Whispering Words

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29) 
 
The young man fidgeted as he sat down for his flight. His eyes darted back and forth to the aircraft windows. Then he closed his eyes and breathed deeply, trying to calm himself—but it didn’t work. As the plane took off, he slowly rocked back and forth. An older woman across the aisle from him put her hand on his arm and gently engaged him in conversation to divert his attention from his stress. “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “We’re going to be okay,” and “You’re doing well” were a few things she whispered. She could have been irritated with him or ignored him. But she chose a touch and a few words. Little things. When they landed three hours later, he said, “Thank you so much for helping me.” 
 
Such beautiful pictures of tenderheartedness can be hard to find. Kindness does not come naturally to many of us; our primary concern is often ourselves. But when the apostle Paul urged, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32), he was not saying it all depends on us. After we’ve been given a new life by our faith in Jesus, the Spirit begins a transformation. Kindness is the ongoing work of the Spirit renewing our thoughts and attitudes (v. 23). 
 
The God of compassion is at work in our hearts, allowing us in turn to touch others’ lives by reaching out and whispering words of encouragement. 
 
Lord, use me today to bring someone hope, a lighter burden, encouragement. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me, so simple yet so powerful. Helping one person may not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person. Today, may we be reminded that compassion is understanding the troubles of others and reaching out. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal. Be His hands extended each and every day. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 5:14-16
 


Loving Difficult People

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:12-14) 
 
It was only a three-minute escape. Listening to my name being chanted over and over, louder and louder, with greater urgency, along with pounding on the door, you might imagine me to be a rock star. 
 
But in reality, I’m the mother of a toddler who has decided he is only content when he is in my arms. My escape was merely a trip to the bathroom in which I took a deep breath behind the locked door before re-entering my world of diapers, blocks, and Daniel Tiger. And even though I love this little guy with all my heart, at times he can definitely be a difficult person to keep showing love to, especially in the midst of tantrums and tears. 
 
It probably isn’t hard for you to think of a difficult person in your own life. In our broken, sin-filled world, they are everywhere. The coworker who is willing to do anything to get ahead, including taking credit for your ideas. The in-laws who always seem to be peering over your shoulder, critiquing your parenting skills, and offering “suggestions” for improvement. The child who knows exactly how to push your buttons to leave you exasperated and flustered again. The person in your ministry who is constantly complaining about your leadership, who thinks he has better ideas and communicates them with a sharp and biting tongue. The passive-aggressive friend who is kind one moment and gives you the cold shoulder the next. The list can go on and on. 
 
So, what do we do with these people? With constant strained relationships? Our natural tendency is to want to run the other way, to avoid them as much as possible. But is that what honors God in these hard situations? 
 
Moses was no stranger to leading a group of difficult people. Even after rescuing them out of slavery and leading them safely away from the Egyptians, the Israelites were not happy with him. Instead of being grateful for their new freedom and provision from God, they were shedding tears over the menu (Numbers 11:4–6), grumbling about not having water (Numbers 20:2–3), wishing they had died in Egypt and could choose another leader (Numbers 14:2–4). Even Moses’s own siblings were jealous of his leadership (Numbers 12:2) and complained to God about their brother and his Cushite wife. 
 
Yet what amazes me about Moses is that he didn’t retaliate against this annoying group of people. He didn’t even defend himself against the harsh accusations. Instead, he demonstrated amazing humility and compassion on those he led, repeatedly interceding for them. 
 
Moses pled with God to heal Miriam’s leprosy (Numbers 12:13). He begged God to forgive Israel’s unbelief when it was time to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:19). He lay prostrate before God, fasting forty days and nights after Aaron and the Israelites had made the golden calf to worship (Deuteronomy 9:13–18). 
 
Admittedly, there were moments when the Israelites’ constant complaints drove Moses to the brink of despair (Exodus 5:22; Numbers 11:14–15), yet by God’s grace he persevered. And even at the very end of his life, he was still lovingly leading the disobedient Israelites. 
 
Moses remained steadfast to his last days and made sure God had another leader in place to take over. He didn’t want his wandering sheep to be without a shepherd (Numbers 27:16–17). Moses never stopped loving them, even at their worst. 
 
By God’s grace, we too can keep loving the difficult people God has placed in our lives. The easy thing is to cut the troublesome person out of your life when possible, or just avoid them at best. 
 
But I suggest we are more like our patient and loving Savior when we bear with each other and seek to show mercy and kindness, no matter how we are treated. 
 
Here are six practical ways, among many others, to show love to a difficult person God has placed in your path. 
 
1. Pray for your own heart. 
 
Ask God to soften your heart towards this person, to put off anger and irritability, to put on meekness and kindness, to understand this person’s struggles and meet them with compassion (Colossians 3:12–14). 
 
