†††††††††††† First Presbyterian Church

†††††† 601 South Texas†††† P.O. Box 24

Mercedes, TX† 78570

† fpcmercedes.org†††††††††††††† fpcmercedes@att.net

Pastor:† Esther Hughes, CLP

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††† ††††††† LOVING GOD, LOVING OURSELVES AND LOVING OTHERS

Those are the commandments that Jesus gave in the New Testament, three simple loves, yet hard to practice.

Loving God isnít so difficult but it can be and we often donít put that love first in our lives.   If that is our first thought each day, it means we are conscious of what we need to do for God that day.  We would think of things to honor him and praise him, instead of all our busy things that we may grumble about.  Loving ourselves, is not a selfish thing, but it is about taking care of our bodies, our minds and our hearts and souls.  We cannot do this if we are rushing around and doing everything else except take care of ourselves.  Taking care of ourselves also enables us to have energy and resources to help take care of others and do Godís work here.

Eating right with heart healthy foods, taking just a fifteen minute walk can make a difference in our mind and in our body.  Taking time to read and study, we will be entering Lent on the Valentineís Day, what about choosing a different devotional, or a book about a disciple, or another theologian.  (We have the Resource Center in the back hall of the Fellowship Hall).  What about taking time to pray, sitting quietly, without interruptions and without falling asleep?  What about loving others?  It is so easy to do with those we like, but sometimes it is hard to just be kind, especially to those who just aggravate us.

Practicing love is the result of making lasting changes at the core of our being and we do this when we ask for Godís help and assistance.  It is the result of knowing that God loves us with the most perfect love, before we were born and even after we die.  It is the understanding that and the belief in that there is not another you in the world, and you have a purpose, with what you have been given, and where you are at, and with whom you have been placed.  

Love is more than roses, and chocolates, and cards (although they are nice) it is about caring for all of Godís children, with their anger, their need to control,  their self-righteousness , their sin, their imperfection, because God has shown that love to us.

God has shown us his love when we donít love him, when we have wandered, when we have been nasty and ugly to others, whether a person or a whole group of people.

God has shown us his love, as we will bear witness of the journey of his son, Jesus for his last forty days.   May we start this Lenten journey remembering these three commandments, and may we know that it is why God gave us his son.

Happy Valentineís Day, take care of your heart, and practice loving.

In Christ, Esther