Love People.

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Driving to work this morning the first part of a bumper sticker caught my eye. I don’t remember the 2nd part, but the first part was, Love People.  It’s simple enough to say,  but not always as easy to do, or at least as it should be.  And why is that? It’s complex. It can be hard to give love or be loving because we’ve been hurt, we’ve lost, been abandoned, trust has been broken, we are afraid, or even because “religion” has made us self-righteous and judgmental. Ouch, right?

So, how can I change? How can I better Love People? Here’s what I’ve been meditating on.  Whether at work, in a store, in traffic,… wherever, I will love people more effectively if I remember:

  • Why Jesus came. It was because God so loved/loves the world. He hates sin, and that it separated us from Him. So he sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin -for ALL the sins of every single person. Not just for me, but for every person I will ever see or interact with.
  • Why Jesus died. See every person through His eyes -as loved by Him. No ones sin is too large or too small – he paid the price for it all! While we were yet sinners — imperfect, deserving of judgement, full of faults and failures — Christ died for us! He did it for me and every other person because He wants ALL to be reconciled to God through Him, by receiving the salvation he offers.
  • His love. That His love has been shed abroad in my heart, making me able to love others. It compels me to want  share His love, so others will know how wide, deep, and unfailing is His great love for all of us.
  • To act like Jesus, follow his example. You can read in the gospels that He: Forgave. Touched the sick. Took children in his lap and blessed them. Fed people – provided for them. Rescued them. Not only healed people but made them whole.  Loved people right where they were at – imperfect people like Zaccheus. Did not condemn the woman who was to be stoned or the woman at the well.  Ate with sinners and publicans – was not ashamed to be with them. And demonstrated the love of God to all and for all.

Putting it into practice. Sometimes loving is just giving a smile or a hug, a kind word, cooking a meal, or my giving time. Sometimes it’s praying for that person who cut me off, asking God to pour out his love and grace on them. At other times, it is preferring someone else over me by doing what pleases them, or “their way.” Sometimes it might be giving a gift or finances that they need.

I will always have opportunities to practice and improve. But, I will be most successful in loving others when I follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. After all, that is what Jesus did. He said, He only said what He heard the Father say, and did what He saw the Father do. And, He gave the Holy Spirit to be my teacher and guide – so I can know what to say and do too. I am so grateful!

Here are some of the scriptures referred to above: John 3:16, John 14:26 (see chapters 14-17 — so good!) , II Corinthians 5:19-21, and Romans 5:5-10.

Update on my October Gratefulness Challenge

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Back in mid-October I challenged both me and you to be more mindful of the things we have to be grateful for every day.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t always remembered to do this. However, on the days I do the result is that I am more conscious of my many blessings, and I tend to be more content – perhaps even more patient and kind.

Anyway, I want to share an update on some of the things that I have been considering, which may seem random, but are all worth being grateful for.  Things as simple as warm blankets, soft pillows, socks without holes, working vehicles, good weather for raking leaves, front row parking spots, bills paid, and extra to give to others. Playing games/doing puzzles with my mom, any time spent with my husband, children and grandchildren, a good job, time to relax, Sunday and Wednesday services, insightful Bible teaching, faithful friends, yarn & knitting, and music (both peaceful and victory filled).

Of course I could keep going, but I really hope in some way that you are encouraged as you consider your blessings. I pray that you will also find joy in living a gratefulness-mindful life, and that you both know and experience the love that God has for you.

As the hymn by Johnson Oatman, Jr.  in 1897 says:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

A Challenge to You and Me

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This challenge is as much for me as it is for anyone else. In the busy-ness of daily life, I don’t pause often enough to really be aware of and grateful for all that I have. It’s not just the things, but the people, places, surroundings, and even circumstances.  I mean not just casually, but to really consider those “things’ and how they impact my life, and to take time to really rejoice.

This all started when I was reading Deuteronomy 26, which is a really great scripture on how to present your offerings.  I highly recommend it. My Pastor, George Pearson’s has taught on it’s importance — it’s about being thoughtful, recognizing the goodness of God in providing for us, and presenting our offerings with thankfulness and joy.

Anyway… it “dawned” on me that I should be more mindful not only when giving an offering, but in my every-day life. I think God is pleased and loves it when we think this way because thankful thinking draws us closer to Him. And because by recalling all that He has done, we become more full of faith and receptive to what He wants to do for us now.

