Tuesday, July 05, 2016

30 Days of Love - Day 30: So, Now What?

Day 30: So, Now What?

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12

Here we are at the end! There’s so much more I could write to you, but this is where we’ll stop for now. God will lead you to whatever else you need, but having a plan of action has always helped me, and I believe it will help you, so here goes!

My advice to you as we close is this:
  •  Keep on going (see the verse above). If you were driving down the road to your favorite restaurant, would you stop the car in the middle of the road and still expect to get there? Nope! Seriously, just keep going. Even when it feels like it’s not working, and zero results appear before your eyes, do not give up!
  •  If you’re having a weak moment and you need some encouragement, you get your faith friend on the phone and let them know you could use a boost! Don’t have one yet? Throw me a comment, and I'll get in touch with you! I’m telling you now: You can do this (2 Corinthians 2:14)!
  •  Always remember that God is on your side. He is not against you (Romans 8:31).
  • Continue to feed on God’s Word, especially 1 Corinthians 13, as you go along. This is so, so important! We don’t expect our bodies to perform without food, but we let our spirits starve—hello!
  • Know that you are loved by God, and yours truly. I may not know you, but I’ve written this book as an act of love for my King, and for you!

Be blessed (James 1:25).

Homework:

Hey, no homework on the last day of school!

Know that I’m praying for you—that you would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). That you would trust in Him with all of your heart (Proverbs 3:5), and know that He will never give up on you (Romans 8:38-39)!



Monday, July 04, 2016

30 Days of Love - Day 29: My Personal Experiences, Part Two

Day 29: My Personal Experiences, Part Two

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24

Several years ago, I came to a crossroads. I hadn’t really been living to serve God, and my life showed it. I was unhappy all the time, and I blamed everyone but myself. Mostly I blamed my husband. Soon we came to a point where we were very close to divorce. I was a wreck. I didn’t know what to do. I was so done with life as it had been up until that point. Only one path seemed to make sense. I cried out to the Lord. I told Him I was done. I was done trying to do things my way. I gave myself back to Him. Even though the weeks that followed were incredibly hard, my marriage was saved.

After coming so close to the brink, I was filled with a lot of fear. I was terrified that we’d just end up in the same boat again. I went looking for answers, and I’m not quite sure when God started leading me toward teaching on walking in love, but I know it happened. I learned that God’s love casts out fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I started learning that the way I treated others was going to come back to me. I started learning that I had to let go of the past. I started seeing results. They were tiny at first, and quite hard to see if you weren’t paying attention, but I saw it. (My battle buddy helped me to “see” quite often—thank you, BB!)

Oh, I’ve made my share of mistakes since. I just have to remember to repent and get back to it again. There have been a handful of times where realizing how badly I’d been hurting the people I loved gave me such a heartache, but God was always there to show His mercy and show me the path out.

I’ve written this book to you because God doesn’t teach us so we can keep it all to ourselves. He wants me to help you understand that there is hope. There is a way out of your living hell. Call out to Jesus, and do whatever He says!

Homework:

For almost thirty days, because of your study, God’s love has been in the forefront of your thinking. If you’re not diligent to remind yourself of the things you’ve been learning and receiving from God, you’ll lose sight of them (James 1:22-25; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). There are many ways you could go about reminding yourself regularly. One of my favorite ways is to print things out and put them up on the fridge. Do what works for you!


Sunday, July 03, 2016

30 Days of Love - Day 28: My Personal Experiences, Part One

Day 28: My Personal Experiences, Part One

“I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.” Psalm 9:1

I know that I always find encouragement in hearing how God’s Word has worked in other people’s lives, so I wanted to share some personal examples with all of you, in the hopes of doing the same!

I want to start off with what I view as the first time I realized that walking in love actually works. At the time, I just saw it as “killing them with kindness,” but even with just that, I was able to experience victory.

Decades ago, I was working in an office, and one of the girls there didn’t like me. To this day I’m not really sure why. It doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that instead of treating her rudely in return, I decided to be nice to her. I remembered Scriptures about heaping coals of kindness on people’s heads (see Proverbs 25:21-22 and Romans 12:20), and figured I’d give it a shot. (I didn't have quite the right heart attitude, but hey, I was actually trying!)

It worked. The results weren’t obvious immediately, but by the time I left that office, we actually enjoyed each other’s company. Just knowing and having faith in what God said in one teeny bit of Scripture, I got the victory, and so did she. I love how God went beyond just a more peaceful work environment and gave us each a friend. I haven’t seen here in a very long time, but the thought of her always makes me smile. Imagine what God’s going to do in your life with all that you’ve been learning?

Fast forward about a decade, and there’s this woman who is mad at me. She told other people why she was upset with me, but never came to me directly. The sad part is that her reason for being mad at me was something she had assumed to be true, but was entirely false. She thought I had slighted her, when indeed I had not. I made a handful of efforts to mend fences, but received no response. I still pray for her and love her dearly despite not having any contact with her, and I’m still open to reconciliation.

There was another office I worked at where God pointed out to me that I was talking too much and interrupting another person’s work. (Maybe this is the reason the girl from my first example didn’t like me? Moving along…) Oops! I felt bad for the many months of yakking I had put my co-worker through. Then came the challenge—the point where I actually had to change my actions. Boy, was that a struggle at first. I kept catching myself mid-blather! Again, by acting on the direction God gave me, someone else was blessed in the process—with silence. (You can laugh, go ahead!)

