LOVE IS / IS NOT:

1 Corinthians 13: What is Love?

Love is not jealousy; a burning desire to have what someone else has, or resentment. Those things are an absence of love. When I have to win, and the other person has to lose, is jealousy. Resentment shows in how we respond to other’s success, just as much as how we handle our own.

Love is not bragging, boasting, or publicizing our own success/accomplishments. When we are full of arrogance and puffed up with self importance, we aren’t able to love others because all of our focus is on ourselves. Have you ever known someone who is truly humble? When someone is humble, you cannot humiliate them.

Love is not acting unbecomingly, it is not rude, or discourteous. It is kind and considerate, it is polite. Love is tactful, saying Please, thank you, excuse me. Do the little things.

Love is not self-seeking; it is not selfish. It is self sacrificing. The root of all problems is selfishness, so love is to be empty of ourselves and to look out for others over ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be provoked (i.e. irritable, sharp, prickly, touchy, grumpy, and quick to take offense), these show our failure to love. They are triggers to anger and a temperamental “blast off”, as opposed to a righteous anger or irritability (remember Jesus running the money changers and those turning His Father’s House into a place of business out of the Temple?) We must be at peace with God to prevent this.

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Don’t keep track of grudges and resentments! Love lets the past die, it absorbs the wrong. Good friends are good forgivers. Let it go. Choose to forgive. “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” – Sarah Barton, founder of the American Red Cross Ultimate forgiveness is shown by Jesus and His sacrifice. Knowing we were yet sinners, He left Heaven to die on the cross for our sins. For your sins. For my sins!

Love is not happy with sins or lies. It doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness. Love has boundaries. It is based in God’s Truth. Love doesn’t rejoice in it’s own sins. What of our entertainment choices? Our relationship choices? Are we leading other people into sin through those choices? Love supports the truth, and the TRUTH doesn’t change. It is the same today as it was yesterday or 2000 years ago, and it will be the same tomorrow, and it will still be the same in 20,000 years.

“When love is present, nothing else is needed.” Love is essential to anything I do. Without love, I’m just making noise. Remember this truth – No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. There is no real sacrifice without real love, true love, which is Agape love. This Love is produced ONLY by the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, Who the church is based on. LOVE personified, the Cornerstone of the church.

Love rejoices with the truth; Love bears/carries, protects, supports, covers or shelters all. Love is everything both for us AND for others. In Genesis 9, when Noah’s sons realized their father was naked and they covered his nakedness without looking at him, that is Love. Real Love offers shelter and protection for our shortcomings and our faults without focusing on them.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NASB

Love believes – not in a gullible way, and not overly suspicious or cynical. Love is encouraging. It takes the best view of people and holds on to it, for as long as it is possible. Love believes in second chances. Love remembers that God isn’t finished with us yet!

Love hopes and doesn’t give up. It has desire with expectancy and it is realistic, but in the dark days it holds hands with Hope. When you get discouraged because life is overwhelming and everything seems to be falling apart, read the end of the Book. I love reading Revelations, because we win!

Love endures and will hold on until there is absolutely no hope left. It is patient and persevering in all circumstances. Love perseveres, it holds on, it endures.

Paul is saying to the Corinthians: “What LOVE is, you are not.” Will we be like the Corinthians, without Love, or will we search Scriptures and study to be more Christ-like and loving outside of ourselves and our own selfishness?

LORD, be with us, Your people during this unprecedented time. Help us all to not just hold on to Your promises, but give us the courage to live your Love and the Truth. Amen.

References: 1 Corinthians 1:26, 29; 4:7, 4:18-19, 8:1; Philippians 2:3, 5-8; Acts 17:16; Romans 4:8; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Hebrew 10:17; Matthew 18; Romans 5:8; 1 John 5:9; Proverbs 10:12; James 5:20; 1 Peter 7; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 15:13; John 13:1

Oh Give Thanks

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His Name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His Holy Name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His Strength; Seek His Face continually. Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His Marvels and the Judgments from His Mouth, ….”

1 Chronicles 16:8‭-‬12 NASB

No matter what else is going on, give thanks to the LORD. With all the uncertainty and chaos today, Oh give thanks to the LORD!

He is our Rock; He alone is our Shelter. No One but GOD can make sense out of the senselessness of our world. Praise the LORD; Bless His Holy Name!

Judgment

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned,* [Genesis 6:4; Jude 6] but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah* [Genesis 18-19] to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties….” 2 Peter 2:4-10 NASB

“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” Jude 1:6‭-‬7 NASB

God’s judgment never misses: If GOD says He will ….. then He will. His judgment is inevitable.
God is the God of Love and Mercy, AND He is the God of Judgment. From the very beginning of time, God has judged the wicked. Cosmically, He judged the angels who rebelled, banishing them from heaven. He judged globally by flooding the entire earth, killing everyone and everything except Noah, his family, and the animals he brought to the Ark. He judged locally with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, saving only Lot and his family. The final judgment is coming.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 NASB

Judgement is not immediate, and it is not idle or asleep, but God’s Judgment is inescapable – it is only escapable if we are saved by accepting Jesus as LORD of our lives. We escape by being made Righteous in God’s eyes through His Son, Jesus Christ. The LORD rescues the righteous through Unmerited Favor through His Son. There are no loopholes, there is only Jesus.

