Refinement

This last year has been a difficult transition for me, going from two littles, to three. Just as I was getting used to two, a third came along, and challenged me in a whole new way. My youngest is almost a year now, and I’m finally beginning to feel a little more myself, and like I have things somewhat under control. I use the term loosely, because while things are still challenging, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m feeling a little more knowledgeable in my parenting skills, and abilities (or lack thereof, lol).

I’ve realized–especially after reading “No Better Mom for the Job” by Becky Keife–I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mom. I prefer parks with fences; and carrying the baby in a carrier, so I have two free hands for other things like chasing/grabbing my toddler, pushing the girls on the swing, helping them use the toilet, and getting them in/out of a pushcart. I plan outings around nursing, meals, naps, and bed times; and I plan meals and snacks in advance, so that I’m not scratching my head every couple hours, with a trio of crying hungry kids at my heels. And if I expect to have a real conversation with someone, it’s not going to happen with my kids running around.

Motherhood seems to come easy to some, but not to me. I’m challenged daily, by my children. I love them and love to teach and disciple them, but I’m an introvert blessed with three very needy and rowdy children. Hence, the reason it’s been such a long time in between my posts. I’m exhausted by the end of the day; and while I go to bed pretty early, I still have to drag myself out of bed most mornings. The best time for me to study the Word, pray, and journal is when I plug in my headphones and ignore the kids for an hour in the afternoon, (lol, I do keep my eyes on them from the dining room, in case you’re worried). So, if you think that the only time to study the Word with kids in the house, is early in the morning before they wake up, and you’re not a morning person, don’t let that stop you.

Regardless of how challenging motherhood can be, I wouldn’t change it. My children are a gift. A gift that, quite frankly, I don’t deserve. I think we’ve discussed this before, but God uses my children to grow me into the person He desires me to be. My children challenge my selfish nature, they teach me patience, endurance, gentleness, self-control (daily, I might add, lol). They teach me to show forgiveness, and to ask for forgiveness, when I fall short. They remind me constantly of the importance of knowing, learning, and being transformed by the Word, because they ask all the questions, and watch the hubby and I closely, every day.

The world says that children aren’t worth all the trouble, that they prevent us from reaching our full potential, goals and dreams. The Word says that children are a heritage (Psalm 127:3-5). I had to look that word up, it means an inheritance; in other words, they are valuable. And I’d even go so far as to say that my children will help me reach my full God-given potential. God designed my children specifically for me, and me for them; it’s symbiotic. We shape each other.

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,

But the LORD tests hearts.

Proverbs 17:3, NASB

Parenting is a refining process. All our impurities come to the surface in the fire that is parenthood, and our shortcomings and flaws are on display for those closest to us to see, and then they’re often reflected back to us in our children. 😳 I can’t tell you how often I find myself face to face with my own sin–pride, selfishness, jealousy, etc.–being reflected back at me in the face of my child. It’s here, especially, that I’m forced to throw up my hands in surrender, and cry out, “I can’t” or “I don’t know what I’m doing!…God, help me! Forgive me. You have all the answers. Please give me wisdom and direction.”

That’s not to say that if you don’t have children, you can’t be shaped into the man or woman God wants you to be. God will mold and shape you in other ways, but for me, in this season, this is where He has me. This is how the Potter’s shaping me more and more into His image. What, in your life or circumstances, is God using to mold you, these days? What has He been revealing to you?

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;

we are the clay, and you are our potter;

we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8, ESV

Sacrificing Our Comfort in the Season of Motherhood

Over the last few months I’ve had a prompting to write, but never the solitude or freedom to think deeply on any one subject. Even now, as I write there’s a sleeping soon-to-be 6 month old on my lap, a 4 year old on my left trying to tickle my arm, and a two-year-old on my right messing with the remote controls and my Bible. I’ve realized over the last few weeks that as difficult as it can be to study my Bible during these long days of motherhood, it’s always worth it, and God always rewards my act of obedience.

The word I like to use here, is sacrifice, because it truly is a a sacrifice during this stage in my life, to pull out the Word and meditate on its truth when I could be cleaning the never-ending messes: dishes, laundry, diaper changes, feedings, cooking, teaching, or even escaping, via social media or television. But to let the other things go, so that I can focus on what really matters, is a sacrifice.

To get up extra early to serve on my church’s worship team is also a sacrifice. I’m an introvert that runs out of energy after serving, and I have three littles that demand attention, regardless of how I feel. But I get up extra early to prep myself and get everybody else changed, fed, and prepared with snacks, diapers, water, etc. But as difficult as it is, I love it. I love to worship, I love that my kids love to be with their friends at church and get to learn about the Lord in community. And although, I usually don’t even get to hear the sermon, in its entirety–because of the baby–I show up and try to focus on what tidbits I can get. (That’s what makes my personal Bible study so important.)


