THe 9-12 Project: Day 17 & 18

Day 17

Love.

“In the end three things will last, faith, hope, and love.  And the greatest of these is love.”  If you haven’t read 1 Corinthians 13 in awhile, now might be a good time to do it.  This chapter is the greatest treatise on love ever written, and not just human love but God love.

I challenge you to read through the part that says, “Love is patient.  Love is kind.”  Only instead of the word “Love” substitute the name “God.”  After all, God is love.  “God is patient.  God is kind…” As you do this, you will see in ever-deepening ways just how much God loves you.  For He has been patient even through those times you went off the beaten track and into the brambles and weeds.  He has loved you and been forgiving, willing always to take you back, even when You have spat in His face and turned your back on Him.  He has held you in His loving kindness through every trial you have ever faced, through every storm you have ever walked through.  God is LOVE.

Not sometimes.  Not for some people. Not only in church or in certain situations. But all the time.  In every way.  To you and to everyone else.

He most wants you to relax into that love, and He wants you to learn to love like that.

He wants you to love those who are unlovable with His love because only His love can make a difference in their lives.  He wants you to love those others have forgotten about.  He wants you to love yourself, and sometimes that’s the hardest bridge of all to cross.

That same passage has the line, “If I give my body to be burned… but have not loved, I have done nothing.”  The simpler way to say this is:  Anything I do apart from God no matter how great it looks is worthless.  If I’m doing this great thing, but I’m doing it so everyone will see how great I am, it will count for nothing.  If I’m going on missionary work or giving a hundred dollars or speaking to a group of a thousand people about God’s love but I’m doing it so everyone will be impressed, I have gained nothing.

The “gain” is only in doing whatever you do—big or small—because of love.  You can be a multi-millionaire who finances the cure for cancer out of love, or you can be a stay-at-home mom who holds her child who has fallen off the slide, whispering words of comfort and courage.  Both are acts of love, and both will be counted as gain.

What are you doing out of love?  And what are you doing out of duty or to impress others?  This one is crucial.  Get it right. Better yet, ask Him to help you get it right because you can’t get this one right on your own!

Dear Lord, For those times I have done the right things with the wrong motives, please forgive me.  Help me to keep my focus on love and to do all I do from a heart of sharing what You have given me with others.

Stop and listen to how God loves you.

Record your thoughts.

Day 18

Peace.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “In Me, you will have peace.  In the world, you will have trials and tribulations, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”

Get that.  Understand it.  It will change your life.

In God there is peace.  If you are in God, you are at peace.  If you are not in God, you’re going to be thrashed by every storm that comes your direction.  The storms are not directed at you because you are unlucky or even as tests to see if you pass or fail in God’s Kingdom.  The storms are the storms.  Everyone has them.  People in the world have storms.  Ask them.  They will tell you.

Their marriage is on the rocks.  Their kid hates them.  Their job is at risk or gone.  They don’t believe in God because He hasn’t fixed anything.  Oh, yes, they have storms.

But make no mistake, so do those walking with God.

Our marriage is not roses and wine all the time.  Our kids fight with each other and with us.  Our boss demands more and more for less and less.  We believe in God, but there are a lot of things He just hasn’t fixed yet.  Trust me.  We have storms.

Being a believer doesn’t insulate you from the storm.  When Peter got out of the boat, the storm didn’t stop. In fact, it intensified!  Walking with God doesn’t ensure a smooth ride with no bumps and no all-out crashes.  Those things are going to happen.

What walking with God does ensure is that no matter what happens, you have a place to go… in HIM!  In Him, there is peace.  I often say to friends, “Go to God.  When the going gets rough, go to God.  When things are great, go to God.  Whatever’s happening, go to God.”  The more you do this, the more you go to God, the more peace you will have because God is not a God of chaos and catastrophe.  God is a God of peace and love and joy and comfort and hope.  When you get that and really believe it down to the core of your soul, being at peace no matter what the storm does is always an option.

Dear Lord, I have struggled to find peace on my own terms, and it hasn’t worked. Please show me how to slow down, how to make the right things important again so that I’m not rushing after everything and coming up empty.  Help me to find peace.

Record your thoughts.

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008

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About Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings shares her heart for God with her novels, articles, and conversations. She loves making new friends, writing, and playing piano and guitar.
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