God’s Love Has No Limits

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The other day I was really frustrated about something going on with someone, and I said ” God I can’t do this anymore, how do I continue to love them, how do I keep forgiving them when they keep doing the same thing over and over again to me?”

Then there was a still small voice, “Kendra isn’t this what I have done for you? Didn’t I love you  and die for you while you were yet still a sinner?” (Romans 5:8)

Wow that was a good reminder and a hard one. It got me thinking, you have accepted, and want God’s love and forgiveness for you, yet you aren’t willing to love and forgive someone who did something so small to you?   This whole thing was very convicting to me and really made me start thinking of God’s love and forgiveness for us. How amazing it really is, and how for granted we take it. While we were still sinners Christ died for us. How many of you would be willing to die for someone, especially one who had done horrible things to you? This is what Christ did for us! It just blows my mind when I really think about what He has done for me. When I really understand the love of God, and what He has done for me, I can’t help but to love other people and to forgive them. How could I not when I realize what has been done for me by God. It makes me think of 1 John 4:7-8

1 John 4:7-8  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 If I can’t love other people, or refuse to love them and forgive them then I can’t truly love God.  These are just thoughts I had the other day, when God so graciously reminded me of his great love for me, and how He had done the exact thing for me that I didn’t want to do.

 

 

 

God’s merciful hand

    How do you move on when you have lost everything you have worked for, everything you have ever loved, how do you give it all up and still see the hand of God in your life?

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” God is at work in the worst of times. When you think he is farthest from you, or has even turned against you, the truth is that he is laying foundation stones of greater happiness in your life.” – John Piper

    How do you move on when you have lost everything you have worked for, everything you have ever loved, how do you give it all up and still see the hand of God in your life? Being very vulnerable with you guys, this has been something I have been struggling with for the last year and a half. My husband and I were never supposed to leave Brazil, we thought we would be there for the rest of our lives. God had different plans of bringing us back to the states, and then when we got to the states we found out that we will never be able to have children of our own. That is a lot of information to digest in one year. You go from thinking you are going to be starting a family down in Brazil and do God’s work there for your life, to having to come home, and find out that the family you dreamed up your whole life is going to look very different. I struggled for quite a while with being frustrated at not understanding God’s plan for us,

I still don’t understand God’s plan for us yet, but I believe that He is merciful and he is laying foundation stones for greater happiness in our lives.

Two characters I see in the Bible, that had to deal with incredibly dark times in their lives is Naomi, from the book of Ruth, and Joseph.  They both handle their dark situations a little different, but two things they both never falter on is 1.) God Exists, 2.) God is Sovereign,   Naomi, was in a foreign country because of famine in her home town, while in this foreign country her husband, and two sons were killed. She came back home to Judah and said the ” The Almighty has dealt bitterly with me” she dwelt in her bitterness and her misery so much that she couldn’t see God’s merciful hand on her life. God was the one that ended the famine so that she could come back to her homeland, God gave her Ruth to come back with her, and through Ruth, Naomi would gain a man-child, and that man-child would marry Ruth and give Naomi a grandson who would end up being the grandfather of the greatest king in Israel’s history, and be the foreshadow of the King of Kings Jesus Christ.  Naomi never faltered on God’s existence, or his sovereignty but she couldn’t see his hand working in her life. Have you ever been there?

The story of Joseph is also very sad, he was also in a foreign country, sold in to slavery, accused by an adulteress, thrown in prison, but there is something different about Joseph’ story. Through all of this he never lost sight of the merciful hand of God, to use all of what he was going through for his good. Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant it for evil against me [Joseph says to his brothers]; but God meant it for good.”  Joseph ended up being second in command to Pharaoh, and saving all of Egypt, and other nations from famine. Joseph never faltered on God’s existence, or his sovereignty, and he also never lost sight of God’s merciful hand on his life, this is such a hard thing to do, but so beautiful when we do.

Here we see two stories of absolute devastation, but two different results of how they handled their hard times. Naomi was caught up in her grief, and bitterness, while Joseph stayed focused on God and his merciful hand in his life knowing that he would use this for his Glory and the good of Joseph. You know what I love about both of these stories though? God never left either of them, and he worked beautifully in both of their lives.

God isn’t done with my story of coming back to the states, or finding out I will never have kids of my own. He is going to use this for his glory and my good. Are you caught up in your grief and bitterness and only focusing on that, or are you looking to God in your situation and keeping your eyes open to see what wonderful thing he is going to do in your life?

God give me eyes to see your merciful hand on my life even in the darkest of corners where there seems to be absolutely no light at all. 

 

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