Tag Archives: Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February is most of all highlighted by Valentine’s Day, and designated to express and receive love! How delightful. Let me share this writing with you by Stephen Crotts…

Love ~

To be young, wealthy and in love–all in the third century. And to be a Christian. 

Such was young Valentine. He would consummate his great love by taking her as his bride. Soon he would be wed. But his world came crashing down around him when the Roman emperor declared all Christians illegal citizens and guilty of treason. All they had to do was to say, “Caesar is Lord!” Rather than deny Christ, young Valentine was arrested. 

In jail, awaiting his execution, he wrote love letters to his girlfriend…beautiful, passionate letters assuring her of his great love for her. But theirs would be a love not lived out. On February 14, 269, Valentine was put to death, martyred for Jesus Christ. 

Since then, Christians have celebrated his fidelity to Christ and romantic love on the 14th of February by sending our own love letters to special people. And we do so this year, let us resolve to live for Christ unashamedly.  ~ Stephen Crotts 

So my friend, how will you spend your Valentine’s day? Maybe a romantic dinner with card and flowers from or to your beloved? It seems odd that we need a day in the year to remind us to show and exhibit love. Click To Tweet A day that indicates we should express our faithfulness and love to our beloved!  Yet, how about most of all to our Christ. His words to us penned by the apostle Paul in Corinthians need to be seared upon our hearts:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13 

No small wonder it is called the Love Chapter. The above words are the key to any and every relational issue known to man. For if we do as it says we should, we become humbly involved in laying aside our agenda and we pick up the care the concern for others and administer love, unselfish love. 

I know my tendencies and I know how hard it is to look beyond me and see others in the light of God’s love, forgive me Lord. As Your creation, it should be a natural to do likewise–as You do unto us–to those around us. Why do I always get in the way? 

Father, when I am struggling with my spouse, my friends and even the poky driver ahead of me who thinks I should live my life at his speed, help me to think LOVE. Forgive all the “buts…” that I throw out as excuses to justify my unloving attitude. Lord, if I could always have on my mind the love You showed Your unworthy child, I just might remember. And how do I really show Your love to that unlovable person(s) we all seem to have in our lives? Whatever it takes Lord, I need Your grace and mercy so that I would remain that humble servant who desires to walk in love and then purposes to do it! I am so weary of asking and then I watch myself turn around and reneging on my intention. Give me authenticity that will reveal who You are through me. I love you Abba and my desire is to live for You. In Jesus Name, Amen!

When the Scoffers Come!

1Pet 2.1Ever have those conversations that leave you thinking or screaming “What in the world was that all about?” I have and the hardest part of it all is that it was someone I love who railed against me and left me feeling worthless!

Some of you know what I’m talking about here! But when it comes from those we love, ouch, it sure does bite. I was left devastated, giving in to negative thinking for a brief period of time.

I am so grateful that I know the Lord, and that I know His Word. Because of this knowledge, I can combat the lies of the enemy when he comes pointing fingers and scoffing at me. You see I know it isn’t that loved one that I am battling, it is the enemy of my soul who wants to see me rendered ineffective.

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God’s Word really is a healing balm…

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NASB

I am so thankful that the Lord reminded me of this because I let myself get angry! I was devastated and hurt. Not only that but my ministry was also attacked. How could that be?

You see the devil loves when he can pit us against one another and cause us to back-bite and curse one another with that poisonous venom that threatens to kill us emotionally and render us completely useless. He is the ruler of this earth and for a season he longs to make us hate one another.

If Jesus came to show us love so that we could love one another then the devil does just the opposite! He stirs us up with negative thoughts of one another and we kinda get paranoid which is described as causing you to falsely believe that people are trying to harm you. But the verse above is what we have to remember more than anything. And that hurting people hurt people.

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So what will you do the next time the accusations come to taunt you and put you on the defense?

Will you retaliate and think of all the bad things that person has done and caused?

Will you get on the band wagon and rally the troupes in hopes of getting others to take your side?

Will you get into a shouting match with that one and tell them just what’s on your mind?

When conflict comes our way, we actually have an opportunity to put that ole devil in his place…by not giving in to our emotional reactions, instead, acknowledging the situation for what it is, applying the truth instead of succumbing to the deception.

All these things can help us to see that the person who seems to be against us is actually the enemy who is out to get us. We may just be a target for their pain and frustration. Certainly that doesn’t make it right!

2 Corinth 10-5So to take every thought captive means that all the negative thrown at us must be weighed and measured with the Word of God. We may see a few things that could be true about ourselves but seriously, we are not going to drink the poison of our taunters.
Here’s what I must remember to do when I fall into a situation like this…pray!

Then, I must forgive.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

It does take time to move beyond circumstances like these. But I know when we extend forgiveness and let go of the pain we have given over to the Lord, He will heal our broken hearts and hopefully restore and reconcile the situation. You may or may not have the relationship you once had but then again maybe you will have a better relationship than ever before?

