A Message from God about Love and Forgiveness

A Message from God about Love and Forgiveness

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Have you ever felt like God was trying to tell you something?  I have had one of those weeks.  God spoke to me four different times in one week about LOVE!

I serve on a planning committee for a Christian women’s conference.  To promote the conference, some of the committee appeared as guests on a local radio station, and the main speaker called in.  She said that she would be speaking on love and forgiveness.  When she said this, I felt a quickening in my spirit.  I was not sure why or what He was trying to tell me, but I was listening.

When she spoke at the conference a few days later, she started with the traditional, “God is love.”  But, then she flipped that around: “Love is God.”  True love is God through His sacrifice of His Son for our sins.  I continued to listen.  She went on to talk about the ongoing process of forgiveness.  I still was not sure where this was going for me, but I was beginning to get some ideas.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 

1 John 4:8 (NASB)

The next day at church, the preacher began his sermon, and guess what it was about?  Love!  We need to be doing things out of love.  1 Corinthians 16:13-14 states, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.”  He continued with Ephesians 4:15, “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”  We should do everything in love.  This is sometimes difficult to do, especially when we feel we have been wronged.

Three days later, I went to a funeral.  I will not go into details, but the grieving family demonstrated such an outpouring of love and forgiveness.  This was so emotional.  Despite the grief this family was experiencing, they were concerned enough and loved someone else enough to make sure he knew that he was loved and that the family harbored no ill feelings.

From the events of this week, I learned so much, including the realization that I do not always do things out of love; I do a lot out of obligation.  In my words and actions, I do not always show love.  I also realized that there were people that I thought I had forgiven but unforgiveness had crept back in.  I had previously been on guard for it, but I had let my guard down.  God really spoke to me this week and I know there is more I need to work on and probably more that I will get out of it.

Do you do things out of love?

Has God spoken to you about anything recently?

The Real Love Game

The Real Love Game

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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What is love?

In our house, we decided to turn learning about love into what I call “The Real Love Game.”

So many movies, books, magazines, songs, and TV shows have attempted to answer this question. Although some of the answers (like Saturday Night Live’s skit versions) are obviously not the right answer, there are many others that have added confusion to an already confused world.

The Real Definition of Love

That is why 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite passages.  In black and white, it explains what love – real love – looks like.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hope,
always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

1-corinthians-13_4-7

Every year when February rolls around and LOVE starts to fill the air and the store shelves, we try to instill God’s meaning of love in our hearts as well as our children’s hearts. We do this so that as they grow and are introduced to the things of this world, they will know the difference between real love and fake love.  

The Real LOVE Game & Different Ways of Teaching our Kids about Real Love

Now, stop for a second.  Did you notice anything really interesting?  If you’re a numbers person, you might…within verses 4-7 there are fourteen different descriptions of love.  One for every day from February 1-Valentines Day! A few years ago, when I noticed this, we made a point to make sure every morning when our children woke up a heart with one of these descriptions was hanging somewhere in the house.

There are so many different ways to play with these hearts:

  • For several years, we hung them on a Valentine wreath in the living room.
  • We’ve even given them to our children like Valentines from God, one a day from February 1st-14th.
  • Last year we hung them on our kitchen window, where we do our school work during the day.
  • This year, I decided we are going to play a game with it.  Every morning when our children wake up, they will go searching for love!  Because isn’t that what most of us have done in life? As we are growing up, aren’t we always on the look out for true love? Once they find the heart, we will sit and talk about what it means and memorize it.  Then we can add it to our memory verse wall so we can add to it daily and by day 14 we will have these three verses memorized.
  • I actually plan on having two sets of these hearts.  One set to hide and hang up and the other set to use as a memory verse scramble.  Every time we add another heart the kids will mix up the hearts and then put them in the correct order.
  • What immediately pops into your mind?

 

Let Us Know How Your Family Plays the Real Love Game!

If you would like to play this game with us or your own version, here are the fourteen hearts. We would love to see how you use them.  Share your ideas with us by posting to social media and using #CaGDRealLove

Real Love Heart Game

Real Love Game Printable

Not only do we want our kids to know what love is, but we want them to know where it is found: in Christ Jesus.  If we are letting Jesus fill our hearts with His love, then we will not be easily swayed by the world.  And we want them to know how to share his love too.

Craving God’s Love

There is a song by For King and Country called “The Proof of Your Love” that recites parts of 1 Corinthians 13.  So many people who have only heard this song and have never read the Bible have come up to them and said how amazing and beautiful those words are and how that idea of love just captivates them. You see, the world is craving God’s love and they don’t even know it yet!

