Today was just such a time. This morning the following blog post was emailed to me by its author, my daughter. Abba Father God takes each of His children on their own Love quest. Being able to witness part of a child's quest is an indescribable, intensely humbling, joy.
Pondering these things in my heart,
Maybe your neighbors aren't exactly like the ones in our childhood stories. Our adult friends probably haven't fallen and skinned their knee, but I am pretty sure they have hurts we can bandage with love and prayer. A kind word never goes out of style, and I am positive that grownups get left out of the in crowd just as often as children do in school. Loving our neighbor doesn't have to be difficult or complicated. A plate of cookies, some bottles of water, a friendly wave and smile don't require a special formula or plan.
Do you have a favorite hobby or talent? What would happen if you would use it as an open door to pour the love of God through? Sketches can be shared. Pictures can be given. Handcrafted items can be gifted. What if that is why God gave you that talent, so you could use it to extend Him to your neighbors? Maybe God's love to our neighbors looks like cold bottles of water handed out to someone working outside in the sun. Maybe it looks like a BBQ or potluck picnic with our neighbors being invited instead of our usual crowd. Maybe it looks like our usual crowd AND neighbors. Sometimes it might look more like a PB & J with a cold glass of milk eaten on the porch with a neighboring child chattering away like the proverbial magpie. What would a warm smile and a listening ear speak to a small child? What would it speak to their loved ones back at home?
Who says loving our neighbor has to be complicated or hard to do? It wasn't God. In fact, He says quite the opposite: "For the [true] love of God is this: that we do His [keep His ordinances and mindful of His precepts and teaching]. And these orders of His irksome (, oppressive, or grievous). 1 John 5:3 AMPC"
Don't bother arguing that you aren't talented or that you don't have anything to give. God says He has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1) and that He supplies all our needs (Philippians 4:19). These two verses are merely a few of the many telling of God's provision and abundance. Others make sure we know He provides seed to the sower. Whatever your neighbors need God has provided it. Do you have a smile? Using it is free. Do your hand and arm work? Move them in a friendly wave. Leaves can be raked. Lawns can be mowed and/or tidied. Weeds can be pulled. Trash can be collected.
Maybe being a light of God in our neighborhood is even easier. Maybe it is something as simple as placing a pot of cheery flowers on our own step or better yet, cleaning up our own yards and getting rid of our own trash. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for our neighbors is providing them with a clean, tidy home and yard to look at every day. If we have children, training them to be polite and kind to others shines out like a piercing beacon in the selfish darkness so prevalent today. Loving our family and laughing with each other outside of our home where neighbors can see and hear can flow over a community like a Love flood. How it warms the heart of others to see a family loving and enjoying each other.
Whatever love door God has provided for you, open it. Open it NOW. A little love light here, another little love light there, and pretty soon our entire community will be a light with the Love of God. It only takes a spark to get a fire going you know. The time has come. It is NOW. Let's love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. Let's obey God and do it NOW.
Loving one little love light at a time,
God says it like this "Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) 1 Corinthians chapter 12 shares more in depth how deeply God created us to be connected to each other.
None of us are exactly the same, none of us free of mistakes. Each and every person has been created an individual masterpiece of Love, filled with grace, and set free to extend mercy and loving kindness to every one we come in contact with. Better together. Yes indeed we are most definitely better together.
Learning how to love together,
That whole other brother issue we find in the prodigal son situation is, unfortunately, alive and well in mankind. Few of us care about God's desire. We are so thoroughly absorbed in our own desires and dreams that seldom does it cross our minds to consider what our Abba Father God wants.
I see examples of this lack of love often as a mother, usually the examples are found in my life. This lack of love has caused me great concern and sadness. I am listening to His voice and trying to learn His heart. What I want most is for His desires to become real. Isn't this what love does?
There is something else I have been seeing among brothers and sisters in Christ that puts me in prayer. There is something that happens regularly when Christians begin to get frustrated by less than ideal situations and start talking about them with others. Whatever people talk about in judgement they become. If they gripe about others being judgemental, they themselves are judging those who judge. If the complaints are about people addicted to offense, they themselves have taken offense at the offended. No matter what the problem being talked about is, the people griping become what bothers them.
I can't help but wonder if this is why God tells us in the scriptures to do everything without grumbling and complaining that we may be pure and blameless children of God. Everything He instructs us in is for our good. It is not so God can boss us little humans around. Just as the instructions I give my children are for their good instead of my personal convenience so too God's instructions are to us His children. When are we going to realize this and grow up in Him and walk in His grace? When am I going to see that it is not about me? When will I live all for Him? Why is it so easy to expect mercy and grace from others yet so difficult to extend it back to them in return? I find myself asking God if I am ever going to grow up. He assures me He has this. He can get me where He wants me to be. Which brings things full circle to the topic of rest.
Rest in the Lord. This is one of the things that has our attention
here at Abundance House. Sabbath and rest. Maybe you would like to share what God reveals to you in a comment. A Sabbath Society website shares articles with encouraging thoughts for those learning to live to a rhythm of rest and Sabbath.
Learning and leaning,