Archive | April 2016

Revisiting “Love, true love”

I was looking through old posts today and came across this one. Hope you enjoy it!

Love, true love.

I was thinking about the movie “The Princess Bride.” I love that movie. It cracks me up! When you read “love, true love”, you have to imagine saying it with a large marshmallow in your mouth – you know, like the priest getting ready to marry off the girl. I would say a ping-pong ball but that makes me gag to think about it!

Anyway, do you know what “love, true love” really is? Is it google eyes over the man of your dreams? Is it red roses and nice dinners?

I would say no. True love is carting a box of cowgirl boots on a plane because she had to leave them behind. True love is turning dirty socks inside out to be washed. True love is cleaning up a sick mess. True love is accepting morning breath.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Love is a choice we make each and every day. Just as easily as you can choose to love, you can choose not to love – hence the reason we have such a high divorce rate.

Choose to love God. Choose to allow Him to show you the way and make your path straight. Choose to love your children and show them what love is. Choose to love your spouse unconditionally. Don’t hold past sins against him/her – love him/her through them.

Practice “love, true love.”

 

Advertisements

The last days…

2 Timothy 3:1-9, 12-15 – “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Hmm, sound vaguely familiar? 

It’s like Paul had the ability to look at a day in the life of Joe Blow citizen in 2016. In truth, the Holy Spirit has that ability and He used it to inspire Paul about what would be going on in today’s world. 

If you ever had a question about were the end times really coming and/or are here, well, here is your proof. 

It is sad to say, but too many people fit one or all of these depravities. We see it in the news. We hear about it in social media. We see it happening down the street! 

People are selling people (and little people at that!) at an alarming rate. Children disappear every day! People are fussing over bathrooms (and rightfully so, I might add). People are demanding “rights” at the expense of everyone else. People are stealing from other people because they think the more wealthy have too much. People are getting something for nothing all the time, well, just because they think they deserve it. 

I could go on and on and on and on….you get it. It is bad, people. And the time is drawing nearer and nearer. 

I’m not saying we need to be hateful and disrespectful and intolerant. Absolutely not! We need to hate the sin and love the sinner. We are all sinners. And those of us who are a child of God, are sinners saved by grace. 

That’s what the world needs more of – grace. Not our grace, but rather the grace of Jesus Christ. We can do nothing to save these people who portray the negative attributes above. No, we can do nothing.  Hating them will get us no where. Being intolerant and judgmental will prove nothing. But disagreeing in love and standing up for what is right IN LOVE will show that Christ is King of our life. 

Jesus didn’t put up with sin. He called a spade and spade and then offered them a better way. His way. His path. His love.  

So, do what you feel the Lord is leading you to do in regards to social issues, boycotts and justice. But whatever you choose to do, do it in love and with respect to everyone involved. 

The last days are here, folks. We need to wake up. We need to identify the problem and the present the solution – Jesus Christ. 

Resting

Psalm 91:1 – “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

It’s not too often that I take time to rest. It seems like I am running from the time my eyes open in the morning until they close at night. My day is filled with running here and there, preparing this and that and the general chaos that sustains the life of a mom with one teenager and one almost teenager. 

I’m not complaining. I love my life. I love my kids. But I also like to rest. Yesterday, I purposefully made time to rest. Oh, I still got the laundry done and put away, the dishes cleaned and put away and prepared lunch for today, but I also slept outside for an hour. I stuck my feet in the pool and chilled. I read an ENTIRE magazine! Oh happy day. It was blissful. 

God wants us to rest. He wants us to rest from our work. He wants us to rest from our insanity called life. We need that time to recuperate. Our bodies need it. Our spirit needs it, and our mind needs it. 

The best place to rest in in the “shadow of the Almighty”. Don’t you just love the picture that word phrase brings to mind? I picture a grand and gigantic tree that has boughs going out as far as the eye can see. The air within the branches is cool and sweet. The grass is soft and cozy. The trunk is stable and the roots are deep. That is exactly where I want to be. Protected from the outside world. Safe and secure. How amazing would that be?!

