Improving Relationships, and the World – John 13:34-35

Choosing to love someone over the long haul–that’s real love. My husband and I attended his cousin’s memorial service last weekend, where we enjoyed a deeper level of unity in the family than we’d experienced before.

It happened at my 40th high school reunion, too. I cared more about my classmates and less about the dumb things that divided us when we were teens. I guess sometimes it takes decades to realize we don’t have to all think the same way, and we can have hundreds of friends.

An acquaintance becomes a friend

If we remembered that, we’d be more careful how we treat each other. The person we see as an enemy may become a good friend one day, if we don’t burn down bridges that connect us and forgive as we are forgiven.

Jesus said,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).

How far are you willing to go?

I grew up in a large extended family, and we did a lot of traveling. My first adventure was as a 6-week-old infant when we drove 2,578 miles to visit my grandparents. Before starting first grade I’d logged more than 21k miles on long distance road trips.

By the time my third sibling was old enough to sit upright, we were committed to almost yearly family reunions halfway across the continent.

Love means more than going an extra mile. The results of our prayers and efforts might not be evident immediately. Sometimes love means traveling great distances and waiting decades.

We need to think about this when we’re tempted to trash somebody online, pronounce accusations against other drivers on the road, or judge anyone as being less than us. Even those we may not choose for next door neighbors.

Listen . . .

Three of Jesus’s disciples recorded in the Gospels that God spoke audibly. You won’t see many accounts in Scripture of God doing this, so his message must be extremely important.

God said, “This is my . . . Son . . . Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:51, Mark 9:7, and Luke 9:35 ESV).

What do we hear Jesus say? “Love one another . . .”

by Kathy Sheldon Davis


I Write for You – John 21:14-19

It’s all about you. That may sound strange, but it’s true. As we come to the end of January I’m altering my blog a bit, all because of you.

At an Oregon Christian Writers conference a few years ago I attended a workshop led by magazine editor Ginger Kolbaba. She taught on writing articles for publication, and the remarkable takeaway I got was from her comment about rejecting submissions she felt might discourage or do harm to the readers she served. She seemed adamant about her responsibility to care for them.

I hadn’t thought of my writing carrying that much responsibility.

“This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs’ (John 21:14-15 NIV).

Jesus told Peter three times to feed his sheep, and twice he reminded Peter to be his follower. I think it’s a pretty strong commission since Jesus had recently suffered and died and risen from the dead. Anyone would be motivated to listen to someone who’d been dead!

It was like he was giving his disciples his final instructions. This is important, take care of my sheep. You must follow me.

I’m looking for better ways to serve my readers, a more effective way to love my neighbor as myself as a follower of Jesus, so I’m writing my memoir (see explanation on my About page). Since it’s important I give more attention to it, I’m changing my blogging schedule to once a month.

You’re invited to sign up for my newsletter to receive updates. I’ll keep you informed of the progress of my book and other writing ventures. There’s also a form at the top of this page if the link doesn’t work.

Let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. It’s my pleasure to serve you.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Prayer for Healing in 2018 – James 5:13-16

Don’t laugh if you see me in the pool rolling and turning like a dying goldfish. I’m OK, really. I call this my workout, and it does me a lot of good. Those younger or more athletic probably don’t comprehend how my slow movements qualify as a real workout, but water fitness makes a world of difference to me. When I’m in the water I find myself unburdening my heart, singing, and even dancing as I push against the water.

This week I’ve been reading the book of James, written by one of Jesus’s brothers. Until now I hadn’t seen how confession and other people’s prayers also relate to health.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be  healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16 NIV).

We know it’s important to pray for the salvation of the world, but what about asking for God’s help with the internal battles—with selfishness, fear, greed, idolatry, arrogance, and bitterness? If we confessed these things, maybe the world would become a better place. Certainly humbling ourselves, being open about our problems, and asking others to pray for our health will facilitate healing.

In a few hours 2017 will come to an end and a new year will start. Let’s sharpen our focus in the months ahead, because when we stand righteous before God, our prayers are powerful.

Happy New Year!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis