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.

 

Love’s Seal!

Love’s Seal!

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy  unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned. Song of Solomon 8:6,7 NIV

No matter how many love songs are produced and poems written and stories told, there is none like the love demonstrated in the Song of Solomon–explanation of love.

How many of us can say we wear love like a seal over our hearts and arms?

How strong is our love for others?

Does love only burn in our hearts in lust or does it burn with desire to serve all?

When love is sealed within our spirits–no escape hatch–water cannot stop it, rivers cannot carry it away from the object of our affections.

And though we love as we are told,

There are many mysteries of love to unfold,

Showering all we meet and greet sincerely,

With no holds barred, sealing love completely.

This love we have received from others,

Freely we give to all sisters and brothers,

In Christ and out–loving unconditionally

Remembering His Love for us, sentimentally.

Love has shown us, with great sacrifice made,

Obedient to Love, With His Life He paid,

The price to seal us with Love, so we can love!

Remember that “love” is not just about two people who connect with chemical appeal, but it’s about the love He gives us and how we respond to others whether they know Him or not, we are commanded to love (not lust after) all.

Today–a day that many set aside for special celebrations with the object of their affection, without remembering the ma–Valentine– who dared to defy a law established by Claudius to not marry young men (since marriage interfered with ability to soldier) and married young couples in secret and lost his life for doing so. That’s what real love–for mankind–does. Love sacrifices and seals its purpose within its actions.

Is your heart sealed with love? Show someone you don’t even know, a little love today!

Getting Back to The Foundation of His Truth!

“But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”(I Corinthians 7:2 NIV)

No matter how hard we try–at least some of us–we cannot get away from the fact that the bible addresses every aspect of our living right before God. Through Paul, God’s purpose for us is emphasized in a number of chapters–how husbands and wives should treat each other, how to raise children, how to conduct ourselves in worship services, and how to establish order in the church. Whatever question we could possibly have, the answer–is in there.

The problem for many in accepting what is in there is the fact that whenever a person or persons choose to dispute the information or instruction in the bible, they do so selectively, without understanding, totally missing what is being said because they choose to take things out of context. This verse of scripture is one of those people “prefer to ignore” because Paul said and not Jesus (it’s not written in red).

It’s amazing how people can “discount” the value of what is being said based upon who said it. They do so because they did not read further–“all scripture is written by inspiration of God” no matter who He uses to say it.

Moving along–when the early churches had questions regarding behaviors that were once considered “okay” based upon the environment in which one found themselves, Paul addressed them. There had been “temple prostitutes” and many other unsavory behaviors operating because of unbelief. Adultery and fornication were the status quo and because some dared to seek truth, Paul spoke it as it pertains to sexual activity. Here it is very clear--sexual activity should be reserved for those who are married and then the married should have only sex with their “own husbands” and “their own wives.”

When we choose to ignore righteous instruction because of fleshly dictates, we set ourselves for disaster and until we can right the wrong, nothing will change the devastating course of events that will be the result of sin. If we claim to accept one part of the bible as God’s truth, then we must claim it all–with understanding and keeping all of it in context of God’s purposes for mankind.

This is not the only passage of scripture that is often refuted in the church world. Many in the church have disputed women’s roles within the church because they overlooked what Joel said. Many have claimed that people of color are the result of the curse on Ham, lacking understanding that the first man, Adam–was a man of color–a fact simply deduced by looking at where God formed him and how. People use the bible to promote hatred and superiority because of a lack of understanding. God has no respect of persons and He sees us all as equals–no male or female, Jew or Gentile, all one in Christ Jesus.

But we don’t see us as God sees us and as a result, we tend to overlook passages that go against our flesh. This is why there is confusion, hate, and unrest in the land–we allow our flesh to dictate what we want and when others don’t agree, we rise up and promote hatred–either with the bible or refuting it. Either way–God is not pleased and when He is not pleased, none of us has peace.

The sooner we see things the way God sees them (and we can if we truly develop a relationship with Him), the sooner we’ll see peace in the land. We have no excuse–His written instructions–given to and by all who desired to please Him–provide us the foundation of His Truth. It’s time we got back to that foundation, rather than attempting to build one that is bound to crumble and fall.

His Love Endures

“O give thanks to the God of Heaven, His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26 NIV).

Many times people think they know all there is to love–even though they are often confusing love with lust–and wonder how we end up with songs like, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by popular artists.

I was listening to a television show a few days ago and my thoughts were arrested by something a character said. She said, “A person can be in love with as many people as they want to love at any moment in time regardless of gender.” This was said to justify her attraction to both males and females. My immediate reaction to that statement was to reflect upon the difference between love and lust. One of the tools Satan is using to confuse people is the misunderstanding about these two issues. In a later episode of the show, “Bones” she breaks up with the woman or rather the female breaks up with her and she marries a male character–supposedly in love.

