Jesus showing love

This morning I was reading John 4 about the woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus.  This story is rather familiar to me however today, Jesus’ absolute, unconditional and extravagant love struck me like a 2×4.

When Jesus approached the woman, He was asking for water.  Then Jesus changed the conversation to the gift that He could give her.  Then Jesus changed the conversation yet again to her personal life and worship.  He was drilling down in her heart to the real issue at hand.  Yes, she would love to have some water so that she did not have to keep coming back to that well just for a drink.  But what she really NEEDED was the well in her heart to be filled.  Could this come from the men she had in her past or the man she currently had?  NO.  She had to go to Jesus to get her heart filled.

The woman’s words to the town also struck me, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29)

Because Jesus knew her intimately, she believed what He said.  And not only did she believe, but she called others to meet this precious Jesus who “told me everything I ever did” yet did not bring condemnation but only love.

I want to be like this woman- getting my heart’s fill from Jesus alone and telling others about His love and striving to love others like He loves me.  True and authentic.  Love that does not bring bitterness or condemnation.  Just absolute, unconditional and extravagant LOVE.

May I encourage you to read John 4 today and see what the Savior is saying to your heart.

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Love is (part 3)

It has been my goal to look at the Bible’s definition of what LOVE IS and hold that up to my definition of love.  Yes, God’s definition will win out in my life every time.  However without an intentional look at what God says love is, I will continue to love my way and not God’s.  In August I looked at love is patient and love is kind.

Today I want to explore:

envy

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what Merriam-Webster says that envy is– “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage”.  So to be envious I have to have painful and/or resentful thoughts/attitude toward someone that enjoys something that I want to enjoy myself.

Now, I typically don’t see myself as an “envious” person.  I try very hard to be thankful for all the things that God has given to me because God has blessed me and my family a TON.  But I don’t believe that envy applies only to material possessions.  I believe it goes along with relationships and time and a host of other things.

I have noticed that sadly I do find myself thinking “Oh, I wish my husband would express his love to me like that…” Or “Oh, I wish I still had that close friendship with…”  Or “Oh, I wish my children and I could…”  And those are envious thoughts.

Thoughts of comparison usually lead to envy and envy is not love.  So how can I stop the envy??  I believe it comes down to a few things:

  • being thankful for the things God gives me, whether that is a relationship or a material blessing
  • being thankful for the season I am in with relationships that God has given me
  • trying to be the person that God has made ME to be
  • not allowing myself to mindless scroll through Facebook and Instagram because this can lead to envy.  Pastor Stephen Furtick says “We struggle with insecurity (and I would add envy) because we compare our behind-the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  You don’t often see statuses or pics of people’s bad days and this is where social media gets me in trouble.  Seeing the “highlight reel” and wishing for THAT rather than knowing that “real life” is happening but not being shared!  Actually Pastor Furtick preached a great message about this very thing.  You can find it at:  http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/the-hope-of-glory  The message you want to listen to is Part Four- The Problem with Pinterst.

I hope you will continue to join me as I learn to love God’s way.

 

 

Love is (part 1)

I think God is trying to teWhat_Is_Love_Quotesach me a little something about love these days.  I heard it preached about from my favorite preacher at Soma this week.  It keeps popping up in my morning Scripture reading and devotion time.  And I have been reading all about it in blogs and facebook posts…

Love.  What is it?

And can I love God, my husband, my kids and ice cream and coffee all with the same kind of love???  I don’t think so…  Therefore, I am going to try to take a slow look at the love that God calls me to have over the next few weeks and months.

God has written down what LOVE IS in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  And if this is what God says love is, then this is how I need to be loving people in my life.

Today, lets start with patient.  Love is patient.  If love is patient, what is patient?

A definition I found: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.  

