Living, Loving God

So, we have a living, loving God, THE living, loving God as our Father. There are expectations there to act like it but mostly to stay close in relationship to our loving, living God. Then, we have to reflect our living, loving God to other people. We need to be alive with people, alongside them and love them by helping where we can and expecting nothing back. This is how we bring God glory and show His magnificence to people.😄❤❤❤

How to Show Love to a Bad Neighbor

I am quite certain I am not the only one with a bad neighbor. You yourself may have a bad neighbor or know someone close to you who does. Yes, the type that are somewhere between harmful and scary, very narcissistic, maybe lazy, definitely obnoxious. And where it may feel good for a moment to accidentally trim their hedge into the shape of a mad face or light some of their dog’s waste in a paper bag and give it back to them or return their fallen branches to them through their living room window, these option show a very sick sense of humor I have to respect a little bit but neglect to show them love. And whereas love will probably not be accepted by them or help a whole lot because of their pigheadedness, it probably is good to practice love on these horrible people who don’t deserve it because then loving everyone else will be easier and also God loves us when we didn’t deserve it either and fair is fair. So, shy of baking them cookies (which was tried and not proven successful) and feeding their dog our cat (not our choice but evidently their dog thought so) and not retaliating in kind by sharing my rifle shells with said dog, another option is to smile and wave each chance you get. This not only is a nice gesture but also may confuse and bewilder them, which is a bonus. Next, maybe trim the hedge between your two yards on purpose the right way. This accomplishes an act of service and also gets it done because you know they aren’t going to do it. Next, perhaps not calling the cops the next time you hear their loud music booming at 2am would be a loving thing to do, instead politely ask them to turn down. These are good options. Getting a little more creative and a little more committed to the cause, perhaps praying for them is a good loving option. Because evidently they need prayer and God and maybe you are really the only person who can genuinely show them Him and His love instead of adding to their badness by returning bad for bad. Instead, by returning love to them for their badness, even when it hurts just a little to do so, you are proving that God’s grace is bigger than your mad. This is never a bad thing.

Love, Honor and Cherish

What a mouth full! What does it mean to love, honor and cherish? Do those vows even matter anymore in an age of selfishly doing whatever we want and to heck with the rest? Does it matter to be faithful to our commitments to our spouse? To our Lord? I may be unrealistic, but I like to think it does. I like to think vows made, covenant promises made are worth every effort you can commit into their keeping. But what does love, honor and cherish look like practically? Let’s explore those one at a time. Love is an easy one for women for the most part and harder for men often because of how we’re cut. However, this seems to be changing with the younger ones coming up. Love should mean to consider the other person and their well being and feelings and concerns before you consider and act for yours. It is the essence of unselfishness and goodness to another person. In fact, it is considering the other person as more important than yourself. This is why when they ask you to do something and you would rather do something else, you do it anyway. It is sacrificial by design. Cherish is a matter of value. It goes right alongside love because you are declaring that person is valuable to you, even more valuable than your own comfort. Cherish is to hold someone dear, precious to you. Cherish is treasuring that person’s soul as valuable and precious. Honor is a horse of a different color. To vow to honor someone is to vow to treat the person with dignity, value, worth and importance. Honor is akin to respect but much more active of a reverence. It is to say that you will do nothing that purposefully brings shame to the person or devalues them. It is saying that although I want to do or say something, I will check myself first and see if it would hurt the other person’s feelings or make them embarrassed or ashamed. If it would, you refrain from doing or saying that. All of these active love forms combine to be a pretty amazing and Biblical spouse. Consequently, it is the same vow God makes with the church, us. And if you are lacking any of these in your married relationship, rest assured that God loves and cares for you in these way. You can not control another human being and they will probably do whatever they want at least some of the time and in some marriages most of the time, but you are still responsible to maintain your covenant vows you made. Who knows, maybe it will be catchy.

Generous Savior

I just finished reading John 4 tonight and it is a wonderful example of the generosity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All the sick came to Him and it says He touched them and healed every single one of them. Wow! Can you can imagine being there at that moment? It must have been amazing. It wasn’t like today’s culture with all its special effect and lively entertainment. These were simple folk in primarily fishing, herding and small town living area. The world was not yet conditioned to downplay the spectacular. They had difficult lives, busy with living and survival and fetching water and catching fish or raising animals to eat or to sell or to trade for needed items. It was a very real, very earthy bunch that lived a rather unforgiving life that were able to witness Jesus Christ come into their city and touch every sick person that came to him and heal them. He cast out evil spirits and commanded fevers to leave and everything obeyed Him. The gentleness and generosity of our Savior had to shine through in that place. Not only did he serve them where they were and with what they needed lovingly but He also healed the land, cleaned it up of its demons and illness and ignorance. He brought beauty to a very dismal and bleak existence for everyone seeking out that change, wholeness from brokenness. The very cool thing is that He still works that way today. He is still alive and still touches everyone who needs Him and still cleans up and restores wholeness. And when He does, it is still as amazing as it was 2000 years ago and shines out even brighter than it did then because the rest of the world has become distracted and lethargic and rebellious with darkness and evil. However, He still shines and can still shine in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is still in charge and still the same gentle, generous God He ever was and always will be. And we will see Him very soon.

Leading

Leadership can be done four ways, which ironically match the four basic temperaments of most people. One option is the dictator. One is the “buddy” leader (those are complete opposites, by the way). One is the micro-manager. And the last is the star of the show leader. That last guy jokes and laughs and thinks the world should revolve around his greatness and fun-ness. This leader and the “buddy” leader are the least effective because people tend to not take them seriously or respect their authority least. This does not mean personally they fail but that their leadership style is not as effective because they are perceived as not serious (even if they are) or not willingly authoritarian enough to enforce punishments. The dictator is effective but not liked and the micromanager just drives everyone bonkers by being too picky or domineering or not letting people just do their jobs. All of these have pros and con’s individually. All have the capacity to get the job done, but the efficiency which gets it done and the travel time to completion varies per style of leadership. In contrast, most of the really great and effective leaders of this world now and from history are actually a blend or mix of these four, and the more balanced they were in all areas, the more effective they were and the happier those that followed their leadership were. This is a principle called by Jesus “being all things to all people” but still remaining pure in your own beliefs and convictions. So, as in the example of the greatest and most effective Leader of all time, we have a wonderful model to follow. Of course, we are not perfect as He was but we have the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit so we can approximate with His help. Now, this being said, only approximately 10% of people are what people consider “leaders” and the rest follow generally, but I believe that number should be inherently higher for Christ followers because part of our job is leading people to the Lord so He can save them. That being said, the first quality of leadership that Jesus exemplified is noticing people and seeing their motivations. So, discernment mixed with attention to detail is our first goal. Jesus also spoke truth and did not mix words when something needed to be done. So we need truth, clarity and conviction in our leadership. Also, Jesus took the time to pray. Self explanatory and imperative! Jesus met the needs of those following Him. To do this, He saw what they were and walked alongside them to provide those needs. So we can not forget the needs of those following and not be self-absorbed but show we care personally for them. Jesus also taught His followers and did not allow them to be finished with their work before they had completed. So, we need to instruct and not bark orders but also be persistent and consistent with our instructions and expectations. The biggest was that Jesus was compassionate and loving with His people. We need to be so also.