Christian

Where Has God Asked You to Love?

My job (and ministry) is in a middle school. You know, where kids know how to push your buttons and are exercising their desire to rebel against authority.

Maybe God hasn’t put anyone “hard to love” in your life, but I bet He has. I only know that what God has asked me to to do isn’t easy and even though I am willing – I keep failing over and over.

What is our mission?

It is to love!

Sometimes I wonder why He has called me to love those “not easy to love”. I’m not good at it! I lose my temper. I get angry. I lecture. I utter those horrible teacher words, “I’m done!”

The kind of love God expects us to show to others is not a feeling. It is an action. It can be very hard to show agape love. Where is your mission field? Do you sometimes find it difficult to show love to people there?

Over 20 years ago, God showed me something that I will never forget. At the time, I was very involved in women’s ministry, but I became increasingly disturbed by some of the teaching in my church. I asked God to show me where my focus should be.

I asked Him to show me the main idea of the New Testament. I felt like my focus was on the wrong things. In desperation, I read the New Testament through three times in a row.

In a notebook, I kept track of how often various subjects were discussed, such as hope, faith, prosperity, love, spiritual warfare, etc.

I discovered that love was the most frequently taught subject by far! There was no doubt about it. God was showing me, through my crisis, that love, agape love, was very important to Him and my focus should be there.

I began an in depth study on agape love, looking for every Biblical reference. I studied Greek and Hebrew definitions. I wrote. I read. I studied.

love is patient2I Corinthians 13:4-8

I can’t do it in my own strength. God must do it through me. Every day, I must pray for God’s power to dwell in me. Once we realize that we can’t do it ourselves, we have passed Lesson 1.

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)

Lesson 2: Let our day begin with prayer. “Father, Show the Savior’s love through me today. Teach me to love.” And pray for them. Ask God to help you see the good things about them, not just what they do wrong.

Lesson 3: Study God’s Word about love and be changed. Start with I Corinthians 13. Meditate on it. Study it. How does it apply to my life?

“Love is patient.”  I Corinthians 13:4a

(I don’t know about you, but I need to meditate on these 3 words for at least a week!)

The Greek word for patient is makrothumeo. It means “slow to anger”.

“Being slow to anger does not mean that one does not care, but rather that he has his emotions under control.” (Detzler)

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22)

According to Vine’s Bible Dictionary, “Patience is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate.”

Webster defines patience as “enduring … trouble with composure and without complaining; refusing to be provoked …”

Note: I wrote this post about a year ago, but I find myself once again needing His strength and His grace to do the very thing He has asked me to do – love those God has put in my path – and show them God’s unconditional love.

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Lord, Teach Me to Pray

Two years ago, I had no idea I was going to write a blog. I had no idea my daughter would lead worship in my church. I had no idea God was getting ready to change my life.

But God had His plan working all along, even though I was completely unaware of what He was doing! He already knew these things would happen. I have prayed frequently and asked God to do many things, but I haven’t always seen the answers I hoped for. Finally, I asked Jesus to teach me to pray.

I learned I was right to ask Jesus to teach me how to pray. He has already taught me something new! Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…: Matthew 6:9-10 NIV

What does that have to do with effectual prayer? Everything! Because, I don’t need to go to God with a list of things for Him to do. What do the words mean “hallowed be your name”? Hallowed means: honored as holy, blessed, greatly revered, respected, honored and worshiped.

Let’s think about that for a minute. When we go to the Father in prayer, let us worship Him. Let us adore Him and recognize the character of our God. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise.

Then Jesus said, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

God has shown me that the key to effectual prayer is not about me. It’s not about my ability to pray. It’s about Him! I’ve been too focused on myself instead of on Him!  

