With All My Heart

“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”  (Proverbs 23:26)

Valentine’s Day is coming! It gives us a chance to do something really special for the one we really love, and usually that person also shows some token of love in return. But what if he/she only expected you to shower your love on them and made only a minimal effort to show love back? Would you be happy with a one-sided relationship like that?

Are you in a one-sided love relationship with God? Sure you expect God to love you, but are you showing Him love in return? When you are truly in love, it seems all that is on your mind is that other person, you want to be around him/her constantly, it is all you talk about, and you want to prove your love by doing sweet things.

God wants that kind of love from us as much as we do from Him, as evidenced in Mark 12:30,  “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”

I believe most people think that by praising Him they are showing that love. But if your sweetheart only said they loved you and never did anything to show it, would you be satisfied?

How do we show God our love? John 14:21 says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him.” We can first show our love by being obedient and keeping God’s commandments. And that includes, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Do you have other “gods” in your life? Things that actually take top priority over God Himself? What if your sweetheart paid more attention to someone else other than you?

We naturally expect anyone who loves us to be kind to us and do special things for us. In what way can we be kind to God? In Matthew 25:40 we see Jesus saying, “Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” The things you do for others you are actually doing for your Lord.

Most relationships cool down a little with time and get taken for granted. Let’s not take God for granted. Take action and show Him how much you love Him every day.

Through the Valley

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

I have a friend who recently had been having some issues with her leg. In deciding to get it checked out, it was found she has stage IV melanoma and had to have a good portion of her femur and her knee removed, and then they would do tests to see where else it had spread in her body. It was very unexpected. When I contacted her to tell her I would be praying for her, her attitude surprised me. She told me she would be shaking in her shoes if it weren’t for knowing the Lord was with her. She is most certainly walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Many of us have or are walking through that same valley, and it is dark and frightening. But it is certain we will also come to the other side of that valley; some to continue living, and some to pass on to their eternal home. There is no guarantee, only God knows what is on the other side. But when we are on that path we, like my friend, should not be “shaking in our shoes,” because God is right there with us, and if we allow Him, he will comfort us on that journey.

Where do you go for your comfort during those times? Your friends and family can only temporarily accompany you, and then they go back to their own path. But Psalm 23 tells us that God IS with us. Cling to Him tightly. He is the only One who will stay with you and get you through to the other side.

A Perfect Love

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Just a short while ago, we had to put our sweet kitty, Truffle, to sleep because of illness. She was honestly the sweetest animal I have ever known. If my husband and I were in the same room, she would first go to one of us, give some loving, and then go over to the other so we both got the same attention. Her love was unconditional and generous. She was never ill-tempered and would always greet us after we returned home from being gone. She seemed to give a perfect love.

But gradually she became quite ill. She always trusted us to protect her from all harm, but when the veterinarian came to our house to euthanize her, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of betrayal. I felt I was betraying her confidence in me to protect her. And I had to watch the life slip from her as I held her. As difficult as it was, I did it out of love for her.

Jesus possesses the actual perfect love. He gives every Christian the same love, and His love is unconditional. But the Heavenly Father had to subject Him to a horrible death on the cross for us. Jesus experienced the feeling of God the Father forsaking Him as He suffered and died.

When I think of Truffle, and how terribly hard it was to subject her to death out of love for her, I have to parallel that to how hard it was for God to subject His Son to physical death out of love for the world.

I believe God sometimes gives us these types of hard moments in life so that we can identify with the magnitude of God’s sacrifice for us. But His perfect love did not die with Him, it was only made more accessible through the cross.