31 Days of Loving Well & FMF: Overcome

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Bias, defined as, “A particular tendency, trend, inclination, feeling or opinion, especially one that is preconceived or unreasoned.” Biases. We all have them. Sometimes we dress our biases up in pretty clothing and call them “preferences.” Preferences, which Merriam-Webster tells me, “suggest a choice guided by one’s judgment or predilections. (A preference for cool weather).” But I see preferences as being relevant to things, not people.

A bias is not a preference. It is “an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment: PREJUDICE.” Prejudice, “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.”

What does bias have to do with loving those I do not know, well? Everything. I need, with the help of the Holy Spirit to recognize and overcome, “successfully deal with” my biases, if I am to imitate my Father and “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2).


Today’s post was written for Day 27 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series, and Five Minute Friday. This series, 31 Days of Loving Well, is part of the  31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes event. The prompt is, “Overcome.” Definitions are from dictionary.com and merriam-webster.com. To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

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31 Days of Loving Well: Share

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It can be easy to share our successes,
our victories,
our triumphs,
with the people we love.

But our failures,
our weaknesses,
our struggles?
These we can be tempted,
even inclined to hide,
minimize.
Sometimes out of pride.
Sometimes out of fear
that we will be rejected.
Judged.
Disapproved of.

But true intimacy requires vulnerability.

Help me to remember this truth, Abba,
When I am tempted to hide and pretend with those I love.

Let me counter this temptation with the truth that You know me fully and love me completely.
Let the truth that I am accepted in the Beloved, be enough for me to risk being vulnerable with my loved ones.

And let me be a safe place where they can feel free to share their struggles and troubles, and flaws and know that they will be accepted and loved and supported.

Abba, I pray once more, help me love my loved ones well.


This post was written for Day 18 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Share.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

31 Days of Loving Well: Write

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“Do not let mercy and kindness and truth
leave you [instead let these qualities define you];
Bind them [securely] around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:4 (AMP)

I read the Amplified Bible’s translation of Proverbs 3:4 and wondered how to implement it in my life. Especially the last part of it, “Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Thankfully, the VOICE translation provided insight. It reads, “Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth; engrave then on a pendant, and hang it around your neck; meditate on them so they are written upon your heart.”

Okay, meditating on mercy and kindness and truth is how I write them on my heart. But how is meditating on mercy and kindness and truth connected to loving well, especially loving myself well? Because to mediate on these qualities, I have to first focus on the One who is Truth, the One whose mercy (also translated lovingkindness), is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17), and whose kindness is unfailing (Jeremiah 31:3). And as I mediate on Him and the mercy He has shown me, I am reminded to show mercy to those who hurt or disappoint me. And forgiveness is both an act of obedience and an act of self-care, a way of loving myself, because it liberates me.


This post was written for Day 12 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Write.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here or the image below.

Loving well

 

31 Days of Loving Well: Remember

Remember

“Make tassels for the corners of your garments,” You instructed the children of Israel, through Moses. “And put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner.” The tassels were to serve as a visual reminder of Your commandments and of the need to obey them.

“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God brought you out with a strong hand,” You also instructed. “Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years,” You also said.

But what they remembered was the food of Egypt, not the hard bondage and toil. Not Your mighty deliverance. They remembered what they should have forgotten and forgot what they should have remembered.

And I too am guilty of this sin, remembering what I should forget: the things that You have forgiven.

And forgetting what I should remember: that I am a sojourner; to freely offer the grace that I have received from You. These are just a few.

Help me properly remember, Abba. Help me remember.// Especially help me remember how desperately I need You for everything, every moment. For remembering well is nourishment. It is self-care. It is an act of love.

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This post was written for Day 11 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Remember.” The content after the // was written after 5 minutes had elapsed. To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here or on the image below.

Loving well

31 Days of Loving Well: Truth

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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)

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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

 

Five Minute Friday: Speak

But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth] (1)

I speak with my words and my life. And my Father tells me in Ephesians 4:15, to speak the truth in love, in all things, both with my speech and my life, “expressing His truth,” (AMP).

Speak the truth in love, in all things… it does not matter if is unpopular, or scary, or pushes me way out of my comfort zone. This is what He requires of me, to speak the truth in love with my words and with my life. To express His truth. Not my opinions. Not the opinions of learned men and women.

And what aspect of His truth am I to express in this season when just last week, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis, and people of similar views and beliefs, expressed clearly, with their words and their actions, hate? This – “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, through He is not far from each one of us.”* He is near and He loves and calls me to love those who hate me.

 

speak

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

*Acts 17:26-27 (AMP)

Advent Week 2: Day 6 PEACE

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This verse describes Gideon’s reaction to God’s compassionate response to  his (Gideon’s)expectation that he would be destroyed because he had “seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” (Judges 6: 22-23, NLT). In the midst of what was likely abject terror, God spoke words of comfort and assurance to Gideon. Out of that experience, Gideon received the revelation that “the LORD is peace.”

God does not only give peace. He is peace. And I am reminded of a truth shared by Ann Voskamp in her book, The Greatest Gift, “God gives God.” He gives us who He is.

In addition, to Judges 6, examples of this truth are found in verses such as Psalm 71:5 (AMP), “For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust and the source of my confidence from my youth, ” and Psalm 28:7 (NIV), “The Lord is my strength…”

Prayer

Father, this Advent season, may we have a fresh understanding of the truth that You give who You are. May it sink deep into our spirits. Also, help us to remember that You, LORD are peace and everything else that we need.