Hi SUM family, Ann here!
This month we've had an ongoing series about 'fighting giants' and I've been writing about that here and there, in between our other topics. I hope you've enjoyed the series so far, and if you want to catch up you can find the introduction here.
This week we're going to finish with three videos. In each one I'm going to share what 'fighting a giant' has looked like for me personally in recent months. So without further ado, here's the first one -- From my couch to yours, enjoy!
Hey SUM family, Tiffany here!
Let's begin with Easter 2021. I took my children to Good Friday service at church. I felt the Spirit prompting me to take them to "big church," as my kids call it. I was happily surprised when my son (who is much less expressive with faith and spiritual things) told me he wanted to go into service with me instead of children's program. We were waiting in line outside of the building when my son found $5. I told him that he should turn it into on of the parking lot attendants. The attendant told him that he could keep it. We get into the sanctuary and on the seats was an envelope. When my son found out that it was an offering envelope he exclaimed, "Mommy! I have $5 I can give!" With no filters of the "value of money," debt or financial obligations; he gave without hesitation. Faith like a child hit home.
We get through the worship portion of the service and our pastor begins his sermon. I had no idea that he would be showing still images from the Passion of the Christ. I was wondering the week before - Is it too soon to begin to expose them to this movie? I was attentive to how my children were reacting. I looked down and I could see the heartbreak on my daughter's face. She looked up at me with such a sorrowful face.
I bent down and whispered to here, "It's okay. I know this looks really bad. But, look at how much Jesus loves you. He went through all of that pain for you. He suffered, died and rose again not just so we could go to Heaven with Him someday but for our healing and freedom as well." Faith like a child hit home.
That next week the kids and I went to Kanas City for a week during their spring break. We went to the movie The Girl Who Believes in Miracles. I saw the trailer and was excited to see how they would portray modern day miracles. Parts of the movie were scary for my daughter. I bent down to her and whispered, "It's okay. I know this looks scary but God is using this little girl to heal others. It is the Holy Spirit in her that is working inside to heal these people. He could use anybody to do these miraculous things. He could even use you." Her countenance changed. She watched the rest of the movie with a completely different perspective.
The week after the movie, during prayer, she would constantly talk about how she wanted to be helpful. "I just want to heal people like the little girl in the movie. I know it is Jesus and not me. But I just, I just want to be helpful!" Faith like a child hit home.
I picked up the kids, from their public school, after the first day back from spring break. Elie was so excited to tell me about her day. "Mommy! I prayed for my friends and they got healed!" A friend hit her head and had a headache. After prayer the headache was gone. A friend had a stomach ache and after prayer it didn't hurt anymore.
"Aww, isn't that cute. She thinks it worked." Instantly the lies came rushing in my mind. Now wait a minute! Did I REALLY believe what I told her at the movie theater? Did I REALLY trust that the same Holy Spirit residing in Jesus when He walked the Earth, resides in me? Lord help me in my unbelief! Faith like a child hit home.
The next day, as I picked the kids up from school, Elie couldn't wait to tell me about her day. "Mommy! Today I saw Jesus on the playground! I turned to tell my friends about it and when I turned back he was gone. We went to the top of the jungle gym to take a closer look and He wasn't there. I guess I didn't see Him after all." Her voice began to sadden.
"No baby girl. You saw Jesus. Just because you didn't see Him as you took a closer look doesn't mean He wasn't there. I smiled as I imagined my daughter leading her friends on a hunt for Jesus. She drew a couple of pictures of her and Jesus. They are standing next to the empty tomb in one of them. She said that they were both very happy together.
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:2-4
I highly recommend getting Lynn's new book My Child Sees Monsters. Like I mentioned in the last post - only a small part of the book talks about the demonic. This book is filled with easy steps to help recognize the spiritual gifts that our kids have. After reading the book, it is like a lightbulb went on for me. My eyes, ears, mind and heart are more open to see an experience their child like faith. I am intentional to encourage them in their senses and gifts. It sparked in me the boldness to speak to them about the spiritual realm.
I talk to them about the demonic forces of darkness. I talk to them about the "monsters" and "dark and creepy things." I cater to their understanding as first graders and I do so in love. The emphasis in our conversations is NOT on the demonic but on Jesus - because of His sacrifice we can be bold and brave and confident that nothing can stand against His name and His blood.
I have a better understanding of my authority as big and bad mama prayer warrior bear. When I am intentional to pray in my authority, I can now sense the tangible presence of Holy Spirit and angels on assignment stirring in the atmosphere. I can feel the atmosphere shift around me. I experience the fire of God rising up in me as I war in the spirit.
