How Once We Trace The Trail Of One Lie, We Begin To See How It Is Connected To More Lies…

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(FreeImages.com/S. Schleicher)

This morning, I wrote a blog post about healing that still needed to be done in my life.

Apparently, there was even more healing for today because God revealed more to me since even this morning’s healing.

It’s interesting how as you unearth one lie, you find a trail to another lie.  I have learned to not fear the discovery though because it’s a discovery that leads me to freedom.  

How do I know it’s freedom?  Because I have known the choking hold of pain, fear, anger, bitterness, and bondage.  I know the difference of freedom because it tastes like a peace and joy that cannot be humanly-manufactured.  It has nothing to do with the latest gadget or short-lived joy over a new purchase or experience.  It has everything to do with relief.

The thread of lies unraveled to the latest one.  The lie was at the root of the fear of risk.

Just this past Monday, I heard clearly from God that I had a fear of risk.  I saw that I didn’t see myself as a pioneer or inventor.  Yet, in my heart there was a desire to be fearless and to leave the legacy that all pioneers and inventors leave.

God showed me that this desire to leave a lasting legacy was a good thing.  It was eternity in my heart.

The question though I had to ask was, “What is at the root of this fear of risk?  Why do I fear risk so much?”

I know the trail of lies will lead me to unearth more, but what God just showed me was the idol I had made out of “me time.”  Let me explain before this is misunderstood.

Of course, I am not saying we can’t have “me time” and that it’s bad in itself.  What was not healthy was the idol that I had made out of it.  The reason?

Because during that season of pain and darkness that I spoke of in my earlier blog post today, I had almost no “me time.”  I was overwhelmed.  So, the lie I began to build in my heart was that I had to protect “me time” at all costs, just in case… to make sure that I would never return to that state again.  Even if I was doing well, I was guarding my time like I was Gollum in “Lord of the Rings.”  I didn’t trust.  If I felt that anyone was threatening “my time,” I became defensive, annoyed, irritated — even to those that I love the most.

God began to show me that He was the protector of my soul: mind, will, and emotions.  Today, I prayed to release this idol to God.  I began to see how many ways that He restores my soul, and that I don’t need to fight for it.  I can just embrace how He embraces me.

Time to refresh can be necessary and good, and I don’t feel guilty to take time to refresh.  The lesson here though was that I don’t need to fight for it or to make an idol of it.  I don’t need to fear that someone else’s need will cause me to lose myself.  I don’t need to fear needs or messes.  I don’t need to fear the crowds, representing all the needs.

I just need to keep centered in the love of God and simply rest in Him.  If I am full of His love, it will naturally flow to others, but I will never run dry when I am constantly under the “faucet of His love.”

Why Our Freedom Will Always Come By Way Of The Cross…

Freedom Rock

(FreeImages.com/KimberlyV)

As I was praying this morning, the Lord put on my heart two actual spirits that are an issue in this current age. The one is the spirit of rebellion, and the other is the spirit of wicked imaginations/impurity.
At the same time, God has also been calling me into greater holiness within my own life.
A number of years ago, God was not focusing as much on holiness within my life though the healing He was bringing me was definitely connected to His holiness.  At that time though, I was not at a place to focus on just holy living.  I had to first focus on God and my understanding of Him and relationship with Him had to change.  Back then, I needed to know that God loved me unconditionally. Without that heart revelation, I would only be living from human moralism which results in pride, judgment, shame, and/or guilt. So long as I lived independently from Him because I did not understand the unconditional aspect of His love, I would be living to gain His approval and thus living apart from His grace and power. I would be trying to live from my own self and blinded by it. God had to completely change my understanding of Him and my relationship with God before I could move forward in my walk with Him.
Now that I understand in greater measure how much God loves me, when He reveals areas that need to change, I don’t hear condemnation. Instead I hear the voice of my loving Heavenly Father who adores me enough to call me into greater intimacy with Him, and greater intimacy will result in my desire to let go of anything that hinders my soul and is not coming from Him.
God has been lovingly showing me the “little” areas that need to change. I think how easily it is to excuse those, but then, there is the verse that says, “…the little foxes spoil the grapes.” It’s the little sins that we excuse that are what bring us into bondage and set us up for failure in the bigger areas.
Last weekend, I was talking with a lovely woman, and she said that God first raised her up to understand her position and inheritance as His beloved daughter, but now, God is asking her to go “low.” I, too, have been hearing that. My desire is to have a heart attitude of obedient yieldedness to God, where I allow Him to renew my mind and to heal me from within. 
Going “low” simply means that I am living in a heart posture of yielding to God and complete rest in Him.  My heart becomes like a finely tuned instrument that responds to every note that He plays so that “our” unique melody is heard.
Freedom never comes from going our way and doing things our way. Freedom is only found in the cross of Christ and what Jesus purchased for us.

