“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” 1 John 3:11
Are there times you wish you could go back in time and start over? Maybe back to the beginning? If you could go back, what would you do differently? Perhaps you are like me and wish you would have loved better. I can mark the time in my life that I was out of my element, became very closed off and did not love well. Can I tell you that there is so much heartache written on those pages of my story. However, there is much wisdom gained, insight too and I use it all as a mom. Makes those years seem redeemed and not wasted.
Since we cannot go back and today matters, why don’t we commit to what we have learned from the beginning – to love one another. What does that look like today for you? I know for me it means watching my words spoken and thoughts. It means putting others before myself, even when I am tired. It means not being distracted by my phone, when my family is right in front of me. There are many ways we can love one another and today is a good day to love well. You never know the difference it might make to someone else.
*I took this picture the other day while riding along towards home.
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him…Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:33-37
Jesus is an incredible storyteller. He never seems to waste words and takes every opportunity to teach us more of what it looks like to follow Him. How many times have you heard or read the story He told about the Good Samaritan who showed mercy? Sometimes one part of it stands out and another time, something completely different. Several things hit me today, but right now I am thinking about how this injured man was traveling along and “fell into the hands of robbers” (Luke 10:36). He lays there helpless and is passed by. Then a man comes along and uses his hands to tend wounds and move him to safety.
Where do you see yourself in the story? I have been all the characters it seems. Sometimes the one that passed by and another, the one on the side of the road. Even the one who injures and then the one that shows mercy. The man might not have been able to prevent the attack, but the ones that saw him had a choice to make. They had to decide what they would do with their hands. It seems like in the end, the heart that was full of mercy used his hands to heal. May we each go and do likewise.
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?” Matthew 18:12
We were out on our morning walk and saw something that made me think of this verse. Across from our neighborhood, there is a home on a large piece of beautiful land with lots of trees. The owner had brought out a container of water and was carefully inspecting this one, small tree. Out of all the trees on his land, he noticed the one that was not doing well and watered it. He was taking care of what belonged to him.
Doesn’t this make you think of our Heavenly Father? When He sees the condition of our hearts and the thoughts, actions and words that flow from it, He knows if we are living as His beloved. How incredible it is to have a Father that seeks us out and uses many different ways to remind us of who and whose we are. We all go astray and some stay away longer than others, but do not think for a minute that He is not wanting to bring you back into the fold. We are not meant to be apart from Him or others. So where ever you are today, I pray you experience the tender grace and care of the One to whom you belong.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart…” Isaiah 40:11
When our oldest was just a baby, I carried her a ridiculous amount of time in one of those carriers you strap on. I wanted to keep her as close as possible. In my mind, the closer to me she was, the safer she would be. This was not healthy for either one of us and thankfully the Lord gave me more chances to let go and trust Him. Fear had such a hold on me.
I had a mental picture of carrying her again when I read this verse today. I loved picturing Jesus carrying her close to His heart. The difference with His parenting style is there is no fear. When I remember that she can be tucked in close to His heart, I can rest from the natural response of wanting to hold on too tight. We can also trust that He carries us too. We are loved. Hope this helps you as much as it did me.
“And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.” Luke 5:19
Do you have good friends? Are you a good friend? It is a good question we need to all answer. We can see a beautiful example of faith, trust and love in this passage of scripture. This man, who was paralyzed, had friends that stopped at nothing to bring him to the feet of Jesus to be healed. And then Jesus, “saw their faith” (5:20), told the man his sins were forgiven, but there is a bit of conflict over His choice of words. So Jesus used different words, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (5:24). The man got up and glorified God. Nothing else is mentioned about his friends. However, do not miss it was the faith of the friends that Jesus took note of. I want that kind of faith.
Do you see yourself in this story? I sure do and depending on the day, I am the one being carried and on another day, one of the friends desperate to get a friend to the feet of Jesus. Honestly, I am more comfortable being one of the ones doing the carrying. Taking people to Jesus simplifies where help can be found. And if you have been at His feet, you know there is nothing like it. In fact, it is wonderful to stay awhile when you do bring someone. I have started thanking the Lord for what He is going to do on my friends behalf. It may look different than I think or want, but I trust Him with my friends.
Who needs you to carry them today? Do you need to be carried? I would love to take a corner of the mat if you need me too.
“ Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellow man and I will tell you how much you have loved them.” -Helmut Thielicke
I do not know much about the author or the time he wrote this quote, but I do like the words he penned. He lived during the Nazi reign and was interrogated multiple times. To say the time period he lived in was uncertain, would be an understatement, and yet he spoke of loving others. We are not short on opportunities to love others now for many are suffering during our days of unknown. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming and sometimes I can sink in despair for all I see and feel.
When we look at the life of Jesus on earth, we see his heart and incredible love. He met suffering, it seemed, at every turn and often did something about it; ultimately dying on the cross. The same spirit that lived in Him, now lives in every believer. Should that not be helpful in opening our hearts to those around us? Sometimes it is someone in your own home or family that needs you to see them. Maybe it is in your neighborhood, church, school friend or community. Perhaps it is even you. How do you need love shown to you or how can you show love to someone else?
May we be people who are so available to the Lord that He can show us who needs love. Maybe you will be the one who receives love during your time of suffering because the Lord directed another to your aid. It may seem like a small thing, a timely text, phone call or note in the mail, but to the recipient it is an act of love. Give us eyes to see Lord.