Choose Love

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt 5:44).

I have been taught through the years that love is not an emotion, but a choice, but I still really had trouble putting this verse into action. Even if I told myself that I was “choosing” to love, my attitude was still not of a loving mindset. Maybe God allowed me to wrestle with this one for a while so that my understanding would be more meaningful.

In the original language there are a number of more concise words that are used for our word, “love” such as love between friends, romantic love, God’s love. But one word for love translated to “wishing well.” Aha moment! Or rather, Holy Spirit moment!  Maybe I can’t on my own choose to love, and on my own I definitely can’t feel love toward certain people, but with God’s help, I can certainly want what’s best for them.

Our loving Father has many earthly blessings in store for us, but His “best” is not just temporary worldly things. And His ultimate best comes to those who choose to put their faith in His Son. I certainly can desire this, God’s best, for those who maybe aren’t so dear to me, but are so dear to Him.

All the Answers

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).

If you have been reading these blogs for even a short time, you have probably noticed that I like to “fix things.” And I like to fix them fast. And the things I want fixed aren’t always fixable or in my control. You probably have also noticed that I haven’t yet eradicated the virus, poverty, injustice or established a country filled with love, kindness and peace.

We live in a messy world. True heroes of the faith, both present and past, lived in chaotic times as well, but often didn’t participate. They seemed to transcend the difficulties … at least mentally and spiritually.

At a time when fear, anxiety, and contradicting opinions seem to rule the day, and deciphering truth is next to impossible, we can still have peace. God’s truth is all that matters, and He is in control. His peace is the only peace that can ever satisfy.

We are His valued children, and although we can’t always comprehend the chaotic noise around us, He will not allow any harm to come to believers that is not first sifted through His loving hands.

Let’s join our hearts and pray that the peace of God that passes all understanding would fill our hearts and overflow into the lives of those around us. That we would be overwhelmed with His peace in these times of trouble and turmoil. May God’s spirit dominate in our hearts and drive any fear and anxiety away!

Truth and Lies

Jesus answered, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6a).

Have you found these days that when you have even a small decision to make, much of your time is spent on discerning truth? The world today seems to be teeming in opposing views, understandings, interpretations, and nonstop out-and-out lies. Those people who are trying to be conscientious find themselves confused, uneasy and anxious.

Even the believer is susceptible to lies, but there is much said in God’s word that can guide us. First, knowing the source of deceit. In scripture Jesus referred to Satan as “the father of lies.” It is his character. Jesus also informed the group of accusers that they were the children of the devil for spreading lies. 

We may know to not act in contradiction to the Word, but often there are gray areas where we are just unsure. In 1 John, we are told to test the spirits. Sometimes just looking for the motivation helps us to see that some people have put their own self-interest far, far above acting with care, concern or even morality. As James says, it stems from envy and egotism.

1Corinthians tells us that God is not the God of confusion, but of peace. Doesn’t it always fall back to faith and trust in the Father and not faith in me trying to solve everything. Why do I so often go to Him for direction as a last step instead of the first step?

Our answer is always seeking Him. Our God is a God of love and peace, and Jesus doesn’t just speak truth; He is Truth.

Our Legacy

…for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim 4:8).

Frank Ocean tells the story of a hike that he took through the Redwoods National Forrest. In one area there were benches every half mile often with plaques noting the donor. But one particular plaque had these words:

Florence Genevieve Saperstein

1913-1996

She was a beautiful woman and even lovelier in the way

she treated people. Everyone who ever knew her loved

and revered her for her unselfishness, her joyful spirit,

and her commitment and service to others.

Mr. Ocean noted that “Florence Genevieve Saperstein’s life was not even a speck of carbon in one of the hundreds and hundreds of tiny rings in one of those trees,” yet she had an impact on others in the brief time she had on earth.

We may never have the impact of a Billy Graham or even a Florence Saperstein, but God has plans for each of us and surrounds us with those that we can affect. We may get to see the final result of someone that we have helped to lead to eternal life, or we may have a role in spiritually influencing another without even realizing it.

Our life on earth may be smaller than a speck of carbon, but the spiritual influence that we can have can ripple, and cause other ripples, that cause other ripples for eternity.

Follow the link to the webpage to see the photo.

By Faith

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…(Heb 11:4)

I was raised in a very works-oriented religion and even though I’ve been a believer for decades, it is still hard to think that it doesn’t take something “I” say or do to please God. More than anything spiritual that I could ever imagine or do, no matter how huge or even how effective, it wouldn’t please God any more than one little five-letter word—FAITH.

When I first read the story about Cain’s sacrifice of the fruit of the ground, and Abel’s sacrifice of the first-born of his flock, I wondered why God accepted Abel’s, but rejected Cain’s. I’m sure Cain offered a beautiful presentation of his finest fruits and vegetables, but he obviously hadn’t followed God’s instruction. He did it his way.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews outlines person after person, hero after hero, who sometimes did pretty unorthodox things. But they had one thing in common—faith.

Scripture warns us often that things may seem right to us, but our faith and subsequent obedience has to be in God and His way. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.

And finally, we can take comfort in knowing He loves us, and His motive is always love and goodness because that isn’t just what He does…it’s who He is.