Goin’ to the Chapel and I’m…

That’s right, I’m getting married! Ok, rewind… Life got a bit hectic this summer, but I have graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree, I’m working full time and planning a wedding!  My fiancé and I are attending premarital counseling through our church, and one of the topics recently was “How to understand your spouse…”

Yeah, right. There is no way my man could ever understand me……

Actually, there is.  It’s in the Bible – the difference between men and women is written beautifully in one verse. 

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

The best part of this verse is the freedom it gives each person. Hear me out: Paul recognizes that men and women, while created in the image of God, were not created the same. Women were created to love unconditionally, and especially in the case of marriage, women do not (usually) need to be reminded to love their husband. Men were created to respect unconditionally, and its the same with them: men tend to respect before they will love. Paul writes of each person’s strength – for women, loving unconditionally; for men, respecting unconditionally – and recognizes that it is so against our tendencies to do as the other does that God needed to make it a commandment. Men do not naturally show love in the way that women do, and women do not naturally show respect the way men expect to see it. How freeing is it to know that when I as a woman don’t necessarily feel loved, its not because I’m not loved, but it’s probably because my husband is showing me his form of love – respect? How freeing is it to know that as a man, when you don’t feel respected by your wife, it is probably only because she is showing her love in a way that differs from how you feel respect? Neither person is intentionally being hurtful or disrespectful; they are, in all sincerety, giving what they would like to recieve. How many hurts could be healed because the hurt person takes a step back and realizes that the other person was honestly showing love the way they feel it???

We read through a book called Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (Check it out here). This book can explain it a lot better than I can, but the basic gist is this:

Men: try to recognize what your wife needs to feel loved and give that to her;
Women:try to recognize what your husband needs to feel respected and give that to him.

It’s as simple as that. Take a step back, before our words get the best of us, and try to interpret it either through the eyes of someone who needs to feel unconditional love from her husband or the eyes of a man who needs to feel respected by his wife. Ask yourself: is what I am saying coming off as unloving/disrespectful? How can I rephrase what I am saying to convey love/respect?

Seriously – read the book. It’s a life changer.

Heavenly Father,
Today I thank you for the affirmation you give me daily. Each day I read scripture, I find one more tidbit that just proves you knew me from the moment you formed me in your womb. Thank you for making a spouse specifically for me that is his own person and that you created. Thank you for giving me the key to showing him love they way he needs to feel it. I pray that any person searching for just a hint of something to save their marriage finds this verse, the book, or hears the whisper of your voice and is able to heal.
In Jesus name
Amen

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A Changed Life

Today at church we began a new series of teaching entitled “Change a Life.”  If you’re interested in seeing the video of today’s sermon, check out http://www.12stone.com.  We discussed the story of Gideon and how God literally changed his life to save Israel.  Paul, in his letter to the Romans (15:4), said, 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

How incredible, first of all, that this was the verse in my reading the night before a sermon teaching from a story that only took up a few chapters in a little-read Old Testament book?  Second, how incredible that this little story would be so powerful over 2000 years later?  

The story of Gideon is found in Judges chapters 6-9.  I’ll not include the entire story here, because I want to share with you the heart of the powerful message that came from God through our pastor.

The Israelites were oppressed by the Midianites, who would, year after year, take from the Israelites their food, livestock, wheat, everything they had.  The Israelites just couldn’t seem to get ahead.  Gideon was literally hiding in a winepress, threshing his wheat just to try to save for himself a little bit of food. An angel of the Lord came to Gideon and said,

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.

I emboldened “mighty warrior” for a reason.  Gideon was the least in his family.  The youngest, the smallest, the least. How interesting… as I was sitting in the service, one verse kept popping into my head – Matthew 20:16:

So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

First of all, I have never been one to remember verses.  I’ve always been able to pull up a few of the “big star” verses, if you will, like John 3:16 or my all-time favorite, Revelation 21:4 (there’s a post coming about that one soon!). But for this verse, a Red Letter verse in the parable of the workers in the vineyard, to come into my head? Incredible. 

