Tuesday, February 7, 2012
With Valentine's Day just one week away, I started thinking about what I might want to share with you on this blogspot. Known as the Day of Lovers, or Friendship Day, in Mexico, I figured that what I selected to share should be based on the subject at hand, which simply put is love. The Word of God has so much to say about the subject of love. What it is and what it isn’t and how it should and shouldn’t act. And, as I studied these verses and allowed the Holy Spirit to examine my life, I could see how far away I am from what the Bibles says about this precious life-force. And, it’s easy to see how absent real, agape love is from the Church, too, which is called the body of Christ. We do talk a big talk, don’t we? Using many beautiful and powerful words about love in our sermons and teachings. Yet, our actual existence and life-practice shows just how far away we all are from what God says love should be.
One question is, could there be a unique expression of love that you'd like to communicate this year to your wife or husband, or to your parents or perhaps as parents to your children, or maybe even a best friend? The Bible is filled with so many verses about love, so many parts that speak of God’s love, brotherly love and even romantic love. Here are some of the verses that spoke to my heart. Perhaps, one or two of them might speak to yours, too. If so, perhaps they’ll help you find words of love to share with your special someone. I hope so.
Song of Solomon 8:7
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. (Money can’t buy you love, real love is worth so much more than money.)
So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. (Kids, don’t rush to get married. The younger you are, the more you are going to change as you get older. What and who you like now might be different as the years go by.)
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (True love sees the good in someone even when they’ve just done something stupid to you.)
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. (Love takes work, hard work and discipline. It’s not easy loving someone and it’s not easy being a parent. Good things take dedication, time and commitment.)
A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate. (Well, you can’t live on love alone, that’s been proven many times over. But, if you have what you need, you can learn to be happy and to love the one with whom you share your life.)
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (So many Christians separate and get divorced over the smallest offenses. Learn to forgive and you’ll be forgiven.)
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Pick your friends wisely. Choose those that have nice Christian qualities. Have some standards, too. Don’t let someone own you, use or abuse you. Find someone with whom you are basically equal in life.)
Greater love has no one than this, than he lay down his life for his friends. (You are going to have to make a thousand sacrifices to be able to stay connected with someone for years and years. It’s worth the effort and the pay-off will come if you only allow others to win, at least once-in-a-while. Learning to say, “I’m sorry,” and “You’re right,” will take you far in life,)
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (Love actually makes us somebody.)
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
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, and always perseveres. Love never fails. (Measure yourself against this standard and see how you do. If you fall short of this excellent standard, don’t give up, just try harder next time.)
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (Don’t remember the bad things someone has done to you, unless you really should. Get over the small stuff, quickly. True love runs deep and easily forgets the minor offenses,)
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (Love means letting others get their way. Don’t be too stubborn in your thinking. Lay down your life and then get out of the way. Let someone else take center stage, as often as you can.)
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (Don’t just talk about love, be love and live it. You can be love in action. Be a love-action-hero.)
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (Good point. If God lives in you, these verses should be things you already know and are doing. Especially if you are a mature follower of Christ.)
Monday, February 6, 2012
Let’s Face 2012 Head-on and Win Another Victory for Christ.
Some people think that failure can be avoided but it can’t always be eluded, not totally.
Everyone fails and sins. Yes, it’s a sad, cold and sobering fact of life. We’ve all heard of what Alexander Pope wrote more than 250 years ago, when he said, ‘To err is human and to forgive is Divine.’ Which is an old saying that has been around for thousands of years. If you are a human being, you are going to sin.
It’s still the same today as it was in Roman and Biblical times, being human means that you are going to fall short of the Glory of God and that you are often going be more human than you’d probably like to admit.
We all know about Murphy’s Law. Well, here we have another set of rules that deal with being human.
1. In life we are going to have to learn lots of hard lessons.
2. No one can escape from these lessons.
3. All lessons will be repeated in one form or another until we learn them well.
4. If we don’t learn them well and quickly the lessons get harder each time they’re repeated.
5. We’ll know we’ve learned the lessons when we can apply what we’ve learned to bad situations and it changes our resulting actions for the better.
The heart of man generally inclines itself towards the imperfect, so said Norman Cousins. Therefore, you must allow yourself some reasonable space in life to make a few mistakes.
John C. Maxwell, says that there is a positive side to failing, calling it, ‘falling forward.’ Which means that when we fall backwards, if we’ve learned our lesson, it will only serve to move us forward in life.
Life is a long difficult process of learning. It’s like being a student in a life-long university of growing up and getting better. Where God is our Headmaster and Jesus is our Principal and the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. And, our school book is the Holy Bible. What we learn today will help us live better lives tomorrow.
“And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which He shall choose, to place His name there; the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always,” Deuteronomy 14:23.
“I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes. O, forsake me not utterly,” Salmo 119:7&8.
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” Second Timothy 2:1. (Strength and Salvation are found in the same place as Grace and Mercy are found, in the Person of Jesus Christ.)