31 Days of Loving Well: Truth

Truth

Week 2: Day 8 – Loving Myself Well: Introduction

In this the second week of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes event, I have set myself the goal of learning what it means to love myself well.  At first glance, the idea of loving myself well seems somewhat self-centered but Jesus said the second of the two greatest commandments is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39, NKJV).  I understand this to mean that how I love my neighbor will be a reflection of how I love myself and, to love my neighbor well requires that I love myself well.

As is noted in the Matthew Henry Commentary on Matthew 22:39, “There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified: but there is a self-love which is natural, and the rule of the greatest duty, and it must be preserved and sanctified. We must love ourselves, that is, we must have a due regard to the dignity of our own natures, and a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies.” (Matthew Henry Commentary, Vol.5)

—— 

Loving myself well does not originate with me or within me. Loving myself well begins with knowing, not facts, but knowing truth. I do not ignore facts but I base my life on truth. Doing so requires that I give my Father’s words, His view of me, priority over the facts or human opinions. I have to learn what He says about me; this is central to loving myself well.

Here are some of the things He who cannot lie says about me, “I am His child,” and a dearly beloved child, created in His likeness. In addition, He says I am His masterpiece, more than a conqueror, and chosen and accepted in the Beloved. And these things are just a fraction of what He says about me.  I can love myself because He loved me first and will always love me.

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This post was written for Day 8 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Truth.” The Introduction was written before the five minute timer began and the links to the Scripture verses were added after the five minute time frame elapsed. To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here or on the image below.

Loving well

 

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Any comfort from His love?

it's a girl!

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love?…” (Philippians 2:9, NIV; emphasis added)

Definition of Comfort:*
1:  strengthening aid: a) assistance; b) consolation in time of trouble or worry; solace
2:  a feeling of relief or encouragement 

Is Christ’s love for you a strengthening aid? Does it assist you? Give you consolation in time of trouble or worry? Does His love provide solace? Bring relief or encouragement? Does His love inspire you with courage, spirit or hope? Spur you on? Make you more likely to do something?

Christ’s love is and provides all of the above but experiencing these benefits of His love, requires that we believe that He loves us. Experiencing the benefits of His love requires that you personally believe that He loves you.

Do you believe that God loves you? Doubts about His love can arise and torment us when our belief in His love for us is based on our circumstances. Our circumstances, however, do not provide proof of His love. The unchanging, unequivocal proof of His love is found in His Word. A powerful example of this proof is expressed in 1 John 4:9-10 (AMP) –

9 By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

Doubts about His love for us can also arise as a result of our failures, our sins, especially those we have confessed and returned to repeatedly. His love for us, however, has never been based on us, as is demonstrated in Scripture verses such as Romans 5:7-8 (NKJV) –

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

His love is also steadfast, unchanging (Psalm 86:15; Psalm 136). He is love and for Him to stop loving requires Him to stop being Himself and He cannot change.

Whatever your circumstances or failures, you can know and believe that God loves you. You can accept His love for the first time or be reassured of His love for you. You will find His love to be a strengthening aid that provides assistance and solace, gives consolation in time of trouble or worry, brings relief and encouragement. Inspires you with courage, spirit and hope.  Spurs you on. Makes you more likely to do something (for example, accept yourself and love others).

*merriam-webster.com

Still desperately needed: His Light. His Love.

HIS LIGHT. HIS LOVE. (2)

With the goal of determining if there was a blog post that I could repost this week, I searched my blog using “June 2016” as my search criteria. The post, “His light. His Love,” was the first to appear. The following paragraph grabbed my attention, “In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies like the mass shootings which occurred in Orlando, FL, in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016.”

An internet search highlighted the truth that tragedies have continued unabated since June 12, 2016. They include several natural disasters. Among them were the following: flooding in Louisiana from August 12-14, 2016, which resulted in 13 deaths and an estimated 30,000 people displaced; three earthquakes in Italy in three months, which killed hundreds of people; hurricane Matthew in October 2016, that resulted in an estimated 1,600 deaths and damages in excess of $10.5 billion. The start of the new year brought no relief. In January 2017, more than 130 million people were affected by humanitarian crises such as disease outbreaks, natural disasters and conflict. It is believed that 58 million people are displaced worldwide and terrorists attacks continue, with the people of England experiencing multiple attacks in less than 14 days.