Here’s the deal.  The Lord changed Gideon and made him a mighty warriorGideon saved Israel from the hands of the Midianites.  The other awesome thing about this story: the angel of the Lord didn’t come to Gideon and say, “The Lord is with you, average Joe.”  He said mighty warrior. God called Gideon what God knew he would be.  God calls us what He knows we will be – and he calls us His children. He calls us to be fishers of men.  He wants us to go out and “catch” the unbelievers and show them God’s love.  

We all have a past, and if you’ve read my post “I am Redeemed,” you know I have a Past with a capital “P.”  But guess what – there’s a group of people with a Past, and they’re called the Church.  We all have a past, so that these things would show God’s love through them…Oh, wait… there’s a verse for that too!  Jesus said (John 9:3):

This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

What better way to show people the healing power of God, the forgiveness He grants us, and His awesome power than by having a past and overcoming it through Christ.  We have a past, but we are Christ’s mighty warriors. 

What does God call you?

What a Funny Lord we have!

I have written several posts that one could say indicate the “seriousness” of God. But that’s not at all the only part of Him. There is so much to who God IS that it would literally take forever to scratch the surface of His personality. However, I want to share with you how funny God is.

Have you ever seen a platypus? They’re a mammal, but they lay eggs. They look kind of like a beaver…wearing a duck’s bill. How ridiculous! Yet they were created by our Living God, and they’re so funny to look at. How awesome is that?

Or, think about babies. How they make those cute faces – I even had one at work the other morning wiggle his eyebrows like some cheesy flirtatious “move.” I couldn’t help but laugh and laugh – and that comes from God.

We laugh everyday (or, at least, we should laugh everyday). Laughter is from the Lord. Check out Genesis 21 and the story of Abraham and Sarah…

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

God brought Sarah laughter. How awesome is that??? What a funny God we serve!!

It is my hope that someone will see this blog and realize how awesome God is. If you are that person, you have questions or just want to talk, please email me! I would love to pray for you as well!

Heavenly Father,
How awesome are you, that you give us things to laugh at. There is so much to who You are – and I want to know more. Thank you for laughter!!
In Jesus’ Name,
amen.

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I Am Redeemed

Just because it’s now April doesn’t mean Easter is over.  In reality, Easter is every day – we are celebrating, on Easter, the Risen Lord, the King of Majesty – the One who died for our sins and rose again on the third day.  With that in mind, I wanted to share with you the lyrics of the worship song that is really touching at my heart right now.  (The video for this song is at the bottom of the post).

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, ’cause I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be
Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be
Jesus, I’m not who I used to be
‘Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

I’ve started and stopped this post several times in the past few days.  It is hard to discuss the reasons why this song so touches my hear that it brings me to tears every time I hear it – I am so thankful, so overwhelmed, so encouraged by the words of this song.  In the years before I knew Christ, I made choices that still cause me great pain to this day.  At 15, I had an abortion.  I make no excuses for this choice – it was wrong, and it is a regret I have carried for years.  I admit, I felt so relieved the day it happened; the day after, when I woke up feeling the physical pain in my womb and free from the haze-inducing drugs they fed me, my heart broke.  I struggled for years carrying this burden on my back that I would let no one even help me carry – I felt so much shame that I wouldn’t tell anyone what I had done.  In my freshman year of college, at a yearly exam, the doctor found precancerous cells in my reproductive system, and I lost it.  I could not stop crying, so my doctor walked me to a psychologist in the same office, and in the private space of her office, I broke down and told her everything.  What happened, when, who, where, the whole nine yards.  And I felt no better – confessing my sin to a secular physician did nothing for me.  I was told to continue counseling indefinitely, and let me tell you – that bill added up quickly.  In my struggle to “feel better,” I went to that counselor every week for several months.

The next semester, I had another roommate who was (and still is) an amazingly strong Christian.  She asked me to church with her one Sunday, so I went.  I had grown up attending church, but attending for all the wrong reasons – to hang out with my friends, to get out of the house, because it will teach me to “be good.”  This Sunday, however, it was different.  I went willing to hear the lesson, wanting to receive comfort and peace in my heart.  I fully realized what it was for Christ to be in my heart and not just in my head.

