Project Love – Accepting Love

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Well readers by the title you can guess why the post regarding Friday was so late coming out, I’ve been sick. It started on Friday, was horrible yesterday, slept most of the day, and seems to be getting more tolerable today. A friend of my assured me this morning that it only lasts 4-5 days. I’m on day three so I see a light at the end of the tunnel and who knows maybe I will be spared of having to endure another day or two. One can only pray.

I live alone and needed help so I called a friend and she got me some much needed supplies to get me through this. Her help was so greatly appreciated! This time it was my opportunity to accept love. I had been able to do nothing much other than sleep and wake the entire day. By the time she was there I was feeling very ill and not sure if I needed to go to urgent care or not, however, the food and drinks she brought did wonders! She did all of this even though earlier in the week someone had knocked out one of the windows of her car and she had been waiting for the guy to come and repair it. It had been hours since the time he said he would be there so she came to my rescue. “Love…is not self-seeking,…” 1 Cor. 13:4a-5b She indeed was doing anything other than being self-seeking! Such kindness and thoughtfulness was overwhelming! I felt so cared for and so loved and unbelievably grateful for her kindness and selflessness!     

Who knew that when this started 4 days ago that it would begin a lesson on accepting love. I have never felt worthy of love. My youth group used to go to a concert/service where there was an alter call every Friday night and every Friday night I would feel compelled to go down to the alter to ask Jesus into my life. I had the misguided impression that God would sooner see fit to allow Hitler into heaven than me a 13 year old. I know now that if Hitler should’ve accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior he would be my brother. Which (forgive me Lord) still is a difficult thing to wrap my head around. (I definitely still need a lot of work.) One of the reasons why I’m so excited about #projectlove because I know it is going to do a work in me and I hope that it does a work in others. As far as the alter calls were concerned I finally realized with the help of a friend that I wasn’t trusting my Savior. So I decided to put my faith in Him and never ask Him again. However, when it comes to accepting love I still have a hard time. I have difficulty believing that I’m deserving of it. I married my ex-husband because I thought no-one else would want me and I better get it while the getting was good, which to be honest it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did care for him just not like someone that should marry. I told myself I did. Which was a lie. When I watch, really watch, people who are in love they know all about their beloved! I couldn’t even tell you what beer he liked. I would bring a different one home each grocery trip. There were a number that he drank so I’m not sure if he liked a few and I just never learned them or he just didn’t have a favorite and drank whatever was available at the time. I know not very present on my part. Not a very proud time in my life.

I have learned that I am worthy of being loved first by my LORD and then others (not necessarily a husband). The challenge for me is the head knowledge of knowing I’m worthy of being loved and accepting the love. Which when I think about it is odd because although I am truly happily single for 28 1/2 years. Yes, I got married and divorced at a young age, all I’ll say is both are in my 20’s and no it wasn’t a really short marriage. Receiving love or maybe rather believing that it is real has been difficult for me the majority of my life if not all of it. As with all stories it starts with my past, which wasn’t a pretty one. But praise God, He has brought me out of all of that and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I’m still in the process of accepting love. This is something that I have been working on for decades now and I am much better than I was when I was younger yet I may never be done with this lesson, until I die. I know for certain that if I do complete this lesson a new one will be waiting for me. It seems as though this particular onion has many layers.

We can be certain that God loves us time and time again in Ps. 52:”8 (NIV),  Hosea 11:1 (NIV) , Malachi 1:2(NIIV), 2 Thess. 3:5 (IV) all speak of God’s love. Of this we can be certain that God does love us! There is no and if’s or buts about it Ps. 61:7 (NIV) “May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.” God so loves us that the maker of the universe & every cell & atom in it (just try and wrap your head around that), who placed each one in prefect harmony, wants you to be enthroned in His presence! How’s that for being excepted?!!! It makes me down right giddy. And of course there is always John 3:16 “For God so loved other world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I don’t know of any father that would do that. Here it is Father’s Day and we can be certain that no matter what kind of father you had or if your father is no longer with you, you do have a Heavenly Father that loves you unconditionally! Yep! Just as you are warts and all! No matter what you do He is in the business of forgiveness. All we need to do is ask and accept His love.

My hope for you is that if you struggle with accepting God’s love or the love of other’s that you would be encouraged and open yourself to accept what you do truly deserve and that we may journey together at accepting love.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

      

Project Love – Goodbye (So long?)

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Well readers when I started this project I thought that being loving would require acts of sacrifice on a daily base, but as of today that is not the case. Yesterday was the last day I would be seeing a very dear friend for a long time. She’s moving to take care of her mother-in-law (why has that word by made into a dirty word? Most every mother becomes a mother-in-law they can’t all be bad!). Knowing that she was going to a much colder climate than where we live and being I make scarves I made her three. I have also written two short stories one is on this site Lora’s Lesson and the other I don’t believe I have shared with you as of yet.  Anyway, I also gave her both of the two short stories and a testimonial that you can find on this site titled “Jesus Loves Me”.

