What Love Does

When you give your heart away

There is floating in between

A place of honest giving

Trust in how it will be received

The truth in giving love

Is to draw from our Redeemer

The One who gave it all

To the frail and flawed receivers

Faded flower calling in colors

Take a second look before you pass

New does not always mean best

Return to the the richer past

Knowing and loving and being true

Words to solve a puzzle

Understanding why is not so bad

Soak into my loving nuzzel

The question of how does not matter

My heart has been rooted in God

Loving a man that is in a battle

Is a wife’s holy and graceful nod

Moving to the next me brigade

Is nothing compared to commitment

A vow to be what I could not be

Without my Saviour’s commission

A love was protrayed in agony

A sheep praying for her wolves

Nailed to a cross with a silent prayer

Sacrifice is what love does

Beauty and Truth- Thoughts on Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8 The Voice)

Here is a final attempt to show the Philippians (and us) the way to experience peace. The battles of perplexity and anxiousness are won first in our thoughts. If we can fill our minds with the light of truth, all things will be seen more clearly. If we find our way to the beauty, and behold what is lovely, good, and right, our hearts will settle. Even when faced with the most difficult situation, or a person causing us to despair. We have no control over how or where they stand. Where I stand matters more than anyone or anything else. And what I choose to let my mind be filled with will determine my response. My actions are what others see. My words are what they will hear. What flows from my heart into the world will tell of the well it draws from.

My mind is the engine which generates judgement or love. Since God is the judge, I must generate love. Loving God should fuel loving others the way He loves me. I want to generate this love. So I must determine my steps by filling my mind with beauty and truth. What I let my heart feed on is the fuel for my life. Because my heart is the wellspring of life, I want to filter and protect its contents. Just like my water filter at home. I go to the best source of water I have, and then let the filter clean what I cannot see. Instead of judging others based on what I see, I want to let love and God’s truth be the filter. So much in our world seems dark, and yet I have seen light in otherwise dark places. Situations that seem to be lost causes, or stories of terrible events at the hands of people have moved me to look for the heart of the matter. Not to excuse but to look for redemption, the way God redeemed me. God loves with an unconditional love, and this is the way I am to love. It is a difficult thing sometimes, yet each day is a chance to judge less and love more. When I ponder judgement, my pride takes a shadowy stance on my heart. When I ponder how to bring forth God’s love and fill my mind with how He sees, there is light and peace.

Heavenly Father, You are a good and gracious God. Out of Your Heavenly Kingdom flows life and redemption. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to us as a human just like me. I am moved to tears when I think of this love. You did not reign down judgement, but sacrificial mercy and grace. Yes, there are consequences for sin, but I leave this judgement to You. Help me to see with Your eyes, and love with Your heart wrapped with mine. Let my hands and feet be in sync with Your plan and will for me. Fill my mind with Your goodness and truth. In Jesus’ name amen.

(Thoughts on Love) Study Notes for James 2:8

Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love as given to us in this Scripture: “You must love and value your neighbor as you love and value yourself!” James 2:8

Today I took a different approach in my study, or rather God took me down a specific path I did not plan for. After reading through James 2, I kept coming back to verse 8. All the other verses, and truly the entire Bible comes back to love, since it is the ultimate love story. I know some will say how can it be love when it says this or that…? And I agree that many parts of the Bible are confusing and disturbing especially when read in part. All I can do is testify to the power of Christ in my life. By reading the scriptures and praying for wisdom, I receive humbly, and share. So, here is my share for today:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a commandment. It is Royal Law. By not doing so, I sin against God. So, who is my neighbor? Every. Single. Human. Each person I encounter should be a recipient of this love that lives in me. But there is judgement that rises, pride, hurry, and partiality is shown. And the truth is, I have been taught to love conditionally. My eyes have been socially trained to recognize false beauty as valuable. As the only good. All based on appearances, which can be thick and effective at hiding the true heart.

Look at what has been happening to our children. Bullying has become an epidemic. Look what has happened in the political arena, hate spews from both sides. Media pours out perfect images and slanted ideas of what is good and acceptable in the world, and everyone is saying something different. These images and misleading stories from humans on a platform cause us to hate our own reflection in the mirror, or we hate others. We tear down people who are different than us to build ourselves up. We spend countless dollars on creating a better image of ourselves. We cringe at the sight of ourselves in a natural photo without filters. Envy and judgement rises in our hearts every day. We are in bondage to the pride that holds us here.

Studies show that isolation and feelings of loneliness are on the rise. The only way to bridge the gap of judgement and pride is to address the isolation. The self-made platforms must be ripped away. We must stand with feet planted firmly on the earth and remember who we were created to be. We need to reach out and touch people. Spend less time in our little worlds and serve people out there in the big one. To get past partiality is the get past appearances. Whether we are drawn toward or away in judgement, whether attracted or repulsed, we must get past the initial decision and reaction, unless it is to show love.

I am learning to see the one who looks like they have it all together probably doesn’t, and the one who looks to be worse off may hold the very peace I am seeking. The only way to know for sure is to enter in and interact. This is the only way to get to their true heart. Communication leads to understanding. Reaching out to those in our path is the only way to find out what someone needs. Maybe they need money, maybe it’s spending time, either way I know everyone needs love. This is how Jesus lived. This is how I too must live if I want true peace and joy. Humanity suffers where there is hate and it thrives under the pouring out of love.

