This morning, I accompanied my eldest to her last first day of school placement for college, one of our family traditions.
I didn’t count on being jolted out of my sleep on the comfy bus by somebody angling their seat in front of me right into my knee. Coz apparently she missed seeing there was someone behind her.
It hurt. I immediately awoke and said, “There isn’t any more room, I am tall sitting behind you.”
The woman didn’t move her seat back to upright or acknowledge me in any way. Which shocked me as I was apparently loud enough to wake my daughter up beside me.
Did you see what just happened there?
I grumbled. Murmured. Became discontent in the blink of an eye.
A few instances after that, once I was fully awake, I forgave the woman, and kind of asked myself why. Not in a flippant way, but part of me has always wanted to know why we need to forgive one another beyond what we are told in the Word. (freedom and release)
God whispered Love.
That got my attention.
Love? What does my forgiving a complete stranger have to do with love?
Then in a flash of “duh,” for it was still before 7 am, I understood.
If God so loved the world (which we know is true) that out of His love He sent Jesus to save us from sin, and we are His and to be filled with His love to show one another….then when we forgive one another, we are actually loving them as Jesus did. How he still does.
For God so loved the woman on the bus who whacked my knee that He sent Jesus for her. And as His Beloved, I am to show that love through my actions and reactions. Just one of which is to forgive.
But here’s the other part of the love bomb God dropped into my heart this morning.
When I forgive others, I am also taking care of my temple and showing myself love and respect. Which God also desires for us all to do.
For He loves us enough to save us, cleanse us, cover us, restore and guide us, doesn’t He?
I am to love all whom God loves.
Complete strangers and myself included.
I am to love that which God loves.
Phillippians 4:8-9 reminds us what He wants for us to be loving:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received, and heard and seen, practice these things. And the God of peace will be with you.
The Message version puts that same verse into a more direct arrow right into my heart:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.
We need to begin putting into practice the love God has showed us. And stop grumbling when
For there will always be slights hurts, sudden shocks, bad news and injustice in this world, as long as we are not all walking with Jesus, until He comes again.
But there is an end day in sight, and we are not left alone in this fight for love.
God loved us first and His way to love is for our best.
As His face out there in this hurting and broken world, we need to ask for His love to flow through us, even when we don’t want to.
For that person you forgive may just be the person He is next wooing to Himself, and your response may be the seed He wants planted.
His love isn’t just a warm cozy blankie you keep to yourself. It’s a passionate pursuing love which looks past our grumbling and hurts into the hidden places of the heart desperate for a drink of hope, purpose, love, Home.
As His children, we are to be known for how we extend forgiveness.
Not because the other person deserves it.
Because you and I both know, there is no such person, for we ALL fall short of His standards. don’t we?
We are to forgive because we know the value of it.
For we are the forgiven.
Forgiveness is the gift God gave for us, and to us, because of Jesus.
Because we could not approach Him due to our filth, He made the way by both cleaning us & covering us. As if that weren’t enough, He specifically purposefully intentionally forgives us out of His great love.
We are to forgive because we are now Him to those around us.
We are to offer what we have gratefully received, for we know how freeing it was to be made clean and forgiven our wrongs
We are to extend this gift to those who hurt us, to show we want to obey and honor our God. To show we get it, this incredible gift of forgiveness.
He asks us to forgive.
And because we want to honor Him, for who He is & all He has done for us, we should.
Doesn’t mean it will be easy.
I have no doubt the walk to the cross weighed quite heavily on Jesus.
But because of love, He continued.
Because of His love, and our love for Him, may we forgive as He prompts us, each and every time.
May we be so known as for givers that people will question us as to why, & can meet the Forgiver.
For He gave His all, for us all.
And asks us to do the same as we follow His lead.
I have a prayer for you this Valentine’s day, actually for you every day.
It is a prayer Someone else is praying for you too:
YOU are the one He adores.
It has taken me years to grasp this truth, and years more to let it soak in to my soul and become a part of me.