I’ll have some more for you tomorrow!

Homework:

I want you to take some time to think about what you want your relationships to look like in the future. Are your actions and attitudes toward others taking you in that direction?

Saturday, July 02, 2016

30 Days of Love - Day 27: Faith Comes by Hearing

Day 27: Faith Comes by Hearing

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17

What? I’m talking about faith now? Yes I am. Because guess what? Without faith, you can’t truly walk in the God kind of love. Faith is believing what you can’t see yet, and if you don’t have faith that God’s Word works, you won’t experience Word results. I want you to experience results, and so does God!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

When you start walking in love, you do it because you believe (have faith) that God’s Word will work. You’ve seen how you reap what you sow on Day 4. You’ve put your faith in it. You don’t see evidence of any change yet, but because God said so, you count it as true. Faith expects to see results.

If some time has passed, and you feel your faith is floundering, then it’s time for you to strengthen your faith. Faith doesn’t come by asking God for it. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (see today’s verse). And really, to keep your faith from floundering in the first place, you should make it a habit to read and meditate on the Scriptures and listen to teaching (if you’re looking for excellent teaching and other resources on walking in love, click here). This will keep you built up—just like feeding your physical body food keeps its strength up.

Here’s another thing: the Bible says that faith works by love:

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 13:2 that he could enough faith to move mountains, but if he didn’t have love, it was useless. Here he is telling us again that faith works through love. The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says, “faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.” When we walk in God’s love, we’re walking with real purpose.

Homework:

Get your Bible and look at 1 Corinthians 13 again. Remind yourself of what God’s love is. It would be a good idea to speak this portion of Scripture over yourself frequently. Meditate on what it means. Ask the Lord to show you any areas you’ve been missing it lately, if any. Keep up the good work!



30 Days of Love: Resources

Resources

Here are a few resources that have helped me a whole lot!

Keeping the Love Command - an eleven-part teaching series by Keith Moore 

What Love Does - a nine-part teaching series by Keith Moore

Love: The Way to Victory - a book by Kenneth E. Hagin

How to Walk in Love - a mini book by Kenneth E. Hagin


Marriage specific:

All of the Marriage Meetings  taught by Keith and Phyllis Moore









Friday, July 01, 2016

30 Days of Love - Day 26: God Leads Us to the Victory

Day 26: God Leads Us to the Victory

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

I want you to give your attention to one word in the verse above for now: always. God always leads us in triumph in Christ. Every time, all the time, in any event, no matter what the circumstances may be, He leads us to triumph—to victory. God will not lead you to failure. If He’s always leading you in triumph, that leaves absolutely zero room for Him to lead you to failure. Get this in your heart!

I love that it says He will lead you to triumph. Step by step, God will get you there. When you trust God and follow His plan, it will lead you to the victory. It doesn’t matter how dark or bleak the picture looks right now, you will have it.

As always with God, your victory isn’t just about you. By leading you to triumph, God is spreading knowledge of Himself to the people you come in contact with. God’s plan is to reveal Himself to the world through you. This brings us right back to what Jesus said in John 13:35—that the world would know we were His disciples by our love for one another.

Remember Day 21, where we talked about how love never fails? It's all connected! If you walk in His love—you will not fail. You will have the victory, and you’ll bring others along for the ride!

Homework:

Think about the things the Lord has directed you to do since you started reading this book. Those steps are part of your victory path, so keep going!



Thursday, June 30, 2016

30 Days of Love - Day 25: Seek First the Kingdom

Day 25: Seek First the Kingdom

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Right before this verse, Jesus was telling the multitudes not to worry about what they would eat, or what they would wear, because their Father knows they need these things. Then He told them what they should do—seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and God would handle all their stuff.

Look at the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition’s version of this verse:

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

Seeking after God’s righteousness above everything else means you are seeking His way of doing things. Isn’t that awesome? And that’s what this whole book is about: renewing your mind to think the way God does, so you can do things the way God wants you to do them. Let’s move on to some practical applications to help you get this.

Let’s say you finally save enough money to buy that expensive watch you’ve been drooling over for so long. It’s so shiny and gorgeous! You wear it for a day, and as you go to slip it on the next morning, you sense the Holy Spirit prompting you to give it to someone you work with. Immediately your flesh starts whining in that awful, nasally voice: I’ve saved so long! I’ve only worn it once, and now God wants me to give it away? That’s so not fair!

But, if you really believe what God says, you’ll do it. He said if you'll put His kingdom and His righteousness first, He’ll add everything else you could ever want or need. Your “Boss” has put you on assignment to bless someone on His behalf. 

Think of companies here on earth. If an earthly boss sends an employee to purchase a gift for a client or business partner, they don't expect that employee to pay for it out of their own pocket. God surely wouldn’t require it either! Give the watch. God will take care of you.

Maybe God’s calling you to fulltime ministry and you’re scared because you think you won’t have steady income. Brother or sister, God wouldn’t call you into anything without fully furnishing all you need to get it done (1 Corinthians 9:7-11, Philippians 4:19). You wouldn’t let your family starve or go without if you could help it, and I’d say that God is a much better parent (Matthew 7:11, James 1:7). He won’t let you or your family go without. He promised!

Homework:

Every time you choose to do things God’s way, including walking in love, you are lining yourself up for God’s provision. Don’t let worry, fear, or pressure from other people keep you from following after the Lord. Read Matthew 7:7-12, Timothy 4:8, Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 35:27, and Psalm 37:3-5.