Good News

It’s so nice to be able to say that I have some good news for you today. After a year of bad news and fake news, let me give you some good news as I continue discussing walking in God’s love in these crazy times.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, walking in love did not come easy at first. I made my decision to walk in love and then someone would do something unkind and I would see just how very easy it is to just go with the flow of anger, hate, and division. What I finally learned was that in my own strength I would never be able to love like God loves and forgive like God forgives. The good news is that He never intended for me to do it in my own strength.

First I made the decision that I would live a life of love, then I realized that the decision that I actually needed to make was to live a life yielded to the operation of God’s Spirit in my life.

“…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5, NIV)

“…The fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)….” (Galatians 5:22-23, Ampc)

The fruit which His presence within accomplishes. Think about that for a moment. God sent the Holy Spirit to us for a purpose and He is well able to accomplish what He was sent to do if we let Him. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7, NKJV)

He was sent to help us and scripture tells us clearly that He is here to help us to live our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

So how do we live a life yielded to the Holy Spirit, with His love and His strength operating in our lives? I will simplify it in these two steps.

  1. Ask God for His Holy Spirit in your life.
    • “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:9-12, NKJV)
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you.
    • “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Our father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name….'” (Luke 11:1-2, NKJV)
    • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26, NKJV)

The main point of today’s post is to learn from the Holy Spirit how to live a life of love. However, learning to pray the words “Teach me” to God completely changed my life for the better. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things. I have asked Him to teach me how to walk in love. I have asked Him to teach me how to be a good wife, a good daughter, a good in-law, and a good friend. I have asked Him to teach me how to pray. When a young family member passed away, I asked God to teach me about healing. I ended up ministering healing to the sick for 17 years after He answered my prayer.

We all need God’s help to walk a life of love. The good news is that God will help you with that and He is also wanting to help you with so much more if you will just ask.

Love Your Enemies

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” (Matthew 12:25, NKJV)

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NLT)

Voices, voices, voices, everywhere! They are on the television. They are on the radio. They are on the internet, on internet news sites, and social media. They are the voices of some of our friends, family, and co-workers and they all seem to be chanting the same mantra, “It’s us against them.” These words are seeds being planted into our hearts and minds if we let them and the seeds being sown, the harvest they seek, is hate.

They want us to hate someone because of the color of their skin, black or white, hispanic, or asian, etc. They want us to hate people who don’t agree with our politics, our religion, our medical and our educational choices. They want us to hate someone that has more money than us or less money than us. They want us to hate a particular political leader whether on the left or the right. Why? Because if they can get us to hate, they can divide and conquer.

I’ve seen it as a political ploy one too many times. Focus the hate on one person and make it all about that one person. I get the texts, the emails, the mailings, “Can you believe what so and so person is doing now?” To my Christian friends, I want to remind you that we battle not against flesh and blood and if you are focused on one person or people of a particular race or party, you have been brought down from your influence in the heavenly realm and down to an earthly, soulish battle that you will not win.

For seventeen years I visited and prayed with people who were battling illnesses and disease. As we prayed, time after time, we would find the origin of the disease in the person’s emotional state. Fear caused all kinds of physical and mental issues. When the emotion was hate, those illnesses both physical and mental became amplified. We were created in God’s image. God is love. We were created to love and be loved. When we hate it goes against our mental and physical ‘wiring’ and things go wrong, both mentally and physically and as we are seeing so clearly now things go wrong societally as well.

In his book, Deadly Emotions by Don Colbert, M.D., Dr. Colbert discusses the link between negative emotions and disease. Some of the ‘deadly emotions’ he discusses are anger, hostility, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-hatred, anxiety, and repressed anger. Some of the diseases that can be triggered by these emotions are hypertension, coronary artery disease, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, mitral valve prolapse, heart palpitations, tension and migraine headaches, chronic back pain, TMJ, and fibromyalgia to name a few.

