Love your enemies

Matthew 5:43-48, and again in Luke 6:27-36, Jesus is teaching us to love our enemies. We can say the words ‘I love you’, without meaning what we say. We can say it as easily as saying “Hello”, or ‘Goodbye’. We are being polite, but we are not truly caring about the other person. Now this is where it is going to get harder, ‘Love your enemy, bless those who persecute and you’. I have tried over and over again in this area and failed miserably, so what I am writing is for myself and anyone else who struggles with this.
I have been thinking a lot about Jonah lately. He was a man God used to save the people of Nineveh. Yet he did so unwillingly. He tried to run from His purpose of giving the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. To say that he did not like them is being kind. He wanted them to be condemned for how they lived. He had passed judgment on them and thought they deserved what was coming to them. So he ran in the other direction, and ended up in the belly of a whale, that spit him up on the shore of Nineveh. He told the people to repent for God’s judgment was at hand, and they did. This did not make Jonah happy though. He sat outside the city angry and wanting to die. Even though the people had repented and God showed mercy, Jonah had no love or mercy for the peopl of Nineveh.
How many times have we turned and gone another direction because we did not like what a person or group was living without taken the time to give the message of God’s love, and the price Jesus paid to show us how much He loves us? Yes there are those who we have shared God’s Word and love with who rejected what we had to say and even turned against us. Yet how many people do we reject? We don’t like how they dress, talk, live or their beliefs’. Is this a spirit of humility? Are we so much better than we can turn our backs on them?
There are people in my life currently that I have a hard time dealing with, from their behavior and vulgar language to their hateful attitude and I must admit that even though I have been polite, I have wanted to take a gallon of Dawn dish soap and a toilet brush to their mouth. this is not a loving attitude and I know it. I also have had people in my life that I have shared the Word of God with and His love who are members of a church who have not only rejected me but cursed me and slandered my name while living in adultery. Do I forgive the one who is attacking me personally and yet judge the other because they do not attend church? Or should I love them as Jesus loves them. It is not up to me or you to change how they live, but to introduce them to the only true love that can transform their lives as He is continuing to mold us into His image.

 

Have You Really Looked At The Cross?

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I made this cross a while back. The clay did not bake as it had before. Instead it came out black and cracked. I was going to throw it away but I couldn’t. You see various places decorated with beautifully crafted crosses. Some even dedicate a wall in their home to crosses they have collected. Each one beautifully decorated with jewels, or flowers. Some are painted. They are made from various materials. I have made a few myself as gifts. I had looked at this black and cracked cross and thought it would never be a nice gift. It was not beautiful. I could have painted it but it was not smooth and it was cracked. To be honest when I looked at it, I thought it was ugly.

Then I thought about the day Jesus was nailed to a cross. The cross was not beautiful, they had not sanded it smooth. It was rough and stained with His blood. Pierced by spikes driven through His flesh, nailing Him to the instrument of death. When Mary looked up at her son Jesus, she did not see beauty. Her heart was torn, as she watched her son suffer and die. Innocent blood stained that cross. A life freely given to pay the price for the sins of all mankind, no matter when they were born or if they are male or female. He went to the cross without a fight, and then spoke forgiveness.

You know how badly He had been beaten and how distorted his face must have looked like. The pain that He felt. Not the pain of one man did He bear, but the pain of every person who would ever be born on this earth, and all of the sins He took on Himself. He redeemed us, because He loved us.

The beauty is not the cross, no matter how you decorate it. The beauty is the love of Jesus given on the cross. This cross is a reminder of how ugly my sin is, and what my sins cost. So I will be keeping this cross. Not for decoration but as a reminder of how much He loves me.

Right Relations / The Beginning

It has been a short while since I have been working on this project of ‘Right Relations’, how our relationships here on earth have affected our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I am back at it now and here is my next installment. I am still looking for testimonies to include in this book on relationships both good and bad that can help others draw closer to Jesus, so if you have one you would like to share please contact me, I would love to hear how God has worked in your life.

