Love is a Decision

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
– ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-8‬‬

Love is a decision.
Sometimes, it’s a really hard one.
Sometimes it is a gut-wrenching, sick-to-your-stomach kind of hurt.
Sometimes we feel betrayed and we just want to cry out.

We wonder how someone can make the choices they make and use the words that tear our hearts to pieces, when we are giving them everything we can give. When we are always there with love, support, direction… Why is it not enough???
But it’s true. Love is a decision. We have to keep loving through the pain sometimes. We have to keep standing strong even when they try to push us away.

When I am struggling in a relationship with a loved one, I will pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me choose love! I’m tired of hurting, but I’m trying to be patient. My loved one has had cruel words to say, but I want to be kind. Help me choose to respect them and to try to understand their point of view. Calm my temper so I don’t react in anger. And when I forgive, help me to truly let go of the issue, and not throw it in their face at a later date. I want to protect their heart fiercely – like a mama bear protecting her cub. Help me trust that they will receive my love, and learn to better demonstrate their love for me. I have hope that as we each grow closer to you and learn more about your grace and love, our relationship with each other will grow stronger, as well. Be close to us through this rough patch so that our relationship may heal. Thank you, Lord! Amen.

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Rivers of Living Water

I “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
– ‭‭John‬ ‭7:38‬‬ NLT

Jesus says that if we believe in Him, trust in Him, and rely on Him, we should come to Him. We should seek Him out and drink of His living water – the Holy Spirit. And that rivers of living water will flow from our hearts. We will be so filled with His spirit and His love that it will pour out of us!

Don’t allow anything to block that flow. Your pride, your pain from the past, your fears and anxieties, your mistakes, your shame… These are some of the things that can slow the stream down to a trickle.
Tear down these dams.
Clear away these obstructions.
Open up the floodgates and let His Holy Spirit flow from you freely, for others to see so that they, too, may come to Him and drink.

Dear God, I come to You to receive Your living water. I want to let it flow from my heart each and every day so that everyone who knows me will know Your love through me. Amen

My Forever Home

“I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life; and your house will be my home as long as I live.”
– ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:6‬‬

I saw this verse as I scrolled through Facebook today. Today – the day that I needed it the most. It is a reminder that this roof over my head is not my forever home and that everything within these walls is just stuff. His love never fails (even when sump pumps do…)

Dear Father, I thank you for providing a home where I could raise my daughter. Please help us always to remember that the most important things inside these walls are the love and the memories that we share here. Amen

Be a Blessing

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God wants to bless us so we can be a blessing for others. He doesn’t want us to hoard His blessings and keep them for ourselves, He wants us to share.

Have you ever been in a drive-through and paid for the vehicle behind you? You don’t expect anything in return, just sprinkling a little bit of joy on someone’s day…
Have you ever pulled forward to the second window to pick up your food and noticed in your rear view mirror that the person you just blessed was blessing someone else? That’s what this verse is talking about! Only God’s blessings are even bigger and better than burgers and fries!
God wants to put joy in our hearts so we are inspired to make a difference in someone else’s life!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Here are just a few ways you can be a blessing:
– Acts of kindness – even when it’s not needed, sometimes the smallest gestures can brighten someone’s day!
– Kind words – words of encouragement, compliments
– Listening – sometimes people just need to be heard and understood. Give someone the attention they need!
– Donations – whether it’s a charity that is near and dear to your heart or a coworker who is going through hard times, sometimes monetary donations are a blessing. When you are doing your spring cleaning ask yourself if someone at a homeless shelter could find your items useful, before you just toss them.
– Acts of service – volunteer at your local food bank or check with your pastor to see if there are any volunteer initiatives that you could participate in.
– Prayers – sometimes the best thing you can offer someone is a heartfelt prayer.

Dear God, I thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. I am so overjoyed that you want to make ME a blessing! Please open my eyes so that I might see every opportunity to bless others. I hope that by blessing others, I will bring glory to Your name!
Amen

Protect the Vulnerable

As Noah’s story comes to a close, we learn of a clash between him and his youngest son. Noah has played the part of a hero in this story – God had mercy on him because of his tremendous faith and blessed him because of his show of respect and gratitude. But here we see a more human side to Noah, that is a little more relatable.
Despite being a righteous man and finding favor in the eyes of The Lord, Noah wasn’t perfect. He had a little too much wine and found himself in an embarrassing situation.
While he was passed out drunk inside his tent, his son, Ham, saw his nakedness. Rather than covering his father and trying to protect him from shame, Ham went to tell his brothers.
Shem and Japheth went into the tent and covered their father, walking backward with their faces turned away, out of love and respect for Noah.
When you love someone, you want to protect them from harm, not expose their faults. You don’t gossip with others about that person’s weakest moments. Gossip is hurtful. No one deserves to have someone taking delight in retelling their misfortunes or to have their faults exposed.

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And that’s exactly what happened in Noah’s situation. His relationship with Ham was never the same. He became so angry with him, that he cursed his own grandson.
Our first instinct should be, “How can I help?” – Not, “Who can I tell about this?”

Dear God,
When I see someone in a distressful situation, please give me the courage to step up and protect them, in a respectful way, without hesitation. Remind me that it isn’t any of my business how they got into this mess and it is not my job to determine if their own poor choices led them to their current circumstances. I know that You want me to show them love and respect, and that by doing so, I will honor You. Please surround my daughter with people who have her best interest at heart and will shield her from harm or embarrassment when she makes mistakes.
Amen