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1 Peter 4: 8        NIV

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Does anyone struggle with this directive? On the one hand, it sounds like the simplest of all commands but in practice, it can be challenging. Life is sometimes annoying and there are plenty of people available to jump all over your very last nerve. With the holidays looming just beyond the horizon, the trials of your patience and love are lining up. How do we get in front of the oncoming tidal wave of challenges to our love walk? This is the time we must prepare.

I marvel at how Peter almost nonchalantly instructs us in the love walk. He makes it sound so easy. I find, however, that though I love greatly, love is not always what is expressed in times of stress. Am I exacting, demanding, intolerant or judgmental? The scars within us make it more difficult for us to stay in the expression of love when others press on our nerves. Sometimes we cannot find the means by which to navigate the personal relationship paths even though we search for the love road. Try our best, we often fail.

There is help though. Start being thankful today, thankful for a God who meets all our needs. Then talk to Him about this deep love Peter wrote about. If you journal, ask Father to describe this kind of love; what it looks like, what it feels like. Ask Him to reveal to you what Peter understood when he wrote today’s verse. What does Peter know that we may have failed to perceive? Remember, this is the same guy who whipped out his sword and sliced off the ear of the Roman soldier in response to perceived threat. In that instance, Jesus had to be the love that Peter’s writing reveals to us today. This is not a message from John, the love apostle. This comes from someone who likely had to discover the hard way what it means to walk in love.

Our Father can help us learn and develop just as Peter did. It is probably not enough, though, just to say, “Father, the holidays are coming and with them social events and the accompanying stress, so help me Father.” That is a good prayer but what is needful may be a daily communion with Him such that He can teach and instruct you.

“Help me, Father, to be who you designed me to be. Transform my heart and mind so that your love is the outward expression of my soul. Be with me, Father, daily, guiding and teaching me so that I can learn to love despite any challenges to a gentle, kind nature. Give me insight and compassion Lord. Show me your heart for others. Let me see the affection you have for each person I come in contact with. Heal the brokenness in me so that my injuries do not become the shadows that darken other’s lives. Lead me in the path of Divine Love.”

My best advice is to begin today in order to be ready for the holidays. As you allow Yahweh to touch your heart, His fingerprints will be the loving residue that you will be able to share with others. We can only give what we have first received so step one is allowing the Father to love you in new, unprecedented ways. Be blessed!

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