Our freedom had a cost, and the cost was Jesus.  

 

The Civil War of the Church

Cannon at Antietam 1

(FreeImages.com/Margan Zajdowicz)

I am stepping out here because I realize that someone might misunderstand it, but here goes…

Last night, I was praying and asking God to specifically speak to me about the Church…

I had a dream last night that was very interesting, and I know that I know that I know that God was speaking to me in the dream. Just so no one gets all worried about this, I believe that all dreams need to be taken to the Word of God to make sure that the dreams do not contradict God’s character and Word already established.

So, my dream was about the Civil War. The focus of the dream was not about the Civil War specifically so there were few details. God was using it to teach me a lesson. I had just read about the Civil War so God took something that would make sense to me to point out a truth. Reminds me of what Jesus did all the time when teaching in parables to the crowds and disciples. He used examples and practical analogies to which the people could relate.

In my dream, the Lord spoke to my heart (very clearly and undeniably His voice) that the Church and often our (my) view of the Church is very much like the conflict between the North and the South. Both sides fought for what they considered to be an important issue. The North fought against slavery and to maintain the Union. The South fought for state rights. There were strengths and weaknesses within both sides. Each side was willing to fight against brother and friend and neighbor even for the sake of their beliefs/causes. The nation was divided over differences on what each side thought was important.

The Lord went on to speak to my heart that what mattered though was unity. I felt very strongly that He was telling me that the same is true with the Church today.

So often, we have churches established around what divides them or sets them apart from other denominations. Believers refuse to give respect or listen to other believers because of where they stand on a doctrinal issue.

We do have a responsibility to “rightly divide the Word of God.” But, we have so often missed the entire message of the Gospel. As Jesus said, “Man isn’t made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man.” The Church was not made to serve doctrines, but doctrines are made to serve the Church. Okay, maybe, that is not the best wording, but hopefully, you get my point.

We have forgotten the one thing that endures — the main thing that is a mark of a Christian: love. Christ’s desire is unity. I do not believe this needs to be exclusive of sound doctrine, but you are not going to agree with every Christian on every matter, and you probably do not completely on every issue even with your spouse. So, we can continue to walk around as a divided Church, focusing on what divides us and building churches around our divisions, or we can remember the purpose of the Church. Her purpose is to serve Christ and to establish His kingdom and show forth His righteousness and His love. “They will know us by our love.”

We complain all the time about the state of our nation. We complain about social and moral woes, but we also continue to fight against the rest of the Body. “A House divided against itself cannot stand.”

Please understand that I am not saying that we just link arms with everyone. I would not go into business with a person lacking integrity and moral character. I am just saying that the Body of Christ that is truly desiring to follow Christ, even though they may have a different interpretation of Scripture on some issues, should be able to gather around the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We talk about how we need persecution to purify the Body, but may I also say that persecution helps to unify the Body. Why? Because it separates those who are not there for Christ’s glory, and suddenly, doctrinal differences (for example: Calvinism versus free will or pre-destination versus pre-wrath) no longer seem important. Suddenly, we are so thankful to simply be in the presence of a fellow believer.

What God was speaking to my heart last night was that we have so focused on our causes that we have forgotten that we are the Bride of Christ, and she must walk in unity in order to function to her fullest.

After all, is not our purpose to gather around the work of Christ and not around rules and regulations and doctrinal differences? Should not the focus always be on Christ? Should not He define us and nothing else?

