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In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5

Q: What do you need to do to make Jesus love you more?

A: Nothing. That’s right. Nothing.

The problem is, from a human perspective, love doesn’t work that way in real life. We say we’ll love each other forever. We tell ourselves and our loved ones that nothing can ever change our love. But then real life sets in.

Affairs happen and destroy the intimacy that once protected our trust. Lies happen and shatter our faith. Health issues and financial calamity hits and we lose sight of what love is all about. No one ever walks the aisle with the hope that this union will last a year. ‘Til death do us part’ is the ideal we all hope for.

Love isn’t guaranteed in the parent/child relationship either. Children are abused or asked to leave their homes. They are abandoned or neglected by parents who are so wrapped up in their own lives and needs that they completely overlook the needs of their offspring. It’s unthinkable, but true.

Love dies when we fail to consider the feelings and value of the other person. Love dies when we fail to see ourselves as God sees us. If I see you as the special creation you are because of God’s fingerprints on you, then I’ll not hurt you. I’ll cherish and protect you at all costs, no matter what. If you love me as Christ loves you, then the mistakes that I make will be forgiven.

That’s how Jesus loves us. He loves us with an unconditional love that says no matter what you say, or where you go, or what you do, I love you. We may suffer consequences for our actions, but even then we are loved by the Father through Jesus Christ. We need only to confess our sins to receive forgiveness in order to feel his love in our lives.

Loving others as Christ loves us isn’t easy. In fact, in some situations it’s almost impossible. Sometimes we have to separate ourselves from those that hurt us for our own safety and their own good. But separating ourselves from other people due to abuse doesn’t mean we don’t still go on loving them through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Loving others doesn’t always mean trusting others.

Love as Jesus loves. Love others based on who you are in Christ Jesus. Love others based on the fact that even though they may have hurt you, in reality they are God’s creation and his desire for them, like you, if for relationship.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the unconditional, eternal and merciful love that you have for me. I look back at the path I’ve taken and see so many times when I’ve ignored your love and taken you places and let you see me do things that I never should have done. Still you love me! Empower me with your Spirit to love others in the same way you love me. Not for my sake but for yours. In your name I pray. Amen.


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

A friend of mine I’ll call John tells the story of how he had befriended a person who was really struggling with life. John spent hours listening to his new friend tell of her pain, encouraged her when she was feeling down, called her when she was sick and rejoiced with her when things were going well. In the process of building this friendship John told her of the weaknesses he had in order to help her see that she wasn’t the only one that struggled.

One day John found out that the young lady he was helping was telling everyone she knew about his ‘weaknesses’. John was hurt, embarrassed and frustrated by the betrayal and told me he was ‘done helping people.’

As John was sharing his hurt with me I thought of the verse in Galatians where Paul tells us to ‘never grow weary in doing good.’ Each of us takes a risk when we reach out to those around us who are in need. We put ourselves in risk of being hurt ourselves. We put ourselves in danger of falling into sin.

Another risk we take in reaching out to other people is that our motives can be misunderstood. Try as we might to be honest and reach out to others, they may reject our attempts to help or even accuse us of meddling. It seems that those of us in ministry (not JUST pastors) are the most vulnerable to growing weary from helping others.

There always seems to be opposition to the best plans for helping others. It takes time away from our own lives, people are often ungrateful or demanding, some just want to take advantage of our generosity for their own selfish means. It’s no wonder we become disheartened. But Paul exhorts us not to give up doing good but to persevere in spite of how we are treated.

Sometimes there are people we come across who are never satisfied with what we do. We wear our hair wrong, wear the wrong clothes, go to the wrong church, like the wrong music…and the list goes on and on. There is much truth to the saying you can please some people some of the time but you can’t please all the people all the time. We can add to that the reality that there are some people we will never please ANY of the time.

The lesson we as Christ followers must realize is that our reward for doing good won’t necessarily come while we are on earth. It’s a hard lesson to learn but we may be totally unappreciated for what we do until we get to heaven. But don’t get tired. Don’t give up. God sees your efforts. He knows your heart. Even if people don’t understand, your Heavenly Father does understand.

When you feel unappreciated or taken advantage of, or when you can’t seem to please some people, do your deeds as though you were doing them for Jesus. He not only will appreciate you, He and the angels applaud your efforts!

PRAYER: Father, I’m tired of the people around me who never seem satisfied with my efforts. I’m tired of being taken advantage of and betrayed by those who say they are my friends. I’m appalled at the fact that many of the people who have hurt me the worst claim to be followers of you. I ask that you would heal me of the wounds others have placed on me when I’ve only tried to help them. Empower me to continue to work for the good of those around me for Your sake. I ask this in your Holy name, Amen.


