Love Instead…

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Betrayal… we have all been there. We have been betrayed and we have even been the betrayer. The pain is often unbearable. It consumes and seeks to destroy us. Sometimes it even succeeds.

How do we prevent this from happening? When you open your heart to people and relationships, it is almost inevitable that betrayal will happen. Not always and maybe not often, but it will happen, at least once. The only way to prevent it is to close yourself off to everyone, and never have any kind of relationship… what happens then? Loneliness, depression, and ultimately betrayal from the world and Satan, because he will swoop in and cover you with all the lies.

In order to move forward and truly heal from the pain of betrayal, we must first forgive and then love. WHAT? Really??? Yes, really. And I know you probably think I have lost my mind. I know you are thinking, I could never forgive this person and definitely never love them again! Oh, I understand, believe me. I have been there on both sides, the receiving and the giving.

The crazy thing about all of this is, when we forgive and choose to love over hatred and anger, GOD heals our heart, supernaturally. Once we let go and give this person to GOD, He begins the healing process and takes that HUGE burden off your heart! In fact, the longer we keep it on our heart, the more pain it produces and then the healing process is so much longer!

Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”~ Oswald Chambers 

So, what do you think? I mean, it can’t hurt. On the contrary… it might even stop the hurt!

Forgiveness and love are intertwined and in them is where we find true healing. It is also where we find the Father’s heart and draw closer to Him in this time. To me, that is so much better than the lonely, dark, painful time that we exist in as we hold onto unforgiveness and hate on the heels of a betrayal. Find God’s peace and healing in forgiving.  And then climb into HIS unconditional love and be who you are meant to be!!!

LivingInLove

Forgiveness is LOVE

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Welcome to my thoughts on FORGIVENESS…

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We have all been hurt by someone in our life, possibly many times and many people. In that hurt, sometimes it is hard to forget. More importantly, it is often hard to forgive.

Often, instead of forgiving, people want to hurt back. They want revenge. And that is the worst thing to do!

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WHY? Hurt them as bad as they hurt me… right?

No, it won’t make you feel any better. It will even make you feel worse. Who you are as a person will also be damaged. Growing as a person is important. Thinking of others and being loving and forgiving no matter how others treat you is how you grow as a person.

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God has forgiven each of us and gives that option daily. The Father offers forgiveness to us often and always. Because of that, He asks us to extend forgiveness to others too. It is integral as a child of God.

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Love is only possible with forgiveness. As we forgive, we understand what LOVE truly is.

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As we understand LOVE, we will understand the nature of GOD. GOD who is LOVE. In that love for us, GOD sent His son JESUS to die for our sins. In that ultimate act of love, JESUS gives us a way to forgiveness and the Father.

jesus is the way

As we forgive, we release the burden the unforgiveness placed on us. We give it to God and He deals with it. I  believe that this release is also a way of breaking away a spiritual block, or wall, if you will. That one thing could have been preventing fullness of life. The wall was blocking the open receiving of all of God’s goodness in our life. Not only that, it is very clear in scripture that if we don’t forgive, God will not forgive us…

14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.    Matthew 6:14-14 (MSG)

That, to me, would be the absolute worst! God not forgiving me??? No Way! So, I choose to forgive, even when I don’t feel like it, out of obedience and love for the LORD. Many times, it has actually shown me that what I was so unforgiving about was really a small, unimportant thing.

But, also remember, forgiveness does not represent acceptance, it represents love… the love of JESUS!

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.    Ephesians 4:32(NASB)

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SEASONS Change…

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Life is full of so many things. Moments creating memories. These are the seasons in life.

SEASONS of happiness

SEASONS of sadness

Even though some seasons might seem almost unbearable, and you cannot wait for them to be gone. You have the ones that you will want to remember and even relive over and over because they were so amazing!

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Each season brings opportunities.

Opportunities to FORGIVE

Opportunities to LOVE

Each moment is a deciding factor in what will happen next. And what happens next defines who we are. Who we are is determined by how we respond in happiness and sadness…

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Character is strengthened throughout the seasons in life. Or, character is broken down. Choosing to follow God and His will for your life will help you in making better choices… choices that will lead you to a fullness of life.

Fullness of life…ABUNDANCE

As the Father intended for all of us. Abundance in happiness AND in sadness, because JESUS is with us through ALL of it!!! And with Him walking beside us in each season, we are stronger.

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Seasons come and seasons go. Things in our life change, CONSTANTLY. It’s a mere fact of life. And unfortunately, a lot of our seasons and life experience are really ones we would rather have a “do-over” on! But, as I believe the LORD has a plan, I also believe that our strength and character come from EVERY season we walk through.

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Every tear we cry, makes us stronger

Every smile we share, makes us stronger

Every broken heart, makes us stronger

Every prayer we speak, makes us stronger

Every time we choose love… we are made stronger

Every time we mirror JESUS and respond in HIS love… we walk with the FATHER.

