Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Importance of Communication within Relationships

I have been remiss in communicating with you the last three weeks. That is because I have been very busy communicating with my Bible Study group and with others. That is not an excuse, but just the reason that I haven’t gotten this blog out sooner. I should know better, because communication is extremely important in life. Without communication we cannot develop relationships, and without the development of some type of relationship we cannot actively mentor another person. As we have discussed in the past, relationships are not only very important in our own lives, but are also important to the lives of other people as well.  In fact, it is extremely important to develop relationships with other women not only in order to be there for them when they need help, but in order to be able to communicate with them so we can know when they need our help.

Communication is how we develop a relationship with another person, i.e., if we know how to communicate with respect and kindness. Communication covers so many different avenues or methods, and we are not limited to only one type of communication. For example, we can talk directly to another person, we can tell someone else to let another person know that we are thinking about them or praying for them, we can pick up the telephone and call a person, or we can text the person, especially if we don’t have time to talk on the phone.

In our technological world today, there are even more ways to communicate than the previous tried and true ways of communication in the past. We can now communicate using such things as twitter, emails, messenger, Facebook, Snap-Chat, Skype and a few others besides just the tried and true methods of face-to-face communication, telephoning, actual letter writing or the writing of notes of support that we can send out to someone when they are needed. With all the latest technology and the ease of staying in contact with another person, one would think that actual communication would be even greater than it has been in the past. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Today, we often fail to communicate adequately, let alone communicate to understand what someone is going through or thinking. 

Yes, we have all these new technological communicating methods or tools, but in our fast-paced and often ungrateful and rude society, these various technological means of communication have just allowed us to by-pass decency, concern, caring, etiquette, and kindness. Instead, of taking the time to talk to people and to discuss our differences or ideas on certain subjects, many people now use these new communication tools as a quick means of saying hateful things, of posting some political rhetoric, of showing others how stupid they think that someone is, or as a quick method of supporting some agenda. Those so-called newer methods of communication often just end up encouraging hateful words and personal diatribes of communication, which are often used as a means of telling someone how superior the so-called communicator thinks he/she is over another person.

In the end the one who is posting all the hateful words via twitter, emails, texting, etc. is not really communicating (i.e. they are not allowing for an actual back and forth discussion that allows both parties to glean some type of understanding from each other or that will allow one or both parties to learn something new about the other person.). Instead, some people who are using the new fast and simple means of communication are actually telling the world about their insecurities, hurts, and anger, as well as sometimes presenting their lack of etiquette and couthfulness to the world.

Communication as a Two-way Endeavor

What happened to just common courtesy or simple caring about another person? Part of the problem is that we have forgotten that true communication is supposed to be a two-way endeavor. Rather than just saying or shouting out what we want to say, we need to think about the other person and we should want to hear their response to our statements or questions. And instead of thinking that everyone else should want to hear what we have to say, we should want to hear what the other person with whom we are communicating has to say and what their opinions are on different subjects that are supposed to be discussed. That doesn’t mean that we have to immediately accept what they have said as the answer to all our questions or as a means of perceiving the world around us the way that they do, but it should mean that we are willing to mull over what they have said and then politely explain why we agree or disagree with their thought process on the subject matter.

Running down another person has never gotten anyone anywhere and it certainly will not make friends. Many times it just shows their ignorance. Moreover, not being willing to even engage in a give or take conversation will actually stop the conversation in its tracks.  And, if the conversation ends in belittling or yelling, either on one side or both sides, one or both of the two people trying to communicate have just made themselves an enemy or at the very least have given the other person a reason to never want to talk to them again.

When God gave us voices and brains with which to form logical sentences and to be able to communicate with each other, He did not plan on us belittling, conniving, and ultimately hurting each other with our words just because we have the vocal ability to do so within our ability to communicate. But, God did know that all (i.e., each) of us would have to overcome living in this fallen world after Adam and Eve sinned. Part of the overcoming of the evil within this fallen world is the ability to overcome the evil that is within ourselves; such as selfishness, sinfulness, jealousy, immorality, idol worship, pride, greed, and the desire for power over others among the many other fleshly evils and sinfulness that can arise in the hearts of men and women.

Salvation and Heavenly Bodies

There is only one way to overcome our fleshly desires and our innate evil and that is through the Cross. We are all born sinners and can only be forgiven of our sins through belief on the One and only Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for our sins. Christ arose from the grave and overcame eternal death. In belief on Christ, we can have eternal life. In fact, through Jesus Christ each of us can live better and more caring lives here on earth knowing that we will one day reside in Heaven with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, when we discard our physical bodies in this earthly death, or if Jesus returns before we die here on earth we know we will receive new heavenly bodies in the air. For, if we have believed in Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God who is now in Heaven preparing a place for us, we will never die again, because we will live forever, i.e., eternally with Christ.

Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies. … It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.” 
-- (I Corinthians 15: 42-44, 52-54. NLT).

Do you know Christ as your Savior? If not, you can communicate with God and Jesus Christ through prayer asking for Christ to forgive you of your sins and then being willing to accept Christ's Salvation. If you still need some help understanding the path to Salvation, please reach out to a born-again Christian. That Christian can share the Gospel message with you and pray with you. “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For, it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”  -- (Romans 10: 9-10.

Communication is Important for any Type of Active Mentoring.

Whether you are sharing the Gospel message, helping another person through some trial or just helping empower them to be able to do something they could not do before, you need to be able to communicate with them. Good communication requires a heart that cares and is willing to listen to what the other person has to say. Only through two-way discussions are people able to listen and learn from each other. The same is true when it comes to listening to God and the Holy Spirit and then talking to Him about your needs. And, just like we are to praise God for the great and wonderful God that He is and for all the things that He does for us, we are to also be willing to praise our mentees for their accomplishments and their willingness to learn.

When mentoring another person, whether it is a friend, a spouse, a child, or co-worker, we have to be able to communicate with them in a way that does not alienate them or hurt them. We also have to be willing to listen to what the other person has to say and then be willing to hear their needs within their communication with us. We certainly cannot allow pride in ourselves or pride in what we think that we know to keep us from being caring, kind, and understanding listeners. And, sometimes we have to throw out preconceived ideas about a person or the subject matter in order to get to the truth and to understand the other person better.

The failure to communicate with the other person, i.e., the mentee, can destroy a relationship or it can keep a mentoring relationship from forming. Yes, communication takes time. It takes time out of our own lives, but the reward of gracious, kind, and caring communication with a mentee is greater than we can even imagine when we see the mentee being empowered to be more than they ever thought they could be.

So, whether you are communicating with your friend, your spouse, your child, a family member, a co-worker, or even an acquaintance, please remember that true communication is not only you doing the talking, but is also allowing the person with whom you wish to communicate with to talk too. For good communication is a two-way street, and it is also having the determination to try to understand that other person and their needs and desires. Good communication has nothing to do with anger, hatefulness, meanness, or selfishness. Now, go out and communicate for God.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Our Present Future and the Word of God

“We spend our lives dreaming of the future,
not realizing that a little of it slips away every day.”
– Barbara Johnson

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”  -- Mark 13: 31. NKJV.

We live every day of our lives thinking about what we are going to do tomorrow. We also plan for future vacations, growth, accomplishments, and career goals. Even when we are planning for our day each morning, we are thinking about future moments in our day and how we are going to handle each one. Seldom do we think about the moment that we are living in the here and now. That is because we are living a fast-pasted life, and some of us can’t or won’t slow down to “smell the roses” even if we had the chance, because we feel the need to always be on the go, or we are thinking of future moments and achievements we can make here on earth.

 Consequently, many people miss out on the little things that can make their lives so special. One of those little things is recognizing what God is doing in their lives. In other words, most people forget to focus on the blessings that God is bestowing on them and more importantly, they forget to praise and thank God for all that He does for them moment by moment. Some Christians are also so focused on the themselves and their distant but daily future on this earth that they can’t find the time to even share the Gospel message with another.

One of the most important things that all Christians need to focus on, though, is not so much on what they are doing or planning for their future lives here on earth, but on what they are doing for their present future on a daily basis. I know that sounds funny. How can we have a present future? That sounds like an oxymoron. But, from the moment that a person asks Christ into her heart she is “born-again”. That person is then living in their present future moment by moment. The Apostle Peter explains a born-again person’s present future and eternal future by connecting their future to the Word of God. Peter says:

For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but of imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God. For,
All flesh is like grass,
and all its glory like the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls off,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever.’
And this was the Word which was preached to you.”

The New Living Translation of the Bible (NLT) translates this same verse:

For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal Word of God. As the prophet says,
People are like grass that dies away:
their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of wildflowers.
The grass withers,
and the flowers fall away.
But the Word of the Lord will last forever.’
And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
– I Peter 1: 23-25. NLT.

In other words, at the moment of our re-birth we have put on immortality. The Apostle Paul also wrote: “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written: ‘Oh death where is your victory? O death where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’– (I Corinthians 1: 53-57. NASB).

