Category Archives: Love

God’s Faithfulness in Keeping His Covenant

Deut 7 9Some days we just need to constantly remind ourselves that God is FAITHFUL – all the time!  It is easy on the good days when things are going along smoothly. But what about the days when the kids are more moody than you can handle, the car breaks down, or a friend or family member causes incredible pain?

Speaking from many experiences, I KNOW God is faithful, but I don’t always FEEL it.  However, resting and meditating on God’s Word can FILL ME ABUNDANTLY with the assurance of His LOVE and FAITHFULNESS.  I may not FEEL it, but deep down I KNOW it.

Having a prodigal child can bring heavy emotions some times.  I REST fully in the promise of God’s Covenantal LOVE and GRACE to get me through these difficult times.

Praising God through both the good and difficult times for His LAVISH LOVE and FAITHFULNESS and hope you can as well ~ Faye

Submit to One Another

Ephesians 5:21 is simple and yet it has really given me something to think about:  “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of love one another because God and Christ love us.  Here is the first time that I remember hearing “submit” to one another out of reverence for Christ. I think sometimes it’s easier to love one another (or at least fake loving one another with a semi-sincere love/kindness to them). But this Type A personality has a much harder time submitting, especially when I “know” I’m right. Whether this is to my husband, my boss, a friend, or even God, there is often a discussion at the minimum, and unfortunately especially in the past, there has too often been a heated discussion.

Submitting and surrendering doesn’t mean giving up and walking away. My NLT study notes say: “Submission is not expressed by defensive actions in response to fear.” (Usually not the way I respond, so I think I’m in the clear). Reading further, “Submission is not expressed by a desire for personal gain.” (Rats! That one hits too close to home. I want to be right. I am competitive when it comes to being right. I know I struggle with pride in its many forms and this is probably my chief flaw.) I have hurt so many people in my past by wanting to be right instead of surrendering and submitting to what God wants me to do – whether it is the right or wrong answer.

I was reading John Piper’s message on Ephesians 5:21-33.  A few things struck me regarding submission. When we submit to someone out of RESPECT, submission is not a burden but done in the love of God. Piper talks about the perfect harmony that existed when God created man and woman (Genesis 1-3). When sin entered the world that perfect harmony of marriage was ruined “because it twisted man’s humble, loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others. And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness (flattery) in some women and brazen insubordination in others. Sin didn’t create headship and submission; it ruined them and distorted them and made them ugly and destructive.”

Perfect submission is to do something that you may not want to do, but you surrender to the act out of respect, love and obedience.  This is what Christ did when he laid down His life for the church. He cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take away what Christ faced, yet he ended His prayer with – not My will but Yours be done. (Luke 22:42) Submission is not a forced, coerced, or cowering act. Christ’s at was done out of the purest respect, love and obedience to God.

Submission is a way of honoring and respecting. It’s not ignoring who we are, but doing something in obedience to the way God wants us to treat others. Submission doesn’t mean surrendering who God made you to be. He gave you wisdom and insight, gifts and talents. It doesn’t mean you can’t share your thoughts and opinions. But it does mean doing so with respect and love for the other person.

Live today in the blessing of being challenged by God’s Word ~ Faye

I’m linked with Beholding Glory and Good Morning Girls.

Love Lifted Me!

God's love lifted me!My husband and I enjoy a walk along the river near our home. However, since God has blessed us with a very nice winter so far, the ground is sometimes not frozen. This has left us sinking in the mud and slipping around on the trail. The mud clings to our boots making it much harder to walk. My husband lovingly takes a stick once we get to the rocks and scrapes the majority of the mud off our boots so our walking is easier.

I woke up singing a mix of a few old songs – “He lifted me from the pit and from the miry clay, He set my feet on a rock establishing my way. … From sinking sand He lifted me, with tender hand He lifted me, from shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me. … Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else would help, love lifted me!” Those songs mixed through my mind and heart causing me to contemplate what God was trying to tell me. Two thoughts seemed to come from those song lyrics:

1) I am a sinner. Too often I turn my back on God. I let anger, jealousy, rejection and worry fill my mind instead of surrendering completely, trusting God to guide me and fill with His peace. No matter how many times I break God’s heart, and get stuck in the mud and mire of sin, He lovingly comes along and draws me close to Him. He tenderly, yet firmly scrapes off the mud of sin that is stuck to my heart and makes it easier to follow Him closely each day.