As we play this game with our kids, maybe we could also sprinkle some of these hearts around our neighborhoods too.  Share God’s amazing love with our neighbors, with store clerks and with whomever we run into during the day.  Just for fun one day maybe you could go love on some cars by putting these hearts under windshield wipers in a parking lot.  You never know how that little heart just might open someone’s heart to God’s word now or later.

Lord, we thank you for loving us like you do.  We absolutely do not deserve it and yet you give it freely and without reserve.  Your mercy and grace are showered upon us daily.  Our hearts sing songs of thanksgiving and praise for all the love you have bestowed upon us.  Give us courage to freely share this amazing love with others. In the One who did not hesitate to show what true love is all about – Amen!

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Unified Church Living Out Love on Valentines Day Family Prayer Wall Building Up Your Leaders

so-let-my-life-be-the-proof

Walk Worthy: When Christian Unity Requires It

Walk Worthy: When Christian Unity Requires It

Melissa W

Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of three - two boys and a girl (the girl being squished right in the middle). After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home homeschool mom living life on her little 1 1/2 acre homestead raising chickens, two goats and a small garden. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W

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Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.  (Ephesians 4:1-6)

I love these words Paul wrote while he was a prisoner. I picture Paul as the Spirit overcomes him and he writes exhaled words of God as a letter to the Ephesian church. The words found in this letter, though written to people from another time and another place, still strike such heavy meaning thousands of years later in a world seemingly gone mad.  Isn’t that the beauty of God’s Word? His words are not bound by space or time. The words He breathed out then are still what we are inhaling today.

Walk worthy.

I read those words and my mind races just as my heart beats quick. I feel Him. His presence is near. It is not a question or a suggestion, it is eyes locking with mine and He says, “Walk worthy.” Maybe I should feel angst at such a command…but I back up a little and I read through the first three chapters of Ephesians.

This scripture reminds me of my righteousness attained through Christ. I remember his gift of grace and of my new identity in Christ. So I can quickly remove the fear that He is calling me to walk a life of self-sanctification. He is, rather, calling me to walk a life that reflects all that I have received in Him. I can revel in the hope and truth that the first three chapters of Ephesians give. Because He is worthy and my life reflects Him living in me, I can walk worthy. Not a perfect life, but a life that is full of grace and one which strives to bring Him glory. But, what is worthy?

Called to Unity

My eyes travel and these words stand out: humility, gentleness, patience, accepting one another in love. Then this: diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. A call to unity. I cringe.

The struggle is there. A unified body is a great idea and can be found…until you mention your political opinion or until you mention who you voted for last election. Then the beautiful rope of unity begins to unravel and tangle, leaving a mess with knots so tight it has become a useless blob on the floor.

Walk worthy. So there it is again. However, I also see something else: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Did you catch that? Who [God] is above all and through all and through all in all. Does that cause anyone else to catch a breath of relief? There is no fine print, no ifs, ands, or buts, no political figure, no political party. There is nothing but God. HE IS ALL.

So where does that leave us?

As the political comments, remarks, jabs, and opinions become more prevalent each year, let us not forget what we know to be true.  He is the way, the truth, and the life, and above all, He is where our identity is found. We can rejoice with our friends, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, that our hope and joy is in Him. Our desire is to walk worthy as children called by His name. By this, we will show the world that His Spirit unites us as the body of Christ. Our unity is not through political opinion, party, or affiliation. Don’t hang your hopes on anyone other than the One whose purpose was to come to earth and rescue us through His death and resurrection.

This year, let us seek unity as believers no matter which political box we check. I pray that we will embrace a Christ-like humility, radiate His gentleness, and dwell in His patience. My prayer is that we will accept one another through His love and that we will be diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

Living Out Love on Valentine’s Day

Living Out Love on Valentine’s Day

Lori S

Lori S

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

Valentine’s Day: More than Romance

Before everyone rolls their eyes at the title, hear me out. This is not a blog post about the romantic focus of Valentine’s Day (or as my husband calls it, the “Hallmark Holiday”). This blog post is for people of every age and every life stage.

Growing up, I always wanted to be with someone on Valentine’s Day. The flowers, stuffed animals, presents….showing love to your “significant other” was the main focus of my Valentine’s Day. Sure, getting cards from my family was nice. However, there was nothing like getting swept off your feet by the love of your life, right?

A Different Approach to Valentine’s Day

Now that I’m older, I wouldn’t say that approach is wrong. I would just say that my focus on Valentine’s Day is different. God has taught me through my life experiences that we need to see and love people through God’s eyes, not our own. God deeply loves each and every one of us every day. If we are asked to love like God loves, why do we naturally turn the “biggest day” for love each year into a romantic holiday? Why do we tend to only focus on the romantic love, when there are so many ways we can choose to love people that day?