That was four years ago (yes, I’m a fifth-year “super-senior”) and it seems like so long ago.  One of the amazing things attending church regularly and wanting to hear the service, not just attend, is that I learned how healing Christ is.  I can’t explain to you how amazing it is that someone who was blameless chose to die for the things I had done.  In trusting in Jesus, my sins were forgiven.   Even as recently as a few months ago, however, I was still carrying the weight of the abortion on my back.  I was stumped over, unable to carry the weight anymore.  I was at the bottom, emotionally, and I cried out.  Lord, I said, please heal me.  My heart is broken, but I know my child is with you.  Please, heal this wound in my heart. I can honestly say that even know as I think about that prayer, I am crying. These tears, though, instead of pain, are of thankfulness and peace.

I know that there is nothing I can do to “undo” this sin.  It will never be something I am proud of, but it will be something Jesus will use.  Just as He used the blind man (see John 9:1-12), He will use my sin.  Jesus said, “this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:3).  While Jesus was, in this story, referring to a man who was blind even though neither him nor his parents had sinned, I know that He could have stopped me from aborting my child, but He chose not to so that His mercy could be shown to me and so that I could share the Love of Christ with other unbelievers and help them find the One who can heal all wounds.

This worship song says it all, so simply and beautifully.  I am redeemed – I am unworthy, but I am made perfect in His blood.  You set me free – I was a slave to my own shame, my own sin, but Jesus took that shame away from me and allowed me to stand tall again. Stop fighting a fight, it’s already been won – we cannot heal our own wounds.  The only person who can is God, and why should we fight against that? Why fight against sin when that fight has already been won?

Thank God, redeemed.

It is my hope that someone, somewhere may find peace through my experience.  I can only hope to touch someone, who may be struggling with some pain from their past or present, and they see what the Lord has done in my heart and they allow Him in theirs to heal their heart.  I am so thankful I found Christ, who was able to heal that heart and give me a purpose even with my sinful past.  I would love to pray for you if you are in need of it at all, or to walk you through accepting Christ as your Redeemer.  Please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

Heavenly Father,

I am so thankful You are the Ultimate Healer.  Nothing could touch my heart and those wounds were so great that I could not even stand straight.  You, however, gave that to me.  Your mercy, Your truth, Your love showed me that in Your eyes, I am worthy.  I am made perfect in Your blood, and it is only because I am bathed in it that I have found forgiveness.  I thank You for allowing me to share this story, and I pray that it may bring someone to You.  Please use this to bless others as it has already blessed me.

In Your holy name I pray, amen.

 

Loving in a 1 Corinthians Kind of Way, part 4

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This is the final part of the breakdown of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, but it’s not the end.  No, no… loving this way has just begun.  The more time we spend in God’s Word, the more we understand what it is we can do to honor, respect and love Him as He loves us.  You are welcome to catch up and visit part 1, part 2, and part 3.  Today is Easter – the celebration of the Risen King.  This post is going to be in a bit different format than the last three; first, I’ll discuss verse 8, and second, I’ll briefly discuss Easter and what it means to us as Christians.

Love never fails.

How incredible is that??? Love never fails.  First – Love as in the Lord, who is love.  You could even replace “love” with God – God never fails.  His love for us will never falter – and He will never destroy mankind again as He did during Noah’s lifetime.  For that story, check out Genesis, chapters 6-9.  He makes a covenant with us that still holds today, at least 5000 years later. (For an account on the age of the earth, do a google search or click here, a resource I have found reliable.   God didn’t deem it necessary to tell us the exact age of the earth, and we cannot make a completely accurate assessment based on the genealogies of the Bible.  Check back in the near future for a post on the age of the earth.)  This covenant, the rainbow, is the sign that the Lord will never again wipe the face of the Earth, and that covenant has been kept.  Never again has humankind been destroyed.  Love never fails.  The Lord never fails to offer his love for us, and so should we never fail to offer our love to all God’s children and never should we fail to offer our love to the Lord.  It’s truly as simple as that – Love never fails. We can’t decide one day to just stop loving someone, because if that’s the case, we never truly loved them.  God calls on us to love all of His children, and we can’t decide to just stop doing that.

