Love U

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your words are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” – Psalm 139:13-15

This week’s thought was originally planned for last week, but when the Lord leads in a different direction, I’ve learned to readjust and go with it.  He’s pretty good and flipping schedules like that.  😊  But here we are, ready to think on that four-letter L-word.  Tina asked what it had to do with her situation, the Beatles sang it couldn’t be bought, and Mary J said she was searching for a real one (and boy did she say it!).

But that’s not the type of love I’m talking about.  Out of the 7 types of love we can experience in our lifetime, the one that I’m led to share with you is philautia, or self-love.  More akin to this (on the positive side) is self-esteem, self-worth.  Some of the other forms of love have their challenges, yes, especially outside God’s design for us as women and men.  We can do some real block-headed things for the passionate and playful love types.  And we are the first to rush back to the Lord when the haze clears and the mess is exposed…well, most of us do that.  There are some stubborn and stiff-necked folks who keep trying their way the same way and expect different results.

Still, self-love is important to understand, accept, and take care of.  It requires our mental, emotional, and spiritual state to be healthy so it can be healthy.  When it is operating well, the fiery darts of doubt and fear are extinguished long before they hit their mark.  The cannon-fire of unworthiness is deflected by the love in the ultimate defensive shield, our heavenly Father.  Excuse the poor grammar but can’t nobody tell us nothin’ when we walk and live in the knowledge of who and WHOSE we are.

Fam, this type of love is not dependent on how another person makes us feel special, wanted, or adored.  It is not dependent on any external thing, be it situation or people.  Philautia is about understanding and appreciating that God took the time out of all the awesome things He has done to create you and me.  From the mole on my right cheek to the freckles on your nose; from his short waves to her long, straight hair; from our various abilities, talents, and gifts to our personalities and interesting little quirks- we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

When we are at our best, we are wonderfully made.  When we are at our worst, we are still wonderfully made.  The Lord stitched every facet of our being in a way that makes us unique and yet perfectly fit in the amazing mosaic that is His family.  Considering this fact, indulging the Enemy’s ploys to make us doubt our worth as defined by the Lord is not what we do.  Accepting his lies of not being intelligent, attractive, and just plain awesome is not what we do.  Thinking and speaking less of our literal God-made selves—and allowing others to do the same—is not what we do. 

Please excuse me if I’m coming across a little annoyed, but Satan has jerked us around long enough on this thing.  This really needs to be said.

Right now, someone is reading this posting, ensnared in a situation that drains the essence of who they really are and what they were created to become.  Now is the time to speak life and love into them. 

Now is the time to tell that man, “The Lord knew you when you were in your mother’s womb.  He knows the good plans He has for you and hating yourself is not one of them.  Be confident and assured that you have value, that you have worth.”

Now is the time to tell that woman, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.  He made no mistake in creating you.  Belittling yourself is not part of His design.  Stand tall and walk boldly into your season.  You’ve got this, because He’s got you.”

Now is the time to tell our own selves that the God who is loves and treasures us like no other.  Our worth was determined by Him long ago, and there is no changing that fact today, tomorrow, or any point in the future.  We matter to the Lord.

And that’s what matters.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for Your transcending, transforming love.  Thank You for creating us a little lower than the angels.  Remind us now and always of how much You value us, so that we live that truth each day.  Amen.

A Good Report

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?…Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:1, 4-5

This month, the thought was going to be about love and its various forms, or rather that was my plan.  Instead, the Lord’s inspiration led towards a different thought which touches very close to home.  A couple of weeks ago I received news about an uncle being in the hospital and the doctors telling him they had done all they could do, that he didn’t have much time left.  He went in weak and frail, not having much of an appetite.  But hearing these words from people who spent years learning the human body and the ways to heal its injuries and illnesses, did something to my uncle.  While he lay in that hospital bed with family nearby and on the phone, I am told he opened his eyes and looked directly at his attending physician with a determined look.  The strong faith he has in God shined bright from that point, giving him strength to eat and drink, to get out of bed.  He has told people more than once that he’s not worried because he knows the Lord’s got him.

My uncle has let people know just Whose report he believes.

This brought to mind another family member who had received a similar “bad” report, my mother.  February will mark the ninth year since she underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor.  What started out as migraines in the couple of months before became fainting spells and then a diagnosis in January 2011 that rocked our family: type 4 brain cancer.  Well, it rocked most of our family except the one who received such devastating news.  During that time, I witnessed a demonstration of faith that was so inspiring and humbling.  Mom let her doctor know that THE doctor who has never lost a patient would have the final say, that it was His report she chose to believe.  This woman prayed, immersed herself in the Word, and thanked God in advance for healing her.  All the while, I was afraid to ask God on her behalf because I didn’t know what to do if His answer would have been “No.”  Any other time I prayed, His answer was either a “Yes” or “Not yet”.  But I couldn’t shake the fear that this would be the first time for a “No”.  I wasn’t ready for that, as if anyone really could be.

Praise be to God for proving that fear to be “False Evidence Appearing Real”.

She and Dad drove to Dallas-Fort Worth for her surgery with a doctor who prayed with them (something we didn’t expect), which was on a Monday.  By the end of that week, he drove her back to our hometown for a brief stay in therapy, followed by in-home sessions.  The tumor was taken, analyzed, and the initial bad report we had received was changed: type 4 became a variant type 3 which had a treatment plan with a high success rate.  Mom went through chemotherapy and radiation throughout the rest of that year, and the brain cancer has not returned to this day.  I will admit that there have been other health issues since, the most recent being breast cancer.  But this time, instead of being afraid I declared Whose report I would believe, that if the Lord brought her through it before then He could surely do it again.

Looking at these moments in my family’s history, I love how God stepped in and confounded human thought and knowledge, how He demonstrated that He would always be the one with the final say.  I appreciate how the blood of Jesus which was shed on a cross has never-ending power to heal what some may say can’t be healed.  I am inspired how the words of Jesus can speak life (look at the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, and Lazarus) into dire or final situations, and stir up a determined faith to witness the power of God manifested in the lives of His people.  And I love how that same faith spreads to others, moving them to share what they saw God do with people who are looking for the same thing, a “Yes” to a difficult situation.

Right now that person may be reading this blog, wondering what to do, say, think, or even feel after receiving a bad report.  Don’t let fear overtake you, silencing you from reaching out to God.  Instead, speak out loud what you have seen Him do for you and for others, and ask Him to do it again.  Study and meditate on His life giving, lifesaving Word (see list of verses below) and declare that by His stripes you are healed. 

 “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?…”  Stick with the Lord’s good report. He has never been wrong yet.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your good and perfect report.  Thank You for having the final say in our lives.  I ask that You touch and heal the readers of this blog from what may be affecting them physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Let Your power flow through them in a mighty way, so that they can further testify to how great and awesome You are.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Suggested healing scriptures (see more at Bible Study Tools):

Jeremiah 17:14

James 5:14-15

Isaiah 41:10

Jeremiah 30:17

Isaiah 38:16-17

Philippians 4:19

Revelation 21:4

James 5:6

Psalm 30:2

Psalm 103:2-4