Here is my latest work on this project, I have gone back to the beginning.

The First Relationship

After God had created the heavens and the earth, and filled the earth with the various living creatures, He formed man out of the dirt and breathed life into him. God saw that it was not good for man to be alone so he took a rib out of the man and created woman. Eve was not Adam’s first relationship. His first relationship was with his Creator, his Heavenly Father. Yet he did not listen to his Father as he should have, and Eve did not listen to her husband. She listened to the serpent and did the ONE thing they were told not to do and ate the fruit of the tree that God had commanded them not to eat of. One action as simple as it may seem damaged a perfect relationship. They lived in Paradise! They had all they would have ever needed, and they threw it away by disobeying the One who had created them and loved them.

Doing what they thought would not harmed them got them kicked out of Paradise and all of its comforts and provisions. Their lives would be filled with hardship and pain. This did not stop God from loving them though. He made a promise which He kept. Through the woman a Savior would be born and He would redeem that which was lost. Read Genesis to get the whole story.

Their story is one of the first broken relationships you will find in the history of all relationships. You might wonder why it is when they had everything and were loved so dearly how they could go against the One who created and loved them, giving them the best life He could. That is a question I cannot answer. How many of us have had everything we could ever want or need and thrown it away for a temporary pleasure though? This doesn’t mean that our lives were perfect or without pain. For many of us the beginnings of our lives on this earth have been filled with various forms of abuse, pain and suffering. We find it hard to trust an unseen God. The idea of a Heavenly Father and His Son is like a myth, or a fairy tale. We are like Thomas, filled with doubt and refusing to believe until we can see and touch, so that we have proof.

We stay distant from Him even after we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord. He is now a part of our lives, but a part we only find in a book. We don’t truly have a solid relationship with Him. Even after we have received forgiveness for our sins we are in a distant relationship with our Heavenly Father, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. The source of life is there but we are not truly connected. It is like that distant relative that you have never met. You know they exist but you have never laid your eyes on them or even spoken to them. So how do we change this? How do we have a real relationship with the One who has given us everything? You have repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. You believe God sent Him to pay the price of your sins redeeming you and giving you eternal life, yet They still seem so far away.

We are on this journey together. As I am writing these words I am learning myself what it means to have a better relationship with Jesus, His Spirit and our Heavenly Father, Abba. We are sinners saved by His grace and love. Yet we hurt and so we hurt those around us. A lot of the time we hurt others not realizing what we have done. As the saying goes, ‘Hurt people, hurt people.’

Too many of us have gone through this life hurting for one reason or another. We lack hope and trust. We feel like we are the only ones we can depend on and we don’t even feel capable of being able to do that most of the time. This is not the life God wants for us. He wants a close and intimate relationship with each of us. He loves us and wants so much better for us. We are at a place in our lives where we need to learn how true His love is. We need to learn to trust Him more and know His love never fails.

So let us examine our own relationships and those we find in His Word. Really take a good look at the lives and relationships of those in the Bible and learn what it means t have a right relationship with Him and each other.

Would you die for your enemy? Lessons of love /January 8, 2018

It is written, ‘No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends.’ John 15:13.

Now think about this; ‘Would you die to save the life of your enemy?’

Many would easily give up their life to save their child, their spouse, family members,  friends, and some would do so for a stranger they see in danger. To give up your life for someone who hates you, who despises you, who wants you to you to feel pain, have your life destroyed and even wants you dead, could you sacrifice your life for these people? Would you want to? If we were to be honest our first response is a big fat ‘NO!’.

Yet as I have meditated on the sacrifice our Heavenly Father gave, when He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins and the fact that Jesus did not have to do this but that He loves us as much as our Father does, He surrendered His life. Before He was crucified, He was mocked, ridiculed,attacked, falsely accused beaten and spit upon.then crucified still being mocked, and what were His words? “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.’ How much mercy and love He had not only for those who loved and followed Him, but He loved those who were His enemy. He died for to save the lives of those who were and are His enemy. We have all sinned. Those of us who have not only acknowledged our sins and repented, we have also received Christ Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Through His sacrifice we have been adopted into His family and have become children of God, but before this we too were His enemy.

