Tag Archives: love

Grow

A full weekend but a good weekend! Thank You, Father, for Your watching over us in our travels. Thank You for Your presence. Thank You for the love You have given us and the love we have for each other. I pray for Your guiding hand throughout the up-and-coming week. Amen.

Revelation 2:19 (<<click green)

One of the most important aspects of our relationship with You, Lord, is that we are to grow. We should be having “constant improvement” in the areas of love…faith…service, and…patient endurance.”

My study Bible* reminds me that, “Because the times are critical, we must spend our days wisely and faithfully.” Lord, do I do that? In a recent sermon, I reminded my congregations that You have given every one of us exactly 86,400 seconds to use at our discretion. Do we use them “wisely and faithfully”?

I realize that we all need down time but It can be easy to accomplish nothing with the time we have. Others can run from sun up to sundown busying themselves with all kinds of things. But if we are not seeking “constant improvement” in the areas of “love…faith…service, and…patient endurance” what good is it all?

Lord, help me today to examine what I do and how I do it. May the many aspects of my life be pleasing in Your sight. Help me to conscientiously be moving forward in my relationship with You. “Because the times are critical” may I be constantly be seeking Your directive in every facet of my life. Amen.

*Life Application Study Bible New Living Translation

July 17th, Mon, 6:52 am

Rain on Us All

As I look out this morning as the day is just beginning, it has started to rain. Father, the day is just beginning and it is not bright, though the sun is up. In the early light, everything is a dark green – the grass in the front yard, the cattails across the road creating a border to the soybeans and then corn behind them and then the line of trees forming the backdrop under a cloud laden sky.

And it continues to rain, beating down on the highway, pelting the bay window – nothing is missed, everything is wet. Lord, You have brought to mind this morning a passage from the Gospel of Matthew – a portion of Your Sermon on the Mount – and You spoke of rain.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 (emphasis mine)

Lord, You equally bless us all –no one is missed, everyone gets wet – and You are not just speaking of rain here. You are speaking of how you feel in regards to us all. You, in all Your holiness and perfection, choose to love us in all of our sin and imperfection. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that You are “patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Lord, Your word is clear. As I read the passage from Matthew again I cannot miss it – no further explanation is needed– we are called to love and pray for our enemies. Help me, Lord, help me to be like You. Amen.

July 10th, Mon, 6:31 am

No Wedges

Father, I am grateful that I have You in my life. You are loving, correcting, forgiving, supporting, patient, and kind. That list could go on and on. You are there for me in absolutely every aspect of my life. I never have to seek You out for You are always with me. I am truly blessed!

Revelation 2:12-16 (<<click green)

This passage, Lord, has a timely message for all believers not just when it was written but throughout every age. The world offers so many enticements and we are tempted to experience every one of them. Those around us, who are of the world, go on and on about how wonderful and fulfilling they all are but…it is a lie.

The Apostle John states in 1 John 2:15-17,

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you… For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Lord, You said that the city of Pergamum was a “city where Satan has his throne.” The city was the center of worship for not just one but four “gods” and was full of all kinds of enticements. Like our world, one could probably not turn a single corner without finding some kind of lure that would lead them away from You, Lord.

You have called us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39) but that does not mean we are to do what they do. We are to love them in spite of their actions…the same as You do for us.

Lord, help me to stand up against the enticements that this world offers and to see them for what they are…empty…and deadly – for they just want to drive a wedge between You and me. Enable me to remain faithful to You. Only with Your help can I succeed. Amen.

July 9th, Sun, 6:23 am

I Choose Love!

It’s unusual, Father, that I sit down with You at the beginning of the day and then again at the end but here I am. May I have ears that listen to what You have to say to me and what I hear may I put into action. Amen.

Revelation 2:6 (<<click green)

Lord, as I read this verse my study Bible points out something very important. You compliment the Ephesians on the fact that they “hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans.”

The Nicolaitans were believers who compromised their faith in order to enjoy some of the sinful practices of Ephesian society. The study note on verse 2 states that Ephesus was “a city noted for immoral sexual practices associated with the worship of the goddess Artemis.” She was a fertility goddess. It goes on to say, “We also are living in times of widespread sin and sexual immorality. It is popular to be open-minded toward many types of sin, calling them personal choices or alternative lifestyles. But when the body of believers begins to tolerate sin in the church, it is lowering the standards and compromising the churches’ witness…God’s approval is infinitely more important than the worlds’. Use Gods’ Word, not what people around you are willing to accept, to set the standards for what is right or wrong.”

That’s pretty black and white. But looking back at verse 6, Lord, You say absolutely nothing about hating the Nicolaitans. The believers in Ephesus hated the “evil deeds of the Nicolaitans.” Your guidance hasn’t changed one smidge. We are to stand against deeds that are against Your word but we have to love the doers of the deeds. Once again,

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

What’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Lord, I would pray that You would help us to love like You love. Our world makes it so easy to hate. So many things are divisive. We are constantly pitted against one another. May we be more like You each and every day. Amen.

June 28th, Wed, 11:17 am

I Choose Joy

Sleep is heavy in my eyes this morning, Father, despite the cold water in my face. Help me to hear Your words for me this day.

Revelation 1:9 (<<click green)

If I were to ask anyone who has read the New Testament to any degree to give me a description of the Apostle John, I doubt anyone would describe him as dour, grumpy or melancholy. He most certainly would not be labeled with an Eeyore personality.

Even when I read today’s passage, Lord, I don’t see discouragement or anxiety – there is no doom and gloom mentality. Though I see the words “suffering” and “endurance” and “exiled”, in my mind’s eye I see a man of joy, determination, and love. The “disciple who Jesus loved” is much like his Master. His attitude toward life remains consistent regardless of his circumstances.

John was no more perfect that I am but at this point in his life – and he was probably in his 90’s – he had experienced enough of the ups and downs of life that there is no pretense. He is who he is – a man at peace with himself, his world and his Lord.

I pray, Lord, that I am like John – at least a good part of the time. I have never been imprisoned (Acts 4) or placed in exile but we all have our trials. I do lose my cool on occasion. I ponder my lot in life and wonder if it will ever change. Overall, I am content with wherever I find myself. But one thing I most definitely can attest to – this joy is not a natural response to my life and circumstances. My joy – as John’s – is found in my relationship with You, Lord.

The chorus of an old hymn comes to mind,

There is joy, joy
Joy in serving Jesus.
Joy that throbs within my heart

Every moment, every hour
As I draw upon His power
There is joy, joy
Joy that never shall depart.

May I ever draw upon Your power, Lord. Amen.

June 13th, Tues, 6:34 am