In other words, at the moment of our Salvation we have taken off the perishable and the mortal and we have put on the imperishable and immortality, so that we can begin living in our “present” future; a future that started at the moment when we gave our heart to Christ and it will culminate in a future eternity with God and Christ in immortality. Our present future then is what we are building upon day by day as we live for and work toward our future eternity with God and Christ while sharing in our present future the glorious Words of God with other believers within the present and future Kingdom of God. In order to truly live for our present future, though, each believer must begin to focus on the enduring Word of God through which they have become the imperishable seed, and then actively share God’s Word with everyone they encounter who has not heard the Good News. Believers must also focus on living out the Word of God in such a way that others can see Christ in their life. In other words, believers should be working on their present future daily which will culminate in their eternal future.

It is therefore important for Christian believers to quit focusing entirely on what is temporary on this earth, i.e., on obtaining only the temporary things of this earth like power, status, collections of items, etc. Instead believers need to focus on what is permanent, imperishable, and incorruptible, which is the sharing of the Good News, while living out their eternal life each day with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. For, everything that a believer does after they have given their life to Christ will have either a negative or positive influence on each of their day’s present future as well as on the eternal future that they will one day experience in Heaven with God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sacrificial Giving.

To focus on the present future, believers must read the Word of God daily to learn the Truths of the Bible and to know what God wants for their lives. Reading the Word of God will help them take their eyes off of themselves and will help them to be able to reach out to meet the needs of others. Reading the Word of God will also show them how to give sacrificially by following Christ’s example of sacrificial giving. For it is:

Through the written Word we discover the Living Word – Jesus Christ.” – (Billy Graham in Quotes. p. 141., c. 2011).

One of the ways that believers can give sacrificially is to become active relational Christian mentors for the Lord. For, it is through the sacrificial giving of our time and energy as well as through our expression of sacrificial love that we can reach out to another woman and help meet her spiritual needs as well as to help her learn something that she may not have been able to learn without our help. In fact, no matter what kind of help you might give her during your mentoring, whether it be counseling, coaching, teaching, sponsoring, spiritual guidance, accountability mentoring, or the sharing of your gifts, talents, or knowledge, you are doing work for the Lord. You are actively and relationally sharing and expressing your love of Christ and His love for her through your actions, expressions, kindness, and caring. Also, by engaging in Christian mentoring you are not only helping another woman, but you are working on your present future which will lead directly into your eternal future.

Finally, within your own active relational mentoring you are empowering another woman to be all that she can be for the God, herself, her family, and her friends. And, just as importantly, you, as the mentor, are growing spiritually each and every day as you focus on the Word of God in order to be prepared for your life and your mentoring within your present future. Furthermore, the Word of God is also preparing you to teach, and the Word is preparing you to handle answers to questions that the mentee may ask you. Moreover, reading the Word is also preparing you to give a word of encouragement from the Word of God when needed. The bottom line, though, is that as a mentor, you are preparing another woman to use the Word of God for her present future which will then lead into her eternal future. You are doing this through your Christian example and your understanding of the Word of God. At the same time, by studying the Word of God, the mentor is being prepared for her present future and her eternal future. For,

While we read the Word, its message saturates our hearts, whether we are conscious of what is happening or not.– (Billy Graham in Quotes, p. 143., c. 2011).

What then is So Important About the Word of God?

The Bible, i.e. the Word of God, is not some piece of hearsay or someone’s opinion as are other so-called religious books written by false religions. It is not some piece of questionable knowledge that can be found on the internet, or information that is still subject to an author’s biases, degree of knowledge, or political agendas. Rather the Holy Bible is completely true and it is the Word of God that was given to God’s Holy Spirit inspired writers. For, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  -- (2 Timothy 3: 26-17. NASB).

These verses tell us that the Word of God is not only the source of all we need to know and learn about conducting our life here on earth, but the Word of God is good for correcting and helping people. Therefore, it is also good for Christian mentors to use as their resource in mentoring. This means, too, that the Word of God is the foundation for who we are, and that it is the foundation for who we can become as a child of God’s. Most importantly the Bible, God’s love story, presents the path to eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Indeed, it is with the following words that we learn just how much God loves us. “For, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  -- (John 3: 16. KJV).