And while this place may not exist here on earth (who knows, maybe it does), I know that I can find that place spiritually. I can crawl into His shadow and rest. I can choose to let Him cover me with His love in such a way that the outside world becomes a distant memory. That’s were we need to be. 

So let me encourage you to make that time this week. Choose to spend some time in the “shadow of the Almighty”. Let Him refresh and restore you. Let Him bring peace to your heart. 

Wonderfully made

  
Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

My mom sent me this picture the other day. The caption read : “Redheads are God’s roses.” 

It made me smile. For those of you who may not know me, I am a redhead. Not the kind from a bottle, no, only the good Lord could come up with this color! I have brown eyes instead of blue and my skin is as fair as fair can be. Yep, me and sunscreen are BFFs! 

I love the picture but it was the caption that drew my attention. A rose. I never thought of myself as a rose. 

It got me to thinking about what characteristics me and roses have in common. So, here goes. 

Let’s start with the color. Usually when someone thinks about roses, red is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Red is the color of love and passion. But it is also the color of hate and anger. Well, I have quite the mixture of that flowing in me. I care fiercely for those around me and I love dearly those that are closest. I can be a bit of a momma bear at times, I admit it. It comes with the territory. I try to steer away from anger. It takes a lot, usually, to get me upset. But when I get there, Katie bar the door! It is not pretty. I’m working on that, by the way. 

The next thing you think of are the thorns. I think we all have thorns to some degree or another. We all have our prickly side that we don’t want others to know about. To me, thorns are those things that we really don’t want anyone else to see. I can’t tell you how many times I have been grateful that people can’t read my thoughts. Oh, the trouble I would be in! 

Another thing you may think of is the care that roses require. They need to be pruned and watered and fertilized. Occasionally, they need to be cut completely back. I feel like I am in a constant state of pruning sometimes. The Master Gardener has His work cut out for Him! But He does His loving work diligently and faithfully. He never lets me get too far away. And I love that! I need His hand in my life to show me the thorns and feed me through His word and water me with the bonds of fellowship. 

I may not be a rose. Most days I feel more like a dandelion- have you ever tried to kill one of those? They don’t go down without a fight and more often than not, they show up again! Yep, I think I’m more of a dandelion than a rose. Roses are too delicate. But the sentiment is sweet. I appreciate my momma thinking of me as a rose. 

It’s springtime and for a large majority of the US, flowers are beginning to make an appearance. What kind of flower would describe you? Think on that today and this weekend. Get out, if you can, and enjoy God’s creation. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made – even the flowers and all of nature. Remember, God put nature around us to remind us of Him. 

Joy in obedience 

Psalm 35:9 – “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.” 

My daughter had believed she was saved for quite sometime- that is, until last summer. During VBS, she came to me and told me that she thought she had just prayed the prayer and did not mean it in her heart. We talked about what that meant and before our chat was over, she was a true blue Princess. She truly and completely accepted Jesus as her Savior. 

Sunday night, our church observed the Lord’s Supper. It’s a very somber and reverent time for our little congregation, yet so very sweet. We observe this ordinance twice a year. I’m not sure where we were when we observed it in the fall, but we must not have been there because my daughter said this was her first “real” observance of this ordinance. 

She said, “Mom, I used to smile through it. But tonight, I couldn’t. It just reminded me so much of what Jesus did for me. But now, all I can do is smile because this time I did it for real.”

Joy. Real, honest joy in being obedient. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever been so overflowing with joy just because you have done what Jesus asked you to do?

It is an amazing feeling. It makes me smile just thinking about it. 

We should experience joy when we are obedient to God. It shouldn’t be burdensome and weary. It should be joyful and energizing and rewarding. 

Matthew 11:30 – “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

How many of us feel like this at the end of the day? We have done all that God has called us to do and what do we do? Complain. Moan. Groan. Whine. 

Some days, His yoke doesn’t feel light. Why is that? I know in my case, it’s a “me” problem. I’m so busy being focused on me and my problems that I forget to see the joy in being obedient. 

