A Message for Friends

How long has it been since we’ve told our friends how much they mean to us? Since we’ve told them how much they enrich our lives?

Why not tell them today? Below is a message from my heart to the hearts of those who have touched my life with friendship in a variety of ways.

If you feel the same way about your friends, why not forward this post to them and tell them this is how you feel about them too? I’m sure it will mean the world to them.

May the following bless you all!

Friend,

Spending time with you
Refreshes and refuels me,
Joining you in laughter
Helps heal whatever’s hurting.
When facing challenges together
I’m inspired to hidden strength,
My life is better because of you
For you, my friend, make a difference.

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement . . .” Philemon 1:7 NIV

*How can you be a friend who makes a difference?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. 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 ainavidal, Creative Commons License

Theme Word 2020: Love

Wow, 2020 is here—and that can mean a lot of things, but one thing each new year means for me is deciding on a new theme word for the year.

I’ve never adopted New Year’s resolutions, but for the past several years, I’ve chosen a theme word to help guide me through the year. Focusing on an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—can give me direction throughout the year and also helps me focus on more fully implementing whatever the new word is.

I usually start asking God to direct me to a theme word for the upcoming year sometime during November or December. This year lots of words came to mind, but one of them seemed to encompass practically all of the others. In fact, if I implemented that word, I would be implementing most of the others as well.

That all-encompassing word I’ve chosen for the year? Love. Scripture actually explains why I felt like the word love is an umbrella for so many others. Galatians 5:13-14 says, “serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)

Also, as in previous years, God was so good to confirm my choice. This time his confirmation came through a book I was reading at the time. In fact, as I remember, he confirmed it within hours. The author actually mentioned that her word for the year was love. Pretty clear confirmation, huh?

As usual, I’m not sure what all the Lord has up his divine sleeve this year in leading me to the word love. But as I try to let love be my guide, I’m sure to live out many other qualities and actions as well. Things like kindness, compassion, forgiveness, patience, mercy, endurance, faithfulness, helping, believing, as well as following and obeying God. I bet you can think of even more to add to the list.

One thing I’m doing to help me keep my focus on love this year is reading through Bob Goff’s new book Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey. The book actually released in October, but I didn’t discover it until December. And when I did, I knew right away it would be the perfect daily devotional for me in 2020. So yes, you bet I ordered a copy pronto.

If you haven’t chosen a word for the year yet, you’re welcome to join me in focusing on love. I think I’m safe in saying that I’ll (we’ll) be challenged by it every day. And yes, I know that I’ll fall short—and probably daily—but the Author of love himself will be standing ready to forgive and offer his helping hand and perfect example once again. Yes, the Lord will keep showing me what love is all about.

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

*Have you chosen a theme word or anchor verse for the year? I’d love to hear about it!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. 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.

*Flicker photo by Captured Heart, Creative Commons License

Our Continuing Debt of Love

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another . . .” Romans 13:8 NIV

Sometimes as I’m reading the Bible a verse will capture my attention, leaving a deep impression on me and a desire to share it with you. The above scripture is just such a verse. Read it again carefully and let the words sink in.

Loving others is a debt we’re never to fully pay. As followers of Christ, we’re always to be about the business of love, continually making payments on our debt of love.

So let’s ask ourselves what payments we have made lately. How have we shown kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, unselfishness, grace, compassion, or affection? How have we loved one another?

More importantly, how will we pay our debt of love from this moment on? If you feel like you’ve fallen short in the past (and who doesn’t), no worries. Remember, it’s a lifetime mission. And there’s no better time than now to start making regular payments. Let’s be about the business of love!

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

*To whom can you show God’s love today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. 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 check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by seyed mostafa zamaniCreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Love

*To free some of my time for other things, I’ll now be posting only on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Hope you are blessed each time you stop by!

As we continue the monthly blog series featuring sentence prayers inviting God’s power, February is the perfect time to focus on love.

Do you long to live a life of love? I do. I want my life to be marked by a deep and abiding love for God and a genuine love for others. But that kind of life doesn’t happen automatically. I need God’s power to live love and I bet you do too.

May the following sentence prayers help each one of us grow the life of love we desire to live. Let’s invite God’s power into our lives!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Living a Life of Love

  1. Father, empower me so that my life—my actions, my thoughts, my motives for everything—will be an overflow of my love for you and my love for others. (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 John 4:7, 11-12, 16, 19; 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  2. Lord, give me a heart to love you more. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Philippians 1:9
  3. Lord, help me see interruptions that sidetrack and delay me as opportunities to show love to someone. (Psalm 31:14-15; Ephesians 4:2)
  4. Since love is a choice and an act of obedience, Lord, please empower me to forgive those who hurt me or those I love. (John 13:34-35; Colossians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8)
  5. Father, help me to live and love unselfishly, putting the needs and desires of others before my own. (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:4)
  6. Lord, help me to reflect your love through generous giving. (John 3:16; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Timothy 6:18)
  7. Lord, help me to show my love through prayer—through praise and thanks to you and through intercession for others. (Psalm 18:1; Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:1)

Friends, may God’s love shine through us in ever increasing measure!

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 NIV 

*Which of the above prayers (actions) do you find most challenging?

*The new 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 garryknight, Creative Commons License

9 Love Quotes You Can Feature in Wedding Celebrations

Mother of the Bride, since love is in the air big-time where weddings are concerned, do you think your daughter and her beloved might like to use a love quote or two in some special way on their big day? If so, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions below that you might like to share with your starry-eyed bride and groom.

As they read through the options, tell them to consider the variety of ways a love quote might be incorporated. Doing this will certainly impact their decision if they do decide to use a quote about love in some aspect of their wedding celebration.

Love quotes could be used in a number of ways. Before the big day ever arrives, they might feature a famous love quote on their wedding invitation. On the big day itself, I’m sure the minister would be happy to include their choice during the ceremony, or they might want to feature it somewhere on their printed program.

Other ways to feature a quote include using on signs or plaques in the welcome area, on the cake and gift tables, or even used in some way in the centerpieces on the guest tables. Certain wedding favors even lend themselves to including a short message so that could be a possibility as well. After the big day, they might incorporate a quote in their thank you cards. These are just a few ideas. Bet you all will think of even others.

Here are 9 quotes the happy couple might want to consider. Keep in mind that even brief portions of them can be used for impact or because of space considerations. Hope these help!

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

“What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life—to  strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent, unspeakable memories.” George Eliot

“Love is the greatest refreshment in life.” Pablo Picasso

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” A. A. Milne

“Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.” Francis of Assisi

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Antione de Saint-Exupery

“There is no remedy for love but to love more.” Henry David Thoreau

“Love is the only gold.” Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay, the time it is willing to give, the hardships it is willing to endure, and the strength it is willing to spend. Love never thinks in terms of ‘how little,’ but always in terms of ‘how much.'” Joni Eareckson Tada

Hope these offer a good starting point, MOB, in your sweet couple’s search for the perfect quotes as they embark on their marriage journey. May it be one filled to the brim and overflowing with love!

*You might also like to read 9 Scriptures You Can Feature in Wedding Celebrations.

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

*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.)

*Flickr photo by Greg Daniel Photography, Creative Commons License