Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sheltering with Divine Love

Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as I do this, I find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.  ~C. S. Lewis

Growing up, we had the best neighbors possible.  Bernie and my mother were close friends, sharing coffee breaks, Christmas baking and craft projects.  Mom had a friendship bridge made over the small ditch between our home and Bernie's.   And, best of all for me, every time I was sick and stayed home from school, Bernie brought over a quart of canned blueberries.  

Bernie passed away a couple months ago, but I have beautiful memories of her bird collection lining the shelves above her drapes, the quilt she made when Emily was born, and her love for all of us.

Now I know all neighbors aren't like Bernie.  I also know when Jesus told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, He wasn't merely speaking of the person who lives next door.  It would be easy for me, since I have lovely Christian neighbors on boths sides of our home.  

The Webster’s Dictionary Definition of Neighbor is "one being or one of the human race; any one that needs our help, or to whom we have an opportunity of doing good."  Sounds like a paraphrase of Mark 12:31, Love your neighbor as yourself.  And sometimes those "any ones" are a little harder to love...

(You know, those people that drive you crazy with their inconsistencies, their sharp tongues and nosiness. The one who is always bragging, who thinks their agendas should be yours, and lie to get ahead.  The ones who fail to rejoice when we rejoice, but chime in easily to join our disappointments!) In our humanness, those people are just hard to love.

The beauty of being a Christian is that God gives us divine love.  The Spirit of God fills us (2 Timothy 1:7). The difference between divine love and human love is that divine love rules from the heart, and human love rules from the head.  

Oldubi Johnson defines Divine Love in this way: Divine love is the eternal willingness to do eternal good, exercised in wisdom and patience, shown in acts of kindness and discipline when necessaryGod, through Paul, tells us in Romans 13:10, Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Whether love is returned in the spirit it was given, or never responded to, Jesus' command to love our neighbor is still valid.  Our love doesn't hinge on what others do, it hinges on what God did to show His love for us--giving us the gift of His Son.  

I don't know about you, but carrying grudges is just too much work.  Constantly dragging out our lists of hurts we've been given and imagining how we can inflict additional pain, can steal our joy and make us into bitter people.  I'm not saying it's always easy.  But I have found when I'm hurt, it's always best to take those people to the Throne.  Then, in the praying, my heart is filled with love.  

Each day I ask my Heavenly Father to allow His love to fill my heart until it overflows on every neighbor I meet--those who live next door, those who attend my place of worship and those I meet throughout the course of my day. 

Loving may require a jar of blackberries, a plate of cookies or a soft answer.  It may require a struggle and turning the other cheek.  But I have a Master Teacher.  God loved me when I was covered in sin, and daily showers me (His child) with His love. That love compels me to go and love.

* * * * *
We have been enjoying fresh produce from our neighbor's garden. Green beans, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, and squash.  In spite of the lack of rain, their garden has flourished.  I made a tin of Oatmeal Cherry Cookies for them.  So easy and delicious, too.

If you like to cook, you'll love her blog.  Freezer meals, baking and even 58 ways to use bacon.

  • 1 Cup Butter 
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat White Flour
  • 3/4 Cup all Purpose Flour
  • 1 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 5 oz Dried Cherries
  • 3 Cups Long Cooking Oats

  1. Cream butter and sugars together.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Mix dry ingredients (except cherries and oats) in a separate bowl and then add to butter.
  4. Add in cherries and oats
  5. Spoon batter by rounded tablespoons onto lined cookie sheet
  6. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes and cool on cooling rack.

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Renee said...

I did not know the dictionary's definition of neighbor. That is really fascinating! Also, I love how you say you take people who have hurt you to the throne...what a beautiful visual...and one I needed.
Renee from Adventures In Faithful Living

Terra said...

"Allow His love to fill my heart so it overflows to my neighbor." This is a wonderful phrase. We can spread and share the love of Jesus, for all, and our love for Him.
Your neighbor with her blueberries was a sweetheart.

Cranberry Morning said...

I always like C.S. Lewis. He's written some of my favorite books, and I've learned a lot from him. And it is true that when we find people difficult, God gives us a love for them when we persistently pray for them.

BelovedBomber said...

Honestly it is just flat out hard to love some people. I am thankful that I can do all things through Him...I also can't wait to try your cookie recipe. I actually don't like raisins and never thought to use dried cherries. Thanks for the word and the recipe! Many blessings!

OurCrazyFarm said...

Such a beautiful post~ thank you! It really spoke to my heart tonight:))


I like your description of love ... that is active ... takes blueberries etc.

Anonymous said...

nice post thanks for sharing i saw your blog thrue another follower...looking for to visit more..blessings across the miles...loves

joy said...

Timely post for me. Thanks Pamela:)

LOLITA said...

How could we ever love the unlovable neighbors if not for Agape from the Divine Father.

We need to be wrapped up in His Love. Sometimes it is even difficult to love one's own brother-in-law when he hurts one's sister. But by His grace, forgiveness can be found.

What a shelter He gives to us. I need to stay in this truth. I also often think of the fruits of the spirit that all of those following Love.... comes freely once we have Love (the Divine Kind of Love).

Thanks for this truth, Pamela.

Wanda said...

So grateful for a God that gives us the ability to do what is impossible to do within ourselves. Really enjoyed reading your commentary about loving our neighbors. And I have never had cherry oatmeal cookies. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Angel said...

Great post! Thank you for being "neighborly" and visiting my blog today. And thank you for sharing the cookie recipe. I love oatmeal anything!

Judy said...

