Revive Me #30–Love the Unlovable

Revive Me, Week 30– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Love the Unlovable

I spent the past week with 50 teen girls at a Christian Bible camp.  During one lesson, they were asked to come up with a specific way they would be willing to shine their light.  One young lady wrote, “I will love the unlovable.”

The 50 girls were from different states and had different backgrounds.  They didn’t all grow up in sweet Christian homes.  They weren’t all at the same level of spiritual maturity.  And yet by the middle of the week, there was a unity taking place that was beautiful to behold.  They were reaching out to each other.  They were (mostly) patient with each other.  They were drawing in the shy, the awkward, and the scared.  They even managed to soften the one or two with a chip on their shoulder.  By the end of the week, as we sang in a big circle holding hands, they were family.

Most of us encounter many people each day.  We know we are commanded to love them (Mark 12:31) but not all of them will be easy to love.  Some will be prickly or grouchy or mean.  Some will look unapproachable.  Some will simply reject any attempt to reach out to them.  While we won’t be thrown into a camp situation where it will be easier to grow to love others, we must still determine to love the unlovable.  The outgoing, warm, friendly, happy people around us are probably receiving love and good attention.  It’s the ones who are edgy, odd, or giving off “leave me alone” vibes who most need us to show them the love of Christ.

“Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

(1 John 3:18)

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

(1 John 4:8)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Pay close attention to outsiders.  Reach out to them in a specific way.
  2.  Show warmth in your smile and your words to those who are not nice.  They need it the most.  Remember, “hurt people hurt people.”
  3.  If you are afraid, ask God to give you courage.
  4.  Don’t give up if your first attempts to reach out are rejected or even ridiculed.  And definitely don’t react in a hurt or indignant way.  That’s what they expect.  Instead, smile and try again at first opportunity.
  5. Pray for those who are unlovable.
  6. Instead of mentally tagging others with harsh labels, identify them as lost souls or lonely and outcast.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #28–Show God’s Peace

Revive Me, Week 28– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Show God’s Peace

What a week!  Do you find yourself thinking that more and more?  We live in a world of violence, tensions, unrest, and anger.  People are shaking their heads and asking, “What is this world coming to?”  Christians know the answer to that question.  We need to be ready to share it.  But first, how will those in the world know to come to us?  They need to see God’s peace in us.

Many are wringing their hands in fear and frustration.  We need to be folding our hands in prayer.  We need to be extending our hands to give and help.

The faces around us are anxious.  Our brows need to be smooth and our expressions should reflect the calm in our hearts.

The words swirling everywhere on the news and social media are angry and provoking.  Our words need to be healing and life-giving.

The world needs to see something different in us.  Yes, we are indeed surrounded by violence and injustice.  But we are filled with the peace of God.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Your, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3)

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Psa. 119:165).

“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace” (Psa. 29:11).

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6,7).

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).

Let’s show the world this God-given peace!  They may be ready for the security that comes from serving the One who is in control.  

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.  The Lord be with you all” (2 Thess. 3:16).

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  If you are struggling with fear and anxiety, pray for peace.  Your trust in God during these unstable times will draw others.
  2.  Read 2 Thess. 3:16 again.  How does the Lord want to give you peace?
  3.  Do the Bible-marking on True Peace.
  4.  Center your family devotionals this week around the topic of peace.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #27–Be Patient

Revive Me, Week 27– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Be Patient

We do not live in a patient world.  A few minutes in rush hour traffic, a long line at Walmart, or just waiting to get off a plane proves that most people do not appreciate delays or inconveniences.  Tempers flare and snarky comments fly!

A couple of days ago I witnessed a woman’s short fuse.  She couldn’t figure out how to use the security chip card reader at the store.  As she became flustered, she grew louder.  “Why do I have to enter my PIN again?!!!  I already did it once!!!”  Her cheeks turned red.  She pointed her finger and growled, “If this thing charges me twice…..When I get home, I’m going to check and see if I’ve been overcharged.  Then you’ll REALLY hear from me!”  When the transaction was finally complete, she yanked her card out of the machine and stormed off.  The next customer in line was asked, “How are you going today, sir?”  With an impassive face, he answered, “Fine.  You?”  He didn’t shake his head, raise his eyebrows, or ask, “What was that all about?”

We’re so used to petulant behavior that those types of transactions don’t surprise us or phase us anymore.

Patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”  I can appear patient on the outside while being impatient on the inside.  True patience is not getting peeved in the first place.

  • Do you handle delays, setbacks, and inconveniences graciously or grouchily?
  • Does your family witness your impatience?  What kind of example are you setting for them?
  • How do you treat those who move slower than you do?
  • Are you an eye roller?
  • Are you more patient with your own weaknesses than you are the weaknesses of others?

The world expects poor behavior in imperfect situations.  Let’s surprise them with a genuine smile, kind words, and grace.  Let’s be patient.

“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecc. 7:9).

