Posted in As A Person, Charater Qualities, Holidays, Love

Why Do You Love Me?

I felt like I rammed face first into a concrete wall when someone asked me this question.  I had never been asked that before.  Why do you love me?  I had never even thought of it.  I have always said that I loved God because He first loved me, because that’s what the Bible says.  I never even thought about asking this before, I figured if someone said or acted like they loved me, that’s just what they meant.  No need to explain.  I wasn’t even sure I knew what love was after I was asked this. 

The Search

I looked the word up in the dictionary, prayed about it, pondered over the question… It was like a reality check that was written for thousands of dollars.  Was I going to cash this in and learn from this valuable question, or lay it aside and pretend the situation never happened?  I knew I couldn’t let it go.

As I prayed about it things started to click.  My definition of love was all screwed up.  If I asked you why you like dessert, what would you say?  How about your morning coffee?  Or your hobby?   So, why do you love the people in your life that you do?

I grew up thinking love is an action and a choice, and it is, but why do you love?  Most everybody has something or someone that they love.  I started asking myself, why does God love me?  Certainly there is nothing that a holy God could have a reason to love me.  I’ve asked God this question multiple times, but this time, I needed an answer. Did He really just love me because He is love, or does He actually find delight in me? 

I’m not one that gets into Greek and Hebrew words but I’ve read that there are two different types of love, Phileo and Agape.  The love that a mother or father has for their child is different than the love they have for one another.  The love you have towards your friend is different than the love you have towards your fiancé. The love you have for your morning coffee or quiet time after a hard day at work is different than the love you have for a person. 

First the Choice, and then the Reason

First we must make a decision to love someone or something.  Then we can find out what the reason is.  Do you know what the difference is between liking and loving something?  When we are pleased with something at a moderate level you say you like it.  But if that level goes up to a higher position we may begin realizing we love it.  But why did the needle move up a notch?  What caused it to gain elevation?

Photo by jonas mohamadi on Pexels.com

 I used to say I like coffee, but after drinking it for about a year, I realized I loved coffee.  I now jump up from my chair to get it if it is offered to me, whereas before I would only respond with a simple yes. What happened?  I started having reasons behind why I liked coffee.  Its bittersweet taste woke me up in the morning.  Rising hours before daylight it can be quite difficult to stay awake.  I love waking up and heading to the kitchen to hear the sound of the water running through the coffee machine – in clear and out black.  Its warmth creates a cozy feeling inside and being able to hold that mug in my hand brings me a strange comfort.  It keeps me awake at friends’ houses after being up for hours and then gives me that extra boost for my early morning run.  It helps me think clearly during computer hours and keeps me emotionally stable throughout the day.  Before, I could have said nothing much about it; I liked it because it woke me up, plain and simple.

When a baby is born, loving parents decide to love their baby.  Then, and only then, can they say why.  It’s my child.  God gave him to me.  He smiles so warmly at me.  He’s so innocent.  He looks just like his dad.  He makes the cutest faces.  He looks so peaceful when he sleeps.

Because God is love, He chose to love us, by sending His only Son to die for us, so that He could have a relationship with us.  He sacrificed what He loved so dearly so He could love us unconditionally.  Through His Son He sees us as His child.  And because of His Son, He finds delight in us.  He cares for us.  He encourages us in our dreams.  He gives us our desires.  He pursues us and gives us what is best for us.  He wants to know us intimately.

We Have to Accept

When a guy asks a girl to marry him, she has to say yes in order for them to get married.  If he truly loves her, he will not force his love on her.  He may pursue her and try to win her love, but if he truly loves her, he will let go because she does not want him.  He will want her to be happy.  He will want to grant her requests.

Jesus did not force His love on us.  He does not make us love Him.  A child will not truly love his parents if they force him to.  They will only act like they do to keep the peace.  If someone gives someone a gift to show their love, the receiver can either reject the love or accept it.  We can want to accept it, but we have to actually make the choice to do so.   

Sometimes people’s hearts are so locked up from the pain of their past that they cannot give or receive love.  Jesus is the only one who can break that barrier and make them feel loved in ways they never thought possible.  God longs to have his love accepted.  He is not willing that any should perish, He wants all of us to accept His love, to accept His gift.  Because He is a holy God and no sin can be in His presence, He has to see us through His Son.  It’s as if sin is the color blue and Jesus is one of those fancy cameras they use to make movies that cannot see the color blue.  If we have accepted Jesus, when God looks through that camera (Jesus), He sees no sin.  Therefore, because of Jesus, we are perfect in His sight!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Flattery is Not the Answer

The definition of flattery is false praise – praising someone in order to gain something yourself.  Telling someone they are beautiful or handsome is not true praise; they cannot control how they look.  Saying, “Your desserts are amazing,” hoping that maybe they will make you some cookies because of that, is not truly praising them for how good they cook.  Telling them, “I love you,” right before asking a favor, is also not true love. 

