Ways to LOVE MORE in 2015

What can we do that will really make an impact on others?  How can we draw others to Christ?  If that’s an important goal for you in this new year, you’ve probably already considered the words of Jesus when He shared the main way that we prove our Christianity.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By THIS all men will know that you are MY disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34,35, emphases mine).

If our love for one another shows the world that we belong to Christ, what does the world think when we display anything less than love?  In an effort to change/ teach/ enlighten others in the Lord’s body, we must be very careful that anyone reading or hearing our words can only think, “My, how they love each other!”  So what are some ways we can accomplish that?

  • Limit use of sarcasm, and remove snarky remarks altogether (Prov. 15:1; Col. 4:6)
  • Make sure the majority of our remarks and writings paint the Lord’s church in a positive light (Psa. 133:1)
  • Get in the habit of daily looking for ways to compliment and encourage other Christians (Rom. 12:10)
  • Avoid a reputation of being deliberately controversial (2 Tim. 2:24,25; Eph. 4:29-31)
  • Focus on unifying the body instead of promoting strife (John 17:22,23; Phil. 2:1-3; Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 1:10)
  • Inject much more sweetness in speech and in writing (Prov. 16:24)
  • Be ever so gentle in defense of the gospel (1 Pet. 3:15)
  • Practice patience, even if attacked or wronged (2 Tim. 2:24,25)
  • Think, think, think before speaking or posting (Prov. 12:18; 15:28)
  • Share more Word than opinion (Col. 3:16; Prov. 15:2)
  • Remember that true wisdom and kindness go hand in hand (Prov. 31:26)

As we strive to be salt and light, let’s also make it very obvious that everything we say and do is motivated by love.

Prayer for Today:  Grow our love for one another, Lord, so we can draw others to You.

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Do I Help Others Thank God?

We are spending time together as a family, all five of us, and I am soaking it all in.  I am mindful of the many reasons to thank God for family, for love, for commitment, and for memories.  I am thanking God for the reminder to treasure the here and now and to embrace His gifts.  Even when facing difficulties or experiencing hardships, God showers us with reasons to enjoy the pleasurable sensation of gratitude.  Because of that, I want to be more diligent in showering others with reasons to look up and praise God.

  • With my husband, may I daily give him reasons to thank God for our marriage.  This means each morning I must renew the commitment to love unconditionally.
  • With my sons, may I help them see God’s forgiveness, patience, and tenderness by offering those consistently as their parent.  My love for them should make it easier for them to understand God’s love for them.
  • With my fellow Christians, may I give them reasons to praise God for companionship, encouragement, and sincere interest.  What a unique blessing the Lord’s church is!  May I do my part to help others remember that.
  • With those in my community, may I look for ways to cause them to pause and look up, to see God as the source of all good.  This means I must look like His Son as much as possible by being friendly, by being unselfish.  I can’t live unto myself but must look around with interest in the souls around me.

Today is always the beginning of our future.  I pray that I will do so much better in showering others with reasons to thank God.  Nothing is more important than making sure my life (my actions and my attitude) makes it easier for others to see God.

Prayer for Today:  Thank You, Lord, for showering me with reasons to praise You.  Please help me do better at intentionally helping others see You.

Bibles Everywhere!

Let’s counter the overwhelming influence of worldliness by making our Bibles have more of a presence in our communities.  We’re all very aware of the moral decline in our nation, and the reason we’re so aware of it is because we see it everywhere we turn.  It’s on the news, radio, TV shows, talk shows, magazines, billboards, and internet.  What’s trending?  Worldliness.  All of these media outlets and various other avenues touting materialism, secularism, and godlessness can be discouraging.  Satan must be pleased.  He wants us to despair, to ask, “Where are the Christians?”  He wants us to throw our hands up and quit.  I think we can do something about that.  We can remind everyone that there are still many who want to serve God.  And we can do that by the very simple act of making our Bibles more visible.

Bibles are recognizable.  Everyone knows what they look like.  Outside of the church building, we don’t see them very often.  If we do, it’s notable.  The few times I’ve seen someone with their Bible on a plane or in an office, I think, “Hey, they’re holding a Bible!”  And it always makes me smile.  So what if we ALL carry our Bibles with us, in a very visible way, everywhere we go?  The next time we meet friends for lunch, we can call and ask each one to bring their Bible, and then just set them on the table.  The Bibles won’t go unnoticed.  If we’re shopping, the Bible can rest in the seat of the cart.  If we’re carpooling, we can display it in the dash.  If we’re at the gym, we can put in on the treadmill.  If we’re in the bleachers, we can set it right next to us.  Whether we’re working, playing, traveling, networking, or relaxing, we can look for ways to allow our Bibles to have a presence.  (This means it’ll have to be a traditional Bible, as the ones on our phones or other devices won’t be easily recognized by others.)  Even though such a simple act doesn’t involve extra time or money on our part, I think this kind of Bible-saturation can make an impact.

What’s the worst that can happen?  Someone might ridicule us.  Someone might be offended.  Someone might even ask us to put the Bible away.

What’s the potential for good?  At the very least, our Bibles will be noticed.  People around us will automatically know we are believers.  Other godly folks will be encouraged.  The nonstop message of immorality will be partially countered by the presence of Bible believers.  Others might start carrying their Bibles, too.  Who knows?  It might even become commonplace in your community to see Bibles out in public.  And one day, someone might even be interested in studying that Bible with you.

“You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

Prayer for Today:  May I never be ashamed of Your Word, O Lord.

Photo credit: westerntradition