Love That Remains!

Love That Remains!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

Ten years ago today, my husband and I embarked upon a new chapter in our lives–we got married!

Big deal, you say? Yes, for us it was a very big deal. This was not the first for either of us and with grown children and grandchildren on both sides of the aisle, some smiling, some frowning, and some looking on in total disbelief, we stood before family and friends and pledged the rest of our love and determination to see the next forty years together. Since we’re not youngsters, this pledge was an act of faith.2006 fishbones

Within in the first two weeks, my husband had a stroke but he survived. Later in the first year of our marriage, he ended up in the hospital again and needed surgery–he survived. Two years later, I had a stroke, but I survived. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer–but he survived. We are survivors in Jesus’ name!

In the midst of various illnesses, he had back surgery and retired sooner than anticipated. In the midst of uncertainty and chaos with the school district where I worked, I retired sooner than I had anticipated. We’ve made major changes in our lifestyles, moving from one location to another, taking on new challenges, starting a podcast on BlogTalk Radio and we broadcast every week–no matter what (it’s our time together) and for the most part–just enjoying life and each other.

We have strong faith in God and believe we receive all of His promises–no matter what the enemy throw our way. Our hope is in Him and our love for the Lord and each other has managed to overcome the obstacles that attempted to snare us and drive us apart. We have survived the last ten years by praying and loving–no matter what. We are looking forward to the next 30 years with the same determination and love because after all--the first 10 years were the toughest!

And just as our love for each other has remained steadfast and true–God’s love for all of us is even greater and His commitment to us, never changing.

So, the rest of this day will be spent celebrating with my hubby and enjoying what we do most–eating good food at our favorite restaurant and praising The Lord that we can enjoy it.

 

Truth, Mercy, and Love!

“Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths, Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. Remember, Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love remember me, for You, Lord, are good.” (Psalm 25:4-7 NIV)

Sometimes, admitting the truth a matter can be a shock to the system and an ego, but the truth–no matter how much it may hurt–is always liberating. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall you free.” The truth–about so many things that has entangled my time, has shown me that I’m too old to do certain things and must make way for younger people to do them.

The truth of matter is–I’m from the old school–the school that taught us that our word was supposed to mean something and when we commit to doing something, we should honor our commitments.

Apparently–commitment and honoring one’s word is not taught much these days and as a result–confusion ensues and chaos thrives when commitment is not honored. I know some would say I’m too old-fashioned, but I like who I am and the values I was taught and would like to think that I still exhibit. When I say I’m going to do something, I try to do just what I say, I’m going to do. Now, unexpected things may occur that would hinder my mission, but attempts are always made to stay focused on the mission.

My focus on trying to make sure an event was a success, proved to be a distraction–not a fatal one, but a distraction none-the-less and made me aware, that one person cannot undertake the responsibility of what requires a small army of committed people. My first mistake was in trusting others to honor their word.

But God is merciful and He has shown me mercy and not allowed things to get so far out of hand, they could cause irreparable damage. That’s one of the things I love most about our God–His mercy and love–in spite of us. He never lets us down and in spite of my own shortcomings, the event was successful–as defined by Him, not me. We had absolutely wonderful weather for an outdoor event, sunny skies, and moderate temperatures. People were friendly and most complimentary. I’d like to believe the end result was a testament of His love for me because He knew, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, but He made it possible to happen any way.

So, with this event, I’ve learned some valuable lessons–about me and others. I do not have to accept responsibility for the things that others do or don’t do, but I must own my missteps and correct. I cannot expect others to uphold the same standards I have because they are not me and I don’t know what they’ve been taught. I can count on friends and relatives–when all else falls apart–to keep their word. Most of all, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and have an appropriate response to it all.

Thanking God this morning for allowing me to see truth about me, be grateful for His mercy, and ecstatic over His love for me. And yeah–facing truth–is very liberating!

How We Know!

“But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” (I John 2:5 NLT)

Someone recently asked me a question–“How can I be one of the many (who make it to heaven)?”

The question was in response to a post I had made regarding the “numbers” John saw as he related them in Revelation–144,000 and the number none could count. The reference to the 144,000 is for the remnant of the Chosen nation who obey God and the rest of us.

How do we know–we are included in that number? We know we are included in the number by our obedience to Him.

In the first part of this letter, John reminds us that Jesus became the atonement for our sins and if we say we love Him, we must obey His Word. We cannot claim to love God if we do not know Him. We get to know Him by reading His Word and understanding the work on the cross. If we do not know The Word or understand or reject the work on the cross–we deny and reject Him!

Knowing The Word, understanding and accepting the work on the cross and obeying Him is how we know we are living in Him and if we are living in Him and for Him to His glory, we know–we make we are one of the number of many.

If we claim to love our spouses or our children or even family–and yet haven’t gotten to know them–how can that statement be true? Some might say we love our children and family simply because–they are. But let’s go back to the “dating” event that led to marriage. Most people take their time to get the know the person they are dating and contemplating marriage. When people get married and have not truly gotten to know who it is they are marrying, the marriage eventually falls apart, unless some serious work is done to save the marriage.

How do we know? It’s not enough to just say, “I love you” and then move to the next level without knowing what it is you love about the person. In counseling couples before they marry, I caution people to look at the situation from a futuristic perspective–at least twenty years ahead. I encourage their commitment to the relationship rather than just the person because we won’t always “like” the person or what they do, but if we are committed to the relationship--we’ll work to save the relationship. If a person is willing “to work” to save a relationship, then they know–they love.

Are we willing to work on our relationship with God through obedience to Him? If we are, then we know we’ll be in that number!