Tag : love-2

Here I Come by Mayada Naami

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

(John 14:15-18, NIV)

I am in Cartagena, by myself, enjoying a week of mingling with the local Colombians. This is the second time this year I visited Colombia. When I tell my friends and family where I’m going, I always get the same response, “Be careful.” I always respond in the same way, “There is no fear in love.” We are created in His image, obviously not in the physical realm, and yet we sometimes operate out of fear and judgement. This is not His Way. God is Love. I enjoy traveling and witnessing what the Creator has given us in love. He has provided a world that is heaven on earth (if we choose to see the world through His eyes). Jesus’s first prayer was the “Our Father” and He says, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

A few days ago, I was sitting at a beachfront restaurant, and I was praying a prayer over Colombia and especially over the young girls that are selling their bodies for money, and I heard the words to a reggae song playing in the background:

Love and hate can never be friends. Here I come with love and not hatred... It was a song by Dennis Brown called, “Here I Come.”

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”

(1 John 2:28, NIV)

The Lord heard my prayers and reassured me through a song. Is there corruption in Colombia? Absolutely. Men come from all over the world for “Tourist sex.” Young girls that look barely fifteen approach men on every corner; drugs are sold on the streets,

Yet the tour busses have images of Jesus Christ.

There are shrines to the Virgin Mary on almost every corner. Unfortunately, this is the way of the world. The Bible tells us in John 15:19: “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” During my travels, I have met some wonderful, kind people. Some are lost sheep looking for their way and I tell them Jesus is the only Truth and the Way to life. He is the Good Shepherd and He will come looking for His lost sheep.

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

(Luke 15:3-7, NIV)

Categories: Blog

Who’s Perfect? By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Another typo! As hard as I try, my texting is never perfect, nor is my writing. I have posted a blog and later re-read it and found a misspelled word that I did not catch previously. If only I could be perfect…

I’d like to be a perfect housekeeper.

I’d like to always have perfect hair.

I want to be the perfect spouse and friend.

I desire to be a perfect mother.

And I know I fall short of perfection in all of these areas.

But the Bible says we can reach perfection in the following ways:

  1. We can be perfect in the way we follow God. Matthew 5:48 says, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (ESV) I believe this kind of perfection has to do with behavior. Psalm 101:2 says, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way.”
  2. We can be perfect in how we treat others. If we allow it, God’s perfect love can flow through us. “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12).
  3. We can be perfect in our response to God’s Word. Staying in the Word daily is key. “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7, ESV)
John Wesley

While no longer in the Methodist Church, I spent thirty years in Methodism and have a Methodist seminary degree, I became a fan of the father of Methodism, John Wesley, who also believed we could achieve a form of perfection. According to the Methodist Church, “By ‘perfection, Wesley did not mean moral flawlessness or sinlessness. He meant perfection in the sense of maturity. Wesley believed we could become perfect in love in this life. If Jesus invites us to seek perfection, perfect love is possible. He didn’t mean we would be free from mistakes, temptation or failure.”[1]

So how would you like to be more perfect? We will always have some rough spots but God will continue to use his holy sandpaper and polish us until we meet Him in Heaven. That’s when everything will finally be perfect.

“…Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

[1] https://www.umc.org/en/content/what-did-john-wesley-mean-by-moving-on-to-perfection

Categories: Blog

What Do You Expect by Mayada Naami

The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish

(Proverbs 10:28, ESV)

Expectations lead to disappointment which many times leads to judgment. When someone can’t accept you as you are and how you behave—if they expect you to change—they may become judgmental or controlling. We cannot control the behavior of others. We can, however, choose who to invest in and walk away from those not investing in our well-being or in the relationship. We are not responsible for someone’s actions—only for our reaction. When you do not expect anything, chances are you won’t be disappointed. Giving to others without expecting anything in return is agape love, brotherly love, or charity. It is the “love of God for man and man for God.”

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked(Luke 6:35, NIV).

As a child, I was often judged for my actions. As a result I grew up thinking that judging others was acceptable behavior. I was always concerned about how others perceived me and was in constant fear of disappointing someone or being disappointed. After surrendering my life to Christ, I now live to please my Lord and Savior. I am learning to be more compassionate and kinder to others, to ease my expectations so I do not judge people when they do not act or behave in the way I expect. I see others through the eyes of the Lord, and love on them regardless of their actions; the way the Lord loves me. I have learned to enjoy the person or relationship more when I do not have expectations. If you are not equally yoked, it’s biblical not to associate with a person lest they take you away from Peace. Love and pray for them but walk away if you are convicted in your spirit.