But don’t take my word for it. Take His words for it.
I am sharing just a few of my favourite bible verses with you today, and a few jots & thoughts, to paint you a colour by number outline of His love for you.
HE LOVED YOU TO DEATH:
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. Isaiah 49:16
God not only loved you first, He demonstrated this love by giving Himself up for us, so we could draw near and receive His love.
HE IS LOVE:
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I redeem you. Isaiah 43:4
Love is part of His very character, and He cannot be Himself without it. At the core of who God is, love is. You can’t have one without the other, for God IS love.
YOU WERE MADE OUT OF HIS LOVE:
Oh yes, You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank You, High God—You’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, You watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before You, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day! Psalm 139:13-16
God doesn’t make junk, you may have heard.
You were made out of love, especially designed, so He could love you and be loved by you. There is only one of you, ever.
Only you can be loved by God in the ways you need to be loved, and only you can love God in the ways He made for you to express love back to Him.
His love moved Him to make you.
HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
There is nothing you can do that will change His love for you. Sure, we could disappoint Him with less than stellar behavior, but His love for you, and for me, is rock solid. God doesn’t leave when the going gets tough, His love draws closer to us to be with us through whatever comes our way. He will love us always, now and into forever, no matter what. Wow!
HIS LOVE WANTS THE BEST FOR YOU:
So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
He will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:4
God has the best in store for us. What parent or lover really wants to give less than their best to their loved one? God tells us He has plans for our best yet to come, and He comforts us and loves up on us along the way!
HIS LOVE IS WITH US:
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Song of Songs Chapters 1&2
Not only does these verses, two of my all time faves, remind us God loves us, but they reveals He is with us, rescuing us when we need it, calming with His love, and singing triumphantly over us, a proud daddy & thrilled lover all rolled into one. He is wooing us to Him as a longing lover waiting for His bride to come to Him!
So, what are you to DO about it?!
Here are my A-G tips on what to DO with His love:
1. Accept it. If you can, then you can begin to:
2. Believe He loves you. Truth stands the test of time. God is who He says He is.
3. Care for yourself. If you know & feel loved, you take better care of yourself, as you want to be at your best. God wants us to love ourselves well, and show our respect for His creation, us!
4. Don’t delay. Now is the time to get to know this God of love. We don’t always get another chance when we put things off. If you want to be loved beyond your imagination, God is waiting to be found.
5. Express your love and gratitude back to Him. Knowing we are loved is only half the love story. Responding to the one who loves us in return completes the love.
6. Forgive those who you have loved who have hurt you. Love can be roadblocked by walls around out heart when we have been hurt. Don’t cut off the love you need by refusing to let His love flow. When we forgive, we make room for God to expand His love within us.
7. Go spend time with Him.
Go for a walk together, chat over coffee, read His word, sing songs of praise and adoration, listen to Him. Hanging out with Him will only increase your knowledge of His love for you, and your desire to love Him in return!
Hey, thanks for reading my 514th blog post….very fitting on Feb 14th 🙂
Today was one of those days where everything seemed to be a major effort, all day long.
It started up an hour earlier than I ended up needing to be up.
At work, one long awaited tech glitch fixed caused another even more frustrating one, eventually freezing three computers and one program, making for very frustrated staff and clients for a brief period.
Every time the phone rang, someone live was at reception needing to be served, or all three phone lines rang at the same time.
And over and over, as many people don’t like to leave voice mails, so they keep calling until you answer.
Not to mention the action emails, a sick staff, laundry or other daily jobs that pile up in a bustling business.
A kid sent home sick, the other studying for the first of four exams, three of which are math.
A post that garbled another post’s link and ended up on the wrong site.
And all day long, God reminded me to let it go. Don’t try to control everything but go along with His flow, and keep letting it go.
With two exceptions of incidents that tried to cross my boundaries, I tried very hard to flow along and not let things stress me out, which for me usually ends up with me taking them personally.