There is a large group of us that are going to miss her and we were celebrating her yesterday. Showering her with gifts, well wishes, Mimosa, goodies, tears,embraces, and love. Love came so easy, so did the flowing tears from everyone.

Yes it hurts to have her leave and I don’t want her to go but that is self-seeking. I Cor. 13:4-5 “Love…it is not self-seeking,…” I know that this new adventure will be challenging, rewarding, difficult, a blessing and at times be emotionally stressful. So although this feels like goodbye and hurts terribly I’m going to retrain myself to see it as it is so long. She promised she would be visiting once things got settled. 

When we love someone it is difficult to see them go or even to let them go. To not do the “natural thing” be self-seeking is not easy. However when you think of all of the advantages that they we be experiencing more time with a loved one, new opportunities, obeying God or if you prefer being faithful to Him. It is far easier to take yourself out of the equation and be excited for them and with them. Thank you PaPa for this lesson in love. I use the expression PaPa with all the respect of Father or Abba Daddy. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie “The Shack” I got the expression from them. It suits my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He is my PaPa, my Abba Daddy, my Father, my Lord and my God. I would never think of doing anything to disrespect Him! For I love Him dearly! It is because I love Him that I can love anyone else.

I’m learning that when someone leaves the area it is important not to let them drop off the face of the earth! I now know that part of this project will be getting reacquainted with beloved friends that have moved away. I know that I must contact them and let them know that I still love them and think of them although I have been delinquent in keeping in touch with them.

I hope this encourages you.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ!

 

Project Imitate Christ – Project Love

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Do You ever have a time when God tells you to do one thing and you do another? Well that happened to me yesterday. I had initially decided to calls this Project Love, however someone I care about influenced me and I changed what I had felt led to originally do. So from now on this project is and forever will be the PROJECT LOVE, #projectlove.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to display love.

First I must tell you a little about myself so you can understand. I have been dealing with breathing problems. These seem to be exasperated with heat and humidity. Being that I have had a problem with a thing called conversion disorder, which is when your body creates physical symptoms to force you to deal with psychiatric issues, this is what my psychiatrist thought I had when I mentioned the problems to him. However, even if it was conversion disorder the first thing you do is rule out actual physical issues. My primary doctor first thought that it might be a cardiac problem. I have been to the cardiologist and he has cleared my heart, for which I am eternally grateful, especially since my father died of heart disease. So my doctor sent me to the pulmonary doctor for a pulmonary function test better know as a PFT. I finally found out that from my doctor not the pulmonary doctor (his office sent me to my doctor) that I have moderate restriction of the lungs. This is actually a relief I’m not not dealing with issues. I’m not sure if you can follow that but there is something very comforting about knowing you are working through your issues. Anyway my doctor sent me back to the pulmonary doctor since there is nothing my internist can do for me other than ask me if I was on oxygen.

I tell you all of the this because, back to yesterday I walked in from a hot humid day into the lobby of an office, greeted by the blessed crisp of the air of an air conditioned lobby! Something I love! I sat down (at a proper distance) and to my left there was a man with a woman sitting on either side of him. At a glance it now looking back on it as though there were having a meeting own the lobby. However, when they ask me to “Do them a favor” I moved beside them, he gentleman quickly corrected me and said, “”No we were wanting you to go outside.” I said, “Oh, okay.” Despite the heat and the lack of shade or breeze I was not self-seeking and although it was difficult I praised God because I had prayed about just this! An opportunity to display love! God also spared me it wasn’t all that long before the gentleman came out saying that they had decided it was easier for them to move them send me out. Thank you Lord!

If your wondering why I moved towards them when they asked me to help them I was wondering the same thing. Then God brought to mind that the last time I had heard that sentence was at Disneyland (of which I’m at regularly) wanting me to do a survey. So, my only excuse for my behavior is that I thought they wanted me fill out some sort of survey for the office. Although now that I think of it I can’t imagine what for!

I’m not sure how God is going to use this love project in my life or in the lives of others, but honestly I think I’m going to be the one that is blessed the most!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ!

God Can’t Love You Any More Than He Does Right Now!

God can’t love you any more than He does right now! Isn’t that good news! There  is nothing you can do to earn His love. There is nothing you can do to destroy His love. God is love. It is that simple.