God’s offered gift of Salvation is explained within the pages of the Bible. God’s mercy and grace is also explained within the Bible. And, God’s knowledge, wisdom, and direction for our lives can be obtained from reading and meditating on the Word of God. Moreover, God’s Word is the greatest mentoring resource of all time. Furthermore, we cannot know how to mentor others in the Word of God and in God’s Truth and Salvation without knowing the Gospel message and without knowing that Truth can only be obtained from reading the Word of God. This is why every born-again Christian woman should be reading her Bible daily, meditating on the Word of God, and praying faithfully through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

The Bible is not just a collection of poetry, songs, prose, fables, dramas, or myths, although there is poetry, songs, prose, and dramas within the Bible. Nor, is the Bible, as some people believe, just a list of all the horrible things people do to each other or just the recorded promiscuous and evil acts of human beings. Rather the Bible is a true record of the relationships between people who were living in this fallen evil world during biblical times. These stories are there for us to learn from and for us to gain wisdom and to hopefully not repeat some of the same mistakes that others have made. Furthermore, God does not try to sugarcoat the truth of the human race, but instead shows us that some of those recorded relationships were built upon God’s love, while others were built upon the evil emotions of some people and the basic evil desires of this world.

Most importantly, the Bible is also a record of how God’s love can help people navigate and walk honorably with truth, faith, beauty, and love during their journey within this fallen world. The Bible also tells us how to develop a beautiful relationship with God for all of eternity; a relationship that is built upon our trust, faith, and love for God and His Son. Moreover, loving and living for God and His Son, Jesus Christ, means that we can then have better earthly relationships as well.

In fact, the Bible is not a human book at all. For the Bible is the inspired Words of God given by the Holy Spirit to His chosen men to record. These chosen men used their own vernacular as well as their own historical, cultural, and personal backgrounds to establish the biblical context. Therefore, it is through these God inspired authors that we are able to get to know God and Jesus Christ personally. It is also through these authors that we get to understand what God expects of each of us and how we are expected to conduct our lives. Thus, reading the Bible and then being able to share our godly insight with other women is an honorable and loving service that we all can perform for the Lord. Ultimately then, it is through the Word of God that we can share the Good News of Salvation with those women who have as yet to come to know Christ as their Savior. It is also through the Word of God that we can live out our present future in anticipation of our eternal future.

The Word of God Offers Us Salvation.

The Word of God is not just a bunch of stories or just the history of the Jewish people, as some would like you to believe. Yes, the Bible is about the Jewish people whom God chose to be His representatives to the world. But the Bible is actually a microcosm of human life illustrating our human foibles, needs, desires, and blessings as well as our disobedience to God and our failure to honor and glorify God, as told by God’s inspired writers. Moreover, the Bible is also God’s love story toward all people and within that love story, the story of God’s ultimate sacrifice to save people everywhere from eternal hell.

It is because of God’s all-encompassing love for us that He paid the ultimate price for our sins; for each and every one of us are sinners. Indeed, we are born sinners as we are the children or the offspring of Adam and Eve who originally sinned against God and were then thrown out Eden. Their sin not only meant that they were sinners, but that their descendants would each be born sinners too, and their descendants would not only live in a sinful fallen world, but they would each sin every day of their lives whether in seemingly small acts of sin or large ones. Then because of people’s innate sinfulness, the result of this sinfulness would not only bring physical death, but without cleansing from our sins, each person would also receive spiritual death within an eternal hell. However, for those people who turned from their sinful nature and lived for God, there would be something greater, i.e., eternal life or an eternal future. New believers should then live and focus on being of service to God and others within their present future which ultimately then leads into their eternal future with God and His Son.

 Unfortunately, before Christ died and arose from the grave conquering eternal death, people could not turn from their sinful nature on their own. Remember, God cannot look upon sin, so God knew that people would have to be cleansed from their sins if they were to receive eternal life with Him. That righteous cleansing could only come in the form of the ultimate blood sacrifice to be given through the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. So, God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cruel cross for our sins. Was that the end? No, for there was the glorious outcome from God’s sacrificial love in the giving of His Son to die for us. That outcome was that death could not conquer Christ. Hallelujah, Christ arose from the grave on the third day thus conquering eternal death!

Now, with Christ’s cleansing blood, those who believe on the risen Savior, Jesus Christ, can have eternal life and can be saved for all eternity, i.e., if they believe on the living Son of God. And, that glorious eternity starts the moment that a person is born-again. Now, each born-again Christian can live for their present future which is to live and produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. Then every piece of godly fruit that they produce for the Kingdom of God will be stored up in Heaven as rewards and crowns for their eternal future with God and Jesus Christ.

Everything that we do in our present future for the Kingdom of God will be recorded in Heaven for our eternal future with God and His Son. Within their present future, believers are to engage in servanthood for the Lord, like the servanthood of Active Relational Christian Mentoring. But to become the best active relational Christian mentor that we can be, believers must focus on the Word of God, the Bible. Billy Graham said,

A computer … has no worth unless it is programmed … The believer has tremendous potential, but that potential cannot be used until he is programmed with the Word of God.”  -- (Billy Graham in Quotes. p. 144., c. 2011).

