Monday, February 17, 2014

Loving As I Am Loved – Even When It Is Very Difficult



Photo by Helga Weber (Flickr)
Everyone felt it – especially the woman standing half-dressed in front of the condemnatory crowd. Even a passerby could sense the crowd’s impatience, eager to inflict “righteous judgment” by stoning the woman caught in adultery.
  
She stood alone – afraid to look up, fighting back tears. Surely her fate was sealed.

Or so it seemed.

“I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more,” Jesus said after sending her accusers away to consider their own sinful history.
___

This story can be found in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John. We’re not told what the woman did after this encounter with Jesus; but I know how I would’ve responded. Although I’ve never committed adultery, I too have been forgiven much.

And since I’ve been shown great mercy, I love God a whole lot.

However, I don’t love Him as fully as I could. Especially when I don’t love those whom He loves.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NASB)
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP)
And you shall love the LORD your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.

What would it be like to love God with every thought, and with all my strength? How would my actions and motives change if I esteemed Him with that much intention and energy?

As I continue to recall times I experienced His mercy, would it stir within me an increasing desire to love Him with all my heart? And perhaps to demonstrate that love and mercy in my relationships?

As we memorize or meditate on Deuteronomy 6:5, let’s make practicing to love God with our entire being (and showing it in the way we relate to His children) this week’s goal. As we pray for each other to succeed, can you picture how delighted God would be to hear those prayers?

Prayer:
Wonderful Father, it is beyond me how I could love You even a fraction of how much You love me! However, I am asking You to teach me how to love You with my entire being and with all my might. And help me to demonstrate Your love and mercy to those around me.

This week’s goal:
This week, as I recall the countless times I have experienced God’s mercy, I will seek to love Him with all my being and with all my strength. I will also ask God to help me to demonstrate His love and mercy to those around me – especially when it is very, very difficult to do so!

What do you think? (Please share your comments via the comment link following this post.)

  • Does recalling times God has forgiven you, make you want to practice loving Him more?

  • What does it mean to you to love God with everything that’s in you?

  • What changes do you hope to see in your relationship with God (and others) as you pursue these goals?
If you have chosen another goal, let us know how we can pray for you.


We can encourage each other on this blog (for anyone), by clicking on the comment link following this post or by clicking on the Current Goals tab under the header.

When visiting the Coffee with Sheryl Blog (for ladies), click on “Current Goals” under the header to see several practical links, including: being a better wife/mom, quiet time moments, immediate goals (setting task-related goals), addictions, eating/exercising habits, etc.

You may use a pseudonym if you want.

 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Tried to Lose Ten Pounds, But I gained Five Instead!

Photo by Rafael Penaloza (Flickr)
Recently, I wanted to lose ten pounds for my daughter’s wedding. Instead, I gained five!
By the time the holidays were over, I gained five more. :( 

I heard of a study saying if you’re in a good marriage then you usually gain weight, but if you are in a bad one, then you typically lose weight.

I have good news and bad news:

Bad news:
After weighing myself this morning, I’m sad to report that I have gained back almost all of the weight my doctor suggested I lose. :(

Good news:
According to my bathroom scales and the study mentioned above, my marriage is now thriving!

More good news!:
After a long history of anorexia nervosa (several years ago), I rejoice that my present weight isn’t devastating me. I am so very thrilled that, even as I see the scales creeping back up to my highest weight ever, I am not tempted to starve myself or purge.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want to lose weight! I hate the way my clothes fit (even at a larger size), and it’s not as easy to bend over to tie my shoes. Sometimes I even avoid meeting old friends due to this “extra” evidence of my thriving marriage. :)

However, I want to lose weight the right way. Slowly. Wisely.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Maybe, together, we can help each other make better choices by sharing our daily eating and exercising goals.

Will you join me? I sure could use your support. And maybe, God will use me to help you reach some of your health goals.

We can state a weekly, daily – or even a goal for the hour. For example: This week I commit to
eating a large green salad with only a half-tablespoon of salad dressing before every lunch and dinner. Or: Today, I will eat an apple for dessert. Or, by 8:00 tonight, I will set my timer for 30 minutes and do my exercises.

We could also come to the blog whenever we feel tempted: My husband and I are going out to dinner. I will report to you the choices I make. Or: This hour, I will eat only one cookie, in lieu of the five I normally eat.

Finally, we can share Bible verses that will enable us persevere.

Ready to set (even a small) goal toward better eating and exercising habits?

Start where you are. Due to a Lupus diagnosis, some days I can only exercise five minutes at a time.  However, my “chances” of succeeding at even small goals, soar when I commit my plan to others.

  • What goals would you like to set for this week, day or even this hour?

  • Do you have a scripture that will help you persevere?
Prayer:
Father, as we commit to honor You with our choices regarding our health, we acknowledge that  we can accomplish anything with the strength You provide. Please give us wisdom and a perseverant mindset as we pursue better eating and exercising habits.

We can encourage each other on the “Eating and Exercising Habits” page on the Coffee with Sheryl Blog. (Click on “Current Goals” under the header for the dropdown menu). On the Memorizing Scripture Blog, click on the “Current Goals” tab under the header. You may use a pseudonym if you want.

Note: This blog is for anyone who desires a deeper walk with Jesus. I have an accountability blog for women only: CoffeeWithSheryl.com. (Once on the blog, click on the Current Goals tab to see several practical links regarding specific behavior issues, including: being a better wife/mom, quiet time moments, immediate goals (setting task-related goals), addictions, eating/exercising habits, etc.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

I Have Hope! Can You Imagine ...

Barbara Ogg is Coffee with Sheryl’s guest writer for this week. You may recognize her name since Barbara has been my most frequent visitor on the blog. She recently emailed this to me and gave me permission to post it. I love her passion for God and His Word!

I Have Hope! Can You Imagine ...


Photo by  ((( marS )))
What if God Himself ordained before the foundation of the world that I would walk with Him
triumphing over ALL sin through Him. That God prepared a path for me to walk in LOVE and not be provoked? (Eph. 4:8, Eph. 1:4-5, Isa. 52:12, 1 John 4:7-8)

What if God prepared that I would be justified through Christ Jesus and through Jesus I would triumph over "rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places"? (Eph. 6:10-17)

What if God prepared for me to rightly divide His Word, be faithful, proclaim Truth, but most of all – really truly and sincerely love ALL? (2 Tim. 2:15, John 13:34)

Is there really any limit to God's glorious plan (the path God prepared ahead for us to take)?
Even and probably most assuredly, if my path includes crucifixion, how grand and glorious is that? He never promised the path would be easy. But He did say "My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  (Matt. 11:30)

I take great comfort in knowing that God goes before me and He has prepared a way for me to do His will. 

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10)

"It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)

Feel free to share your comments.

Note: This blog is for anyone who desires a deeper walk with Jesus. I have an accountability blog for women only: CoffeeWithSheryl.com. (Once on the blog, click on the Current Goals tab to see several practical links regarding specific behavior issues, including: being a better wife/mom, quiet time moments, immediate goals (setting task-related goals), addictions, eating/exercising habits, etc.)

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