Vital Behind-the-Scenes Forces We Need

“. . . your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV

Work. Labor. Endurance. What images do these words bring to mind? We’re not talking marshmallows and kittens here. We’re talking rolled-up sleeves, sweat, and long-distance runs. We’re talking effort and strength.

Tasks and qualities like these that take strength and determination won’t happen by accident, will they? Behind-the-scenes forces such as planning, preparation, and prayer all play a role in carrying out our tasks, achieving our goals, or running the race life has placed before us.

In considering the scripture above, let’s look at the Thessalonian believers to whom the apostle Paul was writing. In spite of the severe suffering they faced (1 Thes. 1:6), they were at work serving God.

Notice the behind-the-scenes activity that Paul mentioned was present in their lives. How was their work produced? By faith. What prompted their labor? Love. What inspired their endurance? Hope. Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s consider for a moment the behind-the-scenes forces present in our own lives. Among the many influences at work in us personally, is faith playing a key role in the work we do—whether our day-to-day work or our service to God? Is love the motive, the impetus behind our labor? Is hope spurring us on, helping us to endure so we can finish strong?

Let’s learn from the Thessalonian believers and make certain that faith, love, and hope are playing vital behind-the-scenes roles in our work and in our lives. Remember, it won’t happen by accident.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” Ephesians 3:16 NIV

*What can we do to strengthen one or more of these behind-the-scene forces in our lives?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 Matt Trostle, Creative Commons License

A Whisper from God: Love Anyway

Every now and then I share some of my poetry with you, and the theme of my latest looks at loving when it’s difficult. It’s not always easy to love, is it? I hope this poem encourages you to go ahead and love even when it’s hard. May God strengthen us all for such times for they will surely come. Let’s keep looking to him, friends. He will enable us. He will help.

Love Anyway

Once again I find myself
Coming to God in confession,
Sorry for words I shouldn’t have said,
Thoughts that shouldn’t be mine,
And attitudes that need adjustment.
How grateful I am
I don’t have to wonder
If my God will love me anyway,
For he meets me each time with mercy
And freely grants forgiveness,
Then he gently reminds me
At just the right time
To do the same for others.
When someone wrongs or hurts me—
Even when the offense is great
Or happens time after time,
What God has done for me
Comes whispered back to me—
Love anyway.
Only by your power, Lord,
Only with your help.
Yes, help me, Lord,
To be like you,
Help me to freely forgive,
Help me 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 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.) Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

Photo by Emmanuel Phaeton on Unsplash

Wedding Day Photo: Groom Admires His Bride

Mother of the Bride, here’s a wedding day photo idea that shines with love—the groom admiring his bride from afar. This is a perfect example of when one simple photo speaks volumes. When one second in time holds the promise of an entire future.

Want to immortalize all that love your daughter’s beloved has for her? Show your daughter this photo and suggest a similar one for her dream-come-true day. I think she’ll give an enthusiastic thumbs up to add it to the list of photos you’ll ask the photographer to take.

And MOB, don’t forget to keep some tissues handy on the big day. You’ll need them as you watch photos like this being captured!

*You might also like to read Wedding Photo Idea: A Veiled Kiss, Wedding Photo Idea: Hideaway Moment, Wedding Photo Idea: A Shared Faith, and Wedding Photo Idea: The Corner Shot.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*Flickr photo by Katsu Nojiri, Creative Commons License

Beautiful Scripture Passage Plus Blogging Break

Hey friends, summer calls for a blogging break at some point, doesn’t it? We all need to slow things down where we can, and blogging is one place where I can do that. Here’s to you finding your own places to give yourself a bit of a break!

I’ll be back with regular weekly posts in mid-August, but in the meantime, let me leave you with a beautiful passage from the Word of God. Think of these words over the next several weeks when you look up at the skies or gaze at mountain views or take a dip in the ocean. Remember, God’s love is vast. It cannot be measured. And best of all, it’s for all of us!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:5-9 NIV

*How has God shown you his love recently?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*My photo

God Living in Us Makes Us Lovely

“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!” Psalm 84:1 NIV

One morning when a full, out-of-town day stretched before me, I wanted a taste of God’s Word to begin my day. I decided to open my Bible to a random Psalm and read wherever my eyes landed. And I am so glad I did.

I opened to Psalm 84 and as I read the first verse, the taste I desired exploded into a feast. They were familiar words, but in that instant, I saw them in a new light, with a deeper understanding. My drive-through, random reading suddenly felt like a full course meal.

This psalm, this verse, was written in Old Testament times, of course, and the words “dwelling place” referred to the temple of God. But in the New Testament, where does Paul tell us God’s dwelling place—his temple—is now? In us! In the hearts of believers. “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NCV)

So if you’re a believer like me, what does this truth mean for us in the context of the above Psalm 84:1 verse? Because God’s Spirit lives in us, friends, we are lovely. And not just an off-hand use of the word lovely, but lovely emphasized—how lovely. In other words, you and I are very lovely. Extremely lovely. Amazing, huh?!

I’ve got to be honest. I don’t usually think of myself as lovely—in the physical or the spiritual sense. Too often I concentrate on the imperfections in both realms. I dwell on the warts of my shortcomings.

But I need to see myself as God sees me. Redeemed and dearly loved as one of his children. As very lovely because he lives in me. Anyone else need that reminder today?

“And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NET

*How has God’s loveliness been shining through you lately?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon 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.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 Shandi-leeCreative Commons License