I even had a few cool observations from my quiet times (coz I didn’t have enough time to finish it all at once) which I wouldn’t have seen had I not been depending on Him so much.
I will admit, I was pretty ticked at the scenarios that popped up, and was hoping for a good wallow and stew session. Then God reminded me each time to let it go.
I don’t need to accept another person’s attempt to control me, nor their bad mood.
I had to unclench my fist and let it fall open by praying forgiveness.
Let go of the offense and forgive, instead of going on the defense.
Lift my hands in praise instead of clenching tight to anger.
Today, I found it hard.
But I obeyed, the second time quicker than the first.
And as i did, God revealed something profound in my listening and obedience.
A negative spirit (control, anger, insecurity) will back off if you won’t partner with it. Why? It can’t play out the drama it desires when we refuse to plug in with the part it is trying to assign us. Essentially we steal its thunder as we refuse to let it plunder us.
We need to be diligent to ask God what is really going on, and listen for Holy Spirit’s whisper: what to do, how to do it, what to say and/or what to pray.
By speaking forgiveness out loud, I declare my intention to let God be in control of the situation, not me nor the other party involved.
Every time God reminds me to use my shield, it had been to stand on who He is, and who He has made me…His Chosen Beloved, home of Holy Spirit. Child of the King, given His authority.
By letting go, I let God move into the offensive on my behalf.
I don’t need to take offense, God is keeping track of wrong doings as the Judge.
My part? Focus on sticking close to Him, even closer on the days like today where it felt like everything was rising up against me.
God moves mightily to resolve things when i let them go.
Its by clutching His hands that I am going to make it through any situation that comes my way, not by the works of my hands, nor anything else i may be holding onto.
Its time to open our hands, let go of what we were never meant to hold, and allow God to tightly grip us with His loving embrace and immeasurable grace.
Today, its time to write something fairly raw and honest.
I had to write a note and forgive someone today.
That person was me.
I still struggle with being too hard on myself. I have grace for everyone else, but me.
As I did this exercise tonight with my small group, i had a break through.
Forgiving myself is God’s plan for me, once I have sought His forgiveness. I have been blocking my own freedom by raging at myself for what God has already forgiven me for, and forgotten!
So here is my note, and the pic of what I chose to surrender to God tonight…
God has given me grace, and is not holding my mistakes and wrongs against me.
So I choose to forgive me too.
If the one who has the right to judge me pardons me instead, I need to pardon myself too… or else I don’t show Him the respect He deserves as my Saviour, or myself as His creation, the one He loves.
Tomorrow is a new day, just waiting for me to arise, greet my God and begin with a fresh start of grace.
You are forgiven, self, in Jesus’ name.
PS. You may need to forgive yourself or someone else too. I would suggest trying to write it out, draw it out or pull out the play dough and craft it out. However you need to process it, make the time to listen for His prompting on who or what you need to forgive, and do it.
Stewing in unforgiveness doesn’t look good on us, and only hurts us by holding it in. Shame tells us the game is over, God reminds us our life continues on & His Grace is enough.
Freedom awaits on the other side of guilt & shame.
You can’t deepen any relationship without a few key ingredients:
1. Spending time together.
Whether a few minutes or several hours, we get to know someone over time. Say no to this required element, say no to deepening.
2. Walking through the ups & downs together.
It is very true that we can truly observe another’s quality when they are under duress. Either their inner diamond will begin to shine, or they fall apart under the pressure.
3. Listening to one another.
Hearing what someone says both verbally & physically, and doesn’t say, gives you insight to who they are. Being listened to develops trust, which in turn leads to more depths of sharing.
4. Knowing when to forgive.
Everyone out there will upset you somehow, whether a real slight or offense, or a believed one. Forgiving them as soon as something pops us is a key ingredient to a good relationship.
5. Love them.
The final necessity to a great relationship is love.
Loving the other person for who they are, helping them develop into who they can become, and being there for them in the storms and heart breaks along the way.
These five ingredients are necessities to a successful relationship.
And the best example we have- that of God.