So let me encourage you today to choose to see the joy in doing what God has called you to do – whether it be serving on the mission field or serving dinner to the family. Find joy in all you do, especially in your obedience to Him. 

Being brave 

Esther 4:13-16 – ” Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”

Esther is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. It was the first recorded beauty pageant, and the thought of a year of spa days makes me swoon! 

But here, Esther is called upon to be one of the bravest women in the nation. Her people are in grave danger. A very angry man has convinced the king to kill all the Jews on a set date. Esther is the only one who can physically intervene for the entire nation of Israel. Esther’s uncle implores her to take a stand. He is confident that if she chooses not to follow through with the request that God will provide from another source, but he knows that if she will submit to God, that the nation will be saved. But Esther has to get way outside of her comfort zone and stand before the king. To do this without being summoned could mean death, but it is a risk Esther is willing to take. 

Now, Esther didn’t just decide this and then march into the king’s court. No, she asked for prayer support. She asked her uncle and the entire city to fast and pray for her for three days. 

Here’s what I want to get out of these verses – 1.  Life requires that you take risks sometimes. Be aware of when those moments come. 2. And when they do come, prayerfully consider them. Don’t just bull rush the situation. Slow down. Get some prayer help. Seek wise counsel. 3. Be brave when facing those risks. You plus God equals an unstoppable force. But don’t let that fact make you prideful. Let it humble you to know that without Him, you are a hot mess. 

I can’t imagine the fear Esther had to overcome in this situation. Her stomach must have been in all sorts of knots while she was awaiting the king’s approval. Yet, she knew that God was with her and she was ready to do whatever He commanded her, even if it meant losing her life. 

How about you? Are you ready to follow God into the great unknown and face your fears and trust in Him alone? Sounds scary, right? Sounds like a daunting tasks that requires a lot of effort. It is. However, God never promised us an easy life full of spa days. But He did promise to walk beside us every day to help us face every challenge and every fear with a power far beyond what we can comprehend. 

Let love lead

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Ok, first of all – if you aren’t familiar with KJV, “charity” means “love”. Charity is an old English word for love. 

Moving on..

Have you ever had a situation in your life in which someone you care about doesn’t do or act the way that you think they should? Their decisions don’t line up with what you are expecting. You think that your way is the correct and only way to handle the situation. And when the person you care about takes a path different from the one you had laid out in your head, well, that just won’t do. You get all in a fuss and begin to question their ability to choose for themself. You think they need an intervention. 

What they really need is love (go ahead – let you inner Beatle go at it!). 

When you love someone (and I’m not just talking about your spouse – I’m talking about ANYBODY you care about), these verses cover them. That means that you (and I) need to invoke all these wonderful attributes into that relationship. Patience, kindness, lack of pride, unselfishness, long suffering- these are the kinds of actions that need to be present whenever we love someone. 

But when they are thinking and behaving outside of our realm of what we believe for them, it gets tough. As long as they are within our little box for them, we are good – no relationship strains or challenges. But we all know that no one stays in the box. People are constantly outside their little box we give them to exist in. And that’s where we have to put love into action. 

We need to be patient with them, give them space to think things through and make their own choices. And when those choices don’t look like what we think they should, we have to be kind and long suffering. We haven’t walked in their shoes. We have walked alongside them, but to know the real ins and outs of what is going on inside their head is impossible. We have to remove our prideful and selfish behaviors that want to step in and intervene. They don’t need us to tell them what to do. They need us to listen and understand that they are trying to figure out what is next. We all deal with life and situations differently. We see problems in a variety of lights. We view opportunities with unique perspectives. Loving someone means respecting that uniqueness and embracing the time that it takes them to sort it all out. 

So today, maybe you have someone in your life that is trying to figure it all out. Maybe that person is going through major life changes or maybe they are just having one of those days. Either way, love them as the Holy Spirit instructed Paul to tell us here in these verses. You may not understand their choices, their problems or their thought process but remember that you don’t have to – you just need to bathe them in prayer and let Jesus take control of the situation. We can only walk so far with them, but He can walk the entire way.