He gave the greatest gift of all and that was His one and only Son who died on the cross and rose from the dead for yours and mine sins. All we have to do is believe that or have faith in that and ask Christ to do for us what He has already done on the cross which is pay the price for our sins. We do that by asking His forgiveness for our sins. No one is perfect but Christ alone that’s why He could pay the price we could not pay. See the price for unrighteousness or imperfection is death and only someone perfect like the unblemished sacrifices of the Old Testament would do. So Christ the only perfect man because He was also the Son of God could pay the price.

When we accept that gift which came at so great a cost we become heirs with Christ. Sons and daughters of the King. The blood of Christ has made us righteous and there is nothing we can do short of turning our back on Christ and what He did on the cross for us that could ever cause God to turn away from us.

Nothing, zilch, zip, nada, zero. God loves you! He will continue to love you. There is nothing big enough you can do to earn it and other than grieving the Holy Spirit by deciding that what Jesus did on the cross and how he rose from the dead for you was nothing and means nothing to you, there is nothing standing in the way of that love. God wants that all should come to Him and experience His amazing love. But love isn’t love without a choice and that is what God gave mankind a choice to love Him back.

It’s our choice to accept His love. If He had it His way none would perish but we chose whether or not we want the gift of His love. To accept His gift of love will be the best choice you’ve ever made in your life.

But let me be honest and upfront with you there is an enemy who had a choice once too and he wants you to perish with him. You see Satan was an angel that wanted to be like God and for his sin he and a third of the angels that followed him were casted out of heaven. Because of this there is a spiritual battle going on for your soul and the battle doesn’t stop once you become a Christian if anything it becomes stronger because you see now you have become a threat to the enemy and he will do anything in his power to try and stop that. But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. So although things will become difficult our God is greater and Satan knows that. Satan will never win because the battle goes to the Lord. So take heart when trials and temptations come they are merely tools with which to grow by. You have the Holy Spirit to guide you. Take heart!

Give Your Love Away

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Jesus commands us as the second of the two things we must do to complete the law of all the prophets.  Being Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

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When we share the love that God has given to us we are in essence reflecting God’s love to those that we love.

When we have love in our heart and lives we won’t be gossips and hurting people by spreading hurtful things with an untamed tongue.  When we love we won’t be jealous and envious of others, rather we will join them in the joy of their fortune. When we love we won’t wish ills on others but rather be praying for blessings for them.   We will be looking for a way to be a blessing to them rather than caught up in our own lives.  We will be vigilant about noticing signs of distress that may mean that they need our assistance because that is the least that you would do for your own body.

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It may seem impossible or radical but let’s really think about our neighbor and not to be noisy but out of love and concern be attentive to what is going on in their lives.  Let’s open our hearts and doors.  No more driving in and out of your garage and into your house never even knowing who your neighbor is.  Walk down your sidewalk and introduce yourself.  Stop at the mailbox long enough to greet others in your apartment complex, who knows it might be an opportunity to show some love if not at the least a smile and you may make someones day.

This world has become very isolated but we don’t have to let it stay that way.  We can choose to look for opportunities to connect to others be that playing it safe by just being friendly or taking a chance and actually showing love to someone.

When I lived in England I learned a song, I believe it’s called, “Magic Penny”.  The lyrics go:

Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny.  Hold it tight and you won’t have any, but lend, spend it and you’ll have so many, they’ll just roll all over the floor.

For, love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

So may I challenge us to look for ways to give our love away?  God has an unlimited supply to restore and refresh us with.  Like the song says if we hold our love tight we won’t have any, it becomes a stagnant pond useless to anyone.  We must think of our love as a fountain where water never grows stagnant or rushing waterfall that’s mist nourishes all the plants that surrounds it.

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Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Who’s In The Driver Seat of Your Car of Life?

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This quote is Psalm 31:14-15a.  It is good for us to trust in God and to remember our place.  We are not in the driver seat, not if we want to have an abundant life, a fulfilling life, a life blessed by God and a life according to His will.

He is God.  The one and only true God.  He is the Alpha Omega, the beginning and the end.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords He is I AM!  There is nothing greater than Him, He is the Creator of the universe.   Before anything was He was.  Before time He was.  Before light He was and always will be.

Anytime we put ourselves in the driver seat of our lives we not only act with outlandish pride, but foolhardy folly!   How dare we think that we have any advantage over God in the direction that our lives should take!  I’m speaking this as harshly to myself as anyone who is reading this.

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We all at times take turns at grabbing the steering wheel out of the LORD’s hands and being the gentleman that He is He won’t force it.  He wants to direct our paths and have control of the steering wheel but it’s our’s to give to Him and sometimes we have to surrender control on a daily if not hourly or moment by moment basis.  But that is how love works, it doesn’t control you.  God loves us enough to wait until we are ready to surrender our lives to him be that the submission of salvation or the submission of daily obedience to His loving guidance.

