Love Is No Respector of Persons

When we love as Christ has commanded us to love, we love with no respect to persons.

Outside of Christ our love is conditional.  We love those who say they love us, we love those who love us, we love those who understand us, we love those who think like us, we love those who look like us.  When we love like that we’re falling short. Way short.

When we love people for particular reasons we distribute love unfairly.  We love someone because they do things for us, but what about the one who does nothing for us?  Do we still love them the same?  We love the one who loves us, but what about the one who hates us?  We know Christ has told us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us, but how?  

If we love based on particulars and conditions then it makes it hard for us to love just because.  We must grow beyond loving those who treat us well and love unconditionally- which is the way God loves us all.  We’ve gotten comfortable loving with conditions,  and this is not pleasing to God.

We must love with no respect to persons.

We must grow to a place of loving all– regardless of how they feel about us, what they say about us, or what they do to us.  None of that matters.  Honestly, the more we look at the shortcomings of others the more prideful we become and the harder it is to truly walk in love.  Instead of looking at their shortcomings, let’s look at the cross.

In order to love unconditionally, without respect to persons, we must fix our eyes on Jesus.  I know I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but the lesson is truly for me- The love we show to others has less to do with them and more to do with Jesus.

I’m getting it.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  – John 13:34-35

Margo

Do You Aim To Please? READ THIS.

Are you more concerned with pleasing people than you are with pleasing God?  Do you have an internal desire to keep the people in your life happy with what you do?  Do you spend time thinking about what people think of you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you, like me, are on the journey from people pleasing to God pleasing.  

We all have a need to belong.  When people scream I don’t need anyone they are lying.  We all need people in our life, and we all need people in our life to love us and accept us for who we are.  With that, though, we have to learn to keep people in their proper place.  Consider Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22).  The Lord tested Abraham’s commitment to Him, and Abraham passed.  And because of his commitment to God, he was blessed.

  He was set on pleasing God above everything.  Are you and I?

This scripture, written by the apostle Paul, has given me much encouragement lately:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  – Galatians 1:10

Trying to please people limits what we can do for Christ.

I believe that some people love Christ, even follow Him, but are severely limited by what they do can do for Him because of their inability to let go of people pleasing.

Let’s get free from pleasing people and set our sights on pleasing Christ.  Yes, it’s a journey, but it’s one that will change the entire course of our lives for the better.

I used to be a complete people pleaser.  Saying only what I knew people would agree with, afraid to say what they wouldn’t want to hear.  Saying yes to requests that were thrown my way only because I was afraid to say no.  By His grace that’s not me anymore.

Now I know that the people that I need in my life are pleased with me simply because of who I am, not because I’m doing what they want me to do.  Me being me is enough.  I need people around me that encourage me to do all that Christ has called me to do.  

Watch out for controlling people.  Controlling people love people pleasers.  Why?  They know they’ll do anything asked of them without a second thought.  Don’t do that.  Whether you do it or not, involve Christ in your decision.  Act on His leading.  Remember that there are many good things that we can be doing, but we want to focus our efforts on doing what God has called us to do.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  – Ephesians 2:10

In order to do all that God has ordained us to do, we must seek Him.  We must be set on pleasing Him and following Him.  If not, we’ll be distracted by everything that’s thrown our way. 

Don’t get distracted, and don’t aim to please people.  Keep your eyes set on Christ and allow Him to lead you to what He has for you.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.”  – I Corinthians 9:24

Margo

Just Love

The love we show to others has less to do with them, and more to do with Jesus.

Although we have been raised in a world that teaches us to love those who love us, we must grow past that.  We must grow to a place of loving, regardless of how others may treat us.  We must live a life of love.  Again, the love we show has nothing to do with people and has everything to do with what Jesus has done for us.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling  savour.”  – Ephesians 5:1

We love others just as Christ has loved us.  That simple.

Simple to understand yet not always easy to do.  It does get easier though after we make the decision to obey.  Once we decide that we are going to obey and love as Jesus has commanded us, He will help us.  He will give us exactly what we need, and He will not put more on us than we can bear.  The level of mistreatment that he allows your way is not more than what you are able to handle.  Yes, it will hurt, but you can handle it.

To love through the hurt is real love.  This is what Jesus is all about.  Love is much more than loving those who love you.  That’s simply just reciprocating affection.  Anyone can do that.  Jesus himself said:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” – Matthew 5:43-44

Loving our enemies requires maturity, obedience, and a love for God that motivates us to do whatever He commands us to do.  We also have to trust.  We trust that God will protect us, and that somehow He is getting glory out of the situation- which He always does, whether we realize it or not.