And one thing I know to be true is walking with the FATHER is the ONLY place I ever want to be. WHY???

A season with HIM is ALWAYS better than one without HIM!!!

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It’s All in the Family

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How many times have you thought about someone and thought, man if they weren’t family, I would never speak to them again?

Yes, we get that mad sometimes.

Well, not us, no never… all the people not reading this. Ha! I bet you have been on the receiving end of that thought. Families can be tough.

But we are family, so we do love and stick together regardless of what happens.

LOVE

Or at least we should. This is the picture of the Greek word for love, storge. Storge is the kind of love we feel towards our parents, our children, our siblings and anyone else who is a family member. In the Greek, storge is defined as parental affection or instinctual affection by humans and animals for their young. (wordnik.com) It is the kind of love that comes naturally, paternally even.

This love is not found in the New Testament. Instead there are two negative uses and a compound use of the word. In both Romans 1:31 and 2 Timothy 3:3, the word astorgos is used, meaning no love or without love. (gotquestions.org/whatisstorgelove?) In Romans 12:10 it is used in combination with phileo as philostorgos. In this instance the translation is to be devoted and to cherish one’s kindred.

This is a picture of what God’s family should look like, where we are all considered brothers and sisters through Jesus and thus we should love each other as such.

In this love level, there is a focus on time.

TIME…

As we go through life with our families, we should be spending time with them. God has chosen each person in our families to be who they are, the sibling, the parent, the aunt or uncle, the grandparent. Each of these roles is integral in the functioning of the family.

This could be compared to the picture of the body of Christ. Each of us in the body have a specific anointing which if we do not accept it, then part of the body will not function properly.

FAMILY = BODY of CHRIST

The same is true of the family. Each person has their role and are important to the family unit. When there are hurt feelings or discord within the family, there are often trials and even unforgiveness. You all know what I am talking about, I am sure. Maybe some of you have even experienced it where one or more members disagree about something and stop talking while holding onto bitterness because they cannot forgive the other person.

That is not a picture of love on any level.

We should always be forgiving of anyone for any wrong. As we understand the difference between acceptance and forgiveness, we can forgive without making the person think what they did was right. Moreover, as we understand God’s love, and His forgiveness of our sins, all of them, we come to understand what that looks like for us as we are a reflection of Him.

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.”                        Mark V. Olsen

Another picture of love is now on the horizon.

As I think about family and what that means to me, I think not only of my blood family, but also of my spiritual family. So often, family is those who are related to us in some way. But, guess what? Our spiritual family is related to us through blood too… through the blood of Jesus!!! And even though the Bible does not refer to family much, as the earthly family, the family of God is spoken of many times. One of the sections that I think most personifies the family of God is the following verse from Ephesians:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.   (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Love is family.

Family is love.

Whatever your family looks like, make sure you appreciate them, spend time with them, and above all… love them!!!

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I CAN Forgive

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How can I FORGIVE?

You took all I had to give…

I feel so very empty

Hurt is all that is inside of me

Anger is now consuming

Swirling around and growing…

How can I possibly let go?

So confused… I don’t even know…

But then in the darkness

Comes the ONE who loves me

JESUS takes away the hurt, the anger

HE replaces it with something better

Love, His love, 

The love that loves anyway

Forever and Always

Even when it hurts

Even in anger

Love eases, comforts, heals

Love strengthens, reveals

In that love we see how He loves us and once again we live

Once more, surrounded by the love of the Father

I can forgive…

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Saying Sorry…

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I don’t even know how to begin this except by jumping in. Saying sorry is probably one of the hardest things that we have to do and probably one of the things we will do most often in our life. AGREE?? 

Now think about forgiving the person once they say I am sorry. How do you respond? Do you easily say,

Sure, of course I forgive you! 

Or is this more likely your response…

Are you kidding.. do you know how bad you hurt me? How could I possibly forgive you?

I bet it would be a close battle on which answer we chose as our response. Of course, I am sure it would also depend on the situation and the level of hurt it produced. You know what though? We should forgive, no matter what. Why? Because we are told to by Jesus Himself…

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  Mark 11:25

Even though we are hurt, we should still forgive someone, especially when they ask for forgiveness. It is clear that the Father will not forgive us for our transgressions against others and Him if we don’t forgive others. And me for one, I don’t want to chance the Father not forgiving me. I want His forgiveness and His love all over me!

Make love not war is something I am sure all of us have heard at some point in our lives. And, honestly, it is something that I think all of us should strive to live for. Wouldn’t the world be a better place of we all loved instead of fighting? Not only that, isn’t loving so much easier than fighting?

Sometimes our inability to forgive others comes from the fact that we cannot forgive ourselves. Again, the same fact stands true that before God can forgive us, we must forgive others. That includes ourselves…

SAY I’M SORRY… FORGIVE…LET GO… MOVE FORWARD…

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The best way to be free, be free in the Spirit, is to let go of all things that weigh you down. The things of unforgiveness are really heavy and hard to carry. If we let Jesus take them from us, we no longer have to be burdened. We will be free, truly free!!!!