Romans 12:9-13 states:

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (NLT).

People in our communities desperately need to experience the kind of love that only comes from God. Why not take this day to share it? Why not embrace the practice of hospitality, serve the Lord enthusiastically, and honor one another through our loving actions?

Ideas for Showing God’s Love to Others

Don’t get me wrong. Loving our spouse is commanded by God and should occur on a daily basis. Valentine’s Day is a great day to honor our spouses and loved ones. However, God calls us into a love that is so much deeper than showing love to those closest to us on Valentine’s Day. He calls us to love those who experience love the least. Valentine’s Day is a special day in which we can make all of God’s people feel loved.

Here are some ways that people (or families) can make others feel loved on Valentine’s Day.

  1. Make baked goods for the staff and/or residents of hospitals, nursing homes, or community service workers (firefighters, policemen, etc).
  2. Partner with your church or a local organization to support women and their families through a community event that day.
  3. Find a creative way to send random people Valentine’s Day cards.
  4. Work with your local church on leaving “love/encouraging notes” in your pantry boxes that go to hungry families in need.
  5. Make a meal or offer to babysit (for FREE) for a single parent.

Start planning now so that when February 14th rolls around, you will be ready to go and be love to others!

How to Help Those Going Through Divorce

How to Help Those Going Through Divorce

Jennifer E

Jennifer E

I am "Mom" to Chloe, Allie, & Emilia. I am wife to Misael Escobar. I am a child of God. I love to learn about other cultures and learn about others life experiences.I am always a "work in progress". Through many struggles I have become "me" and I am finally happy with the person God has led me to be.I am excited to see where God will lead me in this life.
Jennifer E

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Going through a divorce is never a “club” one aspires to be a part of, but it happens.

Oftentimes, friends and loved ones very much want to help and ease the pain, but are either at a loss for what to do, or they try to fix the brokenness. Having gone through a divorce twelve years ago and having the privilege of leading in the national support group DivorceCare for five years, I have heard and seen a lot! So, here are some practical do’s and don’ts of helping friends who are navigating the painful road of divorce.

serve-one-another

 

DO:

1. Freezer meals

As a single parent, working and having to think about making dinner and just planning ahead is beyond difficult. Stocking your loved one’s freezer with already-prepped meals is especially helpful so that on the hard days there is a no-thought-required meal ready and waiting.

2. Gift cards

If you don’t like to cook then a gift card would be great too. Choose places like Boston Market so that they can stop and get something on the way home from work.

3. Fill the empty time

Take your friend out for coffee or lunch on the weekends they are without their children. Going from being a full-time parent to being alone for two days is very hard at first. All that extra time gives them a lot of time to think about the divorce and to worry about how this is going to affect the children. Your loved one now has time to fill their mind with “what-ifs” because the dream of what they saw for their life is over and they can’t see a new dream yet. They are in the deep stages of grief and will be there for a while.

4. Be their family at church.

If you see them at church sitting alone, ask them to sit with you.  Everyone in my DivorceCare class has a really hard time going to church. It is beyond painful to see all the “happy” families and hear all the analogies of families/marriage in sermons, etc. Even though most people don’t notice, it’s easy to feel like everyone is looking at you and wondering why you are alone.

5. Encourage them.

Text them and let them know you are thinking about them, praying for them, and maybe send a verse about God being an ever-present being.

DON’T:

1. Don’t try to force them out of their feelings.

Did you know that if you are in an active healing process (counseling/group therapy) for every five years someone was married it generally takes a year for them to heal? So don’t rush them into feeling better.

2. Don’t encourage them to start a new relationship. This can delay healing and actually create more pain to heal from.

3. Don’t say, “I saw this coming” or bad-mouth their former spouse. Even if that is true, it compounds the hurt and emphasizes in their mind the failure they feel.

4. Don’t try to give advice unless you have been in the same situation. You can be a friend by listening and being there, but encourage them to seek counsel from someone who is further down the road, a professional, or a support group.

These are just a few things that I hear over and over from people who are going through this process. It is a marathon and not a sprint. Above all: be patient. The healing process is painful but possible and it helps so much to have loving people walk alongside you.

it-helps-so-much-to-have-loving-people-walk-alongside-you

If you have experienced divorce, what was encouraging to you?

