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A Conversation about love

love2

Me: You tell us to love one another and I was wondering if this is an all-around, across-the-board type of love. ‘Cause I have to tell you, I’ve run across some folks that are just plain unlovable. I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.

love 1

God: A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Me: Yes, I’ve heard you say that, but I’ve been having some trouble. You see, there’s some people out there who just drive me crazy. I don’t agree with them but they keep on talking to me. I try to talk and they don’t listen to me. And some of them, well, they’re just plain mean. So, I was hoping that maybe you had some exceptions to the rule that would help me out.

loveGod: (I think I heard Him let out a mournful, soft sigh) Love one another deeply (1 Peter 1:22b).

Me: You’re not gonna make this easy, are you? Look, I’ve been trying but, lately, it’s been so hard.

God: (He leans down close to me, His voice is gentle, not condemning) But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” lend to “sinners” expecting to be paid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)

Me: (in a very small voice) You mean like to way You have been kind to me, even when I love3don’t appreciate it, even though I can’t possibly pay you back? (even smaller voice) I don’t think I can.

God: Remember the words that I gave to my servant Paul: “Now about brotherly love, we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other” (1 Thessalonians 4:9). I have already shown you how to love. As I explained it to John, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us….since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11).

Me: (my voice barely above a whisper) Could you go over it again?

love 5God: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1b). Do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:14).

Me: (I can’t look up, I slump down at His feet) That’s a tall order, God.

God: My child, you are already rooted and established in love (Ephesians 3:17), so live a life of love (Ephesians 5:2) by serving one another in love (Galatians 5:13).

Me: (I dare to glance upwards) I love you, Lord. I will try.

God: My love is already within you, along with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Galatians 5:6).

Me: Will you help me?

Matthew verse

God: And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age

Me: Amen

love 6

 

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Love has…

Love has a facecross

A face that all creation looks up to

A face I can cry out to for desperate help

Or opens into laughter for the joy He extends to me

All life stretches upwards to see the face of Him who is Life

 

Love has two eyes

Eyes that look down upon His creation

Beaten and bloodied eyes that saw past his own pain

Tearful eyes that soaked up the darkness that exists in mine

Eyes that ever long to catch a glimpse of who I am to Him

 

Love has two handsfather child hands

Hands that were stretched out and nailed to a crossbar

Hands that have reached out to catch me when I stumble

Hands that gently wiped away each tear I have shed

Or rise up in anger to defend me when I crumble into my own weakness

 

Love has two feetfather and child feet

Feet that have walked the Heavens from before time

Feet that trod the dust of Judea and splashed in the waves of Galilee

Feet that resolutely followed a path to Golgotha

Feet that willingly search for me when I have hidden myself in shame

 

Love has a name

Savior, Messiah

Annointed One

The Son of Man who is Jesus

love looks like...

 


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All About Love

 

The last Advent candle is all about Love

Advent Candles Christmas Eve-Prophecy, Love, Joy, Peace, Purity

 

It’s Christmas time and I wait all year,

I love the excitement that’s thick in the air.

It’s in a child’s laugh and a grandparent’s eyes,

Even strangers tend to smile and reindeer learn to fly.

 

I love decorating the house, unwrapping each treasure

That I pull out of boxes and remember with pleasure

The Christmases past, how the years have flown by,

When my children were younger and so was I!

Christmas presents

 

I set up the Nativity and hang each stocking,

A large wreath on the door for those friends who come knocking.

From the kitchen, the aroma of fresh gingerbread

And the other rooms are scented with fresh pine instead.

 

The children in costumes, shepherd’s staffs and angel wings,

Two play Mary and Joseph, there’s a star followed by three kings.

They tell us the story of a wondrous birth,

Of a time when God Himself reached down to the Earth.

Christmas decorations

 

The Son that He loved, His love for mankind

Are together at last and for a brief time,

We walked with Love and learned from His hand

As He showed us a Love we still struggle to understand.

 

And it all starts with a babe, so tiny and frail.

I love that it starts as an improbable tale.

A young mother, trembling, frightened and scared,

An untried father, woefully unprepared.

I love that wealthy kings travel dangerously far,

While shepherds can stroll downhill to follow that star.

VF01

 

I love that when we couldn’t stretch our hands high enough,

God reached down to us with immeasurable love

merry Christmas 2


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a fair question

5096_1197313732195_1677986_nO LORD, what is man that you care for him,

The son of man that you think of him?

Psalm 144:3

A fair question.

Why does God care about us? I know that theologians can (and have) gone on and on about this but the answer is simply that He loves us. I wish I could state it more eloquently. I wish I had the beautifully poetic words that would make the notion of such a love come to life for you. But, honestly, there is no need to complicate things. God is love and He loves his creation.

