Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Love Yourself??

"Loving God and others - is there anything else?"

Many thanks to Mark Wilson for this confirming I-couldn't-say-it-any-better-myself post. =)

Why does the bible say to love yourself?

“Love yourself”. Did you get a negative reaction inside yourself? Did the word “egotistical” come to mind?

I didn’t mean be self-centered, I meant: respect yourself, protect yourself, care for yourself. And do you know what? It’s OK!

The bible says to love yourself:

  1. Leviticus 19:18 (OLD Testament)
    “Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself.
  2. Matthew 19:19
    Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “
  3. Matthew 22:39
    A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
  4. Mark 12:31
    The second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
  5. Luke 10:27
    The man answered, ” `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
  6. Romans 13:9
    For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting–and any other commandment–are all summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  7. Galatians 5:14
    For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  8. James 2:8
    Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s royal command found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Hurt people, who have had little or no love in their lives sometimes read the bible and see only the anger of God, or they see the self-depreciating language and then decide that it was God’s will that they were not loved and that somehow a God of love thinks it’s ok that they were disrespected in their lives.

I remember clearly when the truth fell “into” me and I suddenly understood that my parents were meant to love me – that was their role in my life. Because they didn’t fulfill their role properly DID NOT mean that God thinks it’s ok for me to go through life without love.

I cried, because I understood that so much of my self-awareness and awareness of God was flawed – I had discovered that He loves me and He wants the best for me… and that my past experiences were not what He had in mind for me. Nor for you!

Some people might think that we should love others and we should quietly disrespect ourselves. If we do this, what message would we send to the people around ourselves… that they should disrespect themselves? But I thought we were loving them and building them up?

How can we have love for them if we do not respect ourselves?

Do you know these sayings?

  • If a child grows up in an environment of criticism, the child will learn to criticize.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of hate, the child will learn to fight.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of shame, the child will learn to feel guilty

If you are critical, if you’re ready to fight, if you always feel guilty… then those saying can give you an insight into what your home life might have been like.

But it’s not all lost. There is still time to grow and heal… these sayings might give you an insight into how to go forward in your life:

  • If a child grows up in a praising environment, the child will learn to appreciate.
  • If a child grows up in an encouraging environment, the child will learn to be confident.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of understanding, the child will learn to be patient.
  • If a child grows up in a just environment, the child will learn to be fair.
  • If a child grows up in a secure environment, the child will learn to trust.
  • If a child grows up in an approving environment, the child will develop self-esteem.
  • If a child grows up in an environment of acceptance and friendship, the child will learn to find love in people.

If you already have those characteristics in your day to day life, then that’s wonderful. But for the rest of us, we can think about how to change our environment and then see ourselves change.

Is it too late? Are we too old? No. Inside of us we might actually be feeling and behaving like lost children – so it’s not too old to grow up into strong men and women of God who have kindness and trust and love to give to the people around us!

If we will love ourselves, if we create in our world a feeling of praising, encouraging, understanding, security, approval, acceptance and friendship – then it makes sense that as we grow up into our manhood or womanhood… then we will in turn become appreciative, confident, confident, fair, trust, we will have good self-esteem and we will be able to find love in the people around us and TO GIVE LOVE to the people around us.

drinking_water_glass.jpgSo then, in order to love those around us, we must first love ourselves. In order to recover and heal, we must love ourselves.

This is the very first place you can begin to find love: yourself.

When you have begun to respect yourself, have good boundaries for yourself, when you get to know what you like and enjoy and DO those things – that’s when life get’s a whole lot easier… and that’s when you can turn to another hurting person and lead that person to heal and life.

If you want to read more, I recommend these posts as well

God bless you! I hope you leave a comment and share yourself, learn from others and grow.

Extra! (2 June 2010)

There is a wonderful debate in the comments section below. I love hearing from people when they share. Together we can develop a rich understanding of the bible by hearing each other’s point of view. So let me share another scripture with you which shows how you are meant to be treating yourself…

For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it… – Eph 5:29

ARE you nourishing and carefully protecting and cherishing your own flesh – your body? Paul absolutely expects you to be taking care of yourself. He says “no man” would hate himself.

And the reason we are to nourish our own bodies, is so that we (men) can love our wives.

Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church – Eph 28-29

The expectation that Paul has is that you ALREADY nourish yourself, and he wants you to nourish your wife. And the expectation in those 8 verses I quoted at the beginning of this article, is that you already love yourself (nourish, cherish, protect) and now God wants you to do the same for others.

But some people were not taught by their parents to nourish themselves. Perhaps they suffered abuse and no longer value themseves, perhaps some people hate themselves after that kind of experience.