Instead of saying you love his smile, maybe consider looking deeper into his heart to thank him for the reason behind his smile.  Instead of saying you love how she keeps house, consider thanking her for her diligence.  Giving examples may help, but try to look for the character quality or virtues behind the actions.  That is what true praise is.

So, Why Do You Love Me?

I believe that when someone is asking this question, what they really want to know is, do you love them for who they are or for what they do?  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, ponder this question, “Lord, why do you love me?”  As He reveals His answer to you, you will realize why you love others and on what level your love is based.  Because God is love, the more of Him you have, the more love you can give to others. 

As you think about that special someone in your life, or special “someones” (i.e. family and friends), take time to stop and think why you love this person(s).  Ask God why you love them.  Think about what you would want someone else to say if you asked them this question.  We are commanded to love others even if they hate us.  What if your enemy came to you and asked this very question?  Love can always see the good in a person, and true love also overlooks the bad.

Happy Valentine’s Day and May God Bless You!!

Posted in Holidays, Life, Training the Mind

The Wind of Adversity

…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…
– 1 Peter 5:5-8

Living in the country where there are miles of fields, the wind has nowhere to go but straight – and hard! A lot of times on a windy day I will try and plan it to where I run into the wind on the way out, that way when I’m sweating and tired on the way back the wind is blowing at my back, keeping me from cooling down too fast, but also helping to push me forward.  Sometimes I miss judge the wind direction, but other times I may purposefully choose to run against the wind for some extra “strength training”. 

When the wind is to your back pushing you along the road God has you on, it can be a very encouraging and helpful feeling.  But what happens when that wind changes direction and you feel like everything is against you.  Every hair on your head, every muscle in your body, every sinew, every tendon; they all feel like they are pulling you backwards, like you are suddenly carrying a hundred extra pounds on your back.  Do we still run forward or do we collapse on the ground in frustration and tears? 

Last month I got to test this theory out really well.  Once or twice a year, for the last four years, we have held a widows banquet in our home.  When I woke up the Friday morning before the banquet, I was so looking forward to holding it this year, but we had to cancel.  All the time and energy put into getting this day together felt wasted.  I had a sudden attack from my adversary, Satan.  The first arrow he shot I was not ready for and it hit with force.  I was overcome with emotions. I felt useless, like my life had no point, why was I even here anyway? And they just kept spiraling out of control.

Running forward may not always be easy, it may not always be enjoyable, but no matter what, if you keep going, God will use you in many ways.  He created each of us for a purpose, but we have to choose, even when the adversary comes against us, to cast him away and cry out to God for strength.  Most runners, no matter the circumstance, will push themselves beyond what they think their bodies are capable – this is how we get stronger.  The wind isn’t our only adversary, there are many trials along the way, and many situations that we can either choose to allow ourselves to give up and refuse to move forward, or slow down and persevere through the difficulty.

As I washed dishes for all the food and desserts we had prepared for the banquet I began crying out to God in my heart for help.  I realized I was dwelling on self-pity not even thinking about how others might feel.  I tried to focus my thoughts on God and resist the temptation to dwell on any negative or selfish thoughts.  And I gave thanks!  If you haven’t noticed a pattern yet, my New Year’s Resolution for 2019 was to obtain a grateful heart and I have been weaving that into a lot of my posts.  It really is a life changer, but it is not easy. 

I encourage you all to not resist running into the wind, for it is on those days that God makes you a stronger Christian.  Find someone to run with you during those hard days, (Jesus is an amazing friend!), and persevere till the end.  Let God strengthen you!  Many times I find myself thinking life would be so much easier without the wind, but could you imagine how boring life would be?

Posted in Charater Qualities, Holidays, Life

Is Your Vision 2020?

New Year resolutions, goals, decisions, purposes, hopes, dreams, prayers, intentions…  Everybody talks about it.  Some of the most common have to do with health, weight loss, money, and ending bad habits.  I mean that’s what our life revolves around right?  We need money to live and most everything we do, because we live in our body, depends on our health and well-being; and bad habits?  Well those are just annoying things that we partly want to stop doing but the other half of us enjoys the habit too much for us to really put our heart into quitting.

Even though these may be the first hopes that come to our mind, what about spiritual goals?  Or character development?  Or dreams that could bring God glory?  For 2019 God gave me a verse to live by.  “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  As the year went on – which went by way to fast – Jesus created in me a grateful spirit and it became easier and easier to thank Him for everything.

Because choosing a verse was so beneficial this year, I began praying for 2020’s verse in November.  Amongst all the holiday prep I was overly stressed in a way I can’t remember having ever been before.  I’m not sure what 2020 has in store, but my verse came out to be Philippians 4:6-7.  “Be careful for nothing: but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of god, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

At first I was kind of anxious about the New Year.  I was thinking, Oh No!  What is around the corner?! I began wondering, did I see 2020 the way God saw it?  Perfect eye vision is 20-20 and therefore the New Year has a great fit.  Do I see the year 2020 with perfect vision?  Is my vision 20-20? 

