Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Loving Judas


Billy Graham said, "In the midst of sorrow and trouble, this life has many blessings and enjoyments which have come from the hand of God. Even our capacity for love is a gift from God."  He went on to pray, "Give me a generous heart, Father, that does not grudgingly give back to You all that is rightfully Yours."

The past three months have not been easy in my household.  Not only have I been trying to traverse through heartbreak and losing the person I thought was my soulmate and forever partner, but my son and even my pets have had their obstacles through the breakup as well.

Despite being in the midst of this "sorrow and trouble" period, one thing I have learned over the last 12 weeks is the lesson of counting your blessings.

My prayer partners were quick to tell me, at the beginning of this valley period, that I needed to start counting off, out loud, my many blessings any time I felt sad, heartbroken, or losing hope.

As Billy Graham quoted above, I can concur that counting off your blessings immediately changes your countenance.  All our blessings come from the hand of God, even our capacity to love is a gift from Him.

Through the entire period of my heartbreak, even as recent as this morning, I have still been able to pray for David.  I pray that God keeps him safe and protects him.  I pray for strongholds to be let loose, and I pray for a renewed heart turned back toward God.

This capacity to LOVE someone in our path, who does not love us, comes directly from God.  It is not something we, as humans, are inherently able to produce on our own.  It is beyond our nature to love our enemies.  

This gift of loving those who do not love us bestows upon us an incredible amount of FREEDOM.  A freedom that surpasses any of our own understanding.  It frees us from the devil's chains of anger, hurt, and frustration while at the same time liberates us to love others through God's love.

The capacity to be able to forgive people that have hurt us, left us, or even spoke untruths against us is immeasurable.

I love that Billy Graham then ends with a prayer that includes, "Give me a generous heart Father..."

I want to echo Billy Graham and the prayer he prays.  I want to strive to be that person.  I want to embrace positivity, joy, and happiness in my daily life and in my daily interactions with people.  I want to manifest the Fruits of the Spirit.

And I never (ever) want to forget what Jesus did for me, especially during this Season in which we celebrate His birth.

Because of what Jesus did for me, I am able to love Judas and not just Jesus.

Here's a little something I read today:

"Do you need to forgive someone? Love empowers you to do that. Do you need to exercise humility? Love gives you what you need to do that. Do you need to exercise integrity, mercy, patience, or gentleness towards someone? Love makes it all happen! There’s nothing good that love can’t enable us to accomplish. Above all these things, look to love and allow it to be all sufficient at all times!"

I am so thankful that even in times of sorrow and trouble, I serve a God that has placed His Holy Spirit within me - that although I am human and will always fall short and many times fail at His commands - I am secure enough in my salvation and personal relationship with Jesus to love those that may come against me.

My faith has sustained me, and I can't imagine living in this world or through these valleys without it or Him.

"Lord, I acknowledge my deep need for Your love in my life to enable me to be and behave as You call me to. I ask for a mighty filling from Your Spirit of Your love and ask that You lead me in how I am to exercise it. Thank You for giving me all I need as I need it through Your love. Amen."

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