Loving Others as Our Self

Jesus made a point of telling us to love others as we love our self. Most of us despise our self, have grudges and disappointments and unforgiveness toward our self. We do not love our self at all (Mark 12:30-31).

Therefore, how can we truly love anyone else? We compare our self to worldly standards and find our self lacking. We listen to significant others in our life and adopt their opinion of us, even if it is negative.

We try all of our life to earn the unconditional love, respect, worth and affirmation we so desperately need. We sell our self short and give up on our self. We feel useless, hopeless, helpless and unlovable.

We are not powerful enough, rich enough, adorable enough, smart enough, talented enough, or attractive enough; we are not enough. We see our self through the eyes of others and we feel disappointed and ashamed.

However, God wants us to see our self through His eyes – as a person He cares about so much that He gave His life for us. He wants us to love our self as He loves us, and then to love others as we love our self.

We can start by accepting our self as He accepts us, just the way we are. We can make better, healthier, wiser and more nurturing choices. We can speak only kind, loving words to and about our self and others.

We can take care of our body, soul and spirit. We can accept our feelings and seek God to find resolutions for our negative feelings and unresolved conflicts. We can judge our self only through the eyes of God, not the eyes of the world.

We can stop using addictions, people, vocation and talents to make us feel better about our self. We can stop abandoning our self and taking our self and others for granted. We can stay in touch with who we are, what we need and how God is leading us all throughout our day.

Prayer:
Father God, enlighten the eyes of our understanding to see our self as You see us: as Your adopted children, co-heirs with Christ of Your entire Kingdom. Remind us to pay attention to our physical, emotional, spiritual and mental needs and to seek You on how to fulfill them.

Help us to accept our feelings and circumstances, even the negative ones, as Your tool in our life to bring us closer to total surrender to Your will and to keep us from depending on our human resources and understanding. Give us Your peace and joy as our strength. Remind us that without You we are nothing; but with You, all things are possible if we simply believe (John 15:5; Mark 9:23).

Thought for the Day:
Take the time throughout the day for a personal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual inventory; meet your needs or ask God to meet them; and then give yourself time to renew Your strength in the Lord and to rise up on wings like eagles. – Isaiah 40:31

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Let Me Tell You, Gentlemen

If you think that your marriage is good, or even perfect, that may be because all of your needs are met by your good and faithful wife. Have you ever asked her what she thinks about your marriage?

You may be surprised to find out that she is so busy caring for you and the home and children, that she has no time to fulfill her needs. She may have longings in her soul that are not realized; so make the time to discover her needs and help her to accomplish them.

You may criticize her for her irritability, insecurity, jealousy, rage, discouragement, etc., and view these negative emotions as separate from your behavior. They very well may have an outside source; but you could help to relieve them, even if your behavior and attitude are not causing them.

Do you ignore her when she talks to you, and only listen to her with half an ear? Do you take all of her needs seriously and ask her how you can help her? Do you provide her with a stable living environment full of cherishing, nurturing and acceptance?

She may need an hour to soak in the tub, some help with the dishes or bathing the children, a night alone to read or watch a movie in the sanctity of your bedroom, or a special date night. Take charge and give her that time.

Make sure that you inundate her with continual focused attention; date nights which you help to plan; and little gifts, notes, cards, emails and phone calls to let her know that she is not only in your heart but in your mind as well.

Never take her for granted. Bless her with words, which affirm your appreciation of her, but back the words up with actions too. Celebrate her successes along with her and show her your care and concern when she is discouraged or ill.

If she works outside of the home too, help her with the household chores and make sure all of your children have assigned duties, so that the whole family cooperates to keep your home clean, harmonious and running smoothly.

Never allow your children to speak to your wife with disrespect, and model this respect by your behavior. Find a church to attend with your family, have daily devotions with them all and disciple them in Biblical truth to help them to withstand the devil’s temptations.

Prayer:
Father God, You created the husband to serve as a role model in his family as he patterns his behavior and attitude after Your character and nature (Galatians 5:15-25; 2 Peter 1:4). Help him to consider the needs of his wife and children above his own (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, give him the boldness to express his needs as well, so his family can uplift him as he supports them.

Meld the husband and wife in such unity that they provide a positive and cohesive home for their children. This will give more security to the children and reduce rebellion in them as well. Remind us that You are the reason we are alive on this earth, and that serving You as a family is the greatest privilege, which life affords us.

Thought for the Day:
There is nothing, which happens in a marriage that cannot be resolved, if both mates will prefer one another, exhibit patience during a disagreement, join forces during a trial and spend time enjoying one another’s company.

A Better Way

As we age, events occur in our life, which influence our belief system. Maybe our parents, a school experience, siblings, neighbors, a stranger, or a combination of any or all of these factors imposed some harm on us or failed to protect us in some way.

We develop a warped perception of life caused by these painful events. Most of us adopt coping skills based on what we perceived as fact, because of these experiences.

Those without coping skills develop neuroses, which we think will protect us from what we fear the most. These anxieties, obsessions, compulsions, indecisiveness and social and interpersonal maladjustments are driven by fear and insecurity.

These perceived notions of life cause us to breathe in shallow breaths, to fear change, to act suspiciously of new people and situations, and to stay in the background; yet, we may also come out fighting when backed into a corner.

Many counselors believe that an effectual method to overcome a neurosis is to daily recite affirmations and to use human will power to change our behavioral patterns.

However, there is a better way to face the fear of the past or the challenges of our future. Only through prayer will a person truly experience freedom from the memories, which drive neurosis in our life.