 “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” Psalm 30:11

In Old Testament times when people were in deep distress they would put on sackcloth and wail in anguish. This was particularly true when they mourned over the death of a loved one. As it is today, this was perhaps the deepest agony of all. Death brings with it the loss of dreams, the loss of companionship and the loss of hope for the future.

In Psalm 30 David recounts the many times that God has delivered his people from a variety of disappointments and tragedies. In verse 11 of this song of praise he tells us how, in the midst of their agony God brought them joy. The rough and uncomfortable clothing of sackcloth became clothing of joy and comfort. Their songs of agony became songs of praise.

As we travel along the journey we call life there are many times when tragedy comes upon us. It can be the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or a broken relationship. People we trust let us down. We let people down we trust and love dearly. We grow old and change becomes harder to adjust too. Health and financial woes remove our hopes and dreams.

How we react to the hard times of life is really up to us. We can dwell on the pain or we can allow God to turn even our own most desperate times into a time of joy and comfort. How we respond to adversity is largely dependent on our view of God and of ourselves.

If we allow the words and actions of other people to determine how we feel about ourselves and God then we will feel the pain of life’s disappointments. Life will seem hopeless. Pain and discomfort will be the rule of our days and sleeplessness will spend the night with us.

If we realize God’s great love and provision for us then we enable Him to make our darkest times to be times of comfort and joy. It is only God that can take the sackcloth of our mistakes and the abuse of others and turn it to joy. It is only through God’s love that we can endure the hardship of tragedy that comes our way.

You are a child of the God of the universe. You are His most cherished possession and the apple of His eye. Leave the ashes and sackcloth of yesterdays mistakes and abuse be replaced with the comfort of God’s love for you. Replace the wailing for the failures and tragedies of the past with praise for the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ you will see a better tomorrow.

You won’t find lasting joy here on earth through relationships, toys, wealth, power or popularity. Lasting joy comes only through complete faith in Jesus and the realization of God’s great love for you.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I’m in such turmoil today. You know the pain I’m feeling. You know the mistakes and tragedies of my past that handcuff me. I’m trapped by feelings of hopelessness and despair. To be honest there have been times of late when I’ve doubted your love or even your presence. I ask that you would empower me through faith in Jesus and the power of your Spirit to clothe myself with your joy and comfort even as I walk through these dark and lonely times. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22 (NLT)

There is nothing as painful as being betrayed by a close friend. When we were created in God’s image, one aspect of that was the need for intimacy and love. Jehovah God is love. That means that His very essence, His very make up is love and love means relationship. When relationship it broken it hurts us because it attacks our feelings about whom we really are. Broken relationships equal rejection and rejection cuts to the very soul.

King David knew about being rejected. In Psalm 55 he states that being rejected and attacked by an enemy hurts, but that is to be expected. Being attacked by a friend, especially a close intimate friend, hurts more than anything else because it destroys faith and trust. The burden he talks about in verse 22 is the burden of being rejected by a close, personal friend. When that happens, he says, he turns to the one friend that never lets him down.

Another person that knew what it was like to be rejected was Jesus. On the night before he was crucified one of his closest friend came to him and kissed him on the cheek. That was a very intimate act on the part of Judas. But it wasn’t real. It was self-serving and malicious. It eventually led to Jesus’ death and Judas felt so guilty and ashamed for what he’d done to his friend that he committed suicide the next day.

Jesus knows rejection. That’s why he’s such a good friend to have. True friends stand with us during the hard times, are patient with us when we fail, uplift us when we are discouraged, love us enough to tell us the truth and never keep us from being who we want to be. They give us room to grow and a shield from danger or discouragement.

Even the best of friends will fail us at some time simply because they can’t fully understand  how we feel because they can’t look inside us and see our heart or read our minds. Jesus is the perfect best friend because He’s also God. Jesus knows exactly how you feel on the inside. As our Best Friend Forever (B. F. F.) Jesus will stand by you in during the times when no one else knows how you feel.

John W. Peterson wrote a song shortly after he experienced a huge let down from a friend. It goes like this:

No One Understands Like Jesus by John W. Peterson

 No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare;

Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there.

 No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels;

Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals.

 No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail;

You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail!

 No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way;

Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today.

 CHORUS:

No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim;

No one is so near, so dear as Jesus–Cast your ev’ry care on Him!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you today that you fully and completely understand my every thought, my every feeling and my every fear. I confess to you that sometimes I’ve not been a good friend to others and let them down miserably. I have also felt the pain of being rejected and abandoned by people I thought loved me but really only wanted to use me. There have been times I even have felt like You abandoned me. Help me to feel your presence and love today; to learn to walk with you and lay every care, concern, fear and hurt at  Your feet. Wrap your arms of love around me. Amen

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