What To Do When Someone is Ungrateful

Tell me if this has ever happened to you? You recognize a need in someone, you do something to meet that need, and then the person either doesn’t notice at all, notices but shows very little gratitude, or for some reason is extremely rude to you in response to what you did.

Let’s say you noticed a friend at work wasn’t having such an awesome day. So, when you went to lunch, you bought back a slice of cheesecake for her because you know it’s her favorite. She thanked you, took it from you quickly, gobbled it down, and that was all she said about it. And you think, “Wow! I thought I’d get a little more gratitude outta that.”

Or, let’s say she took one look at the cheesecake and burst into tears. She said she doesn’t want it because she’s trying to lose weight and you should have known she was on a diet. Now she’s angry at you!

Definitely not the response you wanted.

Or, your neighbor is recently widowed, and you noticed that her yard needed mowing. Her children don’t live around, she may or may not know how to operate her husband’s lawnmower, who knows? But you mowed her yard.

She either doesn’t say thank you at all, or she says a curt “thank you”, and nothing more.

I imagine we’ve all experienced something like this. We did something for someone because we saw they needed it. They didn’t ask, but we did it. And their response was little to no gratitude or even, God-forbid, they were rude in return.

{We obviously don’t do things just to get a “thank you”, and you never know what people are going through to cause them to react the way they do, but those are different posts for another day.}

What I’m talking about is, when you’re in the situation, when you’ve done the deed of service, and the gratitude doesn’t come, what do you do?

Let there be thanksgiving anyway.

Concentrate with thanks (I saw that phrase in some commentary in my English Standard Study Bible and thought it applied here).

Image Credit: brightontheday.com

Based on the 1 Thessalonians verse, we see that it is God’s will for us to be joyful, and I believe that concentrating with thanks will help us do that.

How do you concentrate with thanks?

In any situation when you feel hurt or angry, when you feel resentment, when you feel unnoticed, etc, think of Philippians 4:8.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 is to memorize this verse.

Then, you’ll need to pray and ask God for help using what the verse teaches.

Next, you’ll need to train yourself to recognize when you need to use it. When you need it, go through each of the 8 words Paul to fix your thoughts on and analyze the situation to see if anything applies to you, the other people involved, or the situation in general.

Think about what is true in the situation. What is something that actually, truly occurred? Make sure you are only look at the facts.

Think about what is honorable about what happened. This means something that was noble, honest, or worthy of respect. Think about the character of the people involved. Were any of their characteristics deserving of respect? Think about when they may have shown integrity or ethical conduct. What about yourself in the situation? What did you do that was respectful? How did you shown integrity or conducted yourself ethically?

Think about what is just or right in the situation. Were the commands of God kept in any way? What was upright or virtuous.

Think about what is pure or holy. What was “without fault” in regards to the situation?

What was lovely (acceptable or pleasing)?

Think about anything that was commendable. (Commendable means of good report). What was admirable, gracious, what has value? Was anything spoken in good will to others? What was spoken in a kindly spirit?

Was there any excellence in the situation? Can you think of anything virtuous or of moral excellence?

Think about anything worthy of praise. Can you applaud or compliment something about the situation?

We’re going to say that, in Philippians 4:8, Paul was talking directly to us concerning situations just like I described involving your friend or your widowed neighbor.

If there’s anything excellent in the situation that you can think of, think about that. Take your mind off the negative things: the person was rude, the person wasn’t grateful, the person didn’t acknowledge what you did at all…take your mind off those things and literally walk through that verse, list all 8 words, and see if you can figure out something from the situation to apply.

In the situation where you took your friend a slice of cheesecake, what is lovely in that situation? What is true in that situation? What is just, excellent, commendable about her, yourself, or the situation in general?

Focus on that. Anytime you start to get aggravated again, as soon as you start to think bitter thoughts about her – “what a hussy! I can’t believe she acted that way over a slice of cheesecake” – stop that thought, take it captive, give it to the Holy Spirit, and then think back on the things that you found about the situation that were lovely.