Lust is a matter of attraction that appeals to and engages the flesh–purely sexual in nature and is all about satisfying an immediate desire, usually in the lower regions of the body.

Love is a matter  of emotional engagement when the heart is engaged–the upper regions of the body, not the lower. A person can love without physical involvement of a sexual nature, but lust demands satisfaction at any cost.

But when we really understand God’s love–the love that endures forever–we can know love and understand that “real love” has little to do with fleshly desire of any kind.

Real love seeks to serve, comfort, protect, direct, guide, and correct the object of one’s affection. Parents (good ones) love their children enough to provide for them, teach them, correct and model a loving relationship that endures–no matter what. Are there perfect children? No, there are no perfect children because there are no perfect people, but we keep trying.

Real love in a relationship exists whether sexual involvement exists or not. If that were not so, then every time spouses are separated for any period of time, they would be subjected to “not loving” until they were able to satisfy their urges.

An urge, a tickling, a feeling–lasts but for a moment, but love lasts beyond the moment. Until we can convince kids–those actively involved in sexual activity–that what they feel is lust and not love, we lose entire generations to the depraved influence of Satan who could care less about misuse of bodies, or diseases and deaths caused by sexual promiscuity. And this is why many kids and adults feel that “urge” can be satisfied by anyone, indiscriminately.

We, who are in relationship with God and understand how He wants us to live, need to use every available avenue to encourage others to live a life that is pleasing to Him–with lifetime benefits–rather than giving into urges for momentary pleasure. God is love and He has provided for us the platform for engaging in sexual activity within the institution of marriage. If love exists in the relationship–lust will not be an issue, but will be satisfied as God intended.

Like so many other people, I’ve often thought I was “in love” with others, but now I know the difference and can say it was “in lust” not love. I do know love and that love includes the love for my husband, my children, family and friends–the love that lasts a lifetime.

Encourage someone today to know God’s love and allow His love to lead them to enduring happiness, that will last for more than a moment. His love endures forever!

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!

Faithful!

The Lord is faithful in everything He does and in what He has said to us through His Word and when He speaks to us privately. Are we as faithful (reliable and trustworthy, thorough in the performance of duty) to Him as He is to us?

Some people work at being faithful to spouses–when it is convenient for them to do so.  When one determines that being faithful is too much work, people stray and marriage vows develop wings and fly.

Some people begin a new job by being faithful–for the first ninety days--and then they complain and find all manner of things wrong with the company to whom they said, “I want some of your money,” when they applied for the job.  When the job is terminated because of their lack of faithfulness, they stand, stunned, unable to comprehend what happened.

Then there are the people who cannot be faithful to their children–love, nurture, guide–past the time they cease to become “cute” (potty training time). They abuse, abandon and misuse their children and then wonder why their children are disobedient and disrespectful towards them.

Some friends are more faithful to each other than they are to a spouse, a job, or a child, but that friendship is totally reliant upon a reciprocal relationship.  The minute one can’t do for the other, the friendship ends.

In the political arena, the only faithfulness we see is to whoever has the most money and can do the most for someone else. There is no faithfulness to the people who put politicians in office; if there was–all decisions in government would be for the benefit of all the people, not special interest groups.

We sometimes expect God to be our personal magician as a demonstration of His faithfulness towards us, but are we faithful to Him? Are we in constant communication with Him? Are we loving one another as ourselves? Are we obedient to Him and doing what He asks us to do?

If God’s faithfulness towards us was the same as ours towards each other and Him, where would we be?

 

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness! Create in us a desire to be as faithful to You as You are to us and never deter from our allegiance to You. In Jesus’ name we pray and thank You, Amen!

Enduring Love!

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV).

One of the reasons (just one) we should arise in the morning thanking God for His love is because His love endures (remains steadfast, in spite of us) no matter what we do.

Every once in a while, we forget–our forgetfulness can be seen in how we treat others–just how much God loves us.  We forget about His love when we callously ignore the needs of the poor and the vulnerable.  We forget about His love when we don’t know how to love others or refuse to love them.  We forget about His love when we forget our roles as parents, ignoring the needs of our children.  We forget about His love when we don’t treat others as we want to be treated. We forget, but He does not–He continues to love us and forgive us when we confess our sins.

Sometimes, we seek relationships with others in marriage and the love we thought was there, did not endure the transitional period of adjustment–to each other.  The tiny challenges became major conflicts and since neither party wants to admit fault, the relationship endsdoes not endure, cannot handle the difficult times.  Thankfully, there is no transitional adjustment time for us with God–at least on His part–He knows everything about us and loves us just the same, even when we cannot admit to being at fault.  Can we ever love like Him?

Father, help us to love like You love–with endurance and determination to stay the course.  Help us to look beyond the shortcomings of others like You look beyond ours.  Help us to see us as You see us, lovable–no matter what.  Help us to stay focused on You, learning to be more like You each and every day, loving You the way You love us. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!