Note: I have strong beliefs on many issues. I search the Scriptures and spend a lot of time really studying the Word to form my beliefs, but ultimately, I am willing to meet, fellowship, and serve alongside other believers who may believe differently on various issues because I understand that we are all the Bride of Christ. I cannot love part of His Bride less than the other part because of a difference in doctrine.

Are Your Preparations Big Enough For The Provision?

Camels in Wadi Rum

(FreeImages.com/ChrisS)

I have been reading in Genesis 24, and today’s reading once again provided a deep truth.

In Genesis 24, we have the account of when Abraham requested that his servant Eleazar would find a wife for his son, Isaac. (You might need to study the culture of the times back then to understand some of the actions taken.)

What drew my attention as I read was the faith and preparations that Eleazar made to fulfill Abraham’s request.  (Eleazar was like Abraham’s Administrative Assistant, and it is obvious that Abraham fully trusted Eleazar and Eleazar likewise.) Eleazar was to travel to the land of Abraham’s kin and to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son, and to bring this wife back. Eleazar departs, leaving with ten camels.

The significance here is that he is prepared to either look the fool or to receive the answer to his faith/mission. Ten camels was an act of faith.  Eleazar left fully prepared to return with a bride for Isaac, her personal servants, and her possessions.  Eleazar’s preparations demonstrate that he is fully expecting to fulfill his master’s request.

What struck me is the following:

Sometimes we don’t believe big so we don’t prepare big. Eleazar either went looking the fool or the believer, depending on your own perspective/faith. He was willing to look the fool in order to receive what God had prepared.

Sometimes, our faith requires us to look the fool in order to receive the results of our belief.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you had to step out, prepare big, and dream big, in order to receive big?

A 10-camel caravan represented Eleazar’s faith in action. He was prepared to return with Isaac’s future bride, her servants, and her personal possessions.

I needed this reminder:

If I want to receive the abundance of God’s supply, my actions and preparations need to be in proportion to what I receive. My actions and preparations need to be in accordance with my request.

There are many events in Scripture where God asked for obedient action before He provided the answers.

It’s impossible though to obey if you don’t believe. It’s impossible to trust if you don’t believe God is a good Father.

The first step today might be to receive the outpouring of His love for you and me.

 

My Almost-Free Trip To Maine

[Warning: This blog post is heavy on the picture end.  :-)]

Three weeks ago, my husband and I were able to take a five-day trip to York County, Maine.  The only expenses we had to actually pay for were our meals, gas for the rental car, economy parking at the airport, and the jet-ski we rented for an hour the one day.  Our flights, our rental vehicle, our two nights at the Nonantum Resort, and then two nights at The Cliff House were completely free!

I have always wanted to take a summer vacation to Maine at a place with direct views of the ocean.  Our trip to Maine was a fulfillment of that dream!

Our first two nights in Maine, we stayed at the Nonantum Resort. Our room had a walk-out patio with direct views to the harbor.  There were colorful ships anchored in the harbor, and there was a little lighthouse that we could see from our patio.

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We enjoyed walking down to Kennebunkport, eating seafood, and taking a jet-ski out for an hour ride.  We also enjoyed a beautiful sunset our first night at the Nonantum Resort.

Our first full day in Maine, we drove to see the Cape Nubble Lighthouse.  It was windy but beautiful!

Our second full day, we rented a jet-ski.  Here is what I wrote to some friends, regarding our jet-ski adventure: “So, I confess that I was scared, but I know it’s healthy to do things sometimes that scare you and that cause you to hang onto your husband and trust his skills. Yesterday, we did something on my bucket list: we went jet skiing. It was truly fun! I held on tight, and I watched his muscles flex as he steered us skillfully over the waves. A marriage of 16 years can still require growth and bring excitement. All good things…!”

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Without kids, we slept in, ate late, took naps, relaxed, and just went with the flow of the day.

Our last two nights in Maine, we spent at The Cliff House.  It was absolutely exquisite!  There were no end to the pleasantries, fine details, and gorgeous views!  When you drive up to the front entrance, you can see straight through the lobby to a stunning view of the ocean.  There are two infinity pools and two large hot tubs.  We enjoyed having one hot tub to ourselves the first night.