What do you have to lose?

The pain and recollection every time you run into them, especially if it is a family member.

What do you have to gain?

Peace, peace knowing that God is working even if for right now it doesn’t look quite like it!

Oh Momma, When You Just Have to “Give it Up”

Oh momma, are you at all like me? A bit persistent, strong-willed and stubborn. Although I am starting to get it, I have had to learn the hard way through lots of disappointments that it just isn’t worth the battle.

As my kids grew up and left home, got married and then returned for their visits during holidays and then with their children, my comfortable home began to feel a bit tight. We have a small dining area just on the other side of an island of counter that is approximately 12’ by 11’, and this where meals are taken. It sufficed for years with three kids, mom and dad. But now the table for comfortable five has had to become stretched out into the living room to accommodate 10 – 12 at times. Yikes, we are in on the living room rug!!! (Bless your hearts those who say what’s the big deal!)

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I would pray and ask, then pray and ask some more…only to get ‘for the few times we are all together we can make it work.’ I even drew out the plans to push out our kitchen and dining room to make an L-shaped house from its regular rectangle. (I love planning things like this!) I had even drawn the cupboards and was going to have just a lovely dining area with the space to safely keep us all on the tile floor for meals and include a nice large island for cooking times when my small counters get easily crowded.

As my husband drew nearer and nearer to retirement he was more and more determined that this would never happen. God and I would talk ‘cause I knew that God delights in giving us the desire of our heart, even a larger house…and sometimes He does. However, I found with every no that I was getting more and more determined to make it work.

Then God spoke to my heart and showed me that I was fighting a losing battle, and if I persisted in demanding my way (to which I thought was for the best of reasons!) that I was only going to get more and more angry at not getting my way. Wow, did I have a lesson to learn. I was going to have to resign myself to the fact that this just wasn’t ever going to happen!

It was at that juncture that I could stomp, connive, deceive and work my way into a tizzy trying to get my guy to change his mind. This would certainly drive us all nuts! Or I could give it up and…let it go. My Father was asking me to “let it go”.

I can be a fighter! I had pushed this thing and of course had everyone on my side to make it happen, but I couldn’t change his mind. I remember being very frustrated, very resentful and not feeling very nice about the whole thing.

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Have you ever been called to give something up? How difficult was it for you to just say ‘I resign’?

There are times in our life that this is the call and as hard as it can be I have learned that my world didn’t fall apart, AND that I have more peace in my heart because I gave it up. One less source of agitation between me and my husband, with less resentment brewing and stirring up all kinds of unpleasantries!

2Cor13-11Remember Paul and the thorn in his side? You can read of it in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 where Paul had to contend with a “thorn” in his flesh. Reminding me of a sliver one sometimes gets. It is not pleasant. And God’s reply to Paul was merely that “His grace is sufficient for you…”

In the long and short of it, peace in my home was worth finding through my giving up my desire to be more comfortable. If the juice gets spilled on the rug, then I am going to clean it up. And life will go on and we will enjoy many wonderful family meals even if we have to eat IN the living room. I have realized that time is short. Many memories are made when we engage around a cramped dining area and that really is what counts as important.

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This is what it is really all about!

I didn’t lose the battle here…I gained, through the grace of God, a heart that is content with what I have.

In a Perfect World…

Why are relationships so difficult? Why do I do things that irritate people? Why are there people who totally annoy me? Sometimes I just want to go where I won’t ever have to deal with people and all of their stuff!!! Well…wait a minute…I wonder how many people say those things and think of me? Plain and simple, relationships are hard stuff.

Imagesbyozzie As I was pondering what lessons God has wanted me to learn in this season, and immediately remembered that He is teaching me what “love one another” is all about.  You see…when we refuse to abide by this mandate, then we give the enemy a foothold. This will develop into a stronghold and it gets harder and harder to deal with the situation and do the right thing. Laying aside ourselves to take up the concerns of others!

Just look what this passage in Colossians says from the Message paraphrase: “When you love someone you just want to spend time with them and that’s good because that is how relationship is cultivated.”

That just might be the easy part unless you have kids and schedules or work full-time.  Making the effort with those commitments can get a bit sticky! However if we need to hang in there even when things get weird. Oh my do I know that that’s like and when it happens, I just want to escape and try not to deal with it. But that’s not the way to do it. That’s when I need to expend some effort to mend the hole created by an unkind word or a misunderstanding. I sure don’t want to take up an offense!

Colossians 3:12-14  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Put on love, in other words it should be the first item on when you awaken and the last off before bedtime. And if you have a spouse then I guess you need it 24/7!

It is a big, and sometimes consuming job–all this relationship stuff! But you see, I have been given the mind of Christ. That means that I must gradually begin to adapt to Christ’s nature in me, as I journey through the tough stuff. Even though I have bad days, don’t I get a break here? Probably not if I am going to attain my goal. (Man, some days it can be a tough row to hoe!) And if you struggle with unconditional love like I do it can be even more difficult. But I am learning and it helps to take a look backward to see all that God has forgiven in me. This new garment of love takes a concerted effort to put and keep on, daily.