2) Relationships.  During Christmas we focus on the blessing of Christ’s birth to give us the gift of salvation through His sacrificial death. It seems that the need to tell others of Christ’s love is even stronger. However, with broken relationship and others who don’t want to hear of Christ, it isn’t always easy to share who God is. It seemed like God was reminding me as I walked that He is working tenderly, gently in the hearts of the people I care about who don’t know Him personally or aren’t living lives that put Him first. Instead of worrying over a lost loved one, I kept hearing – When nothing else will help (not my nagging, impatience, anger or worry), it will be God’s love that lifts them to Him. God seemed to be challenging and reminding me I need to be a reflection of His love to those in my life. I also need to be available to be used by God to gently help scrape away the mud and miry clay if He so leads.

3) Also, in my worrying over the absence of a loved one, He reminded me of His ways of turning around a heart filled with despair through David’s Psalm 40

 1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, …

5 O Lord my God, You have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all Your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.

11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let Your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. 12 For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. 13 Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.

16 But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”

May you be filled with the abundant blessing of God’s love lifting you from your cares ~ Faye

Blessings Overflowing

God pours out His blessings on us every day. However, it seems during the holiday season we notice the blessings even more. I noticed this Sunday how I was blessed with hugs and warm greetings from numerous people, even ones I didn’t expect. I have been filled with God’s love through others since early yesterday morning. Those simple acts of caring were a reflection of God’s love and care and have left me filled to overflowing

There are days when I can be in a room filled with fellow believers in Christ and leave so alone. Was it them, or was it me? A quote I read yesterday challenged me, “…our behavior and heart condition do determine whether we receive the fullness of God’s blessings.” Is my heart and my attitude ready to openly receive? Or do I stay to the fringe of the room, talk to the same people always or keep too busy so that I don’t allow anyone close?

Yesterday God worked through so many people to bless me. And it wasn’t just happening to me.  I saw several small groups gathered listening, encouraging, crying with, hurting for, celebrating and sharing the love of God.

Isaiah 55:1-3 says,

Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink – even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk – it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to  me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to Me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

I was blessed yesterday to be filled with life, abundant life in Christ; shown through others who believe in Him. I’m not sure if it’s the season, or the fact that we focused on the Lord’s Supper and our brokenness being restored through Christ’s blood. Whatever it was, the Holy Spirit was moving among His people and working at filling them. What a blessing to be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ, freely given to all who believe, and easily shared when we are focused on Him.

May you enjoy God’s overflowing love and presence ~ Faye

Love One Another

When I married my husband 35 1/2 yrs ago, we had this song in our wedding – “Love one another, love one another, as I have loved you. And care for each other, care for each other, as I have cared for you. And bear one another’s burdens, and share each other’s joys, and love one another, love one another, and bring each other home.” For some reason, that type of love has been relatively easy to share with my husband over all these years. God has blessed us greatly in our relationship.

But oh how I wish I had lived that type of Godly-love for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ! There have been way too many fellow believers over the years who are walking-wounded because of my sinful words or actions. Living in a small town the past few years and getting to know many people following the 2008 flood, there have been good and bad times as well. Recently some hurtful words were said about me. As God has been working on healing and restoring, He’s put some of the people who were involved back into my life. I’ve wanted to ignore them or retaliate. However, after studying 1 John daily for eleven weeks, I’ve been reminded over and over again, I’m supposed to LOVE these people with the love of God and the love of Christ because I love God.

GOD’S LOVE – John 3:16-17, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”

CHRIST’S LOVE – Philippians 2:5-8, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Thou He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”

God’s love shows us redemption and grace through sacrificial giving. Christ’s love shows us sacrificial giving through obedience and humility to God’s will.

So I’m asking myself, especially with difficult people, “Am I showing them the love of God and the love of Christ in my words and actions?” There are so many times I’m grateful that my thoughts are filtered through God’s love before they come out of my mouth.

By sharing God’s love, something good happens, not only to the people we love, but also in us. God’s abundant love and grace poured out on others is a transforming gift to us.

May you enjoy the blessing of God’s love and grace especially as you share His love with others ~ Faye

Anticipation and Unconditional Love

I was reading 1 John 4:7-21 which focuses on – God is love, God’s unconditional love. When we are filled with His love, we have to share that love with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t keep it to ourselves.

