4 Ways to Love God with Gusto (Part 2 of 2)

In September, my church hosted a 5K to raise money and awareness for foster care. For those not familiar with running terms, that’s a little over 3 miles.

Running didn’t come naturally to me, but now, it’s a lifestyle I’ve learned to enjoy. My fiancé, though athletic, hates running. But to his credit, he ran the race with me, adopted my pace, and even smiled for photos. He got out his comfort zone, and it meant so much to me.

Last time, I shared on BigSisterKnows.com how we can love God volitionally, which involves a choice or act of the will. In my case, my fiancé chose to run even though he didn’t want to. In addition, he invested time and physical energy to show up and finish.

This example, though perhaps cheesy, brings me to another way we can love God: with all our strength.

Loving God through Our Actions

As author Gary Chapman explains in his book The Five Love Languages, physical touch is one of the primary ways people express and receive love. Although we can’t physically “touch” God, we can still love him through our actions.

In Scripture, we see examples of believers performing acts of service again and again.

  • The Shunammite woman and her husband built an upper room for the Prophet Elisha so that he had a place to stay when he visited them (2 Kings 4).
  • Martha opened her home to Jesus and served him dinner (Luke 10). For all the bad rap she gets for being too busy to simply listen like her sister Mary, Martha deserves credit for her hospitality and generosity.
  • A widow gave everything she had to the temple treasury (Mark 12).

Of course, Jesus himself modeled service to others time and time again through miracles, washing his disciples’ feet, and ultimately dying on the cross.

No matter our situation, we all have varying degrees of physical ability. Some people can travel for mission trips or volunteer locally. Others serve behind-the-scenes doing preparation work no one seems to notice. For someone with limited physical ability, this action might look like a hand-written note of encouragement or even a whispered prayer.

The bottom line is that when we act to help others, we please God. When we love “the least” of the people who cross our paths, we’re loving him too (Matthew 25:31-40).

Click over to BigSisterKnows.com to read one more way we can love God with everything we have.

I’m grateful to my friend and author Ashley L. Jones for inviting me to share this two-part series on her beautiful blog.

~ Kristen

Tweetable

When we love “the least” of the people who cross our paths, we’re loving God too. – @BigSisterTweets & @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Live Wholeheartedly

I love how God connects friends over the years and over the miles. More than a decade ago, I met Lyndsey when she married my older brother’s best friend (a great friend to my whole family). Today, they have a beautiful family of their own and live out west, but I keep up with them over social media.

Lyndsey also works with the Wholly Loved team and invited me to guest blog on their site. I’m so excited she did! This ministry reaches Christian women spanning all walks of life. Their website says:

We’re a group of moms, wives, and professionals who love encouraging women to discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ.

Today, I’m honored to be part of the Wholly Loved blog and encourage my sisters in Christ to do just that. Below is the beginning of my post. Click over to Wholly Loved to read the complete challenge.

***

Whole.

The word indicates completion, even perfection. A whole carton of eggs is one where none are missing or cracked. A whole loaf of bread hasn’t yet been sliced.

Although these things might be perfect and complete, they aren’t usable or enjoyable until we crack and slice. We must first cook the eggs before we can savor them. Slicing must come before slathering butter or jam on a fresh piece of bread.

Afterward, the carton and loaf are no longer perfectly complete, but they’re serving their purpose more fully than they were originally.

Life is a little like that carton and loaf. God has given us gifts and abilities. Maybe we’ve practiced them, polished them, but we hesitate to make the first cut—to share them.

What if we fail? What if no one listens? What if no one appreciates our efforts?

I have bad news and good news. Some people won’t listen or appreciate—or even begin to understand when we seek to live out the purpose God has for us. But they don’t matter (well, not much).

What matters is living obediently to God’s calling.

Please click here to visit Wholly Loved and read the complete post. I’d love to hear your comments!

~ Kristen

 

Tweetable

Live wholeheartedly in obedience to God’s call – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet) 

Trust and Obey

fcwc-quoteMy grandmother’s favorite hymn was “Trust and Obey.” As a little girl, I liked the hymn just because she did. Now that she’s gone, its beautiful simplicity and her memory endear it even more to me.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus.

Sometimes, however, that faith gets tried with fire.

As a missionary wife and mother, my grandmother experienced death threats against her husband, buried her firstborn son in South America, and before her own home-going much later in life, suffered the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s.

Trust and obey?

Last week, author and teacher Dr. Dennis E. Hensley or “Doc Hensley” served as keynote speaker at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference where he challenged writers to pursue their call, regardless of the doubts they have or “giants” they might face. He shared from God’s Word in Deuteronomy where God clearly mapped out the battle plan for Israel to conquer the Promised Land. God told Israel to go and take it, but the people focused so much on the impossible-looking details of the task that they refused. In consequence, all but Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness and missed out on God’s best blessings.

“We don’t need to know God’s plan,” Doc Hensley said. “We just have to obey his orders.”

How God orchestrates his end-goal is for him to decide. We just have to take the next step and then the next one after that, in child-like obedience.

What “orders” has God given you today? Are you willing to obey them, regardless if the details look possible? 

Trust and obey.

Kristen

 

Tweetable

Trust God and obey his orders. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)