Let Jesus teach us to pray. Let us worship the Father. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Then, let us pray for His will to be done in our life, in our church, in our city, and all over the world. He has a plan that is better than all we can ask or imagine! 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

The words of the hymn are true, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” But, let us have a new and deeper revelation of His greatness and love. Let us revere and love Him as we should. We can find words to praise Him throughout the Psalms! Here are just a few key verses:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him… that you care for him?” Psalm 8:1-4 NIV

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise….” Psalm 18:1-3a NIV

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” Psalm 25:1-2a NIV

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep…. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5-7 NIV

Ask Jesus to teach you to pray!

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

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Christian

You Know We’re Running a Race, Right?

As I walked along the cornfield, it was as if the corn was alive. I watched the acres of leaves moving back and forth in the breeze and I was mesmerized. The beauty of nature often takes my thoughts to the Lord and His Word.

This particular morning I was walking Henry and Bella. I noticed how different they are. Bella meanders. She takes forever to walk to the end of the sidewalk. I’m convinced that if she actually attempted to go somewhere, she would eventually end up right where she started! (Remember this later.)

Bella
Bella, the Meanderer

Henry is another story. He runs everywhere he goes! He is one  determined pup!

It made me think about my commitment to God. How am I “running the race”?

The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us …” Hebrews 12:1

Am I meandering along like Bella, or am I running like Henry?

IMG_0481
Henry, the Runner

Paul said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

This verse inspires me to earnestly embrace the mission (ministry) God has given me. (To run harder than anyone else!)

Whatever God calls us to do, it will require perseverance. Let’s start running!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

1st photo Naassom-Azevedo, Unsplash

Christian

What’s Your Story?

“Our stories matter … Your stories matter … for you just never know how much of a difference they make, and to whom …” Caroline Joy Adams

God teaches me through the many stories I read on WordPress. Recently, God showed me how easily I can misjudge someone. (Ouch!)

I made an assumption about a blogger, only to find out later that the exact opposite was true. How? By reading her story. This taught me something important about myself that I needed to know: Don’t think you can size someone up based on outward appearance.

Over the last year, God has been teaching me about judging others. We can not influence someone if we are judging them.

God’s Word says, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Thank you, Sue Love, for sharing your story.

As we share our hearts and our love for Christ through our blogs, may God use our words to bring encouragement and love to those who need it most.

This is Day 1 of my 3-Day Challenge. I would like to nominate Emeka Ofili. Emeka  shares inspiration, teaching, and music, but most importantly news stories about the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ that you won’t read about in the news.

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

photo credit: eye for ebony on unsplash

Christian

Don’t Give Out (Or Give Up!)

I had been seeking the Lord for several long weeks about something very important. I wanted to quit what I had been doing for three years. I was someplace I believed God had sent me, but I didn’t really see any results from my hard work. I was tired of it! Stressed out! There were other things I’d rather do!

Finally, I realized God was saying, “No”.

For several days I felt really sad. What I thought I wanted and desperately needed was not to be, at least not right now.

Then yesterday, my daughter sent me a text that said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

It spoke directly into my life. I know God will give me the strength and enthusiasm I need to accomplish the task.

There are people all around us who need encouragement and support. They need inspiration and strength. Over the years,  people have sent me a note or said something that was so encouraging to me. It was just what I needed that day.

I believe these acts of encouragement are orchestrated by God. The sender may just feel a nudge from God or hear the still, quiet voice. It is often unknown to the sender just how vital the message really is.

You may need the same encouragement that I did. You may pray and work hard in your mission field without seeing the results you so deeply desire. But, God’s Word challenges us to not give up.

Yes, we want to see big things happen. We want to see revival in our midst! That can only be accomplished by God. Our part is to be obedient, pray, and study His Word..

