If You Love

//If You Love

If You Love

Happy January 1, 2019!  Here we are, y’all – a new year – the 1st day to brand new beginnings. And for some of us, well, for many of us, it’s the beginning to a whole list of new approaches, new goals, new perspectives and new plans. And for me, the past 14 days have all been used by God to prepare my heart for THIS day .. the one entire day I set aside for me and Him so that I can:

  • pray and listen to how the Spirit speaks to my mind and heart
  • read God’s Word and ponder on what I’m feeling, and hearing
  • make personal and business plans – write them all out
  • think through physical, relational and spiritual goals and create them to be measurable and achievable
  • lay out the new years financial goals & strategies with Rip

But it’s been the past 14 days that have been what He has used profoundly in my life to prepare my heart for today.

On Wednesday, December 19, Rip and I headed to TN to be with his dad. He had taken a turn in his health that was brining the family together. As we all gathered by Harold’s bedside each day, the family continued to face heart wrenching decisions that needed to be made, while living as emotional sponges to it all. Then December 23, Sunday, came and we watched God gather up 16 people who all came to see Harold at different times of the day.

Around 8:00pm, it was only Rip and I at his bedside. The day was coming to a close and the room had become exceptionally still. At 10:24pm, as Rip and I stood beside him, he breathed his last and God granted us both His peace.

The next day was Christmas Eve, and the family all came together for Christmas, just as Harold would have wanted. My parents called in and read to all of us the Christmas story from Luke 2 and shared a prayer with all of us. It was such a sweet and very special time of gathering for the family. The funeral was Thursday, 27th, and the family worked together for the next several days taking care of some details before Rip and I came home on Sunday.

___________________________

For 12 days, Rip and I were in TN and for 12 days, it was all about PEOPLE. (I didn’t have WiFi at my mother in law’s home so I never checked my emails, never got on social media, … without WiFi you spend a good bit of time OFF the internet and in the faces of people – and those people have a very special term attached to them, according to Scripture.

And that term is this –

Loved ones.

We may call them people because that’s what they are. But as I was taking in EVERY DETAIL of these past 14 days, (from Wednesday December 19 – January 1), and all the people God had in my path, in Rip’s path … what they really are, who they really are, and how God has engraved them into our heart, (from family, to nurses, to doctors, to friends), they are our

Loved ones.

Deeply, genuinely, sincerely, kindly, patiently, joyfully, and profoundly, it has been the people, who are created in the image of God for the purpose of God, that have made their way into my heart as

Loved ones. 

Here’s how –

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, IF YOU LOVE one another.” John 13:34-35

IF YOU LOVE

Jesus let us know that all the people, (the family, the friends, the caregivers, the observers), will know we that we are followers of Christ … IF … (there is this “if” criteria Jesus mentions) … IF we love. That clearly means … ,

IF YOU possess and demonstrate the nature of God.

Because … “God is Love.” (1 John 4:8)

One translation says it this way – “…when they see the love.”  When they can lay their own eyes on what you and I are doing that showcases “God is LOVE” 1 John 4:8, then they are observing a true disciple of Christ’s in action.

It’s what every breathing person on this earth needs, even if they can’t articulate that need. Every person was created to crave and need the Love of God.  There’s no way around that, however, some people may spend a lifetime never acknowledging it.

“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

So, on this January 1, 2019, as the Lord faithfully gives me a verse to claim at the first of each new year, here is what that verse is:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, IF YOU LOVE one another.” John 13:34-35

___________________________________

My Beloved,

IF YOU LOVE 

All the people God places in your path will see, they will observe and they will know WHO it is you live for!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

IF YOU LOVE

All the people God places in your path will see, they will observe and they will know WHO it is He sent to save them from their life of sin.

“Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3

IF YOU LOVE 

All the people God places in your path will see, they will observe and they will know WHO loves them so much!

“For God so loved {put your name} that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

IF YOU LOVE

All the people God places in your path will see, they will observe and they will know WHO LOVE IS!

I AM LOVE and …

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

______________________________

This is where God has me on this January 1, 2019. And I know that as I move into this new year, THIS is what He wants to do in me, through me and concerning me. He wants me to love one another as HE has loved me. To display “God is Love” to a watching world. And when that happens, people will see Christ. They will see and they will experience God’s convicting character and compassionate nature. And … Nothing, absolutely nothing means more to me than that! I want every single person in my path to walk away having seen, felt and encountered Jesus. And I know that is divinely possible because He promised it would happen …

IF YOU LOVE.

By | 2019-01-01T15:32:44+00:00 January 1st, 2019|Blog|2 Comments

About the Author:

I’m Lisa Rippy, a happily married woman to Rip. We have 5 children and we live right outside in Madison, MS. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a love for all things “homey” from decorating, simplifying, remodeling, organizing and simply turning a house into a "Home Sweet Home." My passion is being helping families live the life they long for in the interior of their hearts and homes. It all requires thought, planning and work that Rip and I both love to do! But if there is anything at all I can do to help you and your home life, please reach out to me. Nothing would thrill me more than to inspire YOUR heart and home!

2 Comments

  1. 44himintx@gmail.com'
    Laura January 1, 2019 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    So sorry to hear about your loss but Jesus’ gain. God bless you and your family. Yes, I pray that I would love all the way Jesus loves me. Happy 2019!

  2. ajazwa@g.ucla.edu'
    Anna January 4, 2019 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Seeing this picture reminded me of my 93 yr old parents, being a caretaker 24/7 for them in their last 3 years of their lives. All the emotions one can feel are tremendous, but also the sweet joy of being with them every step of the way. No social media of any kind did I allow on those days, all my time was exclusively for them and you feel so glad you did (like they did when we were little). Bless you and Rip, you are such a caring couple

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