If Loving You Is Right, I Don’t Wanna Be Wrong

by Danielle N. Hall

4/9/2017

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

Lately I’ve been thinking of the beginning lyrics to Kirk Franklin’s Song “Love”: 

“Love, a word that comes and goes, but few people really know what it means to really love somebody.”

As I ponder these lyrics, I’d have to admit that there may be some validity to that statement. In my opinion, what some believe is love just isn’t. Real love is not self-serving. As a matter fact, one of the ways Merriam-Webster defines love is as follows: “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another“. There are many who say they love, but their love only extends as far as your last deed towards them. In other words, their love begs the question: “What have you done for me lately?” Moreover, some who say that they love you may have an uncanny way of keeping track of offenses. I’m so grateful that God’s love doesn’t resemble that. According to His Word, this is what love looks like:

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (VOICE)

This is what real love is! Ask yourself these questions:

-When was the last time you told someone “I love you”? 

-When was the last time you showed someone that you love him/her? 

-Is the love that you have unconditional?

Prayerfully, the answer to the last question is “yes”, but for many of us the truth is that we do attach conditions to our love. With that being the case, can we honestly call it “love“? God commands us in His word to love our neighbor, but He didn’t say to do so only when our fellow brothers and sisters are being neighborly. His word says that “love bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening.” 

I know there are times when I disappoint God and there are times when I may have broken His heart, yet He still has the capacity to love me…in spite of me. He saw the best in me, when everyone else around could only see the worst in me. His love is steadfast and unmatched, He gave His only begotten Son just to show how sacrificial and unselfish His love is. What an example! The least I can do as an expression of my gratitude for this extreme act of loving kindness is to do as He has commanded. If loving you is right, I don’t want to be wrong! Just as He loves me, flaws and all, I extend the same to my fellow brothers and sisters.

Advertisements

Bruised, But Still Able to be Used

by Danielle N. Hall

10/21/2016

“Bruised, But Still Able To Be Used”Originally written on 10/6/2016 for My Sister’s Corner –Worth Series

If you’re anything like me, when you see a banana with one of those unsightly, brown spots, you probably count it as trash. I must admit, this is a faulty way of thinking. Just because a banana is bruised doesn’t mean that it is of no worth: as a matter of fact, bruised bananas are useful for many recipes! 


Like those brown spotted bananas, we too are useful. Even Christ was BRUISED for our iniquities. As followers of Christ, we can expect to go through some bruising, but it’s for the greater good. God creates some of the best glory stories out of those who have been bruised. Psalm 51:17 reads “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” You see, God does NOT determine our worth by our outer appearance, He looks at our hearts. I don’t care how beat your face is, how fly your ‘fit is, or if the color of the bottoms of your shoes is red…the focus of God’s attention is what’s inside. 

According to Proverbs 31:10 (AMP) “An excellent woman (one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous), who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.” The value of a virtuous woman exceeds the value of those external ornaments. Verse 30 of the same book and chapter declares that “charm and grace are deceptive, and superficial beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord (reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect), she shall be praised.” A woman with a worshipful heart is praiseworthy in the sight of God. Those that worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth and a worshipper knows that true worship requires obedience and involves sacrifice. Again, consider Christ: His laying down His life and being bruised for us was the ultimate act of obedience and sacrifice and He did so because He felt that we were worth it.
Ponder the following lyrics to the well known song by Anthony Brown entitled “Worth”:
“You thought I was WORTH saving

So you came and changed my life

You thought I was WORTH keeping

So you cleaned me up inside

You thought I was to die for

So you sacrificed your life

So I could be free

So I could be whole

So I could tell everyone I know”

What a gesture for us…because He thought we were worth it, He became bruised and He was wounded. Those wounds and bruises surely didn’t decrease His worth: they serve as a valuable reminder of just how much He loves us. He died that we may become vessels of honor to carry His glory. 

David, a man who is known to be characterized as “a man after God’s own heart”, was chosen as King Saul’s successor: not because of his strength or appearance, but because God knew His heart and that David would not hesitate to glorify Him. He knew that David wasn’t vain, didn’t have selfish motives, and wouldn’t take God’s credit. In essence, he had just the heart that God wanted and He saw fit to make him king and allowed Jesus to be birthed through the lineage of him. That’s the kind of God we serve! So, in spite of your appearance, know that God already thought that you were to die for! You are worth it and with the proper posture of the heart, you can be not just His vessel, but His vessel of honor…to carry His glory. As aforementioned, the bruised become some of God’s greatest glory stories!

With love,

Danielle 

Sore Thumb

by Danielle N. Hall 

10/10/2016

Being different has been historically viewed as a negative. Whether it is a birth feature, a behavioral difference, or a matter of a choice of style…people tend to critically view these things and shun them. I submit to you that we were each uniquely designed to stand out with respect to individual purpose, yet be on one accord in heart. 

At the tender age of 2, I must have grasped ahold of this notion of being born to stand out. I had even found another way to spell “out”. Despite hearing my grandmother say: “O-U-T, OUT!” I’d discovered a way to spell it that had a different ring to it: “O-T-T, OUT!”. Soon I discovered that I was in error 😊. However, as time progressed, I found myself participating in spelling bees with children who were older than I. This was largely in part because I was afforded the privilege of taking classes with others who were in a higher grade until I reached the 2nd semester of my 3rd grade year; at that point, I was skipped to the next grade. While everyone was not as welcoming of this privilege, I’m truly grateful.

Here’s something important to note: though we are uniquely designed to stand out with respect to purpose, it does require others to help you achieve that purpose. Consider this: if you pioneer an organization for the cause of meeting a specific need, in order for the purpose of that organization to be fulfilled you will (at minimum) need the people who you endeavor to help. Be careful to not confuse being outstanding with being independent. The following scripture may better convey the point I’m attempting to make:

How would a giant eye be able to hear? And if the entire body were an ear, how would an ear be able to smell? This is where God comes in. God has meticulously put this body together; He placed each part in the exact place to perform the exact function He wanted. If all members were a single part, where would the body be? So now, many members function within the one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:17-19 (VOICE)

As a member of the body of Christ, I may be an eye. I say this because it’s been my experience to see something that may otherwise be insignificant and I get an encouraging message from it. This particular writing is an example of one such experience. Below is a picture that I took to capture the moment that would later develop into this writing.


While in my vehicle, after having finished a delicious portion of spicy kale, I looked for a bag to dispose of the trash. I typically keep one in the car, but on that particular day I didn’t have one. In an effort to try to make the trash more contained, I attempted to bend the fork I was using so that it would fit in the container. I was unpleasantly surprised at how strong this fork was; I was trying to get this container sealed and was encountering all types of resistance from the fork. I bent it and turned it in so many directions…to no avail. At that moment it occurred to me: the fork wasn’t designed to fit in that container and that’s why it was standing out! Immediately, I said to myself: “Self, you have to take a picture of this and share about being designed to stand out.” I had no idea what I’d write or when I’d write it, but I got up early this morning and began to type and this message is the result. 

My friends and I often joke about how I see common things and get a message out of it, but it’s a perfect example of having unique, individual purpose. Embrace the gifts that God has given you and don’t be afraid to be like the proverbial “sore thumb”. I leave you with this final thought:

Now you collectively are Christ’s body, and individually you are members of it each with his own special purpose and function…And if one member suffers, all the parts share the suffering; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27, 26