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Why you should teach Bible class In the Trenches Fighting for Your Marriage when hope seems lost Being Chosen

Fighting for Marriage, Especially When Hope Seems Lost

Fighting for Marriage, Especially When Hope Seems Lost

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Satan tries to destroy everything, including our marriages. Fighting for our marriage, especially when hope seems lost, is crucial to fighting off Satan in our churches and in our nation. It seems like we’ve gotten to a point where if a husband or a wife has done x, y, or z, then it’s okay to cut them off and move on. Fighting for our marriages and our souls is so important, even when our spouse has done the worst things we could imagine.

Please do not think I am getting all holier than thou. I am not. I have seen first hand what divorce can do and the destruction it has caused in my husband’s life. His parents were divorced and he himself is divorced. He married at 19 and sadly was divorced five years later. I’ve seen how it has affected him as the child and a spouse. My heart hurts for what he’s been through. Divorce was never in God’s plan.

Hope Where There Seems to be None

I truly believe God can reconcile anything. Look at how he reconciled us to himself, when it seemed like there was no other hope. 

I’ve seen marriages that NEVER should have survived be REVIVED and made so much better than anyone could have imagined. With God all things are possible

And that’s why I recommend Richard and JeannaLynn May of What God Has Joined Ministries because they have been on the brink of divorce themselves. They understand what it’s like to have no hope and to see God not only restore their marriage but deliver it from the place it was and turn it into a beautiful new creation. God can do that even when it seems like there is no hope. Even when the rest of the world including the churched world says “It’s okay to walk away.”

Waging War Against Satan

When marriages are on the brink of divorce, there is a lot of pain, anger, fear and there will be a lot to work through. But it is possible.

We as a church body must wage war against Satan for our marriages. We have to encourage each other to persevere through the worst of times, to lean into God, to trust God’s faithfulness even if a spouse has been unfaithful. We must fight along side the couples that satan is attacking. Because satan will attack all our marriages and when that happens, don’t you want the church to fight alongside you!

Physical Marriage is an Image of a Spiritual Truth

Our marriages are a representation of our covenant with God. He loves us no matter what we do, no matter how unfaithful we have been in our relationship with Him. He is always there for us, no matter what.

We can’t ignore scripture that calls us to a higher standard.

James 5:19-20 says:

My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

 

Matthew 19:3-9

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

 

And then there is the book of Hosea, which has been the hardest one for me to accept over the years. I want to say, “Isn’t there a limit? Over and over and over again this “wife” (can we call her a wife) leaves her husband and commits adultery.

Hosea 3:1

“The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cake.'”

We are living examples of God’s love here on this earth. We are called to love like this, even when our hearts are breaking and someone has sinned against us. Love that person as God has loved us, a sinful and adulterous people.

A Different Approach

The What God Has Joined Ministries‘ approach is different. The Mays use a coaching/spiritual formation approach that goes to the hearts of the matter–the hearts of each individual. It is powerful and effective. I’ve seen it in my own marriage and so many others.

It doesn’t matter where you are located on this planet, they can help. Don’t let location or finances stop you from contacting them. Satan does not need to claim victory over your marriage. Our Lord is the Ultimate Redeemer, and He has the final say.

From working one-on-one with couples to partnering with churches, Richard and JeannaLynn work from a Christ-centered perspective, fighting for marriages, especially when hope seems lost.

Living a Holy, Proactive Marriage

Every marriage needs encouragement at one point or another. Although there to serve all couples, WGHJ Ministries emphasizes the power of holy, proactive marriages. Richard has an M.A. in Bible and Ministry. JeannaLynn is an RN and a certified Life Coach. Follow Hooked on Marriage on Facebook to find ways of encouraging your heart and your spouse throughout your marriage. Also, check out their resource page for tools you can start using in your marriage today. 

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, we praise you for loving us like you do. We praise you for forgiving us for every single thing that nailed your hands to the cross. You took all our sin and shame and forgave us completely, holding nothing against us even after all we have done to you. It makes no sense and yet that’s what you do.

We lift up our marriages to you, praying protection over them. Help us lean into you and cling to you even when heartache is great and fear and anger try to overcome us. Help us fight for each others marriages.

Lord, you know all that is going on. Nothing is hidden from your sight. You know how the devil has been working and trying to destroy marriages. Some seem beyond repair. We pray for your love to break the chains of sin that bind them and destroy marriages.

You are the God of the impossible. Father, we pray that Satan would not win this fight. We pray for changed hearts, restoration, forgiveness, and that new life be breathed into those marriages that now look dead.

We know your power and believe it to be true. Only you can take dead bones and bring them to life. We pray for new life and hope…a hope that is founded in you. In the only One who could bring hope to all of our situations and who has the power to change hearts – Amen!

 

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