Here are a few things that I have discovered about love…
(1) We all have an innate need to love and to be loved. This deep desire is rooted in the truth that we are made in the image of God and God is love.
(2) Love is valuable so there are lots of counterfeits out there to distract us from what true love is.
(3) Love is an experience. You can be told about what love is like but without ever experiencing it you can’t really understand.
(4) Love requires action, for God so loved the world that he gave…
(5) Love changes everything
(6) You are part of the greatest love story the world has ever seen and it wasn’t by chance. Loving you was a long term decision that God made long before time even began.
If you want to dig a little deeper here are a few scriptures on love.
1 Corinthians 13
2 Timothy 1:9
1 Peter 4:8
Have you ever thought about the fact that your thoughts have creative power? It says in Proverbs 23:7 “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). This means that the things that we are thinking are creating action in our lives and molding us into who we are. That’s because our thoughts are the first step in activating our faith.
I’m not sure we often think about it but the Bible tells us that we have all been given a measure of faith but what we do with that faith is completely up to us. The hope is that we take all of the faith that we have been given and give it directly back to God but I don’t think that’s often the case and our thoughts are what is determining where we are distributing our faith. If you spend time thinking about the things that you are scared of you are likely distributing some of your faith toward your fears!
Because our thoughts are so significant there is a spiritual war raging for our thought and minds (Ephesians 6:12) and the devil’s warfare only consists of lies. We have to be vigilant because he will disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14) making us believe that the lies he is telling us are true. He will use elaborate strategies and deceit that can sometimes last for generations and even provide evidence if he needs to so that we will take hold of the lie he is telling us.
As Christ’s followers, we don’t have to live stuck in a world of the devil’s lies though. We can take every thought captive and hold it obedient the Christ (2 Cor 10:4-5). We can keep our thoughts in line with God’s thoughts and reject every single lie that the devil throws at us. We can create a life that is full of peace, hope, freedom, and value.
A few ways that I have found that really help me to keep my thoughts in line with God’s thoughts are:
- Take basic care of myself: get up get dressed, eat healthy foods, exercise, get sufficient rest
- Surrender myself to God every day, sometimes multiple times a day
- Read my Bible or listen to it and then meditate on God’s word
- Spend time with God, ask him questions when I don’t understand or know what to do
- Listen to worship music
- Surround myself with the correct influencers
- When it gets hard, remember that it’s a battle, and just don’t give up!
Happy New Year!
I always think the start of a new year feels fresh and full of anticipation. It often feels like just about anything can happen and I often feel empowered to make the most of it. One of the things I enjoy doing to start the new year is reading Genesis. Genesis is a historical book but it is also the start of something new and exciting. A few of my takeaways from reading the first chapter of Genesis this year are….
(1) God is a creator and we were made in his image so even if you don’t feel like it you are a creator too.
(2) Creating takes time: Even God took 6 days for creation, he didn’t have to. It’s okay if what you are creating takes more time than you expected.
(3) Creating (and life in general) requires time off. Making time for regular rest and refreshment is important.
(4) Everything that God made produced “seeds after their own kind”. You can’t produce fruit for something that isn’t already inside you. Take time to develop yourself so that you will be able to produce the desired fruit.
What are your takeaways from Genesis 1?
What are you hoping to create this year?
How will you develop yourself to bring your creations to life?
I was reading the first few chapters of Luke and realized that there is a lot of detail about the birth of Jesus not only in Luke but also in other chapters of the Bible. There is even more detail about his 3 years of ministry on earth. It’s half of the Bible and the whole basis of the New Testament. What I don’t think we often think about are the in-between years. In Luke years 12-30 of the life of Jesus is summed up in only 2 scriptures.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:51-52
It’s interesting to think that the biggest chunk of Jesus’ life wasn’t in the spotlight. It wasn’t recorded by anyone other than his close relatives and God. Since it’s not recorded in the Bible I don’t know what those years were filled with but since I’m a mom of 2 kids I can probably imagine at least some of it. I think there was a lot of growing and learning that happened and there was a lot of love that was shared. I think there was probably some rivalry and jealousy that occurred in their house and there was disappointment and pain. I think a lot of what happened in those years was similar to what happens in many homes.
At first thought, you might think that those years weren’t recorded in the Bible because they were insignificant and didn’t matter all that much but I don’t think that’s true at all. I don’t think Mary would have treasured those years in her heart if it were that way. I think instead those years weren’t recorded because they were sacred. They were the years in Jesus’ life when he learned to become fully man, he learned how to have compassion for every aspect of our human experience. I think that what happened in those unrecorded 18 years were some of the most important parts of Jesus’ life. I think those years were the reason that God chose Mary and Joseph to be his parents.
I think it’s good to realize that if some of the most significant parts of the life of Jesus happened in the in-between years it’s probably going to be the same for each of us. The growing and learning that happens in the safe spaces God created for us mold us into who we are becoming. We aren’t going to get to the big miraculous ending without the in-between growing. So if you find yourself doing things that seem to go unnoticed and may seem to be insignificant to the people around you I hope you remain faithful to what God has called you to. I hope you prayerfully consider the things you put your hand to and that you stay close to God and keep going. These may be your most sacred years too.
We have reached the time of the year that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time when we have just celebrated all that we are thankful for and yet we are looking forward to the more that is to come. A time when we have purposefully taken time to be intentionally content with what we have but yet we’re pressing forward with expectations of the gifts we want to give and if we’re being honest the gifts we hope to receive. This time of year creates tension.
I think the tension is good. I think we not only need it but I think we are called to it. We need to be both content with what we have and where we are in life but we also have to look forward with growth and expectation in mind. God calls us to be both thankful and content with where we are while also calling us to reach forward into the more and better that is to come. They are both very important and needed parts of life and we can find biblical examples of both throughout the Bible.
So if you are feeling this tension either now, with the holidays that are being celebrated, or at any other time in your life know that it’s part of the process. It’s important to be thankful for what you have but it’s also important to keep moving forward. God isn’t pleased with people that are just thankful for what they have without any forward motion but he also isn’t pleased with people that become so focused on growing and producing that they can’t be thankful for what they have. Learning how to move between thankfulness and growth appropriately both teaches and demonstrates spiritual growth in your life.
Here are a few scriptures and biblical examples for you to reflect on over this season:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
2 Kings 4:1-7