Can we love others as He loves us, or do we continue to only those who love us, and that we feel are worthy of our love?

Is there anything you can do today to show love to someone who has made it clear that they hate you?

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48 (NET Bible)

December 17, 2017 Sunday

I have not spent much time writing here for a little while and a few months back I did say I was going to be taking a break from blogging. We have all had our ups and downs this year. For some of us it seems there have been more down times than up, but we have made it through another year. We are still here and God is not done with us yet. In the year to come there will be much for each of us to do. There are so many hurting and lost people in this world and they are all around us. You do not need to travel to another country to be a missionary for Christ, you have a mission filed all around you. Friends, family, neighbors and strangers who cross your path every day are in need of love and comfort every day. We are His vessels who carry His Spirit and love in us and we should share this love with everyone we meet and see, each and every day. Life is not easy but you are alive. Let us do good with the life Jesus has given to us all. Love and peace to you all.

What is haunting you?

It has been months since October and Halloween is over. Yet the things that truly frighten us and cause us to run or hide are still here. They hide inside each of us. Things that were done to us or things that we have done. The skeletons we try to keep hid in our closet. Unfortunately the door to that closet eventually is opened and a skeleton or two pops out. You can try to put them back. Hide even from yourself and pretend nothing was ever wrong. Being an ostrich with your head in the sand only leaves your rear exposed.

We can pretend and put on masks but the truth is always there even if it is hidden and buried. We may be deceiving the world with our masks and costumes, but the one we are truly trying to deceive is ourself.

If guilt is what haunts you have you done something or felt that you have done something wrong? You may hide behind the mask of justifying your actions. You had good reasons what ever they may have been. Yet something inside of you is screaming you have hurt someone, even if you did not intend to do so.

You can fear judgment and condemnation. We live in a world that loves to point fingers. Everyday you will hear about the wrongs someone has done. Even if the person is innocent they are found guilty by the majority and their lives are harmed.

Shame can hinder you from being the person you truly are. God made you a new creation when you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Yet because we lived a shame filled past we do not feel worthy. We do not realize that there is nothing we could do to win God’s love. He loves us because He is merciful and gracious.

This list can easily go on and fill volumes of books if I wanted to continue all the fears in this world but I am going to stop here. What ever fears may be haunting you and those fears are real. I know I have my own fears that I battle on a regular basis. What I want to do now is remember that I have a mighty God, and that He is my shield and strong tower. That no matter how many weapons are formed against me they will not prosper. Does this mean that I will never get hurt? Sorry the answer to that is no. I will get hurt again but nothing will separate me from the love of God. Nothing can take my life because I have eternal life through Jesus. Fear not is written 365 times in the Bible. I think God new we would face fear on a daily basis. It is in Jesus that we have hope and a future. Things will happen that may scare you and cause you to be afraid. Use these things as warnings to be on guard. Run to the Father and He will protect you. He loves you.

Here are a few verses on fear not;

Bible Verses About Fear Not (KJV) 

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalms 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

1 John 4:4 – Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Romans 15:13 – Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Numbers 23:19 – God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Exodus 20:20 – And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Habakkuk 3:2 – O LORD, I have heard thy speech, [and] was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

find daily verses here on this website;

http://365fearnots.com/index.php/votd/

 365 Fear Nots: Verse Of The Day

  • Psalm 066:16

    Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.

    Psalm 66:16 (NKJV)

    Biblical Truth: The psalmist was given a heart for prayer, worship the Lord and encourage others by declaring the spiritual blessings God has provided to you.

    The post Psalm 066:16 appeared first on 365 Fear Nots.

 

Righteous anger or just plain anger?

How do you know if your anger is righteous or if you are just plain angry? I know of many who will justify not only their anger but what is done in anger, and some that will even use scripture to give just cause. Yet is this right?