The more I understand my authority, the more I want my children to understand theirs. I want them to be confident, bold, fierce and dangerous for the Kingdom of God. I want them to bring the light of Jesus to their school and to their pre-believing Daddy at home. I want them to never have to be afraid. I want them to be wise and discerning. I want them to be Kingdom Warriors.
My Child Sees Monsters can be purchased here. I promise you that this is a great tool to have in your belt. If not for your children directly, for the next generation as a whole. They are our future. We can turn this around by equipping them for battle.
Let's talk in the comments!
Love and blessings.
Now that Lynn's new book My Child Sees Monsters is available, I am excited to share a testimony from the Carter Crew.
For the last several years, my daughter (who will turn 7 next month) has had constant bad dreams. She would wake up in the middle of the night and climb into bed with my husband and I. When I would ask her what she dreamt about, she would use the word monsters. Sometimes they would take the form of the Grinch, the live version with Jim Carrey terrified her. Sometimes they would take the form of bad guys wanting to hurt our family. Like I was taught in my childhood, I would just brush it off as "nothing" and try to assure her that there was nothing to worry about.
Around that time, Lynn posted a series on Children and Night Terrors (click below to read or re-read). I was amazed to see how she had helped her daughter Caitie navigate through it.
This was the beginning of my eyes being opened to the spiritual realm and the attack on my children. Sometime after this series, my daughter told me that sometimes she felt like someone was following her around. When she would turn around to look, there would be nothing there. I asked her if she felt like whatever was following her around was good or bad. She said bad. At 4 or 5 years old I began, as best and as delicate as I could, to talk to her about the spiritual realm.
Let me tell you, speaking about demons to my sweet and innocent little girl was difficult. However, looking back I am so glad that I did.
Let's fast forward to 2021. I got the chance to read My Child Sees Monsters in March for an endorsement. It was even more eye opening than the posts I had read a few years prior. There is so much helpful information that I don't have time to flesh it out here. I highly recommend buying the book. If not for you, than for other parents with children at home. You can order it here: My Child Sees Monsters. Both Lynn and Ann Marie Mora were so great at making things simple and easy to understand. I will be reading it again and again and again!
During the time of reading the book, I had also just moved into my in-laws house. My son for the first time in his life, was scared to be in his room alone with the door shut. I know part of the issue was having an open door policy in our old home. They had gotten used to me always having their doors open. Now that they are older and we are sharing the living space, they are having a hard time adjusting to closed doors.
However, my son legitimately seemed terrified to be in this room. He would have a meltdown when we would even mention that it was bedtime. He would always yell SCARY when we would turn the lights off for bed and shut the door. Both my husband and I knew that this was very uncharacteristic of my son. Reading this book helped me to see that I was not going crazy in thinking something was wrong. I was able to see what I as a parent could do to help my son. Simple words like "it's okay, there is nothing to be afraid of" was not enough.
I am able to better see the authority as a believer and parent that I have. I am able to take that authority and stand firm as a guard for my children. I am able to use these simple steps to cleanse and break the strongholds and attacks.
I've gone on a little long. I want to continue this on Friday with more of the Carter Crew testimony. My Child Sees Monsters does not merely speak on the demonic. In fact that is a tiny glimpse, as it should be. We have more power and all the authority over the forces of darkness because of Jesus Christ and His precious blood. Hallelujah! The best part is yet to come.
Love and blessings! See you in the comments.
My friends, Ann here.
I have a problem. Here I am writing a series on how to fight giants using the example of some fear I've been battling … But this week the fear has gone completely! So, that's inconvenient because I'm trying to write about it. Maybe the giant wasn't enjoying the fight and ran away. ((Haha!))
Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7, NIV)
It's true. As my fingers have typed words about how small giants are I’ve become increasingly fearless. To the point that I feel I've been injected with happy drugs!!
And, in that state, we've reached the part in our series where David picked up five stones to kill Goliath.
“Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:40, NIV)
This passage could be seen as an analogy for spiritual warfare in a Christian’s life. It’s easy to think ‘spiritual warfare’ has to be big and dramatic, but it’s mainly fought in the secret place, the place of intimacy with God.
It can even be a restful battle, if we can get there. The stones are smooth, after all, and manageable.
I keep a pouch of five stones in my prayer room (TV room) as a symbol, I suppose. And I have an idea of what my top five regular stones (i.e., spiritual warfare tools) are. One is fasting, another is rest. Another, taking communion in my home.
