Heroes come in many sizes and shapes, but they all hold a common thread, a greater love for others than themselves. Heroes usually act in the moment and without thought to their actions. Most heroes, if they survive, usually report that they just did what had to be done, nothing more and nothing less.
Forgiveness is an eleven letter word that sometimes makes me take a really deep breath and other times fills me with anxiety.It is a popular subject no matter what your background faith is as Google suggests there are more than one hundred and one million articles on how to forgive someone.
The benefits of forgiveness heraldsÂ through the medical communities and promises many reliefs. The reliefs from stress, anxiety, heart, and blood pressure problems are just a named few. It isn’t as easy though as just declaring the word, it takes a lot of effort on our part to truly issue forgiveness.
There are times thatÂ forgivenessÂ seems easier than others. The issues of following through with it, moving forward and putting it behind us can be overwhelming. But other times we must admit that we like to indulge in the sin of just holding on toÂ it. We don’t like to admit to holding back from forgiveness in this light but the reality is that when we do not forgive and move on, we are sinning. Sometimes in order to forgive we have to be reminded of this and occasionally we need to look at it from a different perspective.
Have you ever searched for something that you wanted to desperately find? Perhaps you simply misplaced it but then you couldn’t find it and because of that you couldn’t move forward. Or how about the dreaded panicked feeling that comes over you when you feel that something really important is missing or lost and you frantically search and pray to find it again. No one wants the title of “loser” and “weeper” because with it comes more than just losing and weeping.
When important things are lost we often find ourselves immobilized and incapable of moving forward until it is found.Feelings of hopelessness come about when we have spent hours looking for that valuable or needed item and our anxiety and stress levels soar. Relief will only come when we have a search plan, tactics, and prevention to guard against loss in the future.
Sometimes lessons come through watching the simple things in life and so my lesson of how to seek and find things begins with nature. Early one morning this week, I sat at my kitchen table with myÂ freshly brewed, hot, and aromatic cup of coffee going through my daily Bible devotions. As the steam from my coffee rose I glanced at the cold temperature on the thermometer that I could see from my chair.Â I began to wonder if we had lost spring as my mind wandered out the window to the iced over pond, cloudy sky, and prediction of winter weather. Just a few days before, the weather had been a winter warm but obviously now Old Man Winter was letting us know that He was not finished yet. Continue reading How to Seek, Find and Keep God→
Have you put your priorities in order as it is officially November and the season of rush is beginning? Have you mapped out your plan? Have you worked out the details? Do allÂ my questions promote a thought of exhaustion? A quick search on Google and you will find Continue reading Setting Priorities Straight- The Season is Now→
Love, to truly love, requires action, an action involving the heart, soul, mind, and strength. We continue this week to look at the greatest commandment given to us, loving God and then others. Last week we focused on how to pursue the passion in loving God in Keeping the Passion – Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength. As I compared last week’s verse to this week’s verse I concluded that loving God sounds like an easier task than the action commanded to love others.
Loving others can be a lot more challenging because well we don’t always agree with others, they are different, think different, and have different ideas or ways.Â Let’s be honest, they are not us. Others are sometimes challenging, difficult to get along with, and their actions(s) just may create a wall that blocks the love we know we should be ready with action to give. Loving others requires us to have a change in actionÂ so to truly love others is not passive and cannot and will not occur with simply paying lip service to the word.Â There are no two ways about it loving others requires action; a change of action with our intentions or desires of our heart, a change of action in our selfish ways, a change in action on the way we may think, and ultimately a change in real action by the strength of what we do or accomplish. ToÂ fulfill love with action we can’t justÂ complete one of these four things we must strive to do them all.Â There is a storyÂ about howÂ a change in action can have great impact on both the people who actively change and the changes that occur to those around them.
Are you a great pretender? We seem to live in a world surrounded byÂ pretenders. I am just as guilty as anyone else to being a pretender. A pretender of what I really feel, attempting to be perhaps what I am not. Showing the world our best side, our happy face, seems to be what we do best even when we feel otherwise.
All the World’s a Stage, wrote William Shakespeare, and we have embraced it wholeheartedly making ourselves often appear what we are not. Some of us are just better actors than others making the pretender more believable. It is one thing to pretend you are well when you are not but what happens when love enters the picture. Does being a pretender then change the stage set?