To reach our potential within our present future, each believer must commit to working for the Lord in some ministry or another, whether it is just writing cards to the sick or needy or it is within some service such as missions. But whatever, service you are called to do for the Lord, please consider actively mentoring another woman for the Lord. Moreover, no matter what service you are called to do for Christ, remember to study the Word of God daily. The Reverend Billy Graham put the importance of being in the Word of God like this:

Oh that we would hunger to be filled with the Word of God; for there is no greater armor, no greater strength, no greater assurance that He is with us, and in us, when we go forth in battle equipped and nourished by His instruction and determined to stand firm on His promises.” – (Billy Graham in Quotes. p. 144., c. 2011).

One Last Thing!

If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior, but want to, you can easily become a born-again Christian.

There is nothing hard about giving your life to Christ. All you have to do is believe not only in your mind, but in your heart that Christ is the living Son of God. For, if you believe in your heart that Christ, the Son of God, gave His life for your sins, died on a cross, was buried and then three days later arose from the grave, you will be saved. For the Word of God tells us in Romans 10: 9-11:

That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For, it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in the Him will never be put to shame.’”

And the Word of God says:
Whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord will be Saved.”  -- (Romans 10: 13.).

Judgement day will come at some point, as all of us will die a physical death someday, i.e., unless Christ returns first. Those that die having given their heart and soul to Christ will have a future eternity with God in Heaven. However, those who die having rejected the Good News and Christ will have a judgment day that will bring them eternal hell. I hope anyone who reads this blog and who has not already given their life to Christ will come to the realization that God loves them so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to take upon His shoulders their sins and to die on a cruel cross, but that He then arose from the grave conquering their eternal death.

Please don’t go another day without making a decision to believe in Christ. For, we are not guaranteed tomorrow or for that matter we are not guaranteed the next moment. And if you die before believing in and making a commitment to Christ you will go to hell for all eternity.  Christ said,

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.”  -- (John 3: 17-18. NASB).

Believe, confess your sins to Christ, and then ask for His forgiveness. If you truly believe and are repentant, you will be forgiven your sins and Christ will come into your heart. Then tell someone what Christ has done for you. Tell them that you were Saved by His grace and mercy. Then start reading the Word of God, i.e., the Bible, daily to learn how to live for Him and to learn how to live in your present future with love, caring, kindness, self-control, peace, patience, honesty, truthfulness, and joy. Finally, find a church family that believes in the Bible and Jesus Christ. For, Christ wants His people to communicate and help each other. You will finally understand that the peace that comes from knowing Christ as your Savior is unexplainable in earthly terms. But it is wonderful! It is eternal!


If you would like to learn more about Active Relational Christian Mentoring and the importance of sharing God's Word you can get my book entitled: The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring from Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Christian Faith Publishing Co., iTunes, or Google Play. The following is a link to Amazon.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Seeds of Love

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry 
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song
Songwriters: Rev. Benton Vespew Ellis
The Love of God lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

God loves us! In fact, God created us in love. He created us to love and to love Him back. So, what is love? Unfortunately, we bandy around the word “love” making it so common place that many people don’t have any idea of what love really is. For, we say things like, “I love chocolate”, “I just love that new iced coffee drink,” or “I love the color on that car”. That type of expression about love, though, is not really “love”. Love is more than an expression, and it is more than a feeling. For, true love requires action and is shown by the actions of love that we express toward others whom we profess to love. Moreover, true love can grow stronger over the years as we continue to express loving actions toward the other person whom we have professed to love. That is why, long-time married couples often tell their spouse that they love them more today than they did when they first got married. Indeed, love grows deeper and greater the more that we express our love.

The greatest love of all, though, is the love that is expressed by God to His children. Just look around at the beautiful world that God created in His love for us. But there are even more ways that God’s love has been expressed for us. However, it is hard for humans to comprehend, let alone understand, the depth of God’s love for us. Even with our glorious gift of Salvation, most of us cannot understand the depth of love that God expressed to us in sacrificing His only Son so that we would not have to spend eternity in hell upon our physical death here on earth. Moreover, we often take for granted the love that God has for us even when God expresses His love in His answers to our prayers, in blessing us and in providing for us. But, for those that have not yet accepted God’s loving gift of Salvation, there is no understanding at all of God’s love for them. However, for those of us who have received the gift of Salvation, there is just the beginnings of our understanding about God’s love. Unfortunately, we still just can’t completely comprehend it.

