Mom’s Visit

My Mom came for a visit today. Neither one of us was feeling particularly energetic but as it was a beautiful day we decided to toddle around the arts and crafts show happening in our town square (really it’s more of an octagon).

We ended our time together relaxing in the living room while enjoying cool and sweet chai tea frappes. YUM!

Before Mom got into her car, she drew me into her arms and said, “let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection”. I thought that sounded so much more poetic than “give us a hug”.

I liked the saying so much that I just had to share it!

I think that is what God, through His son Jesus Christ, is saying to us – “Come to me my child, and let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection.”

Mar 10:15 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.
Mar 10:16 And taking them up in His arms, He put His hands on them and blessed them.

 

(Image from http://<a href=’http://wori88.com’>http://wori88.com</a>

The Toilet Bowl

Mat 21:22 And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

The other day I was cleaning my toilet and as I flushed it and watched the water swirl around the bowl and down the drain, it suddenly struck me how the toilet flushing was a metaphor for what has been going on in my life lately.

Have you ever had times when it feels like difficult circumstances, cares and worries are swirling all around you and you feel like you are getting sucked down a big hole?

It’s not that I am experiencing anything particularly terrible, it’s just that there seems to be a multitude of challenges all going on at once and it feels like I am powerless to do anything about them.

My poor hubby has been suffering from an increase in the frequency, severity and longevity of migraines. I hate seeing my loved ones in pain and I hate not being able to do much to help them. On top of the headaches, he has developed another health concern requiring his having to go through an unpleasant and uncomfortable medical test.

Then there is my dear mother who is preparing for a major life change as she moves clear across the province from her home of almost 30 years. The whole process has been filled with difficulties and frustrations, on top of which she has been in extreme pain. I live 8 hours away and have been unable to help her through this challenging time.

My oldest son and his family have had to give up their home due to financial difficulties and are now crowded in with an in-law. My son works 6 days a week and often over 60 hours a week too so he is only able to spend 1 day a week with his wife and daughter and he is exhausted. I don’t live near them and I don’t have money to help them out.

My youngest son just bought his first home after working very hard to save up for a down-payment. He had only been in his home a few weeks when he fell at work tearing a ligament in his knee. His is in pain, unable to work and the workplace injury insurance company has refused his claim. They live 8 hours away so I can’t be there to help either physically or financially.

I love my family deeply and it hurts me to see them hurting. I am a problem solver and a do-er/helper so I have really been struggling with feeling so absolutely helpless and useless in these circumstances.

That is why, each day I do the only thing I know to do – pray, pray, pray to my Heavenly Father.

I pray to God because I know that He loves me, that He hears me and that He cares about my concerns.

1Jn 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

I pray to God because I know that He is faithful and powerful to bring answer to prayer.

2Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you and guard you from the evil.

I pray to God because I trust in Him to work good out of the bad situations.

Gen 50:20 But as for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save a great many people alive.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

I pray to God because I know that He loves my loved ones even more than I do and He wants them well and happy.

Joh 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.

I pray because God has said that the prayer of a righteous child of God accomplishes a lot.

Jas 5:16 … The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.

I pray because when all is said and done, God, through His son, Christ Jesus, is the only hope for any of the problems of my loved ones, or the entire world.

Without God = no hope…

Eph 2:11,12 Therefore remember that you, the nations, … in the flesh, …  without Christ, … strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.

But with God = hope…

1Ti 5:5 But she being really a widow, and having been left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

If and when your life feels like it is swirling down the toilet, this is my prayer for you

1Th 5:16 – 18:  May you rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. And in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Blessings

 

Learning to Fall in Love … With Myself

I have written a number of posts about how we, as Christians, are called to love others – both believers and unbelievers. In fact, we are not only encouraged to love others, we are commanded to love others.

Joh 15:17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

Next to loving God, loving others is the second most important commandment.

Mar 12:29-31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment.  And the second is like this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

Notice that the second commandment has a ‘qualifier’ added to it: love your neighbour as yourself.

We are told that we are to love, respect and treat other people just as we would do so for ourselves. BUT – what if we don’t love ourselves?  And just what does it mean to ‘love ourselves’?

Loving ourselves – hmmm – sounds sort of narcissistic and selfish to me. You know – kind of “mirror-mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all” attitude. There are certainly more than enough selfish, self-absorbed people to go around in this world. But is that the type of love that God means when He says that we are to love ourselves?

I’ll give you a clue – the answer is NO!

The instruction to love your neighbour as you love yourself is mentioned seven times in the New Testament. The word ‘love’ that is used in each one of those scriptures is the Greek word ‘agapao’. We commonly know it as ‘agape’ love and it means to love in a moral or social sense. It is a love based on conscious choice, not feeling or emotion. It means to love because it is the right thing to do rather than waiting to ‘feel’ like loving. It is not a selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed kind of love. It is the kind of love that God has towards mankind – whether we deserve it or not.