You may not be able to think of something for all 8.

Ask God to show you the ones you can’t figure out.

But maybe there isn’t something for all 8 words. That’s ok. Being able to apply any of those words in the verse will help redirect your thoughts and help heal your heart.

Any time your mind goes back to the situation and you start to think hurtful things again, refocus on Philippians 4:8 and the words you could apply.

You’ll be concentrating with thanks using Philippians 4:8.

Let there be thanksgiving!

Let There Be Thanksgiving

God doesn’t require animal sacrifices anymore. No more rams without blemish. No more bulls for burnt offerings. No more blood sprinkled on the altar.

Thank goodness.

Now, believers show our devotion to God with our lives. We present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices.

Sounds scary, but there are no knives or fires involved here. I’m talking about the sacrifice of how we live our lives: what we do, what we say, even what we think since our Lord is omniscient.

We are to live godly lives that acknowledge Him, that show others we love, trust, and believe in Him.

Image Credit: Knowing-Jesus.com

I realize that talking about thankfulness and gratitude during the month of November may be cliche for some of you, but thanksgiving is exactly what we need right now.

Not the thanksgiving where you gather with family and eat all the turkey, dressing, gravy, and pumpkin pie you can hold. Although that thanksgiving is awesome, too. I pray you are able to safely gather with your family to observe your normal holiday traditions this year.

But, the thanksgiving I’m talking about is an attitude, a way of living year round…

Let there be thanksgiving!

Yes, I do know that I’m writing this in the year 2020, a year that is arguable the worst ever, at least in my lifetime.

Could anything good come out of 2020?

No and yes.

If you aren’t looking for something positive, you won’t see anything positive. I can almost guarantee it.

The power of positive thinking is a real and valuable tool.

More importantly, though, I’m talking about counting your blessings.

Here I go being cliche again! But even cliches have some truth to them.

Instead of “count your blessings,” I’ll say this – concentrate with a grateful heart on the things that are good no matter how few or how small.

Image Credit: Bible.com

If nothing else, thank God for giving you another breath today.

If you can’t even do that, pray and ask God to change your heart and help you to be thankful. Ask Him to show you something to be thankful for.

When you find something, say you’re thankful for it out loud.

Do you know what that does? It acknowledges the blessing from God. This is actually an act of worship of God, and worship pleases God.

Image Credit: Angela Schua

Plus, it will soften your heart.

It will help you see other things you can give thanks for.

When you think of more things that are good, thank God for them aloud, too.

Write them in a list and stick it on your fridge or bathroom mirror.

Notice how your heart feels? Are you smiling now?

Thank God for that.

Image Credit: Pinimg.com

This is our sacrifice of praise. This is how we worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let there be thanksgiving!

Could Anything Good Come Out of 2020?

Tell me something good that happened to you in 2020.

I know there’s been more heartache and suffering than we want to think about. I’m not denying that 2020 has been a rough year – personally, locally, nationally, and globally.

But if we only focus on negative, negative will be all we ever see. In difficult times, we have to make ourselves look for the good things that are happening.

Image Credit: pinimg.com

You may have to look hard to find them, but there are things to give thanks for in the midst of all this turmoil and pain. There are indeed blessings in our lives.

Tell me about a blessing you’ve experienced this year.

It’s ok if you have to dig to find it.

I’ll wait.

It’s ok if all you have to cling to is a tiny blessing. EVERY good thing counts.

Tell me one good thing…then think about more. List them on paper so you can see them written out.

Here are a few positive things on my list that have happened in our family in 2020, especially since the virus hit in March:

Emery learned to ride her bike. We’ve been trying to teach her for several years, but she wasn’t interested. Then, one evening just a few days after the school closings in March, she said she wanted to learn to ride her bike. And she did! Quickly! She hasn’t stopped since.

