• Lori Somerville

This love thing.

Jesus came to die for our sins.

Sometimes we hear that so much that we start to take it for granted. We get so used to it we it almost becomes blind to it. I want to be the best possible Christ follower I can be and I need to not fall into the trap of taking for granted the greatest act of love ever done for me.

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The Cross represents the greatest act of love the world has ever seen.

Jesus talked about love a lot. But more important that what he said is what he did. He loved even “the least of these”.

I wouldn’t be here without his love.

Matthew 5

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?

Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

What? I mean I get the love your neighbor thing…….what if your neighbor is a jerk?

Do I really have to love my neighbor the jerk?

If I want to be a child of God the answer is yes.

Remember that whole thing about Christians not looking like the rest of the world?

Well then we have to stop acting/behaving like the rest of the world.

I have learned that if I want to be a good lover like Jesus was………then I have to become a good forgiver.

I can’t be one without the other.

Here’s a little forgiveness lesson I’ve been learning.

I have had to forgive a lot. We all have.

But sometimes I think I’ve forgiven and I haven’t really.

How do I know?

Because when that person offends me in some way again I way over react. Know why? Because I am still holding onto old wounds and hurts. That is not forgiveness.

My forgiveness test today is this: Can I pray for that person and mean it? Can I ask God to bless that person with all of the things I want in my life and mean it?

God is calling us higher.

Matthew 18:

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

I’m going to be really honest here. I’ve done exactly what the wicked servant has done. I’ve been forgiven of so much and yet there have been times I’ve withheld that same forgiveness from others. I’ve decided I deserve revenge. I deserve to be the judge and the jury and I’ve tried to extract my pound of flesh.

I’ve tried to manipulate the situation so that I am the one who looks like the victim. I AM NO VICTIM. I gave that up a really long time ago.

The result is never pretty. Whatever happens in the natural world…….the effects on my heart, on my soul are never worth it.

Matthew 6

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


Here are some of the lessons I have learned about forgiveness:

1. It sets YOU free. The fundamental principle of most inner healing/deliverance ministries is forgiveness. The results of clinging to unforgiveness are like poison to our relationships, our health, our joy. Unforgiveness extracts a heavy price from us. One that many of us at one time or another have been only too willing to pay for the right to be right. Unforgiveness creates a tie between us and the person we’re refusing to forgive. We cannot find true freedom if we won’t forgive. We’ve got to put that stuff down and get our eyes back on the cross, Out-forgive Jesus.

Matthew 6:15 The Message (MSG)

14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

2. It protects your heart. Unforgiveness breeds bitterness. That is the truth. We can’t afford to play around with this stuff.

It will eat away at our hearts. It will open the door for even more “icky stuff” to get in there and before we know it even the people we claim to love can’t get in because our unforgiveness walls not only keep out the people we won’t forgive but they keep out the people who love us too.

Psalm 51:

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

3. It places a key in your hand. Not just the key to your freedom but the key to help others out of their self-imposed prisons as well. What is better than watching other people find the ability to forgive their neighbors and start walking in freedom? Nothing. Forgiveness open our jail cells and opens the door to the BEST GOD HAS FOR US. THE MORE.

Psalm 146:7

He stands up for those who are treated badly. He gives food to hungry people. The Lord sets prisoners free.

4. It makes us better lovers. I’m not just talking in the “biblical” sense. It makes us better wives, husbands, friends, parents.

How many of us have been having a disagreement with our spouse and one of us starts bringing up the past……every mistake ever made gets brought up and used as a weapon in the heat of the argument.

This is not forgiveness. And it’s not love either.

When we choose the way of unforgiveness instead of love we are choosing to partner with the Enemy not with Jesu

Psalm 25

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful. That means all or my ways need to be loving too. No matter what the relationship is.

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not the person in front of us is worthy or deserving of love. Jesus never asked “are you worthy” of my healing, of my miracles.

1 Corinthians

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love sometimes take real effort on our part. It isn’t always easy. But whatever effort I have to put into loving the person in front of me it always always pales in comparison to the loved poured out for me by Jesus.

Father God, I want to love like you do. I want to love everyone you put in my path, including my Judas. Help me to be so lost in your love that I can’t contain it and your love just flows through me to others. Help me to forgive so that I have more capacity for love.

  • Lori Somerville

Matthew 8: 23-27

Jesus Calms the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

I have noticed recently that it seems as though a lot of my Christian friends seem to be experiencing storms. I’m not sure if more people are in storms or if I’m just more aware of how many people around me are walking through stuff in this season. Either way, this has had me contemplating my own storms - the ones I’ve been walking through in this season and the ones God has already brought me through. One thing that I have learned about myself through storms is this: I love when the storm is over - when I can reflect and see what God did in me through the storm. It is in that place where I find my peace, my joy and my gratitude for the storms. I have to admit though, that even full of gratitude for what God did, I can’t really say I’m ever really eager for the next one.