I began this post over a month ago, but never felt it was complete. But this past Sunday, I put the baby in the nursery after worship, and was able to actually take notes! Funny enough, pastor’s message really spoke to me about a similar topic. The message was on breaking patterns that hinder (we were looking at Matthew 20:29-34), but the parts that really spoke to me were about not giving up, and pushing through, even when the circumstances aren’t ideal for change; and stepping out boldly and believing God. Pastor said that we’re afraid to be vulnerable with God, but I added in my notes that I think we’re also afraid of what He’s calling us to do. Whether because we fear it being too difficult, or time consuming, or we simply don’t want to sacrifice our comfort (ouch!). There’s that word, again.

The two blind men found in Matthew had to overcome many obstacles to be right where they needed to be. I’m sure it was uncomfortable. People were pushing and shoving to see Jesus; they knew He’d pass through, but not exactly when. They could have been there for hours. And when they heard Jesus was passing through, they yelled as loud as they could. Every time I read this passage I picture these men screaming like there’s no tomorrow! They were desperate for Jesus and refused to be overlooked. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He had exactly what they needed. Just like these men, tired, overextended momma, God is asking you to show up, seek Him, cry out to Him, despite the obstacles and distractions, and He promises to give you exactly what you need.

Doers of the Word

I finished up the devotional I was reading over the last month, or so, and began reading straight from my Bible again. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover a few times, so I wasn’t really sure where to resume reading, but finally decided on book of Romans.

Paul’s letter to the church at Rome is pretty straightforward. He briefly greets the church and then jumps right into discussing the divinity of Christ, the grace–and life–we’ve received through His death and resurrection, and the commission we’ve received to encourage obedience to the faith and make disciples (Romans 1:4-5, 16).

Paul goes on to share how God has revealed Himself to mankind through His handiwork, or creation, and we have no excuse not to show the honor and glory due Him. Yet, there were those who “claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]” (Romans 1:22, AMP). And here is were I began getting a little highlighter crazy within this chapter, because I could see so much of this taking place in our current culture.

And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, until they were filled with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers, slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents. [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless. Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.

Romans 1:28-32, AMP

So, if you’re like me, you instantly recognize this happening right now. Personally, I find it to be disheartening, frustrating, and often incredibly angering. But then I got to chapter two…

Here, Paul begins correcting the church because they judged those who weren’t walking with the Lord, while they, themselves, behaved in a similar manner; and I immediately thought about how easy it is to allow hatred into our hearts, or to malign those who steal, kill, and destroy. However, hatred, malice, and acting upon anger, are also SIN! God’s kindness should lead us to repentance and soften our hearts for the lost, because it’s His will that none be lost; and if we consider ourselves believers, we must act in accordance with His will (Romans 2:4).

We cannot claim to walk in the light, and/or be teachers of the Word, if we act, and react, in the same manner as the world–with bitterness, cursing, contempt, name-calling, backbiting, etc. How often, do we see, or hear a fellow believer (or even ourselves!) speaking harshly, calling another individual a nasty name, or wishing others harm or ill? Brothers and sisters, this SHOULD NOT BE. Our hearts should be full of love and we should speak in gentleness. As James 3:10-12 (ESV) says, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” The world already fears and despises being exposed to the light, let’s not give them other reasons to be turned off to the Truth found in the Gospel.

My prayer is that God continue to soften our hearts for the lost, and that we seek His face and His Kingdom, before all else. And may we season our speech with the salt of love and grace, that it may be palatable, yet full of Truth, to those we come into contact with each day. Love and peace to you all, take care, and have a great week!

The Wise Man Builds His House Upon the Rock

Last week, I made a Facebook comment, in which I encouraged someone to do some research about what they believed, and was suddenly attacked and cursed. Every assumption this person made about me was false, which just proved my point about doing your own research, but not wanting to argue with a stranger over social media, I simply walked away from the conversation.

Over the years, I’ve had similar discussions, with people whose opinion actually mattered to me, and was really hurt by them. I believe that God used those opportunities for me to grow closer to Him and learn exactly who He created me to be. I’m an introvert, which means it takes a lot for me to open up to people and be vulnerable; but I care deeply for people, even if it’s difficult for me to express.

After this FB encounter, I was reminded how important it is to deeply be rooted in Christ and to know who we are in Him. Later, as I read the sermon on the mount with my preschooler, we read about the wise man building his house upon the rock, and I thought, “how fitting.”

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:24-27, ESV

It is becoming increasingly important that we be the wise man, building upon the solid Rock. That way, when not only the storms of life come, but the people around us attack, pressure, and belittle us for what we believe, we have a firm foundation that can’t be shaken. If we’re unsure of what we believe, when that rain beats down we’re gonna flail about and fall. Therefore, I encourage you to seek the Lord, read the Word, pray, ask for discernment in all things, because we are constantly being bombarded with things that we should be questioning, things that don’t line up with the Word, and we need a firm foundation if we desire to remain standing tall.

A solid foundation is even more important in building the Church as it is in building a home.

Seek Him

Something has been nagging at me the last few weeks, that I felt needed sharing. Many, including myself, have expressed the struggle they’ve had over the last year to hear the voice of God. Many of us have been stuck in our homes, feeling isolated, or overwhelmed by news, politics, family responsibilities, and our own fears and anxieties. Personally, I had “mommy brain” for a few months, which thankfully, has cleared up a little, now that I’m in my 7th month of pregnancy.

Well, a few weeks ago, I was on the worship team at church and we were having some technical difficulties, during service. We just continued to worship with the acoustic guitar, but the Pastor shared that God had been questioning her love for him, much like Jesus did to Peter after the resurrection when He repeatedly asked, “Do you love me?” And my mind went to Jeremiah 29:13 which states that we’ll find Him when we seek Him with all our heart. If you’re like me, or Pastor, our answer, of course, is “yes, Lord, we love You,” but I had to ask myself, have I truly been seeking Him with my whole heart? Have you? With all the distracting noise of 2020, were we really, truly seeking Him?

I’ve been investing more time and energy into reading and prayer, but since my focus hasn’t been the best, I’ve found myself reading more devotionals and hymns (which usually aren’t my go-to). I prefer the Word, straight up; however, since I’m going through a season of sleeplessness, exhaustion, and littles (with a preschooler & toddler), meditating on the Word, like I’d prefer, hasn’t been possible. I don’t get much alone time, and even my devotional time is littered with questions and requests from my 3 year old. But I refuse to let this season get the best of me, because I love the Lord and I desire to hear His voice, but also because both my family, and I, benefit from me spending time with the Lord.

We talk about seasons a lot here, because each season comes with new challenges, and opportunities for growth, that I’m continually grappling with. But no matter our season–student, career-oriented, or entrepreneur; single, married, divorced; new parent, seasoned, struggling (lol, how I often feel), empty nester, or even grandparent–our need for Christ never diminishes.

Our heart should continually be seeking His face, His will, and plan. Let’s not allow a busy season, or a season with lots of unknowns, ups and downs, challenges, or distractions prevent us from seeking His face. For He desires to speak with us, to comfort us, to grow our faith, and to be our strong tower and strength when we finally come to the realization that we can’t do it alone. We must all come to the end of ourselves and lay it all at the feet of the cross, at some point, maybe even multiple times (a day!).

What’s funny is that’s been the “word” He’s placed in my heart for the past year…surrender. What do we need to surrender to God? Is it our relationships? Children? Health? Our career? Government? Future? Because if we believe He’s over all, we must be willing to walk that out! But no matter what, we must first seek Him, for when we do, He promises that we will find Him.

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Psalm 27:8, ESV

Let it Go

Hey, ladies and gents! I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve written. 2020 was a crazy year and I’ve been stuck at home with two kiddos under 3, with really hardly any time for myself, or really to just think.

When Ms. E turned one in September, the hubby and I were just beginning to have the “are we gonna try for a third?” talk. Honestly, I was a little freaked out by the prospect. I had a mini panic attack in the shower just thinking about it, one night; but then God reminded me that He wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. I just had to trust and rely on Him. Isn’t that where He always wants us? In a place of full surrender and dependency on Him.

As it turned out, we’re expecting again, and due June 2021. I guess that moment in the shower was God’s way of giving me a heads up, lol.

With each pregnancy, I’m reminded how the changes in my body and the development of the baby in my womb are beyond my control. I can only trust God’s plan and walk in faith. But it’s not always easy. Every doctor’s visit I can’t help but hold my breath in anticipation of hearing that little “whoosh whoosh” of baby’s heartbeat.

This weekend, as I drove to the grocery store, alone (whew!), I began praying over the state of our country. To be honest, it gives me some anxiety. And I was reminded, yet again, that my faith is not in our leaders, our constitution, or even in our country (you may want to take a look at my last post for more on this), but in Jesus Christ, alone. No matter what, we must keep our eyes focused on Him. We must teach our children to love Him, follow Him, and share Him within our spheres of influence. Because that’s really all we CAN do. Just like a pregnancy, there are really so many things beyond our control, and the only thing we can do about such things, is pray Gods will, and let it go.