As I was reading and reflecting on verses 17 and 18, I was filled with thoughts of what a wonderful blessing to even think of let alone imagine being the bride of Christ. When I read, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.” All I could picture was a honeymoon night where a couple comes together for the first time – somewhat shy, with anticipation but fully in love. That love overlooks the body faults and blemishes. Being the bride of Christ, I will be able to BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY approach the judgment day because God sees me through LOVING EYES and the GRACE of Christ’s blood shed on the cross. He doesn’t see my sinfulness. I can’t imagine what it will be like to be in the ultimate experience of unconditional love, but I am SO READY! Come, LORD Jesus, come quickly!

The real focus of those verses are very challenging, at least to me. Mark 6:31-35 tells of Jesus talking to a crowd of people when His someone said His family was outside to see Him.

Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then He looked at those around Him and said, “Look, these are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and my sister and my mother.”

After reading that, I have to admit I have a large family in Christ that I need to be loving unconditionally. That includes loving some who have hurt me deeply. I need to surrender to God, seek His forgiveness, follow His will and leading. Then filled with His unconditional love, turn to others and love the people who are my family in Christ. I’m so grateful through God’s grace, forgiveness and love, He can change any heart – including mine.

In just a week and a half we will begin the Advent season. The anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth and looking forward to His coming again are exciting. These thoughts fill me with longing. But then I look at verses 20-21 – “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” I realize it is really easy to get excited about anticipating Christ’s return, without looking at the responsibility of changing me. I love God! I can get lost in worshiping and glorifying God. But if I really LOVE GOD, I need to be showing this openly to my brother and sister in Christ.

I like the notes from my study Bible on our love grows more perfect  (v. 17).  It doesn’t mean flawless, but mature and complete.  It doesn’t mean I will be able to love perfectly and completely unconditionally as God. However, as I mature in my relationship with God, God’s love transforms me into the person He wants me to be.

Praise God as I grow in my love of Him, my fears are set aside for judgment day. I mature in my love for my family in Christ, and I eagerly anticipate the day I am taken as His bride in heaven.

I ENJOY singing And Can It Be by Charles Wesley, particularly the last verse: 

No condemnation now I dread, for Christ, and all in Him, is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne and claim the crown through Christ my own. Amazing love, how can it be that You, my LORD, should die for me?

Enjoy the wonderful blessing of knowing we can BOLDING approach the throne of God through His Grace and LOVE!

God’s Abundant Blessings ~ Faye

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20john%204:7-21&version=NLT

Contentment

I seem to be surrounded with this topic this past week from Bible study, to worship planning, to family questions. So thought I’d share what I think contentment means to me. A quote from Dr. Billy Graham reminds us that we can be content within, even when everything seems to be very difficult:

The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances. It is the  happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and the most bitter environment. It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through tears.  

The Apostle Paul says he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). Those words sound simple, but look at Saul/Paul’s life. He spells out some of many things that have happened to him (2 Corinthians 11:23-30 – imprisoned, beaten, left for dead, stoned, shipwrecked, always in danger, hungry, sleepless), yet later he says he’s learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

But is it always that easy? My nephew asked a questions this morning on Facebook, Why doesn’t God heal amputees?” There is no easy answer. God does what He decides in His timing. But when we rely on Him, we are filled with a calm assurance He is in control. He knows the bigger picture about what is best for us. Not necessarily what we want or desire, but what we need to help shape us into the person He wants us to be.

I think too often I focus on me, my pain, my discomfort, my fatigue. I don’t step back and look at the bigger picture – my faith has grown during my life, but it has really GROWN during the deepest trials.  I’m not content with the trial, but I am content knowing that God is with me. He’s living in me, guiding me ahead each day, giving me strength for what comes next.

My husband is a men’s quartet fan, and so we have listened many years to the Cathedral Quartet. Years ago, George Younce read this poem by Red Foley

 

Today, upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair,
I envied her….she seemed so gay….and wished I were so fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch; but as she passed….a smile!

Oh God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two legs. The world is mine!

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him. He seemed so glad. If I were late, t’would do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, “I thank you. You have been so kind.
It’s nice to talk with folks like you. You see,” he said, “I’m blind.”

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes. The world is mine.

Later while walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play. I stopped a moment,
When I said, “Why don’t you join the others, Dear?”
He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear.

Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears, the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go, with eyes to see the sunset’s glow,
with ears to hear what I would know….

Oh God forgive me when I whine.
I am blessed indeed. The world is mine!