No. God expects you to be “above only and not beneath” and the head and not the tail, and to love yourself and Paul expects you to nourish, cherish and protect yourself… and ALSO to do the same for others.

Remember the parable of the talents? If we use what we have received, He gives more. So AS you love yourself, go ahead and love others. A recent study shows a 40% decline in emphathy… what that means is that modern people have harder hearts than people living 20 years ago. So we have less to give.

But that is not God’s plan. Don’t use drugs, don’t go to churches where you feel controlled, don’t let people speak badly of you. Instead. Nourish yourself, cherish yourself, protect yourself… and then do the same for others.

God bless you on your journey to being the head and not the tail, to nourishing and protecting yourself! Hallelujah!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Preparing for Grace

Where has the time gone?? Wishing my darling daughter, Grace, a very happy and wonderFULL 6th birthday! I'm reminded today of what a treasure she is and a marvelous gift from God. I'm also reminded of the mandate and responsibility I own to raise her to know/love God, herself and others. What a mandate! But, I don't have to do it alone. God has partnered with me to accomplish this massive undertaking. It started before she was born, built on a foundation recognizing Him as her creator and a beat in His heart before she was even conceived. Here is the prayer we prayed over her during her actual birth and first moments of life:

With the combination of waterworks & my handwriting, it's a wonder how my sister, Tracy, even made it through the prayer- some parts are just plain hard to read.

Father, thank you for your presence; for being here to welcome baby Grace into the world. Your word says that you are her creator. She was in your care even before she was born this day. Long before she was conceived in my womb, she was conceived in Your mind and in Your heart. You planned her though I did not. You thought of Grace first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that she is breathing this very moment. She is alive because You wanted to create her.

Lord, You said, "I will fulfill My purpose for Grace." God, you prescribed every single detail of Grace's body. You deliberately chose her race, color of skin, her hair and every other feature. You custom made her body just the way you wanted. You've determined the natural talents she will possess and the uniqueness of her personality. Your word says that You know her inside and out. You know every bone in her body. You know exactly how she was made, bit by bit; how she was sculpted from nothing into something.

God, because You made Grace for a reason, You also decided when she would be born and how long she will live. You've planned the days of her life in advance; choosing the exact time of her birth and even her death. Your word says You saw Grace before she was born and scheduled each day of her life even before she took this first breath. Every day was recorded in Your book.

God, you also planned where Grace would be born and where she will live for Your purpose. Her race and nationality are no accident. You left no detail to chance. You are not surprised. In fact, you expected it. You have welcomed her into this world. You are her Father to love, care for and provide for her. Cover her with your love. Give her a supernatural awareness of your presence. Call her. Prepare her. Give her health and instill an ability to trust You in all things. Guide her. Fashion her with spiritual blessings. Just as the handmaiden Hannah lent her child for Your service, so I offer Grace to You, Lord. You are her salvation.

Treasured friend, Sarah, and my fun niece, Merideth, read the following scriptures & sang songs while Grace was being born & getting her first bath:

Psalm 139:14-15 Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thak you , High God--breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration--what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepard before I'd even lived one day.

Psalm 22:9-10 And to think, you were my midwife at my birth, setting me at my mother's breast! When I left the womb You cradled me; since the moment of birth you've been my God.

Psalm 71:6 I've hung on you from the day of my birth. You took me from the cradle; I'll never run out of praise.

Isaiah 49:1, 5 Listen far flung islands, pay attention, faraway people: God put me to work from the day I was born. The moment I entered the world He named me. He said to me, "You're me dear servant, Israel (Grace), through whom I'll shine."

Luke 1:41 You are blessed and the babe in your womb also blessed.

Matt 19:14 One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these."

Eph 1:3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth's foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.

I Samual 1:28 I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him (her) to God. She's dedicated to God for life." Then and there, they worshiped God.

I also found a note written by Tracy or Sarah that they sang "Jesus Loves Me" over Grace while she was being born and bathed.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Chasm Chat

Just thinking this morning; trying to encourage someone going through one of those time like each of us do. We all experience those seasons & we just "grow" through them. It's the enemy's job to cloud our vision, stir up our emotions & focus on what wrong in our lives - all the time pointing up at God as if He's responsible. There are times when a great chasm exists between what we feel & what we KNOW in our knower is true about God - His faithfulness, His ability to work all things for good to those who love Him, that He has our best interest at heart...

So those chasm times...we wait for our feelings to come in line with our faith. We wait, yet work & partner with God as He fulfills His purpose in our lives. "We get back in line with the calling He has placed on our lives" according to Leo Croft.

Wow! He has great confidence in you!