God tells us that we are to love ourselves in this way. We must choose to love ourselves even if we don’t feel like we deserve it. Do you love yourself? I know that loving myself has been a HUGE problem for me over the years. Being left by first my father and then my husband gives the old self esteem a real kick in the teeth! My being a sensitive, self-conscious, perfectionist people-pleaser does not help the situation either. I am my own worst critic and thus perhaps my own worst enemy.

Thankfully, I have a gracious, merciful and patient Heavenly Father who is willing and able to help me change my distorted view of myself. He does this by telling me that He loves me.

Joh 16:27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from God.

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us

1Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.

God even loved me when I was an unsaved sinner!

Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins)…

And since the time that I accepted Jesus as my Saviour, God adopted me into His family and loves me as His daughter.

Eph 1:5 having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,…

If God loved me even when I was in my sinful state, and now loves me as His daughter, shouldn’t I learn to love myself??

Thankfully, I am finally learning to do just that. Through the truths that God has given me in His Word, and through the love of a wonderful husband that God has blessed me with, I am learning to be kinder to myself, learning to see myself through their eyes, learning to fall in love …. with myself.

I pray that you also are able to love yourselves as God loves you.

Blessings

(See my post “In His Eyes”)

In The Suffering

In a number of previous posts, I have shared my struggles with various health issues. I share them for a number of reasons. Firstly, I want people to understand that being a Christian does not mean that everything is going to be sweetness and light. Secondly, I want readers to know that I am a real person with real struggles and that I constantly need to turn to God for help, comfort and strength. And thirdly, I want others who may be suffering and/or struggling to know that there is a God of love, comfort, peace and joy who is ready, willing and able to help us through any and all the things that we may go through in this life.

Joh 16:24 Before now you have asked nothing in My name; ask (in the name of Jesus) and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.

1Jn 3:21,22 Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Eph 3:20 Now to Him (God) who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,…

The month of February has been a challenging one for me physically. It has been bitterly cold with high winds and blowing snow. My pain and fatigue levels have increased as have depression and anxiety. All of this on top of having to pack and clean for a move. To say that I am a bit grumpy at times may be an understatement. To be honest, I am fed up!!

Yet, even as I sit here feeling like crap (yes, I am a Christian and I said ‘crap’) I realize that I have many blessings for which I should be thankful.

I am thankful for medicinal ‘helps’ which God provides to alleviate my symptoms. I am thankful that He does not judge me for my lack of faith in my moments of weakness. Rather, I know that He is compassionate and understanding.

Psa 86:15 But You, O God, are God full of pity, and gracious, long-suffering, and rich in mercy and truth.

Likewise, I know that my Saviour, Jesus, also suffered pain, fatigue and sorrow.

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.

In this miserable weather, I am thankful for warm clothes and shelter. I think of, and pray for, those who must endure this weather without benefit of warm clothes or shelter and I help in whatever way I can.

1Ti 6:8 But having food and clothing, we will be content.

In my pain, fatigue and grumpiness, I am very thankful for a loving, compassionate, understanding and patient husband. I thank God for my hubby every day because he loves me as God commands a husband to love his wife.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

In my rough mornings, I am thankful for a comfortable chair, a hot cup of tea, a purring cat upon my lap and a good book to read. I am even more blessed if the sun is shining upon my face.

In my suffering, I am thankful for dear sisters-in-Christ who pray for me and offer words and gestures of help and comfort.

1Th 5:11 Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do.

Jas 5:16 Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.

And in my suffering, I am so grateful for the sure knowledge of my salvation and for the hope that when Jesus comes again, I will be made whole and I will no longer endure suffering, pain or sorrow.

1Ti 2:3,4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away.

PRAISE GOD!

I pray that you will reach out to God in your suffering and find help in your time of need.

Heb 4:16 Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Blessings

 

 

 

Love, Love, Love

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I thought it only appropriate to discuss ‘that crazy little thing called love”. God and Love are inseparable. 1Joh. 4:8 states that “God is love”. To know and understand the one is to know and understand the other. But how little, it seems, do we truly understand either – perhaps, especially, the ‘love’ part.

I think if we were to conduct a survey on what people think ‘love’ means, we would get a wide variety of answers (especially comparing the answers of gals to guys). Unfortunately, there are many people in this world who could not tell you what love means because they have never experienced it for themselves. And then there are those who mistake desire, attraction, and even lust as love.

So what is this thing we call ‘love’? Did you know that there is not just one definition of love? The Bible mentions at least 4 types of love. (and we thought that one was confusing enough!)

Physical Love

One type of love in the Bible can be defined by the Greek word ‘eros’, which describes the physical, sensual love , Biblically speaking, between a husband and his wife. Although the word ‘eros’ does not appear in the Bible, we can see this type of love described in the Song of Solomon.