So if this mom is gonna be patient I need to bear annoyances and delays with calm and without complaint or anger.  OUCH!!! That one hurts, especially this week because I know that I have not been very patient, though I have had plenty of opportunities.  With tying shoes, learning the “Jones family house rules”, waiting for meal time, waiting on sleepy, fussy children to finally go to sleep, waiting to see my little boy who mommy misses very much, waiting to spend a little time with a friend, waiting on my husband to return from camp, waiting on a case plan, waiting on things in my life to go back to “normal” so that I can feel sane again… all of these little annoyances and delays I must bear with a calm spirit and no complaint.  Seriously, God?  Are you sure this is love???

Pair “love is patient” with what I have been reading in 1 Peter all about suffering.  (Sidenote: I realize fully that what I am experiencing this week– adjusting to life with our new foster kids, trying to help them be ok where they are right now and how much they miss their mom, missing my husband and son, and all the other little bumps life is throwing at me right now– is not truly “suffering” like I know some are suffering.  But I think God sees my current suffering and gives me permission to apply these verse to my current circumstance.) I have been reading things like:

1 Peter 1:6-9 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  To me these verses bring comfort, that yes, I am suffering, even though it may seem small to others, it is big to me right now.  But there is a purpose in my suffering– to prove my faith genuine, to bring me joy and to bring about the salvation of others.  

1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  When I am going through rough waters, I need to be like Jesus and entrust myself to God who judges justly.  

1 Peter 3:15-17 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  These verses remind me that sometimes it is God’s will for us children to suffer.  And I was reminded earlier this week in another study by Beth Moore, that He only allows us to go through suffering that is necessary for OUR journey.  And no matter what, He will be there with me through it all.  

1 Peter 4:1-2 (AMP)  So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God],  This verse reminds me that it is better to be patient with the suffering than to not please God, which is our ultimate purpose.

1Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.   Another reminder to commit myself to God in the face of any suffering.  

So if love is patient, honestly, this week I have not been very loving.  I have not endured without complaint.  But I am committing myself to a change of course– working on my love toward others, to being more patient and to not complaining.  And that goes for my husband, my children, my friends and even those who could  be considered my “enemies”.  God wants me to love and God wants me to be patient in suffering, no matter how big or how small.

The Woman at the Well

well-w-bucket

This week I have been focusing on the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. It can be found in John 4. I am sure you have read it before but it does a heart good to reread the story and see what God wants to show you.

This morning when I read it again, God really opened my heart that I am not too far off from this woman He had to go see. This is a mess of woman who is going about her normally daily duties when she encounters the Lord. What stood out to me the most this morning is that she desperately wants this living water. She wants a quick fix to cover up her sin problem. And she wants a quick fix so that her sin will no longer affect her daily life. In John 4:15 she says “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

I have been there. Actually I think this is where I have been living my life with Jesus for far too long. I want Jesus to give me a quick fix to get over my sin so that I don’t have to keep coming back to this same place time and time again. Also I am weary of my sin affecting my family. But I believe all quick fixes do is bring temporary relief to a deeper issues.

So, of course, Jesus doesn’t offer her a quick fix, He goes deeper with her. Jesus offers her his perfect love in the midst of her mess. She had been with five men and was living with guy number six. None of  these men could fill this deep need of love in her life. She was speaking to the man who could offer her perfect love. Not in a sexual kind of way, but the perfect love that comes out of 1 Corinthians 13- patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, not proud or dishonoring, not self-seeking or easily angered. A love that keeps no record of wrongs, that rejoices in truth, protects, trusts, hopes, always preserves and NEVER fails. This is a love that no man could show her. Only the one, true God could allow her to feel this kind of love.

God offers this same perfect love to me. In the midst of my mess. In the midst of my sin. There are no quick fixes in Jesus, only His perfect love that was shown on the cross. And the great thing is there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that I can do to earn it and nothing I can do for it to be taken from me. God’s offer of His perfect love has no strings attached.

Today, I would like to end by sharing one thought taken from the book, “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope:

Sweet friend, wherever you are, Jesus meets you there. You and I are not worthy of His love and we can never do anything to deserve it– but we are worth His love because He chose to give it to us. We are His! Hold on to this promise and live in the power of its truth: because God’s love is perfect, you don’t have to be!

Today I am choosing to walk in His #perfectlove.  How about you?