We walked around our neighborhood as a family in the afternoons in the spring time when it warmed up and the days started getting longer. We did this almost every weeknight for several weeks in a row. There wasn’t a rush to go to bed because the kids didn’t have to go to school the next day.

I’ve gotten to spend bonus time with my children. Time I thought was gone since they started school, and I went back to work. The virus shut down the schools and my workplace, and it was like they were little kids again, and I was getting to hang out with them all day.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been challenging – even excruciating at times. Sheltering-at-home and social distancing from our friends, family, and church. Job-site closing. Sickness and death. Fear…

Remote-learning!!!

But I acknowledge that this time with my children has also been a blessing.

Typically, they’re in school. I’m working. My time with them is short. They spend more of their day at school with their teachers than home with their dad and me.

Then, WHAM! All of a sudden they’re home with me.

Tears have been shed. Tempers have been lost…but it hasn’t been all bad. This is invaluable time with them that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I call that a blessing.

I pray you are able to see the blessings in your life in 2020. I pray you are able to find some positive moments.

If something doesn’t come to you quickly, take the time to sit and think.

Ask God to show you good things you missed. Then watch and listen until you see more.

How to Survive Remote Learning

How are you and your family holding up? Has your job resumed? Is everyone back to school on a regular schedule? Do you have children at home remote-learning for at least part of the week?

Many families in my immediate area are involved in remote-learning to some extent. My children go to school 2 days a week for in-person learning and then work from home the other 3 days, so figuring out how to make it through a day with as much school work done and as few tears as possible is at the top of my to-do list Monday through Friday.

Christian Responsibility and Mosaic Law | The Village Church

Notice Zoe – on her back getting a tummy rub (left side of the image) – helping with the stress of remote learning 🙂

I won’t say we’re doing a stellar job in the Hooks house…we’ve had our share of meltdowns and tears (from the kids AND from me). But we’re learning and adapting. We seem to have more good days than bad days after 6 weeks of this. It doesn’t seem to take as long for the kids to complete their work as it did when school started in August. There is less hand-holding on my part. All those are victories in my book.

Along the way, I’ve attempted to figure out how to navigate learning during a pandemic, how to do it better. I want to survive this experience relatively unscathed AND with my relationship with my family intact.

I want that for you as well.

So, I want to share what I’ve learned through trial-and-error during the first 6 weeks of remote learning. Maybe something we’ve discovered will help you and your family.

Tips for Surviving Remote Learning

*Start your day in prayer. Fill up with God so you have something to give. Enjoy some quiet and stillness before the chaos starts. (Here are some free devotional Bible studies to start you off).

*Do what you need to do for yourself before the kids wake up. Drink your coffee. Watch your morning news show. Read some chapters in your book. Wash your face. Shower and shave your legs…give yourself whatever “me-time” you need to start the day.

*Get your workout done early. Do something physical before sitting down with the kids. (Pro Tip – it’s good for the kids to get some exercise in before they start their day as well. There’s something about getting the heart and lungs going with some physical activity that helps them calm down and focus later on).

**Getting these 3 done for yourself before your children hit the ground running may mean you have to get up earlier, so be kind to yourself and go to bed earlier, too.

*Eat breakfast. Protein will keep you full longer. Eat well throughout the day as well.

*Start the school day as early as you can – soon after breakfast, exercise, brushing teeth, making beds, putting on clothes (if you try to keep a morning routine like that).

*Create a checklist of assignments/schoolwork to do each day. Kids mark off their own work when they’re done.

*Consider the order of classes and work – does it work best for your child to get the hardest or least-favorite subject out of the way first thing in the morning? What is the subject that tends to bog them down if they wait until later in the day to do it?

*Stop work for physical activity throughout the day for yourself and your children. Take a quick walk or bike ride after lunch. Find a quick yoga, stretching routine, or movement video on YouTube that is kid-friendly. (My daughter likes Melting-Flow and some of the silly Moose-Tube videos from GoNoodle).

