Monday, February 18, 2013

Loving yourself and others

When I would read this verse in the Gospel of Mark, I often wondered how could I do that? Love my neighbor as myself? There were times when I would find it difficult to "love" myself. I would find myself critiquing my features constantly. Why did God give me these big lips or this nose? I would also envy my Caucasian, Indian and Asian friends for their long, straight hair, instead of my "kinky" thick hair! I remember those days when I would go to the beauty salon and spend hours to get a relaxer so that I could have "straight" hair just like them. For six to eight weeks I would enjoy being just like them. At least in the hair department.

Then as I became older and hopefully wiser, I realized that there is more to me than my outward appearance. I have feelings, desires, wants and needs. Unfortunately I also have made mistakes, blunders and hurt others deeply by my words and deeds. Yet despite ALL of that, God loved me anyway. Therefore, if He could love me, then I should be able to love me too. Furthermore, throughout the Bible, we read where God showed love and mercy to everyone. From the most upright to what others considered the "scum" of society and everyone in between. With this realization, I knew that I had no choice but to love others too. Warts and all!! Just like He did.

Remember folks, every one of us is struggling with some challenge in our life. Even the rich and famous. Some may think that all their money helps them avoid suffering and heartache. But from watching these reality and entertainment shows, we know nothing could be furthest from the truth. Every day we read about a celebrity who has fallen from grace due to an impulsive act or some poor choice. So let's be loving, accepting and empathic with each other. Follow Jesus, He was and is the ultimate personification of LOVE!

Until next time....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love, love, love is in the air

On Thursday, it will be Valentine's Day 2013!!!! Yes guys, in case you forgot, you have approximately 3.5  more days to purchase your sweetie a gift!! That is if you don't want to be in the dog house for life.....

For those of us who are still single Christians, don't despair....we have the best bridegroom EVER....Jesus Christ!!! I know, for many, this may not  provide much comfort and solace. Some singles get so depressed this time of year because of feelings of loneliness and their constant need to be in a relationship with someone; ANYONE.

Listen, I have been a divorcee for many years and trust me, there have been many times, where I wished that Valentine's Day would come and go very quickly! Every year I would grow weary witnessing my colleagues receiving bouquets and/or gifts at work and either going to lunch or dinner later with their significant others. I would actually feel the jealousy rising within me. Then I would remember reading in 1st Corinthians 13...that "love is NOT jealous". This verse is teaching me that if I LOVE my colleagues then I should NOT be jealous of their happiness or contentment in their relationships. I should be rejoicing with them actually...

Another thing that I have realized is that God does not want me to settle for less than His best. There are too many unfulfilling and unhappy relationships out there including a soaring divorce rate. So I would much rather wait on God's best for me. Someone with whom I'm equally yoked.

Now I am not going to say that it's easy watching my friends in relationships and not wondering what's the holdup with God! However, what works for me is LESS focus on loneliness and MORE enjoyment with the life that God has blessed me. I go out with my friends and family to the movies, concerts, the beach, get-togethers, dinners etc. Then when nothing is happening  I either sleep, watch television or blog about my life...LOL!!!

So as I mentioned before, don't despair! God has not forgotten about us. He just wants what's best for both us and our potential mates. Be patient! It will be worth the wait!!!

Until next time....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Condemnation to Acceptance

"So those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned"-Romans 8:1 (God's Word Translation)

I love this translation of this verse because it does not leave any room for ambiguity. If you have made the decision to surrender your entire life to Christ, you should not feel condemned anymore. We have been delivered and set free by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Yet many of us Christians struggle with condemnation, despite what the Word says.

The thing is, God loves us regardless of what we say or do. For some of us who were blessed with loving and nurturing parents, we know that in spite of anything that we do or say, we are still loved. Our parents maybe disappointed by some of our choices, but the bottom line, is that we KNOW that we are loved. I was one of those children who was blessed with loving parents. My father did not show love via affection, but through providing for my needs and wants. My mother, on the other hand, was affectionate. She would dote on and spend quality time with me. For those of you who were not as fortunate as I was to be raised by loving parents, God wants to be Your Father and take care of You. Take a chance on Him, He will not disappoint!!

Yet in spite of my upbringing, I still struggle with those feelings of condemnation. Then one day a light bulb went off in my mind. That is when I realized that I was relying on my feelings instead of the fact that I am loved by God. Feelings are fickle, but facts are unwavering. Once I meditated on that revelation, I did not doubt that I was fully accepted and loved by God!! That was such a liberating and freeing experience!

When I share my flaws/mistakes with God, a burden is lifted. God knows about our mistakes before we even confess them to Him. However confession or coming clean fosters an intimate and transparent relationship between ourselves and Him. That's ALL that He wants; an intimate relationship with His creation.

Next time you feel condemned, meditate on this verse in Romans 8:1!

Until next time...