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At the Cliff House, there are outdoor couches and even a large fire-pit for s’mores.  We enjoyed roasting our own s’mores the second evening there.  Both evenings, we enjoyed sunsets that bathed the sky and water in soft hues of pastel pinks, lavender, blue, and peach.  (I saw the wine glasses left by guests and thought they made a lovely picture with the sunset in the background.)

Our final morning in Maine, we awoke early in order to watch a sunrise from our balcony.  It was stunning!

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As we took our time packing for our departure, we noticed that right outside our balcony/window, preparations were being made for a wedding.  We had heard talk the previous night about a wedding taking place that day, but we had no idea that they would pick the location right outside our balcony!

I knew that God had something to tell me on this vacation, and I wasn’t mistaken.

I knew that even the places where we stayed had significance.  We started at the harbor with gorgeous views and then moved to a place with a high, cliff view and the immense ocean spread out below.  God began to softly speak to my heart and tell me that the ocean was to represent the ocean of His love for me.  I saw it bathed in many hues of pinks and reds — all colors that represent love.  I knew the views I was seeing had a message for me because God was also speaking to my heart gently at the same time.

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When we first arrived at the Cliff House, I felt like an intruder, like I didn’t belong, and even like it was wrong for me to enjoy such a place because it might be materialistic to enjoy such a lovely place.  God immediately began to address those lies.  He not only told me that the place was a gift for me to enjoy because He loves me so much but also I am to receive His love.  He then revealed to me that I so often live the same way when it comes to the spiritual realm.  I so often feel like the best is for super-Christians and that it’s pride to even want a ministry.  He revealed to me that I hold back from receiving from Him because I keep acting like a servant instead of a daughter.  I keep acting like I have to earn and work to keep my position instead of receiving it as a beloved daughter.

God also showed me that the wedding outside our balcony was to represent that just as a marriage is two becoming one, God is inviting my husband and I to go deeper with Him and to become more “one” with Him.  I feel so humbled as I comprehend more of the depths of His love for me!

(Small wedding:)

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Maine was truly incredible, but the lessons I learned there are the memories that remain the longest and are the most precious!

(Last pictures are from our last morning in Maine:)

The Only Thing That Will Remain…

He Loves Me

(FreeImages.com/NatArnett)

 

This morning as I was contemplating love and its eternal nature, some truths struck me.

According to First Corinthians 13, the only gifts and work of the Spirit that will remain into eternity is love.  Why?

In Heaven, there is no need for tongues. We will all be completely in communion with Holy Spirit.  Everyone will understand all things so there will be no communication issues.

In Heaven, there will be no need for prophecy because all will understand and know all things.  All prophesies will be fulfilled at that time.  The written and spoken Word of God will be completely lived in and through us in our perfect, sanctified states.

There will be no need for Bible teaching because we will have full understanding.

There will be no need for mission work because it will be all accomplished.

There will be no need for healing for all will be whole.

There will be no need to cast out demons because there will be no evil in Heaven.

The only thing that will remain is love.  Why?

Because love is the only thing that we need for all of eternity, and Love is Jesus.  God is Love!  We will be forever surrounded by perfect, complete Love Himself.

See this passage:

1 Corinthians 13

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. 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. 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.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.

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. 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.

Pondering love made me also realize that the only fruit that will remain is that which is sown into the fertile bed of love.  I do mean this spiritually.  Love will prepare fertile soil to receive fruit.

The only fruit that will remain is that which is sown in love.

This means that if our ministries, our giftings, and our works are not done in love, the fruit will not remain.  It will wither.

Holy Spirit is referred to in the Scriptures as “water.”  The fruit must be sown with love into fertile soil.  Fertile soil means lushLush speaks of life and moisture.  The soil has been prepared by Holy Spirit, is sown in love with the seeds of truth, and is watered by Holy Spirit to bring forth fruit.  The fruit is righteousness.

We don’t get true righteousness from our own self-efforts or self-reliance.  True righteousness comes from the work and love of God within our lives and Holy Spirit’s “watering” of the seed.  God’s Word is the seed.

I love the analogies we see in creation that reflect the Creator!

How convicting this is to recognize that the only fruits that will remain are those sown with love!

