Love is a verb … Friend of Jesus is the promise

Through the Waipoi Valley

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14

What a precious promise—friends of Jesus. The only requirement is to love one another as Jesus loves us. His definition of this love is to lay our lives down for our friends.

Jesus laid aside His glory for a season as He entered the world as a baby in his mother’s womb. He taught the people, fed the people, healed the blind, raised the dead, turned water into wine, ate with sinners, and served others to exhaustion. He finished His work on earth by enduring beatings, whips, mocking, nails, shame, and the wrath of God … all for His friends, you and me.

What if we were to take the example of Jesus as we look at our marriages? A love-filled marriage requires that we lay our lives down for each other day-by-day, sometimes in small ways, other times in global ways. Think of it; if we choose to lay our lives down for our spouses, we are obeying the command of Jesus, and He considers us His friends.

When I was so sick with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, my husband, Keith, took gentle care of me with no expectation of me. He tucked me into bed, kissed me, and darkened the room for me to get rest. He cooked; he mopped the floors; he bought the groceries; he took me to the doctor; he sat beside me; he held my hand, he prayed with me, and he loved me selflessly. Keith led me through the valley. He laid his life down for his friend—his wife.

Every day, there are many small opportunities for me to serve my husband, from the first kiss in the morning, to the last “goodnight.” Below are some ideas to bless your husband.

  1. Before you get out of bed in the morning, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for your husband and ask the Lord to bless him and walk with him throughout the day.
  2. Write a love note and sneak it into his lunch or briefcase.
  3. Call him at work and tell him you love him.
  4. When he snips at you, recognize that he may have had a rough day and bless him with a smile.

My prayer for you:

Father, what a wonderful promise You have given us—the opportunity to be the friend of Jesus. Lord, open our eyes to the opportunities that we have to demonstrate our love to our husbands. Go with us this week as we walk in love, laying down our lives for others, as your friend. Thank you, Father.

Share your insights:

Watch yourself as you interact with your husband this week.  How do you show love?  How are you shown love? Please share what you learn.

God’s vision for 2012: Prayer, poise, preparation, power

 

“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31

Mary DeMuth challenged her readers to ask God to give them a picture for 2012; I liked Mary’s lilac photo—could almost smell them. I thought, “I have many photos of flowers, I’ll choose one of those,” but flowers were not God’s picture for me.

In 2011, God’s picture for me was the Great Wall of China—climbing half-way up the Great Wall was proof that He had miraculously healed me on November 21, 2010 of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Climbing the Great Wall would not have been a possibility or even a thought without the Lord’s healing touch. Proving the healing was God’s vision for me in 2011.

An eagle is God’s picture for me for 2012. This eagle is high on top of a ship, alone, scanning the area for possible food. For 2012, I will be alone with God in prayer and listening for the possible direction that He wants me to take.

This eagle is poised high up in the cold with the wind blowing her feathers; she’s perched on a ship in Alaska, away from the comfort of her home nest, perhaps the mountains behind her. The Lord is taking me away from the comfort of what I know how to do and giving me challenges I’ve never faced, but I am poised to take those challenges.

This eagle is prepared for the next possibility. She has plunged down to grasp her prey many times. The Lord is preparing me for the next possibility through prayer, study, and practice.

This eagle is powerful. She makes her nest high in the mountains, and she soars high in the thin air. She “stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings” Deuteronomy 32:11.

Jesus promises that we “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 This is my heart’s desire, to be His witness. Is it your heart’s desire?

I pray that you will be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (1 Colossians 1:11-12).

May the Father of Lights fill 2012 with blessed prayer as you poise to prepare for the power that He holds out to you alone.

Show us what God’s picture is for your 2012.


What is your memorial before the Lord?

“Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.  Acts 10:4b

One year ago today, the Creator of the Universe, my Great Healer, touched my body and spun me around in a new direction. Jehovah-Rapha, healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome at the lowest point of my life—I was on the brink of disability and considering resigning the position I dearly loved.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia—just coping skills, just one day in front of another.

Days filled with prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers for coping. Prayers for direction. Prayers.

I longed to fill my days with alms or deeds of charity. Alms for God’s work. Alms for God’s people. Alms for the lost. Alms.

Our prayers and alms ascend as a memorial before God. The Israelites also built memorials before them to remind them of God’s miraculous work in their lives, and they taught their children how God intervened in their lives. And God established memorials for the Israelites.

“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” Exd 12:14

This day is a memorial to me, and I shall celebrate it as a day to the LORD; I will proclaim the mighty works of the Lord and His power to heal and to thrust His people into the works He has planned for them before the foundation of the world.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed.” Psalm 103:1-6

What memorials have you created before the Lord?

The Lord Heals

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

When I was 19-years-old, a Methodist minister visited me in the hospital and gave me this verse; it  became my life’s verse. I held onto that promise, and God always renewed my strength. He was always there for me and my family.

In 2001, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia; later, I was also diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Pain and fatigue dominated my life as well as pills and injections.

I waited on the Lord … for answers … for healing … for wisdom. I learned to see the blessings in the waiting. Without the fibromyalgia, I would not have had the demonstration of my husband’s great love as he selflessly cared for me.

In 2008, the Lord impressed upon Keith and me that He was going to heal me. We both pressed into the Lord, read all the healing scriptures, prayed, and read books on healing. Two years went by as we waited on the Lord, trusting that He would renew my strength.

Yet, I got worse, and my doctor put me on a reduced work schedule.

On November 21, 2010 I mentioned to Keith, “There’s that healing service tonight. Want to go?” “Sure.” No further discussion.

That night, after people we knew were healed, the pastor called for those in chronic pain. Keith grabbed my arm and led me to the front. We prayed; the pastor laid hands on me, and I was healed! Peace. No pain.

The next day, I told my physician. He asked me about the service and the other people who were healed—one person’s cataracts were healed (she was scheduled for surgery that Tuesday), and another person’s deafness was healed—people we knew who attended church with us. He said, “This could be good. What do you want to do?”

I returned to work and began reducing my medications under my doctor’s advice. He has confirmed this as a miraculous healing.

Since then, I have run on the beach, rough-housed with a Great Dane, walked up and down the hilly and crooked streets of San Francisco, and climbed half-way up the Great Wall of China.

Indeed, we waited on the Lord’s perfect timing, and He healed; He renewed my strength, and He gave Keith and me a much deeper relationship with Him.

Whatever your wait involves, rest in Him for He is faithful to complete it, and He will renew your strength.

May the Lord richly bless you and your family.