Tag Archives: love

5 Life-Changing Lessons

A few mornings ago, while sitting on my couch chatting with the Lord, I came across truths that I had never seen before in His death on the cross. May we glean from His example as we also choose to “deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him“.

These are the points the Holy Spirit revealed to me during our time together:

1. Leading up to His death, Jesus intentionally invested into the lives of those He dearly loved as His close friends.

“When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God’.” Luke 22:14-16

This is an invaluable lesson in demonstrating how we should wisely invest our time to build and maintain relationships. The Kingdom of God is about people, not works or titles. And one of the best places for building relationships (including evangelism) is the dinner table – an intimate setting where people come together to enjoy a common meal and engage in deep conversation.

2. In approaching His time of suffering, Jesus ran to the Father for help. In the presence of the Everlasting Father, Jesus was strengthened to endure the cross and fulfill His will.

“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:41-44

As we go through hard times, just as Jesus faced more than we could ever imagine, we must turn to God and ask for help. In the Lord we find the real strength that we need to endure whatever is laid out before us. We will often need the Lord’s divine intervention in many of our life circumstances. Therefore, we cannot afford to forsake humility in an effort to be self-reliant. Draw close to the Father because He waits for us, just as He waited for Jesus in the garden of  Gethsemane.

3. Jesus made the choice to confront His close friend, Judas, on the night He was betrayed by him.  Jesus didn’t go into denial, pretending nothing happened and suppressing His feelings. Nor did He curse Judas in an outburst of rage, only to later regret the words He had spoken. Nope. This Holy King boldly confronts the wrong done against Him in absolute gentleness. Gentleness. He makes the point that what was done to Him was not okay, that Judas had crossed His personal boundary line.

“While He was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss’?” Luke 22:47-48

If someone has hurt us (because it will happen), may we take on the yolk of Christ and gently confront them with the offense in love. Confrontation is not something to be avoided, but embraced. Jesus set the perfect example of how it should be done.

4. Jesus carried the cross (the very means by which he would die)  to be crucified (a death for the worst of sinners) by the human race (those He created in His image). In meek boldness He shook the very core of mankind when He proclaimed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Forgiveness is what Jesus chose to bestow upon those who unjustly hurt Him. Pay attention to this statement, beloved. If the Son of God (with all power and glory) experienced unjust pain and heartache while living here on earth as part of the human race, then we (without power and glory) will also experience unjust grief and sorrow. What are we to do in these unfortunate situations? Forgive them. Run to the Father to draw the strength to forgive their wrong doing. He will be faithful to honor you by honoring Him.

5. Even in the midst of the most uncomfortable situation (hanging on the cross in extreme pain and fatigue), Jesus still chose to evangelize and encourage a soul that was lost.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and save us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43

Talk about not losing sight of a goal. Jesus makes it very clear that despite Him being in His last hour, His heart was still for the lost. And make no mistake, beloved. Jesus never recounts the sins of this man, but lovingly welcomes him into His kingdom. If we are serious about following after Jesus, shouldn’t we also have a heart for those that do not know Him? And not to judge or criticize the way they live their lives, but to love them?

May we recount the decisions Jesus made during His last hours here on earth, and through His grace apply them to our own lives. Praise be to this great King of glory!

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The Gift of Grace

An unknown author once stated, “Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours if you’ll reach out and take it.”

Imagine waking up one morning to a shiny, wrapped package with curly ribbons resting on your doorstep. It’s been delivered to you. Especially for you. And inside this beautiful gift awaits an assortment of treats; a holy provision in order that you might fully experience and enjoy the day ahead of you.

The gift of grace.

Delivered overnight by a Holy courier and left on the doorstep of our hearts.

The question is not whether the gift exists, Jesus is the gift. Jesus is grace. But, the question is rather “will we accept the gift He gives each day and will we open the surprise?”

I’m not talking about salvation here.

I’m talking about breathing in deeply and exhaling out slowly, while fully relying on the ability of Christ to help us complete our day. And the ability to extend grace to others and to ourselves when we make mistakes.

Grace causes us to relax and refocus. It gives us permission to be who we truly are and to enjoy complete freedom from perfectionism.