God is Love.

Today, Easter Sunday, is an important day.  We are reminded, once again, of the sacrifice made for us.  When Eve first ate from the fruit in the Garden of Eden, and when Adam followed suit shortly after, death entered the world.  We were not made to die – we were made to love and consistently be in the Spirit with God.  How incredible of a gift – to be created to be with Him in the most beautiful place on this Earth.  However, sin destroyed that for us, and death entered the world.  Death is the result of sin and it must be the repayment for sin as well.  The Jews in “Old Testament times” sacrificed a young, innocent animal – often a lamb – to pay for their sins.  It is widely understood that sacrificing so pure of an animal would be a significant financial expense, especially because the Jews were not allowed to consume the flesh of the animal after it had been sacrificed.  These animals were sacrificed for one reason only – so that the sinner (basically, any human being) could see death, the wages for their sin, laid out in front of them and could be sufficiently repentant for God’s grace.

When Jesus came to Earth to be born of the virgin Mary, raised as a carpenter and to live as a man, He became that lamb for each and every one of us.  Check out the Passion of the Christ if you haven’t already seen it.  The scenes depicting the abuse, torture and humiliation of Christ Jesus show you just a glimpse of what it must have been like for Him.  Imagine every weight of the world in your heart, feeling shame and repentance for every sin ever committed – and being beaten and flogged for being the Son of God.  He became that lamb for us, offering His death rather than the death of a sacrifice to cover our sins.  We’re covered. forever.  What a gift – to die the most painful death possible after the worst humiliation and torture a body could stand, just for the person who knows you’re real.

We can’t imagine it, and that’s the point.  God is love, He did all these things and many more in order to give us eternal rest in Heaven.  Now that the Lord has offered Jesus as our Lamb, we see His death each Easter, and we are reminded that it is not by our own works that get us to heaven, it it is imperative that we return this love to each of God’s children.  Celebrate the day, attend a Christian service this weekend and learn more about the Love He has for us, waiting with our name on it.

Loving someone the way the Lord intended is HARD.  It’s impossible without Him in our heart.  As we are all sinners, we all cannot love this way without the Lord’s help.  We are imperfect people, but God has sent his Son to make us perfect! How incredible is that! If we are to love in a 1 Corinthians kind of way, we need to accept that we cannot do it alone – and that means accepting the Lord into your heart and learning His Word.  It is imperative to accept the Lord as our Savior, to Love this way and to Live in His grace.

I am so hopeful that this blog will touch someone.  If you would like for me to pray for you, for a specific request, spoken or unspoken, let me know.  I also open the invitation for you to contact me, and I will gladly talk more with you about accepting the wonderful Salvation offered to each person on this earth.

Lord, 

Thank you for the wonderful gift of perfect Love.  I am incapable of loving like this without you.  Please guide me to become the person you desire, for it is your will I wish to do above my own.  Please bless this day and calm my heart, teach me to lay my sinful ways down and follow you. Please use this writing to help someone else see the Love you offer, freely and without any strings attached.

In your amazing name I pray, Amen.

Loving in a 1 Corinthians Kind of Way, part 3

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This is part 3 of a 4 part series, you can check out part 1 (here) and part 2 (here).  God is Love – and we were created in His Love to love, it’s really as simple as that.  The apostle Paul wrote out for us exactly what Godly love is – and it’s contained in the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.  I’ve been, for the past few days, writing my thoughts on what this love is, and it will culminate tomorrow, Easter Sunday, the perfect example of love and the only one that physically took place here on Earth.  The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins is exactly what Love is – but I’ll go more into that in another post.  I’m diving right in to verse 6 and 7 today, so here we go!