Life is not perfect. Removing expectations will let you appreciate life as is. Judgement only adds frustration and negativity to all your relationships. Perfectionists are never happy. When you let go of expectations, you create space to enjoy the present—the here and now. Removing expectations does not mean lowering your standards, it means letting go of unnecessary pressure you put on others as well as yourself. Expectations are an illusion that leads to disappointment. The joy of living is when you don’t have the pressure of pleasing others and you do not impose your will on others. Living without expectations requires accepting others as they are and loving them as God loves us, with grace and mercy.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NIV)

Categories: Blog

Encouraging or Discouraging? By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Sometimes when we go through something difficult we ask for a word from God, and He often uses a prophetic friend to speak to us. It’s happened time and time again in my life so I believe in prophetic gifting, but prophets have to be very careful when they speak on God’s behalf.

I am wrapping up a study of the book of Job, and knowing the whole story makes it frustrating to read the condemning remarks of Job’s friends. I am in the final discourse between Job and his “friend” Elihu. Elihu gets it right sometimes. He has a magnificent understanding of God. He says God is “mighty in strength of understanding.” True. He says in Job 35: “God is exalted in His power. Who is a teacher like Him?” Accurate. “Behold, God is exalted—beyond our knowledge!” No argument here. But where Elihu crosses the line is when he infers that Job is wicked (Job 35:8), that Job spoke nonsense (Job 35:16) and that when people are held captive by cords of affliction (Job) then “they have transgressed arrogantly” (Job 36:8–9). Elihu was confident he was right because as he said in Job 36, he spoke on “God’s behalf,” and his knowledge is from “afar.”

Here’s where Elihu failed and where we can fail people today. We judge what is going on with someone even though we don’t know the whole story. If we see someone blatantly sinning, then yes, if we’re a good friend, we should say something. We could attempt to save them from going further down a path of destruction. But if a friend or loved one keeps getting sick or nothing seems to go right in their life, we shouldn’t immediately assume that they’ve done something wrong. God may be using the circumstance to grow them spiritually, or to test them, as he did Job. Who can know the mind of God? However, we know that God is Love and He uses circumstances to draw His children closer.

Our Heavenly Father is an encourager, not a discourager. This week I experienced a small disappointment at school and prayed for the Lord to encourage me if I was supposed to continue. School has added a lot of work to an already busy schedule. Right after I prayed I decided to check a grade on one of my school papers. The professor gave me a high compliment and I was immediately encouraged. It was an answer to prayer and clear direction that I needed to hang in there.

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins” (NIV). That’s what we are called to do. When we receive a word from God through someone else, it should be laced with love. When we are consoling a friend, what we say should be encouraging not discouraging. Let’s carefully pray over our words before they hit the atmosphere. It’s what Job’s friends failed to do.

Categories: Blog

Funnel of Love by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

He stood in front of the class weeping uncontrollably. Our “Christ and Culture” professor had prayed that he would have a heart like God’s for His people—and he received it.

We had just been listening to excerpts from the songs of Les Miserables and Fantine’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” triggered the emotion. In Victor Hugo’s classic story, Fantine resorted to a life of prostitution to help care for her daughter, Cosette. It reminded our professor of all the women in Los Angeles who had resorted to prostitution to survive. His heart broke for them.

I was also crying during the song because Fantine brought back memories of my mother, also broken, but my mom, a brilliant pianist and harpist, was never able to rise above the heartache she experienced after the sudden death of my father. She struggled with mental illness the rest of her life. This is why I want to help women like her by sharing God’s hope and love.

1 John 4:1-7 says, Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (NIV).

We can’t fathom how great God’s love is for us. It is beyond comprehension and sometimes because of hardships, we doubt His love. We shouldn’t. We live in an imperfect world and setbacks will come. I believe God is weeping with us when we experience emotional pain and disappointment.

I have also asked God to break my heart for what breaks His and I imagine this large body of love funneling down to me, providing what I can handle to love the brothers and sisters He places in my realm of influence. We should all desire to see people through the eyes of love as God sees them, no matter how difficult they may seem. When someone disappoints us, we need to look at why they disappointed us and love them anyway. We’re even supposed to love the people who are not in our corner. Jesus said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

Who should you weep for today? Who needs to feel God’s “funnel of love” through you? Will you ask God to break your heart for His people—then ask how you can help them?

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV).

Categories: Blog