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute” (Prov. 15:18).

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Study Biblical examples of those who were “patient when wronged” (2 Tim. 2:24).  How did they handle the difficult situation?  Why do you think they were able to do that?
  2.  Do a heart check.  Are you impatient?  What sets you off?  With whom do you act impatient?  Do you need to seek forgiveness?  How will you repent?
  3.  Spend more time with those who are patient and gentle and less time (if possible) with those who are quick to express dissatisfaction.
  4.  Be looking for the upcoming Bible-marking topic on patience at comefillyourcup.com.

Read it.  Memorize it. Live it.

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Revive Me #26-Consider How You’ll Be Remembered

Revive Me, Week 26-  A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

(*We are halfway through the year!  I hope you are feeling strengthened in your faith as we grow together in the Lord!)

Consider How You’ll Be Remembered

Last night a remarkable Christian woman died in her sleep.  What made Neva Morgan remarkable?  Well, many things, but one thing in particular stands out for me, and that is her faithfulness.

Neva’s husband wasn’t a Christian but she wanted to make sure her children were brought up in the Lord.  That meant that she alone was responsible for taking her children to Bible class and worship.  Neva didn’t drive so she had to ask someone each week to pick them all up.  She knew this was a huge inconvenience for others and many times considered staying home to avoid the hassle.  It also wasn’t easy trying to make her children behave in worship since she didn’t have her husband with her to help.  A lesser woman would’ve allowed these challenges to weaken her resolve, but Neva was determined to put God first no matter the cost.  She knew her husband needed to see how important her faith was, that obedience to her Lord trumped everything else.

Neva’s perseverance paid off.  Several years later her husband obeyed the gospel!  Imagine her joy!  What if she had given in to the temptation to stay home from worship?  What if she had compromised in order to keep the peace?  Where would her children be today?  Would her husband have ever become a Christian?

Neva experienced other challenges in her life.  She faced them with the strength of Christ (Phil. 4:13).

As a result of Neva’s faithfulness, she has left a beautiful legacy.  Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will always have her story as an example of obedience and trust.  Her perseverance molded her into a sweet soul who was easy to love. Those who knew her wanted to be like her.  I know I did.

What kind of legacy are you building?  Neva’s life reminds me to be heaven-minded (Col. 3:1,2).  When I die, I want to be remembered for my faithfulness to Christ no matter what.  I want my children to be able to view my life as one that glorified God.  I want them to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am resting from my labors in the bosom of my Lord.

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them” (Rev. 14:13).

Suggestions for the Week:

1.  Is anything challenging your faithfulness?  Determine that no inconvenience, discomfort, or hard thing will keep you from putting God first.

2.  Study the life of one who persevered through difficult times (like Job, Abraham, Hannah, or Paul).  Perhaps use this as the topic for your family devotionals.

3.  Consider your weekly schedule.  In what ways are you showing your children/ grandchildren that you are a faithful child of God?

4.  Write down how you think you will be remembered.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Neva is in the middle with her daughter-in-law on the right.

Revive Me #23– Be Amazed

Revive Me, Week 23– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Be Amazed

It’s Monday and perhaps your to-do list is a long one.   Or you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or overburdened.  Perhaps you picked up a few extra cares recently.  Or maybe you just don’t feel that great.  Sometimes life lacks luster.  If you didn’t greet this new day feely sunny and inspired, remember this one truth:  Our God is an awesome God.

“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”

(Psalm 147:5)

This one verse alone invigorates me.  When I feel inadequate, I need to remember that our God is great.  When I feel drained, I must remember to lean on God’s abundant strength.  Basically, I need to stop focusing on myself and start focusing on my God.  Then I will be amazed!

I am amazed when I look to God because:

  • He has done wonderful things- Psalm 98:1
  • He alone works wonders- Psalm 72:18
  • His doings are marvelous- Psalm 118:23
  • His plans are carried out with perfect faithfulness- Isaiah 25:1

I see God’s wonderful, marvelous things in creation, in His providence, and in His love and grace.  When I remember to look for these things, I am amazed.

When men looked to the Son of God, they were amazed.  He amazed a governor (Matt. 27:14), crowds (Matt. 7:28,29), the Pharisees (Matt. 22:22), the disciples (Mark 10:24), and many others.  They heard what Jesus said and saw what He did.  I need to remember to stay in the Word to be amazed again by what my Lord said and did.

“On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.”

(Psalm 145:5)

You can be amazed today.  You woke up.  Your great God loves you.  You have purpose.  You can look for opportunities to glorify God.  You are surrounded by people who need to know God so they, too, can be amazed.

