What a great visit to LW Christian Church in New Lenox today. The sermon started with this song by Ray Charles….(you don’t know me), a good song, but kinda sad… right? Which is a thought provoking topic to really think about as we ponder such a topic. I’m going to indulge and share even more of my thoughts with what the pastor shared today. It’s kinda important stuff this relationship thing!!!!

The crowd – does anyone really know me?

Ponder it. Do you know me? Do you know your “friends”, “acquaintances”, “family/relatives”, “neighbors”, etc? Probably not as much as you think. We usually just know the surface things. Stay with me here… I’ll dig a bit deeper……..

Most of us who have been around for awhile get it. We know that there’s no perfect relationship. We misunderstand, love, like, mistreat, take for granted, get snarky and so on. (We won’t dive into the real ugly ~ for the sake of not going down a negative bunny trail!). What I will add here, is that we must keep in mind, that once sin came into the world, we needed a Redeemer. Adam and Eve broke the perfect plan by eating the apple. So…. we know all people are fallen, sinful and live in the flesh. With that said, we know that some are just nicer folks than others. This brings to a head, grace, mercy and honesty to all. Communication (appropriately executed) is key to keeping relationships running as smooth as possible. We “soulfully join our spirit with others”.

Relationships are work. This is something we really need to emphasis to our children when they are young and formative. It’ll save a lot of hurt and pain later down the road, learning how to build relationships.

If at best, we might have one or two super close people in our life. But we can work on improving such associations and live as peacefully as we can, because we need each other more than we need technology. God made us for relationships. (I will add, there are some times that we need to remove ourselves from volatile people who refuse to work at communications and developing themselves and with others. Another topic for another day).

We usually show most of our colors of the rainbow as we spend time with people. Those we work with, the family we live with; they know our idiosyncrasies, the outline of our lives, what we eat, our families etc. That’s a pretty close relationship over all. But even closer is that of our spouse, children and parents. BUT, sometimes those closest to us don’t see or like when we stretch out into new waters. New goals, new things we do to improve and grow, make others nervous, jealous and so forth. So, communication is key, being open and honest).

I tell the story in my new book “Forever Hope”, how God brought me to this little podunk town back in 1970, as a young girl, to meet my best friend. We became soul sisters. I never imagined the depth of care, concern, love, fun, and joy in having someone that never condemned, no jealousy, and never had an argument. We had fun together, we laughed, we cried, and grew in each season of life together. In all my relationships in life, no one matched the level she and I had. We could sit quietly with no words for long periods of time. We could talk, fix people, fix each other ( or try to at least, lol). We often talked how rare it was to have a long lasting relationship with no boats rocked – never! We loved each other for who we were. And we were opposite in many ways.

But the bigger point in this story, is twofold. Without God, we cannot love others.

Matthew 22:36-40 
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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. … then to love others as you love yourself.

We cannot love others when we struggle with our own issues. We need to be whole and not the master of our own destiny. God planned our lives out before we were born! The only way to work that out in this world is to break the cycles. Be honest with yourself and the shortcomings. It is a work in progress for our WHOLE life. Cuz once we conquer one issue, we gotta get to and through the next. Take care of you by running to the Father. Asking for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

This chapter explains it perfectly. Stop and reflect as you read it. Know that the power of God is in you, on you and with you. Reach into HIS heart and let him enter into your heart……

Psalm 139

You know me Lord

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me

God is with us each moment of each day. He is ever present, and knows everything in our mind and heart before we even act on it. Reaching for eternity is key. The promise is the most important relationship we have. God first, others then ourselves. But we need to be sure to wake up each day, seeking forgiveness when we fall short, make mistakes, say things we should not have, loose the temper etc etc etc. God loves us. He loves YOU. He is personal and generational. he loves the young, and the old and the in-between! His promises are for all of us. No matter where you go, no matter what you do. No matter the struggle. Seek God. Talk to him like you’d talk to your soul mate. If you don’t have a soul mate, you know how to imagine that relationship. God is that and a bag of chips! 🙂

May we be kind to ourselves, which in turn will turn into kindness to others. May our lives be a double fold blessing to everyone we meet. Even if they don’t want to accept the gift of joy, love and happiness.. those are the ones who are lacking love most. Pray for them.

People need to know you care. People need the Lord. You are showing HIS love in a tangible way when taking the time to say a hello, get to know someone on a deeper level. Spend time together. Make a difference today! Don’t let people be faceless and alone. Let’s promise to dig deep with the help of our Savior, who will show us how to build each relationship in its unique way. God is faithful to help us.

Catch the truth of God and ALL he has for you in this day and time. Be sure to read the Bible every day. Pray every day… even if it’s on the way to work. you can speak outloud or quietly in your mind. God hears your heart.