He started walking with us in the Garden, before we turned away.
He always wants to spend time with us.
He is with us through thick & thin.
He hears all, knows all we are experiencing, feeling, regretting, hoping for. He asks us to tell it all to Him because He loves to hear from us in conversation.
He knows when to forgive, and can help us do so when we need to. After all, He has forgiven us all through Jesus.
What love. A love that knew we couldn’t come to Him with all the weight of burdens, sin and hurts we were carrying, so He died in our place to show us how to truly live.
Jesus demonstrated man could walk with God, and change the world as a result.
If you want to deepen in your relationships, spend time walking with the One who designed you, and knows you best. He can guide you in any relationship, helping you to listen, love, forgive each step of the way. He is worth our trust, which you will learn as you get to know Him better along the journey.
When we are near the ones we love, our hearts are full.
When we are near the One who loves us, we know:
We are loved.
We are enjoyed.
We are never alone.
I am tired of dragging what I ‘mighta’ or ‘shoulda’ along for the ride.
Pondering what i might have or should have done can add heaps of regret onto my shoulders, weighing me down. Helping me feel stuck in the moment of regret…so much so that I can feel the chains getting heavier & heavier the longer I try to work it through….
Let it go. Give it to God.
Let Him heal the wound.
Let Him do the telling.
We are to release our past wrongs. Done or undone.
We all need to make the decision to forgive and let go of our past. Once & for all.
Some people do so in stages, as they have been so wounded or bound up in regrets they will need some time to readjust once their burdens are no more.
Regrets are best buried swiftly, in an unmarked grave site.
You don’t need to revisit them.
Choose to move on.
Forgive, no holding back.
Love, with abandon.
Live your day to its fullest.
Kick regret to the curb outside your house. You don’t need it anymore!
Be aware, however, that not doing things we could/should is also a regret.
Take the leap, and do what you know God has called you too.
Living life with no holds barres, no regrets save hoping time could stand still, so you could keep going beyond normal time.
And one day, you will have no regrets whatsoever, if you follow the Son.
I agree with many of the video suggestions, but would pass on a few (corn dogs , BBQ sauce and fart sounds- now don’t you want to go check out that video and see what you may otherwise miss!) So here I go.
Sometimes not saying anything is the right thing to say.
The About Me section:
19. Let me get it.
Whether it’s a coffee/tea, that thing off the tall shelf you don’t need a stool for, or the cheque…everyone should pay it forward with kindness.
18. I did it.
When you make a mistake, own it. Denying it only complicates the matter, and adds more to the original mistake. (Mountains out of molehills)
17. I am sorry.
When you make a mistake, you need to apologize for it. Name the offense too, don’t just say I am sorry on its own. Rather, I am sorry for…..hurting your feelings, eating the last cookie…
16. I need your help.
We are not meant to do everything ourselves. Nobody is that good at everything. If you need help, speak up and say so. This will avoid much frustration, likely getting the job done correctly and on time!
15. Excuse me.
Not just for use with occasional icky odors, but for when you accidentally bonk someone with your purse or backpack on the bus/subway/train or in a crowded coffee shop/mall. Can be successfully combined with #17.
14. I don’t know.
Again, we are it all walking Google info sites. If you don’t know the answer, admit it. If its work related, adding ‘you will look into it’ is great as long as you plan on following through.
The About You section:
13. life is tough, but so are you.
Everyone needs to be reminded they can make it through the day, the end of boot camp, the project, the meeting, the season.
12. You shouldn’t have, but I am glad you did.
Everyone likes to be thanked and appreciated deep down. Especially for random acts of kindness, or those little things that mean so much when you get them.
11. I disagreewith you.
If this is said with the understanding conveyed that it is the idea you don’t like, and not the person, this can open up some great conversations. Should really be called: ‘I disagree with you but respect your opinion, honor and like you as a person’.
10. You can do it!
When you see someone taking a leap of faith, encourage them! You can help make the difference if they are wavering or unsure, especially if it is something that is an obvious good fit for them.