Suggestions for the week:

  1.  Look up the Scriptures listed above about people being amazed by Jesus.  Note what specific thing He said or did that had them in awe.  Is it something you can be in awe of now?
  2.  Be aware of God’s greatness.  Look around you.  What do you see?  Nature?  Family?  A home to take care of?  Neighbors?  Your Bible?
  3.  Meditate this week on verses that have to do with the marvelous things of God.
  4.  Sing about it.  “I Stand Amazed,” “How Great Thou Art,” “Our God is an Awesome God,” and “We Bow Down” are some good ones.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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Revive Me #17–Think About Your Baptism

Revive Me, Week #17– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Think About Your Baptism

In ladies’ Bible class last week, Deanna Brant taught us about the covenant relationship we have with God.  As she discussed the fact that those who are in this relationship will strive to be holy and a light to the nations, she suggested a way to make that easier.  She said, “Think about your baptism…a lot.”  What wisdom!

Remember what happened at the moment of your baptism:

  • Your life became new (Rom. 6:4).
  • You were saved (1 Pet. 3:21).
  • Every spiritual blessing is found in Christ (Eph. 1:3) and you gained access to those blessings when you put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).
  • You also became an “heir according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).
  • You “received the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
  • You gained access to the Father (Eph. 2:13,18).
  • You became a “member of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
  • Every one of your sins was washed away (Acts 22:16).

This is just a sampling of the beautiful blessings that resulted from your baptism.  The list could be much longer!  Your baptism truly was the greatest and most important moment of your life.

I admit that I usually only recall the day of my baptism when someone else is being baptized.  Deanna made me realize that thinking about it more often could make a difference in my Christian walk.  Consider what thinking about your baptism each day can do for you:

  • You are more likely to “go on your way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
  • You will desire to sin less and be more holy.
  • If it’s on your heart, you will share it with others.
  • You will maintain an attitude of gratitude.
  • You will want to grow ever closer to your Father.

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Spend a few minutes thinking back to the day of your baptism.  Write down why you did it and how you felt.  If you did that already when you were baptized, read it.
  2. Contact the person who led you to Christ and thank them.
  3. Determine to begin each new day thinking about the moment you became a child of God.
  4. Thank God for all the blessings that came from your baptism.  Be mindful of them each day.
  5. Be on the lookout for the newest Bible-marking topic at Come Fill Your Cup which will be “What Baptism Does.”

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*Brett Petrillo baptizing Deanna Philippus for the remission of her sins!

Revive Me #14- Speak Tenderly

Revive Me, Week 14– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Speak Tenderly

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21).

Death speech:

  • Attacking instead of defending a position with dignity— We are to “be ready to give a defense” (1 Pet. 3:15).  We are to be passionate about the Truth (Jude 3).  But in that passionate defense, we need to make sure we are not neglecting to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
  • Overusing sarcasm– When speaking to or about others, sarcasm can smack of arrogance.  Just because we’re quick-witted enough to use it doesn’t mean we should.  Let’s not be snarkastic (to borrow my husband’s word) when a gentle answer would be more powerful (Prov. 15:1).
  • Making disparaging remarks— When someone is struggling with personal battles, the last thing they need to hear when they show up for worship is, “What?  You don’t own a tie?”  We assume that others are strong enough to bear whatever we dish out but we don’t always know their spiritual state.  Our innocent but thoughtless remarks could cause someone to leave feeling beat down instead of built up.
  • Speaking in exasperation— Since we spend the most time with our families, we can have more moments of irritation and annoyance with them.  Let’s be sure to cherish those relationships by interacting with patience and respect.

If a loved one is the one being discouraged by the words of another, we feel very protective and indignant. We wonder why someone didn’t think before they spoke, why they thought it was okay to be so free with their careless opinion.  We need to feel that same level of protection toward everyone.  We will be held accountable for what we say/ post to or about others (Matt. 12:36).

Life Speech:

  • Building others up— It doesn’t take much effort but oh what good can be done by thoughtful words (1 Thess. 5:11)!
  • Commending/ praising/ blessing others– This is one way we can look to the interests of others (Phil. 2:3,4)
  • Loving others— We’re commanded to love one another (1 John 4:7,8) so why shouldn’t we tell each other we do?
  • Sharing the good news– The best way to give life is to tell about the One who is Life (John 14:6).
  • Expressing gratitude— I don’t think it can be overdone.
  • Encouraging others– Many are quietly serving.  We can encourage them by telling them they make a difference.

To speak tenderly means to speak lovingly and gently.  Let’s determine to speak tenderly in every interaction.  We represent Christ.  Our life-giving words will clearly demonstrate that.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

(Eph. 4:29-32)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.   Use the power of your tongue this week to encourage:
  • Face to face– Make it your mission to encourage at least 15 different people
  • Social media– 10 posts that will encourage the church as a whole or a specific person
  • Email– send to 5 different people pointing out their strengths
  • Traditional mail– Write to 3 different people thanking them for their service
  • Phone– Call a shut-in to brighten their day

2.  When communicating in whatever form, remember the words of  Thumper.

3.  Focus your personal Bible study this week on the power of the tongue.

4.  Ask God to help you see when you are being thoughtless or careless with remarks.

Study it. Memorize it. Live it.

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