Friday, June 13, 2008

Loving you more

Today’s Reading: John 12:42-43(NIV)

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees, they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

Good morning!

One of my mother’s favorite sayings is, “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, just don’t say anything at all.” Her words motivated me to look for something good in every person I know. A genuine and heartfelt compliment is far-reaching and can turn an unhappy attitude into a joy-filled moment. People appreciate recognition for their work and sacrifice. It’s nice to know you are loved.

Yet, there are times when we take human praise to the extreme. With each passing day, I become acutely aware that there is only One worth pleasing. It will not matter what my family or friends think of me when I stand before the Lord on judgment day. God sees my heart; He hears the words I speak, and the motivation behind them. He not only observes what I do each day – He knows what I don’t do. He has a handle on whether I am acting selflessly or out of pure selfishness. He knows whether my motivation is sincere or fake. God knows whether I’m seeking to praise and glorify Him, or whether I am seeking to receive praise from others, thereby glorifying myself. Have you ever asked God in prayer to reveal what He sees in you to your heart?

I have learned when I cannot sleep, there is a spiritual reason why. Most often, God calls me out of slumber to pray for someone whom I may or may not know. I’m learning to how to pray the prayers He would have me pray when I feel that Holy Spirit nudge. Last night was one of those long nights of the soul. I have been grieving over the floods and tornadoes in the Midwest; for the Boy Scouts and their families who lost their lives while attending camp this week. Downtown Cedar Rapids is under water today and more rain is expected. Peoples’ livelihoods are literally being washed away as homes and businesses are destroyed. The agony experienced in the Midwest is just a minute part of the terrors reaching around our world today. The earth is shifting gears; the seasons are changing rapidly. Can you see the changes occurring where you live?

There were a lot of people who believed in Christ’s salvation message. They heard Him, saw His work, and were convinced. But because they were afraid to speak the truth in love, they chose to keep silent so to retain the respect of their community of faith. Have you ever stopped short of sharing your faith for fear of judgment by others?

Father, help us live what we believe. Teach us how to love you more than we love ourselves. Help us forego our desire for human praise. The only heart we long to please is yours. Help us find ways to care for those who have lost so much in the storms of life, especially those who have lost all hope. If we are willing to endure the scrutiny of human judgment, we can truly become your hands and feet in a world that desperately longs for Your mercy today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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