Friday, January 31, 2014

Loving One Another

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”  John 13:35

The other day I was cleaning out my sideboard cupboard and I came across an encouraging note, which a dear friend had given me several years ago.   I found it a bit difficult to read the short note, not because of his hand writing but because I had tears in my eyes thinking of my friend who has since passed away.  

I’m sure, when my friend wrote the note, he had no idea how special it would become to me.  I honestly can’t remember what was going on in my life when he decided to encourage me this way, but the way my friend loved me, will be etched in my memories forever.

Maya Angelou is quoted as saying “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This encouraging note from my friend was a demonstration of how to love another.  I truly believe, when the world sees our love for each other, there is no force on earth that will keep them from beating a path to our door.  Loving each other may not seem like active evangelism but I reckon it shouts the love of Jesus louder than anything we say or do in our outreach programs.

I can think of a few other ways to show love for each other: spending time together, shared meals, lending a hand when needed, phone calls etc.   Can you think of other ways?

Friday, January 24, 2014

How To Become the Disciple Who Jesus Loves.

I used to think John was Jesus’ favourite disciple, until I realised one day that the phrase ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ is only found in Johns own gospel.    In fact, John called himself ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ or ‘the beloved disciple’ five times.  I’m positive Jesus loved all the disciples but it seemed only John really knew it in his heart because he proudly claimed it as his identity.  

Once you start to get an understanding of what Jesus actually did for you on the cross, it’s natural to want to do as much as you can to show your love for him.  However, I believe God wants us to boast of Jesus’ love for us, rather than our love for him. I’m fully certain he wants each of us to confidently claim “I am the disciple who Jesus loves” just like John. 

Why not try claiming this truth for yourself?  Each morning when you first get out of bed, say “I am the disciple Jesus loves”.  It might feel funny at first, but I’m confident, after just a few days of speaking out Gods love for you, it will sink into your spirit and you will begin to claim your true identity as the beloved disciple.  

If you decide to take up my challenge and start claiming Jesus’ unconditional and boundless love for yourself each day, let me know how you go.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Packing Away the Christmas Tree

 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.  Jeremiah 29:11

On Monday I took down my Christmas tree and packed away the decorations in boxes ready to be stored until next December.  As much as I enjoy putting the Christmas tree up and decorating the house, I always feel some pangs of sadness as I pack the ornaments away.    

To me, putting the Chrissy decorations away signals not only the end of the Christmas season and the end of one year, but it also marks the beginning of a new year.  

Endings and beginnings can be hard.  Last year I had a number of personal difficult times where I had to search hard to find positives in them.  No matter how many times I tried to roll with the punches, it still wasn’t easy.

A few days ago I read this quote by Joyce Meyer  If you're supposed to be looking backwards, you'd have eyes in the back of your head.”   

I’ve made the decision to look forward, and to try to be more positive about 2014.  I’m going to do my best to put hurts behind me, to walk in forgiveness and to stop grumbling..   Even in the midst of turmoil, I want to remember that my God has plans for me to give me peace and hope. 

I know it won’t be easy but as long as I keep my eyes on my Daddy God, it will be doable.