Love does not delight in evil… Evil is not “of God,” rather, it is “of the devil.” The Apostle John writes in 1 John (3:8), “…what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”  The only thing in this world that is evil is sin – and sin comes from the devil, and only from the devil.  God doesn’t teach us to sin, rather, sin hurts the heart of God.  He does not delight in evil – and neither should we.  We should not delight in the misfortunes of others, nor their sin.  What this means for our every day life really applies, in one way, to gossip.  No one “gossips” about the righteous things people do.  We don’t gossip about how Joe went to church like he was supposed to, or how Mary told the truth yesterday.  We gossip, rather, when people sin – when they lie, when they are being rude, when they have done something we judge to be wrong.  Aside from the fact that we are not the true Judge, gossiping is essentially delighting in evil.  We have to stop that in order to love all of God’s children.

But rejoices in the truth… Rejoicing in the truth is easy enough to practice – only participate in discussions that are truthful, wholesome and appropriate.  When the words coming out of our mouth are those things – truthful, wholesome, and appropriate – we are rejoicing in truth.  The words of our mouth are the words in our heart, according to Jesus.  Matthew 15:18-19 quotes Jesus, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”  By making sure the words coming out of our mouth are truthful, wholesome, and appropriate, we make sure our heart is the same.  That is rejoicing in the truth.

It always protects… Jesus protected us from the ultimate “worst-case scenario” – Hell.  His love will always protect us, forever.  The Apostle Paul (again) gives us profound and truthful explanation: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This death is hell, and eternal life in Christ Jesus is an eternal life in heaven through accepting the offer of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.  We need to offer this same protection for others – keeping them from danger as best we can shows our love for them.  When we protect others, we are, in a way, sacrificing our own comfort, convenience and sometimes well-being.

Always trusts… Accusing someone of lying or being untrustworthy has no place in our life.  It does nothing but introduce ungodly thoughts into our head and our heart.  We need to keep our heart pure, and focus it on God.  He will not bring us harm so long as we trust in Him – and that’s the whole point! Trusting in Him also means trusting in others.

Always hopes… We have the best promise in the world, ever given and ever able to be given. The promise of eternal life in heaven so long as we believe. And if we trust in the Lord, what reason is there to not be hopeful?

Always perseveres… Revelation tells us that Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8) Basically, this says that the Lord is the Beginning and the End, who is, who was before time, and who is after time, the Almighty.  Alpha and Omega are both letters in the Greek alphabet, which the original text was written in, alpha being the first and omega being the last.  God is Love, and Love existed before time, during time, and after time.  How is that for always persevering?!?


This is the ultimate love, the only true love, and the only perfect love.  Our job on earth is to love others the way God loves us, and Paul literally spelled it out for us.

Loving someone the way the Lord intended is HARD.  It’s impossible without Him in our heart.  As we are all sinners, we all cannot love this way without the Lord’s help.  We are imperfect people, but God has sent his Son to make us perfect! How incredible is that! If we are to love in a 1 Corinthians kind of way, we need to accept that we cannot do it alone – and that means accepting the Lord into your heart and learning His Word.  It is imperative to accept the Lord as our Savior, to Love this way and to Live in His grace.

I am so hopeful that this blog will touch someone.  If you would like for me to pray for you, for a specific request, spoken or unspoken, let me know.  I also open the invitation for you to contact me, and I will gladly talk more with you about accepting the wonderful Salvation offered to each person on this earth.

Lord, 

Thank you for the wonderful gift of perfect Love.  I am incapable of loving like this without you.  Please guide me to become the person you desire, for it is your will I wish to do above my own.  Please bless this day and calm my heart, teach me to lay my sinful ways down and follow you. Please use this writing to help someone else see the Love you offer, freely and without any strings attached.

In your amazing name I pray, Amen.

Loving in a 1 Corinthians Kind of Way, part 2

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This is part two of my look into this example of what Godly love is as written by the Apostle Paul.  (You can find part 1 Here.) As Easter approaches, we are blessed to have the Greatest Example of what love is – Jesus’ death on the cross, sacrificing himself in atonement for our sins.  Aside from the immense physical pain He must have been in, the emotional pain of both being humiliated, abused and beaten and of carrying the weight of our sins is beyond our comprehension. Imagine the guilt you feel when you’ve committed a sin – it’s an incredible weight, right? Now, think of that pain for every sin committed by every person ever created by God.  Like I said…beyond our comprehension.  With that thought in mind, I’m going to continue on to verse 5.  As I do, I continue to think of the fact that we are blessed with the One who loves us like this every second of every day and did since before we were born!

