Unconditional Love

Dogs are amazing creatures, one of God’s best special creations…but I guess I am biased.¬† ūüôā

My family and I own 3 Great Danes.¬† Actually, sometimes I feel as if they own us, LOL!¬† Great Danes are a very special breed of dogs…extremely loyal and loving to their owners.¬† My dogs actually have no idea HOW big they are…they try and sit on our laps all the time!¬† They also like to back up and sit down on the chairs at our kitchen table…it’s really very entertaining!

I am constantly amazed at how much these dogs love us…their owners.¬†¬† The more I think about it, I realize that they model unconditional love to us.¬† We may scold them when they do something wrong but the next minute they are right there next to us looking for us to touch them and pet them.¬† There are times that we aren’t able to give them the attention that they need, and in those times, they seek us out and “make” us notice them…which is not hard to do considering their size.¬† ūüôā

They love to play with us, chase the balls we throw, tug on the rope we are holding, obey our commands so they can be rewarded with the treats we are holding, etc.¬† They never “hold a grudge” and sulk.¬† Our dogs constantly look to be where we are.¬† They are just so full of love for us and never get tired of showing it.

Their example of unconditional love is but a shallow reminder of the love that Jesus has for us.  As we begin the Christmas season, let us all be mindful of the unconditional love shown to us by our Savior.  He came as a meek baby, born in a stable, slept in a manager, grew up as a carpenter, endured hateful criticism and unspeakable acts of violence at the hands of the people He came to save, just so He could die on a wooden cross for ALL of our sins.  All we have to do is believe and follow Him!  How blessed we are to be loved that much!

Thankfulness…

Definition: conscious of benefit received, expressive of thanks, well pleased

What is thankfulness to you? What do you have to be thankful for? In this day and age, thankfulness is a lacking attribute in the people around us. ¬†It is not promoted in our schools and that makes it extremely hard to teach our children how to be thankful. ¬†We can model it at home but we have to be vigilant about what we allow into our homes…tv, computer, social media; all those “inputs” can counteract our best intentions as parents.
Our society is all about “what can I get”…”I deserve”…”I need”…”I’m more important”…we can easily become indoctrinated into thinking that same way unless we consistently refocus our attention and thoughts. ¬†But how do we do this? ¬†How do we fight against the norm of “me, me, me”?
Colossians 3:12-17
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
As you read the passage in Colossians, you can get overwhelmed by what you need to “do”. ¬†But in reality, if your eyes are continually focused on Jesus, if your hearts and minds are bound to Him, then all that this passage commands of you will become second nature. ¬†We are to model ourselves after Christ. ¬†If we are to be meek, compassionate, humble, etc, then thankfulness just comes naturally. ¬†Remember, we are called to live IN this world but NOT become PART of this world. ¬†We are just passing through as we journey to our permanent home with the Lord Jesus. ¬†Thankfulness should be pouring out of us because of what Jesus did on the cross for us. ¬†He took the bullet, the punishment, the ultimate sacrifice….for that I am eternally THANKFUL!!!
Please join me as I endeavor to be a better example of thankfulness to everyone around me…and when someone asks why you are so thankful…be bold and tell them why…I don’t need to tell you what to say though, right?

Whispers…

Whispers are all around us. ¬†Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, television, etc….all vying for our attention. ¬†They can distort our perspective if we let them. ¬†They also drown out the whispers of the people in our lives. ¬†Most importantly, they drown out the whispers of God. ¬†Vigilance and discernment is needed to differentiate between all the different whispers. ¬†Peace and quiet is also necessary, ¬†both in our physical surroundings and our emotional and spiritual state.

The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, dedicate time to deliberate prayer, and intentionally fellowship with fellow believers, the clearer we hear the “right” whispers. ¬†Also, the more peace we will feel in our lives!
So, go ahead and decipher the whispers…pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance…that is what He is there for!

A walk in the garden…

The “still, small” voice of God in the midst of our daily chaos. ¬†You know that voice‚Ķthe one that your hear in the your head when your ready to raise your voice at your child‚Ķthe one that whispers quietly¬†as you begin to loose your cool in the check out line‚Ķthat voice that tries to get your attention before you get angry when you are cut off on¬†the highway‚Ķthat is the small still voice of God‚Ķwe need to start paying attention.

The “still, small” voice of God is really not “small”.¬† In the midst of the chaos and noisiness of our lives, we can’t hear God’s voice clearly.¬† It’s¬†only when we step into the quiet, after the chaos and noisiness has died down, that we can hear Him.¬† It is in that moment that God’s voice¬†seems small and quiet but it really isn’t.¬† God’s voice is always clear and present.¬† It’s just hard to hear Him when we are caught up in the day¬†to day of our lives.

Learn to escape the chaos and embrace the quiet.¬† Be still and know that He is God.¬† Just listen and be with Him in the quiet.¬† He longs for our¬†attention.¬† He wants to “walk in the garden” with us again.¬† Won’t you sit and stay awhile in His presence?