2. Pray for them.
 
Ask God to be at work in their hearts, drawing unbelievers to himself and sanctifying believers to become more like Jesus (Philippians 1:9–11). 
 
3. Move toward them, not away from them. 
 
Although our tendency is to want to steer clear of people with whom we have strained relationships, they are exactly the people we need to be intentionally moving toward. Find ways to engage them in conversation, meet them for coffee, send them a text. 
 
4. Find specific ways to bless and encourage them. 
 
Write them a note of appreciation. Buy them a book that has been an encouragement to you. Tell them you are praying for them. 
 
5. Give them grace, just as God extends grace to you. 
 
Remember God’s lavish grace poured out for your own daily sins. Ask God to help you bear with them, forgiving them, as he has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13). 
 
6. Realize that you too could be the difficult person in someone else’s life! 
 
You might not even realize that you are a thorn in the flesh for someone close to you. Don’t be oblivious to your own shortcomings and sins. 
 
So, when that child has you on the brink of tears, or you’ve just received a harsh and critical email about your ministry, or you’re confronted with that extended family member who drives you up the wall, ask God for grace not to run away, but to keep engaging that hard-to-love person in love. 
 
God will be honored and our hearts will find deeper satisfaction as we seek to love people just as Christ loved us when we were his enemies. 
 
When I read this devotion I felt not only do I need to be reminded and encouraged about this very thing, someone, somewhere, needs to read this today. Maybe you had a rough day at work or just in life. I pray this devotion can give you encouragement and guidance in how to show love, no matter what your going through, no matter what your facing, no matter how your treated in return, love. Show The Love of Christ in all you say and do. Be blessed today and choose to make the rest of your day beautiful. Help me Lord to show Love, always. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Jeremiah 29:13 


Living Out “Love” This Christmas

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:28-31) 
 
Loving God means faith in action. If that’s the case, how do we live that out day to day? Answer: obedience. Faith in action means obeying the commandments of God. That pretty much covers the first part of the scripture referenced above –  to love God with everything we have. But today, we’re going to focus on the second commandment in the verse: “love your neighbor as yourself.” “Yeah, right,” you might be thinking. “You obviously don’t know my neighbor.” 
 
First, let’s understand what the word “love” in this context means. It has nothing to do with feelings. It has nothing to do with emotions. This meaning of “love” doesn’t even have anything to do with liking another person. It’s a decision of the will. But how can we love somebody we don’t even like? Well, trust me, it’s possible. Here’s how: Treat them fairly. Show them respect. Be honest with them. Keep your word. Show them that in spite of your differences or irritations, you still care about them as a person. That’s what it means to love. It’s choosing to love people, even when you don’t always like them. It’s about showing the same love and grace that God showed each one of us when He sent His Son to save us from our sins. It was out of love that Christ was born – so that He could die on the cross for you and for me. 
 
But that’s not all. How many of us really know our neighbors? I mean more than just the casual, “Hey!” when we’re getting into our cars to leave for work or grilling out in the yard. Loving your neighbor as yourself also means loving them enough to share this Good News of Jesus Christ with them. And what better time than Christmas to share the true reason for the season with your neighbor? Now, that is faith in action. That is living out LOVE this Christmas! 
 
This devotion blessed me. So often we fail to reflect The Love of Christ. It’s not a pick and choose thing, we must love continually, even those you may not like, give God the opportunity to help you love them. We must reflect Christ’s Love this Christmas and always. Live out love this Christmas. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 1:21 


For Our Friends

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12) 
 
In Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, a cantankerous man who often quotes the Bible to criticize others is memorably described as “the wearisomest self-righteous Pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake [apply] the promises to himself and fling the curses to his neighbours.” 
 
It’s a funny line; and it may even bring particular people to mind. But aren’t we all a bit like this—prone to condemn others’ failures while excusing our own? 
 
In Scripture some people amazingly did the exact opposite; they were willing to give up God’s promises for them and even be cursed if it would save others. Consider Moses, who said he’d rather be blotted out of God’s book than see the Israelites unforgiven (Exodus 32:32). Or Paul, who said he’d choose to be “accursed from Christ” (Romans 9:3). 
 
As self-righteous as we naturally are, Scripture highlights those who love others more than themselves. 
 
Because ultimately such love points to Jesus. “Greater love hath no man than this,” Jesus taught, than “a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Even before we knew Him, Jesus loved us “to the end” (13:1)—choosing death to give us life. 
 
Now we are invited into the family of God, to love and be loved like this (15:9–12). And as we pour into others Christ’s unimaginable love, the world will catch a glimpse of Him. 
 
