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Posts Tagged ‘#loveoneanother’

Sunrise, Wednesday, November 17, 2021

In our neck of the woods things have been saturated by rain.

This has caused drains to back up, basements to flood, land to give way, livelihoods gone amuck, transportation to be cut off and lives lost.

Currently I am watching the time. For the police detachment in the area (once a lake, before dykes and pumps) of the most significant flooding, will soon be updating the public on the situation. Last night words like escalated, significant risk to life and catastrophic were used to describe the situation.

Our hearts are heavy.

Heavy for the those who mourn, who are hurting, who do not know what tomorrow brings.

As I sat at my desk, in these early morning hours on Wednesday, I glanced out the window. Though the image (above) just doesn’t do it justice, the light creeping up the horizon was glorious. The colors streaked across the sky grew, blazing in pinks, oranges, reds.

I smiled wide, took a big lung-cleansing breath.

As I absorbed the beauty of this new morning, this dry morning, I felt lighter, momentarily relieved of the constant whispering of my soul for those affected by the devastation of flood waters.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Burden bearing … it is what we, who are Christ-followers have been instructed to do, on behalf of those who carry a weight too heavy for them to manage on their own. And so we take them meals, or send money to charitable organizations, or fill sand bags, or help them get their livestock to dry ground … or (and we all are asked of this) we lift them and their heavy burdens up to God, letting them rest in his hands.

in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ

As I dove into commentaries and writings by modern Biblical scholars, I saw that there are variations about what this law of Christ might refer to. Some thinking it refers to the Mosaic Law or the New Covenant expressed in the Sermon on the Mount.

As I read I could only come to one conclusion (and I am no expert or theologian) … the law of Christ is the new commandment that he gave his disciples. Those in the upper room on his last night, those of us who follow Him today:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

As we, who follow Christ, bear the burdens of those who suffer, we are fulfilling the law, the life of Jesus Christ. We are his hands and feet. We are the sharers of the Good News.

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Happy birthday to my firstborn.

There will be no birthday number talk, since … well, to rewrite Shakespeare,

“what’s in a number? One Mrs. Dunster’s donut would taste as sweet as two.”

I am writing this days before the day that marks your birthday. Writing just hours after being in my chlldhood home, sitting with my mum, your grandmother.

I heard your name quite a few times as I was with her. I heard stories about the months that you spent on the East Coast (the ‘other’ coast) as you did a semester at a university there a number of years ago. I heard about drives to look at the foliage, meals around your grandparent’s table, an early Christmas meal at your other grandparent’s home, your fashion advice for Grammie, the pet names you had for them. 

Mostly, maybe with the most excitement, I heard about how, since that short semester you have continued to keep in touch, with calls, texts and emails.

On this day of celebration of the gift of your very breath, this day I especially offer thanks for your very life, this day of gifts for you to unwrap … I just want to tell you how you have taught me about your great gift …

the present of intentional presence. 

If you have a gift that is wrapped especially glittery it is that of your intentional presence. When you are with someone, you are completely there, completely invested in the people, in that very moment. Not only that but you also make choices as to who you want to invest in and you apply your all to making the deposits necessary in their lives so that one day there will be dividends.

You invest in those you’ve chosen, even when there is little payback, even when the recipient has been unappreciative of your efforts. I believe you do this, because you are committed to doing that which is right, that which leaves few regrets, that which, one day, you believe in your heart will grow.

When you make those regular contacts with your ‘G-units’ (grandparents) you are ensuring that you have given them your sparkly best. Not only that, but you have also reminded them that they are a gift to you and your life. That they are still worthy of your time and effort. That they are still needed and wanted and thought of … even when they are out of sight and so far away. 

Keep doing what you’re doing girl. 

You were a gift, you are a gift, you will always be a gift as you give your intentional presence.

This you have taught me.

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If you don’t believe as I do …

then don’t talk to me,

don’t share my space.

For I do not want you in my space,

where I have to hear something

I do not agree with.

I don’t want you in my life.

If you don’t believe as I do …

then you are ignorant, uneducated, brainless.

For you don’t think as I do,

the only right way.

Me

Scrolling through social media for more than a second will convince us that the above words are the beliefs of many who post on such media platforms.

To me, such attitudes are far more dangerous to our societies, to the very survival of the human race than any far left or far right attitudes … for to reject each other based on our different perspectives is shallow, impulsive and a premeditated abandonment of a fellow human soul whose worth is, has never been and will never be based on our thoughts, attitudes or even behaviors.

I fear we are losing our grip on the value of our fellow humans, on human life itself.

To believe in the value of human life is love one another, as Christ loves us. This is the Good News of the Gospel. This is what can save our human race … it is the only thing that can. He does not love us because we agree with Him, because we do what He says, because we have it all together. As a matter of fact, He loves us in spite of the reality that don’t do or say or think as He does.

In Romans 5 we are reminded that Christ died for us, the ungodly … and this applies to us all … wherever our thinking and opinions and actions lie. Who that we know (including ourselves) will sacrifice … not for those closest, but for those who are so far on the ‘opposite’ side of whatever ideology we might hold to be true?