*Do a small-to moderate-amount of work (depends on their ages as well as the schedule set by their teachers), then take a short, 10 minute break. Go outside. Jump on the trampoline. Get the mail. Throw the ball for the dog. Climb a tree.

*Leave the easiest or favorite subject’s work for after lunch/in the afternoon/last when their energy and focus are low.

**The biggest thing to remember is that this is trial-and-error. Reevaluate everyday with input from your kids. What worked? What bogged you down? Where did you get frustrated? Did you like doing the hardest assignment/class first?

Change what didn’t work. I’ve heard people say that the definition for crazy is doing something the same way over and over and expecting different results, and that’s true. It’s something to keep in mind when trying to figure out how to help your children learn from home. If you end every day angry or frustrated, look back at the day and try to figure out what caused the mood to go that way. Then try different strategies to change the outcome. Don’t keep doing things the same way and expect the day to go differently.

Encourage your children. Praise them when they do well. Help them when they need it. Enjoy brainstorming with them about an assignment. Use Khan Academy or other online tutorials for help with math. (Follow the link or just search YouTube for videos about the math concept that’s giving your kid grief and watch the ones from Khan Academy).

Know your kids. Are they better earlier in the day? Do they get “hangry” easily? Do they need “heavy work” on their breaks? Do they need quiet to stay focused and work efficiently? Does a schedule or outline of the day help? Do they prefer you to be nearby while they’re working or do they work well on their own? Is it comforting to their brain to have the dog sit in their lap so they can pet him while they work? Does it help their concentration to sit on the back porch and hear the birds and the breeze?

Try different things. Throw it out if it doesn’t work. Be flexible and adaptable. Monitor their progress and take breaks when they start to lose it. Have a quick snack or a walk around the yard.

They can do it.

You can help.

We can get through this.

Image Credit: NYPost.com

{Similar Articles}

How to Survive the New Normal,

What If There Might be a Way to Feel Less Afraid During This Time of Pandemic and Social Unrest,

What to do if You’re Tired of Living Like This

Why You Should Keep a Personal Journal (and some tips for getting started)

I’m bone-tired. Exhausted.

But when I look back over some of the entries I’ve written in my personal journal since the beginning of the year, I see that I’ve been in worse places. I forgot where I was in January/February.

I flip forward in the journal and see an entry from earlier in September…

“Yesterday was our best day this week so far!”

And an entry from a week after that…

“Ethan had another hard day yesterday.”

Sounds like a roller coaster, I know, but that isn’t the point of this post. When I read back through journal entries from earlier this year, I remembered how separated from God I felt in early 2020. I read entries where I wrote about the sin that was in my life at the time that was keeping me from Him. I was overcome with gratitude for the written record I had of my faith journey.

See, I keep a journal. I try my best to write in it daily. I keep notes from formal Bible studies I do at church as well as concepts I study on my own. When I research the original Greek words used in a Bible passage, I write it down. When I read a book of the Bible, I study and make notes on commentary about that book, plus I record my own thoughts from what I’ve read. I write out my prayers a lot, too, like I am writing a letter to God. I also write down my own thoughts on the day in general – things my family has done, current local and world events, things that are bothering me, goals I have, pretty much whatever comes into my head during my writing time.

I believe in the power of writing, can you tell?

You should try it.

If you don’t already keep a daily journal – especially if you are a Christ-follower who wants a deeper relationship with Him – grab a notebook and a pen and start today. No need to worry about grammar or punctuation. You don’t have to be a “writer.” It isn’t too time-consuming. There is so much value in writing down your thoughts, prayers, what you’re studying, and what’s going on in the world.

For example, I had completely forgotten about the spiritual pit I was in back in January/February.

How could I forget about feeling so desolate, you may ask?

Well, Covid-19.

Enough said.

But reading entries from that time was a blessing for me. It reminded me of what God has done for me, how He knew all the pleas scrawled on notebook paper (and heard the ones that never left my heart) and answered me. How He showed me that the separation was my doing. It was my willful disobedience keeping me from Him. How He forgave me when I turned from my sin and how He restored me.

