Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach is Mrs. Montana International 2009, a multi-award winning inspirational speaker and the author of the Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life and the Gems of Wisdom Companion Guide, the Creative Cooking Series including the new release of Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance from Westbow Press. Other works by Angela include compilation books and devotionals from Guidepost, Group, and articles in magazines, ezines, and newspapers. She connects missions to her work with Hope’s Promise Orphan Ministries and the Jadyn Fred Foundation. Angela serves as an assisting minister for her congregation in Missoula, MT. She  served as the American Christian Fiction Writer's past Publicity Officer. You can interact or learn more about Angela Breidenbach at these sites: on Wednesdays each week.

Loving Valentine

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture,
“Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

                                                            -James 2:8 (NIV)

Nine Bible verses command us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There’s no change between Old Testament and New Testament in the command. Over and over we’re told to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Ten Commandments are near the top of the list for important biblical topics. But this command is mentioned more times than the Ten Commandments. Pretty significant! In this egocentric modern day, the sin of not loving our neighbors seems to stem from selfishness. But what if it’s actually the sin of self-hate?

“When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Gen. 37:4). Notice that the emotion of hate creates unkind words. Do you speak kindly to yourself internally? When harsh thoughts continually run rampant, we begin to disrespect and degrade the object of our disgust. What are your thoughts toward yourself like?

Thoughts of hate turn into words of hate and then into actions. Hate becomes a void, a place without love. In order to fill the void where love belongs, we overeat and overstimulate our sense of pleasure, drowning out the lonely internal soul voice. Our bodies become abused while our minds and hearts are sore from throwing them against the wall of wrong choices and love lost. Empty spirits crave, claw, clamor for the fulfillment of love. The addiction cycle builds a need for temporary fixes with food, entertainment, and pleasure until it rages uncontrolled in our lives, shoving aside peace and contentment.

February is the month of love and relationships. Valentine’s Day is the high-pressure day to prove undying affection. People push for the perfect date or feel left out if they don’t have a current love interest. How are we able to love others when we act in hate toward ourselves? Where does love come from if our hearts are filled with self-loathing?

What if you stopped the frenetic race and frantic pace to spend time receiving the deeply nourishing love you desire? What if you found the one relationship that brings inner peace?

Here is a gem of wisdom: Treat God as your valentine and be His. Spend time allowing God to love you. Let Him fill you up so that love naturally pours out of you into the lives of others. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).

Put the gem of wisdom into practice:

Begin to know God by finding out who He is. Dating is about discovering each other. Love letters are common. Read the love letter written to you from God. Start in the gospel of John or the poetry of Psalms.

Talk privately with God. Some call this prayer. But it’s okay to call it talking.

Write a letter to God telling Him your deepest emotions. Using a journal is nice.

Think about God often. We think about our sweethearts, sometimes even to obsession. Think about the sweetness of God.

Give God gifts of love: acts of kindness to others; giving our tithes with no reservation; and spend time with Him.

Appreciate God. Thank Him for the sweet things He does for you, and don’t take Him for granted.

For writers: How would you build the spiritual arc of a character prone to self-hate?

For readers: Do you recognize negative thought patterns about yourself and others?

Here’s a recipe to enjoy with your loved ones and to thank God for giving you joyful taste buds.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 can of cherry pie filling

Stir together cake mix and cherry pie filling. Pour into prepared greased and floured cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees as per package directions. Frost with dark chocolate frosting . . . or not. The surprise is in the simplicity and only two ingredients.


Creative Cooking for Simple Elegance