See these verses that compare Holy Spirit to water:

John 7:37-39 

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Isaiah 44:3

‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;

John 4:14

but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

1 Corinthians 12:13

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

A Little Valentine’s Day Fun

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Last night, my husband and I celebrated Valentine’s Day (early).

After a GF (gluten free) tasty meal at Chipotles, we drove to the theater to watch The Greatest American Showman.

I don’t know if it was because the movie has been playing for awhile and it was a Monday night, but for whatever reason, we had the entire theater to ourselves.

Towards the end as we were enjoying the spectacular music, my husband leaned towards me and asked if I wanted to dance.  Since there was no one to observe our clumsiness or craziness, I thought, “Why not?!”  With a lot of laughing, tripping over feet occasionally, and lots of pretending to be amazing singers and dancers, we laughed and danced across the aisles together.

This is what I wrote about our time when recalling it:

“When your husband takes you to celebrate Valentine’s Day early, you eat supper at Chipotles, and go to watch a really great movie in an empty theater. Because no one is there to see you, you get up and dance in the aisles of the theater to the music, laugh as you trip on your husband’s feet, get swung into his arms, and you think that you are one really blessed gal. You are right! Then, you decide to end your date with sharing a large dish of Friendly’s ice cream and get to pray for your waitress. You realize that it was definitely one of your favorite dates ever!!!

Life gets busy. The needs everywhere are great. Don’t lose sight of the blessings right in front. Invest in the things that really matter — like marriage and your children. They are your first ministry.”

And in response to a friend:

It was amazing! You have to be willing to be a little cray-cray though and to laugh at yourself, trip on your own two feet, but when it means you land in the arms of the one that has held you through the beautiful and the ugly, then it really is “perfect.”

My husband and I have had our share of disagreements (arguments — let’s be honest).  We have had our feelings hurt.  We have had to apologize to each other at times.

We also though have learned to choose humility, forgiveness, selflessness, and compassion.  We have learned to listen more, learned to serve more, learned to apologize more, learned to stand up for what we believe, and learned to love.

Love is more than physical attraction.  Love is more than roses, chocolates, and going on dates.  Love is about commitment.  It’s about loving your spouse even when things get hard and when your vows actually become more than words: “…in sickness and in health, to death do us part…”

My husband and I keep very busy with caring for five kids and their needs.  We are involved with helping many people.  Some days, it’s all we can do to hold it together.

We joke that we have to schedule a time so we can talk to each other.

That’s why we do make the effort to make time for each other, to not be afraid to be romantic when the opportunity arises, and to look into each other’s eyes in order to connect with each other’s soul.

Because it makes the ordinary a lot more fun, we also aren’t afraid to sometimes risk silliness in order to be able to laugh together.

There truly is no one better made just for me…

This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to have a little fun, a little romance, and a little soul-connection.  Your marriage won’t mind one bit.

The First Marriage

Beach Romance

(FreeImages.com/GavinSpencer)

This morning, for some odd reason, my mind was drawn to thinking about the first couple and first marriage, Adam & Eve.  I couldn’t help but think how different their marriage was from this generation:

Adam & Eve taught each other the mysteries of marriage.  There was no fear of failure or comparison.

Eve couldn’t call her besties and complain about Adam when he was annoying.

Adam wasn’t tempted by any other woman because Eve was the only woman.

Eve couldn’t call her mom and ask her for advice.  She had to talk with Adam, or if it was about Adam, she might be more apt to talk with God.

Adam didn’t have a TV to sit and watch football.

Eve didn’t have in-laws to complain to or blame for Adam’s annoying behaviors.

Adam didn’t have buddies that he could go hang out with for several hours while Eve took care of the kids.

Adam & Eve didn’t have to worry about STD’s because they had only ever been with each other.

Adam & Eve didn’t have to worry that their spouse might decide to change genders in the future.

Eve was the prettiest woman on earth.  Adam was the strongest and handsomest man on earth.

If Eve wanted to flirt, she would only have her husband with whom to flirt.

If Eve gained a few pounds after babies, Adam would just assume that’s what all women did.  If Eve sagged and dimpled a little more over the years, there wouldn’t be air-brushed magazine models with which to compare.

If Adam grew a gut and went bald, again it would be assumed that’s what all men do when they get older.

Things were a lot simpler in many ways.

