The Ultimate Love Letter

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden

Does this well-worn Bible remind you of yours or one of your parents or grandparents’ Bible?

Bear with me for a few minutes. Think back to your “sweetheart” days. Remember love letters? How many times did you read a love letter from your sweetheart? I read them until they were totally worn out!

I’m not talking about elementary school love letters, but you can certainly think of those. As children, we read and re-read those cute little letters. But what about those from your sweetheart when one of you were away?

I’m reminded of my parents when I think of love letters. My parents met when my father was in for a brief few days from the Navy during WWII. They courted via letters. All of which were read by military personnel before getting to my mother. Every single letter had some things marked out just in case that phrase could alert the enemy about a particular mission. Anyway, I digress. After a lot of letters and maybe a visit or two, my Mom graduated from high school early in the afternoon, married my Dad that evening and caught a midnight train to start their life together. How romantic!

Hearing that brief story sounds very romantic. But my parents would tell you it was HARD. Worth it, but hard. Just after they got sent up in their new little home, Dad shipped out. My sixteen year old mother was alone. My dad was at war. I can only imagine how important the love letters they share were to them!

I remember my own love letters when I was in high school. I went on a school trip for a week or two. My sweetheart sent me some love letters. By the time I returned home I had nearly memorized them all because I read them so much. (FYI - same sweetheart I married!)

Knowing how much those letters meant, how much more should the “Ultimate Love Letter” mean to us? God wrote an entire book expressing His love for us. We should read it so much we practically have it memorized!

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24 NIV

As I consider what great things the Lord has done for me, I’m in awe of His love, mercy and grace! He loves us unconditionally! His love letter tells us that He loves us just like we are! After all, He made us. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more AND there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. He. Loves. You.

This week, begin again reading the Ultimate Love Letter. Read it and read it some more. Read it until you practically have it memorized! Tell me in the comments below one or ten things that you love most about “The Ultimate Love Letter”.

Content in a World of Discontentment

Photo by Hannah Olinger

Photo by Hannah Olinger

Do you ever find that once you have something you’ve been longing for the contentment that you expected eludes you? Maybe you’ve worked hard to achieve some status or paycheck that you just knew would satisfy you only to gain it and not feel satisfied or content. We all do!

For so long all I could think about was being able to work from home. Three and a half years ago that dream of mine came true. And I am SO GRATEFUL! But I find myself, from time to time, being discontent with it. Now sometimes I think, “If only I were retired”! What! Hold on just a minute! I work from H O M E. Shouldn’t that be enough? Yes, it should. And most of the time, it is. But you get my point, right?

As humans, we all struggle with discontentment at some point. Our goal should be like that of the Apostle Paul who said,

…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11 ESV

Easier said than done! But with Christ we can be content whatever our circumstances. The only way we are going to live in a state of contentment is to trust in Christ. We have to rest in Him.

Yes, there are times, I believe, Jesus causes us to feel an unrest when He is leading us to do something that is out of our comfort zone. But I’m talking about being content with who we are in Christ and with what we have in this world. If you’ve ever watched even one commercial, you know that the world system does not want you to be content.

You may ask, “Why is it important to be content?” My first response to that is an answer I heard often from my Mother. “Because God (Mom would say ‘I’) said so.” And my second response is this, we know that God loves us and wants His best for us. Knowing that and knowing His word teaches us that we should be content, we should want to be content. When we’re content, we can listen for His voice and His will. But when we are discontent, we are so busy trying to get more, be more or do more that we miss His voice and His will and we stay in a state of chaos. As believers, we are to be peacemakers. How can we be peacemakers when our lives are full of chaos from discontentment?

So if we are to live in contentment in a world of discontent, what are we to do?

  • Know you are His

  • Know that He loves you

  • Trust Jesus with today and tomorrow

  • Be obedient to His word and His call

  • Rest in the fact that there is NOTHING you can do to make Jesus love you less or more. You are enough because Jesus saved you.

So from today forward show the world that you CAN and WILL be content in a world of discontentment!

Primary Colors in a Gray World

Photo by Craig Whitehead

Photo by Craig Whitehead

Are you a primary color in a gray world? You know what I mean. That person who lights up a room just by walking in it. Maybe it’s your smile or your bright personality or your festive fashion that draws folks to you.