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world” we are told in Matthew 5:14. “God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit,” Romans 5:5, informs us. What was true in June 2016, remains true in June 2017 – “In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies…” We are His light to the world and His love has been “abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Father God, the world still desperately needs Your light and Your love. The heavens tell of Your glory but You have purposed that Your light be seen and Your love be shown through us, Your children. We acknowledge that our ability to reflect Your light is too often impaired, and instead of love, what is seen in us is condemnation and self-righteousness. We confess our weakness. Our sin. Cleanse us, Father, so that Your light in us can be clearly seen. Help us let go of everything we need to and allow You to remove that from which only You can free us, so that Your healing, transforming love in us can constantly overflow to others. And Abba, help us love, not just in word but in deed. In Jesus Name.

Five Minute Friday: Worth

Vintage +Modern Mix& Match

//“Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin…”

So begins the beloved poem written by Myra Brooks Welch in 1921. It is, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” It tells the parable of an old violin that was devalued because of its condition. It was going to be sold for a measly amount of $3.00, until a master violinist picked it up, wiped away the dust, tightened its strings, and played, “a melody pure and sweet, as a caroling angel sings.” With his touch, he changed the worth of the old violin. Its final selling price? $3,000.

The poem demonstrates that the violin is a metaphor for the life of a human being who is “battered and scarred with sin,” his or her life out of tune, and sold for little or nothing. That is, until touched by the Master. Touched by the Potter who turns marred clay into vessels of worth. Turns shacks into temples that He puts His seal on. That He appropriates and certifies as His. //

Gives us His Holy Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. Like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life. May we never again insult Him by allowing flesh and blood to define our worth.

Capture

I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community,  for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about the Five Minute Friday community, click here. This week’s writing prompt is, “Worth.”

(The content between //the double slashes //, was written within the allotted 5 minute time frame. The complete poem, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” can be read here.
I also wanted to share a beautiful song, “Worth,” by Anthony Brown & Group Therapy.)

 

For the least of these = for Him

for the least = for Him.png

 

Yesterday, May 21, 2017, was the Global Day of Prayer to end Famine. It was declared the day of prayer by the World Council of Churches, World Evangelical Alliance and All Africa Conference of Churches and several other organizations. Here are some facts shared by World Vision about this humanitarian crisis:

  • More than 20 million face famine
  • Famine has been declared in areas of South Sudan, with Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen on the brink of famine.
  • Millions more in Kenya and Ethiopia are suffering from drought and food shortages.
  • 1.4 million children are severely malnourished. If left untreated, more than one-third of these children will die from starvation and disease.

What contributed to this humanitarian crisis? A combination of conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices.   

The need is grave and help is needed immediately. The magnitude of the need can create the sense that there is nothing one person can do to make a difference. Not so. Each person reading this post can do three things: pray, give, and encourage others to do so. Pray for those in need and for organizations such as World Vision that are working effectively to meet immediate needs and facilitate sustainable change.  It is true that the Global Day of Prayer to end famine is over but prayer is not restricted to one day. And neither is giving. No amount is too small.  Please click here to give. Every dollar can make a difference. Thank you.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40, NIV; emphasis added)

 

Five Minute Friday: Empty

empty

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Empty.”

“He emptied Himself.”
He who is the Word.
He who was in the beginning.
He who has always been God.
He emptied Himself.

He, by whom, all things were created in heaven and on earth.
Visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.
He emptied Himself.

He, in whom is all the fullness of the Godhead .
He who holds all things together.
He emptied Himself.

He emptied Himself and became flesh.
He emptied Himself.
And allowed Himself to know hunger and be tempted.

He emptied Himself and became the man of sorrows,
intimately acquainted with grief.
To be rejected and despised.
As John notes, He came unto His own but His own did not receive Him.

He emptied Himself and because He did,
we who “were once estranged
and alienated
and hostile-minded toward Him,”
are now reconciled to God through His physical death.
We now “may have and enjoy life,
and have it in abundance,
to the full,
till it overflows.” 
All because He emptied Himself.

Isaiah 53: Redemption in one chapter

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53, NKJV)