Tag Archives: Love

Thanks Mama!

The hand that rocks the cradle moves the world.

Somebody said that a child is carried in his or her mother’s womb for nine months. Somebody does not know that a child is carried in his or her mother’s heart for a lifetime.

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you have had a baby. Somebody does not know that once you are a mother, normal is history.

Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct. Somebody never took a 3-year-old shopping.

Somebody said being a mother is boring. Somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a learner’s permit.

Somebody said good mothers never raise their voices. Somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her son hit a golf ball through the neighbor’s window.

Somebody said you do not need an education to be a mother. Somebody never helped her daughter with distance learning.

Somebody said you cannot love all your kids the same. Somebody does not have kids.

Somebody said a mother can find all the answers in books. Somebody has never had a child stuff beans up his nose.

Somebody said the hardest part of motherhood is giving birth. Somebody never watched her child get on the bus for the first day of Kindergarten.

Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married. Somebody does not know marriage only adds a child to the mother’s family.

Somebody said a mother’s job is finished when her last child leaves home. Somebody never had grandchildren.

Somebody said you never need to tell your mother you love her. Somebody is not a mother.

To mothers everywhere, we say thank you!

For the sleepless nights, thank you.

For the stressful days, thank you.

For everything you do day after day, thank you.

Please share this post.

 

A Mother’s Love

“All that I am my mother made me,” remarked John Quincy Adams.

An angel was sent down from Heaven with the assignment to bring back earth’s 3 most beautiful gifts. The angel picked a rose as one. The second was a baby’s smile. The angel was searching for the third, and he was so impressed by a mother’s sacrificial love for her son, he chose it as number three.

When the angel returned to Heaven, he discovered the rose had withered, the baby’s smile went away, but the mother’s love was still there.

There is nothing more beautiful than a mother’s love. The sacrifice, the enduring love which never fades is beautiful. As the old song says, “Thank God for mothers.”

Please share this post.

3 Ways God Views Us

When God looks at us, what does he see?

The picture wasn’t much. It was a hand drawn sketch of what was supposed to be a dog. It had a few oddly placed stickers around the dog, and there was really no theme or artistic thought given to the picture. Most everyone would look at the picture and declare it trash, but in the eye of the recipient, it was a beautiful work of art.

The recipient was a mom and the picture created by her daughter, making it a masterpiece worthy of hanging on the refrigerator. No one else saw the beauty. No one else saw the potential, but the mom did. She did because it was her daughter.

The same can be said about our lives from the Lord’s perspective. No one else may see the beauty. No one else may see the potential, but the Lord does. In his sight, our lives are a masterpiece by his grace.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

In his grace, the Lord overcomes the messiness of our lives. He looks past all the dirt to see our heart, our potential, and our purpose.

When the Lord looks at us, here is what he sees.

A Masterpiece

He sees the shattered pieces of our lives put back together in his grace. The result is a beautiful mosaic in his sight.

A person with a purpose

You and I are not just aimlessly wondering through life. The Lord has a purpose for the mosaic he has created. The Bible reminds us the Lord has plans for us. Plans to give us hope and a future.

A person who can do some amazing work

The purpose the Lord has for us is awesome and will leave behind a lasting and beautiful legacy.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you view yourself as he views you.

Firm Foundation

“The house don’t fall when the bones are good.”

The Lord’s truth often shows up in song lyrics. Our ears are hearing and our hearts absorbing valuable truth that can help in life.

Maren Morris’ The Bones packs a valuable truth into a cool song. The story has love holding a romantic relationship together in adversity, but the idea of having a firm foundation can help all aspects of life.

The Bible tells a parable about two men who built houses. One man built his house on the sand, while the other dug through the sand to place his foundation on the rock. A storm came, and the plain flooded. The house sitting on the sand was wiped away, while the house resting on the rock remained standing. It stayed in place because of its foundation; its bones were good.

Life has its storms. They are unavoidable. The difficulties of life will strain our marriages, families, friendships, and business partnerships; however, those relationships will stay intact if they are built on a solid foundation.

The Bones reminds us to build on a solid foundation. Where are you building?

By the way, if you are like me and enjoy reading, you might be interested in Kindle Unlimited. You can read millions of eBooks plus listen to thousands of audio books for one low monthly price. It’s a great way to read.

You can also borrow thousands of Kindle titles with an Amazon Prime membership. Prime members have instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows and free two-day shipping on Amazon orders. You can try it free for 30 days. You can cancel anytime.

 

Offering Grace

She’s on a journey to forgive her rapist.