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)

Say you are sorry now, for anything that is before you. In that moment, think of those who you need to forgive and relay that too. Be sorry and forgive… once you do that, FREEDOM will ensue and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. To me, that one of the most amazing things ever!

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Why Forgive?

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Forgiveness and connection. I experienced, even as of late, that in order to have a stronger, deeper and more intimate connection with people, you MUST have forgiveness. Moreover, that forgiveness might even need to be paired with some grace.

We all do things in our lives that are not the greatest… none of us are perfect. The only one who can claim that is Jesus Christ!

It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 1 Peter 1:19 (NLT)

As we do those not so great things and make bad choices, well, we all hurt others in those moments, while ultimately hurting ourselves in the process. We then proceed to build walls and sometimes break connections with people too, all in an effort to protect ourselves.

In order to truly love in an intimate relationship, you cannot have walls. You also must have a connection in which you are continually connecting more and more with each other, drawing closer and closer together. Why in our effort to protect ourselves, do we hurt ourselves more? We have all been hurt. Sometimes the answer is simply that we are afraid of being hurt again. There is fear… God wants to take that fear away and does in the perfection of His love.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.   1 John 4:17-18 (MSG)

Stop for a minute and search your heart. Search your heart with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and look at your relationships. Is there fear? Is there unforgiveness? Are you connected intimately? Or, are there walls everywhere you turn? Even walls that are short are obstacles preventing the relationship from being all it can be. In a healthy, connected, intimate relationship there should be no walls and no fear… only LOVE.

Now is the time for you to trust God and His love. Forgive and move forward with each person in your life whether they are close to you or just an acquaintance. Why not take a chance on God’s promise and share the forgiveness and grace He shared. Break down all those walls that have been built up around you. If you do it with a pure heart and with the help of the Holy Spirit, you will see and feel a difference. the weight you have been carrying around will be lifted and your heart will be filled with joy. I have done it, even though I honestly didn’t believe it could make such a difference, Jesus knew I was carrying around that bag of stuff that I was supposed to give over to Him.

The coolest thing about all of this is that once I forgave others and myself I was able to begin knocking down the walls I had built. More importantly, God was able to begin changing me on the inside. Once I was cleaned out, He could really move in and take over! Now the Father is working inside me like never before. Are you ready? Why not let go of it all now… it is time for true FREEDOM!!!

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Bible verses taken from: https://www.biblegateway.com

 

 

 

Forgiveness is True Love

Forgiveness is true love… Hum, how does that statement affect you? Hopefully it gets your mind thinking and it stirs your heart as well. I truly think the two are related merely because our God who is love is a God of forgiveness. So, in essence, in order to be walking in love, you should also be walking in forgiveness. Agree?

Let’s dig a little deeper…

Here’s a definition for forgive:

to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong)

to stop blaming (someone)

to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)

So, we basically let go of anything that has been done to us by someone else when we forgive. We no longer have anger or blame toward the person or persons who hurt us. Now, that sounds good and in a perfect world, it is totally doable. But we do not live in a perfect world and because of that, we often struggle with forgiveness. All of us do, including me. Here’s where a higher power comes into play. God, as I referred to above, is a God of forgiveness. Consequently, He forgives us for anything and everything we do. Once we have the been forgiven, our Father forgets the offense and no longer reminds us of it. How is that possible? Because of who God the Father is and because of His amazing love for us.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.      

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

As we are told in the Bible, we are to love others. Loving others includes forgiving others, giving grace to those around us. That is the ultimate way to be a light to the world and show God’s love to the world. Often, the actual act of forgiveness and letting go is very difficult, thus the need for help. The only help that truly enables us to forgive anyone and everyone for anything is Jesus Christ. Let’s look for a minute at one integral point in the life of Christ where He is seen in the ultimate act of forgiveness…

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.          

Luke 23: 33-34 (NKJV)

Jesus asked God the Father to forgive those who crucified Him. Wow! The ultimate forgiveness. You know what though? We are given that power through Jesus to to have that same forgiveness towards others. Moreover, in that forgiveness, we bring others closer to God. He uses our obedience to Him and our loving all of His creation as a way to bring hope to the world. This act  brings us closer to the final glory of glories.

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!                                          

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NKJV)

Love is a picture of God and who He is. In that love, He provided forgiveness and essentially grace and mercy for us, His children. As we love with His love, we are able to give forgiveness freely, thereby walking in our identity as sons and daughters of God the Father. Love is above all things as is the Lord. Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love, true love, God love.

“If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.” Mother Theresa

Definition for forgiveness from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgiveness

Bible verses from the New King James Version Bible

Proverbs picture from https://www.pinterest.com/source/peachy-blisss.tumblr.com/

Mother Theresa quote from http://quotesgram.com/forgiveness-quotes-from-the-bible/