I’ve been working really hard over the last few weeks to start my day off by praying and “dressing myself in love”, making a deliberate decision to choose love over anything else so that my thoughts, actions, words and behaviours would be filtered through love. And as I mentioned before there are times when I have noticed a difference in what my natural response may have been because I was aware of choosing love first.

But then I started to think a little bit more about love.  What is love?  It was just a thought, not exactly a prayer but God was listening and quickly answered back with a verse that I had memorized when I was a kid. This is Jesus speaking to his disciples.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

I was a bit startled by this answer because it really was just a thought across my mind. I wasn’t looking for an answer yet and that seemed pretty big.  In fact, I was just looking for some nice things to do for my family, friends, neighbours and people I come across each day.  I thought the answer was to be more patient,  more forgiving, more kind… But this answer, from the mouth of Jesus no less, seems to be a pretty all-encompassing answer.  Read it again:  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Before I go farther I think it will be helpful to read the verses surrounding this bold statement about love in John 15:9-17.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

So what is love? What does it mean, to lay down your life for a friend?  That answer has come more slowly to me over the past few weeks as I read about love, think about love, act out in love and speak in love.  And the answer has come when I have forgotten about wearing love at all and I have lashed out, become frustrated, not cared for others or put my own needs first. And believe me, it is something that I am still learning!

The thing that I have learned the most is that loving others means an attitude and action of putting others first, their needs before your needs.  And if I’m honest,  it’s hard work and if often reveals my own selfishness and wanting my own way.  But I know that as I pray each day and clothe myself in love that this will become easier and more natural. This is the process of becoming more like Jesus.  It is not by my own good decisions but by the power of the Holy Spirit in me (this will be a post for another day…).

Health Update:  I also want to let you know that since my last post.  My lung biopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 7th.  I need to arrive at Toronto General Hospital for 8:30 and the biopsy is schedule for 9:30.  It will involve a CT scan and an xray to determine where the doctors should do the biopsy.  After the biopsy is reviewed I will be taken to rest for a number of hours and be monitored by the nurses.  It should be a full day downtown before I am released to come home.  I’m am eager to know the results of the test so that we can make an action plan to fight against it.  That said, I’m not all that excited about the procedure itself. I am working hard to not worry and being disciplined to lay this at the feet of Jesus. I have been reminded over and over this week of the verses “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” found in Matthew 11:28-30.  I am also encouraged by these verses from Isaiah 40 

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

My prayer for you today is that you will find rest in Jesus and soar on wings like eagles.

With Love,

Heather

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