Jesus commanded us in His Word, to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourself. Recently, I’ve been challenged in this area. He doesn’t say to love those that love us, or love those that are easy to love. He doesn’t say to love those that treat us right. He says to love others as He loves us. When I finally got the message that He loved me, no matter what I have done, or what I was doing, or what I was going to do, it filled me with such gratitude that I could hardly contain it. Then He said, “now share this love with others”, and so the journey began.
He began to bring people into my life that needed to know that unconditional love that I had finally received and He began to teach me what it really means to love. When you open your heart to show love, you open yourself up to be hurt. Loving others can be a wonderful experience, but if we are not motivated by God, we will usually crash and burn. If we are seeking approval from others it will end badly.
One person that I reached out and showed love to disappointed me deeply and my husband and my daughter had to suffer the consequences of this person’s actions. As I was apologizing to my daughter, she said, “Mom you thought the best of this person, and that is what we are commanded to do.” Those words broke the spell the enemy had over me. You see he was condemning me and telling me, “see, look how you hurt your family”.
Learning to love others the way Jesus taught us to love is messy. It very often leaves us vulnerable to being hurt and we need to continue to keep our heart open and risk being hurt over and over again. When you think about it, that’s how God loves us every day. Romans 5:8 tells us “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God loved us enough to sacrifice His one and only son, knowing that many would reject this precious gift, but He chose to love us and offer His gift to each and every one of us regardless of the outcome. That is how He commands us to demonstrate love to others.
Who can you show the love of Jesus to today? When did you first understand just how precious you are to God?
An amazing thing happened this morning. I woke up with the old hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness running through my mind. It wouldn’t leave and finally an uncontrollable urge came to share it on facebook! Normally, I would fight such a “bizarre urge”, but as I was not feeling well this morning I just found the lyrics on a website and shared it.
After sharing it, the doubts started to come. What were people going to think? What an old-fashioned hymn. Do people even remember it? Then calmness came and God said that He was reminding me of His faithfulness and it really didn’t matter what others would think. An hour had gone by, when I noticed that my friend Sherry from Pennsylvania shared that they sang this hymn in Church this past Sunday and the message was about God’s faithfulness. She went on to say that she had never heard this hymn before Sunday, but it was just what she needed to be reminded of today! Tears came as I realized that God had just reached across the miles and gave a much needed “God Hug”. This in turn reminded me that sometimes those little things that we think are unimportant and don’t make any sense are really very big. In reaching outside of myself, I was able to help another and be encouraged at the same time. God takes seemingly little things and makes them bigger than we dreamed when we choose to obey!
Sometimes we don’t get to see the results that quickly, or ever, but we never know the impact that one seemingly insignificant thing will have. It reminded me of a story I’ve heard at church a few times. It was about a man on George Street in Sydney, Australia. He felt led to hand out 10 tracks a day to random people walking down the street. He continued handing out 10 tracks a day for 40 years and never heard of anyone receiving Christ from his effort, but God was working through this simple act in mighty ways. He witnessed to around 147,000 people and many of them came to Christ. A pastor from a Baptist Church in Crystal Palace in South London heard a testimony from one of the members of his congregation about how he was saved by receiving a track from this man. This pastor went to Australia and continued to run into people who were saved by running into this man and accepting a track. He was able to find this man, Mr. Jenner, and tell him some of the results of his efforts. Mr. Jenner broke down in tears and admitted that he had not heard of even one person being led to Christ by this small effort.
This story reminds us to be faithful in the small things because we may never know the impact we are having. Here’s a link to the whole story if you are interested in reading it for yourself. http://www.spiritlessons.com/Man_from_george_street.htm What small thing can you be faithful in today? Please share any stories or testimonies you have about following God in small ways with big results.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo
I went to an event yesterday. It’s called a Champions Workshop. I attended my first Champions Workshop almost a year ago. My life is completely changed today and is still continuing to change due to the work I’ve done that started with attending my that first Champions Workshop. Prior to that night, I had been praying that God would begin to use me to affect the world around me. As I sat in that room, I knew that major change had to occur in my thinking in order for God to start using me in a big way. It’s a year later and my life is moving in an upward direction at a more rapid rate than I ever thought possible, and this is the vehicle God chose to use to make this lasting change in my life.