 The Apostle John wanted us to understand God’s love, so he wrote about God’s love for us. John wrote specifically about God’s love in the book of I John.  It is in I John 4: 7-19, where we discover that God’s love is the source of all human love. We also learn that we can focus on God’s love for us by showing God’s love to others through our own actions. For, in verses 11-12, John wrote: “Dear friends, since God loved us that much (sending his Son to die for our sins), we surely ought to love each. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love has been brought to full expression through us. And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.  But it is in verses 16-17 where John tells us that “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So, we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.”

Still, even with John’s explanation of God’s love it is hard for us to understand the depth of God’s love for us; both the love He gave in creating us and the love it took to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us. Notice that both those things required God’s overt action in order to express His love. However, we truly can’t comprehend the depth of God’s love for us until we recognize what it took (the sacrificial love it took) for God to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to His horrible death on the cross even knowing that it would be through Christ’s subsequent resurrection from the grave that we would no longer have to face eternal death and destruction. Until we understand that it is only through God’s love and through His loving sacrificial action of sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to the cross and that it is only through Christ’s resurrection that each of us can be saved, we will not completely comprehend God’s love. Only when those of us who believe on Christ and those of us who are truly born-again finally reach Heaven to spend eternity with God will we finally comprehend the depth of God’s love for us.

The Apostle Paul also tried to explain the greatness of God’s love for us in Ephesians 3: 17-19. Here Paul said, “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how long, know high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.” Paul is telling us that it is through our Salvation that we can experience the love of Christ, yet that Christ’s love is so great that we will never fully comprehend it.

Then for those of us who have truly accepted Christ as our Savior, the Apostle Paul gave us this assurance in Romans 8: 38-39: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the power of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wow! What an assurance even if we can’t comprehend God’s love for us.

From the above verses we have learned at least four things. One that God is the source of all love. Secondly, we have learned that God’s love was shown through the sacrificial action of the giving of His Son to save us from eternal damnation. Third, we have learned from within the Gospels that Jesus is the perfect example of what it means to love others, for everything that Christ did in His life and death was supreme love in action. And, last but not least, we have learned that for those who are Saved, nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

Relationships and God’s Love

Did you know that just as God lovingly created humans that God also created the concept of relationships? Well, He did. In fact, the Bible tells us in Genesis 1: 27 that we are all created in the image of God. This doesn’t mean that we look exactly like God. For, an image can be a reflection without being an exact picture of someone. Obviously, humankind is not an exact picture of God, because we are all so very different in so many ways. However, in creating us, God wanted us to have some of His attributes, especially the attributes that He thought would not only help us in life but that would also allow us to enjoy each other as well as certain attributes that would allow us to communicate and respond to Him in love. So, God gave humans the ability to love other people, just as God loves us.  He also gave us the ability to develop relationships with other people and to be able to use those relationships to express our love, help, compassion, concern, and kindness toward others.

God, understood our need for loving and kind relationships, because God, Himself, is in a relationship with the other essences of the Trinity of God, i.e., the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who are all in a loving relationship with each other. So, in creating humankind God knew that relationships would be an important part of our being created in His image. Moreover, without the ability to form relationships, humans could not have a relationship with the Trinity in which we could express our love, our honor, and our praise for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Moreover, without the ability to form a relationship with Christ our Savior, we could not be Saved and share the Gospel message with others. Furthermore, without the ability to form relationships we would not be able to express love to others or be able to receive love from another person.

So, first and foremost, we were all created to be in a relationship with God and created to able to be in relationships with other people. The relationship that we have with God enables us to live in this fallen world, because we know that God and His love will help and bless us even within all the trials and sorrows we may have to face. Moreover, with our Salvation relationship with Christ, we have the certain knowledge that we will someday spend a glorious eternity with the Trinity of God. However, it is within all the other relationships, which we form here on earth, that we are able to discover that God has given us people to love and to love us back. These relationships give us people talk to, people to lean upon, and people with whom we can intellectually bounce ideas around, as well as giving us people who will come along side of us in times of despair. 
Indeed, we often need another person to come along side of us to comfort and encourage us at specific times in our lives, and to provide compassionate, loving, and caring relationships for our needs. In fact, no person is an island in and unto himself in this life here on earth. That is why relationships are the key to maintaining a healthy, happy, and interesting life here on earth. But how do we develop our relationships?