If you are that primary color in a gray world rest in the fact that God made you to stand out so stand out for His glory! You know I don’t mean be obnoxious or arrogant but confident and loving. God has gifted you to touch the lives of others in a unique way.

There are countless people who are struggling beneath a load that you and I cannot see. One smile or kind word can make a difference to them. We all need interaction and touch and to feel loved.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV

Those of us who are surrounded by people we love and who love us sometimes take for granted the hugs and kisses or the touch of another person. I’m a touchy feely person, so if you are around me for very long you are most likely getting a hug or pat or both! Often I do that without realizing it, but sometimes I am very purposeful to offer a hug because I’ve learned that some people go day in and day out without ever being touched. I can’t imagine that!

You can be a primary color in a gray world to someone, even if it’s not your nature.

To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Dr. Seuss

I love that quote by Dr. Seuss! It’s so true. Often times we all have those feelings of “do I really matter” but the truth is we do. We matter more than we know to someone. Just like we need to be reminded that we matter, we need to be on purpose of reminding others that they matter, too!

So whether you feel like you’re a primary color in a gray world or not, you can be such to someone. Jesus tells us to let our like shine. That’s not for our own benefit but for His glory because we’re to be pointing people to Him..

Shine brightly this week. Give a smile to those around you. Say a kind word to someone - you never know how badly they may need it!

Old Things Made into a New Creation

Rags to Bag.jpg

I have been a Christian for forty years this year! And I am still amazed at the work Jesus does in our lives through the Holy Spirit. When we are born again, we are made into a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

If you know a little something about “creation”, you know that God does not need any material to create something new. He created the world in which we live with only His spoken word.

This week I was trying to think of some sewing projects that I could do without having to buy any new fabric. I pulled out “old” fabric that I’ve had in boxes and searched YouTube and Pinterest for ideas. That’s how I came up with making fabric gift bags.

From the photo at the beginning of this post, you can see the two fabrics I chose to use to make these cute little drawstring bags. The red makes the inside lining and the green floral is the outside. I found some cord that I had around here to use as the drawstring.

I have to admit I am pretty pleased with myself for using up all of the green floral fabric and a good bit of the red by making something useful and new. I couldn’t help but think of the new creation I am since Jesus saved me. Trust me when I tell you that alone is quite a miracle, but He’s in the miracle business. I’m not the first person He’s made a new creation and I certainly won’t be the last.

Jesus is in the saving business! And He chooses to use the sinful person we are to create a saint - no, saints are not perfect, but we are CHANGED and we’re forgiven! Hallelujah! We are made new!

I can’t tell you what all Jesus does with everyone else, but what I can tell you is what He is doing with me. You see, I trusted Christ when I was twelve years old. Frankly, I got saved for fear of hell. But Jesus doesn’t offer a fire insurance only. He’s all or nothing. You give Him all or you get nothing.

I wasn’t content with the fire insurance that I had gotten. Day by day, Jesus began to change me. He showed me that He saved me for His glory and for His purpose. This was no small feat, either. Sure I was a good kid and fairly good teenager in the eyes of man, but even as a believer I struggled with sin. (Spoiler alert: all Christians do.)

Some of the changes happened quickly, some took a few years and still others are a work in process. I had a hot temper. Jesus had cooled my jets - a lot. I used to have a very sharp tongue. Jesus holds it more often than not these days. I struggle with insecurity, but Jesus is teaching me to find my security in Him alone.

If you have that gnawing inside that there has to be more, let me assure you there is! If you’ve never trusted Jesus as you Lord, do it now! There are no magic words. Just tell Him that you confess you’re a sinner and you believe He is the Son of God. Ask Him to save you and He will.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10

If you are saved, but you have that gnawing feeling that there’s got to be more, let me assure you there is! Jesus promises every believer LIFE and life to the full. You can rest in Him. Confess your sin. Ask for forgiveness and rest in His forgiveness.

If that doesn’t relieve that gnawing then ask Him to show you what it is in your life that you are holding onto that He wants you to let go. He will.

Just like that old fabric became a new creation to be used for a purpose, so are we a new creation in Jesus Christ! I’m so thankful I am not who I once was and that I am becoming the woman Jesus wants me to be in Him.