She forgave the teenagers who mutilated her face.

They forgave the man who slaughtered their children.

These are certainly attention-grabbing headlines, and they start telling the stories of horrific pain and tremendous loss, but they do more. We are not only captivated by the heart wrenching tragedy but the victim’s response.

Each of these stories is an incredible illustration of grace. Each victim offers forgiveness to an individual who did the unthinkable. In turn, serving as an illustration to us.

As Christians, we are encouraged to offer forgiveness, and C. S. Lewis says, “Everyone believes forgiveness is a grand idea until he has something to forgive.” Forgiving can be one of the hardest things you and I are asked to do, but it can also be one of the most liberating.

I’m far from perfect, and I do not have this part of the Christian journey completely figured out. I was encouraged to explore it some more by these stories, and I hope you are as well.

She’s on a journey of forgiveness after rape.

Beverly had a supposed friend who worked for the state. He requested some of her time, and they scheduled an appointment. Entering Beverly’s home under the façade of needing her time, the man took much more than her time; he raped her.

He successfully denied and covered up the act, and he continued to move up the political ladder. Beverly would see him on the news, encounter him at parties, and would be upset.

Two years after the rape, Beverly met a friend who told her of Christ’s forgiveness and protection. Beverly decided to accept Christ’s invitation of grace and begin the journey of maximizing Christ in her life and healing from the hurt caused by the rapist. The Journey may not be completed, but it is started. Beverly’s story is told in Facing Your Giants.

She forgave the teenagers who mutilated her face.

Victoria Ruvolo was on her way home in November 2004. She was returning home after attending a family member’s recital, and it was late, and driving was a little difficult because of the freezing rain. The car she was about to pass may have caught her attention, but she doesn’t remember. The teenage boy hanging out the window may have caught her attention, but again, she does not remember. Nor does she remember seeing the 20-pound frozen turkey the boy was holding in his hand.

The boy launched the turkey at Victoria’s car, smashing her windshield, bending the steering wheel inward, and breaking every bone in her face. Victoria’s face suffered extensive damage and had to be completely restructured.

It took an 8-hour surgery and 3-week hospital stay to even begin the road to recovery. While Victoria was recovering, the wheels of justice were spinning, and the public was voicing outrage at the crime.

Fast forward to August 2005 and enter the court room. The young man who launched the turkey pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and received a sentence of 6 months behind bars, 5 years’ probation, community service, and counseling. The lenient sentence is given at the request of Victoria.

She too was in the court room, and after the hearing, Victoria and the young man came face to face. Both sobbing, Victoria said, I forgive you. I want your life to be all it can be.” The pain and agony caused to Victoria was met with grace and mercy. Victoria’s story is told in Captured by Grace.

They forgave the man who slaughtered their children.

In October 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish schoolhouse and ordered the teacher, teacher’s assistant, and boys to leave. The 10 girls in the class were left alone with the gunman. He covered the windows and was planning for a long siege, but as state police officers surrounded the schoolhouse, he shot the girls and killed himself. 5 girls died, and the other 5 were severely wounded. This was not the only part of the story which made headlines though.

The Amish community publicly forgave the gunman. They befriended the gunman’s wife and children. Marie Monville, the gunman’s wife, recalls to CNN the community showered her family with gifts. They waived at her on the way to the bus stop, and they even attended her husband’s funeral. The families, who were victims of a heinous and unthinkable act, offered grace. Monville tells her story in One Light Still Shines.

Acting

As I mentioned, I do not have forgiveness completely figured out. The individuals in these stories are true illustrations of offering grace to one another, and they encourage me to explore offering forgiveness. I hope they do you as well.

Join me in learning the act of forgiveness and experiencing the liberation it brings.

Please share this post with anyone you believe would find it encouraging.

 

10 Practical Ways to Imitate Compassion

His occupation is beggar, and he has secured a prime spot. The road he sits beside each day is heavily traveled, and it is one of the best spots to be a beggar. He hears the stories about Jesus as he sits there; the stories of Jesus healing people and performing all kinds of miracles, and he wonders if Jesus could help him.

One day the traffic is unusually heavy. At first, he thinks it will be a large collection day. All those people in town would result in much more given. It turns out it is an extraordinary day. Jesus is in town, and now is his shot.

So, Bartimaeus starts shouting for Jesus to have mercy on him. People around him tell him to shut up, but he shouts more until Jesus hears him.

Jesus stops, calls Bartimaeus, and heals his eye condition. Jesus has compassion on him.