God Plants Relational Seeds of Love Between Humans

God plants relational seeds between people to help people navigate this world, as well as to give us opportunities to express love, kindness, compassion, concern, and caring toward another person. But, God also plants these relational seeds between people in order to produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. So, what are these relational seeds that God plants? Well, God plants seeds of godly love. Eventually, the planted seeds of love develop and grow into a Christian’s understanding of what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.” At other times, God’s a single planted seed of love often matures into a loving relationship between two people that has the love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the foundation of their life.

When the seed of love is then planted in the soil of service to Christ, Christian mentoring relationships or other evangelical relational services can start to grow with brotherly love and with the love of Christ as the focus. But it takes the right kind of watering, fertilizing, and nurturing for God’s seeds of love to germinate and develop into a Christ-centered fruit bearing relationships that are based upon the love of Christ. That is why the type of watering, fertilizing, and nurturing that is needed includes, but is not limited to: care, concern, patience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

The Seeds of Love

Throughout God’s Love Story, i.e., the Bible, we read over and over again how much God loves us and how much God wants us to love Him and others. Here are just a few examples of some verses in the Bible that speak about the importance of having the seeds of love in our lives.

I Corinthians 13: 3 from The Message says: “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

2 John 1: 6 from the New Century Version of the Bible says: “Love means living the way God commanded us to live. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is this: Live a life of love.

In Galatians 5: 14 of The Living Bible Translation, the scripture reads: “The whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love others as you love yourself.’”

I Peter 2: 17 says: “Show respect for everyone. Love your Christian brothers and sisters.”
In John 13: 35 in The Living Bible we read that Jesus said, “Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Then, in I Corinthians 14: 1 the Apostle Paul tells us to: “Let love be your greatest aim.”

Why do you think that the Word of God speaks so much to us about the love that we are to espouse for each other and for Christ? Well, it is because God wants us to not only love Him, but to let our entire lives be focused on Christian godly love toward others. To answer this question even better, turn to 1John 3: 16. Here the Apostle John says, “Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.” In other words, real love can be seen in our selfless and sacrificial giving actions. Even the sacrificial giving of our time to help mentor another through Active Relational Christian Mentoring can be an expression of real love. Remember, though, real love does not expect anything in return. However, Jesus said, “… if you give a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”  -- (Matthew 10: 42. NLT). In other words, God’s relational seeds of love when watered, fertilized, and nurtured, will bring the action of love into focus and its growth will be rewarded. For Jesus is telling us that God notices every kind and caring deed that we do. Even the loving act of giving a cup of cold water to one of Christ’s followers will be rewarded. If in godly love, we help another, it is as if we are showing our love to God. Put another way, our treatment of others actually shows God how much we love Him.

Finally, in John 13: 34 (NLT), we learn that Jesus expects us to love as He loves us. For, Jesus said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” In other words, we are to love others with the same type of sacrificial love that Jesus showed to us by going to the cross. That doesn’t mean that we are expected to die for another even though some people will do so. But, it means that Jesus was a living example of God’s love for us, so we are now to be a living example of Christ’s love to those we encounter. This means that instead of focusing on self, we are to focus on what we can do to show our Christian love to others.

Christ-Centered Relationships and Seeds of Love

Our Christ-centered relationships, which are based upon God’s seeds of love, should eventually produce good fruit for the Kingdom of God, whether it is from a Christian mentoring relationship (ARCM), a friendship, a spousal relationship, a work-related relationship, or within the relationships that are made in the missionary field for Christ. Just think! From God’s relational seeds of love that we in turn plant in the soil of Christian service, to the sharing of our knowledge of God and His Son and their love for us, great and wonderful things can happen for the glory of Lord and for the other woman within a mentoring relationship that we have established. For, when the mentor shares her talents and resources (as needed), the mentor can develop a wonderful fruit-producing Christ-centered relationship with the mentee that will empower the mentee to be so much more for God, herself, her family, and her friends. Ultimately, the mentoring process becomes a “… planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” – (Isaiah 61:3. NIV).

That particular verse is taken from the book of Isaiah. I will end this posting with the first three verses of Isaiah 61 so that you can see how we are to use God’s seeds of love to help others. First, this is a prophetic message given to Isaiah about the coming Messiah. So, Jesus read these verses while He was in Nazareth in the synagogue there, to indicate that this prophetic message regarding Christ the Messiah as the Servant of God was that day fulfilled in Him. In fact, these three particular verses give us a picture of the Spirit of God resting upon and anointing the Servant of God, Jesus Christ, to accomplish specific tasks, which He did accomplish. But, secondly, before Jesus went back to Heaven, He commissioned His disciples to bring the Good News of Salvation to all nations. In other words, the apostles and now those of us who are followers of Christ have been given the responsibility of sharing the Good News, i.e., the Gospel message, to other people. We can do this by showing God’s love to others through our loving servant-oriented actions and words. The Apostles became God’s servants and ambassadors for Christ and now we, too, are to become God’s servants and ambassadors who are willing to share the love of God and the Good News of Christ’s loving gift of Salvation with everyone who will listen. Following are the verses from Isaiah 61: 1-3 of the NIV.