We know that God is a God of order, and while our perspective and sight is limited, He is able to see the beginning from the end.  He is able to see the hearts, and He is also able to see what will result from our obedience to Him.  He sees all, we just have to trust Him, and our trust for Him will enable us to obey Him.

We must never underestimate the power of obedience to God.

We must also keep in mind that we all will reap what we sow.  None of us can get away with wrongdoing.  We don’t know when or how it will come back on us, but it always comes back.  This is consolation for us when we know others are mistreating us.  They won’t get away with it, it’s just not our job to pay them back.  It’s always our job to love.

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  – Romans 12:19-21

No matter what comes your way: the lies, the masks, the hate, the rejection, the envy- Just love.

Don’t worry, don’t fear, and don’t fight back.  Just love and allow your enemies to see the goodness of the Lord in your life- all the days of your life.

Margo

Just Be

Have you ever been told: You are enough.

Life has a way of making us feel like we aren’t enough, like we have to do more and work harder to measure up to some imaginary, ever-changing standard.  Books titled 10 Ways to get Rich and 10 Steps to a Better Life become national best-sellers.  Why?  Because we’re all trying to be something that we feel we’re not.  We’re trying to make something happen.  We’re trying to be bigger, badder, better.  

We feel it’s not enough to just be.

The world tells us to be assertive, take what’s yours, and be confident cocky to get what you want.  If you believe it, you can achieve it.  Right?  Well, not always.  Some things will just be, whether you believe it or not.  While some things will never be no matter how much you believe it.  And I’ll also add, some things will never be no matter how bad you want it, how much you believe it, or how hard you work for it.

It’s not always about us working, sometimes it’s just about us being.  We have to learn to just be.

“And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you- you of little faith?  – Matthew 6:28-30

Lilies don’t work to be lilies.  They just are.  Likewise, we don’t have to work to be who God has already made us to be.  Get it?  He has already made us.  He made us in a particular fashion for a particular purpose.  We are already made, we don’t need to try and remodel ourselves.  He made us wonderfully, and marvelous are His works.

Now, don’t take me out of context.  I’m not saying we do nothing, or we become passive about life.  That’s not what I’m saying at all.  For we know that faith without works is dead, so we must do something.  Often, we must prepare ourselves, but even while we do that we can just be.  We don’t have to constantly toil and labor.

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”  – Psalm 127:1

Our work in vain leads us to believe that we did something, when in actuality God did it- and it would have been done whether we toiled or not.  Let’s not work in vain.  Let’s just be.

Esther was chosen to be queen.  The king loved her above all the women and she obtained favor from everyone that saw her.  That’s just how it was.  And did I mention she had neither father nor mother?

Just be.

Solomon was chosen by God to succeed his father as king.  

“Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.”  – I Chronicles 29:23

He was chosen.  He sat.  He prospered.

Just be.

Some things will just be, without any help from us.  We have to learn to just be and know that what’s for us is for us.  No one can take what’s ours and nothing can stop the plans of the Lord.  Instead of trying to make things happen, let’s ensure that we have a heart that God can work with.

“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”  – I Samuel 16:7

We don’t have to work harder or try to be something that we’re not.  We don’t have to try and make everything happen on our own.  

Honestly, some things that we receive in life will be because of nothing that we have done.  That’s called grace.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  – Matthew 6:33 

Just be.

Margo

Be an Individual

Before I am anything, I am an individual.  

Whatever I bring to my marriage, my children, my career, my relationships, and anything else that I’m apart of all starts with ME.  Sometimes I feel that we forget to be an individual first.

If we pull too close to other people then we are limiting ourselves to be the best that we can be.  I’m not discouraging closeness with others, but I am encouraging us to keep everything and everyone in its proper place.

We are social creatures so we do need trusting, healthy relationships; but none should be closer to us than Jesus.  We need positive role models and people we can look up to, but we should place none higher than Jesus.  We should be able to trust others, but we should also trust that they are human and we should trust none more than we trust Jesus.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”  – Psalm 118:8

In order to be an individual, we must know our priorities.  A lack of priorities can lead to chaos in our lives.  It’s hard to keep our roles and relationships in order if we haven’t yet put them in their proper place.  If we’re not careful then we’ll be who others want us to be as opposed to who God created us to be.  Don’t let anyone dictate and direct your life:

Be an individual.  Live your life.  