Prayer: Lord God, I need you, every hour every day. You know me well. And I admit I need you more than breath itself. Help me today within my own life. Heal my body, my mind and my heart. I need to release some things so I can be whole. you are the one who can do that. Forgive me for being short tempered, judgmental, and hurtful in words and actions. Help me to do better each day. Quicken in my soul when I am about to go to a dark bunny hole of sin. I repent. My heart wants to be joyful, live in peace, love and have mercy and grace that abounds from your heart, through mine. Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done for me. The Great I Am. God of all creation. I love you. Amen

If you are in the Lincoln Way area in Illinois, please check out LW Christian Church. they have two services each Sunday at 9 and 10:30. They have a wonderful children program, and it’s very family oriented. There’s lots of space, they are community minded and love Jesus.

Also, if you have lost hope and need some encouragement, whether it’s a prodigal family member, struggles with parents, unsaved loved ones, or you are grieving the death of a child or spouse, or friend, please grab my book on Amazon. Forever Hope, it offers encouragement and hope in spite of the struggles we have in life.

Psalm 94:19 niv
Psalm 94:19 niv

Effort : the result of an attempt
If you want principle to take seed into your life,                                                                be certain to plant seed where you want.
If you desire to be respected, honored, with humility and grace, you must also be humble. You reap what you sow.
So, if you demand, throw fits, cuss, swear, or things of that nature, don’t expect others to treat you with dignity.
Place into your mind, thoughts of love, grace, others before yourself,                honor, care, and use these wonderful nouns as you would sow into a  garden.

          Cultivate positivity  into your everyday life or the opposite will run wild like weeds in and around your life.
Let your mind think of goodness and care. When someone you       encounter is  difficult, ask yourself why or what could be the matter in their                         life that they are   acting out the way they are. Something is usually amiss.                                                    Take time to nurture and grow trust and allow your caring ways to help them to become calm
Become a helper, not be part of the problem.
Let go of impure thoughts and frustrations.                                                                   Grace and mercy  overcome all things bad.

God gives us instruction to not let anxiety or worry or frustration rule our minds, nor to be discouraged.

Focus your mind,with God’s amazing help, in prayer, and surrender, take captive your thoughts so you can overcome the devil’s ploy to keep you living frustrated or in anger. But live in peace and love !!!

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Scriptures:
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2 Corinthians 10: 3-6
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
http://biblehub.com/nlt/2_corinthians/10.htm

Philippians 4:4-8
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
http://biblehub.com/nlt/philippians/4.htm

Psalm 94:19

When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prayer:

Father thank you so much for your love and patience with me, I ask for a double portion of grace and patience when I feel frustrated. I welcome the Holy Spirit every day, and ask that You help me with living out YOUR WORD GOD. I need you every hour of every day. Your grace is always enough, and I praise you all day long for what you give me! ~ Amen!

Relax….

The peacefulness of Jesus’ wonderful love brings contentment, like nothing else.

Having sweet communion (not the communion of grape juice – I’m talking about the fellowship type of communion that brings on a close relational friendship), brings joy… unspeakable joy – that deep down kinda joy that rises up within your soul.

I’ve learned that taking time in Jesus, with Jesus, and through Him,  talking to him about every aspect of my life, my concerns… the fun times, the sad times and everything in between, is exactly what He longs for from me (and you)! 

Stop and think about it, when you don’t spend time with those closest to you – what happens? There becomes a void. An emptiness that needs to be restored. It’s the same with Jesus, our intercessor before our Father God; the one who cares so incredibly for us. Oh, as each season  of my life goes by, I understand this very fact, more and more!

 John 15:13-15 (NLT)
13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

 
He brings more hope, more fulfillment, more of all the things we need. Tis SO sweet to trust in Jesus! Taking everything to him in conversation! Laying down our heart, mind and soul to Him, baring it all – and as these concerns are released,   he then fills  up our soul- he builds with strength!

Romans 15:13 (AMP)
13 May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.

 
I’m thinking of David – as he faced Goliath, lil young David, confident David – taking down that giant. Everyone laughed, poo pooed him. But one good sling shot with the rock – whoop – it was OVER! THAT’s the kind of building up  only God can do in our life! We have the same power within us – as we lay down our burdens and concerns to Him. (1 Samuel 17)

He longs to hear from you today… will you go to him – releasing all your fears, worries and burdens? Don’t forget to praise Him for the GOOD things he’s doing and done for you. You know how it feels to be lifted up  – should we treat Him any differently? Oh, praise Him! Release it all to Him! He is faithful to fill you up – brimming to overflowing joy  and peace!

John 15:13-15 (NLT)

13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told
you everything the Father told me.

Psalm 33:20-21
Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.

He builds up our hope within us, as we hope in Him; 
                Continue to Hope – Dream – Build  and  Seek !
                            He put those desires in you for GOOD –