We live in a world filled with hurt. There is much need for compassion, and the Lord is compassionate. We are encouraged to imitate his compassion, so here is the picture of what we are to imitate and practical ways we can be imitators. Here are a few more times Jesus demonstrates his compassion.

The Lord is compassionate.

Luke 7 records Jesus and his disciples entering a town. As they were approaching the gate, a dead man was being carried out. The man’s mother, a widow, was following him overwhelmed with sorrow. Luke says, “When Jesus saw her, his heart went out to her.” He was so moved by compassion it drove him to action. Jesus raised her son.

Mark 1:40-42 records a man with leprosy coming to request help from Jesus. Mark tells us Jesus was moved by the situation. Jesus became angry at the man’s situation. He was not angry with the man, but the man’s situation. He healed the man, and Mark says, “immediately, the man’s leprosy left him. Jesus was so moved by compassion that it drove him to action.

Jesus doesn’t just feel sorry for folks. His compassion drives him to action. It drives him to do something about their situation. When Jesus sees people hurting, he takes steps to help them.

So what?

We are encouraged to show compassion as Jesus shows compassion.

Luke 6:36 says, “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.”

Acting

Here are 10 practical ways you and I can show compassion.

  1. Pray for those in need.
  2. Volunteer at a food pantry.
  3. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
  4. Provide transportation to a neighbor in need.
  5. Offer to pick up groceries or a prescription for a neighbor who has difficulty getting out of her home.
  6. Volunteer with a relief organization to do local projects.
  7. Check on a neighbor to make sure he is doing okay during an extreme weather event.
  8. Try to have a conversation with someone who seems lonely.
  9. Send a card or encouraging note to a friend you know is struggling.
  10. Offer a bit of grace to someone.

How are you going to show compassion today?

What are some other ways we can show compassion?

Share in the comments below, and if you know someone who would find this post encouraging, please share it.

 

Just ComeHome

It was time. It was time for Daniel to make a dreaded phone call, and the only place to get privacy in a frat house is the bathroom. Humiliated and sitting on the lid of the toilet, a stack of porn magazines in the corner, Daniel starts to dial the number, but he stops.

“I can’t do this,” he tells himself. “There’s no way they will understand. I’ve really messed up this time.”

Daniel was a college freshman and thought classes would be easy. Ignoring the advice of his parents, Daniel joined a fraternity a couple weeks after arriving on campus. Life was fun until he failed all his classes and lost his scholarship. He had gone as far as he could go, and now it was time to make the dreaded phone call.

“But there is no way they are going to understand,” he kept telling himself. “I’ve messed everything up. I didn’t listen to their advice, and I’ve just messed everything up. What am I going to do?”

After about 30 minutes, Daniel decided he had to call. So, he picked up his phone, dialed the number, and his parents answered.

He told them what happened, and they immediately responded. “Just come home,” they encouraged. “Just come home, and we’ll figure everything out once you get here.”

Daniel’s parents show us a picture of grace. They are an illustration of God’s grace. “Just come home,” they say. It doesn’t matter how badly Daniel has messed up. Daniel, their son, is hurting, so they just want him home. Everything else can be pieced together after he gets home.

You might be Daniel. You might be the one needing to make the dreaded phone call. If so, the Lord will respond in the same way Daniel’s parents responded. “Just come home,” he says. “We’ll figure out the rest after you get here.” God’s grace is unconditional love, which invites us to come home.

 

My thought for Daniel’s story originated with The Easter Experience.

What is grace?

What is grace? Ask 20 people this question, and you will receive multiple answers.

Completely understanding God’s grace is difficult for us, so you and I may have doubts concerning the reality of God’s forgiveness. Here are 6 workable definitions of God’s grace, a picture of his grace, and how grace plays into our lives.

Here are 6 practical definitions of God’s grace.

1. God’s unmerited favor.

We do nothing to earn grace. God gives it to those who ask.

2. Unconditional Forgiveness.

In this way, grace is inclusive. God invites us to come as we are; grace meets us at our place and helps us get to a better place.

3. God’s one-way love to us.

A person may not love the Lord right now, but the Lord loves him or her. It is out of his love the invitation to grace is extended.

4. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person.

You and I are invited to come as we are. Our lives do not have to be perfect before grace comes into play. The Lord meets us where we are and takes us to a better place. Whether we do or do not deserve grace is not a question the Lord asks. He invites us all.

5. Grace sets us free.

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom Christ has set us free.”

Grace can help us live a more fulfilling life.

6. Grace is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8 says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed, and you can not take credit for this. It is a gift from God.”

