Practical love wins

A soldier was returning home from war when he called his parents to let them know that he wanted to bring a friend with him. His parents quickly agreed when he made the request.

“Sure, bring him home for a few days”, they said.

The soldier informed them that this friend had one arm, one leg, one eye and a mangled face. His parents insisted that it was okay for him to bring the friend home.

He clarified that this friend would want to live with them forever.

It was then that his parents hesitated and began making excuses about why having such a damaged friend live with them was not the best idea.

“He would make their friends uncomfortable” “What would others say” “We can find a more suitable home for him” were some of the excuses made.

The soldier hung up and a few hours later his parents got a call that their son had killed himself with a gunshot to his head. The police described him as having one arm, one leg, one eye and a mangled face.

It was then that his parents knew that their son was “the friend” that he spoke of earlier; and their rejection of someone who was different, was actually their rejection of their own son.

This story always leaves me wondering: “Am I turning down an opportunity to help meet the need of another person…because it challenges the elements in my comfort zone?” “Is my love for others only limited to those who look, think and live as I do?” “Am I allowing the “difference” in others to become a barrier that prevents me from serving them as Christ has called me to serve?”

And I always end up asking God to remove and set aside self, my personal biases and agendas so that I carry the burdens of those around me, with His guidance and strength.

The people around us need us to love them as God loves us. They need a love that isn’t flaky, convenient, conditional or discriminatory. They are longing for a love that is dependable, divine and constant.

Only when we share this active love through practical service do we truly serve God.

Only when we move beyond what is safe and familiar and love others, can we reveal Christ in our hearts and experience a deeper, and different side of who God is.

V A L I D A T E

You may have someone in your life who may present their insecurities and burdens to you in an indirect way. This person may hide behind their words or move around in a circle before they feel safe to tell their story … all for fear of being rejected, like the soldier.

Listen to this person and be unafraid to ask if they are indirectly speaking about their problem.

Sometimes persons just need validation to share or describe an emotion, thought or situation.

Validate – let the person know that it is okay to have a hard time telling you about their situation and feelings and you appreciate them making the effort.

I N T E N T I O N A L L Y | L O O K | A R O U N D

Take an intentional look at those who are around you – there are many who believe that they can only be of service if they travel to another country on a mission trip. While there is nothing wrong with investing in attending international mission trips – our sense of service should never be limited to places only outside of our local country.

Right where you are is an excellent place to start serving, if you intently look around you.

“The poor always ye have with you,” (John 12:8) The socially poor may be on our street. The spiritually poor may be on our job or in our classroom. The emotionally poor may be in our homes.

There is always someone to serve. And we neglect manifesting the love of God to them when we fail to serve them.

Who is in your close circle ? What is God calling you to do, say or be to show them His love? What would ministering to this person look like today – a word of affirmation? A quick call? A hot lunch? Assistance with a chore? A word of prayer? Allow God to move to you to minister in a practical Godly way.

“Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.” Ellen G. White The Desire of Ages, p. 637-41

Love

Dee

© 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

A love so bold

Without question, it is easy to be cynical. It is easy to be critical. It is easy to distance yourself. It is safe to be bitter. It’s easy to be hostile. But it takes courage to forgive. It takes courage to keep on loving. It takes courage to live with your heart exposed and vulnerable, open and committed to showing and being love. It takes courage to have a purposeful heart in a strained relationship and unfair circumstance.

That courage to love boldly is what Hosea had in his marriage to Gomer.

Gomer, as you know, had a questionable reputation. She was a promiscuous woman.

Still God commanded Hosea to marry her and commit himself to her.

Hosea obeyed God, married Gomer and soon their marriage faltered after she was unfaithful to him.

Even after the deep betrayal, God told Hosea to do the unthinkable: “Show your love to your wife again.” And, as always, Hosea obeyed God and forgave Gomer.

I want you to remind you that it is okay to forgive someone who did the unthinkable to you. Such persons more than ever require your forgiveness and that bold type of love.