Therefore, if you’re worried about something–or someone–we cannot control or influence (which covers a pretty wide spectrum), PRAY and LET. IT. GO. Focus on what we can control…our tongue, our actions, the things we entertain in our minds, the information we consume. Anger, bitterness, fear, anxiety, divisiveness, have no place in a believer’s heart, even if others allow these things to consume them. We’re supposed to be different. We’re supposed to be imitators of Christ, led and empowered by the Holy Spirit!

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. ~ Galatians 5:16-17, ESV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. ~ Galatians 5:22-26, ESV

So, again, I say pray and let it go. Take care and God bless.

False Sense of Security

I’ve been struggling for the right words to share, lately. I think it’s because the world has been so loud, angry, and distracting; and my hubby was traveling for work, so I’ve just been really busy with the kids. But a few thoughts have come to mind these last couple weeks, that I felt I should share.

First, in the United States we experience freedoms that are rather unique from many countries around the world. The First Amendment of our Constitution protects freedoms of religion, speech, and to peaceably petition the government against grievances. Right now, in places around the world, there are people literally disappearing because they disagree with their country’s leaders. Additionally, according to Open Doors, more than 260 million Christians live in places where they experience “high persecution.” Places where they are physically attacked and/or killed, detained or imprisoned without trial, and/or shunned from their communities/families for their faith in Christ.

Religious freedom is what brought pilgrims to the shores of the New World in 1620, and it’s one of the things Americans have taken pride in ever since. Recently, however, I’ve been reminded how much we’ve taken these freedoms and protections for granted. I mean, other nations have no protections in their government for freedom of expression of religion, and in many places it’s actually the government that prohibits it.

Second, I’ve noticed a lot of people proclaiming it’s the end times and a lot of studies on the book of Revelations going on. While I’ll agree that there are many signs of this, and it’s never a bad idea to know what’s to come, the bible tells us that the day and hour of Christ’s return is unknown (Matthew 24:36, 44); and also that it will be like the days of Noah, and people will just be going about life as usual (Matthew 24:37-39).

What does it mean that it will be like the days of Noah? Well, in Genesis 6 we’re told a few things about those days. 1) That the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 2) that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 3) The earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and 4) it was filled with violence. I mean, the whole earth was so bad, that God wanted to start fresh. That should tell us something!

Noah and his family were only saved, because Noah found favor with God, walked with God, and ultimately, was obedient to God. This is where we should be concerned. We should be in a place of continual communion with God, surrender to God, and obedience to God. No matter what is going on around us, we shouldn’t lose focus on the promises of God.

The promise of His return, the promise of His coming judgment, and the promise of eternal life for all who believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord of their life, are where believers should place our hope.

Third, when Jesus was asked about the end times He had this to say: “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:4-14, ESV, emphasis added).

Did you catch that? The beginning of birth pains. Anybody who has ever given birth will tell you, it’s not the contractions at the beginning that are tough, it’s those that come just before it’s time to push that are unbearable; and sometimes it takes a long time to get to that point. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the amount of persecution the Church will eventually face; and we’re not talking about just in the States, we’re talking globally. So, we should definitely be aware of what’s happening around us.

(The books of Daniel and Revelation have more to say on this time of tribulation, as well.)

And finally, I want to remind you of this…the “freedoms” we hold in the U.S. really offer a false sense of security, because one day it won’t matter how much we hem and haw about our loss of rights and freedoms, they will ultimately be taken away, according to biblical prophecy. God’s plan will unfold exactly as He says it will, and there will be nothing anybody can do about it. We are part of God’s story; not the other way around. That’s why we’re told not to fear men, who are able to kill our flesh and not our soul, but God, who has the ability to destroy both in hell (Matthew 10:28).

Truth be told, we should be less concerned with the when and how the end will come, and more concerned about being found taking care of the Father’s business, when that time does come (Matthew 24:42-46). So seek Christ. Seek His will. Proclaim His truth. Walk with the Father in humility, and live your faith, just as much as–if not, more than–you talk about it. Because there’s no country, no leader, no cure, and no law that could save our soul from hell…except the blood of Jesus Christ. And as long as we still have the freedom to openly proclaim this truth, we should be bold in our proclamation of it!

A Look at Amos & Coming Judgment

I’ve been using my First 5 app to study the minor prophets the last few weeks, and every time I finish a book, I open up my bible to read the book in it’s entirety. I have an Amplified Bible that I love to study from, because I just get so much more out of reading it (although, in my blog, I usually share text from the English Standard Version of the Bible). Well, today as I began reading Amos chapters 1-3, I noticed a footnote, that I felt needed sharing.