Lord, thank You for showing us what it means to love. Help us to love like You. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded, when we love Christ, we love others. Today, let’s take a moment and reflect on the love we show others. Show The Love of Christ. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalms 145:18 


A Humble Heart and Willing Spirit

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22) 
 
So many factors are involved in someone sinning against another. Many times, the thoughts and motives of the one who sinned are not as clear as the reaction of the person who was sinned against. Conflict is hard. Conflict takes a toll on both parties. Defensiveness goes up and trust goes down. Both parties though, the one who needs to forgive and the person who needs to ask for forgiveness, have their share of difficulties. The one who would forgive, deals with skepticism. They hope for real change this time, and deal with thoughts such as, “I hope this is the last time you need to ask forgiveness. I hope this time it works for good. By choosing to forgive you, I may just get hurt again.” But the person who continually asks for forgiveness is also in a difficult situation. When we sincerely confess our sin to another, we have to admit to ourselves that we have hurt someone else as a result of our behavior or words. To ask forgiveness repeatedly is to admit that we do not have the ability or power to change that trait in us. So to ask sincerely means that we need to keep seeking ways to change. After a while, it is natural in the flesh to justify and rationalize the sinful behavior instead of continually trying to change. That is why Jesus takes both sides. If someone is repeatedly willing to ask forgiveness, sincerely looking for help, then we need to be willing repeatedly to restore that person back. 
 
I am thankful for Jesus’ teaching because I know that He lives by His own teaching. We sin against Him more than anyone else. If we are repentant, He is willing to forgive us – over and over and over again. We have to pray that our hearts remain soft enough to keep asking for forgiveness. His mercies are new every morning, probably because we use up all His mercy the day before. 
 
If you need to ask forgiveness from someone, ask the Lord to give you a humble heart and a spirit willing to change. If you are being asked to forgive, ask the Lord to help you look to Him to help restore the person back in your heart without bitterness. The Lord will help you. He is on both sides. Let us pray that we keep His focus and His heart during the conflicts, and not our own. 
 
After reading today’s devotion I was reminded of one simple yet powerful word, LOVE, we must love, no matter the hurt, no matter the conflict, love. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). 
 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 5:44


As Christ Loves Us

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day to express love and most notably, romantic love. The history of Valentine’s Day, along with the saint for whom it is named, is shrouded in mystery. Both Christian and ancient Roman traditions make up its origins, but the exact details of what happened to St. Valentine are uncertain.  What is certain is that through a series of events dating back to the middle ages, February 14 became the date to commemorate Valentine’s Day. Roses and chocolates will be sold at exorbitant prices and in massive quantities, all in hopes to express our love in that special way. What is the most special way to express our love?

The thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians is known as the lovechapter of the Bible. The apostle Paul writes about true love, what it is and what it is not. It “charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;” (verse 4). It “doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” (verse 5). Paul puts it very simply in verse 8, “Charity (love) never faileth.” Flowers fade and candies melt, but true love never fades, never dies, never fails. The most special way to express our love is to practice these qualities Paul speaks of as we learn to love beyond ourselves. 

Romantic love is a wonderful feeling and being in love is truly a gift from God. Those feelings of heightened joy and excitement seem to make everything else less significant.  But today, let’s ask the Lord to help us love beyond the feelings of the gifts and the favors. Let’s pray that we can love as Christ loves us and that we can express that love in ways that bless those around us more than anything else we can give. Why not make today a day to take love more seriously than you ever have before? Pray that love becomes the motivation for all that you do. Enjoy the flowers and candies and candlelight dinners, but remember to keep love in your heart, not just in the festivities.

When I read this it blessed me. Love is far greater than any tangible gift we could be given. We must remember to love as Christ loves us and know that He loves each of us as if there were only one of us. What love!

Have a beautiful day in The Lord and a Happy Valentines Day!

Today’s Reading is 1 Corinthians 13



Choose to Love

Yes These things I command you, that ye love one another. (John 15:17)

As a child, one of my favorite words was “why.” I know it drove my parents crazy when I used it repeatedly. Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why do I need to eat those green things? The answer was always the same, “Because I told you so.” There are times when we must submit and do as we are told. Children have little choice in the matter, but as adults we can choose our own course. Jesus tells us to “love one another.” And even in this command, we have a choice. Have you ever found yourself wondering why you have to love that person who seems so undeserving? The answer is because Jesus says so.

Love is so important to Jesus that He summed up all Ten Commandments into two: love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. The Apostle Paul says in First Corinthians 13 that nothing we do really matters without love. But in today’s world, we are confused about love. Movies and television lure us into fantasies about “true” love using sex, guilt and manipulation as tools to obtain love. When we are hurt by someone who says they love us, we begin to wonder if love really exists at all. Is love a feeling or is it an attitude or a behavior? Jesus knew exactly why He had to command us to love each other. Because we would not do it based upon our own feelings. We are human and our nature is sinful.