Lord, Show me to love like You do. Forgive me for my judgemental glances and selfish assumptions about people. Forgive me for my pride. Soothe my wounded heart so I can see past my own pain. Let humility reign in my heart and let love reign on my lips. Help me to keep Godly boundaries to wisely know what is helpful and harmful. Show me what it means to throw pearls before swine and yet still show love. Speak so I can hear You and slow me down so I can listen. Give me courage to step beyond my borders and safely walk with you in grace with eyes open to the needs around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Yellow Ribbon Love

She looks out the window holding to hope
Another day unfolds
Sunshine rays of beaming light
Like a lifeline, hands to rope
The golden hues swirl and dance
Upon Spring flower blooms
Birds caress the wind with song
God gives another chance
Her heart is is full of love for Him
His grace is enough
To be the wife of soldier’s blood
She’d risk her life and limb
He stands for what he knows is right
His heart has been wounded
The scars burn too red sometimes
And healing trades for fight
Yet love from his wife’s fierce heart
Burns hotter still
She holds a yellow ribbon love
Vows held strong from the start
This ribbon speaks of sacrifice
Life given for all
Their Savior shows them how to love
Bought with the highest price
The ribbon too is held in view
To remind her of the hope
And when he turns home from battlefield
He will see her love like new.

Like a Dove

She was born with a dream

Full of life giving themes

A maiden in dresses

With curly brown tresses

A beautiful life it would seem

Yet as she would travel

Her life would unravel

Tearing apart at the seams

Her dresses were torn

By the roses with thorns

Still the scent of the flowers remained

As the sun rose above

Each new day filled with love

She gave what her heart still contained

By dusk she would find

Her heart empty of kind

Her dreams and her beauty were stained

The once young maiden

Now felt worn and heavy laden

She realized how much she had changed

She remembered the Hand

Who created this land

The life giving power above

Her God had been waiting

His love was not fading

And she made her way home like a dove. 

Strong Roots

Grass under my feet and wind in my hair

Reminding me God, that Your love is there

You are my rock through the chaos on earth

And I know there’s a purpose and loving has worth

When fire and affliction burns hot on your heart

Meaningless madness will tear you apart

Take hold of the moment, stand strong and aware

That darkness will cower to God’s love affair

His power will crush the arrows that fly

The taunts of the enemy become known for their lies

The world spins unknowing the battles to fight

So I war on my knees to replace darkness with light

With each breath in my lungs I vow to live well

And let God use my life as His story to tell

Pages keep turning as days turn to years

I stop to reflect how He’s used all my tears

Seeds of grace and forgiveness flourish and grow

In each burning affliction I’m pushed closer to know

True joy and love when I dig deeper to find

Strong roots reach the Giver of your life and mine.

 

 

The Work of His Hand

She wanders, heart empty, through libraries, books-

Seeking and searching, taste words found in nooks.

Another day lived, as her soul is struck thin,

Feels her way through, wondering where to begin.

Step back and you watch her, confusion and grin-

Your own life is halted, interruptions within.

Orderly patterns, the American way-

Keeps dreaming in check, plan your life, plan your day.

This creature before you, seems lost and confused,

Poor soul needs some coaching, some wisdom to use.

And you, so helpful, you’re way sets things right-

Strategy and planning mask conviction and might.

Glimpse life without judgment, expecting what’s real.

Leave room for your heart, glimpse wide without shield.

Step forth and approach an open new gate-

Move boldly in, to prepared fertile blessed fate.

 Your God who created you, knew you’d be here-

Placed hazel eyed Jennifer where you would be near.

No plan you envisioned nor life had you planned

Could stop this unfolding, the work of His hand.

A New Yes

All it takes is a shift

One moment in time

A gentle glance given

Love spilled from your eye

Once jumpy and raw

Senses calm

Souls touch in seconds

Music in psalms

Twisted heart tightens

Control leaves you less

Release fear and loosen

Accept a new yes.

You’re Not Alone

Another step, another day

Hope in thoughts you’ve learned to pray

Walk in freedom, selfless love

Impulsive smiles come from above

At times you think your effort is wasted

Only to find sweet passions tasted.

Keep your eyes fixed on the truth

Love your way to unfounded proof

Break the glass of image shown

Reveal the truth to those unknown

Painful honesty passes fear

When life’s true hold catches you here

Extend your heart in selfless grace

Friendship grows within the space.

Wounded places find a home

In souls to rest, you’re not alone.

words by JLS

Photo by Cross My Heart Photography

Love to Love

Sometimes eternity, reaches to me

Jolts me awake, and my eyes really see

I drink in the soulful, heart wrenched melody

Notes play out pain, free rest gives to beauty

And therein lies life, right in front of me

 

Life loves to live

And love lives to love

Give me a love where life gives all in love

 

Warm washes coldness, chips away steel

Bringing forth mystery, heart songs I can feel

Love sparks courageous, seeks layers to peel

Give in to hear music, unfolding to real

Reciprocal joy, follows steps on the heel

 

Life loves to live

And love lives to love

Give me a love where life gives all in love

 

Another day dawns, birds singing in flight

Returning the favor, of God’s morning light

Echo the singing soul, battle songs for the fight

Beautiful balance, of wrongs blended right

Step forth a new chapter, new songs for new might

 

I love to live

And my life loves to love

God gave me a life to show love loving love

By JLS
10/1/2014