Teachable Moments

Midweek Meditation: Love as You Learn

Love can look like many different things but it is important to remember that love is much more than just a feeling that comes naturally. Love takes work. Love is a command. Love takes trust. Love is worth it! We must model love and ensure that our obedience to God is because we love Him; obeying God is not because we “have to”, but because we “want to”.  This week as we meditate on what it means to love, let’s look at the following Scripture:

  • Romans 12:9Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
  • 1 John 4: 17-18This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
  • Matthew 22:36-40“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

May you be encouraged today with this Puritan Prayer:

May the Love of God richly bless you! Elizabeth

Teachable Moments

Love as You Learn

Love!  Everyone’s favorite topic.  For over 30 years, as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, I have had hundreds of conversations with young couples and families about love.  Most often the questions are not “what is love”, but instead…

  • How can I make my spouse fall (more) in love with me?
  • How can I make my child love their siblings?
  • How can we, as parents, help our children love Jesus?

Where do we find the answers to these questions?  First, let’s realize that what we know about love and how to motivate others toward it is new.  There have been all sorts of ideas and advice through the years. In 1946, soul singer, Deon Jackson, recorded a song entitled, “Love Makes The World Go Round” (he also made a black-and-white music video of it, one of the first).  Before that, songs by such bards as Shakespeare in 1559 in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Act 1, Scene 2) told us what to expect when it comes to love, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”   

Volumes are written on love but none truer than that written by Jesus’ best friend, the apostle John.  In 1 John 4, John both contrasts and explains the relationship between God’s love and ours. It is key to know and embrace these truths about love so that we are thinking biblically.  If we do not pursue a right thinking about love, we will end up understanding love through the lens of a Hollywood Screenwriter and, if you have watched a fair number of Hollywood love stories, you know not to expect any kind of a realistic happy ending.


  • 1 John 4:7  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
    • Can you imagine a fire without light?  Without heat? NO – why? Because once you start a fire, fire comes with light and heat  – you can NOT separate them. Same thing with love. Once God’s Spirit resides in us, we will love. We won’t be able to help ourselves.

APPLICATION:  Do you not love from your heart and deed the way scripture describes?  Then you have a heart problem with God, not those around you.


  • 1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
    • God’s love thinks of others and gives until it hurts.  God gave what was required no matter the cost. God’s love is in us?  We will be other-centered givers until it hurts. End of story.

APPLICATION:  Do you get tired of giving and watching your mouth so you don’t hurt others you love?  Do you say what you want to say because you think your truth is more important than their feelings?  The love you have is more a self-love than true love. Say “I’m sorry” to God and others and then live a changed person by following God’s example of true love.


  • 1 John 4: 17-18This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
    • While loving someone can hurt as we work out disagreements, love does not produce fear of rejection and retaliation from the other.   Relationships that are truly loving allow for authenticity in communication and vulnerability emotionally.

Check-Up!  How are you doing knowing and living out the 3 points?  Talk honestly about it within your family. Celebrate God’s great love for us that resides within us because we are His.  Don’t just read the above – do a heart check within yourself and your family.

Dear Reader, a Christian Disciple loves!  And if we are growing our children in Christ, we must make LOVE a priority.  We must model love and ensure that our obedience to God is because we love Him; obeying God is not because we “have to”, but because we “want to”.  

Blessings to you, friends.  May the Love of God bless you richly.  Fondly – Elizabeth

Teachable Moments

Midweek Meditation: Follow the Leader

The game Follow The Leader becomes a significant teaching tool when we engage with it through a biblical lens; through play, children can learn what it looks like to follow.  Following Christ then becomes less of an exercise of behavior and becomes instead, a transformation of the heart. One of the ways we are transformed as we follow our Lord is by meditating on His word.  I encourage you to take time today to meditate on what it means for you to be a Christ follower:  

  • What does Philippians 3:7-10 say about following Christ?  
  • What does your life look like as a Christ follower in light of this scripture?  
  • How can we share what we have meditated upon with those around us, including our children?

Last thought for our Midweek Meditation:  Let’s strive to approach following Christ as a joy, not a duty.

May you be blessed abundantly!