Last night, I was sitting next to Natalie Evans, a woman who has been my hero for some time now. It was wonderful to see how she stepped up to share her goal that she has had for some time now, and watch it become bigger than she was comfortable with. She proclaimed a goal of raising $5000 for her Mission of Hope within 30 days. It reminded me of the moment that I received the goal to write and publish my book in 90 days. I was incredibly scared and feeling very vulnerable because I’d just promised a room full of people that I was going to reach this goal and if I didn’t I was not going to be allowed to go to the beach for 3 months over the summer. This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but the beach is my favorite place in the whole world and the thought of not being able to go there was torture for me. It was also terrifying that there were now many people watching to see if I was really committed to achieving this goal or if it would fall by the wayside like so many others had. Writing my story had been my goal for about 20 years, and I realized that God had chosen this time for this dream to become a reality. This goal was insurmountable in my mind and there were many times along the way that I thought all hope was lost, but my goal was met in 77 days. I proclaimed the dream that God had laid on my heart and He showed up in a big way to make that dream a reality and in the process taught me that it wasn’t about me. That was the most powerful experience of my life aside from the birth of my daughter or when I experienced God’s love for myself.
My friend’s goal is to raise $5000 in the next 30 days for her mission or she has to clean her friend’s toilets for a month! I made a promise to her last night, that I will not let her clean her friend’s toilets. All it will take to make her dream a reality is 500 people willing to make a donation of $10 or more within the next 30 days. Here’s the link to donate and help her to make this dream a reality.http://www.gofundme.com/1nhtpg?pc=fb_cr
Please come and check it out and prayfully consider making a donation to help this woman and her team share HOPE with the world! Then share it with everyone you can, so we can get the word out to as many people as possible.
Are your dreams big enough? Who do you know that can support you in accomplishing your dreams?
Last week, I wrote about setting goals and how setting goals and being held accountable to them had dramatically changed my life. As I looked back at 2012, the dramatic difference in my life was extraordinarily apparent, but I found myself struggling to form new goals this year. We need to take time to celebrate our accomplishments, but then it’s time to move on and continue to challenge ourselves.
Last Wednesday, I was invited to a Dream Board Creation Party. It was in the middle of a crazy week. It was difficult to set aside the time to go, but my good friend, Holly, encouraged me to go with her. It was an amazingly, powerful experience, being with a group of women with the same mindset. We were all there to wake up our dreams that had been dormant. For some of us it had been a very long time since we allowed ourselves to dream. It’s so easy to spend our time focused on survival and forget those dreams that we had as children. Many times we are told that our dreams are selfish or that we need to face reality. In reality, I believe our dreams are given to us by our creator.
He created each one of us for a specific mission here on earth, a mission that only we are capable of accomplishing. If you look around our world, you will see that most people are living in survival mode. Many of us have allowed the weeds of life to choke out the dreams we once held dear. Living life in survival mode is not the abundant life that Jesus spoke of when He walked this earth. He said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
When we allow our dreams to fall by the wayside, we are allowing the enemy to destroy the good plan that God has for our lives. There are people who need you to live the life that God planned for you before you were born so that they will have permission to step into the life God created for them. Most of us have heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”. This means that people pay more attention to what we do than what we say. If our “talk doesn’t match our walk” we have little chance of reaching others with the message of hope we’ve been given to share.
How can a dream board help? It helps me to remember the bigger picture and not give up when the inevitable obstacles block my path. The dream board reminds me to keep moving forward step by step each day. When I share my dream board it helps by keeping me accountable to others, so I can’t hide, isolate and let those dreams fall away.
What dreams has God planted in your heart? If you’ve made a dream board, please share how it’s helped you. Would you consider attending a dream board creation party?