It is not rude… Every day, we encounter some form of “rudeness.”  Someone doesn’t hold the door open for you when your hands are full, you’re cut off in traffic, or someone says something that offends or embarasses you. True love doesn’t do this to us.  The Lord will never embarrass us! Yes, we will feel shame for our sins, but can you honestly think of a time when we were embarrassed before the Lord? How can we be, when He knows every desire of our heart? God won’t ever shut the gate of Heaven just before we walk in because He isn’t paying attention. God will hold open that door as long as it takes! No child is greater than you before the Lord, no one gets to “cut in line.”  We will all go to the Lord at the same time, and we will know Him in a sense we can’t even imagine right now. How awesome is that? Just as we are loved like this, so we must love others this way.  Go the extra step in practicing your love – let someone in front of you. Hold open that door just a second longer, even if it feels “awkward.”  Don’t embarrass another, especially for your own gain.

It is not self-seeking… Loving the way that God loves us means that we put others before ourselves.  Love isn’t about “me, me, me,” as I mentioned in part 1. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). As Paul & Timothy clearly spelled out what we are to do, we see that they also showed us exactly how to not be self-seeking. Put others first – anticipate other’s needs and try to meet them.  This doesn’t just mean helping your spouse with the dishes so she can sit for a moment.  This also means not thinking yourself better than your neighbor or the homeless man at the shelter.  The thoughts of your heart guide your actions – “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). To love others, we must be sure to examine our hearts and challenge ourselves to think of others first, not just to act that way.

It is not easily angered… This, to me, says just what James says: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).  Take a moment and commune with God – let Him guide your heart.  Anger is just one letter away from danger. We must be slow to anger, and ask God to help us control our emotions.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 5, verses 21-22 that anger will be judged the same as murder.  We must be careful of this sin!

It keeps no record of wrongs… This last bit is probably my favorite aspect of the love of God.  He keeps no record of our wrongs! How incredible is that??? Jesus died for our sins, and all we need to do is confess that we are sinners and we know He did this for us – and they’re gone! We are washed clean, white as snow.  I cannot express how awesome this is, words will always fail to do this bit justice. “Because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Romans 10:10).  If God doesn’t keep a record of all of our transgressions, every sin we commit, why should we?

I absolutely love the message of love in 1 Corinthians, and even more incredible is how I receive that love every second of every day.  We are made whole by the One who gave everything for us – and without that, we would be lost.  Our purpose on earth is to love others the way God loves us – which means being self-sacrificial.  Putting aside our wants and needs, our desires and selfish ambitions and putting others first.

Loving someone the way the Lord intended is HARD.  It’s impossible without Him in our heart.  As we are all sinners, we all cannot love this way without the Lord’s help.  We are imperfect people, but God has sent his Son to make us perfect! How incredible is that! If we are to love in a 1 Corinthians kind of way, we need to accept that we cannot do it alone – and that means accepting the Lord into your heart and learning His Word.  It is imperative to accept the Lord as our Savior, to Love this way and to Live in His grace.

I am so hopeful that this blog will touch someone.  If you would like for me to pray for you, for a specific request, spoken or unspoken, let me know.  I also open the invitation for you to contact me, and I will gladly talk more with you about accepting the wonderful Salvation offered to each person on this earth.

Lord, 

Thank you for the wonderful gift of perfect Love.  I am incapable of loving like this without you.  Please guide me to become the person you desire, for it is your will I wish to do above my own.  Please bless this day and calm my heart, teach me to lay my sinful ways down and follow you. Please use this writing to help someone else see the Love you offer, freely and without any strings attached.

In your amazing name I pray, Amen.