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for sharing a lovely post about loving your neighbor. Such an important thing to do as christians. Have blessed week.


Victor S E Moubarak said...

What a wise post and what wonderful thought-provoking lessons one can take to heart.

Thank you for visiting my Blog. Don't forget to download my FREE E Books from the Blog. I hope you enjoy them

God bless you and your family.

Visits With Mary said...

So many people have lost their love, we see it everyday, neighbor against neighbor. It would be so wonderful if all mankind would remember the '11th' commandment, to love one another. You really shared a great message.

Wise Hearted said...

Our love doesn't hinge on what others do, it hinges on what God did to show His love for us--giving us the gift of His Son.
The above is my favorite sentence of your post...profound truth. It made me thing of a line in Don Franciso song, "love is not a feeling, it's an act of the will."

Great post...Blessings

Donna said...

So very well said, Debra! It is not always easy to love "difficult" neighbors (we have some of those!!). You've given us alot to think about:)

Carolyn Dube said...

This is such a powerful post! Thanks for sharing!

enthusiastically, dawn said...

I really appreciate this post. So beautifully stated. Thanks also for visiting my place today! Following you and may have to share your post on my FB page. ;)

Laurie Collett said...

Jesus said that the Good Samaritan loved his neighbor, who was a wounded, assaulted stranger he found by the wayside. He showed self-sacrificing love toward this man who was ignored by the priests and religious leaders. May we all be and be blessed with good, loving neighbors!
Thanks for the great post, & God bless!

Karen Lange said...

I'm with you. Carrying a grudge is too much work. I appreciate this reminder, for I think sometimes it's easier to carry one and not even realize it. Something to prayerfully consider - thank you.

Thanks for coming by and following my blog. I appreciate your comments. It's great to meet you! :)


Dee said...

The more we chose to love the easier it gets. I think people now days are confused to what love really is.

Mimi said...

You are so right.....of course you are right as you are saying words from the greatest book inspired by the greatest Man who ever walked on this earth. Jesus Son of God was given to us with a heart of Love for all to have.....Jesus loved those who hated him and killed him....and we should LOVE all...those who hate us...or speak evil of us....LOVE them...take it to Jesus is the Best answer...I often get so angry and upset at the choices people make....this COUNTRY makes....but all in all I cannot control anyone except myself..BUT I can Pray!!!
Thank you so much for reminding me what a TRUE with a heart for Jesus Looks like....I love that you and your neighbor share ......
Love this!!!
God Bless you sweetie

Tito Eric said...

Such exhilarating words of wisdom that i needed to hear/read this morning. Thanks for sharing, Pamela.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post and wise words, Pamela. Wishing you a blessed week.

Cooking Up Faith said...

Just what I needed to read tonight.

Lisa notes... said...

I want to love my neighbors like that, but I know I don't. Lord, fill my heart to overflowing with love!

Unknown said...

I love that definition of neighbor. I try to teach my kids the same thing -- a neighbor is anyone and God asks us to love them.

I totally agree with you about grudges. Hard to do sometimes, but I do think taking them to the throne is the best thing we can do.

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Pamela,
It's so nice to meet you.
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I think we need to remember how important it is to forgive and be kind.

Anonymous said...

Pamela...great post...I love the cs lewis quote... simple acts to love those God calls our neighbor...thanks for this reminder...blessings to you~

Maureen said...

Love the C.S. Lewis quote, so very true. Hard to put in to practice sometimes, but true in spite of us. Thanks for visiting at my blog, too! I appreciate and enjoy the fellowship.

CEO Lisa Anne - L.A said...

Hi Pamela,
What a beautiful post about loving your neighbor. You have a lovely blog. I'm your newest follower. Thanks for visiting and the sweet comment. Have a nice week.

Renee said...

A beautiful post! The small acts of love you described make life sweeter. I'm going to save this definition for future reference. Love it!

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Pamela,

That's wild that we were both thinking of neighbors and cookies this weekend. Did your's include weeding too? :)

Have a great week.

Jennifer Dougan

Crown of Beauty said...

I am so glad I found your blog, Pamela. Your words are gentle yet wise, not boasting about what you have learned but generously sharing with us the precious "chunks" of living bread you have been given.

This is another post that speaks deeply to my heart this morning. I am in a difficult relationship, one you described. And while it is easier to discard that friendship, I am aware that God is calling me to be a life giver to that needy person.

Your wise counsel of taking that difficult friendship is the road I will take.

My eyes teared up at your story of Bernie. Oh, how I want to be such a neighbor to people God sends my way.

Proverbs tells us Do not withhold good from another when it is in your power to give it.

Thank you for this post, and I praise God for giving you the words to write.


Debbie said...

I loved this post. Although, it made me feel a little guilty. There are a few things that I need take to the throne. Thanks for the reminder!!! And thanks for taking time to visit my blog and leave a comment!

Cindy said...

Lovely post. I also have the sweetest neighbours, he is always bringing vintage treasures that he has found and no longer wants, or mowing our lawn or so many other things. I do my best to return favours with baked goods. I need to do something real soon. Good neighbours are a blessing, but being a good neighbour to all, is so important too.
Hugs, Cindy

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Very timely, Pamela. I am struggling with this right now ... with the neighbors at work and those we live beside us. The ones at work live there for security and drive me nuts in their dependency and manipulative. The ones next door are young, broke, noisy (the guy hollers all night and the dogs bark all morning). I have an easier time with the noisy ones, to tell you the truth. My husband has patience with the others.

Thank you for your hard work on this post, it was wonderful.

Kathy M.