As overwhelming and out of the ordinary as things have been since the spring, I can’t imagine I would have remembered the experience in such vivid detail if I hadn’t been journaling. The lesson may have been lost on me if I didn’t have a record I could reread.

I urge you – start journaling.

Get yourself a cheap spiral-bound notebook from Dollar General or order something fancy and leather-bound from Amazon. Doesn’t matter. Just get something and start writing.

Tips for Journaling

*In the inside cover of your journal, write the date you start writing in it as well as the date of your last entry.

*Date individual entries – you could even include the time of day and your location

*Set a timer – If you’re new to journaling or writing isn’t really your “thing,” start with 5 minutes on the timer. Challenge yourself to free-write – write without stopping, without worrying about how it looks or sounds – until the timer goes off. As you get more comfortable, add more time or stop using the timer altogether.

*Write whatever you want. There are no rules. No right or wrong.

*Don’t go back and reread entries to edit them. This is just about getting your thoughts out. (If the entry becomes something you want to share later on, go back and edit at that time).

*Set aside time to write every day. Make an appointment with yourself and pledge to keep it. Set a reminder on your smartphone if necessary.

*Type your journal entries into Word or Google docs (if you’re more high-tech than me. I like paper and pen). There are even voice recording apps for smartphones that you could use to dictate your entries. (I use the Voice Memo app on my IPhone when I have writer’s block or when I have a thought that I need to get out, but I can’t stop and write at the moment).

*If you get serious and decide you may want to find and post your handwritten entries or reuse them in some way, use 3M sticky labels to mark the topic of your entries, the verse you were studying, the book of the Bible you were reading, etc.

*If you’re keeping the notebooks in your home after you fill them with entries, choose a specific place to keep them – a bookshelf, drawer, or container, and put them in chronological order.

Ok, then. Ready. Set. WRITE!!!

Image Credit – Lifeway

Ok all you fellow writers and journalers out there, let me hear from you. Why do you write? What do you write about? Share your tips on starting and keeping up a writing/journaling habit.

The Important Things I Miss

“Why did you put quotation marks around all your sentences?” I asked Emery.

She and I were editing the misspelled words in a story she’d written for school when I realized that every sentence had direct quotation marks around it.

Every.single.sentence.

Whether it contained actual dialogue or not. (And there was no actual dialogue in the story).

“My teacher told me to put them around sentences when someone talks,” she told me. “I talked. I told the whole story.”

(Clearly she doesn’t understand the difference between actual character dialogue and narration).

I was already agitated because of some other run-ins I had with her and her brother earlier in the day while trying to help them do their school work. I saw this as yet another task to accomplish that was standing between me and the end of the day.

So, I furiously erased all the quotation marks and moved on to do something else.

Emery (and Zoe) doing virtual school work.

That moment came back to me a few days later because I was rereading something I wrote in my Bible study notes, and I stopped to make my direct quotation marks look better – they looked like tiny, weird curves suspended above the line on the page.

As I fixed my own punctuation, my memory flashed back to the quotation marks Emery used in her story – the ones I erased with almost enough force to rub holes in the page.

Her marks were PERFECT.

She took great care in making them all. The round part at the top (or bottom depending if they’re open- or close-quotation marks) and the curved tail coming off were perfection. I could tell she put a great deal of effort into making each one with her pencil.

Emery’s perfect direct quotation marks. Obviously, I did not erase them as completely as I thought I had 🙂 But seriously, notice the open-quotation marks and the close-quotation marks look exactly like they’re supposed to look.

But, I didn’t compliment her on them. I didn’t even notice how careful she’d been about forming them correctly when I was in that moment. I was too busy violently erasing them and brushing pink eraser scraps off the paper to fully take in how meticulously she’d made the marks.

Isn’t that what emotion does? Distracts us with irrelevant details and makes us miss what really matters…

I missed a chance to applaud her attention to detail – to point out something she’d done well. I didn’t exactly fuss at her about them, but I was clear about my frustration with having to erase all of them.

