Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace we are saved.”Ephesians 2:4-5

Love is lacking or non-existent in our nation, communities and most importantly in our homes. Some may have felt it, yet abused it. Others long for it while others desperately search for it. Many may take it for granted while others never felt it or experienced it. But, unconditional love is something that can’t be forced.

How does a four letter word carry so much weight and complexity? It can drive someone over the edge or force another to change their personality, values or morals to please.

There are so many levels of love: Loving a parent, sibling or child as well as a husband or wife, partner and friend. We can also love our houses, cars, sports, electronic devices and other treasured possessions.

Love is a powerful emotion. It can wound us. Reject us. Control us. Destroy us. However, this is a human kind of love.

Pure, genuine love heals all wounds. It is forgiving. “Without love the most magnificent manifestations of gifts and the most heroic self-sacrifice means nothing. Love suffers long, having patience with imperfect people. Love is kind. Love does not envy since it is non-possessive and noncompetitive. Love actually wants and allows other people to get ahead. It wants the best for you. It does not parade itself. Love is self-sacrificing. Love is not puffed up or treats others arrogantly. It does not behave rudely, but displays courtesy. Love does not seek its own or demands precedence, rather it is unselfish.

Love is not provoked; it is not irritable or touchy, rough or hostile but is most graceful and merciful under life’s demands and pressures. Love thinks no evil and does not keep an account of wrong doings but instead it erases resentments. Love does not rejoice in iniquity finding satisfaction in the shortcomings of others and spreading gossip. Instead love rejoices in the truth, aggressively advertising the good in people. Love bears all things, defending and uplifting others in discouragement. It credits others with good intentions and is not suspicious Love hopes all things and never gives up on people, but continues in affirming their future and hope. Love endures all things, persevering and remaining loyal to the end.”  

We have the capacity to love because God lives within us. There is no other love on earth like God’s love. We can search for people or things to fill the void in our lives but we will continually come up short. We will never come to terms with being loved by God until we understand the capacity of God’s love for us.

Unfortunately, we often feel we are not good enough to be loved by people or by God. We live in condemnation, fear and judgment thinking that God could never love us. When things go wrong, we feel God is punishing us for our mistakes, behavior, thoughts and actions. We often blame God when things go wrong.

Some of Satan’s greatest weapons is the use of fear, doubt, shame, guilt, regret and confusion. He constantly taunts us of our faults, failures, weaknesses, circumstances and problems. The end result is a spiral of negative thoughts and emotions due to accepting defeat and failure. The devil is a liar.

The devil uses the same plots and schemes. He is not creative. Once you recognize his bag of tricks, you will understand how to defeat him through the Word of God.

God is forgiving. God loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. He loves us no less than He loves His Son. He actually waits for us to come to Him in prayer. God celebrates us!

Sometimes it is much easier to forgive others than ourselves. You will not have peace until you learn how to forgive. The guilt or shame can weigh you down and eventually destroy you. You must also learn to love yourself just as much as you love others.

Please don’t let shame or guilt rob you of believing that you’re in bondage. “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” John 8:36

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” Psalm 103:12.

The Lord will redeem your mistakes. Every evil thing that the enemy meant for your harm will be turned around for your good. Genesis 50:20.

Building a relationship with the Lord is not built on repentance only. It is based on worship and praise for who He is; not on what He can do or provide.

God understands you and knows your heart’s desires. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).

The Lord’s characteristics is of peace and not of harm. “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm; plans for a hope and a future.” Jer 29:11

You are deserving of God’s love. It is the reason He shed His blood on the cross so we may have eternal life. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

His love does not have to bought, earned, manipulated or controlled. In 2014, let’s walk in love by first receiving and accepting God’s love as a prime example of His nature and honoring our bodies, minds, thoughts and actions by serving one another in love.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35.

“For I am fully persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor thing to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Self-Control: Crucifying the Flesh

About three months ago, my friend asked me to blog about the subject, “Self Control.” I thought it was a great topic because I was planning on writing about each of the characteristics of the fruits of the spirit which is “Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” (Gal 5:22)

I announced my idea for my next blog post to my twitter followers. Unfortunately, life got in the way even though I made many attempts to write. Then, I realized that I needed as much help in this area as my friend did.

As we begin a New Year, I am determined to continue any past goals from last year that was not accomplished, as well as set new goals for a new beginning.

Procrastination has always been an obstacle for me. I believe it falls under the same category as having self-control. It’s a combination of choices and decisions or lack of which leads us in a certain direction. We are accountable to our behavior and patterns. We may not have total control of our external environment, but we are responsible for ourselves and how we choose to deal with life circumstances and the path we choose.

When I think of all the wasted time, it frustrates and angers me, but I don’t believe in living in past regrets. Despite any circumstance, obstacle or situation that may block or hinder our paths, it’s important to move forward. You can change your present and future outcome with what you do today. Each minute of every day counts. So I sit here at my computer compelled to write my thoughts on self-control.

How do we gain control of our lives when things seem to be spinning out of control in the world? We are constantly influenced by the images and stories we hear through multiple streams of media communications. The power behind our decisions which is influenced by internal and external factors causes us to eventually reflect on our position in life.

“Those in Christ have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust.” (Gal 5:24) which means to refrain our body and mind from lusts and pleasures from the world system and guard our eyes, ears and heart from negative influences that slowly affect the thoughts and behavior patterns which will eventually influence our words and actions and enter into our hearts. “For out of the heart, the abundance speaks.” In other words, what is buried in your heart eventually comes forth through the words that you speak. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corth 10:3-5)

Having control over our flesh is very challenging because we live in a physical world. We encounter many desires on a daily basis. People are dealing with many types of addictions: Drugs, alcohol, food, co-dependency, shopping, sports, sex, pornography, computers and cell phone usage along with many other addictions. These addictions are an attack from the enemy on your physical, mental, financial, emotional or psychological nature as well as your time. The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, but God has come to give you life more abundantly. (John 10:10).

To gain control of our lives, we must know the power of God’s word, His promises and benefits to overcome the attacks, schemes and plots of Satan. We can’t blame everything on the enemy because we our responsible for our behavior. However, the root of temptation can influence our decisions and choices.

I recommend finding a support group or counseling, joining a Bible-based church, surrounding yourself with positive people, studying the Bible and most important developing a relationship with Jesus through daily prayer.

We must call those things that are not as though they were. Rom 4:17 Live by faith. Faith is developed by being faithful and obedient in God’s word. It’s trusting God and giving our burdens to Him. Faith is also a gift given by our Father. Each person receives a level of faith, but we must act. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1). Faith without works is dead. (James 2:20 )So we must continually put our faith into action.

As we start the New Year, let us be conscious of our thoughts and behavior so we can produce the right results in our lives and reap the rewards at the end of the year.

If you are dealing with serious addictions, I recommend you get wise counsel. There are many outreach programs, support groups or non-profit organizations that can assist you on the road to recovery.

Make each day count. Each day is a new beginning so take it one day at a time. It’s also not an accident that you came across this blog post. Please receive these words with love and begin to take one small step in the right direction. You will not regret it. God has great things in store for you.

Cheers to a new beginning!

Peace & love always,