Along with fighting depression I have a major battle with anger. I have been told I am right to be angry for the things that have been done to me. That they understand why I have reacted in anger and that it was okay because I was hurt. Something inside of me says this is wrong. There is no excuse that I can give for any outburst of anger that I have had. No matter how minimal the damage I may have done when I have been angry I have still caused damage. Even if it was just my words and that I shot off my mouth, Wrong is wrong. Almost everything I have ever broken when I have been angry has belonged to me, It dos not matter if I threw an object and it shattered or I tore up clothes or burnt pictures. The damage cannot be undone. This damage is not as bad as the words that have come out of my mouth, and the cursing that I have done. Even the hateful thoughts are wrong. For it starts as a thought, then comes out in either physical actions or words and both can do irreversible damage.

They say to be careful with a cornered animal because you do not know how it will react or how bad it can hurt you. I used to be that cornered animal, and all the pain that was inflicted upon me to make me cower in fear. To control and manipulate me would eventually back me into a corner where I felt the only way to survive was to fight back with all that was left within me. The saying dynamite comes in small packages was one I used quite a bit yet I out my own spin on it. I would say, ‘Dynamite comes in small packages but nitro comes in smaller and has a bigger bang. Call me Nitro.’ That was when I was proud to be angry. I had every reason to be yet the person who I hurt the most was myself.

I thank God that I am not that woman any more. Yet I still fight the anger that sometimes still boils to a rage inside of me. The difference now is that I know it is wrong and I can acknowledge that the words or even the thoughts I have when I get angry like this are wrong. One saying I can agree with today is, ‘Two wrongs do not make a right.’

So how do I know my anger is not righteous? For one reason is because a hatred begins to burn inside. Then condemning and hate filled thoughts fill my mind. No one even has to be around, just a thought of something that upsets me pops into my head and a fuse gets lit and the anger begins. Thankfully this is not an everyday occurrence but when my body’s pain level rises I have noticed my level of agitation lowers and I become more irritable. Why share any of this with anyone? I learned a while back that by putting things out into the light exposes the darkness hidden within me. Then the darkness has to flee. Scripture tells us to take every thought captive. I believe this is good because not every thought that passes through our minds are good. We are to rid ourselves of the damaging thoughts and keep the ones that keep us focused on Jesus Christ. I would like to say that the war on my anger has been won, but I still have my battles. There are battles I have won and there are battles in which I lost. I thankfully get a reprieve from these battles but then the war rages on and the fight begins again. The thing I am learning is that I do not fight anger with anger and I definitely do not fight it with hate. I start with myself and acknowledge any wrong on my part and then repent and ask God for His mercy and to help change me into a more loving person, that can be loving and merciful to those who seek to do me harm. Learning that these people are just being used as weapons and that the real enemy is not human, and is nor the terrible and painful events in ones life. The really enemy will wear any disguise that will help him do the most damage. He will twist your hurt and pain and try to make you his puppet. Something I have learned is that he only has the power over me that I give him. Will I still feel pain? Yes, I will. Can this body die? Yes it will. James told us to count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulations. How can we do this?We turn to God. We believe Jesus. We allow His Holy Spirit to help and comfort us. We cry out to God. We tell Him how we are feeling and we pour out our tears at His feet.

I have not yet reached the goal but I get up each day and press forward. There are days I lay down weakened by my body, my mind and this life. Then the nest day comes and it is back on my feet, even if I do not feel like it. Of course that is when I think God has a cattle prod and gives me a loving jab. Yet I know those jabs are because He loves me and He does not want me to fall to the wayside. So I do no fight like I used to. I am learning that not only do I need to turn my cheek but as much as it pains me to offer up the other one. The battle is the Lord’s, I need to just trust in Him.

Acceptable Loss?

When is loss of life acceptable and meaningless? The world treats life as it is expendable. Your life an my life mean nothing to this world. Drugs both legal and illegal taking lives everyday. Babies thrown away through countless abortions. Lives lost to murders. Fatal car accidents caused by careless drivers who are to busy on their phone or devices. This list goes on and you know of ways lives are wasted or destroyed everyday.