Who wouldn’t benefit from a pat on the back?

Who doesn’t need a little extra encouragement, especially during this time of separation and alienation?

We could all use some positivity right now.

I pray I don’t miss that moment the next time around.

“Keep me in the moment; I don’t wanna miss what you have for me.” – Jeremy Camp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFuvAXzBt1E

Why We Should Let Our Children Fail {Sometimes}

I’m that parent. I don’t protect my children from every hardship. Struggling builds character. (Sounds like something my parents probably told me when I was younger. I imagine it infuriated me at the time time, but now I realize they were right…like they were about most of the stuff they told me).

Working through hardships helps children learn life skills such as endurance, perseverance (or stick-to-it-iveness as we call it where I’m from), stamina, and self-regulation. They learn about themselves: their strengths and weaknesses, what they can handle on their own, and when they need to ask for help.

These are all good things kids need to learn through the experience of living life as they figure out something hard or work through a challenge.

Of course, parents should support and encourage, but we don’t need to jump in and fix it or rescue them every time they hit a difficult place.

We can model how to work through the difficulty. We can support and encourage them with our words. We can help them talk through mistakes to figure out where they went wrong. We can assist them in developing strategies or alternatives for avoiding the same mistake in the future.

Ethan doing his schoolwork virtually. He’s sitting on the floor on top of the pillow from Zoe’s kennel and an almost-flat beanbag. He’s trying to type with his Chromebook in his lap. But, whatever works, right? I guess sitting at the table was getting boring.

Here’s a conversation I had with Ethan yesterday:

Me – Well, that assignment took 2 hours. What happened?

E – I had to watch the video over a couple of times.

Me – Why?

E – I watched the video, but I didn’t know what the teacher wanted me to do afterwards. When I went read the assignment and what questions I was supposed to answer, I didn’t know any of the answers from the video, so I had to watch it again.

Me – What could you do differently next time so it doesn’t take that long?

E – Read the whole assignment first, write down the questions I need to answer from the video, take notes while I watch the video?

This is something his dad and I and his teachers have told him about doing assignments where you have to watch videos and answer questions with information from the videos. Many times when he does an assignment like that he doesn’t follow the advice he’s been given, so an assignment that could probably be completed in under an hour consumes more time than it should.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not awesome at this “natural consequences parenting”. Sometimes I panic when I foresee the outcome of one of their decisions. Occasionally, I feel bad when they struggle with a task. I want to offer a bail-out from time to time.

Especially when it comes to this virtual-learning-during-a-pandemic stuff. Recently, I have described our journey in virtual learning as “excruciating,” and I have begged for anybody and everybody to help me alleviate this pain. (Facebook friends may remember my desperate plea just last week when I was looking for suggestions for ways to help him stay focused while he does his school work virtually from home). In particular, virtual learning is a learning experience for me, too, but we keep at it every day.

What I do know is that I can’t rescue either of my kids from all their messes for their entire lives, so I probably shouldn’t get them used to it. Yes, they will need help negotiating lots of situations. Some will require a bail-out from mama or daddy. Other times, it might be best to let them stumble and maybe even fall on their faces (with me within arms reach of course – just in case) so they can figure out how to get themselves up again. Failure can be good for a person 😉

PS. After I wrote this today, I discovered that Ethan had gone through yet another video-watching assignment without following the advice for completing the assignment that I know that he knows (see our conversation above). When I asked him why it took him so long to do the assignment, he grinned at me…

You Gotta Read This Book

I just finished reading The Garden: A Spiritual Fable about Ways to Overcome Fear, Anxiety, and Stress by Jon Gordon, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Seriously. Go to Amazon or your favorite book seller right now, and order your copy. It is worth the $17 list price.

The Garden is for anybody experiencing fear, anxiety or stress or anyone who knows someone dealing with those issues. I would venture a guess to say…that’s pretty much all of us.