As we seek God’s will for every moment of our day, He will set us free from having to face life alone (Ephesians 2:10; Proverbs 3:5-6). He is our Champion, who never abandons us (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer:
Father God, life is so hard. Nothing is ever easy. There are constant roadblocks, which hinder our progress. The abuse and abandonment, which we experienced in our childhood and even in our adult life, cripple us with neurosis and negative behavior.

We look to You to replace our negative character with the fruit of Your Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), for transforming our mind into the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14-16) and for giving us the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). Thank You for strengthening our inner being so that we, through Your Spirit, can accept Christ as our Savior (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Thought for the Day:
Once we recognize that we are a nobody, we can come to the clear revelation that only in Christ are we a somebody.

Transformed Life

We often measure our success by our accomplishments. We crave the affirmation of our parents and peers. When we do not receive this validation, or when we fail to succeed in life, we lose all hope of a meaningful existence. We often change venues and attempt to receive recognition and triumph in some other area. We may enjoy fame for a while, but soon even that is hollow and vain.

There is only one way to truly succeed in this world. Once we surrender our entire life to God, He will direct our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). We grow in ways we never thought possible. Our hard heart is softened (Ezekiel 36:26), our knowledge increases concerning eternal conquests, our emotions level out, and our relationships deepen.

The Word of God penetrates into the most private areas of our life and transforms our mind and enlightens our soul (2 Timothy 3:14-16). God blesses us with His love in more abundant measures than we could ever deserve (2 Corinthians 9:8). We have the power, along with all of God’s Saints, to understand the width and height and depth of His love, and we realize that nothing in this world can ever take that away from us (Ephesians 3:18; Romans 8:38-39).

Our appreciation and adoration of God increases daily. We submit more willingly to His cleansing power in our life. God starts a work in our soul, which lasts a lifetime, and we see changes every day in small increments in every area of our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions (Romans 12:2). He molds us like a Potter with a hunk of clay, makes us into vessels for His service (Isaiah 64:8).

Prayer:
Father God, once we are totally broken, subdued, weak and humbled, we are ready for Your transforming power in our life. Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, so that we will walk on Your straight and narrow way according to Your precepts (Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:105; Matthew 7:13-14). You take our broken, useless lives and turn them into priceless works of art for Your glory. Remind us not to rely on the thoughts and intents of our heart, but to submit to Your Spirit’s transformation in our life (Proverbs 27:3; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Corinthians 2:16).

Thought for the Day:
We are broken for God’s glory and then raised to walk in New Life with Him.                   – Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12

Love in Marriage

Marriage is defined as a union of two individuals. God phrases it as two becoming one. This means that we no longer strive to please our self, but to submit to one another as joint heirs to the Kingdom of God (1 Peter 3:7). We no longer promote our own agenda, but meld our ideas to formulate a new way of life, which meets both of our needs.

When one person in the couple gives more than the other person, there is an inequity in both power and fulfillment. This imbalance will throw off the symmetry of the relationship and fuel negative emotions, which destroy intimacy. If undetected or not dealt with, these feelings will erode even the best of relationships.

In a Godly marriage, both partners build up one another up in love (1 Thessalonians 5:11), bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2), help to carry each other’s burdens (Colossians 3:13), edify each other rather than to criticize or tear one another down (Ephesians 4:29) and find God’s will for your marriage by praying together and seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction (Jude 1:20).

We all need praise, affirmation, love, appreciation and support. No one likes to be taken for granted, discounted or neglected. We often get too focused on work, children, church activities and community involvement and end up disregarding our mate and family. This is as much of a betrayal as infidelity. Make your mate a priority, second only to God. Spend time as a family and bond with love for a lifetime.

Prayer:
Father God, You knew us and had every day of our life planned out before we were ever born (Psalm 139:16). You gave woman to man as a helpmate. Teach us to value each other’s opinions, because there are many bad decisions, which could have been avoided if a couple discussed and prayed about it prior to carrying it out. Help us to avoid blaming and criticizing and to accept one another, even with all of our idiosyncrasies.

Thought for the Day:
Financial, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual fidelity is the key to marital success.

Her Cherished Treasure

The wise woman makes her husband her priority second only to God. He will see her love for him in her eyes, in her tone of voice, in her caring touch and in the amount of time she wants to spend with him. He is her most cherished treasure and is highly esteemed in her priorities. She respects, prefers and values his presence in her life.

Men want to be appreciated, and to feel trusted, believed in and admired. When a husband feels disrespected, he feels humiliated and will often react in anger or withdraw within himself. Often, his own behavior causes these feelings, but a wife can still attempt to support him in his endeavors. We believe in him, even when he doesn’t believe in himself.

Men are more vulnerable than they will admit or than most women realize. They crave verbal affirmation and encouragement. This gives them security and confidence. Some men believe that if their wife will stand with them, then the whole world can stand against them and they will not care. Many men will seek genuine affirmation from another woman, if they do not receive it from their wife.

Men want to be romantic, but fear humiliation. A wife’s encouragement, even in his frailest attempts, will encourage a husband to do even more. A man needs to know that his wife wants and desires him. This helps him to feel loved and gives him the confidence to succeed in every area of life. Due to her appreciation, he will not feel trapped by the innate need to provide for his family.

Prayer:
Father God, You created marriage to give men a helpmate (Genesis 2:18-22). Enable women to focus on the positive character in our mate and to build him up and appreciate him at every opportunity. Remind us to be grateful to him for each romantic gesture and every moment that he wants to spend with us. Assist us in maintaining a positive attitude, even when our husband disappoints us.

Thought for the Day:
When a wife accepts the influence of her husband over the household, even an unbelieving husband will be impressed; and may be won over to the Gospel because of his wife’s respect. – 1 Peter 3:1