On the other hand, Eve had to experience pregnancy and labor for the first time without any supporting stories, advice from other women, or an attending physician.  She had Adam to stay by her side, to comfort, and to assist her.

Adam & Eve would have to spend a lot of time together — working just to survive, raising kids together, and for human companionship.

I imagine, just like in most marriages, there were times they would take a walk just to cool off, or Adam would spend his anger on hoeing more weeds in the garden.

Knowing that there were no other options — that they couldn’t find someone else or even just leave — would have forced them to improve what they had.

Adam needed Eve to survive.  Eve needed Adam to survive.  They needed each other.

The need for human companionship, protection, and procreation would have drawn them to each other.  After all, it’s more preferable to curl up next to another warm body and feel that warm arm wrapped protectively around you than it is to face the cold nights and hungry beasts alone.

Adam & Eve faced a lot together: they experienced the horror of their eldest son murdering their second-born son.  After the murder, their eldest son never returned but roamed the earth.  They lost two sons that day.  The grief, questions, and even guilt they must have faced would have been overwhelming.  I imagine that they learned to comfort each other during those tragic times.

Adam & Eve had experienced everything together: The Garden of Eden, the Fall, the departure from the Garden of Eden, God’s promises, the wonder of walking with God in the Garden, marriage, babies, raising children, dealing with adult children, and growing old together.  They watched many generations raise MANY children.

I imagine that Adam & Eve learned a lot about faith, hard work, sacrifice, and love.

I would love to have their marriage advice, but I imagine it would look a lot like the descriptions above:

  1. Make each other a priority over any other relationship.
  2. Don’t complain to or blame your in-laws.
  3. Don’t complain to your buddies about your spouse.
  4. Don’t compare your spouse to anyone else.
  5. Don’t look for a “way out.”
  6. Work together.
  7. Have babies together.
  8. Hold your wife to comfort, to protect, and to keep her warm.
  9. Flirt with your husband, as if he was the only man on earth.
  10. Flirt with your wife as if she is the most beautiful woman on earth.
  11. Grieve together and comfort each other.
  12. Give each other some space when angry.
  13. Share as many special events together as possible.
  14. Recognize that you need each other.
  15. Walk with God together.
  16. Be vulnerable with each other.
  17. Learn the intimacies of marriage together.
  18. Work to improve what you have.
  19. When angry, take it out on weeds — not your wife– or on cleaning the house — not your husband.
  20. Grow old together, and cherish the memories that wrinkles road-map.  (Wrinkles are the road-map of our memories.)

 

 

Hard To Love…

Handwriting - Love

(FreeImages.com/BobSmith)

I was grumbling in my bathroom today that some people are so difficult to love.  I immediately heard the Lord speak back to my heart: “Love isn’t about you.”

Talk about a readjusted perspective!

It can be very difficult to love some people.  Love though isn’t about the person doing the loving (us).  Love is about the person we are loving.  

If “love” is about us, it’s not love.  It’s selfishness.

Ouch!

Agape love is the purest and most authentic form of love because it doesn’t expect anything in return.  It’s not given based on the recipient’s worthiness or likability.  It can’t be limited or withheld based on an infraction.

Love just pours itself out without any thought of itself.  Love is never about self.  Love is about the other person.

The following passage in Scripture reaffirms that love is the strongest character quality and emotion of all:

1 Corinthians 13

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. 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. 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.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 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.

I was thinking that fear is a very strong emotion, but notice how love is more powerful than fear.  Love is truly the “trump card.”

1 John 4:18

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Ingredients for Kids Part Two…

Baking Day 4

(FreeImages.com/LynnCummings)

I was contemplating baking again and ingredients…

It struck me that most recipes call for both sugar and salt.  They may seem to discount each other, but in reality, they add a different dimension to the taste of the finished product.  They are both needed.

They remind me of the importance of adding in both truth and grace to our parenting, along with justice and mercy.  Both are needed for the finished product.

It’s also interesting that most recipes call for more sugar than salt.  That is a good reminder that our kids need a lot of kindness and grace, along with our doses of truth.

Children turn out well when a lot of love is poured into them.  Want a sweet finished product?  Add in some generous heaps of sweetness.