Have you ever noticed how consuming hate can be? And who does the hate affect the most? The person that is doing the hating. Yes, their actions will affect others, but in the middle of the night when they are all alone, that hate is destroying the hater, both physically and mentally.

Why do I say all this? Because I love you. I love every person that is reading this post. How do I know? Because I have chosen a life of love over a life of hate. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I may not agree with people, I may not even like certain people (usually because of their actions), but I have chosen to love all people. Why? Because hate will never change the world for the better. Love will.

Once again, I can’t control whether others love me or not, but I can control whether I love others or not. Living a life of love did not start out easy, and occasionally a person’s words or actions can challenge the decision I made to love everyone, but then I remember a few things. I remember the damage it can do to my mental and physical health. I remember that it will only hurt me and others. I remember that good or bad God loves them. He may not like their actions either, but He sent His Son Jesus to die for them, who am I to hate someone He loves.

This doesn’t mean we don’t rise up against injustice or stand up for what’s right. We can hate evil without harboring hate in our hearts towards any one person or people group. What it does mean is that as we love our enemies, pray for them, and do good to them we look a little more like our heavenly Father each time that we do.

We are surrounded by those voices sowing seeds of hate, but we can be those that sow seeds of love that bring healing to our own lives, to the lives of the people we influence, and to our communities, ultimately affecting nations.

United we stand, Divided we fall

So we’ve just left the hardest, strangest year we’ve experienced in our lifetime. Everyone was looking forward to leaving it behind and moving into a new year. This new year hasn’t gotten off to a great start either. What is going on in our world? There is so much to say about that, but today there is one aspect of our current struggles that I want to discuss today.

“But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.'” (Matthew 12:25, NKJV)

One of my greatest struggles in all this chaos has been to witness such deep divisions throughout the earth. Divisions based on the color of our skin; divisions based on masks, no masks, lock downs, no lockdowns, vaccine choice, mandatory vaccines; divisions based on financial status, rich, poor, middle class; divisions based on which candidate you support, which political party you are a part of, what country you live in; and divisions not only between believers in Christ and those who don’t believe in Him, but even between believers themselves.

My heart grows heavy when I think of all the division. We are all in this together. Everyone of us went through 2020. Everyone of us is going into 2021. No one is exempt that is breathing on this earth. Jesus made it very clear when we are divided we fall.

So what can be done? We can resist the forces that would seek to divide us. Do we have to agree? No. Do we give up our beliefs to attain unity? No. What we do is we determine in our hearts that even if we disagree we will not allow ourselves to be divided from one another.

I have prayed more in 2020 and the beginning of 2021 than I have at any other time in my life. I am praying for the dividing walls to fall in our world, in our nation, among all the different people groups. I am trusting God to help us. That’s all I can do for the division out in the world. However, what we have seen in this time is division even closer to home. We are seeing divisions in our families, in our relationships and friendships, and even in our churches. This is the area that we can take a prayer stand as well as a “boots on the ground” stand. I refuse to be divided from any person in my life. We must take a stand against division close to home.

Our commandment is to love one another. I may not agree with you. I may not even like you, but I’m not going to let that stop me from loving you. It’s often easier for me to do that with a world leader that I don’t have to interact with on a daily basis. Sometimes that becomes more challenging in the day to day with the people we do interact with and sometimes the people we live with. Let’s do our part in our homes and in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our cities.

We can’t control whether others choose to be divided from us. We can control our choices. I choose to love my enemy. I choose to pray for my enemy. If a certain topic will bring strife into my home or family, I will choose not to go there with that person, but go there with God in my prayer closet. We battle not against flesh and blood. Our enemies know this, so they sow seeds of division and watch us fall when we take the bait.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, ESV)

“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11, ESV)

“Jesus answered…’And you shall 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: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31, ESV)

Today was a drop in the bucket. Join me over the days to come as I share from the Bible how to not be divided from the people in our lives and beyond.

His love, His mercy, His grace, and His blessings to you today!