Without a vision the people perish…

Proverbs

Through the month of January I will be praying a lot about what my goals should be for the rest of the year.  The book of Proverbs says, “Without a vision, the people perish…”  My focus should be on Christ, but what does He want to do through me.  What should I pray for?  What should I hope for?  What should I advance in?  I have so many ideas for writing, running, health, relationships, money, and habits, that I’m not sure which ones I should move towards, which ones are just bucket list items and which ones I should toss.  I want to make sure I’m seeing the year 2020 through Gods perfect 20-20 eyes.

Is your vision 20-20?

Happy New Years ya’ll!  May God bless you with hopes and dreams that He plans to fulfill in you!

Coming up next week is Cadence in the Snow, so stay tuned!

Posted in Charater Qualities, Holidays, Life, Uncategorized

Taking the Leap

Christmas is literally right around the corner!  Is everyone done shopping and all ready?  Does anyone have anticipation as the day gets closer?  Do you like giving the gifts or receiving them?  What do you hope you get?  What are you hoping the recipients of your presents reaction is?  Or do you have any hope at all?

The bible is full of encouraging, life giving verses, but do you have hope?  What is a promise of God you are hoping He fulfills one day?  Or do you have any?  Are we supposed to just hope in heavenly things or does God call us to hope in things on this earth too?  What is hope anyway and how do we have it?

All of these questions began filling my mind as I prayed about this week’s post.  A few years back, God shared with me a promise that I have a hard time hoping in, a difficult time believing in, and an extremely hard time trusting Him with.  I know if He said it, it must be true, but that doesn’t change the fact that humans in general have a hard time entrusting the unseen to our Father, especially when it comes to the future.

The real definition of hope is looking forward to something in the future with at least some bit of expectation in receiving whatever it is.  Today’s definition has changed a little in the sense that sometimes we may eat a bunch of sugar and carbs daily, hoping that it doesn’t make us gain weight.  For example, holiday weight gain. *Grin*   There are multiple promises in the bible, but do we hope in them?  Do we hope God fulfills them?  Are we looking forward to the day that He brings them to pass?

The promise God gave me was Psalm 37:4-5, Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.  Commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in him: and he shall bring it to pass.

As I wait for God to fulfill the biggest dream of my heart, that at this point I feel is completely impossible, God has challenged me to believe what He told me, to have faith He will fulfill it and recently, to hope in that promise.  Our loving Father up in heaven knows what He’s doing and can see the whole picture.  It baffles me, after all God has done for us, how we can one moment trust Him with everything we are, then turn around the next day and run from Him because we are afraid.

The Bible says God cannot lie and so therefore if He says something, it HAS to be true.  My question to you is this:

In light of everything you know, and don’t know, is there a chance that maybe you can lay the promise God has given you at His feet, and let Jesus take care of it?  Are you willing to take a leap of faith and trust Him to catch you, trust Him to take care of it?

I pray you are all able to Hope in Christ as this year comes to an end!  But in the mean time, Merry Christmas and May God bless you!

Posted in Holidays, Life, Training the Mind, Uncategorized

What is Your Focus?

Christmas is almost here and what joy do we have to show for it?  This year I have not been in the Christmas spirit and though I enjoyed shopping for gifts and listening to holiday music, something just seems to be missing.  Am I the only one that feels this way?

As I began thinking about this I wondered if maybe my focus was off.  What is Christmas about anyway?  I researched a little on what the worlds view was and I found out that the percentage of people who believe in the true reason of Christmas is slowly declining.

Do we spend too much of our holidays enjoying the pleasures of this world while Jesus slowly fades away?  Are we as Christians okay with sticking Christ in the closet?  I’m not saying we should go around and tell everyone how selfish they are for indulging in gift buying, participating in the billions of dollars spent worldwide on things that will only last for a few years, (or if you buy food, only a few weeks *smile*).  But where does our own heart lie?  What is our true motivation for everything we do around this time of year?  And most importantly, what does Christmas mean to you as an individual?

I have to admit I have been very overwhelmed by all the things I had to do before Christmas and I have not stopped one minute to enjoy it.  I looked at the unwrapped gifts underneath my tree and wondered what the point was in all this.  My motive in getting those presents was to show the receiver that I cared for them, that they mean something to me.  But did I enjoy it?

Two weeks ago I spent time with a very good friend and her family.  I loved every minute of it.  When the enemy started putting thoughts of worry and concern about the next day in my head, God gently prompted me to enjoy the present.  Maybe this is what I’m missing in the rest of the season as well.  Maybe I need to just enjoy the present.  Is this maybe what we all need?

Although we are all different, each of us still has to make a decision of what we focus on, what we keep our mind on, and what our motive is.

What is your focus this Christmas season?

As we finish up our gift shopping and holiday prep, let’s not forget to live with God and enjoy each moment with Him.  He truly is the reason for the season!

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
-Micah 6:8