The only way to keep this commandment is to pray. Pray for God’s love to fill your heart. Pray that you will love your enemies as well as your neighbor (the good and bad). Pray that you will love Jesus more everyday. It is only when we stop asking “why” and start asking “how” that we can truly know what love is.

I missed posting a devotion yesterday and I only have a few more minutes left in today but I felt I needed to share this with you before another day slipped by, weather you read it tonight or in the morning, it will get to whomever needs to read it in the moment they need it. I have been going so much in the past couple of days and after reading this devotion I can recall asking God why, many times, and so I needed this before I laid my head on my pillow and it has inspired me to stop asking why and start saying how. Forgive me Lord, help me to love more and to see past the failures and imperfections of those around me, it’s not nor is it ever my place to judge but to love, love beyond measure.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Proverbs 19



Someone to Touch

And he put forth his hand, and touched him . . . (Luke 5:13)

Commuters on a Canadian Metro train witnessed a heart-moving conclusion to a tense moment. They watched as a 70-year old woman gently reached out and offered her hand to a young man whose loud voice and disturbing words were scaring other passengers. The lady’s kindness calmed the man who sank to the floor of the train with tears in his eyes. He said, “Thanks, Grandma,” stood up, and walked away. The woman later admitted to being afraid. But she said, “I’m a mother and he needed someone to touch.” While better judgment might have given her reason to keep her distance, she took a risk of love.

Jesus understands such compassion. He didn’t side with the fears of unnerved onlookers when a desperate man, full of leprosy, showed up begging to be healed. Neither was He helpless as other religious leaders were—men who could only have condemned the man for bringing his leprosy into the village (Lev. 13:45–46). Instead, Jesus reached out to someone who probably hadn’t been touched by anyone for years, and healed him.

Thankfully, for that man and for us, Jesus came to offer what no law could ever offer—the touch of His hand and heart.

Father in heaven, please help us to see ourselves and one another in that desperate man—and in the merciful eyes of Your Son who reached out and touched him. Amen.

As I read this I couldn’t help but stop and think about those in my life who just need a touch, a hand extended when no one else will and today I will be more open to take a risk of love for those I don’t even know. Use me today Lord and even in those moments when that love may be rejected, help me to stand firm and continue to love and remember, Love can build a bridge.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Luke 5:12-16



Love: Displayed More Than Defined

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Can you come up with a definition for love (that accurately describes what love is) in two or three sentences?

It’s not an easy task. No matter how we define love, our definition always seems to be lacking. Trying to define love can be like describing chocolate to a tribesman in sub-Saharan Africa who has never heard of nor tasted chocolate before. We may have trouble defining it, explaining it, and even finding it, but we know deep down inside that we need it.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul wrote one of the most famous descriptions of love. Notice that he does not give a dictionary definition but instead a description of love displayed.The love Paul describes values:

-Giving over getting
-Commitment over feelings
-The long haul over the short term

The scripture is clear. You can see this love displayed in patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, integrity, and ongoing perseverance. This kind of love survives and stands the tests of time and tribulations.

Does this describe the love you’re seeking? More importantly, does this describe the love your sharing?

When I read this today it caused me to stop and ask myself, does this describe the love I’m sharing all the time, every day? Take a moment today and ask yourself that very question. We have been called to love by being patient, showing kindness, humility, forgiveness, integrity, and ongoing perseverance. I don’t know about you but I needed this today, Thank You Lord!

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8



Does it Spark Joy?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

I recently read, the apostle Paul urged the Christians in Philippi to pursue joy in their relationship with Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Instead of a life cluttered with anxiety, he urged them to pray about everything and let God’s peace guard their hearts and minds in Christ (vv. 6–7).

Looking at our everyday tasks and responsibilities, we see that not all of them are enjoyable. But we can ask, “How can this spark joy in God’s heart and in my own?” A change in why we do things can bring a transformation in the way we feel about them.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure . . . lovely . . . are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (v. 8).

Paul’s parting words are food for thought and a recipe for joy.

Lord, show me how You want to spark joy in the tasks I face today. Amen.

God is so good. He creates so much joy in our lives and although at times we tend to focus on times of sadness, bitterness, anger and hurt may we be reminded today, this day, that by truly focusing on The Lord is just the beginning of joy. He wants to see your mind at peace and your heart at rest. How can you spark joy in your heart today? Start by counting your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. May we begin and end each day with this on our lips.

Have a wonderful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Philippians 4:4-9