Good evening, friends! I'm finding that during the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), it is more difficult to stay well-blogged! I feel so busy, all the time...and I don't even have kids! I can't begin to think how crazy life will be when I'm trying to stay up to date with my blogs on here and I have little boy Seals and little girl Seals fighting in the background over playing GI-Joes or My little Pony. (Then again, I could just blog about that, couldn't I?!)
I've spent the last several weeks going through a video study in Women's Biblestudy at my church--Loving Well, by Beth Moore. Tonight was the conclusion of it, and whew, do I want to learn how to love well! But to love well, we need to know what it is like to be well loved. And I am incredibly thankful that God loves me so well. Through His love pouring out on me, I pray that He teaches me how to overflow His love onto other people.
Romans 5 teaches us that if we are to love those who are easy to love, those who love us, we are just like the rest of the world. But if we want to love like the Most High, we must love our enemies. Friends, it is difficult to love our enemies. It is hard to even grace someone with a smile if/when they mock us, hate us, and/or hurt us. But...weren't we all enemies of Jesus. Yet He was born for one purpose. To die for us. To love us. To take on our sin, and be gracious towards us with more than a smile...with His blood. And in the midst of torture on the cross, of suffocation, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
I don't know about you, but for me, as a Christian, those words mean the world to me. They do. How deep the Father's love for us! How vast beyond all measure! That He, my God, my King, the Most High, should give His only Son, to make this wretch, this broken, sinful woman that I am, to make me His treasure!
In learning to love like Christ loves, we need to have hearts for the world. Not just hearts for those that make us happy to love them. Sometimes we need to get down into the dirt (not in a sinful way, but in an uncomfortable, hard-to-love way) and beyond our comfort zone so that God can teach us how to love better. Loving doesn't always come easy, but if we are saved, then God is transforming our lives. And He really does transform our lives! And as He is transforming us, it goes without saying that He is healing us. Beth Moore wraps up her Loving Well study by saying this: "If we do not pour our lives into other people, we will never be completely healed." Friends, that rings more true to me than I can ever describe. I never feel God's presence more, His love more, His compassion more--never more like the hands and feet of Christ, as His body--than when I am serving others for the sake of His Name. And while I'm serving Him, rather than myself, His healing power is at work, continually transforming my life. Amen!
"Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." Isaiah 58:6-11
Lord, make your waters flow over my bones, and into my garden, that I may learn to love others well, as you have loved me, perfectly.
--Inspired by Beth Moore's 'Loving Well' series.