…by Beka Jackson
Sunday’s message happened to be one that is very important to me. Not that I am always very good at showing love first… Actually, I have had to learn to show love first to those who don’t know Jesus. And really, I am still learning!
When Bobby and I moved to Northwest Indiana, we prayed that God would put us in a home where we could impact the community. We prayed for a neighborhood that didn’t know about Christ. He heard that prayer and answered it very quickly.
But it has been a learning experience for me even this past week. I am surrounded by people who haven’t realized the love of Christ. (You know, exactly what I asked for!) But often times I am offended by how they live. How can they do that? What makes them think that’s okay? And, embarrassingly, I have even communicated as much to them in the past.
I came home from church this past Sunday and really, the second I pulled in the car I was chanting my new mantra, “Love First, Love First, Love First.” It isn’t always easy to do. But it is what we are called to do. It is what I told God I wanted to do. And though I thought I would be really good at it, He shows me that I am not. Even when I do it, and it may seem natural to those around me, I am working hard on the inside against an incredibly judgmental woman that I am naturally.
One thing I have learned is to focus on what is important. I tell my kids all the time, we live the way we do, do the things we do because we understand what Jesus has done for us. How can we expect those who don’t understand His love and sacrifice to behave the way we want them to?
And so when I see non-believers I pray that God will show me people who haven’t experienced His love, not people that yell too loudly, or keep their yard messier than mine, or don’t dress as neat or modestly as I think they should…
This past Sunday, we were asked to write on the walls about times we feel God’s love. These are some of the responses.
I Experience God’s Love When…
…He forgives me of my sins.
…I am playing on worship team and I see the church worship.
…I first became saved and realized who Jesus was.
…Jesus saved my son’s life from death.
…I delivered my first baby.
…I feel God restoring love and respect in my broken marriage.
…He provides financially for my family.
…I pray with my boys at night.
…I think about the kindness of the people surrounding me in my life.
…I see the joy and smiles on the peoples’ faces here at Suncrest.
…I saw my first granddaughter being born!
…I am serving Him. Because the memory of who I was and what I have done is never far behind me. But His grace has made me the person He has called to serve Him!
…I realize His mercy is for me no matter what I’ve done, He loves me!
…I was still a sinner, God loved me.
…I celebrated our 25th anniversary with family and friends.
…I see my children overcome any obstacle, challenge or disability.
…I am holding my children and I get to tell them about Jesus.
…I see the ultrasound picture of my 18-month-old grandson.
…I share a smile with a stranger and share a prayer for them.
…I pray each night.
…He gives me strength when I felt I had none left.
…I am loved by family and friends.
…I am at Camp LRCA.
…I attended a funeral visitation. He was there.
…I am at SLW.