What brings us together … our human souls and the One who created us … is greater than what divides us. Perhaps we ought to water rather than cut down?

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

Romans 12:3-5

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It is socially acceptable in our world to talk about supporting those with mental health issues. Equally we talk about supporting those who struggle and suffer with chronic physical health issues. There are many similarities in both.

Those who have physical illness that is with that person for years on end, often (if not always) also experiences pressures on their mental health. How can it not? For physical pain can exhaust, wear out and depress the one who sees no end to it.

When we read the words of Job, in the midst of his losses and sufferings, as he is questioning his very birth, his life, we can see how the physical losses and pains have affected his mental health :

” … sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil”

Job 3:24-26

Here’s the thing about chronic illness and mental health … it doesn’t matter how much social media attention we give to such suffering, when the rubber hits the road, both are hard to watch, hard to be consistent in care, hard to stand by … and yet support. And the reason it is so hard is because both chronic and mental health issues carry with them a unifying characteristic … pain that others cannot alleviate.

So, how do we support those with chronic health issues?

As one who is in such a position of standing by, I am looking for answers too. For there is often little that we can do to make things better, no amount of there, there will ease the pain, no special Bible verse or prayer or measure of faith that will do what we most want to do …

to erase the pain and suffering.

There is, in my opinion, only one thing that we can do, only one thing in our power. It is the most difficult task. The one that often seems fruitless. Yet, it is the one modelled by Christ himself.

Be there.

Be present with the one who is suffering.

Stay near, while others turn their backs, leave …

This is such a difficult thing to do, for the only thing we can truly offer is our presence. In this we are reminding the one who suffers that they are not alone, that they are still valuable, worthy.

In just simply being there, we are the hands and feet of God. We are being the vessels through which God can be with them in their wilderness journey.

Moses words, to the Israelites, speaks to the work of our being there, not just for, but with those who suffer chronic physical illness and the mental health stresses that can accompany such agony :

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

I have to say to be there, the mire can feel like quicksand at times, for you can begin to wear their pain, weakening your own mental health. This is why we have to ensure that we, as supporters, as advocates need to hold close to God. To stay connected to Him in prayer, to remember that we cannot be a support unless we are upheld by a stronger force.

Our job is to remind those who suffer that they are not alone.

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It was overwhelming. Loving. Thoughtful. Lavish. Generous. Openhanded.

During a time of healing, my co-workers, colleagues, friends lavished love on my regularly. Each day I received texts with well wishes, updates on their lives, silly things, stories of students and queries as to how I was doing. Each week was a drop-off … flowers, meals, a puzzle, cards (even hand made ones), treats, soaps and more. They overwhelmed me with their thoughtfulness, their loving acts and hearts.

They lavished their love on me …

And that is our calling. Love is what we are … because we have been loved by the Father, we are to love others. My sweet friends showed this God-love so abundantly. They went so far beyond, beyond what I need, beyond what I deserve.

This is God-love … going beyond what we deserve.

His love exceeds expectation, it is extravagant.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God … We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:7, 19-21

What a model of God-love these amazing ladies have been to me. They have raised the bar of loving to such a height that I have a deeper understanding of the extravagant, lavish love of God.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

Our calling
is to love the world around us
in such a way
that they will know him.
CW

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Seven days.

Seven mornings.

One week.

I lift the top of the jar, filled with paper.

Some lined.

Some floral.

Some shiny.

Some colored.

All of them with words.

That was their happy Mother’s Day gift to me last week, my three.

(because I had said, quite firmly, NO SPENDING MONEY ON ME!)

A glass jar filled with little pieces of paper … enough for one a day, for eight weeks.

Each piece of paper inked with quotes, memories, little tidbits of joy.

It is the BEST GIFT EVER!

I head to the jar early each morning, while my coffee drips. Eagerly I lift the lid, reach inside (not looking, of course), pinch a paper between my thumb and index finger, lift the paper out of the jar. Then, not too fast, as I don’t want to rush the moment, I enfold the paper, til the words face me. It is then that I begin to read the words, hearing the voice of the writer. I smile, laugh, sigh … a few times tears form in the corners of my eyes.

This is the BEST GIFT EVER!

words speak … to the heart

The Bible reminds us of the value of our words, in many places:

“Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies.”
Proverbs 20:15

“Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.”
Proverbs 18:20

“A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”
Proverbs 18:4

“Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Proverbs 16:24

In this past week I have been so reminded of the encouragement in words, through this simply, inexpensive gift. The written word, especially, holds great weight, for it can be read again, and again, and again … replenishing the soul each time afresh.

Speak your words to those you love. Write your words of encouragement to one who holds a special place in your heart. Leave your words for others to read, to know of their value in your eyes … to know their value.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”
William Wordworth

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One of our daughters spent many hours working at swimming pools. Phrases like extend your reach, keep your head above water and throw a lifeline were commonly heard in that water world.

Lately, I have been reminded of lifeguard strength, mentality and the necessity for everyone to have a lifeguard-type person in our lives. As a matter of fact, I think we are all lifeguards.