God’s timing is flawless. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

mathew-schwartz-625805-unsplash

It is time for our hope and strength to be renewed. Remember! “… at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

Eagle Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Raccoon Photo by Successfully Canadian on Unsplash

Christian

Helping One Person at a Time – Inspiration from Mother Teresa

What would happen if our goal were to help just one person at a time? Could it possibly make a difference? Mother Teresa thought so. It’s interesting that someone who helped so many had this philosophy:

Mother Teresa

 

Mother Teresa’s words remind me that people who need God’s love are all around me. I can’t help all the homeless, but I can give a cup of coffee to one. I can’t feed all the starving children, but I can sponsor one. I can’t inspire every student, but maybe I can inspire one. 

feed-one-person

Jesus told the Expert in the law that he must love God and love his neighbor as himself. The Expert in the law said, “Who is my neighbor?”  In reply, Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37)

Jesus as much as said,  “If you see someone that needs your help, help them!”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Let us examine our hearts. Are we more like the priest and the Levite, or the good Samaritan? Do we show the love of Jesus to those around us or do we pass by on the other side?

With Love, Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you know Jesus?

If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can do it now. He loves you more than you can comprehend, and it will change your life forever.

“IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH, ‘JESUS IS LORD,’ AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED. FOR IT IS WITH YOUR HEART THAT YOU BELIEVE AND ARE JUSTIFIED, AND IT IS WITH YOUR MOUTH THAT YOU CONFESS AND ARE SAVED. AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, ANYONE WHO TRUSTS IN HIM WILL NEVER BE PUT TO SHAME.”   ROMANS 10:9-11

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Bible, Christian

You Have a Ministry! Do You Know What It Is?

There have been moments when I literally began to panic. Thoughts racing through my mind … God didn’t tell you to write a blog! You shouldn’t be doing this! This is all you!

Have you ever experienced this deceitful kind of attack on your mind? God didn’t send you here! God didn’t say …

Do you remember what the Serpent said to Eve? Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

This is the Deceiver in action: making you question what God has said. It is nothing new.

The devil even tried his tricks on Jesus. But what did Jesus do? He said, “It is written …” (Matthew 4:4)

So the first thing I did was to look in God’s Word to see what He says about ministry.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

 

My Pastor’s job is to prepare ME for ministry. Your Pastor’s job is to prepare YOU for ministry. The entire Body of Christ is being prepared for ministry. We all have a job to do.

“6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 NIV

Next, I took a spiritual gifts assessment on my church’s website. This confirmed what I already knew. It reinforced my understanding of what God is asking me to do.

Then, I heard the often-quoted verse: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

Do we know what it really means? Or, do we interpret it according to present day psychology?

Psychology says, “Vision goal setting is goal setting with a grand purpose. It begins with a dream based in your passion and inspiration in your work. From the dream comes a clear vision of where you want to be and what you want to do …” Jim Taylor, PhD (Psychology Today)

Is that what God meant in Proverbs 29:18 when He says “Where there is no vision, the people perish …” ? Let’s examine the second part of the verse (that is usually not quoted.

“Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].” Amplified Bible

The Living Bible translation says, Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep his laws.” 

If the “vision” we speak of is the  “…  revelation of God and His word” then maybe our “vision” for the Church should look more like this:

A world where …

  • All Christians show a kind of love that gives them a reputation for kindness and mercy, patience and unselfishness.
  • All Christians ministering in the capacity that God has gifted them, edifying and building each other up, and praying for one another.
  • All Christians showing mercy and compassion toward their fellow man. 
  • All Christians forgiving their enemies, their neighbors, and each other.
  • All Christians sharing the Gospel with a lost world. 
  • All Christians seeking God with all their heart, unconcerned with fitting in with the world.  

Now that’s a vision! What can we do? I can do my part. You can do your part. God has the plan. Our part is obedience and surrender.

With Love, Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

References

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other” Ephesians 4:32

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Do you know Jesus?

If you have never asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can do it now. He loves you more than you can comprehend, and it will change your life forever.

“IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH, ‘JESUS IS LORD,’ AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED. FOR IT IS WITH YOUR HEART THAT YOU BELIEVE AND ARE JUSTIFIED, AND IT IS WITH YOUR MOUTH THAT YOU CONFESS AND ARE SAVED. AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, ANYONE WHO TRUSTS IN HIM WILL NEVER BE PUT TO SHAME.”   ROMANS 10:9-11

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