What can you do when relationships get sticky?

How difficult is it to wrangle your pride and admit that you may have had a role in an uncomfortable situation?

Father, it feels like I have so far to go on this journey, but I will continue to allow You to work out those uncomfortable traits in me even if it hurts and is uncomfortable. I will trust You as You continue to work all things together for my good and Your glory, in Jesus; name!

How Are Your Communication Skills?

Are you a Facebook junkie? I think I am a borderliner. I find myself looking far too often and well, sometimes I’m a bit obsessed with postings and emails. I have a page on Facebook which is used for ministry and my radio program so I love to get activity related to that page which may mean I am over there more than necessary. But as great as some of this can be…it has sure put a different twist on communication.

Ephesians 519Communication: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.

This is the first meaning that shows up under Mirriam-Webster’s definitions and as you see we communicate through a variety of methods. However the modern day communication seems to remove the personal touch, using only text, words and pictures, brought about through a keypad. So it tends to be void of voice and the emotion that voice can relay. I have gotten in trouble with friends through misinterpreting the wording of text because it lacks that expression if you know what I mean. This can be dangerous for relationships and misunderstandings happen because of it.

God certainly has a view on our communication with one another from a spiritual standpoint, from Ephesians 5:19:

“…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,…”

Try to txt that!

When I want time with my husband (who doesn’t use modern technology except for a flip style cell phone) I have to purpose to bring no other communication tool into the conversation or he just gets upset! I understand completely. Haven’t you seen kids all standing by one another in silence as they txt on their devises, void of expression? It is downright eery! Yet on vacation not too long ago, here we were, me, my sister and my son, all on cell phones, checking messages, txt and out of touch with each other in the very same room. Ha, my co-worker said, “I’m afraid when Jesus comes we are all going to be busy txting and miss Him.”

My plan to remain in communication has had to include a fast at various times, staying off on the weekends (for the most part) and trying to reply in ways other than txting. But it is hard. Hard maybe because so many of my friends use this form as well. And I think communication has become difficult because of it.

Someone passed this video along and I thought it might be worth listening to. After you do you might just use it to assess how you are doing on the communication scale. One thing is for sure, it will make you think, and then think twice the next time you pick up your phone to not call, but txt someone!

Communication!

What God has Joined Together…

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Love is…

Do you believe in marriage?

I think a lot of us would say of course we do…

But then life happens and things get rough and times get tough and the winds of adversity beat on our united front and we begin to think ‘what am I doing in this situation..it has to be better somewhere else…’

From Matthew 19:5,6 we find common words spoken over bazillions of wedded couples:

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

When life gets hard it calls for grit and guts to hang in there and trust that God will work it all together… Click To Tweet Life is definitely difficult today and there is a plethora of egocentric screaming going on in and around each and every one of us!  When the proverbial honey moon period is over and its time to get down to business and live life, old self-gratification waltzes back into our thinking and then “it is all about me” becomes our song.

Line BreakAs a young mom, emotionally immature and needy I didn’t know how to look beyond my own needs when I finally got married with my one son born out of wedlock, I was looking for someone to take care of us. No faith to sustain me except in myself and that was pretty pathetic. My first marriage ended prematurely leaving me with three children that I didn’t have a clue how to raise and so it was easy to find myself back in another relationship.

Thankfully, God intervened in my life and He began to turn me from upside down to Christ-side up. What a process indeed. However, I will be ever so ready to say that I have made the choice to go it the long haul.

I am done being a quitter and a runner! I want God to be glorified in my life and in the example that my marriage makes in a world gone awry. I am a woman of God, and if I say I believe in Him then I better put my faith into action by trusting Him even when it hurts! And guess what, I’m not talking upon condition either.

Is it stinkin’ hard? At times, you bet it is. Like when we both look pretty ugly at each other and want to demand our way. But life is messy and relationships are some of the messiest stuff out there. But you see, if I’m supposed to point others to Jesus then I better quit pointing at myself and demanding my rights.

Then there is this forgiveness issue…pride says “I’m right and you are wrong!” But love says “I’m so sorry, will you forgive me?”

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Remember this familiar description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in the Message paraphrase:

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

I want others to know that it does work. But also, that it may take some elbow grease in the process. Like scrubbing away me to see I am in this with another.

Love this song from Casting Crowns that points to the fact that most times we don’t enter a marriage with the intent on giving up our selves. But if it is going to work it must. I like Ann Voskamp’s words, “There’s no such thing as 50/50 only giving more and being more happier. Fair and equal are an illusion”

My question to you is this…will you fight for marriage?

Will you lay aside your demands and get on your knees and ask God to show you how to make a difference in your life, not change him Lord, but in you?

No prize is worthy of having if it has come easily! And your marriage my be a diamond in the rough so keep… Click To Tweet