That’s it – a pure simple truth.

Man is like a breath

His days are like a fleeting shadow

Psalm 144:4

Compared to God’s greatness, we are nothing

He loves us anyway

Our time on earth is momentary

He notices us anyway

Our foolish waywardness has to be frustrating

He shows us a true Way

Our speeches and written words (like this) must be entertaining

He listens anyway

And responds by pointing us to the Word – His Son

Why does He care?

He simply does.

hands1


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Extraordinary Love

 

jesus_mary_joseph

It was just an ordinary town

on the edge of nowhere

Just a simple, quiet night

that took the world unaware.

She was just an ordinary girl

Frightened of her part to play

He was just an ordinary guy

with a wife and child on the way

But He was no ordinary babe

Lying in that bed of straw

Surrounded by sheep and shepherds

Even kings bowed down in awe

star

Under that same old, starry night

Where one star shone out clear

A new mother held her babe

And whispered love into Love’s ear

On this simple, quiet night

He entered our world in this way

From a throne in Heaven above

To a simple bed of hay

Out of ordinary things

Comes a simple mother’s love

Out of ordinary things

Comes extraordinary Love.

VF01


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Small things done with great love

images (4Our neighborhood supermarket closed a few months ago and I had to find a new one. There is a great market one town over but it is very busy and always crowded. I’ve had to make some adjustments, which is never easy but it seems to be working. One thing that I struggle with at this new store is probably the most trivial, yet I drives me crazy. They lock up their shopping carts and you need a quarter to unlock it. All the carts have a chain with a lock on them that inserts into the next cart in the line to keep them together, but a quarter inserted into the slot will unchain one. When you are through shopping, you return the cart and as you lock it to the other carts, your quarter is released. I like the concept. It keeps the parking lot free of stray carts. My problem is remembering to take a quarter with me. I keep a few spare coins in the cup holder of the car just for this purpose but it doesn’t help me if I always have to return to my car to retrieve the quarter that I so consistently forget.

Yesterday, as I went to insert my quarter, I saw that someone had left their quarter and not locked the cart. I’ve seen this before, some kind soul who understands the frustration of not having change on hand had left the coin to make someone’s day a bit easier. I resolved to leave the quarter in place and so pass on the act of kindness to the next person so they don’t have to fumble in their bag or reach into empty pockets in search of elusive quarters.

I felt good as I left my unlocked cart, passing on the caring gesture to the next shopper. I returned to my car and saw the spare change sitting in the cup holder and suddenly realized what an empty gesture that stupid quarter really was. It didn’t cost me anything. That 25 cents wasn’t going to break the bank. I had no right to be so pleased with myself for doing something so trivial.

And then I remembered a quote from Mother Teresa:

images (4)

or perhaps this quote that I read:

“There are no great things, only small things done with great love.”

Think of all the little unimportant things that you can do each day to brighten another one’s life. Saying “Thank You”, holding a door open or sharing a simple smile. images (5)We may not get an opportunity to make dramatic difference in someone else’s life every day but we if we keep our eyes open we will find a hundred little “nothing” things that we can do each day to lighten someone’s load.images (6)

Lord, I ask you to help me to see the needs that are all around me. Give me the courage to reach out and help even if it may cost me dearly. But help me also to see the value of the little things. Help me to see the beauty of that particular shade of green that you chose for the grass outside my window right now. Show me how to be grateful for all you give me, including that soft heart that caused someone to leave a quarter in the cart lock so I didn’t have to trudge back to my car for change. Help me to see the beauty in all the “small things done with great love” that have been done for me. And help me to do the same for others every day.   Amen


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Love Looks Like…

 

When I was a childchildhood love

Love was kittens and puppies

And splashing in puddles

Love was a summer’s day

On my bike that went on forever

Love was making cookies with mom

Or taking walks with dad

And looking up into their faces

Knowing I was safe

 

When I was a teen

Love was sweet stolen kissesfeet in love

In darkened movie theaters

Love was best friend sleepovers

And secrets by flashlight

Love was romantic daydreams

And summertime romance

 

When I was an adult

Love was meeting that person

Who filled all my empty placeshands on tracks

Love was a best friend forever

That I felt free to laugh or cry with

Love was that one special person

To complete a new family circle

 

Now as a wife love is in one

who has seen all my darkness

And still stands beside me

And now as a mom love is a constantfather child hands

giving away of my heart and yet

there is always more to give

 

Now I thought I understood how love looks

But of all the many faces of love

That I’ve been blessed to know

There’s one I almost missed

A love that had me before I recognized it

A love that had me before I returned it

A love that had me before I received it

A love in the shape of a cross

love looks like...