Radical Love-Loving when it’s hard!

Do you love only when it’s easy or do you love radically?

What is your reaction when someone does something against you or persecutes you in someway? Do you react in love or do you want to get revenge? As Christians, Jesus calls us to a radical love. He calls us to love our enemies, he actually tells us we are to rejoice when people persecute us and do evil things to us.

Matthew 5:11-12 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The world we live in is so full of hate, we see people killing people, we see people choosing things over each other, we see people slander other people over the internet and we live in a country that is divided. How do you choose to love radically in these situations? I’m not talking about saying you love everyone or choosing not to do what other people do but I’m talking about going out of your way to show kindness to your enemy. That person that was rude to you over the internet, the person that hurt someone in your family. How do you go about going out of your way to show kindness to that person when in reality you don’t want to. You want to sit at home and want nothing to do with that person or sometimes if we are honest with ourselves we wish ill on that person. In these situations I think of Jesus himself. No one will do anything as bad to me as what I did to Jesus. Yet he chose to radically love me by going to the cross and dying. I spit in his face, I called him a liar, I told him I wanted nothing to do with Him. I cursed His name anything you can think of that is horrible to do to a person I did to Jesus. Yet he crossed that line and he loved me enough to take all of that sin on himself and died for me. He didn’t have to to do that, he could of let me go to Hell and rot in my sin but he chose to radically love me. It was hard for Jesus, he was beaten, he was whipped he was hung on a cross for multiple hours, but his love for me kept him there.
I think to radically love like Jesus calls us to is to remember we aren’t here for people we are here for Jesus. Jesus called us to love like he has loved. It would be easy for me to sit at home and sulk when something didn’t go my way or someone was mean to me, it would be easy to want to sit at home and be mad at the way my country is turning out. The easy life isn’t what Jesus called me to, his calling on our lives is to go and make disciples of all nations which is hard and it’s loving people when they don’t deserve it.

Luke 6:32- 35 32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil

If all we do is love those who love us we are no different than the people that are hurting us, we are no different than the world. We have to go out of our way to love people that are mean to us and who don’t love us. Then we are being like Jesus. We are called to love like Jesus loved. If you look at scripture the people that Jesus spent the most time with were people no one wanted anything to do with. He went out of his way to love on those people because everyone else chose to hate them, or to avoid them. Who are you spending your time with, the people that are easy to love or the people that you have to work on to love?
In a world that is choosing hate, that is choosing to discriminate, are you loving only those who love you and agree with you, or are you going out there getting your hands dirty and loving those who hate, and persecute you? Jesus chose to get his hands dirty when he chose to love you by dying on the cross. Are you going to radically love someone today even if it’s the hardest thing you have ever had to do, or you going to continually choose to let the world win? I think we as Christians could change the world if we would love like Jesus called us too. If we would really lay ourselves aside, stop living for ourselves and love like he has called us to love. My challenge to you today is to love that person that is difficult to love. Go out of your way to show someone kindness today, not because they deserve it but because Jesus showed you kindness when you didn’t deserve it. Love until it hurts!

God Bless,
Kendra Smith

“Fear is Rebellion Against God”

Forgiveness is taking our eyes off of God and putting them on ourselves!

You’re standing at the edge of everything you have been dreaming about, everything you have been talking about looking at your future. You are told to go ahead and cross over and take it, it’s ready for you. You can’t move though you just stand there looking in and you start to question everything. Now you want to go seek advice before you jump in you want to have someone else go check it out for you first. What happened? How did the thing that brought you so much excitement that you set and anxiously waited for to finally happen now bring so much dread? Fear happened, you look at your future, and what God was asking you to do and instead of keeping your eyes on Him you turned them on yourself and allowed fear to take over!