I read this verse recently while in the middle of one of my storms and was immediately struck by 4 words………But Jesus was sleeping. Even in the midst of the very worst of my storms Jesus knows the outcome & he’s not worried. He’s not afraid of my storms. As a matter of fact, he’s not even very impressed by my storms. So why should I be?

Are my storms really that powerful or do I just allow them to divert my eyes from where they belong? The more I focus on my storm the fiercer the storm seems. Yet, the more I focus on my Savior the less I even notice the storm that rages around me.

Jesus slept through the storm and when he found himself awakened by his panicked disciples, he simply spoke to the storm and it became completely calm. Sometimes Jesus needs to speak to my storm and sometimes Jesus has simply needed to speak to my heart. Either way the result is the same. Fear leaves and peace remains.

So maybe the problem is not the storm at all. Maybe it’s my reaction to the storm.

I wonder what would happen if we,as followers of Christ, began taking authority over the storms in our lives and began speaking them out of existence? If we simply decided that what the Bible tells us is true………we are made in the image of Jesus and his spirit lives in us & if he can sleep through a storm than so can we.

What if instead of running from storms or gritting our teeth and trying to survive the storm we became storm chasers & we just ushered in His peace everywhere we went.

What if instead of running from the storm we allowed the storms in our lives to propel us toward Jesus – and the peace that only he brings.

How many of our friends and family would follow us out of their own storms and into the peace that only Jesus can bring?

Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

  • Lori Somerville


The Healing at the Pool

John 5

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.

A little context – At the time it was believed that at certain times an angel would enter the pool and stir the waters of the pool. The first person to enter the pool while the water was being stirred would be healed.

[4] [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

38 years. 38 years of laying by a pool and watching other people receive their healing while you were stuck, not able to move, with no one to help you into the water.

6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

There is nothing in the verse that indicates that our invalid friend responded sarcastically or flew into a rage but the temptation must have been real………………….

Are you kidding me? Do you think I’m having fun? 38 years of waiting with absolutely nothing to show for it.

7 Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Can you imagine 38 years of longing to be able to move; to get to the desire of your heart only to be cut off by others?

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

The invalid’s healing did not come about by stirring waters but by a man sent by God to heal the entire world. The invalid had no idea who was speaking to him. He had no idea that his life was about to change. He picked up his mat and walked.

1. Jesus saw the Need. The name of the pool (a pond or bath), which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda meaning house of mercy; for therein appeared much of the mercy of God to the sick and diseased.

In a world of so much misery as this is, it is well that there are some Bethesdas—houses of mercy. Jesus healed the invalid at the house of mercy.

C’mon. Jesus saw the invalid and saw his need. Out of all the sick and diseased people at the pool Jesus picked him. Hopeless. Helpless. His faith was gone. He was just going through the motions.

But Jesus. Those two words. But Jesus. Tragedy becomes less tragic when Jesus enters.

Can you imagine – 38 years of waiting, of wondering why you were overlooked again. 38 years of whispers and innuendos about what you must have done to deserve the life that you have.

What about you?

Do you have a need?

Do you need a healing – physically, spiritually, emotionally?

Do you need a breakthrough?

Are you as tired and defeated and hopeless as the invalid in this story?


2. Jesus asked. Jesus said to the man “Do you want to be well?”.

This really struck me. The man had been sitting by a pool trying to get his healing for 38 years………why would Jesus need to ask?

Because not everyone wants to healed.

Sometimes we get so comfortable in our infirmity that it becomes a part of who we are. We wear it like a twisted badge of honor – showing all who turn their gaze upon us that we are victims of our circumstances.

Look at the verses again. The man in our story didn’t even answer the question.

7 Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

He gave an excuse.

He had probably endured years of judgment and criticism from well meaning friends and family trying to figure out why our friend had not received his healing – after all it had been 38 years.

When he looked up at Jesus he had no idea of who Jesus was and what he was capable of. He was hoping this stranger might pick him up and help him into the pool.

We all have excuses. We’ve all been criticized and condemned.

Excuses keep us trapped. Excuses make us victims. Oh I know sometimes they are real and valid but when you get right down to it – most of the time the only thing between you and your miracle……….is you.

Excuses make us victims.

Are you trapped in the lies of victimhood?

If you want victory you have to give up being a victim.

If you want victory you are going to have to do something.

What is stopping you today from receiving your healing, your answer, your breakthrough?

3. Jesus spoke.

Jesus healed our friend with a spoken command. A couple of words. “Rise and take up your bed.”

He commands an invalid to rise and walk.

He could have healed him with a touch but instead he commanded the invalid to take an action – to attempt to walk.

The man stood and walked. He responded in faith. And he walked. He obeyed Jesus’ command.

This is one of the most amazing acts of faith to be found in the Bible. 38 years of lying by a pool with no chance of freedom. And he responded to the command of a stranger.

How is your obedience level? What are you willing to do to have your life changed?

Don't just seek your miracle...........see the giver of miracles..........JESUS.