But there are probably 25 'stones' (i.e., tools) available to us, not just five. And in our community others will have a different 'top five' to me because, as an army, we have different skill-sets, gifts, and experiences.
I therefore posted a question on Facebook, asking our community what their top five are. Here’s what they said, including their quotes. I personally found these wonderful to read, and I hope you do too.
The five smooth stones of the SUM community:
Worship. Private time spent in worship invites in the Lord’s presence and power; but even playing worship music in the background changes the atmosphere (2 Chronicles 20:21-22).
Praise and gratitude. Speaking out or journaling such words (Psalm 100:4)
Asking for prayer and support from trusted prayer partners/friends. Sometimes we're too embattled to pray for ourselves except to eek out 'help'. A solid two or three, or a group (e.g., church home-group) who really care about your situation is like a strong, three-fold cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12). As is their emotional support.
Prayer. This is a huge topic, but it can include specific routines like praying on the armor of Ephesians 6:10-17 routinely, binding the enemy's activity and releasing glory and blessing verbally into a situation (Matthew 18:18); blessing the house, the bed, and more.
Healing prayer from a trusted source. Our battle may have at its source underlying spiritual issues (e.g., generational stuff, freemasonry in the family) that can be revealed and healed through prayer with a trained person. We're blessed to have access to that here with Lynn's healing prayer ministry.
Reading the Bible, and quoting scripture out loud, confessing God's truths and promises. Here's a great quote: "Throw a scripture stone to combat whatever battle you are currently facing. If it is healing, throw all the scriptures verses as a stone."
Surrender to the Lord, exchanging our will for His. A couple of SUMites said here, "The fruits are like no other".
Journaling. I loved this quote: "I put it all down on paper or computer the situation, including my feelings, and the Lord walks me through it. Then I can throw away everything except the lesson learned."
Time and intimacy with God. "Long walks outside with the Lord / Getting up early to be with him." "Walk n pray along with sitting on the beach and asking Jesus to be with me." This overlaps with other things.
And more, but I'm out of space:
Delight in Him
Revisiting prophetic words we have received
Distraction from triggers
Praying in tongues
SUMites, we are equipped and we're up to the task. For the stones are manageable.
Next time I write I'll continue with this series. For now: Do any of the above tools intrigue you and make you want to know more? If so, which ones?
Have a great weekend, everyone!
We're continuing today with our conversation about 'fighting giants'. Yes, those menacing things that present a huge challenge for us, whether it's sickness, financial trouble, fear of our spouse's unbelief, or any other 'very difficult battle'.
Being human, a giant will naturally look much bigger than us and make us quake in our boots:
And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. (1 Samuel 17:4-7, NKJV)
From my internet research, six cubits and a span is apparently 9 foot 9 inches. Goliath was a whopping beast! And it's all very specific: Every part of him is menacing, from his spear, to his leg armor, to his coat. The overall impression? 'AGGH!'
Right then. But would you like to hear a 'giant' story? Because God gave us one at our last SUM conference - It's a story I've only just remembered today:
Two years ago you may remember we held a conference in California. Here's a photo of part of our team at the time. I can certainly share that each of these valiant women have giants they fight, none of us are alone. And they do it so well!
After the event I was sat on Lynn's couch and she prayed for me, with Tiffany's arm round me. It was a sweet moment.
Now, compared to others I'm short -- The opposite of a giant -- Which is an important part this story. I used to think I was 5 foot 3 but I remeasured recently and seem to have shrunk. Anyway, at that time '5-foot-3' is what I thought I was.
While praying, Lynn gave me a word. It was this: "I hear God say you're a 15-foot giant in the spirit realm." She paused, smiling ... "Does that mean anything to you?" It didn't but, hey, I liked it. Later that night I wrote it in my journal and on the plane home I asked God: "Why 15 feet?" It occurred to me then to calculate the difference between 5-foot-3 and 15 feet. And so I wrote down: 9 foot 9 inches.
Well, blow me down, that's the height of Goliath. And so it turns out I'm bigger than Goliath -- Because of Jesus. So are you, SUMites, bigger than the giant you're fighting. In David's words:
"Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? (1 Samuel 17:26, NKJV)
There's one more giant story I want to share, and I hope this one encourages you. I keep a record of my days with God by journalling. Anyway, a few days before I got smashed by this sickness God gave me a vision of the spiritual giant that I was about to battle. I didn't understand it at the time, but found it in my journal later and went "Ohh, that's interesting!" It was as if God was saying: "This is what you're about to fight and this is how you need to see it."
