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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Forty years. Number one.

A few months ago I started a list ... it was supposed to be a list of 40 things I've learned in my forty years here on this earth. I had **planned** to publish it as a blog post :) but alas, it never got done. So instead, I will turn it in to several blog posts. We'll see how this goes.
  1. We must love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. It's easy to say, but if your heart is not in the right place, it's impossible to do.
The number one thing I have learned in my forty years on this earth is: Following Jesus is rooted in a foundation of loving God and loving others. That's it. If it's rooted in anything else, it is your own religion.

What is love? Well, I actually did a post not too long ago about that very thing. Here is a link to it - LOVE - but I'll just post it below because it's not that long.

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The bible has a lot to say about it, but how many really believe it? It is the fulfillment of the law - a pretty serious thing as far as I can tell. According to 1 Corinthians 13, even if your faith is so strong that it can move mountains, if you do not have love your faith means absolutely nothing. And even if you give every last thing you own to the poor, if you do not have love it profits you absolutely nothing. Or even if you have great knowledge and understanding of all mysteries, if you do not have love your knowledge is all in vain. You could even give your body up to be burned ... but if you do not have love, it means nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. ...
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Is this you? If you had to stand before the judgment seat right now, would the Judge say this was you? Do you suffer long with others? Are you kind to everyone? Do you seek to put the needs of others before yourself? Are you slow to anger? Do you think kind thoughts of others instead of evil thoughts? Do you shun and reprove gossip? If someone else falls, do you help them up?

It seems to me that as long as we have true LOVE for God and others, everything else will eventually fall in to place. If we are able to love others as Christ loved/loves them, we have his heart and are walking in his path. We are branches in the vine.

It starts and ends with love and love fills up everything in between.
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We show our love for God by putting action to our love - and that shows most by how we treat others. First, others in our home, then in our neighborhoods, then communities, and elsewhere. I've been really blessed reading Mother Teresa again here lately. She stresses that love starts at home. If you cannot behave in a loving way towards those in your very own home, how can you love your neighbor? And how can you love God whom you cannot see if you cannot love those in your own home whom you can see? (my thoughts, but they stemmed from something I read of hers)

It's easy to go out into the world and help others. Put on a good face, do a few good deeds, and feel good about what you did. But then when you go home, do you suddenly change? Are you as nice to your husband and children as you are to those you just helped out in the world? Do you serve them with a smile on your face and thankfulness in your heart? Or maybe you do not have a husband or children at home? The thought still applies; you know what I'm talking about. How do you treat those who are closest to you?

Do you love yourself as you are right now? There's something to that! I mean, if you do not love yourself as you are right now, how are you going to be able to "love others as you love yourself"? If something is not right, pray to God for help and strength to make things right. You must desire to change - desire to be pleasing to God.

So, love really starts first with YOU, in your own heart, and then at home with those who are around you every day.

Opportunities to be a blessing are ALL AROUND YOU!!! Purposefully look for them. Every morning when you wake up think, "How can I be a blessing to others today?" Maybe the answer will be something as simple as "be patient" or "smile more". "How can I show that I love this person?" Make a list if you have to :) :) :) and check it often. Sometimes that helps keep it in the front of your mind.

A word of caution. The bible warns us about women who are idle, busybodies, going from house to house talking about things they should not be talking about. In today's world, this can happen without even leaving your home: the internet and social media. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder what is being neglected so mothers and wives can spend time catching up on the latest gossip. It happens. It's very sad, but it happens. Satan is ***robbing*** you and your loved ones!! taking you away from your God-given responsibilities (blessings!) to participate in things that are not pleasing to God. Be careful! This is not the fruit of godly love!

Instead of being busy on social media, be busy filling your day with being a blessing and loving others. In return, YOU will be greatly blessed!!!

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