To throw a lifeline (according to freedictionary.com) is :

“to give someone help 
or a means of dealing with 

a problematic or dangerous situation, 
especially if they are desperate 
or are unlikely to succeed on their own”

Who doesn’t need a lifeline at different times in their lives?

Maybe it is a phone call, assistance with a task, a card, or flowers brought to your door. Maybe it is childcare, or a visit, or a meal delivered. Perhaps it is just (as if just is appropriate when one is in need) a kind word.

Such expressions of help are like lifelines to safety and security. They can be just the best examples of us as the very hands and feet of God.

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The day of love has arrived … so says our calendar.

Flowers, chocolates, lingerie, jewellery, cards and more are purchased as declarations of our love. Dinner reservations (or home deliveries) are made, candles are lit, chilled drinks poured into stemmed glasses … all to show and celebrate love for someone close to our hearts.

I’m kinda lucky, because my special guy got me freshly fallen snow … could there be a better Valentine’s gift?

The following three verses about love are probably the most frequently quoted love verses in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

The first, written by Paul to the Corinth church. He is instructing the believers in this community on what is important in how to live as followers of Christ.

The second are from the lips of Jesus. He reminds us that we are first to love God, then others. It is through our love of God that we have the capacity to love each other.

The third were the words of Jesus on the night before his death … after the foot washing, after Judas left the room. These were his closest followers, who would build his church on the foundation of these words.

The thing is the word love in each and every use in these verses, is the Greek word agape.

agape is the love to die for …

more specifically,

it’s the love that would die for you

Agape love is unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending. It is the highest form of love, the most difficult love to give, the most innately sought. As humans, I believe we were created longing for that love … it is in our DNA to seek it … for it is how our Creator-Father loves us.

Agape love costs nothing, and everything.

It takes no time, yet all of our time.

It requires that we just be ourselves, yet, in our own strength we cannot love like that.

It is the sum total of the reason for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus … for his Father (He) loved the world so much that he gave so that we would live (John 3:16).

Agape love is to love as does not come natural for us, as humans, for it requires that we say and do things that we do not want to … because someone else needs to receive … and their need, seen through the eyes and heart of agape love (God’s eyes and heart) trump our own.

As we declare our love for those around us, today, may our words and deeds be in line with the unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending love that God has modelled for us.

love, as I have loved you

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Shhh!

Sometimes we need to just get quiet, get past the

how are you?
I am fine

automated conversation.

Sometimes we need to sit, face to face … well, before Covid … sigh.

Ok, sometimes we need to sit, separately, yet heart to heart. We need to move on to the intimate version of the same question …

how are you … really?

One word … just one word changes how one’s heart hears the heart of the one asking the question. That one word says,

I have time.
I have space.
I want to know.

It says,

I care.

We all need to know that someone cares beyond just making the noises, going through the motions. Kind sometimes isn’t enough. Sometimes we need to be kind and to care for others too.

January is one of the dark months and, for some, it can, for some, be a season of being chased by the dark dog. Not a real black dog, but one which can take over more than just a house, it can take over a person’s life.

Just this past week in Canada, there was a mental health awareness campaign called #bellletstalk. People spoke about mental health issues, money was raised. Those are good things to do to show awareness, but there are 364 other days in the year, days when we can make a real difference in the lives of those closest to us.

Here is the thing. Though we all know the heart’s delight when someone shows such care to us, we don’t always show such care to others. We forget, we are in a rush, we have hearts and heads full of our own stuff.

But, what if we were intentional once a day to look into someone’s eyes. I mean, with our masks, eyes are really all that we see. Look into their eyes and say, how are you, really? Maybe with someone at work, someone at school, someone in your household, in your bed. Maybe send a message, a text, an email, a good ol’ fashioned letter, saying, I was thinking of you. How are you, really?

Dive below the surface. Show someone that,

I have time.
I have space.
I want to know.

Ask the question,

how are you … really?

It says,

I care.

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chocolate, and sunrises, and beaches, and writing, and lilacs, and red leaves, and piano music, and doing new things, and getting groceries (really, I do), and math (uh ha … you heard that right), and my husband, and my wonderdog, and lazy days, and snow, and …

love …

a four-letter word.

the four-letter word …
love.

It is a noun, a ‘thing’ … like pizza, or a flower, or my dog. It is a verb, an ‘action’ … like a hug, washing the dishes, sticking with ’til the end of the movie.

It is a word, made up of letters, equal doses of vowels and consonants. One vowel whispering not a peep, the other masquerading as another. No one letter taking the center stage, but all four working together to hold itself together as one. complete. word.

This word, like the word, in the beginning of the story of humanity. Like that silent ‘e’, which is never spoken … but always there … always … here.

He said “where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3) …

who is He?
God is love (1 John 4:8)

where is He?
he (the Spirit of God) lives with you and will be in you (John 14:17)

why?
as I have loved you, so you also must love one another (John 13:34)

how?
live in me (love), and I (love) will live in you (John 15:4)

how he loves us …

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