Learning To Love
Imagine if learning to love were as simple as buying a software program when your heart was empty, or upgrading your “heart drive” when you needed more love. What if we could instantly wipe away past hurts, insecurities and resentments. Wouldn’t that be nice? But learning to love just isn’t that easy.
Actually, it takes a miracle to really love—a miracle only God can perform. Thankfully, it’s one He not only wants to do in us, it’s a miracle He began on the cross and perfectly completed in His resurrection. His sinless life, sacrificial death, and transforming resurrection give us the power to love as He loved—unconditionally, to forgive as He forgave, even to love the “un-loveable”. This pure kind of love may take a lifetime to learn, but it begins the moment we let Jesus become the Lord of our lives.
Loving Your Enemies
Of all the categories of people we might consider un-loveable, our enemies would seem the most difficult to love. That’s why Jesus shocked the world when He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, for if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” (Matthew 5:43-45)
The longer you live, the more you realize that everyone gets hurt. Why? Because hurt people, hurt people. But the good news is: healed people heal people. The real question is, “How do I get healed?” And the real answer is, allow Jesus, the great Healer, to become Lord of your life.
We’ve all heard of unconditional love. But what does it really mean? In order to understand it, we have to go to the source of unconditional love; a source that emanates from only one place: the heart of God. In the book of Jeremiah God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NKJV)
What does that mean?—something beyond your wildest dreams! God’s saying, “There’s nothing you could ever do that would cause Me to stop loving you. There’s nothing you could ever do to make Me love you more, and there’s nothing you could ever do to make Me love you love you less. My love for you is everlasting, imperishable, unwavering.”
What could compare to receiving unconditional love? One thing: unconditionally loving others! And only Jesus can make that possible.
Mother Teresa, Speaks of “Trust”
A man visited the House of the Dying in Calcutta, India to find out how to best spend the rest of his life. When he met Mother Teresa he asked her to pray for him.
“What do you want me to pray for?” she responded. He then shared the most pressing burden on his heart, “Pray that I may have clarity.”
Mother Teresa responded firmly, “No, I will not do that.” Surprised, he asked her why. She told him, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”
“But, you always seem to have the clarity I long for.” She laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.”
Trust believes God has all of the clarity we’ll ever need.
Perspective! Perspective! Perspective!
In real estate it’s all about, “Location! Location! Location!”
In knowing God it’s all about, “Perspective! Perspective! Perspective!”
When we trust God, we’re able to see Him working in our circumstances, because we finally see our lives from His perspective; and when we see life from God’s perspective, at last, we see God working in our lives.
But all of this will take one word: trust, and precious few people trust God enough to believe that what He allows will work for their good. Most people spend their lives wishing something different were happening to them.
Trust Jesus! Let Him guide every aspect of your life, and you’ll learn to love the life He’s given you. Why? Because He does! “…it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13, NKJV)
God’s Wonderful Gift!
At times I’ve wondered, “God, are you moving in some people’s lives more than others?” The answer is, “Yes, but it’s not God’s desire!”
God wants to move in each of our lives equally, but He can only work in me, if I allow Him to. So, “Yes, God moves in some people’s lives more than others.” Why? Because God responds to faith! The Bible says in the book of Hebrews, “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV) and then in the book of James, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8, NKJV)
We are each given an equal opportunity to get to know God. It is His greatest desire for us, and our greatest joy!
May we take advantage of this: God’s most wonderful gift!
Faith vs. Fear
Faith draws us closer to what we believe, while fear pushes us further away. Faith is what God uses to build His kingdom. Fear is what Satan uses to establish his. Both faith and fear are unknowns, but our actions will reflect what we really believe. Fear would have us draw back and merely worry about our future. Faith calls us forward to trust that the God who is calling us onward will provide all of the resources we will ever need.
The choice between faith and fear is always up to us. God has never made a decision based on fear, nor should we. Don’t react to a fear-based economy, rather respond in faith to His Word that says, “…my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
First It Is Impossible
Don’t be surprised if God asks you do something you’ve never done before.
Noah stepped out in faith, even though he hadn’t seen many of the things set before him.
God said, “Noah, build Me an ark.” Noah responded, “God, what’s an ark?”
God answered, “It’s the big boat you’re going to need when the flood comes.”
Noah again replied, “God, what’s a flood?”
“It’s going to rain so much that the whole earth is going to be covered with water.”
One more time Noah exclaimed, “God, by the way, what’s rain?”
God has surprises ahead for all of us. Some of them will seem impossible.
As the great missionary Hudson Taylor would often say, “First it is impossible. Then it is difficult. Then it is done.” “Jesus…said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” (Matthew 19:26, NKJV)
Do You Need a Miracle?
Do you need a miracle? If you don’t need one right now, I’m sure you will one day. Each of us will need a miracle from God, and often.
When Moses and three million Israelites journeyed through the wilderness, miracles were a constant. Every day they needed 1,500 tons of food, four thousand tons of wood for cooking, and 11,000,000 gallons of water for drinking and washing. They needed all of this, each and every day for 40 years.
No one knows your needs more than God. And know one wants to help you more than He does.
So, don’t be afraid to ask Him for what He does best: miracles.
Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NIV)
Are you disillusioned about your life? Frustrated because something’s not happening.
Disillusionment comes when reality doesn’t match our hopes and expectations.
At times it’s because we wish we had a different life; we think our best days are behind us; we believe our past mistakes have disqualified us from having a great future, or that we’ll never be happy.
Something’s terribly wrong when we don’t look forward to getting up in the morning; when we don’t love the life God’s given us; when we believe all of the lies I just said.
The truth is, no past mistake can disqualify us from the wonderful plan God has for our lives; God has our future in His all-caring, all-powerful hands and He is rooting for us to succeed.. As the Psalmist wrote, “This I know, that God is for me.” (Psalm 56:9, NKJV)
We were born for trouble! Frankly, our souls are being molded into the image of God when we’re in trouble! I know I don’t know what’s best because of the way I treat my friends when they’re in trouble. I’d bail them out of every crisis they’d ever encounter. If it were up to me, I’d spoil the whole planet.
But there are some problems you can’t fix, because God doesn’t want them fixed. God’s far more interested in fixing us than fixing our problems.
Sometimes, He’s even the author of our problems. We’re saying, “God, stop the problem!” He’s saying, “Begin to understand what I’m doing.”
At one point, Jesus said, “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!” (John 12:27, NLT)
Thank God for your troubles!
Do You Know What You Have?
Do you ever feel like you’re missing out—that life has shortchanged you?
William Randolph Hearst, of Hearst Castle fame, invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world. One day he read about a valuable art piece.
Hearst then sent an agent to Europe to find it. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally located the treasure. It was found in Hearst’s own warehouse.
He had been searching all over the world for a treasure he already owned.
Do you know what you have? Do you know what Jesus purchased for you?
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1John 3:1, NKJV)
None of us have been shortchanged. We’ve all been lavishly overpaid.