three words; it hit me like a load of bricks.

Love never fails. On several fronts love never fails to amaze me. In the course of my life, I thought I was in love several times. Each time it was exhilarating. That was until the truth came out; all those other feelings were not love after all. 

My idea of love was shaped by my disappointments. I have been disappointed many times, but despite the disappointments; I looked for that perfect love. That perfect love written in children's fairy tales. Soon I realized that there is no perfect love out there, except God's.

God loves me, even when I disappoint. It amazes me sometimes how patient God really is. Often times I have done things that are down right hateful to God and still He was there. He was there, waiting for me to profess my love and ask for forgiveness.

The romantic in me wants to believe that those other loves will never fail. I know that it is not true, despite my best efforts. 

I never found that perfect love, until I let God's love fill my heart. Now I know that His love never fails.

Dear Lord,
Help us to remember that all things are possible through your love for us. We put our hearts in your hands and have faith that your love will never fail. Help us to share your love with each person that we touch in our daily lives. Help us to live the life that you have shown us through your son. Amen.

Closing Thought
God's love has really helped me to have a better relationship with my wife and my children. I know that in my daily interactions with them I am sharing His love; a love that never fails. Kevin Hartford

Friday, February 2, 2018

Long, Hard Look

Long Hard Look
Are you a bird watcher? 

Bird enthusiasts wish for more than a sneak peek. When catching a mere glimpse of a bird on the wing, they wish it had not flown away so soon. Given ample time, they could have gazed at the bird.

Jesus wants me to look, to take a long hard look at birds. I don’t need to record their color, markings, or to know their habitats or migration habits. The Lord wants me to look for all the ways that he meets their every need. 

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature (Matthew 6:25-27 NKJV)?” 

Jesus did not sugar coat his words. When a sermon convicts a church member, they frequently accuse their pastor of stepping on their toes. Jesus is not stepping on mine; he is applying gentle pressure to my mind. Why? Worrying reveals a lack of faith. PamFord Davis

Christ Jesus, forgive me for wavering in faith. I have felt both conviction and comfort through your bird creatures. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Love Demonstrated

But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Love Demonstrated There are two ways that God demonstrates His Love toward us. The first way was when He sent His sinless Son to die on a cross for sinful humanity. The second way that God demonstrates His love for us is through people.

And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5)
Why did God put His love in us? Because the Bible calls us ambassadors, or representatives of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

God told Israel in Leviticus 23:22, "And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reap, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God."

God has always demonstrated His love for humanity through humanity. The prosperity that God bestows upon His people requires them to care for the poor. God has not changed. Jesus preached to multitudes of people daily, and when they needed food He fed them.

Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal. And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them. (1 Samuel 25:18-20)

When David and his mighty men needed food Abigail provided more than what was needed, after the death of her husband, David sent for her and they were married. Have you demonstrated the love of God that has been shed in your heart by the Holy Ghost? Dr Bernard Jones

Father help me love people with the love that you gave me, Father continue to love through me. Amen.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Love Endures All Things

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV)

Love Endures All Things
The first fruit of the spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). Love is so essential that without it we may mature into unemotional, hard and callous beings. The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus endured being bruised, beaten, battered and humiliated. On the Cross, full of love and compassion, he cried out “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Joseph’s brothers did not know what they did. Joseph endured the humiliation and anguish in their selling him off to itinerant traders (Genesis 37:28). In Egypt to escape the advances of Potiphar’s wife, he endured a thirteen-year prison sentence (Genesis 39: 14-20). Because God favored Joseph his interpretation of dreams brought him to Pharaoh’s court as Prime Minister. The gift of visions with which God endowed him permitted him to prevent the seven-year famine that would have swept over Egypt (Genesis 41: 14-41).

The famine brought Joseph’s family to Egypt and Joseph wept loudly on recognizing them. The brothers “were dismayed in his presence” (Genesis 45:2), but he calmed their fear of reprisal telling them that God meant their actions for good. God had a better plan for Joseph than his brothers’ wicked scheme. We can trust God because He knows His purpose for us. Whatever storms and stresses you endure, take heart, knowing that God is love and has a better plan for you. Phyllis M Inniss

Friday, January 12, 2018

Loss for Words

Loss for Words
Most of us, if we’ll admit it, are seldom at a loss for words. We seem to find, at least a word or two, on just about anything. Comments, become discourse, until conversations gradually cease, leaving us in the spotlight for monologues. Yes, we do ramble. Yet, at times, in critical situations, we find ourselves groping for words from thin air. We find ourselves at the fork in the road and don’t know where to go with the topic next …

Jeremiah reached a pivotal point. He had heard God’s call to serve as a prophet. “Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth (Jeremiah 1:6 NAS).” He felt ill equipped and inadequate. God promised His presence, and to provide the message. (Verses 7-8) “Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth (Jeremiah 1:9 NAS).” 

God’s word, in our mouths, is personal, passionate, and powerful!

“Lord, fill my mouth for ministry.” PamFord Davis


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