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”.

Be Your Own Kind of Remarkable

photo by anatol lem

photo by anatol lem

Remarkable – worthy of attention; striking

We all know remarkable people.  We call them remarkable based on an attribute of their character, such as kindness toward others or their love for the Lord. 

But so many people want to fit into what the world defines as worthy of attention.  Maybe that’s to look a certain way, or be a certain way or have certain things.  But what Christian wants to be like the world?  After all, Jesus taught us that we are not of this world, even though we are in it.

 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.                 John 17:14-16 ESV

  What does that mean?  Well, to be in the world is to be in the place of the world but to be of the world is to be defined by it. For example, I used to work in a hospital. Therefore, I would be in the hospital.  But I was never of the hospital; the hospital was not who I was.  

It took me a long time to realize that God truly did create each of us as unique and remarkable human beings in His image. Certainly, we can all agree that we know that, but do we really live like we know that? I dare say most of us do not.

I was saved at twelve years of age and I certainly had a different worldview than I do now.  Even though I surrendered myself to Jesus, I was pulled toward the things of the world.  I wanted to be popular and successful, to name a few.  And in my younger days, I certainly thought I knew a lot about Jesus and the Bible.

Now that I have matured as a believer and follower of Christ, I find my desires and worldview have changed.  I’ve learned that I only need to please ONE.  I’ve learned that obedience to my Saviour and Lord is the definition of success, not what others think of me.

 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14 ESV

 The psalmist wrote the scripture above.  I want to encourage you by reminding you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Now’s the time your soul knows that very well.

Today, focus on who you are in Jesus Christ.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God’s works are wonderful and you, my friend, are one of His works.  He doesn’t expect you to be sinless, Jesus took care of that on the cross.  He expects us to sin less as we walk with Him.

This Christmas and ever day, feel your freedom in Jesus!  Let yourself be your own kind of remarkable!

Share in the comments someone you know that is remarkable and why!

-Wendy

Goodness - Fruit of the Spirit Episode 7

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22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
— Galatians 5: 22-23

Is there anyway you could explain the fullness of God’s goodness to you? Neither can I! His love and mercy and goodness is beyond what we can comprehend much less explain to someone else.

And yet, that is a part of the fruit of the spirit that the Holy Spirit is developing in us!

I knew a doctor once who I never heard say an ill word about someone. Ever. One day while working together, we found out about something that was, well, it was terrible. As this doctor talked about the incident, he never once said an ill remark about the person who was the guilty party. I looked at him and said, “You know, Doc, I don’t think you’d say anything bad about the devil. I’ve never heard you say anything bad about anyone.” He laughed and said he didn’t think he could say something good about the devil.

But the point is, what a great testimony/reputation! I wish that were true about me but, alas, I’m afraid not. However, through the years the Holy Spirit is changing me, for the better!

As believers, our first response should be toward goodness; giving the benefit of the doubt, lending a helping hand, or choosing encouraging conversation.

We are the recipients of God’s goodness and should therefore be the extension of His goodness, don’t you think?

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

Psalm 31:19

If God were to say to you - “I could give you what you’ve prayed for OR I can give you what you’d truly desire IF you knew what I know.” Which would you choose?

Patience - Fruit of the Spirit Episode 5

episode 5.jpg
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
— Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

Just hold on one minute! Stop right there! Where is our ‘patience’? And I’m not talking about a sweet lady I know by that name. (wink)

Patience. My mother always said, “Never pray for patience. All kinds of trouble will come your way to help you develop that virtue.” I believe she was right!

What a wonderful part of the fruit of the Spirit, though. I have joined a Bible study class and the leader of the class has me mesmerized. She is very soft spoken and patient with the attendees. She let’s people talk until the conversation dies down, but if we are running out of time, she gently moves us forward to the next question. She definitely shows patience in the class.

“With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone. “ Proverbs 25:15

Patience. One of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit that is a hard development for many of us. I’m so thankful that in God’s wisdom, He has patience become more evident in us as we mature - both in Christ and in years!

My parents always amazed me when they were with my children. They were sooooo patient. Things that I would have been torn up over, my kids could do and never hear the first reprimand. Now, if you are a grandparent, you may totally understand the patience that comes with grandchildren. (I know I’m stretching the “application” here, but you get my point.)

God is so patient with us. He calls us to Himself - salvation. He transforms us to become like Him - sanctification. And He will take us home to be with Him - death or rapture. Yet, as we walk through this life, we often think that the world is swirling in evil (and it is) and we wonder why God is not stopping it. It’s because He is patient! He does not want any to perish. (Go to hell.)

I’m so THANKFUL that we serve a patient God, aren’t you? I am very grateful when He is patient with me. And I am reminded and convicted by His Spirit to develop and extend that same patience in my life to others.

Yep! I’m a work in progress as we all are. This week, keep and eye out for the patience you see in your own life. Patience that you know God is extending to you AND areas that you can be patient with others. I will, too!