Love Like Jesus #1

I’ve been a “born again” Christian for 30 years. I’ve learned a lot over the past 3 decades, but I’m not quite “there” yet. I’m in good company, as stated by the apostle Paul: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” Phillippians 3:13 New International Version.

My spiritual growth is important to me. I want to use the time God has blessed me with wisely. What one thing can I do to make the most difference overall in my life and in the lives of others? I’ve spent the Advent season praying about this and I have received an answer.

Love. Like. Jesus.

If I “strain toward” this one thing, how might 2022 look for me and the people in my sphere of influence? How important is it to love like Jesus? Pretty important actually. When asked by a Pharisee: “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus responded: “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” (I’m working on this too….not as easy as you think to focus solely on things not of this world) And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself”. Matthew 22: 36-39 NIV

Love my neighbor as myself. Every neighbor. Even the ones I hide from when I see them in the grocery store. Who is a neighbor? If I take it in the literal dictionary sense “neighbor” would be those who live and/or work in close proximity to me. Knowing my Lord as I do, He means anyone (and everyone) who is in proximity to me (or potentially so) at any given time. EVERYONE is my neighbor.

Now that I’ve determined who I must love like Jesus, I must work on the how.

I’ll pray on that and get back to you.

2022 Ready or Not Here it Comes!

Are you afraid of 2022? Or looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead? Each new year brings with it the freshness of a clean slate, waiting to be filled. Dreams can be realized, goals can be set and achieved. Everyone is given an opportunity to start over and make this year the best ever.

Even as I type this, I say these things more for me than for you. The past two years have changed me, made me cynical and suspicious. I don’t know who to trust and the constant flow of conflicting and often contradictory information makes my head spin.

How do we move past the pandemic and the resulting fallout it created and fight our way back to the people we once were? Do we want to go back? How do we move forward? Especially in states that are still coping with strict mandates and restrictions?

Fortunately for us, we don’t have to face these questions alone. One of the many blessings I received, emerging in spite of the challenges of the pandemic, was a deepening relationship with Jesus.

Turn to His many promises made thousands of years ago, still so very relevant today. Start with this one: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you or forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:16.

Father in Heaven, I give you this year that lies ahead. I trust you Lord, to guide me and direct me. It is my strongest desire to serve you and your purposes and live solidly within your will. I lean on your promises and step out in faith into the plans you have for my life. Thank you for the many blessings I’ve received Father, and for those that are to come. Through the holy name of Jesus, Amen.