(sigh) What a relief for our lives!

How is grace defined?

According to Websters it is: unmerited divine assistance, ease of movement or bearing, mercy, charity, kindness, and tenderness.

Let’s glance at what the Word says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Grace is undeserved. We can’t earn it, because we’re never worthy of it, no matter how hard we try. And in this case, it’s a great thing to not measure up, because it cultivates a sweet dependency in our hearts towards our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yesterday while reading an article on “Codependent Behaviors” (any therapist out there knows this term very well), I was intrigued by the fact that many of us don’t know how to extend grace to ourselves. I am one of them.

Grace opposes performance. And I have found that God’s expectations are generally much lower than the ones I place on myself. I strive when I need to abide.

If Jesus (The Lord over all creation) freely extends grace to us, shouldn’t we also model His behavior by extending grace to ourselves? 

And what does grace look like in our lives?

This is what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me this week:

  • Each day acknowledging this gift of grace from Jesus, and then applying the contents in order to meet the demands and decisions I face throughout my day.
  • Giving myself permission to be weak, so He can be strong.
  • Forgiving myself and others when mistakes are made (critical in marriage, and any relationship involving other human beings).Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
  • Allowing people to be who they are, even if I disagree with them.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
  • Enjoying my day while allotting time just for me. Have FUN.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
  • Laughing A LOT. Laughter is an amazing preventative measure to combat stress.A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  • Focusing on the best qualities about myself and those around me. Jesus sees me as a new creation, He focuses on the positive, I must also do the same.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

His grace abounds. Will we accept the gift He gives each day?

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Repost: 4 Points for Holy Living

Boundaries were created by God, through God, and with God, we can openly enjoy the fruit of their protection in our own lives.

With my creme-colored cup full of hot green tea, I sit before the Lord to hear His thoughts on mental and physical boundaries. This is what I believe He has been sharing with me this afternoon:

Mental Boundaries

1. We must restrict what we allow into the realm of our thinking. I feel like a broken record right now, because the Lord continues to push this point on positive thinking. I believe He truly must see how hard it is for us to focus on the good, rather than pressing ‘replay’ on all that’s falling through the cracks in our lives. A mental boundary says ‘No’ to the negative thoughts seeking to quench any flicker of hope for the day ahead. Because that’s exactly what these thoughts do. They destroy our joy and blind us to see the small blessings the Lord plants throughout the landscape of our day. We MUST lean on the Lord Jesus to help us establish these mental parameters.

 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:12

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6

2. We must guard our minds from harmful influences. This of course, is using the moral code of the Lord and not that of the world around us. How many of us watched the Superbowl two years ago? And then the half-time show? I was one of them, along with my husband. I can distinctively recall everyone in that kitchen, awkwardly looking around trying to avoid the TV at all cost, yet no one ever suggesting to turn it off. Including me. It didn’t matter that it was Beyonce dancing around in what appeared to be underwear, it could have been anyone. The point is “is this okay for us to be watching?” I have to wonder as a woman, would I want to slap on an outfit like that and shake it for Jesus? Or do we watch what rightfully belongs to her husband seductively move around for our enjoyment?

I know this may sound very direct, but is it not the truth? We must remember that deception is just that, it makes us think something is acceptable when it in fact is not. This is not to feel shame in any form or fashion, but to really evaluate what we’re permitting to influence our thinking according to the Gospel.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” Hebrews 13:18

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,your whole body will be full of light.But if your eyes are unhealthy,your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

Physical Limits with the Body

1. We need to identify and take responsibility for the tasks God has given us. If we are involved in every ministry, every after-school project, and assuming roles God has never asked us to assume, then we will experience burnout. This isn’t what God intends for us. We must seek wisdom to understand what responsibilities He has entrusted to us and to faithfully steward them well. Ask God what He wants you to be doing with your time.

“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each is task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-6

2. We need rest and we need to eat well. I understand this is hard for many of us, but we must be intentional in blocking out time to invest in the well-being of ourselves. Let’s treat ourselves the way God would treat us – GOOD.

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2

“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31

May the Lord guide us in the boundaries we need to protect our minds and bodies from mental and physical harm. To Him be the glory!

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!

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