Now, I can tell you this giant did not look anything like Goliath. He -- Actually, it was an 'it' -- did look tall, yes, but that was the only similarity. It was skinny, grey, wispy, miserable, pathetic, and weak. Not in any way scary or intimidating.
In other words, God was saying: "This thing is not as scary as you think."
In the last post I said that I was going to share two questions we can ask God about any given giant we're fighting. Well, my writing took a different turn. So there's just one question instead and it's this:
Lord, show me how I should see this giant?
Whew, I feel stronger already just writing this. I hope you do too. Feel free to share thoughts in the comments, and let's keep chatting about this topic of giants!
We’re continuing our series on fighting battles. I'm calling these 'spiritual battles', as most of the battles we face in life, as Christians, could be said to be spiritual even if they seem physical.
For me, the challenge of my husband’s unbelief used to be a massive spiritual battle. It was a battle to hold onto my own faith and to keep our marriage unified, a battle for his salvation, and a battle for our children's faith. Phew, that’s one enormous fight! Of course, it was mammoth, and for a long time I felt completely overwhelmed. Over time, though, I fought that ‘giant’ – The ‘giant’ of spiritually mismatched marriage – and it became smaller. In my eyes it began to look more like a locust than a giant.
That’s what overcoming looks like. Has the circumstance changed? Yes. But the bigger change has been in my resilience. Hallelujah!
Now, with that battle under my belt, I have a new one: A health challenge. And, I’m considering anew "How do I fight this?" This time, I know that I must assess the giant, like David eyeballed Goliath in 1 Samuel 16.
We could say that a ‘giant’ is any mammoth situation that feels overwhelming. Many of us have scary things that feel bigger than us. A hard situation can feel so intimidating, in fact, that we can barely fight. That's why we need easy tools. More on that in a later post.
For now, when we have a giant to fight it could be a good idea to pull out paper and pen and sit with the Lord to ask him questions. “Tell me about this giant, Lord?” We could ask. Even if we're bawling our eyes out and mopping our tears with tissues, we could still eek out the question: "Tell me about the giant, Lord?" And I've got four questions that spring to mind here. I'll mention two today, and two next time.
1. Lord, what lies am I believing about this giant?
In my own present battle, the physical circumstance of sickness is definitely the giant. I'm fighting that, and my aim is healing -- yes. But, my anxiety and fear of it is possibly the bigger issue - - It's the noise in my head that the giant is causing. I’m battling lies such as, “I’m never going to get better!” And then, “I’m scared of that.” Those thoughts are not of God. So, then, the giant is not just the physical circumstance. It’s also the voice of the enemy.
In the story of Goliath (1 Samuel 16), Goliath is a boisterous thing. He’s got a lot to say, coming out for 40 days in a row, shouting his head off about how nobody can defeat him and he’s going to make everyone his servants. The result? The Israelites are fearful and dismayed!
Well, that’s pretty much what the giant of sickness looks like -- Or any giant that is a physical circumstance of some sort. It's in your face, shouting its head off and distressing you. But to recognize that is the start of the great fight. One of my most important things, then, is to recognize the noise of the giant so that I can shut my ears to it.
What I conclude here is that I'm fighting two things: The physical circumstance, and the noise/lies in my head that it brings.
2. What is the enemy trying to achieve using this giant?
Ultimately, the enemy wants us to be a less effective Christian all-round so, for a start, I can look at the giant with those goggles and roll up my sleeves.
I'm considering, right now, what satan might possibly be trying to achieve through this particular giant, and I will doggedly move in the opposite spirit. "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" (1 Samuel 17:43) roared Goliath at David. To that I say "Yes, you are a dog, and I will doggedly move against your purposes!"
It might be that the enemy is trying to destroy a particular relationship in our lives. Or, he might be trying to discourage us from serving in a particular area. In my case an obvious one is "He's probably having a go here at stopping the SUM writing, so NO!" He's also having a go at my peace and joy to distract me. Again, NO.
How about you? What might the giant in your life be trying to stop you from doing?
My friends, we'll carry on chatting on Monday. In the meantime, I wish you a good weekend, and all the best with analyzing those giants!
Let’s pick up the story about my niece. I was attending a wedding in May along with my sister, mom and my sister’s daughter. We returned home and my niece joined us at my mom’s home. Today, you will find us in the middle of the story. Part one is here.