9. Will you forgive me?
This one ties closely with No #17 (I am sorry) and #18 (I did it). Ask this only if you believe in God, because your ¿&9 out to ask this means He will forgive you for the wrong doing. The offended person always has the choice to refuse.
By saying ‘Will you forgive me’ to God directly for some way you may offend Him, the Word says He is gracious to forgive.
Forgiveness sets the person who asks for it free.
8. Want to talk?
I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a friend up on this one. We sometimes keep things in way too long, and need to unload but don’t want to be a burden. Hearing these words is freeing. Make sure you offer them as much as you take others up on their offering it to you!
7. Can I pray for you?
Knowing someone is asking God about what is hurting you is a wonderful way to bless someone. If you ask this one, do so immediately after they agree. Out loud, if you can, to the person you offered these words to. Pray as you feel lead to followup.
The About God:
6. God, this is weighing on me.
If something or someone is making you anxious, upset or angry, take the time to tell God about it and ask for His perspective to resolve it.
5. I am afraid.
Courage overcomes fear, especially when the courageous things are said out loud. Release the fear. Tell it to move out, you don’t want it anymore.
4. I need you.
This is beyond i need your help.
This acknowledges you understand just how fragile and broken we are here. And how much God want to step up and help us in His strength and His power.
3. I am tired.
I am empty, drained, have no patience left. Nada.
God specialized in meeting this need through Holy Spirit.
Any time we ask.
He is a constant energy source we need to join with wherever He is moving.
For whatever it is. If you only have a piece of the puzzle, pray about it and ask God to reveal the answer/what you are lacking.
The every category words:
I love you.
Meant for us all.
God so loves us He sent Jesus.
Jesus so loves us He died on the cross for us. He also sent us Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit equips us and fills us daily as we seek Him.
Our relationships are always better when we know we are loved, and we have someone to reciprocate with love.
We are better spouses, parents & kids when love is our primary language.
This is my list of 20 things to say more often. What would you add?
When was the last time you were shown grace when you least deserved it?
Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve.
Grace is getting what we DON’T deserve.
Both show us just how much God loves us.
But are we in turn showing that to those around us?
I have had a few doozy situations where I have been badly hurt by someone I loved over my lifetime.
Forgiving them is offering grace. They don’t deserve it for the hurt they caused, but neither do I for the hurt I cause others either. God’s grace plan for all of us…in His mercy.
Forgiving them is showing mercy.
Not cutting them out of our lives over the hurt that they have caused.
Sometimes we do have to part ways with someone. Things may be too unhealthy in how we relate to hang out anymore. If God tells us to move on, there is a good reason for it. Usually so we can both grow healthier.
But we aren’t to take the baggage of unforgiveness along with us as we go.
Not offering mercy and grace locks us in a prison within. We add our own wound of to those we are already needing healing for…making a worse mess to clean up than had we released ourselves to forgive.
Let me be clear.
Forgiving someone does not mean what they did was okay. It wasn’t and isn’t and never will be.
Forgiving means we aren’t standing as their judge. We allow God to judge them instead.
God forgave us at a high cost to himself. Jesus, the Holy, had to take all of humanity’s crappy dirty scuzzy let’s just call it evil unholy acts of sin on Himself, and did for us to be given mercy and grace.
Because of His great love for us.
By honoring that selfless act of sacrifice, we chose to align with the mercy and grace He offers us, by offering it to one another when we hurt one another.
It keeps us free and whole within when we forgive each other, and ask God to bind up and heal our hearts from our woundedness.
We are no longer tethered to one another in ways we can not always understand when we release and forgive.
I know that I am sooooo not qualified to judge anybody else. I know what I am capable of when I don’t follow the Spirit’s promptings, and the messes I can cause and make along the way.
I am thankful in His mercy, I am made right with God. I am grateful by His grace, I am able to walk with God.
Our forgiving one another opens the receiver of that forgiveness to catch a glimpse of His gift to us, Jesus.