You can heard it said in our government and big business the term acceptable loss. It is usually a financial loss when it comes to business but not always. The bean counters calculate the costs of lawsuits to be filed against the company. If the pay out to the law suits is less than making the costly changes that may prevent the loss of life then they proceed and subtract the legal costs from their profits.Then there are casualties of war. Innocent lives of no combatant people, the nonmilitary residents of a war zone who are injured or worse killed due to battles happening where they live.Once again you can hear the term acceptable loss.

The unfortunate fact that lives will be lost and people will be injured and killed everyday is going to happen. Even people who live in peaceful areas still face death. Most hope to pass from this world peacefully.  Yet I do not believe that any loss of life is acceptable and I believe God feels the same. If He did not He could have wiped us out  years ago before He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. Yet He is merciful and patient. He is not slow as we count slowness but patient that all call to repentance.2 Peter 3:9.

As frustrating as waiting can be, I am grateful God is patient, loving and merciful or none of us would have a chance. Your life and the lives of those around you, and not just the lives of those you like, all life is precious to Jesus. He died for you and for me so that we can live and not perish. Life is a gift and we should treasure all life. No loss is acceptable.

Matthew 18:12-14

John 3:16

Romans 6:23

John 6:35

Criticism verses Loves

Do you realize how critical and judgmental people can be? I know I can be. It is not my intent and it is an area I am working on.I have to take the time to look in the mirror at myself or it is easy for me to argue and become less of a person than those who criticize or judge me.

Have you noticed that we all have some great reasons to pass judgment on each other? We are quick to criticize those in the world for how they live. We even turn on our brothers and sister in Christ. We spread hate and not His love by slandering each other and the we use the excuse of having wisdom and understanding and that we have to expose sin. Yet we do not deal with the sin in our own hearts.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a]but have not love, it profits me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:12(NKJV)  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

The body of Christ is divided not because of the world but because of our own demanding ways and holding on to the small part of understanding we have. We cling to religion and legalism or we go as far as saying we do not have to obey the law.Jesus said ‘If you love me, you will keep my commands’ He added one command and that was for us to love one another as He loves us. I have been criticized and called a number of names and the sad thing is more than half of those who have done this call themselves Christians. Does this mean I am to hate them? Definitely not! /these people do so out of their own limited way of thinking and that I do not fit their mold of what they want me to be. I am definitely a unique individual. God has taken the broken parts of my life and transformed them into a working vessel He can use. My obedience is to God first. My life is to please God and I do this by living my life in love. I have learned that I will never learn everything there is to learn in my life on this earth. I know in part and I will spend my life seeking God and His instruction. Life can be compared to a puzzle, we all have a piece and we can only see what that piece shows. Then another comes and we are able to put our pieces together and the picture grows. This continues until all the pieces are brought together. What happens if a piece or more turns up missing? The picture cannot be complete. I like to think that Jesus holds those missing pieces waiting for us to work together so He can then finish what He started.

If you look only to find what you do not agree with you will find it every time. It is so easy to find the flaws and wrongs in others. It is even easier to justify your judgment. Remember this though Satan used scripture against Jesus when he was tempting Jesus in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NKJV)  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up,Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”[b]Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Here are a few things I am turning to work on my own self.

One learning to listen to ALL another has to say as well as how they are saying it because no two people communicate perfectly and even when they are saying the same thing due to lack of understanding and problems communicating they can still fall into a argument disagreeing over something they actually agree upon. If I interrupt or dismiss what they have to say before I have listen to all what they have to say. Another thing is by listening not just hearing I am validating the person and this does not mean I agree but accept that what they have to say is important to them

The next is acknowledging I do not know everything, that what I know is only a small part of all the wisdom God has. For His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. I need a spirit of humility and compassion.

