Increase Your Love for Other People

Lately, I have been thinking about the presence of God and His love. When I set aside time alone with God and start praying, I almost always feel peace and a feeling of being at rest. The longer I pray, the greater the feelings get. After an hour or so, I start to feel peace and contentment so strongly that I usually can’t hold back tears. I am not one to cry, but I often do when I pray. I believe that prayer brings me closer to God. The closer I am to God, the more love I have for other people.

I have often heard it said that ‘To love others, you need to learn to love yourself first!’ This statement sounds right, but in my experience, it does the exact opposite. The more I think about myself, the more I feel insecure, afraid and impatient with other people. I believe that God teaches a way of life that goes against the culture you and I live in today. I strongly believe that to love others, you must love God first. How do you love God? Submit to Him in prayer, and He will give you so much love for others that you CANNOT HELP but share it!

Matthew 22:34-40 says ‘But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

So, based on this verse, by loving God first and loving your neighbour second, you should love yourself… last? I believe so. Okay, then where did this idea of self-love come from? I believe it comes from selfishness, not God.

God showed us how to love. Jesus stripped Himself of all power to come to earth in the form of a man, then proceeded to serve others for the duration of His time on earth. In his early Thirties, He died on a cross for sins He did not commit. Are you keen on being sentenced to death for a crime you did not commit… at the age of 32?! I know I’m not. At no point did Jesus teach His disciples to ‘love themselves so they could love others’. He taught them to pray. He even gave them a whole prayer to pray, word for word.

If you want to love others the way Jesus taught, learn to pray. If you already pray, add some more time to your praying each day. God LOVES to hear you and me pray and will come closer to us to listen. I love that about Him.

Have you experienced powerful prayer? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your story! 🙂

Run to Win!

Tonight after a successful night of bible study I was highly motivated. I went to the gym and started thinking. As I lifted weight after weight, I realised at that moment that no single event in my life determines my future. I have to decide every day if I want to run or not. I choose whether to win or lose.

I cannot put my trust in myself, nor can I sit back and do nothing – faith without action is dead. Every day brings new opportunity, and each successful day builds onto the previous ones.

If you are discouraged by what life has dealt you, move past it by kneeling by your bed and praying! Next time life is too much, go back again and pray. Tomorrow may be even harder than today, but again, pray.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 says ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Don’t give up.

One Simple Way to Hear God Speak

Ask Him! Okay, but what happens if God doesn’t answer? How do I know God is speaking?

If you find that God isn’t speaking to you, ask the following questions: Am I praying daily? Am I listening? A conversation is two-way. Ask God your questions each day. Keep in mind that He loves persistence. (Luke 18:1-8) When it comes to listening, I find it natural to use my ears. (Duh!) The thing is, God doesn’t usually speak to us this way. He likes to use dreams, visions and the Bible. Dreams and visions are awesome, but the Bible is possibly the simplest way to hear God speak. It can be very black and white. “Love your neighbour” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are simple, yet profound truths. Too often I have found myself looking past these powerful words for something ‘more spiritual’, forgetting that these words are inspired by God, filled with life and power! When I read the Bible, I stop regularly and pray short prayers, asking God to help me understand it and live it out — praying while reading God’s Word opens up my heart to listen.

Whenever I am unsure if a thought is from God or my own, I judge it against the Bible. If it follows God’s heart, shown in the Bible, I can be reasonably sure it is from Him. However, if the idea is contrary, I will dismiss it.

Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I encourage you to read one chapter or more each day to improve your hearing and discernment.