In 1955 The Platters released the song The Great Pretender written by Buck Ram. The song reached the number one spot in 1956 on both the pop and R&B charts. Everyone seems to identify with the lyrics, of The Great Pretender,Â the heartbroken individual who was just pretending he was not hurting, but what about those of us who are moving through lifeÂ as a love pretender? Pretending all is well when we feel much less than that. The songÂ echoes ofÂ being a pretenderÂ of showing theÂ feelingÂ of happiness when we really feel lonely. A world of make-believe when our heart feels it can noÂ longer hide the hurt inside. Does being this type of pretender affect how we view others?
What happens when we have played this game so long on our own stage that we become indifferent to the hurting hearts of others? Many of us have put up great social barriers,Â playing the game of being polite very well, while silently judging within. WeÂ falsely seemÂ to care and show compassion when we really do not understand or truly care about what others are going through. We spew forth a lot of “bless your hearts” and “I’m so sorry” while being a pretender of sympathy while inside our own hearts, the love has hardened or at least has become thick and stagnant.
God tells us that our love should be true and genuine to all people whether we understand their situations or not. We are not to be pretenders of our own blights and situations anymore that we are to pretend we careÂ about others and their situations. We,Â as Christians, areÂ to love deeply all people and frankly it is not always an easy task but it is a command. Real love requires an effort of more than just money; it takes a dedicated commitment of time and a personal connection. Our focus verse this week is from Romans 12:9;
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (NLT)
We have a cat that is now almost twelve years old that is as much a part of our family as any human relative. It is a relationship that could be deemed as enduring love.Â I really should say that I have a cat that is almost twelve years old as it has really becomeÂ my cat as I am his primary caregiver but everyone claims that He belongs to them.
It wasÂ almost twelve years ago thatÂ my daughter begged for a cat. She would feed it, love it, and take care of all of its needs even the less desirable ones if only we would allow her this one small thing. I remember she went and helped her teacher take care of her cat to prove to us she could and would be responsible for taking care of an animal. We finally relented and for Christmas that year she received a kitten. The newness of the kitten wore off quick and soon we had a cat that still had needs that had to be met. My daughter’s enthusiasm for the animal waned quickly over time and in fact I am not sure it lasted until theÂ following Christmas but I imagine she would argue that point.
It didn’t take long before I was no longer reminding my daughter to take care of the cat asÂ I was just doing it.Â A job nowÂ that is mine full-time as it has been now for most of its life. The cat always has water and his bowl is never empty of food. His other needs are always met and over the years I must admit he has become catered to and now expects it. Through the years the cat and I have bonded as an animal and his owner does andÂ I must admit that I miss him when I travel and he in turn seems to miss me. We have an enduring love relationship that formed out of responsibility, needs, and dependency.
The funny thing about the cat is that he has never gone without his needs being met. He has never faced an empty bowl, lack of water, love, or a relatively clean litter box yet as soon as he can see the “white” bottom of his bowl he quickly lets me know in his loudest voice. He stands at the bathroom sink and demands that the faucet be turned on even though he has fresh water in the kitchen. He makes his demands loudly as if he oftenÂ is without his basic needs.Â I have yet to understand why or how he can so easily forget that he has never gone without. It is like he is afraid that he will not get what he needs even though through my enduring love his needs have always been met.
Enduring love, a lasting relationship of affection that can include synonymous words that mean eternal, everlasting, perpetual, timeless and the list goes on. This is the love relationship that God has for us yet we so quickly forget when life gets in our way or when we become afraid.Â The Bible tells usÂ continuouslyÂ of God’s enduring love and His faithfulness thatÂ will never end yet it often slips from our mind when we face or think we may face potential problems.
We are ready to thank and praise God when things are goings well but how soon we forget when we too can begin the see the “white” of our bowls and it seems that we could be headed for a hard time. Where is our faith in the enduring love that God has always provided us? Where is our praiseÂ because God is good andÂ His enduring love isÂ seen all the time?Â This week’s focus verse reminds us of the importance in thanking and praising God because of His goodness and His faithful enduring love that will never end. 1 Chronicles 16:34;
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. (NLT)