Gordon tells the story of the gospel through what he calls a “spiritual fable” – a narrative involving twin high-schoolers Jay and Kay and their neighbor Mr. Erwin.

Mr. Erwin befriends the siblings, and, using the garden he lovingly tends in his backyard, he helps them see how the enemy distracts people with lies and causes them to be fearful, anxious, and stressed. Then, Mr. Erwin reveals to the teens how God has already won the battle for them – all they have to do is avoid the 5 D’s which are the enemies tools for warfare.

I read this book because my son’s Sunday school teacher recommended it for parents of middle school or high school students, and I can see why. Everyone in my family will benefit from a discussion of the 5 D’s.

The copy I read actually belongs to my friend, but I will definitely purchase my own copy to reread and keep as a reference. I may even ask Ethan to read it himself since it reads like a narrative.

This book’s message is so timely because of the high-stress we’re living in right now with many still out of work due to the pandemic and school in an uproar. My son is most certainly experiencing some anxiety over starting middle school this year coupled with the challenges and frustrations of virtual learning. This, in turn is causing me fear, stress, and anxiety! I already feel more calm and confident after having read the book.

Buy it today and crack it open as soon as it arrives in the mail. It can’t come soon enough.

How to Love God

I love LOVE! There, I said it.

I especially love the idea of romantic love – I have since I can remember. I am a hopeless romantic.

Image Credit: Introvert, Dear

But, since I surrendered my life to Christ, He has taught me that I don’t know anything about love. I thought it was something I was supposed to feel. An overwhelming, all-consuming emotion. It was supposed to make me happy and giddy and forever excited to see the person who was the object of my love.

While some of that isn’t totally inaccurate, it’s only one side of the story.

I have learned that a Christian’s love should focus on God above anyone or anything else; He is the primary object of our love.

We express our love for Him by being obedient to how He said to live and by demonstrating love to other people.

God is love; therefore, Christians are love.

Many would argue that Christians aren’t love. Some of the people you’ve met proclaiming to be Christians weren’t loving. I can’t and won’t dispute that. I’ve met plenty of people proclaiming to be Christians who didn’t act loving either. Heck! I proclaim to be a Christian but don’t always show love well.

God doesn’t call us to worry about those other people as much as He calls us to do better ourselves.

Loving others is our command, and we have to do better at it.

It seems like it would help if we focus on the right thing first: God.

How do we focus on God? How do we love God?

Scripture says we must be obedient to Him.

Image Credit: Pinimg.com

Jesus tells us plainly in scripture that if we love him, we will keep him commandments. (John 14:15).

All.of.them.

Both practically – living them out – and conceptually – keeping our hearts and minds pure, too. (Matthew 5:27-28 gave an example of this).

Obviously, humans cannot do this on our own.

But it’s our purpose in life to keep our focus on God as much as we can. To pray to Him to help us focus on Him and to ask forgiveness when we don’t do it.

Be obedient.

Keep His commandments.

Live like He told us to live.

Pray.

Study the Bible.

Wait for His return.

Love other people.

This is what the Bible says about demonstrating our love for God.

But, exactly how do we do that?

I don’t know. We’ve got to talk to God it.

He’s given us the basics in His Word. He expects us to study it.

Then, we go to Him in prayer for the specifics – for how each individual person is to live out the commands.

It will look different for each person based on where you are in life right now.

He may ask you to be obedient by leaving a job.

by starting a job.

…by moving.

…by starting a ministry.

…by befriending someone.

…by trusting Him with your finances.

…by seeking Him about your relationships.

…by helping someone you don’t know.

by forgiving someone you don’t want to forgive.

by sacrificing your time for someone else.

…by spending more time in prayer and Bible study.

…by taking on a new responsibility at church.

…by stepping out of a responsibility at church.

Only through time in prayer with God can you discover how He has ordained that you should obey Him and show Him love. Spend that time with Him and with His Word and find out what He has for you to do.