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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Accountability Partner

We all have areas of our life that we ignore; little habits, words and facial expressions, which are less than stellar. We do not even think about them…but other people see them. Even more importantly is the fact that God sees them too. He has been watching and dealing with us about these issues throughout our whole life. They are called “blind spots”.

We merrily go about our life without noticing that our testimony is tarnished by what we say and by the way we act. That is why it is so good to have an accountability partner. Someone that we love and trust, and that we know “has our back” through thick and thin. They love and respect us in spite of all of our idiosyncrasies.

We choose an accountability partner who would never turn on us or hurt us by the intimate details of our life, which we share with them. They should be spiritual, and endeavor to follow Christ with their life as well. They see our blind spots, those little nagging issues, which we ignore or are unaware of, and they are not afraid to point them out to us in love.

They are committed to God, and care about us as a friend and a fellow Christian. They are humble and recognize that they have faults as well; and they are growing and changing in their own lives. We can share anything with them and they will keep our confidence. These particular people willingly pray for God to strengthen us and to give us wisdom.

Prayer:
Father God, Jesus had twelve disciples, but He only took three to the mountain to see His transfiguration. He had three special friends whom He knew cared for Him deeply and would need the vision of His glory to strengthen them as they carried on His work after His resurrection. Help us to find those faithful few whom we can trust with our life and who will help us to grow in Christ.

Thought for the Day:
Since we dwell on this earth together, let us help rather than hinder one another.

The Lord of the Dance

When the Holy Spirit abides in us, He desires to develop His fruit in our life (Galatians 5:22-23). He cannot force us to live a fruitful life; therefore, He wants us to allow Him to flow in and through us. Our surrender enters us into a dance of joy with the Lord of the dance, and we sing songs to our Lord day and night (Psalm 149:3; Ephesians 5:19).

We sway with Him to the music He places in our heart, getting lost in the melody of His love and dedicating our life to His service. We praise Him with the tambourines and the dance (Psalm 150:4). Twirling in harmony with His melody (Psalm 149:3), we dance in joy because of His peace and provision (Jeremiah 31:4). There is always a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Those who seek the Lord lack nothing that we need to prosper in this life (Psalm 34:10). The Lord is our light and protection, and He gives us His kindness and respect. He withholds no good thing from those who walk in Holiness before Him (Psalm 84:11). As we submit to God and allow His peace to rule in our heart, He will make our way prosperous (Job 22:21).

God never allows His righteous ones to go hungry (Proverbs 10:3). When life devastates us, our heart loses its hope, but Jesus turns our mourning into dancing (Lamentations 5:15; Psalm 31:11). Then, we can once again praise Him with musical instruments and dance before Him in joy (Psalm 150:4, 149:3; 2 Samuel 6:14). God delights in the praises and love of His Saints (Zephaniah 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, there is no need for us to live in fear and anxiety about what we need, because You know everything about us, and You graciously and generously supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:31-32). You provide for us and protect us all of the days of our life (Psalm 84:11). You give us all good things to enjoy (Matthew 7:11). Teach us to dance with You, especially when life gets too hard to handle.

Thought for the Day:
Our Father in Heaven gives us whatever we ask, if we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him. – 1 John 3:22

God Hates Divorce

God takes divorce and infidelity personally, especially if the other person is faithful to his or her vows. The Lord made it very clear that He will not accept the worship of a person who makes a vow to their husband or wife and then is unfaithful to their partner. God wants couples to remain loyal to one another (Hebrews 13:4-7).

In today’s world, divorce is considered a convenience, especially if one or the other party is unhappy. We call evil good and believe that God is fine with it, but He is not. In marriage, God makes two people one flesh in body and soul (Genesis 2:22-24; Matthew 19:4-6). He desires godly children from this union. He considers divorce as an act of overwhelming cruelty. That is why God hates divorce.

When we reject the Word of the Lord, we lose our credibility. We are no longer wise, but foolish. When a person is unfaithful to the Lord, God will sometimes take their mate from them and give their mate and their possessions to someone else. Then the cruel and unloving mate will be cast down from the Lord’s favor (Malachi 2:14-17; Jeremiah 8:8-12)

God desires for us to choose to be fulfilled with our mate, and to let their good points make us happy. If we surround our mate with love, even if they are mean or inattentive, then God’s blessings will be on us (Proverbs 5:18-19). Most people do not just decide to be harsh or angry or neglectful for the fun of it! They are wounded individuals who need God’s healing (James 5:16 http://www.theophostic.com ).

Prayer:
Father God, teach wives to live in submission to their husband and teach husbands to gladly lay down their life for their wife, just like Jesus did for us. There is not a man alive that does not love his own body, so help him to love his wife just as he does himself. Help us to submit to one another out of respect for You. Remind us that we are complete in You, regardless of the circumstances in our marriage and in our life (Ephesians 5:21-22; Colossians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
Every godly husband loves his wife as he loves himself and every authentic Christian wife will respect her husband. – Ephesians 5:23

The Eternal Marriage

One of the great mysteries of the Bible is the connection between Jesus and the Church in a marriage. A husband is exhorted to love his wife in the same manner that Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus literally laid down His life for the Church. How many husbands actually do that for their wife? Most of them get frustrated with their wife’s idiosyncrasies and opt out of the marriage?

 

There is not a problem in a person or a marriage that cannot be resolved with intentional counseling and mutual submission. Except in life or death situations, no reason is good enough to justify divorcing one’s mate. It is a lazy, superficial, self-centered person who files for divorce. They are unwilling to work at becoming one flesh. A time of separation and a forgiving heart will help to iron out even the worst marital issues.

 

Reserving nothing for Himself, Jesus gave His life for His Bride before we even knew or loved Him. His love is unconditional, regardless of our behavior, attitude or expressions. He will never, ever leave or forsake us for any reason or in any way (Hebrews 13:5). Spouses are to follow suite and care for one another’s physical, emotional, mental, financial and spiritual needs despite the reception we receive from our mate.

 

The husband honors the wife as the weaker vessel, and he protects her from the pain and confusion of the world (1 Peter 3:7). He listens to her and cares about what she cares about. The wife respects and encourages her husband. She keeps his home and cares for his children. She supports him even when she disagrees with the direction he is going. Although she does have the option to separate for a time if she feels threatened in any way.

 

There is no man or woman alive who does not grab his/her toe when it is stubbed, or jerk away from something hot or cringe from a hand raised in anger. We are to protect one another in the same way that we love and protect our self (Ephesians 5:28-33). We care about each other’s needs, often anticipating them before the desire is even expressed. God will help us to work out every negative issue in our marriage if we totally surrender our will to His.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You give us a perfect example of loving a flawed mate. Israel failed You over and over; and yet, You continually loved her and honored Your commitment to her. Remind us to feel each other’s pain and confusion as if they were our own and never to break our marriage vows to one another, even when we do not like one another very much!

 

Thought for the Day:

There is no one that loves us better, or cares for our welfare more than Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer. – Leviticus 25:25; Ruth 1-4