Phillipians 3:7-10 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

*All Scripture in ESV

Teachable Moments

The Truth about Habits

As a counselor of over 30 years now, I have a key message that I give to all the families I get to work with, especially those just starting off.  Everyone thrives in an environment of consistent order BUT avoid order becoming a dictator rather than an influencer.

I love the first part of this advice (live a life of orderliness), because I had it taught to me by my precious Mom while growing-up. Also, I’ll confess, I like predictable schedules, organized drawers and the calendar of celebrations I can look forward to.  When I was a young wife many years ago, I loved making a weekly routine; I knew when I cleaned, did the laundry and ran errands. I am not one who enjoys surprises as I would prefer to anticipate events versus have them sprung on me.  AND YET –  the great thing about marriage in my life is I got to challenge this love of routines some 30 years ago and while it is still true that we humans need order to thrive, I have learned when habits are healthy and when they are best put aside.

When Habits Are Healthy

Habits are routines of behavior whether in action or thought that are repeated at regular intervals; you know you have a habit when it is something you think or do that is difficult for you to give-up.  They are predictable and give us a sense of security and order that is key to human wellness. Our God is a God of order and that is reflected in His creation (1 Tim. 2:13), how Paul discipled the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 14:33, 40) and how Titus was encouraged to structure the church on the island of Crete (Titus 1:5).  

Habits are better reflections of a person’s character than independent events.  Look at someone’s pattern over time and you’ll get to know the true person they are – what they value, what their goals are and what they truly love.  Habits are present whether someone is watching or not and will rear their heads especially when we are under stress.

Habits that enable us to honor God’s word in our worship of Him, care for our body and the resources He has given to us, and love others well are wonderful and need to be preserved.  The “habit” of saying “I love you” to any of my family at the end of a phone conversation reflects my value of family and my heart for them. It affirms our relationship and the priority they have in  my life, even if the conversation was difficult.

Determine if your habits are healthy by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do others who see this habit affirm and encourage it as one they would want to emulate?
  • Does this habit draw others toward Christ?
  • Does this habit encourage me to love Jesus more?
  • If this habit of thinking or doing was put-up on the huge screen in Times Square, would I be ashamed?  (ex – if you have a habit of impatience when your children interrupt you, would you want that filmed for all the world to see?)
  • Do you believe God will say, “well done, good and faithful servant”, when all your habits are revealed to Him at the end?

When Habits Are Unhealthy

Anything can be taken to an extreme – even habits.  Either showing a disregard for habits or embracing a compulsive drive toward habits reveal an inflexibility that does not serve anyone well.  Let’s consider the Pharisees. The Pharisees were opponents of Jesus whom Josephus, a first-century scholar of Roman and Jewish origins, described as simple in lifestyle, believing in both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man, and while the most accurate interpreters of the law, they held rigid the “chief importance to the observation of those commandments.  

Observance of the law and the law itself became more important than the law-giver, and as such, they missed the appearance of the law-giver (Jesus) when He arrived.  Why? Because Jesus knew the heart of the law and thus, did not always obey it the way the Pharisees thought it “should” be obeyed. Jesus healed on the Sabbath, engaged in conversations across cultural boundaries, and feasted on wine and food with tax collectors and sinners and of course, the Pharisees were appalled by such behavior.  Their religion had become a set of habits, a pattern of life that observed the rules, but had lost the heart of them.

Have your habits become unhealthy? Consider your response to the following to decide.

  • Do you become anxious or even angry when your habits are interrupted?
  • Is the following statement true for you?  “If others do not practice their faith with the exact same behavior or belief I do, I automatically see them as wrong, worldly or immature in their faith.”
  • Does your joy in living for Christ and enjoying His presence depend on what you do?
  • Do you evaluate your godliness on what you do or the fruit of the Spirit?
  • Do people talk more about who you are or what you do?

Dear Reader, life is more both/and living than either/or.  Let us desire to live both an orderly life and one that reflects a character of grace and spiritual fruit.  May what we do never be more important than who we are. May the habits of our life encourage our godly character that values faith over religious works.  May we embrace habits we desire to pass on to our children and are worthy of their imitation and may we break those habits that lead to legalism.

Blessings on you and the habits you embrace – may they lead you to both loving and living out your faith well.  

Fondly yours, Elizabeth