Noah was righteous but that didn’t save him. What saved him was the mercy and grace of God. Jesus is our Ark of salvation. Lot was righteous because he was distressed, tormented, oppressed, by the sin around him. We should be grieved and shocked by the sin around us. Noah and Lot were removed before God sent His judgment, and believers will be removed in the Rapture before His wrath and judgment falls. Perish or have salvation and life through Jesus – John 3:16 – EVERYONE who calls on Him will be saved. We will ALL meet Him, either as Saviour or as Judge. “Make friends with Jesus, make friends with unbelievers, then introduce them to each other.”

In Time of Need

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NASB

“In time of need.” That’s where God is with His Strength. Right when we need it. He isn’t flexing His muscles to intimidate the enemy as He walks alongside me. He isn’t running around, roaring and posturing. I see it more clearly, now. The LAMB is my constant companion, always with me as a comforting presence. The LION is there, unseen and unheard, until I need Him, and then He is with me, protecting me and lending me His strength.

“In time of need.” What a simple, yet profound, statement.

The LORD is my Shepherd

“The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of Righteousness For His Name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely Goodness and Lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 NASB

Anxious Thoughts

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19 NASB

In 1872, a young wife and mother named Annie Hawks penned these words:

I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee.

In times like today, when so many people are frightened and worried, these words offer Christians the comfort that we are safe in the arms of Jesus. For those of you who want that comfort, it’s within your reach. I know how it feels to believe that you’ve done something that can’t be forgiven. I know what it means to be standing on the outside looking in, deep in sin and wondering how He could possibly reach me – and thinking that there was no way the LORD would even want to reach me.

Please, listen.

No matter what, God knows you and loves you.

He forgives, no matter what. Liars, cheaters, adulterers, thieves, even murderers. Don’t take my word for it! Read the Bible! The greatest people in it are sinners. Moses was a murderer. King David was greedy and an adulterer. Rahab and Mary Magdalene were prostitutes. Peter lied. Paul persecuted the early Christians! There are many, many more, too. Nothing can separate you from the Love of the LORD, once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. He is our salvation. No one, and nothing, here on earth can save you. Not Buddha, not Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, or any of the other thousands of imposters.

“For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE. For GOD did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16‭-‬17 NASB

Believe it. Believe HIM.

An Ordinary Man

Do you ever wonder what Jesus looks like? Kings and queens of Jesus’ day had likenesses carved and etched on different surfaces, and there are other descriptions of “ordinary” people from that time period. For instance, we’ve been told that David was “beautiful”. Why do you suppose there isn’t even a hint of what Jesus looks like? In the artwork depicting Jesus, it inevitably shows Him as a handome man, but fairly generic, as if all of the artists were afraid to depict a Jew. I’ve read in the scriptures that He was an ordinary man, and I’ve wondered about that. I have a beautiful picture of Him, but I really doubt it’s Jesus.

This “ordinary” man was anything BUT ordinary! Not only did He heal the blind and the deaf, He cast out demons, turned water into wine; He healed cripples and a multitude of illnesses, and He raised up people from death back to life. He Himself came out of the tomb, and there were hundreds of people who witnessed to seeing Him after His resurrection. He said to His disciples, “I have been given ALL Authority in heaven and on earth.” – Matthew 28:18 NLT

He has authority over me, and over you. Have you submitted to that authority yet? Remember, it’s better to live this life as if there were a God, than to spend eternity wishing you had…

Is God Slow?

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NASB

“Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” 2 Timothy 2:25 NLT

“…… and My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB

“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ ” Jeremiah 29:7 NASB

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB

I know God loves me. He takes on my troubles and my worries. He cares for me. He will never – HAS never – left me alone. He doesn’t lie or cheat on me. He is the perfect husband. He should be enough for me. He IS enough for me. Why, then, do I have such a yearning to have a flesh and blood man in my life?

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

I am a daughter of The KING. My feelings that I have failed at things doesn’t affect how much He LOVES me. My thoughts that I am inadequate don’t even phase Him. In His eyes, I am His beautiful daughter. When I am upset, He is there to comfort me. Always. Even when I do my best to run away from Him, He’s right there. And the MOST important thing? He isn’t there to judge me like the world does, He’s just THERE for me.

I would like to have that flesh and blood man in my life, but I don’t. I may not have him in this life. I have Someone, though, and He is enough.

Reflections on Life in 2019

This past year is not how I expected my life to be at this point. My plan was to be contentedly – if not happily – married, retired and living on a small farm, traveling, and living a comfortable life with family and friends close.

God, apparently, has something different in mind!

Single for the past 10 years, widowed since 2001, unemployed for since April 2016 except for a little part time work….. NOT the way I saw my life!

A year ago I moved 35 miles to be closer to my Oklahoma family; Mom, sister, nieces, and their families. We have other family (4 more siblings and their families!) and it’s the most I’ve been involved with my immediate family since my college years. It has been a huge blessing to be this close for the past year. Since moving, I’ve been attending worship services with my Mom, and what a blessing that has been to me, too. Being able to participate regularly in corporate worship is something that we don’t give enough credit to, and hearing the teaching of God’s Word is incomparable. If you haven’t been attending church regularly, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. We need it in order to focus on the important things in life. I want to be like Simeon, for I have, too, seen the LORD’S CHRIST, Who is JESUS:

“Now LORD, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your Word; For my eyes have seen Your Salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the Glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:29‭-‬32‭ NASB

There is insanity in our country’s capital, and the liberals and socialists are attempting to overrun this great nation we live in. Every day, the news is full of murder and mayhem. Christians and conservatives have become the ‘whipping boys’ of society, and political correctness is making it difficult to speak without offending someone. At times, I am filled with hopelessness and despair at everything that is going on. In spite of all this, and even though I still don’t know what plan God has for me and my life, I have HOPE.

Happy 2020.