Son 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

Son 4:10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

While it is possible to have this type of love for someone, God meant it to be between a man and a woman who are husband and wife. And He meant it to be just one part of the whole package of love. A relationship based on sexual attraction alone is not what God wants for a healthy marriage. When the sags, and the bags and the wrinkles and the grey hair comes along (and it will) there must be something more lasting than physical attraction.

Family Love (natural bonding)

Another type of love in the Bible comes from the Greek word ‘storge’ and refers to the natural bonding that occurs between a parent and their child and between family members.

Paul uses the negative form of the word in Romans and 2 Timothy when he describes what happens to mankind when man turns away from God.

Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

In contrast, Paul uses a positive form of the word in Romans to describe how we should behave towards one another.

Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Affectionate Love (feeling)

“Brotherly love’ is another form of love. Many of us know that the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also called ‘the city of brotherly love’. Philadelphia is a city mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Rev 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write;…

The name of Philadelphia comes from the Greek root word ‘philia’ which describes warm-hearted affection and friendship; a relationship based on brotherly love and kindness. While ‘storge’ love is a natural bonding, ‘philia’ love is based more on ‘feelings’. I don’t know about you but in my own life I have met people towards whom I have taken an instant liking. Then there have been those people who have made my skin crawl and my teeth ache from gritting them so hard. You know, the kind of people who make you feel like you would rather endure a toothache than spend another moment with them.

I do not believe that God expects us to have this kind of love towards everyone. This type of love is based on feelings and there are many people with whom we just don’t ‘click’. However, when I read the scriptures where this type of love is mentioned, it seems that we, as Christians, are supposed to show this type of love towards other Christians. After all, we are all of the ‘family of God’ and as such are all ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ so it is only right that we treat one another with ‘brotherly love’.

Rom 12:9, 10 Let love be without hypocrisy, shrinking from evil, cleaving to good; in brotherly love to one another, loving fervently, having led one another in honor.

1Th 4:9 But regarding brotherly love, you do not need that I write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.

Let brotherly love continue.

2Pe 1:5-7 So, for this very cause, take every care; joining virtue to faith, and knowledge to virtue, And self-control to knowledge, and a quiet mind to self-control, and fear of God to a quiet mind, And love of the brothers to fear of God, and to love of the brothers, love itself. (BBE)

I have saved the most important, and possibly the most challenging, type of love for last.

Love of Choice (moral or spiritual sense)

This type of love in the New Testament is the Greek word ‘agape’.  ‘Agape’ love can be described as being benevolent and affectionate. It’s root comes from the Greek word ‘agapao’ which means to love in a moral sense. Putting the two ideas together, it is the type of love in which you choose to show benevolence and affection towards another person, whether you feel like it or not or whether that person deserves it or not. It is not a love that is based on attraction, connection or feeling. It is a love based on choice. Agape love is the highest form of love and it is the kind of love that God has towards us. It is the kind of love that God has for us, even when we are sinners and don’t deserve His love.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God chose, and continues to choose, to love mankind – sinful mankind – even though, as sinners, we do not deserve His love. And in God’s great love for sinful mankind, He was willing to send His only begotten son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sin. Agape love is the love Jesus showed towards all sinners by willingly taking the punishment of death that we, as sinners, deserved.

1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Agape love is the highest form of love and it is the form of love that we, as Christians, are commanded to show to the unsaved world and to each other.

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Let us work hard at choosing to love others.

Blessings

The Face of Love

Today is just a short post. I want to continue talking about the subject of love by combining subjects I have already written about in my previous posts “Advent Love” and “Love Me Tender”. In those posts, I discussed the character of God and the qualities of true love.

I want to start off by asking you to close your eyes and try to picture God. What image of Him arises in your mind? Do you see God as a frowning, stern faced old man with white hair and a long beard? Do you see God sporting a non-committal expression as if He really doesn’t care about what’s going on? Or do you think that He is so far above us, so removed from us that you can’t picture Him at all?

There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well allow me to use a few words to paint you a picture, a picture of my Heavenly Father. It is in fact, a self-portrait painted by The Creator Himself. God painted the outline of His portrait with the words in 1Joh.4:8 – … God is love. Then He added colour, texture and depth to His portrait with His defining words of love found in 1Cor. 13:4-8.

When you look at these verses,  replace the word “love” with the word “God” (for God is love). By doing so, I hope that your picture of God will become the image that He wants you to know and understand.

1Co 13:4   Love (God) is never tired of waiting; love (God) is kind; love (God)has no envy; love (God) has no high opinion of itself, love (God) has no pride;

1Co 13:5   Love’s (God’s) ways are ever fair, it (God) takes no thought for itself; it (God) is not quickly made angry, it (God)takes no account of evil;

1Co 13:6   It (God)takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true;

1Co 13:7   Love (God) has the power of undergoing all things, having faith in all things, hoping all things. (BBE)

1Co 13:8   … Love (God) never fails. (MKJV) 

In today’s post, I wanted to paint you an overall “picture” of God. In future posts, I will look closer at some of the individual aspects of that portrait.

Blessings