My niece read about the spiritual gifts in my new book, My Child Sees Monsters (Available today). I watched as understanding began to settle upon her spirit. Finally, all these years later she was learning why she experienced such wild emotions.
After some discussion regarding her gifting and the struggles they created for her, I then equipped her with the tools she needs to navigate the gift.
Then the moment arrived. I said, “Do you want to step into the Kingdom of light today? Do you want to be in the right Kingdom? This is the true Kingdom of God where Jesus rules and reigns.”
She quickly nodded her head.
“Repeat after me. Today I repent for every sin known and unknown. Jesus forgive me. Wash my sin from my permanent record. Jesus, today I believe in You. I accept you as my savior and I will follow you. Amen”
MY FRIENDS……. THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED.
I said, “Wait a minute. Don’t say anything.”
She, my mom and I sat motionless and watched her as she looked back at me. THEN the room went electric. I shout, “Do you feel that?”
The room transformed.
The electricity hit all three of us. I shout, “I have chill bumps all over.”
Mom, “I can feel it too.”
Looking at my niece, “Can you feel it?” She was so choked-up with emotion, all she could do was smile, nod and tears sprang into her eyes.
She was walking out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light. AND she could feel the love of God tangibly. We all felt His presence upon our body and within our heart.
I jumped up and hugged her.
I watched in the background as we prayed, my mother with her eyes squeezed shut and her hand raised. You see, she had prayed for 20 years for this very moment. And because our God is just THAT GOOD, she was there to witness the answer to her years of petitions.
A once in a lifetime moment where three unlikely family members are all together and God shows up.
THESE ARE KINGDOM STORIES. These are the moments that mater. This IS KINDGOM LIFE!
God is good!
Friends, please support me. Buy a copy of the book. If you can’t or don’t need it, pass it to a parent who needs help with their children who are suffering from fear, night terrors, who see things mom and dad can’t.
They need this book. Jesus is in it!
I love you. So very much. Hugs, Lynn
I have a story for you today. It’s a story that is 20 years in the making. It begins with my sister’s daughter, my niece, who is 20 years old. It includes my newest book that launches tomorrow. And it is a fantastic ending. But I’m ahead of myself.
So much to tell. Where do I start?
“So, are you still practicing wicca?” I asked my niece as we sat in the family room of my mother’s condo. Stunned she replied, “I haven’t practiced wicca.”
“Well, then are you still tinkering with it?” You see when she was in middle school and early high school, when she was messing around with this stuff. I had my suspicions because of her jewelry and other signs. I also perceived in the spirit.
You should know that I’m not close with my sister and her family. I see them perhaps once a year. However, there I was sitting with this young woman, and I cared. I cared deeply about her life, her future and her past. I care about her eternity. I love her. Truly.
“No, I’m not doing that but there was a time I was interested, and I did a lot of research.”
“Well, are still lighting candles and such?”
‘No, Aunt Lynn.” See grins sheepishly, surprised I knew what I knew.
So a conversation ensued where I told her there was only two kingdoms – ONLY TWO. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness.
We spoke about our family history and all the curses upon our bloodlines. And then we began to talk about what she knew about the spiritual realm. We discovered that she is highly gifted. No wonder she was curious about the spiritual.
I picked up my new book and asked her to read the chapter where I describe spiritual gifts. I waited and felt the presence of God.
THEN IT HAPPENED…….
Stay tuned tomorrow. And my friends, order your copy tomorrow. TOMORROW IS LAUNCH DAY!
This story is fantastic. See you tomorrow.
Today we’re embarking on our series entitled ‘Fight that Giant!’ If you missed the introduction to this series you can catch up here.
I’m rubbing my hands together at the thought of writing these upcoming posts, for 'giants' -- That is, spiritually difficult things in our lives -- are nasty critters. As we learn to fight, though, we become strong. Then we can give away some of that strength to others. Wonderful!
Last week, I said we’d start by considering the giant that we fight. Well, God hit the override button on that one. Straight after I wrote that post, He told me “No, start with Me.”
Lord, You are our Giant who fights for us. And we have a picture of Jesus as a giant Himself, a picture that can help us:
“And in the midst of seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
His feet were fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
Revelation 1:13-20 (NKJV).
Last Friday, when God told me to start this series with Him, I had a rather crazy experience. I'm not even sure what you'll think of this (you may deem me nuts!) but it seems to be relevant, so hey, I'll be brave:
While feeling unwell, I’ve been having hot baths during the day to feel better; there's not much nicer than soaking in a lovely bubble bath. Anyway, last Friday after such a bath I stepped onto the plain, brown, flat bathmat and happened to look down at my feet. There was a bright golden sparkle!