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It is equally not wise for us to sit in the backseat and do any backseat driving.  You know what I mean, like the times we like to try and tell God how best to do His job.  “Lord if you just…”, “Lord, I just need you to…”, “Lord, I know you said to, but…”, “Lord if we could just go this way.”.   These are all statements of pride because we think that we can do it better than the I AM.

He’s the same yesterday, today and forever He will always be looking to you for relationship but He wants love and love is never forced so He waits.  Whether it’s your first step to salvation or your 10,177 step in obedience, He’s looking for us to open the door to Him.

Our time is in His hands and it only makes sense to go to the Creator of you and me for everything in our lives.  He should be the first thing that we think of each morning and the first One we greet and the last thing on our mind each night, falling asleep with thoughts or communication to/of Him.  Please don’t get me wrong my spiritual life is no where near this but the cry of my heart tells me this is how I would prefer it to be.  Maybe I’ll never attain it this side of heaven but it is my desire to come as close to this as possible.

Incase you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, all you need to do is confess your sins to God and ask His forgiveness for those sins (sin is anything other than absolute perfection to the laws of God-which you know because the Bible says they are written on man’s heart, so look to your heart openly and honestly and see how truly good you are-you can ask God to help you with this).  You can receive the forgiveness of those sins if you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross paying the penalty for your and all the world’s sins, accept God’s grace of what His Son did for you and ask God to accept you into His family & the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Turn away from your old sinful life and strive to live your new life like Christ that you may be a reflection of what has been done inside you, not that your works will make any difference whether you get into heaven or not that is a free gift to anyone how believes, your works just show the change in your heart and life.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude Day 25 – Loving God’s Mercy

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Today I’m grateful for the glory of God’s mercy.  You see I also struggle with my weight.  I’m going to Weight Watchers and have days when I do program better than other days, but I must confess I still do not like the way I look over 44 pounds lighter than when I began.  That’s because I have about 100 more to shed.  I’m fully aware that this is vanity on my part but I grieve the face and body I once looked at that was so much thinner than this present form before me.

My boyfriend says I’m beautiful and that it grieves him that I feel ugly, mostly because he sees the hurt that causes me.  In that he reminds me of my heavenly Father and this quote I got from a devotional:

But no matter how far off the path or how long we are on it, God is patient with us and loves us as a dearly beloved chid – part of His family (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 4:7).

This reminds me of a touching story shared by my friend Karen Ehman, who lost over one hundred pounds in the first stage of her journey toward health.  Her friend, Tammy, saw a “before” picture and was encouraging Karen enthusiastically when Karen’s young son, Spencer, walked in.  Tammy said, “Wow, Spencer, can you believe that was your mom?  She’s lost so much weight.  Doesn’t she look great?”  In  confusion, he looked back and forth between the photo and Karen and said, “Hmmm, they both look like Mama to me!”.

Out of the mouth of babes.

We are loved as God’s special girls!  No matter where you are in your struggle with healthy eating.  God looks at you and says, “She still looks like my precious  daughter to me!”  He loves you just the way you are.  But God loves you too much to leave stuck in defeat.  You were made for so much more.  You were made for victory.

This comes from, “Made to Crave Devotional: 60 Days to Craving God, Not Food” by Lysa Terkeurst.

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It’s so good to be reminded that God’s mercy extend into any area of our life that we may be struggling with.  Struggle with food?  God loves you and in His love He’s unwilling to leave you stuck where you are.  Alcohol?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Workaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Shopaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Gambler?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Sexaholic?  God loves you where you are but is unwilling to leave you there.  Have I made my point yet?  It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with even if it is a chemical imbalance in the brain, or diabetes whatever your struggle God loves you and wants you to live at your full potential.  Now the last two there is only so much that can be done and then it’s learning to live with it.  But both can be helped with healthy eating and exercise.

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God in His mercy doesn’t allow us to be stuck where we are in bondage to anything.  He wants us to live victoriously.  He promises an abundant life and that starts by allowing God to work in our lives and help us out of the muck and mire of our struggles.

Won’t you join me in surrendering our struggles to God and His almighty power.  With Him all things are possible including standing clean on firm ground.  Wouldn’t you prefer that to the muck and mire of the pit that your struggles currently have you in?  I know I would and that is why I cry out; “Abba!  Father!  Rush to my aide and pull me from the pit and set my feet on firm ground and cleanse me from my sins.”

Let me clarify something before I get angry comments in no way am I inferring that bi-polar disorder or any other chemical imbalance of the brain or diabetes are sins.  But if you know that eating healthy and exercise (and I’m talking to myself as well here because I’ve been blessed with both) will help symptoms and we don’t do it, aren’t we sinning?  Missing the mark?  Missing the best for our bodies?  Just something to think about.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!