So…for the next 6 weeks (or more) I am challenging me and you. Let’s regularly pause to consider the people, relationships, places, surroundings, circumstances and things that we should be grateful for. Pick just a few each day and take a moment to really rejoice over them, and to thank God for them.  Then, follow it up with a quick prayer and ask the Father to minister and provide for someone else who is in need of those things.

For example: Today i am extremely grateful and thankful for words, for the love of God and for being able to share with you. It fills my heart with joy and I am so blessed to share my grateful grace-full life with you. Blessings, dear ones. Oh how He loves you and me!

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.  Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV

Visiting Mackinac Island

It was a whirlwind trip over the Labor Day weekend, but it was also a breath of fresh air that left me wanting more.

Time alone with my daughter, Mary, now that alone is something to treasure! But I also enjoyed a glimpse of a slower pace of life even during our 1 1/2 days on Mackinac Island.

Beautiful blue skies, a slight warm breeze, and the quiet created by the absence of motorized vehicles. The clip clop of horses hooves, a carriage ride in the beautiful woods, and small waves rolling toward the shoreline. Top that off with a large veranda with rocking chairs and a view of gorgeous gardens as well as the Mighty Mac. A harpist playing in the main room, an ice cream shop, lots of small shops to visit, a delightful dining experience… and an 8 mile bike ride around the island. Our time was short, but it was sweet and an unforgettable memory. I hope to get a chance to go again!

 

 

Grateful for Family & Faith

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I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately, and the people and things for which I especially grateful.

I’ll start with my Mom, Pat. She just turned 78 and celebrated her 60th high school reunion. She is an amazing woman with a generous heart and a love for Jesus, and her family. Last week our extended family enjoyed a stay at a cottage that slept 18 — paid for by her!  We had a great time fishing, playing games… being together. But so much more valuable than that, I know she prays for us, really prays.

Next has to be my husband Ed of almost 44 years. We might not always see ‘eye to eye,’ but I feel like we always see ‘heart to heart.’  My partner and best friend, he lives out his love for me every day, truly I am blessed. He never discourages me from anything I set my heart to do. I like to travel, he doesn’t, and he is really okay with that – I go with his blessing.  And, when I take a stand of faith, I know he stands with me. He is great cook too and can fix just about anything!

I am grateful for each of our three children, Jon, Mary and Tim. They are each kind, caring and strong individuals in their own ways.  Each of them have different personalities, like to do different things… and I love to spend time with them. Plus, they are all so smart!

I am also grateful for my heritage of love and faith, and these memories to name a few: Great Grandpa Beverwyk who took me fishing in the creek; Great Grandma Beverwyk and her Pentecostal prayers; Grandma Bosgraaf who taught me about the love of Jesus and early Christians in the “catacombs” in her Michigan basement; Grandma VanZyll and singing hymns with her just before her move to heaven; Great Aunt Dorothy who taught me so much about Holy Spirit; Great Grandma & Great Grandpa Brandt who loved us unconditionally as a very young married couple – I loved Saturdays at their house, where we had burgers, creamed corn and ice cream with homemade hot fudge sauce; and my Dad who was there for me when I really needed him.

I also am so grateful for my grandchildren, Dominick, Kennedy and Alonna. Each one is unique and wonderful, and such a source of joy. I love every memory we have, and look forward to making more.

I am grateful for prayer too, and to be able to “pick up the mantle” and add to my mom’s prayers, and continue praying for each one in my family.  I pray and expect them to know and experience the love that God has for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campfire Memories and favorite songs

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Some songs I learned over the years have just stuck to me like glue.  This one is from my early days at Jack & Jill Bible Club Camp in Cedar Springs, MI. It was around a campfire there that I first came to know Jesus as Saviour.

He is able, He is able, I know He is able, I know my God is able to carry me through. He healed the broken-hearted, he set the captive free, he made the lame to walk again and he caused the blind to see. He is able, He is able, I know He is able, I know my God is able to carry me through.

Of course there are lots of other songs, but I’ll just share a few here:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty, early in the morning my song shall rise to thee…

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear calling on my ear…. And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own…

Every body ought to know, every body ought to know, every body ought to know, that Jesus lives. He’s the Lily of the Valley, He’s the Bright and Morning Star, He’s the fairest of ten thousand, every body aought to know.

Fairest Lord Jesus

Onward Christian Soldiers

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

I hope this will bring to mind some good old memories for you too, and remind you of how much He loves you!