Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Loving Your Enemies

Studying Matt 5:43-48 this week and I am so challenged. 

As I have been praying about what the Lord wants me to learn I am driven to ponder the very thing that drives people to hate. 
What causes people to hold on to past hurts? 
What benefit is derived from cutting people off and never having anything to do with them?

I understand hurt, I have been hurt. I understand disappointment, I have experienced my fair share of people not living up to the person they said they were. I understand being wrongly accused and even falsely judged for things that you would never do yet, someone believes you to be capable. I have been on the side of rejection.

I understand coming to the place where you can not have a "friendship" with someone who has done these things to you. I understand that unless repentance is present restoration can not fully take place.

I struggle with loving people for where they are in their process of growing in Christ or in their lostness. But I strive to do just that.... Love them. I strive to work it out in the mess of confrontation and rebuke. In that I find I am also confronted with my wrong behavior and I accept rebuke. I struggle too.

Matt 5:43-48 says, " You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brother, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect"

Today, I pray for my enemies, today, I pray that I will be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect- today, I pray that I do not allow myself to be conformed by the world around me but that I would be transformed - Because I am different, I am a Child of the MOST HIGH GOD, the daughter of the King!

1 Peter 1:13-16
"Therefore, prepare your minds for ACTION, Keep Sober in Spirit, Fix your Hope completely on the GRACE to be brought to you at the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves all in all your behavior; because it is written,
" You shall be Holy , for I Am Holy"

In and of myself I am not capable to accomplish this but in Christ, I can.

2 Peter 1: 2-4 - "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

It isn't for me to wonder how one can not follow God's commandments. Or why one does not believe in God. It is for me - a choice to be obedient. To love unconditionally. To show mercy. Be kind when wronged. Be gentle in spirit. Be gracious.

To genuinely pray for those who see me not as I am. And when I am confronted or rebuked that I would listen, repent and be restored. Not just in word but in my actions!

I pray that I might by my love and sincerity be found faithful and obedient to what Christ calls me to. It doesn't mean it is easy but I am making the choice today to be different than I once was and to learn how to better love those who are my enemies. Those who hate and are unkind, those who are not children of obedience but choose disobedience.

Loving your enemy is hard to do on my own but much easier to do when I see my own brokenness.

What is hard about this for you?

Friday, May 09, 2014

You are a God Who Sees -

Gen. 15 & 16  Married life is never easy!

Oh what a wonderful message this morning as I read through Genesis 15 & 16. I was reminded of the beauty of our lives and the complexity of our decisions when God gives us options in how we ought to obey. What really struck me this morning is that God spoke directly to Abram yet His promise would affect Sarai, Hagar, Ishmael and all of his children who followed after.

One promise, that Abram's seed would number as many as the stars in heaven and yet, the impatience of one affected the lives of so many.

When I was a young wife some 20 years ago, I remember sharing a prayer request with a friend about our call to the mission field. I was so frustrated because I was about 2-3 steps ahead of Dwayne in the surrender process. I kept saying to my friend, " I don't understand? He says he wants to go yet he won't commit and surrender to the Call "officially" in church." We were praying together and after we finished praying she looked me in the eye and said, "Melissa - you do not want an Ishmael - so be patient and allow the Lord to work in Dwayne's life".

That day is seared in my mind. I took heed of that admonition and I kept silent. I did not talk about it with him, instead of working it into conversations I relied on the Lord to draw Dwayne to surrender and commit to the call we both felt and knew the Lord was calling us to.  The neat thing is He did! I just needed to allow the Lord to work it out in Dwayne.

Today you may be faced with a big decision maybe you can see the bigger picture, maybe the Lord has spoken and you are ready to walk in obedience if you are waiting on your spouse to meet you and join you in that decision - I encourage you to be patient. Wait! Wait! WAIT on the LORD! He will work with him or her and He will see it through to completion. It may take time, It may require some growth on both your parts but wait... pray and wait! It will be worth it to see the Lord accomplish His will in your lives. Just don't rush in and try to make it happen. The Lord doesn't want you to have suffer through an Ishmael either. So wait .... it will be worth it! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

In the Desert Places

Psalms 78

"That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart 
And who's spirit was not faithful to God." vs. 7-8

Over the years I've often said, "I sure feel like I am in the desert" when it come to my walk with the Lord.  As I think about those words and what they communicate it's just not a place I enjoy.

The desert is lonely, dry, and while there is growth for living things there it is slow and measured. If you have found yourself in the desert place and feel alone, dry and like there is little growth. Take courage and put your confidence in the Lord your God. Keep a daily reminder of His faithfulness and hold tight to His Word and His Commandments. Trust in His faithfulness to continue to provide even when He feels far away- Remember though He is not far from you!

Psalms 91:1-2
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!"

Today ~ renew your strength in His Word and trust in His Ways. Recount His faithfulness and dig deep into His promises..... Enjoy the desert place and know that even there He is with you!