Tag : love
Tag : love
Do I go or not?
A friend of mine’s mother passed away and the funeral was on Friday, almost an hour away from my home. Overall, it would be a three-and-a-half hour commitment to attend.
Normally, I would not have hesitated to be there for my friend, but this time, I felt penned in by pressing schoolwork. I had earmarked Friday to write a research paper, and needed to study for an upcoming test on Monday. It was a big church. I didn’t know if she’d even see me there.
Ironically, the paper I am writing is all about how we should respond to God’s love, and one point is that “we are commanded by Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
While making the decision, I pondered, What would be meaningful to me? I knew if I were in the same shoes, I would be touched if someone put aside a busy schedule to support me, so after a lot of prayer and godly counsel from my husband, I made the decision to go.
Friday morning, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and could not go back to sleep, so I decided to get up early and work on my paper. I completed every section but the last one which was: “We should respond to God’s love for us by serving and loving others.” It would have to wait until I got back home.
The church and funeral was beautiful, but when my friend gave a eulogy about her mother, I couldn’t believe my ears when she thanked everyone for attending and said, “You were not here on your own. You were commanded to be here.” I immediately thought about my paper. It’s a commandment to love others. And sometimes that means putting our personal schedules aside to be there for someone else. To make this even more impactful, when my friend left the sanctuary, she did see me and welled up with tears. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’d made the right decision.
Not surprisingly, I came back home and finished my paper, just in time to attend a church worship event at the Texas Motor Speedway, topped off by fireworks. I had many reasons to praise God. Alleluia! I completed my paper! But I also praised our loving Father because he reminded me that the people in our lives are more important than our to-do list. If it’s of Him, He will help us accomplish what’s on our plates.
First and foremost, we are commanded to love.
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you (John 15:12).
Join us September 30th at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom for our next POP Chat where our guest speaker will be KCBI Radio Morning Show Host, Author, and Popular Speaker, Rebecca Carrell who will be speaking about “We Become What We Behold.” Our Worship will be led by Author and Radio Show Host, Donna Renay Patrick. It will be a great time of Worship, Teaching and Discussion. Click on the link to sign up!
I believe Jesus is crying right now.
He’s crying about the inhumane treatment of George Floyd.
But I think He’s also crying about the violent protests going on around the United States, filled with hate, looting and destruction of property. After all, He represents love—not hate.
I think He could also be in mourning. I imagine Him saying, “This is not what I taught when I walked on this earth. Do you not remember what I told you about those who come against you?” I said, ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you’” (Luke 6:27–28).
Jesus was known as the Prince of Peace, “Sar Shalom.” He himself said He came to this world to bring peace, not war or angst. In one of His most famous addresses on the Mount of Beatitudes, he brought up the importance of peace: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). 1 Peter 3:11 calls us to seek and purse peace.
Have we as a nation turned completely away from the Word of God? Isn’t there another way to solve the injustice committed against George Floyd, rather than revenge? Proverbs 20:22 says, “Don’t say, ‘I will get even for this wrong.’ Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.”
After all, God is the one who made it clear in both Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:17–19 that he wants to handle any punishment or discipline that needs to be doled out. It’s not up to us individuals. The Apostle Paul reminded everyone of this in the book of Romans when he said, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.’”
I know God is righteous and just. While He does not want anyone to perish, I have seen his Holy discipline acted out many times, at times defending me. At other times, defending others. We just have to trust that He is in control, and that, more than anyone, He hates brutal mistreatment of His children. After all, He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground.
So today, I’m pleading with those who are carrying out violent acts of protest. Instead of making the scenario worse, let’s lift this situation up in prayer, and ask Almighty God to intervene. Let’s remember a situation from years ago when the Children of Israel were fleeing from slavery in Egypt and the Egyptians decided to chase them down so they could haul them back into captivity. With the oppressors on their heels, there was great fear but Moses comforted the Israelites and said, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:13–14). And that’s when God opened up the Red Sea and the pursuers were swallowed up by the waters behind them.
Evangelist Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, said this about the scenario going on, “Our skin colors are supposed to help us appreciate each other, not oppress each other.”
It’s time to stand still and let God handle this. Let’s put away the bleach, the torches and the spray paint and appreciate each other as equal, created beings of God—formed into God’s image and molded for relationships of love—not hate.
Yesterday, at Pearls of Promise Ministries we were talking about our hearts. What it means to have a pure and clean heart, and what it means to pour out your heart. So much of my time recently as been spent examining my heart.
This time of isolation has really allowed me to reflect on my relationships. I have journaled and blogged about my relationship with God, my husband, my girls, my parents and with my siblings. I have had the chance to love on my niece and my nephew-in-law from afar, as they welcomed into the family the first child of the next generation. And, I have spent countless hours of blessed, quality time via phone calls and zoom calls with my friends. I have loved every minute!
Pouring out your heart starts with love, and communication is the key foundation to every relationship so I have been in extrovert heaven. I must admit I have missed hugs and there are some family and friends whom I just can’t squeeze in person—yes, you Baby Russell!
Thankfully, this time allowed me to pour my heart out to the Lord daily and sometimes well into the night. I have cried out to Him for myself, my family, friends, our country and our leaders, for our neighbors in all the countries around the world. What a time to pour out of hearts. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts for Him, for God is our refuge.”
In Him, I have found my refuge, my strength during this time and I am blessed to have deepened many of my relationships. There are so many of you who are struggling. Jobs lost or overworked, moving, families separated, death of loved ones, and even celebrations, births, or graduations diminished or put on hold because of this time. Yet there has been so much love too.
When we get through it all, I pray that we pour out our hearts even more. I pray that marriages become strengthened, family bonds grow stronger, and the things we truly care about stay our number one priorities. Our Faith. Our Families and One Another. These are the places where YOU need to continue pouring your heart out.