Another thing I contemplate is 1 Corinthians 13 Love does not demand its own way. God gave me free will,  who am I to demand another to see as I see and not allow them to have their own opinion.. What I mean is that I can say what I have to say and another can say what they have to say. If we do not agree I do not need to repeat myself or use every argument I can come up trying to force them into agreement with myself, or to make sure I have been heard. A term a friend taught me some years back is sand paper people and what is even funnier to me is that a majority of my friends fall into this category. The fact that we are friends is that we have learned that we do not have to agree but we respect each other and our different opinions. We all come from different backgrounds and have had different life experiences. Unfortunately the majority of us have lived through one form of abuse or another. How we have developed and healed has been different and at different times in our lives. I would be wrong to tell them they need to be where I am because I had already been there and done that and I know the right way, Yet I would be wrong. How I was hurt and how I was healed is not the same. Similar yes we have both been hurt by abuse but how my abuse effected me is going to be different than how they were affected. The time it takes me to heal is dependent on the degree of my wound and God’s timing.

God is our Judge, Jesus is our Advocate, the Holy Spirit is our Helper, and Satan is our accuser..I have to ask myself am I being any one of these.

Does this mean I do not call sin, sin?  Sin must be addressed and not swept under the rug but I have to ask myself am I trying to help another out of the ditch or am I standing above the one in the ditch kicking dirt down on them burying them with my judgment. Do I get down on my knees with an outstretched arm and help them up. Think about the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’.

None of us are without sin and none of us is perfect but we hypocritically demand others be perfect and agree with us. Where is the love of Jesus in this. He did not choose the elite or highly educated. He chose men who were rough and ones who were even despised by their community. You even have women from backgrounds not acceptable by religious standards. Rahab the harlot,who hides and protects the spies Joshua sent into Canaan.Then Ruth the Moabite who becomes the grandmother of David. The woman who anoints Jesus is despised by those who are with Jesus. The Samaritan woman at the well would not have even been spoken to by the religious. She even tells Jesus if you knew who I am you would not speak to me. Jesus does speak to her and He speaks to her with love.

Man or woman. Adult or child. No matter your race or background  or opinion, Jesus loves you. Can we learn to love each other as He loves us or we continue to justify our actions no matter who we may hurt or keep from coming to know the love and mercy Jesus has for all of us.

 

How to stop or avoid an argument

Love does not demand its own way.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

These verses describe what is and is not love. My focus today is on the sentence – It does not demand its own way. How often do we argue with one another? An argument consists of at least two people in a disagreement. Both feel that they are right. The arguing is each one demanding they are right. Yet once you have entered an argument you have already lost even if you may be right. The other person may hear you but they are not listening to you and vice versa. This is just one example of a person demanding their own way, so I am going to keep on this topic. Say I do not agree with you. Instead of walking away or moving on to another subject, I keep persisting on you agreeing with me. I finally irritate you until you are upset and a full blown argument takes place. I might have been right but the way I handled this conversation was absolutely wrong. I was not getting the response I wanted, so I kept nagging you and insisting you agree with me. You may have had something for me to listen to but I was refusing to hear you. Now both of us are upset and nothing more than irritation, hurt feelings, and anger are left. So what was the point? I was demanding my own way; I was not speaking in love.

It is not easy when you have something to say and the other person is refusing to listen to what you have to say, but at the same time how often do we really listen to the others need? Is it just about what I want? When we take the time to listen to each other, and care about the others needs and wants as much as our own, this is just one way to show love. I have not perfected this quality but I am working on this personally. Of course since I have decided to make this change in myself I have met many challenges. I regularly find people who want nothing more than to argue. So I have had to either move the conversation to a more positive conversation, or politely end the conversation. Neither is easy to do, and takes effort. Yet I remind myself of this scripture and focus on the sentence-It does not demand its own way. I also ask myself when I feel like an argument is about to begin, if I am trying to demand my own way. I cannot control how another behaves, but I can choose how I will act or react. I hope that there is someone else this will help.

Proverbs 15:1-2 (NKJV)

15 A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.