Again, it's time for me to follow up with a post recalling February, since tomorrow I will pick up my new Project Love packet for March.
As far as how I'm doing at this whole Project Love, I'm still not pleased, myself, but I am making progress. I have yet to find what I feel like is an effective way to use my Project Love cards.
However, I am being made aware of, and actually taking advantage of, more opportunities to serve with my church family. I love learning that there are so many others who also have such a desire to serve. I'm happy to report that my church met our goal for our January project, which was to raise 10 tons of food for a local ministry with which we are closely affiliated. This ministry has this food drive every January, but I believe we donated 3 times as much as we typically have in past years! Our February project was "seed packet" envelopes, which we were asked to fill with spare money as a donation to an area children's home, with a goal of $6,000. I believe they said we exceeded that goal by nearly half-again, by raising almost $9,000.
Beyond these big, church-wide projects, there are multiple efforts to reach out and love others which we are being made better aware of and in which being encouraged to participate.
Beyond that, even, for me personally, there is an ongoing struggle/effort to recognize each day that my goal is not as much to take care of me as it is to bless others, and trust in God to take care of me.
For our study this month, we were given the theme of "Love Because". God's love doesn't begin with us. Jesus loved when He was here on the earth. But it doesn't end there. His love is still alive and well. It invades us, surrounds us, and extends far beyond our greatest reach.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him."--I John 3:1
To answer a few of the study questions we were given:
1. How did God first love us?
--God loved us before the creation of the world. He made us to be like Him and to be in relationship with Him. When we ruined it, He went to the greatest lengths to fix that for us, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves, regardless of what it cost Him.
2. What does it mean to you to be called a child of God?
--To be His child means that He loves me with an unconditional love. It means that He is not distant, but that I can be in a close relationship with Him.
3. What are three ways that Jesus lived out God's love for us on earth?
--One way was just in the fact that He left the perfection of God's presence to take on flesh and live in this imperfect world where there is pain and heartache. He did what we do. He felt what we feel. He came to be with us. Another way is in the fact that He spent His entire ministry teaching about God's kingdom. He proclaimed freedom for prisoners. He opened the eyes of the blind. He opened the ears of the deaf. He healed the sick and the lame. He raised the dead. He proclaimed the year of the Lord's favor. Finally, He took up our sins and was obedient to death on a cross, so that we might have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins!
4. How have you experienced God's love this month?
--This month in particular, I have been on a couple of retreats in which I have been able to share in worshiping God and fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters. Also, in my personal life, God continues to make it clear that He is directing my steps and that He longs to bless me.
5. How can you share that love with someone this month?
--I can share the love that He has shared with me by trying to be a better sister & friend to those I worship with. I can also continue to look for ways and opportunities to bless those around me.