A Bit of Rhema: On Loving One Another

“…love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.” 2 John 1:5b-6

A question often posed and seldom answered in a practical, “take responsibility for your actions” way: “What is love?” And here is the answer.  Can it be any more simple than this???  It is a definition of loving one another that I have never taken note of, yet, in the moment my spirit was awakened to it, my thoughts on loving my neighbor were forever changed.

Loving my neighbor is here defined as walking according to God’s commandments.  We can best love each other by living a life that pleases and honors the One, true God.

“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God…” 2 John 1:9a

And John continues by using this definition as a way of “proving” our salvation.  I can claim love, but do I obey Christ?  I can claim Christ, but do I live it out practically by loving people?  What an eye-opening truth about love!  A re-enforcement of the command to love God above all else, and in so doing, we fulfill the second: to love one another.  It seems clear then, that, although the Christian life is NOT to be lived or defined by formulas and rituals, that Christ gave us a simple equation to satisfy our human need for a formula to live by: If you love Me, you will obey My commands.  And if you love Me, I mean REALLY love Me, you will fulfill My second most important requirement of you.” (John 14:15) No long list of dos and don’ts.  No shame.  No bondage of slavery to some nagging being trying to control me. No! Rather, a list of the freedoms available to me as I live a life characterized by love…a Love that is a WHO, not just a what.  A love that runs screaming at the top of its lungs “Love me!!!!!!  You will be ruined for anything else!!!!”

It can clearly, therefore be reversed to say that, if my life does not consistently testify of my love for God through my love for people, then I must evaluate if I even truly know the God I claim to be rescued by.

O Lord, may my life ever be marked by, first, a love for You, void of any self-preservation or consciousness.  And, second, a deep love for the people You gave it all to rescue! Love, I am truly undone….and there is no going back! 🙂

 

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A Paradigm Shift Moment….


“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:25

These words strike me on a deep level. It is the message I was taught in the middle of the agony of my third miscarriage. It was a paradigm-shift moment in my faith and it ushered in a revival of the soul.
How, in the midst of my deepest emotional valley, could I begin to say and believe that God is good? I mean, He could’ve prevented it, right? But here’s the point: God IS good. If I only loved my children when they behaved, then there would MINIMALLY be a 50/50 ratio of love to loveless. (And all the parents say a resounding AMEN!) So, if I can view my children with forgiveness and faith in who they are, in their immaturity and selfishness, with almost no wisdom of their own, how can I not trust the Lord in His infinite love, wisdom, and maturity? If I don’t let circumstances determine my love and commitment to my husband, why would circumstances determine my faith in the Lover of my soul? My Creator and King? My Lord?
With that in mind, we must acknowledge the two ways this verse might be interpreted and applied. The first is probably universal at a glance: God does good things for the people who’s lives please Him. Isn’t that the first thing that came to your mind? Well, while that may hold a nugget of truth within it, what about the times when that doesn’t seem, in our finite understanding of both our circumstances and of God, to fit or circumstances? Maybe it has nothing to do with what we might receive from Him, but have everything in the world to do with simply gaining an understanding of Him. An understanding that resonates in our spirit that God IS good regardless of my present circumstances. And maybe, just maybe, I can only understand His goodness when I resolve to wait on Him and seek Him….
Just a thought……

Counting days



So here I sit, with my belly so big I can barely reach the keyboard and breath at the same time. How is it that time in pregnancy flies by so quickly…until the last few days??? Haha, it’s a silly thing to complain about, but I really miss bending over with ease!

What a journey this has been. It’s easy to forget what miracle this little girl truly is. A year and a half ago, I would have laughed in your face had you told me that I would have such a problem free pregnancy. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just imagining it all…not just this pregnancy, but all the tears leading up to this time of my life. I feel like the woman I was a couple years ago almost doesn’t exist anymore. I have learned infinitely more about myself than I ever thought I would in a lifetime…and even more importantly, I have learned infinitely more about my God than I ever dreamed. There were days that I felt completely rejected and betrayed by God and now there are days that I am in such awe of Him that I can hardly utter a prayer for fear that I will ruin that sense of awe. How can such a huge change happen in such a short time? I still don’t fully understand.

As I look back on it all, I remember a few moments that I’m certain were pivotal and I’m not sure if words can truly capture them, but I’ll try. A Sunday when I knew that the Lord was calling me to stand in front of my church and, tearful and trembling, give an impromptu testimony of what the Lord was teaching me in my bitter and hurt state. I found myself begging the rest of our church family to let go of whatever it was that they were holding against God or each other and to stop allowing fear or anger to control their lives. Uttering the words brought conviction on my own soul that I still had so much to release into His capable hands and yet, it seemed that the Lord was showing me, through my own testimony, that He was going to follow through on His promise to never leave nor forsake me. It was as if He was using my own words to reaffirm His promise of deliverance to my still frail and fragile heart.

Again, about 6 or 8 months later, I found myself sitting in church. This time it was a church we were visiting. I was praying and suddenly felt a fear come over me that I had never felt before. And then, a question. The kind of question that every parent dreads facing. The kind of question that Abraham must have asked while walking Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice. “Will you completely release all of your rights to your child’s life into My hands? And if I choose to allow the end of that life, will you still trust Me and follow Me?” It was as if I was sitting there in the church service and my precious son was dying as I struggled with this question. I felt compelled to go peak at him through the window of the classroom door….and in nearly hysterical tears I did and stood watching helplessly yet relieved to see him happily playing and laughing. My answer to the question? I knew I couldn’t go look at my son without first releasing him into the only hands that can truly carry him through any given moment of life, and so release is what I did.

Why would such moments of utter and complete brokenness be so pivotal? I can only imagine that they are moments where I let go of things that were never mine to hold so tightly. What is that famous saying from Jim Elliott? “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Whatever the case, I am so thankful for each day. I am so full of life and freedom. I am experiencing the power of my God in ways I never dreamed possible and I am fully aware that it has nothing to do with me…except that I was willing to let it all go.

Oh the freedom and joy of a life lived for a greater purpose than success or money or even happiness! I am truly free indeed! I am forever broken for the good of my own soul….and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