After the poem, they would end with We Are So Blessed, by Bill and Gloria Gaither

We are so blessed, by the gifts of Your hand we just can’t understand why You loved us so much. We are so blessed, we just can’t find a way or the words that can say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your touch.” When we’re empty You fill us ’til we overflow. When we’re hungry You feed us, and cause us to know. We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, take it all, everything, Lord, we love You so much.

We are so blessed by the things You have done, the victories we’ve won and what You’ve brought us through. We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, take it all everything, Lord, we bring it to You. When we’re empty You fill us ’till we overflow. When we’re hungry You feed us, and cause us to know. We are so blessed, take what we have to bring, take it all, everything, Lord, we love You so much.

A lot of contentment is just about perspective. Take time to see how God is pouring out His abundant blessings on you today. Have you seen Him? Please share, I love His divine appointments, encouragements, acts.

God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

Showers of God’s Blessing

Showers of Blessings

God’s blessings are so wonderful. I am so grateful I was able to enjoy so many of them in the past 24 hours.

Friend 1 – cancer is “only” Stage 1. So much better than spread throughout the body. Now the planning and preparation for the treatments begins.

Friend 2 – treatments have helped in treating the cancer. Spreading out the follow up tests and treatments.

Friend 3 – heads for surgery to remove a portion of the cancer. They, too, are rejoicing it’s not more extensive.

My heart breaks for them all as they have to face more treatment, but God has answered a multitude of prayers to make these cancers be on the treatable side. Now prayers will continue for them all in the days and months ahead.

Thought I’d be a blessing to the church secretary by filling in for her a couple of days so she could enjoy some vacation time.  God is SO Awesome! While cleaning old files, I went down memory lane of the church’s 39 year history. I saw how far God has brought the church and scattered so many people who have worshiped with us throughout the United States and even the world.

I ended up being richly blessed by conversations with several people who came through the door. What incredible gifts God blesses us with – smiles, eye contact, touch, hugs, tears and laughter. God has made us so incredibly wonderful.

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet each other with Christian love.       2 Corinthians 13:11-12

How wonderful it is to stand and receive the multitude of blessings showed upon me from God today!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.       2 Corinthians 13:14

Enjoying God’s Abundant Blessings ~ Faye

Love One Another

Love – what a simple and precious word. 

What a blessing to have been in the fellowship of believers yesterday. I say that mostly from hindsight. I started the day so tired, the cold weather affecting my body with fatigue. I was on the worship team and usually have an increased energy that only comes from the Holy Spirit, but yesterday I was drained. I was grateful we had planned another leader and the pastor to take the majority of the service, because I couldn’t get my mind out of the Fibro fog. Yet I ended leaving the church filled with the blessed love of God’s grace given to me by others.

When love happens in the framework of Christians, an amazing thing happens. God’s presence flows from one person to another. It may be with a look, a hug, laughter, or tears. Encouragement comes from people who are listening through God’s ears. Even people that we don’t always get along with, that we’ve had major disagreements with, can be seen through the eyes of love. Because as a Christian, we are looking at others through Christ’s eyes of compassion.

1 John 3:11 & 12 (NLT) says, “This is the message you  have heard from the beginning:  We should love one another.” My first thoughts were,  “I agree. Love One Another. Good words.” Then I read vs. 12 – “We must not be like Cain, who belonged, to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.” I found myself thinking, “I’ve never killed anyone. So this doesn’t apply to me.” WRONG! Ok, I’ve never physically taken someone’s life, but how often have I struggled with my temper, anger, or a desire to get revenge. I have caused pain to others by what I’ve said or done. I’ve torn hearts apart by not looking at someone with the eyes of God’s love.

I have a card I keep posted in my office. I wish I would remember these verses more often:

Perfect Harmony

“You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the LORD forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”  Colossians 3:13-15 NLT

Living in Harmony

I was recently out taking photos of the changing leaves. I came across a park where the differences of colors blended and added a beauty that seemed to enhance the other trees in the area. As I reflected on yesterday morning’s blessed friendships with other believers, I realized that’s what I was seeing in my fellow Christians. When we are reflecting God’s love to someone, we help God’s love shine through them to us as well. We live in a harmony of colors.

One of the best things that happened yesterday was seeing how God has been at work in a relationship where there was hurt in the past. Once we opened our hearts to forgiving each other, God poured out His love and grace on us. We have been able to encourage each other and laugh with each other.

Love One Another – three simple words with such important meaning.

Praising God for His blessings from my sisters and brothers in Christ ~ Faye

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