Tag Archive | love

The Saint Who Needed A Hug

gloomy forestI woke up very early this morning with the Four D’s (Depression-Doubt-Distress-Despair) weighing heavily on my mind and spirit. It’s not a good feeling at Christmas time, but it’s not uncommon, or so I’m told.

Busyness has kept me from my devotions: time in God’s word and prayer. I’ve been diving right into my “things to do” list, skimping and even skipping that precious time with God. As a consequence, my prayers have become perfunctory, barely reaching the ceiling, which then brought on a sense of unease and guilt, which always leads to despair.

Weariness and weakness (from a seemingly endless bowel condition which sends me visiting “John” 4-5 times per night) added to my distress. Then doubt and depression followed. “I am so sinful,” I thought. “I can’t pray or intercede. I can’t understand the truths from the word. What is wrong with me?”

And then came that list (emailed to my conscience from the devil). “I am selfish, self-concerned, self-righteous (no better than that Pharisee!). I’m lazy, lukewarm, a hypocrite. I lack the Spirit’s filling power or maybe even…. His regeneration! Am I really saved?”  What a pity party! But it was also a confession of sorts.

Where to turn but to my Heavenly Father. “Oh, help me by your Spirit! I need a spiritual HUG!! Do you DO that, Lord?”

I thought of the Apostle Paul who was “troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair.”  2 Corinthians 4:8  Oh, to be like Paul!

Then Romans 8 “came to my mind.” I turned to the passage and read that glorious first verse, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”

“Am I walking after the FLESH, or after the SPIRIT of God?”  My defeated, doubting spirit needed to know.

sunrays9I got out my journal and listed in two columns the things of the flesh and the things of the Spirit from the following verses in chapter 8. http://bit.ly/1ApHbXv  As I listed the evidences, I saw, that although some things of the flesh still clung to me, I was firmly in the camp of the Spirit, and my heart began to lift.

My eyes fell on verse 26, “the Spirit also helps our weaknesses…”

And on verse 28, “we know God causes all things work together for good to those who love Him…who are called according to His purpose.”

Verses 31-34 ask, If God be for me, who can be against me? Will GOD be against me, who loved me so much He spared not His Son for me?  No!

Will CHRIST condemn me, who died and was raised and is at the right hand of God interceding right now for me?  No!

And…. if MY HEART condemns me, God is greater than my heart and HE knows everything about me.  1 John 3:19-20  http://bit.ly/1GQKLfl

open-bibleThen in verses 35-39, Paul lists fourteen mighty things that CANNOT separate me from God’s love. http://bit.ly/16tD3Ni  And to those fourteen, I added “the Four D’s.”

Oh, thank You, Father. This is the spiritual HUG I needed!!  I do not deserve your love, but you give it to me freely because of Your Son. You are so good and compassionate! You know my “frame, that it is mere dust.” You are so faithful and true!

WHO can comprehend the LOVE of God?  The God who would reach down to His struggling daughter and give her a much-needed hug on a rainy day.

What’s NOT To Love?

Reading from 1 John 2:15-17

John  – Son of Zebedee, Son of Thunder, one of the three “inner circle” disciples of Jesus, brother to James, and the longest living  of The Twelve Disciples, referred to himself in humility, simply as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

One of the things John writes about in his first letter is LOVE – the love God has for us.

LOVE canstock5305971“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God, for God is love.”  1 John 4:7-8

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:9-10

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16

John also writes about the LOVE that believers (should) have.

LOVE Matthew_22-37We love Him (God) because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  1 John 4:11

And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:21 (with John 15:12)

The Greatest Commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul & strength, and the second greatest  is to love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:38-39

Jesus even commands us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

So…. what does John say we are NOT TO LOVE?

“DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR THE “THINGS” OF THE WORLD. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world … is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with it’s desires. BUT, whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Just what ARE these worldly things we are to not love?

1. the Lust of the Flesh – This is the desire to INDULGE  – your “self”

2. the Lust of the Eyes – This is the desire to ACQUIRE  – more “stuff”

3. the Pride of Life – This is the desire to IMPRESS – other “people”


So then….what is “the will of the Father” (the desires or attitudes) that, in doing, results in life forever (in this context)?  It is the OPPOSITE of the above.

humility PUBLICANpppas00701. “DENY YOUR SELF, take up your cross (the cross symbolizes death; death to self), and follow me (Jesus).” (Matthew 16:24)

2. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures (“stuff”) on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but LAY UP FOR  YOURSELF TREASURES IN HEAVEN… (Matthew 6:19-21) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matthew 6:21)

3. “HUMBLE YOURSELF before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10) “A broken and CONTRITE HEART, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

The Apostle Paul explains more…

“Put off your ‘old self’ which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

HUMILITY a-teenager-prays“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Let this mind be in you, that was in Christ Jesus, who … made himself nothing …. who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:8-11

After reading the 1 John 2 passage (and connecting verses) I searched my heart to consider whom and what I love?  Am I putting off those “deceitful desires” John writes about?  Whose will am I seeking to do…. my own or God’s?

How about you?

“Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. And walk IN LOVE, as Christ LOVED us and GAVE HIMSELF up for us, a fragrant offering and SACRIFICE to God.”