Love Anyway

You may remember that my theme word for 2020 is love. I’m so grateful that God extends love to me daily and sets the perfect example for how he wants me to love. May this latest poem of mine meet you at a point of need today. Be blessed, my friends!

Love Anyway

Thank you, Lord, for loving me
For understanding that I’m but flesh
For knowing I’m only human,
For realizing that I indeed will fail
And for graciously loving me anyway.
Now help me, Lord, to love like you
Knowing that others are only human too,
And when they fail or do me wrong
Help me follow your example—
And love them anyway.
For when I’ve been given grace untold
How can I withhold the same
From others like me who stand in need
Of that gift of loving them anyway.
Thank you, Lord, for showing the way
Of how to love anyway.

“‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’” John 15:12 NIV

*Who do you need to love anyway today?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Robert Hruzek, Creative Commons License

Prayer to Pray for Unbelievers and for Those Sharing Christ With Them

The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:14 NIV

We followers of Christ long for those who don’t know him to place their faith in him and let God give them his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. What hope, what joy, what peace we find when we ask God to forgive our sins and be our Lord and Savior. We want all people to experience the same. We want all to come into God’s family. 

One of the most important things we can do to help unbelievers come to faith is to pray for them. And not only them, but also those who are sharing Christ with them. Family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, pastors, group leaders, mission team members, and missionaries. The first group needs their hearts prepared to hear the good news, and those sharing with them need the right words to say, sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, and boldness to share as God leads.

As inferred above in the verse from Acts, one way to pray specifically is to ask God to open unbelievers’ hearts to respond to the message of those sharing Christ with them. God is the one who can bring about changes in a person’s heart so we need to pray accordingly. We need to ask him to open hearts.

If we know the names of the ones who are reaching out to them with the good news, we can pray even more specifically. We can mention their names in our prayers and ask God to help the unbelievers respond to their message. For example, “Lord, open Diana’s heart to respond to Phil’s message.”

Such a brief prayer but what a life-changing result it can bring. Let’s be faithful to pray for unbelievers. Let’s ask God to open hearts.

Be joyful in hope . . . faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV

*What are some other ways to pray for unbelievers?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Angela-xujing, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Love Matters More

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The power of love is more than a clichéd phrase, isn’t it? What God does in our lives through the power of love is nothing short of astounding. In fact, when love enters the picture, everything can change.

Forgiveness is one of the most amazing and God-empowered expressions of love we can give or receive. Consider the following lines of verse from Jane Merchant:

“I do not say that there were no
Misunderstandings, discontents,
And hurts. I would it had been so . . .
But these we learned to live above.
I do not say there were no hurts.
I say they mattered less than love.”

And that’s the power of love—when hurts matter less and love matters more. May love reign supreme and be the rule in all of our lives!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

*When have you seen love matter more?

*Flickr photo by digital-dreams, Creative Commons License

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Midweek Morsel: The Great Exchange

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Consider this scripture passage from Zechariah with me today. It’s a small portion of his account of a vision he had. As you read, imagine the scene in your mind’s eye:

“Then he [the angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD . . . Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’

Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.’” Zechariah 3:1a, 3-4

Even though this vision was about a high priest and how he represented the sinful nation of Israel, as I read it I immediately pictured what Jesus does for us his children.

As we call on Jesus, asking him to forgive our sins and be our Savior, he removes our filthy sin-stained clothes. He forgives us, cleanses us, and dresses us in the rich garments of his salvation and righteousness. He puts on us the royal robes worn by the family of God. He performs the great exchange.

What great love and forgiveness Jesus extends to all who come to him in faith! Praise and thank him with me today, won’t you?

“. . . ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow . . . ’” Isaiah 1:18

*Have you received the royal robes of the family of God yet? If not, why not ask for His forgiveness and cleansing today!

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Douglas Brown, Creative Commons License

Feelings of Unworthiness: A Tactic of the Enemy

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Have you ever heard that voice inside your head say who do you think you are to be ________. You fill in the blank. That old and ever-on-the-job enemy of ours, Satan, likes nothing better than to cause us to doubt ourselves and walk away from the work God has given us to do. That’s right, that voice is his and that of his cohorts.

Satan has tried repeatedly to get me to give up writing. When he wants to undermine my writing ministry and work, he’ll say things like, “Who do you think you are to offer spiritual help or words of wisdom and encouragement? You’re not worthy of such a task.”

And you know what? Apart from the grace of God and his forgiveness and cleansing, I am indeed unworthy.

The fact is I mess up. I have issues. At times I struggle with doubt, confusion, and pride. Sometimes I blow it with sinful attitudes, harsh words, and selfishness. My relationships are not always all they should be. And because of these failures, Satan would have believe I’m unworthy to write and share God’s truth and messages of life. He wants me to believe that I’m not worthy of my task of Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls.

But who, in fact, am I? I’m a child of the King. A servant called by God to write of the hope we have in him. Satan wants me to forget that. He wants me to quit writing of God’s love and hope and joy and truth. 

And even though the enemy delights in reminding me that I’m far from perfect, God’s Word tells me that I am forgiven, that I am loved. I’m called and equipped by God. And because Jesus paid the price for my sins and washed me white as snow, I am indeed worthy—worthy to be in God’s family, worthy to do the work he’s called me to do.  

And so, I will keep on writing for him. The enemy loses. I am a worthy child of the King.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

*Do you ever struggle with feelings of unworthiness? What does Satan want you to think you are unworthy to do or to have?

*Flickr photo by PetteriO, Creative Commons License