I squinted and bent down. There was another. Oh, and another! In fact, there were sparkles across the whole fabric. On closer inspection they looked like little balls, but with chiseled sides like gems. When I tried to pick a couple out with my fingers they disappeared. "What is this?" I then wondered, but I really couldn't tell so eventually stood up, thinking “It must be part of the fabric and I just never noticed before.”
I forgot about it then, but the next day it suddenly occurred to me to get up and look at the bath mat. Well, blow me down, there was not a single sparkle on it! This started to make my heart pound … So I grabbed the mat and took it from room to room, looking at it under different lights, and rummaging among the fabric to see if I could find just one little gold ball.
Not one gold ball was to be found. The mat was brown as anything and decidedly unsparkley. Yet, the day before I saw enough of these balls to deem them ‘part of the fabric’ and to try to pick them out with my hands.
Could there be a rational explanation? The bathmat hadn't been washed ... I concluded that I know God is real, and so, why wouldn't it be God? In any case, the message is that His Heavenly realm is in my life, in every step I take, and in those very times I need soothing.
If we consider the Kingdom of Heaven, then, in the very place where we are most embattled those sparkles speak this message:
As servants of Jesus the Glory of Heaven is all around us,
and He is with us in every step we take.
That is our Almighty. And with that settled, now we can discuss on Monday the matter of measly giants!
For now, what's your favorite time that God showed his strength in your life when you particularly needed comfort? I would love to hear some stories in the comments.
Nice chatting, friends, and see you again on Monday,
Hi! Ian from wintry Down Under.
Love! It tends to be something we compartmentalize, don’t we? It’s how we feel about our spouse and children, our parents and there’s this industry around romance, the books and movies. Strangely, or perhaps not so, it’s actually not talked about a lot. When asked what I’m writing about, people often give me strange looks when I mention it’s a book about love. “It’s unusual for a man to talk and write about love,” said a lady I met picking my mom up from a dental appointment when I happened to mention what I’m writing about.
I will often squirm when I’m sharing it with a new group of people especially one only of men. I get these strange looks and the subject quickly changes because it’s an uncomfortable subject. Why is it something we find uncomfortable discussing and even if we do we might confuse it with sex (men more likely too)?
We were made in the image of God. Right. And He’s a God of love. Right. That must mean we’ve been made in love and love is an inherent characteristic of our makeup. John 3:16 is perhaps the most recognized verse in the western world. Why? Because it’s written in big bold print at most major global sporting events like the Olympics and the football World Cup. Most of us reading this book probably recall it immediately: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV). Besides being a statement of the gospel, it also clearly states God’s modus operandi, that is, the particular way He works.
God loved the world and everyone in it so much that out of that love He sent Jesus to live incarnationally amongst us, to then die and be raised from the dead. God did it out of … love. This is how He works. Whether it’s in the macro way of the world or within the micro way of an individual, He only knows the one way of operating: in love. Certainly, this love takes different forms depending on the circumstance but everything He does reflects love.
Love in Action
If God’s way of working is by love, is He not inviting us into His world to operate the same way. I wonder if the big question of what’s life about has a relatively simple answer: to live a life of love.
Jesus even reminds us, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)” No wonder so many in the world struggle with the church and Christians because we so often don’t do very well at loving others. It grieves my heart when we see evidence of abuse within churches, churches breaking up, Christian marriages ending, supporting acts or individuals whose behaviors and words clearly don’t reflect the principles of love.
Yes, we can excuse ourselves for being human. We make mistakes, we sin, because we’re human. The church is full of fallible humans who make mistakes all the time. I know I do. Every. Day. It’s important we be compassionate and extend grace to ourselves and to others.
Love is hard work, isn’t it? Especially when your partner is grumpy or worse, your kids are driving you nuts, or someone hurts you and we can go on. We can’t really love in our own strength and the wonderful thing about walking with Jesus is we don’t have too. And we’re not supposed to. God invites us to love like He does. With a compassionate heart.
As I go deeper with God, the more I find I need to go even deeper, and I want to because through Him we can learn to love better, even when we struggle to. But how do we do it?
Here’s a few suggestions. Why not add your own to the list in the comments? What’s something that’s helped you love better?
I’m continually amazed by this little community of ours and reading of how various members love one another and their partners and kiddies, even under some very challenging circumstances.
Let’s continue to be known for our love.
Much love, my friends.