Loving in a 1 Corinthians Kind of Way, part 1

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

God is Love – it’s as simple as that.  He creates us in His love – simply so we could love Him! How incredible is that feeling – to know you were created in love.  One of the ways we can love Him (and therefore, fulfill our purpose) is to love others. But how do we do that? What is love? It’s hard to define without God’s example – and the Apostle Paul spelled it out in his letter to the church in Corinth. He’s not talking just about romantic love, although romantic love absolutely must follow this example to last.  Paul is talking about loving one another – your neighbor, your brother, the stranger on the street.  We need to love all of God’s children like this in order to fulfill our purpose on Earth.

Love is patient. How hard is it to be patient? I know this is something I struggle with every day, in all sorts of situations.  I can’t wait to get out of class, to hear back from a job interview, for someone to finish their sentence so I can say my thoughts.  But patience is absolutely necessary to love someone.   Practicing patience is as simple as taking a few steps back and listening, relaxing, just breathing.  It means not rushing through things, not hurrying on to the next task or wishing someone would just hurry up.  We have eternity to love God, there’s absolutely no reason to rush through it now! How patient is the Lord with us – we sin every day, and yet the world continues.  That shows the ultimate patience!

Love is kind. This seems simple enough – being kind.  It means not being hateful, spiteful, rude, or mean.  Being kind, however, is hard. How often do we get stuck in traffic and start to bad-mouth the person holding up the line? That’s not being kind.  Being kind involves being patient – if we could all just practice patience a little more, kindness will follow.

It does not envy… Jealousy hurts our heart so much, and it’s absolutely unnecessary.  When has being jealous of someone’s possessions ever caused them to show up at our door?  Desiring that new car, or admiring the new furniture next door is different – but wishing you had something and your neighbor didn’t – that’s envy, and it’s hurtful.  How selfish is it to wish you had something and your neighbor didn’t? That doesn’t show love – we should wish for our neighbor more than for ourselves. It takes a heart absent of jealousy to truly desire for someone else above ourselves.

…it does not boast… When we boast of our own accomplishments, what we are basically saying is that what is going on in our life is more important than what is going on in anyone else’s.  How does that show love? Simple – it doesn’t.  How hurt would you be if your husband or wife said something along the lines of, “Honey, I know you’re having a bad day, but I had a great one. I’m so happy with how my day went. You should have been there – everything went right for me today.” Our hearts would be so hurt – How many times in that sentence did that person make any effort to engage with their spouse? None – it was all “me, me, me.” Love isn’t all about “me, me, me.”

…it is not proud. Loving someone means not being so proud that you cannot lower yourself to serve another.  How can you show love to someone else if you are too proud to serve them? For example – when you are too proud to volunteer at, say, a homeless shelter, you are essentially saying that you are better in God’s eyes than the homeless people, and you shouldn’t have to help out.  The Apostle Luke wrote in Acts (Chapter 10, Verse 34-35), “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation.” God doesn’t view any one of His children any greater than another, and if God is Love, doesn’t that mean that loving someone else the way God intended means not viewing any one person as better than another?

Loving someone the way the Lord intended is HARD.  It’s impossible without Him in our heart.  As we are all sinners, we all cannot love this way without the Lord’s help.  We are imperfect people, but God has sent his Son to make us perfect! How incredible is that! If we are to love in a 1 Corinthians kind of way, we need to accept that we cannot do it alone – and that means accepting the Lord into your heart and learning His Word.  It is imperative to accept the Lord as our Savior, to Love this way and to Live in His grace.

I am so hopeful that this blog will touch someone.  If you would like for me to pray for you, for a specific request, spoken or unspoken, let me know.  I also open the invitation for you to contact me, and I will gladly talk more with you about accepting the wonderful Salvation offered to each person on this earth.

Lord, 

Thank you for the wonderful gift of perfect Love.  I am incapable of loving like this without you.  Please guide me to become the person you desire, for it is your will I wish to do above my own.  Please bless this day and calm my heart, teach me to lay my sinful ways down and follow you. Please use this writing to help someone else see the Love you offer, freely and without any strings attached.

In your amazing name I pray, Amen.