Now we do need someone to dictate our life, and that someone is God, and God alone.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  – Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust Him, not ourselves.  Acknowledge Him, and He will direct.  It’s simple, right?  Not always.  It’s simple to understand, which is a blessing for us.  Following God is not rocket science, it’s the day to day that we have to focus on implementing His Word in our lives.  We can do it, we just have to focus on it one day at a time.

Don’t pull people closer to you than Jesus.   If you do, you’ll only get what people can offer you which is much less than what Jesus has for you.  

Don’t sell yourself short.  Be an individual.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  – Romans 12:2

Margo

Everything Serves a Purpose

Being a child of God comes with many, many benefits and assurances.  One of them is that everything that happens in our life serves a purpose.

With God, nothing is purposeless, coincidental, or by accident.  The God who created the heavens, the earth,  and the universe is not capable of an accident.  There is also nothing that has happened to you that He didn’t allow.  Even the bad, hurtful, shameful things.

Why?  People debate why God allows evil.  Well, God loves us all so much that He created us with free will.  If He didn’t then we would all just be robots.  We wouldn’t be us.  It’s the things we do that make us who we are.  And with all the stupid things that we do, He still loves us and promises to never leave us nor forsake us.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  – Deuteronomy 31:8

Now, that’s love.  And on top of that, God is so good, powerful, and magnificent, that He can still work with all of our mistakes and make it into something good!  Goodness, I love Him!  He’s unmatched.  This is one of the ways that He works His power and shows us that yes, my friends, He is God.  And God alone.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  – Romans 8:28

God will sometimes allow painful situations in our lives to prevent us from being “exalted above measure” (II Corinthians 12:7). We all need to be humbled sometimes.  If everything always went the way we wanted it to go and we never experienced pain, we would be no good to anybody.  Our hurts develop our compassion.

When the apostle Paul cried out to God for relief from his pain, God’s reply was:

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  – II Corinthians 12:9

 Life isn’t perfect.  We’ve all experienced pain, hurts, and failures,  but we must remind ourselves that with God everything serves a purpose.  Sometimes it’s not even about the incident, but what God is trying to do through the incident.  Our key to success is to humble ourselves, pull close to God, and allow Him to do what He’s trying to do in us.  Yes, in us.  

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”  – James 4:10

Margo

Do you talk faith or LIVE faith?

What a difference it is to talk faith and to live faith.  One can understand faith, even discuss it, yet be unable to live it.

Why?  Living in faith requires us to put some action behind our talk.  You know the saying don’t write a check that your ….  Well, it’s like that.  It’s one thing to say it, it’s a totally different thing to do it.

Living in faith is not always easy.

Actually, as we walk with Christ and grow in Him, living in faith can seem to get harder.  Why?  Because we have to keep growing and in order to keep growing we are faced with obstacles that require us to put more action behind our talk.  Following Christ is not about just talking, it’s about doing.  It’s about maturing in character that changes what you do.

As we follow Christ our faith should grow.

Are you living in faith?  Or, are you just talking about it?  Do your actions display faith in Christ or a sufficiently of self?

As we grow in Christ we should begin to see ourselves as less and Christ as more.

He is the one.  He is the One that we follow.  He is the One that we trust.  For we know that we cannot even trust ourselves.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  – Matthew 26:41

Jesus is who we put our trust in.

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  – John 14:6

He is our life.  He has everything that we need.

It’s not easy following Christ.  Actually, it gets hard which is why so many people fall away.  People get discouraged by life’s circumstances and resort to doing things their own way.  They think at least they can see and understand their own way, as opposed to trusting in Christ who we cannot see with our natural eye.  Following Christ requires forsaking sight for faith.

We value what we don’t see more than what we do see.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”  – II Corinthians 5:7

I know it gets hard, but I also know it’s worth it.

I know that Christ needs soldiers that He can depend on to follow Him even when the going gets tough.  We have to show the world that His way works.  It does.  No matter how hard it gets, His way works.

No one in life is exempt from problems, but with Christ we know that we have the victory.  For I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  I know that He will never put more on His children than what they can bear. That I know.

I know that I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.  These are the things that we must know and believe in order to keep on following Him.

As we follow Christ we have to know that we must talk and live faith, so don’t be surprised when circumstances come your way that require you to exercise your faith.

Now is the time to live your faith.

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”  – II Timothy 2:3

Margo