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. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Be the Love

I Corinthians 13:8
Love never fails.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

The word love is mentioned more than 500 times in the New International Version of the Bible and more than 300 times in the King James. Plus, King James uses words like charity to speak of love. As I've studied and written through the "love" verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I'm brought to the one verse that ties a lovely bow on the most beautiful package. "Love never fails."

Paul is speaking of the love God has for his people, the love we have through Jesus, the love God wants us to have for one another. Matthew writes with authority from God that we are to love God and our neighbor. The question is often asked, who's my neighbor. With social media and the internet connecting people around the world, I chance a guess to say, whoever God sends across our path is our neighbor. That person may live across the street or on the other side of the world. Wherever they are, we need to pour love over them the way Paul poses in Corinthians.

Maybe if we show more love and less hate, there will be less senseless acts of violence. Maybe if we show more love and less hate, people will feel loved and pass it on. 
Maybe if we show more love and less hate, less bullying, abuse, and evil will be prevalent in the world. Where do we begin? At home, at work, on Facebook, in the classroom, and yes even in the church. God's love never fails. But sometimes we stink at showing his love to others. Look for the people God needs you to love.

Be observant. Be intentional. Be the love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8Love 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. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hope and Perseverence

1 Corinthians 13:7b
Love...always hopes, always perseveres.

Psalm 33:22
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

From a young age, I planned to earn a college degree. What I didn't know—the process would take thirty years. Yet, I had a hope to accomplish what God laid on my heart. When Tim and I married, he took on that hope with me. We persevered together, along with our children, as I worked a full-time job, raised a family, and took classes. They all stuck with me until I accomplished my goal.

My granddaughter plays basketball. All season she's hoped to make her first game basket.
We took on that hope, cheering her on. On Saturday, she swished that ball through the basket. As a family we persevered with her as she practiced and worked toward the goal.


These examples of hope and perseverance may seem simple, but every step we took was dressed in love. Dilly and I had people who cared about us and supported us as we focused on our goals.

Jesus, the giver of hope, came to earth. He knew he'd be crucified— tortured for our sins. Yet because he loves us, he chose to persevere. His is the truest story of hope and perseverance. Jesus, hope in human flesh, rose from the grave to give anyone who follows him the hope of eternal life. With that, God sends the Holy Spirit to persevere with us through this life. I praise God for the Holy Spirit. He's with us every day.


Hebrews 5:3-5Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

He's our Protector

1 Corinthians 13:7a
Love...always protects, always trusts...

Proverbs 3:6-7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

When we're at home our dog, Tater, parks himself between us. He's our protector. Without a doubt, he'd place himself between me and an attacker. That's just who he is. He's a good dog who loves us. He trusts us, too. He knows he'll be fed, watered, and walked every
day. If my dog can show love through protection and trust, I can too. With my children, I've always been the mother bear. Protection mode, all the time. My husband loves me by watching out for me, and I love that. But what about the part, love always trusts? Yes, Tater trusts us to take care of him. But maybe there's more to loving and trusting.
I believe God wants us to not just trust the people we love, but to entrust them to him.
One of the most difficult things I've ever done is turn my loved ones safety, health, and life over to the one who loves them the most. At times, as a mama bear my anxiety choked my ability to think straight. I felt helpless. No matter what I thought I could do, it wasn't enough. That's when I knew I had to look up and pray to God. The one I entrust my loved ones to needed to hear my pleas. He's the one I truly have faith in. It's not easy to let go and give our needs to God. But I know when I do, God gives me strength and comfort. He pours his peace over me. I'll admit, I still struggle with letting go and letting God. But that doesn't keep me from trusting in him and crying out.

Love always protects and trusts when we hand our cares and worries over to the one we believe can move a mountain. Even when the situation seems impossible, God cares and listens. The creator and worker of miracles loves you more than you and those you love even know. Trust the Lord with all your heart because he loves you.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Choose Love

1 Corinthians 13:6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

John 11:3-5
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

I've been reading a novel where the main character flees from her abusive husband. Here's the kicker—the husband who physically, mentally, and emotionally abuses her, says he loves her. The story breaks my heart, but thanks to God, she's surrounded by friends who love her and help her. Even though this is fiction, the story resonates with truth. People say they love others, but is the love reflective of evil or God's truth? Does the "best friend" gossip behind her BFFs back? Maybe a sibling's anger over who-knows-what creates an uncomfortable situation. I could go on, but I think you see where I'm heading with this.

The love I have for my spouse, my children, my parents, my siblings, my friends, my church— must rejoice in truth. Just like Jesus loved his family and friends. In the book of John, we read about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus could have said, "sorry sisters, I can't do a thing to help out Lazarus." He could have left them to mourn their brother. But instead, Jesus went to them and healed his friend who he loved. He rejoiced in the truth that Lazarus' restored life brought glory to God.

Life brings choices. Decisions on how I treat the people I'm called to love. Do I belittle them to make myself look better? Do I yell at them? Do I ignore their needs? Or do I reach out to them as Jesus did, with love?

Choose to love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8Love 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. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Shine like Stars...in Love

1 Corinthians 13:5
Love...does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As a mom, I didn't always have the best discipline methods.
One time my three girls were doing what siblings sometimes do, arguing. Who knows what the squabble was about, probably something trivial, but it ended with name calling. Frustrated, I wanted to end the quarrel. So instead of telling them to stop, or sitting them down to discuss their behavior, I yelled out, "Let's just...call each other names." Well that stopped the fight, all right. All three of them busted out laughing...at me. So maybe it wasn't the best method, but it worked. You see, I hate name calling, especially among loved ones.

When we love someone like Jesus loves, there is no place for rudeness, selfishness, quick anger or grudges. Think about it, these are the people we love. We've chosen to love our spouses, our family, our friends, our church. I'm not just talking about the call to love all people. I'm talking about the love we have for those who are dear to us. When I think about Jesus and the love he has for me, I am humbled to my knees. He gave his life for me and you. Like Jesus, I aim to value the people I love.

Philippians 2:14-15Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky...