Love

...now browsing by tag

 
 

June 10

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

We are forgiven to forgive.

We are given grace to give grace.

Those are just a couple of sayings that we will hear and that ran through my mind this morning.

Tragedy: it is too easy to forget and too often done.

My thoughts were piqued this morning because of the Scripture in Matt.18:23-33.  (I’d like to suggest you stop now and read that passage). However, just in case you are short on time, here is a summary: Jesus tells the story of a man who owed a massive, unpayable debt; begs forgiveness; the debt is cancelled; and he moves on. He moves on to a fellow slave you owes him a small debt-payable over time- who asks for the same grace and forgiveness just offered to the other. The other man refuses to forgive and throws the man in jail. (I’ve always wondered how that will help pay the debt). Anyway, the result was not good.

It is important to remember that the grace I have been given is to be given to others. The massive “forgiveness project” which took place from God to me should stand as an example for me to follow when dealing with others.

Think about this with me for a moment. The best person to reach an addict is a recovering addict. The best one to show forgiveness is the one who has been shown forgiveness.

“Father, help me to learn from Jesus’ parable.  Help me to be the one who shows extraordinary grace and forgiveness to someone else because I have the recipient of that same grace and forgiveness.”

May 28

Friday, May 28th, 2021

I read a great story from Our Daily Bread a few days ago. I wanted to write about it then but deferred. It came back to me this morning for like the 3rd or 4th time. Sort of like one of those things that won’t let you go. 🙂  Then, as I was talking to a couple about their upcoming marriage, I said something to them that clicked in me again this morning. First, the story:

The four chaplains were known as “heroes.” On February of 1943, their transport ship, the SS Dorchester, was torpedoed off the coast of Greenland during WWII. The four chaplains calmed the panicked soldiers and while many were jumping for crowded lifeboats, they “preached courage.”

The exhibited it as well. When life jackets ran out, they each took theirs off and gave it away. They had determined to go down with the ship so others could live. (May 26, 2021)

Sort of reminds me of the band playing “Nearer My God To Thee” while Titanic was sinking. Or the story of the pastor (John Harper) who spent his last moments on earth swimming from person to person asking if they were ready for eternity.

It is one thing to be willing to die for someone. But as I told the couple the other night, we are also told to live for one another. In Eph.5 it says “wives are to submit to their husbands” and a lot of men will jump on that bandwagon. But they fail to read the verse which says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…” Jesus died for the church for sure. But He also lived for her.  I think in our hurry to get to the aforementioned verses we skip over the one which says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph.5:20). I not only am to love and lead my wife, I am also to live for her-to submit to her by meeting her needs.

Love is not just being willing to die for someone. It is also being willing to live for them as well.

“Father, thank you for the example of both-living and dying. May I be willing to do the same-not just for my wife and family- but also for others.”

May 5

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

I was blown away by words from a devotion I read this morning. Rather than babble on, I thought I’d just print them here. The words are from Day 5 of 40 Days of Love by Paul David Tripp.

“Don’t be discouraged today. No matter how alone you feel, you’ve been blessed with the Father’s love.”

“I love the depiction of God’s tender care in Isaiah 42:3: ‘A bruised reed he will not break, a faintly burning wick he will not quench.’ What a beautiful word picture! Imagine walking through the bush and coming across a young tree with a bent and almost broken limb hanging at a rather grotesque angle. You spontaneously complete the job, ripping the limb completely off. Your heavenly Father would never, ever be that thoughtless. He wouldn’t think of breaking you the rest of the way. He comes to you in grace to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and restore. His love toward you is tender and faithful. He is near you when it seems no one else is. He will care for you when no one else does. He will heal your wounds when no one around you seems to see how wounded you are. He will never mock or take advantage of your weakness. He will not let you go unnoticed or disregarded. If you are his child, it is impossible for you to be alone and unloved because your heavenly Father is with you and reaches out to you in tender, restoring love.”

He ends with these words: “Yes, life can be very heard, people can be very cruel, and at times you are left alone, but you are never completely abandoned because your Father is with you in tender, restorative love.”  (Pages 18-19)

There is no need to say any more or to include a prayer. Just think on those words for awhile and let them soak in.

April 30

Friday, April 30th, 2021

First, I need you to stop and read Romans 8: 31-39. This is perhaps the most beautiful passage in Scripture (personal preference) and one of, if not, the most powerful chapters in the Bible.

Then please read this…something I read this morning:

“There is a love that will never forsake us. there is a love that will never fail us in any of its commitments to us. There is a love that is so strong that nothing in all of Creation can break it. There is a love that is faithful and true, no matter what. There is a love that is unbreakable, even when we are unloving and undeserving.” (p.7)

“There us simply nothing like the love of God. It is the most powerful force in the universe. Love is what we need-God’s love, that is. You and I could never earn it, deserve it, or achieve it. It reaches into the sinful muck of humanity, cleans us up, draws us close, and launches us to a brand-new living while staying faithful to the end, even if we are not. In loving us, God gives us the greatest gift ever given-the gift of Himself.” (p.8)

How can I improve on that? I can’t say it any clearer. I can’t say it more pointed.

What I can say is, “You are loved…by Him.”

“Father, thank You for Your faithful, unending love. May I bask in it and also share it with others.”

Quoted sections from 40 Days of Love by Paul David Tripp.

March 12

Friday, March 12th, 2021

I want to continue with my thoughts on gratitude.

I Cor.13 tells us “These three remain-faith, hope, and love-but the greatest of these is love.” (13:13). I’d like to think about those three words when it comes to gratitude.

FAITH. We often hear Hebrews 11:1 quoted: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (NLT)  The kind of gratitude which should flow from us is the kind which comes from trusting in the absolute and total lordship of Jesus, that He is sovereign over all things and that includes what happens in our lives. All events. All circumstances. IN. HIS. HANDS. God wastes nothing.

HOPE. The one quality which holds us together. It is fine believing and trusting. But hope tells us there is both a purpose and an end.  Faith tells us nothing was wasted, hope tells us nothing will be wasted. If we know there is an end-even though we cannot see it-we can hold on.

LOVE. The very culmination of it all. God’s love overrides evil, oversees every event, and overwhelms us with the glory of His Presence. It is this love which took Him to the cross and it is this same love that will bring us home.

“Father, may faith, hope and love be evident in my gratitude. My head says, ‘You know all that is going on.’ Please convince my heart with your overwhelming love.”

February 11

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Ask people on the streets to define love and one will get a plethora of answers. And let’s not just talk about those on the street. Let’s ask those in the church. I suspect the answers will be almost identical.

But I can almost guarantee-in fact if I was a betting man I’d put a lot of money on the idea that one of the statements made would be “Love is a feeling.” Say what? So is love for my wife or my daughters or grandson the same “feeling” I have for my dog or cat (of which I have neither), ice cream, or how I feel after an invigorating bike ride?

Obviously, most (probably all) would say, “Oh no! It’s a different kind of feeling.” 🙂 So let’s admit that love is somewhat hard to clarify.

What is not in question-at least in my mind- is that love may be hard to pinpoint with a definition, but it is not hard to be seen. Love is more than just a feeling (cue in Boston’s song). If I waited for my feelings to catch up I may never show love. I like what Bob Goff wrote:

We can’t wait for all the feelings to catch up to us before we give away extravagant amounts of love. Selfless love is always costly. Fear can’t afford it, pride doesn’t understand it, but friends never forget it.” (#40-p.50)

Love is a decision we make. It is more than a feeling. It is a conscious decision which leads to action.

“Father, help me not to wait of feelings to come. Teach me to love as You loved.”

Note: Goff quote from his book Live in Love-Walk in Grace.

February 5

Friday, February 5th, 2021

When I was in college I had a professor who had a required reading list-men who were respected authors. I suspect men like C.S.Lewis and others of his ilk were on that list. It has been far too long for me to remember others. One I know for sure was Francis Schaeffer. He wrote some books that even today I probably could not understand. Anyway, we were to read and write a report. I was way out of my league when it came to understanding what I read and then writing a report on that book. But I thought I had found a solution. Francis Schaeffer had written a small book called The Mark of the Christian. Perfect! Problem solved. Small. Short in length (probably about 20-30 pages). And, get this! Easy to understand!! 🙂 I was set…until…the prof said it was okay to read and write the report but since it was so short I would also have to include another book. Bummer!

All that say this: the reason I remember that short book and have trouble remembering his other titles (except for How Now Shall We Live?) is the subject matter. The mark of the Christian is L-O-V-E.  When you think about it, it is a trademark. Jesus said, “By this will all men know you are My disciples if you love one another.” The entire chapter of I Cor. 13 is dedicated to the life-changing power of love. (Cue in Huey Lewis song right here). John writes that we “love Him because He first loved us.” Jesus told His disciples to “love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13 NLT)

The way I see it if someone pricked me with a pin, love would flow out.  If someone beat me with a club, love would spill out. And if someone filet me, love would gush out. (Those are merely examples. I wouldn’t really want someone to prick me, beat me or filet me). Love would burst out. There would be no way to contain it and no way I could hide the love that lives within and fills me.

Question: Is that the kind of love in me? In you?

“Father, I am to love You first and foremost and my neighbor as myself. Am I a home for love? If I was opened up, would love spill out?”

September 16

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

What do baseball, football, soccer, hockey, basketball, tennis…well, every sport…have in common? If you said referees/umpires you would be right. But also wrong. Because I am actually looking for a different answer. They all have something in common, something that you may not even think about. They all keep score. What is an athletic contest without keeping score?  You could say, “Exercise” or “fun game” and you could be right, but that misses the point. Keeping score is accepted as an essential part of an athletic contest. You won’t find one sport that says, “Aaah let’s not keep score today. It’s Game 7 of the World Series. Let’s just go out and have fun.”  “The people have come to watch the Super Bowl. So let’s go out and play but not really care.” Yeah…like that is going to happen. Plus it makes no sense.

Okay so let me add another item to the equation. But let me add it with a Bible verse: “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Love does not keep score. That reminds me of an illustration I once heard (and have used). A couple was seeing a marriage counselor for some serious issues in their marriage when the husband said, “Whenever we have an argument my wife gets all historical.”  The counselor said, “Don’t you mean hysterical?” “No,” he said. “She gets historical. She brings up everything I’ve ever done wrong.” Ouch!

It’s easy to remember; it’s hard to forget. Resentment is always making calculations.  It is always rearing its ugly head by pointing out what was “once done to me.” Paul is saying in I Cor.13:5 that love is not resentful. Other translations say, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Love doesn’t calculate. Love doesn’t tally up.  It needs no calculator or computer flash drive with a memory to save/record wrong for future posterity.

“Father, help me to truly love as Jesus did. When I am wronged, help me to  move on and not keep a record. Help me to get rid of resentment and keeping score.”