“1. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
2. To proclaim freedom for the captives,
And release from darkness for the prisoners,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
And the day of vengeance of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
3. And provide for those who grieve in Zion –
To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
A planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Although Christ, is the Servant that is being referred to in this prophecy, as “born-again” Christian servants of Christ’s, I believe that we, too, have been anointed, i.e., we have also been given the specific purpose of bringing the Good News to the poor. We can do this by developing relationships and by watering and nurturing the seeds of love that God has planted for those relationships. In addition, we have been given the specific purpose of reaching out to the captives with the Good News, which could mean that we are to reach out to either actual captives in prisons or to those who are captives within their own emotional prisons. In either case, we can share the loving Gospel message with them.

In these three verses, the prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s Servant, i.e., Jesus Christ, as setting the prisoners free. The freedom that Christ proclaimed to the prisoners could mean that they were literally released from bondage like when Peter was released from prison supernaturally as recorded in Acts 12: 1-19, but it could also mean that the Christ brought the prisoners from the darkness of sin and oppression to the light of Salvation and happiness. Obviously, we cannot literally set prisoners free. However, we can visit the prisons and share the Good News by mentoring those that need to hear the Good News of Christ. As “born-again” servants of Christ, we can share the light of Christ with those who are in bondage, thus expressing God’s love to them and letting them know that God wants them to be free from sin.

In verse 2, “the Year of the Lord’s favor” refers to the Day of Jubilee, which was to come every 50 years and was to be the clearing away of all debts and the healing for the land. Although the Day of Jubilee is no longer celebrated as such, God expects His commandments to be followed, including the celebration of the Day of Jubilee. That is why there was reference to “the Year of the Lord’s favor” in this prophecy. But, never forget that God keeps track of the years even if we do not. Moreover, there will be a Day of Jubilee in the future.

Within the second verse, “the Day of vengeance of our God” refers to God’s future judgment, which we can read about within the book of Revelation. Certainly, we can be assured that Christ explained both the Day of Jubilee and the Day of vengeance to His disciples while He was here on earth, although many, except the eleven closest to Him at that time, did not listen to Him. But, the apostles who believed on Christ understood that they were to continue sharing the Truth of God’s coming vengeance or judgment with everyone who would listen. And now as Christ’s followers we are to also continue to share the Word of God and God’s Truth, including the day of judgment, with those within our sphere of influence or with those with whom we have the ability to develop a godly relationship. In fact, everyone needs to know that Christ will come back to judge the people of this earth who have not accepted Christ as their Savior. For, there will indeed be a judgment day! That is why we must share the Good News with everyone we can.

In verse three, we discover that Christ while here on earth came to comfort those who grieved. So, just like Christ comforted those who grieved and mourned, we, too, are to comfort those who mourn. We are to show compassion, godly love, and understanding to those who have lost a loved one. Obviously, Christ did and will also again transform their mourning into joy, by giving them “a crown of beauty instead of ashes” just as He did for those who were mourning for Lazarus. In such a situation, those who mourned would have been given a festive oil and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Obviously, we cannot do that, but we can be there for those who are suffering and mourning. We can hold their hands and comfort them. And, for those whose loved ones have indeed gone on to be with God because of their wonderful Salvation, we can rejoice with their loved ones!

All the services that we perform for God through the seeds of godly love and our willingness to share with others the Good News, our talents, our gifts, and our abilities to help others will lead to God’s seeds of love growing into wonderful glorious plants, i.e., relationships that give God all the glory and honor which He so richly deserves. The relational seeds of love that God has planted between His children will then become a “planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor.”

Active Relational Christian Mentoring as explained in my book, The Three-Strand Cord of Active Relational Christian Mentoring, is a great way to grow and nurture the relational seeds of love that God wants us to fertilize and nurture for Him. You can do it! You can reach out to another woman and be there for her. You can share your knowledge, talents, and gifts easily by giving just a few minutes of your time a week. Just think! You could empower another woman to be all that she can be for God, herself, her family and her friends. You can do it. And if you want to know how easy it is to become a Christian mentor who can empower another woman, read my book which can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, iTunes, Google Play, and at Christian Book Publishing Company.