We are not alone in allowing this to happen the same exact thing happened to the Israelites.  In Deuteronomy 1 and Numbers 13 we see where they allowed fear to paralyze their faith. For years God had been telling them about a land full of milk and honey that He was taking them too and it was going to be all their’s. Finally the day arrives and they can see into the land and God tells them OK it’s time go and possess the land! They don’t do it! Instead of trusting God and relying on His promise and remembering how He had carried them all this way they turn to human counsel. They wanted 12 spies to go and check out the land before they would go and conquer it.    And I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. 21 See, the Lord your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’22 Then all of you came near me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may explore the land for us and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come.” -Deuteronomy 1:20-22   So God obliged and let them send in the 12 spies. They came back holding the biggest cluster of grapes, so big, two people need to carry it on a pole in between them.  23 “And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs.”- Numbers 13:23 They were able to see that the land was everything that God had promised. They just couldn’t get passed their fear. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones that saw the good  land and remembered that God promised they were going to possess it so they said let’s go and get this awesome land that God has promised for us. But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”-Numbers 13:30.  The other spies didn’t see the promise of God anymore all they could see were the people that occupied that land and themselves and they focused on themselves.  31 “Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”-Numbers 13:31-33   They didn’t see this land as one that God could conquer they saw it as a land that had giants in it that they couldn’t compete with. In this moment they had forgotten their God who had brought them out of Egypt, who had guided with them a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. They were only seeing themselves and the giants they were up against. How often do we take our eyes off of God when we are up against our giants? We all of a sudden forget everything God has done for us in the past and think that He can’t help us in the situation we are in. The Israelites allowed fear to so paralyze their faith that they thought God had brought them out of Egypt just so they could die. Fear took their eyes off of God and instead of seeing possibilities they saw problems, instead of opportunities they saw obstacles. They completely rebelled against God and refused to go and possess the land, they paid the consequence too. God told them not a single one would ever see the land because they didn’t trust Him to go and take it over. They all realized their sin and tried to go and conquer the land anyways but God was no longer with them and their fear became a reality they all died by the sword. 

In reality this is a really sad story. The Israelites had been out in the desert for a long time probably talking about the land of milk and honey and how they couldn’t wait to get there and see the land that God was promising them. They allowed fear to ruin all of that for them, and they never saw the land God promised them instead they died by their fear because they tried to do it on their own. Are you letting fear control  you to the point that you think God can’t handle what you are doing?

Are you looking for problems instead of possibilities, obstacles instead of opportunities? What has God been asking you to do but you haven’t done it because you have been to fearful to do it?

You have been looking at yourself instead of God saying “I can’t do that. What if I fail? What if I get in there and it’s not what I thought?” Instead you need to be saying “It doesn’t matter that I can’t do this, God can. I can’t fail because God said He would guide me through this. It might not be what I thought it would be, but it will be perfect for me because God’s ways are always best for me.” Stop rebelling against God today in your fear. Get your eyes off of yourself and get them back on God and go and conquer what He has called you to do. Don’t be like the Israelites who came so close, but never got there.

Trusting God When Everything Seems to be Falling Apart

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you think you have everything figured out and then God just turns your life completely upside down? How do we trust God through that when we thought He was going left and all of a sudden he turns right. How do we abandon everything we have grown comfortable with and trust that the right turn that God just took was the right way to go instead of staying left like you wanted to?  My husband and I just went through this exact situation and believe me it was not an easy time for us but we are on the other side now and we both would shout from the hilltops that going right with God was the best decision we ever made and we are so glad that we didn’t keep going left, alone, like we wanted to at first.

My Husband and I got married in 2014 and we started raising our support to become Missionaries in Brazil with Word of Life Fellowship. We raised our support in 6 months! We were on the field by March of 2016. We couldn’t of been more excited to serve God there and to be used by Him to reach the Brazilian people. A few months after we got there though things started to change. I started getting really sick with headaches, we thought at first that I just had a sinus infection but they didn’t get any better. As time went a long they actually got worse and I would have to spend 4-5 days in bed with headaches and I couldn’t do anything.  As time went on we realized that we weren’t going to be able to stay in Brazil because I couldn’t handle living with the headaches all the time.  How do you trust a God that helped you raise your support so fast, took you to Brazil to just get you sick and bring you back to the States? That’s the wonderful thing about God, you don’t always have to understand what He is doing, you just have to put your complete trust in Him and know that His ways are higher than your ways. (Isaiah 55:9) My husband and I spent a lot of time praying, questioning God why He brought us there to just bring us back. He had a plan though and we now will be serving God with Word of Life here in the States, and the region we will be in has the most Brazilians in the States so we will get to use everything that we learned in Brazil.

The last couple of months we were in Brazil everything was falling apart for us. I was so sick I was in bed literally everyday, we knew we had to leave Brazil but had no idea where we were going or what we were going to do. We were going left down the road enjoying ourselves and all of a sudden God went right on us and we were thrown for a loop. I love in John 13:7 where Jesus says ” You do not realize what I am doing but later you will understand” It might not be today, it might not be this side of heaven, but one day, you will understand what God is doing and you will be so glad you followed His lead.

I know trusting God is so hard when everything is falling apart around you, but remember, He has the best plan for your life and He will comfort you through this big change. He wants to hold you, He wants you to completely rely on Him through this time!

Psalm 94:19 NLT When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalm 147:3, NIV He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
John 14:18 KJV I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Jeremiah 31:13b, ESV I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

So be encouraged and remember God is doing amazing things!  Trust Him when He goes right when you are going left and have the courage to go with Him because you will go on a ride you will never forget and you will be so glad you did!

Have a great day guys!

Talk to you soon!

Kendra Smith