God has always warned the world of coming judgments in order that it may not bring them upon itself. He warned Noah of the coming flood (Gen. 6:13ff.); Abraham and Lot of the future destruction of Sodom (Gen. 18:17; 19:14); Joseph of the seven-year famine (Gen. 41:30); Moses of the ten plagues on Egypt (Exod. 7:1ff); Jonah of the destruction of Nineveh (Jonah 1:2; 3:4); Amos of the downfall of Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel (Amos 1-2). Various prophets were told in detail about the final events in connection with the captivities of the chosen people, and in every case the warnings were startlingly executed. Jonah announced the destruction of Nineveh, but judgment was postponed following repentance. When later generations of Ninevites backslid and reverted to extreme wickedness, the warning of Nahum was carried out completely against them. Christ’s coming was foretold through the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi. Equally plain and inevitable of fulfillment are the warnings of Jesus and prophets concerning the future that each day comes nearer to every nation on earth. ~ The Amplified Bible. (1987). Zondervan.

Book Review – Letters to the Church

I read Francis Chan’s “Letters to the Church” about a month ago, and wasn’t sure if I was going to share a review on it; however, I think with all that’s been happening within the last few months, I’ve decided it’d be a good idea.

If you’ve ever heard Francis Chan speak or read any if his books, you’d recognize that he’s a praying man; humble, and full of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if you just jump into this book without knowing his character, you may be quick to judge him as overly critical of the American Church. So much so, that his main point may be completely missed: the American Church looks VERY different from the biblical Church.

So, what should the Church look like, according to Chan?

We should be devoted to passionate prayer; live lives that are holy and pleasing to God; live in unity and with love for one another; be committed to God & devoted to the Word of God; and be humble servants who are committed to training up new leaders & making disciples.

Basically, he’s of the opinion that less is more; and that much of what the modern American Church has done in the name of the Father, has become more of a distraction and a hindrance to the health of the Church.

Now, why did I feel it necessary to share a quick review of this book? Because with the current state of things–churches unable to meet, due to COVID-19, and political unrest in some cities–Chan does a great job of describing a model for what the home church might look like. And let’s be honest, we don’t know what the future might hold; we see a lot of censorship and accusations flying around these days. One thing’s for certain, we mustn’t neglect the meeting of the Church, even if it’s different from what we’re accustomed to.

Therefore, I recommend this book, particularly to be used as a guidebook for the future of the Church. Even if you don’t read it now, you may want it on your shelf for future use, because there may come a time when the Church won’t be able to meet in a public setting, for reasons other than a virus. I’m not saying we should live in fear, but we should be prepared and ready to pivot, as things change in our political or religious climate.

Who is my neighbor?

As we walked beside–and chatted with–a national park attendant, last weekend, my toddler exclaimed, “He’s our neighbor, mommy!” And as I started to correct her, I paused and realized, she’s right! (From the mouth of babes, right?) Instead, I agreed with her, “You’re right, baby, he is our neighbor!”

I had to take a step away from social media for a few days. After the slaying of George Floyd, my heart ached. It ached for his family, and community. Then my heart ached because of the things people were saying about each other on Social Media. Judgmental things. Hurtful things. Divisive things.

Everyone reacts differently during the best of times, and it’s no different during the worst. What might make one person angry, might make another sad, simply because everyone sees the world differently, and expresses emotion differently. And it’s NOT okay to tell someone how they should feel or react, because everybody is different.

That Saturday night, my daughter’s words about our “neighbor” brought to mind the story of the Good Samaritan.

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” ~ Luke 10:25-37, ESV

Did you catch that? “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'”

In response, I would question…does it matter? God calls us to love the people around us whether or not we look like them, think like them, believe the same things as them. We’re to love them whether or not they treat us kindly, whether they’re rich or poor, whether or not we agree with them. We’re to grieve with them, rejoice with them, acknowledge their feelings–whatever they may be–and treat them with respect.

The Samaritan in the parable above, was looked down upon by the Hebrews. Despised and avoided by them. But it was he, not the priest or the Levite, who was moved to compassion for this broken man. This human, created in the image of God. El imago Dei.

I’m going to leave you with some more Scripture regarding how we should love others, below, to meditate upon. If this seems impossible, it’s because in our own flesh, it is! But we’re people of the Spirit, and we have a love and power within us that surpasses anything this world could dish out.

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:43-48, ESV
  • “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” ~ Luke 6:27-36, ESV
  • “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:12-13, ESV
  • “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~ Romans 12:9-21, ESV

Love, grace and peace to you. God bless!