Here is a picture of grace.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of a son wanting his father’s money. The son goes to his father and asks for his share of the inheritance. In the context of Jesus’ story, inheritance was usually given upon a parent’s death. So, the son is basically saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead. Give me your money.”

The father agrees and gives the young man his portion of the estate. The young man leaves home, plays hard in life for a time, and looses all his money. Fast forward a little, and we find the young man caring for pigs with nothing to eat.

Hungry and watching the pigs eat, the young man decides to try going home. He feels his father will at least let him be a servant. He does not believe being a son again is an option after the way he has acted. He heads for home, and the father’s response is a true picture of grace.

The father sees his son coming down the road, so he runs to meet and embrace him. Picture the scene Jesus paints. The smelly, dirty son who had been tending to the hogs being embraced by his father, who a short time earlier received a death wish. Not only did the father embrace the young man, he throws a celebration because his son is home.

This is grace. Unmerited, undeserving, unconditional forgiveness and love.

Here is how grace plays into our lives.

The same way the father ran to meet the son, The Lord runs to meet us. It doesn’t matter where we’ve been, we can always go back home.

Acting

What has grace done for you? Take a moment to thank the Lord.

What can grace do for you? Go back home.

Please share this post with anyone who would find it encouraging.

 

5 Reasons to Look Through Appearance to the Heart

What would happen if we looked through appearance to the heart? Here are 5 improvements we would see.

We live in a culture which places a high premium on appearance. An individual is judged on his or her looks or popularity. Leaders and potential spouses are chosen based on looks. Online dating apps use a single photo as the first layer of filtering. If someone doesn’t like your photo, they scroll to the next person. Many decisions are based on appearance.

A guy asks a girl to go on a date based on her appearance. An interview candidate receives points based on his appearance. The old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” may be true, but I believe there is a better way. You see, one picture cannot tell a whole story.

What would happen if society readjusted our focus from the person’s appearance to the person’s heart? What would happen if we concentrated on a potential spouse’s personality and emotions rather than looks? What would happen if appearance was not considered in choosing a leader? Here are 5 improvements we would see.

1. There would be a rise in self-esteem.

As a society, we would stop beating ourselves up because we were not pretty enough. We would stop comparing ourselves to others’ social media appearance. Self-esteem would rise as we would be more confident in ourselves.

2. New friendships would be cultivated.

We would not be turned off by someone’s outward appearance; rather, we would take time to get to know our neighbor and may discover he is a cool person.

3. Marriages would last longer.

Psychologists state the key to a long and happy marriage is a deep emotional connection. While dating, if more time was spent connecting emotionally, the relationship would be built on a better foundation.

4. Society would be more at peace.

An increase in self-confidence and happier relationships would bring more peace to the world. Bullies would have friends so they would not feel the need to bully. The color of our skin would no longer cause friction. Peace would result as we looked through appearance to the heart.

5. God’s leaders would excel.

Leaders chosen on character without any consideration to appearance would result in the most competent leader always being chosen. The heart would outweigh the outward ability to capture our attention, be entertaining, or the life of the party.

Acting

Will you join me in setting a goal to pay less attention to appearance and more attention to heart? How do you believe making this shift would change our culture?

 

Love is Hard

Did the Bible have to say this?

We watch the news, read the newspapers, and follow social media, and every day we are frustrated at all the hatred in the world. If everyone would just get along, how much better would the world be?

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you; pray for those who hurt you,” Jesus says in Luke 6:27-28.

I like this statement. Don’t you?

I like this statement until I realize Jesus is not just talking to everyone else. He is talking to me also. Love your enemies. Did God really have to put that in the Bible?

God put this statement in the Bible, so the answer is yes, it must be in there.

Stop and think for a moment. How much better would the world be if everyone had sacrificial love for one another? Bullies would not exist. Teamwork would increase in the workplace; backstabbing would stop. Groups with opposing views would compromise rather than sitting in their corners hating each other. The landscape would change drastically.

How to love your enemy?

Here’s how the Bible suggests living out this statement.

Luke 6:31 says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

This is the Golden Rule. If we do not want others to be rude to us, why are we rude to them. If we dislike bullying, why do we bully others. We don’t like backstabbers in our office, so why do we participate? We should treat others the way we desire to be treated.

Acting

How well do you live out the Golden Rule? If you are like me, there’s room for improvement, so set a goal to take a small step toward improvement each day. For example, set your daily goal not to be rude to a cashier no matter how you are treated in line.

Please share this post with your friends who would find it encouraging.