They need the love that Christ has showered you with. Your coworker needs that bold love. Your parent needs that bold love. Your children need love. Your estranged friend needs love. Your boss needs that love. Your accuser needs that love.

Whomever your Gomer is …they need that love that we can only give after we have experienced God’s grace in a personal way.

It’s a magnificent challenge and most days, a seemingly impossible command, but Christ never calls us to do anything without offering help. He says, “Let me show you how to love. Just give me your heart. Let me surprise you with the power of love. Let me show you the power of love.”

Be scandalously brave and love – “even when it’s hard; even when it hurts; even when you are crucified; even when it doesn’t make sense.” For, only the brave, love.

Love,

Dee

(C) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

 

Faithful even while hidden

The Lord was serious when he had declared in 2 kings 9: 6 – 8, that the whole house of Ahab would perish.

For years, the house of Ahab worshipped Baal and practiced idolatrous customs. It was a level of apostasy that God did not tolerate; and He commissioned Jehu to “smite the house of Ahab” to avenge the blood of His prophets and people. The anointed Jehu, did as he was commanded and word soon spread of the general execution.

When Jezebel’s daughter heard of this, she declared that all descendants of David who were eligible to the throne be killed. As the massacre took place, Jehoiada, the high priest, hid Joash within the temple for six years.

While hidden, Joash was raised up in the fear of the Lord. It was this spiritual foundation that later served him well as he was crowned and anointed king at the tender age of seven.

I am deeply touched by the wisdom of Jehoiada.

There are times, when we too should allow her wisdom to prevail in our lives.

We may have to keep a vision hidden from those around us, so that in the quiet, God can mold and shape the plan to His liking. Then, there are times, when we may have to make a sacrificial decision to protect God’s word in our lives – we may have to walk away from certain friendships; we may also be called to protect God’s name by boldly living out our Christian principles, in spaces with little regard for God. It takes tremendous courage to live within each circumstance.

Still, I feel one of the hardest things to do is to remain hidden like little Joash – unseen, unrecognized, seemingly forgotten – until God is ready to elevate us. This may mean being faithful on a job where your talent is not valued or pouring into a ministry or pursuit that seems to be going nowhere or serving someone who is never appreciative of your efforts.

God sees the faith that is needed to survive in the quiet and seemingly hidden places, and He is willing to shape, strengthen and prepare us, while there, for what’s next.

Love,

Dee

(c) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

 

Handling my Saul

Many times, a dream job can become a nightmare because of a toxic boss.

This is my experience and like many believers who are working in corporate nightmares and war zones of some type, every day, I make a choice to figure out a way to manage my bad boss. It takes effort but I allow the same Spirit of God that protected David while he was working in the courts of Saul, to provide me with the best coping strategies to make it through the day.

You would recall that after David had defeated Goliath, he was entrusted with important responsibilities in Saul’s royal household. While there, he served with integrity and modesty and quickly earned the affection of those around him including Saul. “Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.” (1 Samuel 18:5 NIV)

But God’s blessing on David and his favor among the people of Israel quickly led Saul to become jealous and angry. And as his hatred increased, he looked for opportunities to take David’s life. Still even amidst Saul’s negative influence, not once are we told that David gave in to or gossiped about Saul and the injustices that he experienced under his leadership. But time and time again, we see a young man, showing tremendous empathy, respect and value for the life of a tortured leader.

David’s formula has helped me to cope with my own Saul.

Before leaving my apartment, I ask the Holy Spirit to take charge of my emotions. On my way to work, I also ask God to create an opportunity for me to minister to my leader because God cares about toxic bosses too.

I also make a choice to show empathy and understanding rather than bitterness and judgement. For, like David, I cannot allow a difficult leader to distract me from being the person God wants me to be in this season, so that I cannot serve Him even more faithfully in the next.

Love,

Dee

(C) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette