Learning To Love

 

loving people : Couple cuddling and flirting in a park with a green unfocused background           loving people : Man and woman playing on beach
loving people : Family Group Relaxing Outdoors In Autumn Landscapeloving people : Man and woman playing on beach
loving people : Lovely young couple resting together on a wooden bench in the park; basket with freshly cut flowers next to themloving people : Young mother with her baby studio shot
loving people : Loving Couple at outdoor during sunsetloving people : Portrait Of Happy Young Couple Lying On Grass And Enjoying Wine
loving people : beuatiful caucasian young couple wearing a sweater with hearts on itloving people : young affectionate couple embracing in park in autumn

Learning To Love

When Hans Egede went to Greenland as a missionary in 1721, he didn’t know the Inuit language. His temperament was often overbearing, and he struggled to be kind to the people.

In 1733, a smallpox epidemic swept through Greenland, wiping out almost two-thirds of the Inuit people—and claiming Egede’s wife as well. This shared suffering melted Egede’s harsh demeanor, and he began to tirelessly labor to care for the people physically and spiritually. Because his life now better represented the stories he told them of God’s love, the Inuits could at last grasp His desire to love them too. Even in suffering, their hearts turned to God.

Perhaps you are like the Inuits in this story, and you are unable to see God in the people around you. Or perhaps you are like Hans Egede, who struggled to express love in a way that taught people about God. Knowing we are weak and needy people, God showed us what love is like. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins (John 3:16). That’s how much God loves you and me.

Jesus is the perfect example of the love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13. As we look to Him, we learn that we are loved and we learn how to love in turn.

Jesus, let me find in You a sense that I am
loved. And may my heart not grow cold and
cluttered by anger and wounds from the past so
that others can see Your reflection in me.
May I never be the barrier that blocks one’s view of God.

 

 

The Sticker Book
Micca Campbell

From: Crosswalk.com

“Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV 1984)

It took creative measures to potty train our daughter. No sweet treat was good enough to get her ready for big-girl pants. It was going to take something she really loved to lure her into this next phase of life.

Suddenly, it came to me. My daughter loves stickers. This gave me a great idea. I hung a large poster board on the bathroom wall. With colorful markers, I divided the poster into weekly sections. In a basket on the floor, I placed an assortment of sparkly stickers.

Peyton’s eyes widened with excitement when I showed her the newly decorated bathroom. “Each time you go to the potty, I will give you a sticker to place on the poster board,” I explained. “When you get a certain amount of stickers, I’ll take you to the store where you can pick out a prize.”

I’ve never seen a diaper come off so quickly before in my life. The stickers were working!

My husband also noticed how well the training was going. One day, he came in from work and tossed a sticker book on the kitchen counter where I was preparing dinner. “What’s that?” I questioned.

“I noticed how the stickers were working for Peyton, and I thought maybe they’d work for you too,” he answered. I narrowed my eyes at him and thought, What is he up to?

“Every time you and I have a romantic night, I’ll give you a sticker to put in your sticker book. When you fill it up, I’ll take you anywhere in the world you want to go,” he continued with a huge grin on his face.

It’s not that I didn’t want to have romantic evenings with my husband, but most of the time tiredness trumped romance. You know what I mean?

As women, we wear a lot of hats that require much responsibility. We constantly pour ourselves out for others. At the end of the day, all I want is a soothing bath and a warm bed. I suppose my husband could interpret that the wrong way. He probably feels like he gets my leftovers. This is not God’s plan and it’s why He gave married couples this passage:

“The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (I Corinthians 7:4-5).

God knew both women and men would struggle in this area. Whatever the reason, withholding should be mutual, short-lived and discussed openly and privately between husband and wife. This helps both of you avoid temptation. Communication also helps your spouse hold on to his confidence when he knows the reason behind the struggle.

After I shared with my husband the cause for my tiredness, he started pitching in around the house. Nothing is more appealing than a man running the vacuum!

Working together can bring about great results. On the other hand, buying your spouse a sticker book might also move things in the right direction. The best reward, however, isn’t a big vacation. The best reward is sticking it out with my husband as we learn to communicate, work together and trust each other through the struggles of everyday life.

Dear Lord, my spouse is a gift from You. Give me the courage to talk honestly and openly with him. Use communication to deepen and strengthen our relationship in all areas. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

I AM Alive Through Christ

 From: Streams In The Desert

And the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive – forever and ever – and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! (Rev 1:18)

 

Flower! Easter lilies! Speak to me this morning the same dear old lesson of immortality which you have been speaking to so many sorrowing souls.

 

Wise old Book! let me read again in your pages of firm assurance that to die is gain.

 

Poets! recite to me your verses which repeat in every line the Gospel of eternal life.

 

Singers! break forth once more into songs of joy; let me hear again the well-known resurrection psalms.

 

Tree and blossom and bird and sea and sky and wind whisper it, sound it afresh, warble it, echo it, let it throb and pulsate through every atom and particle; let the air be filled with it.

 

Let it be told and retold and still retold until hope rises to conviction, and conviction to certitude of knowledge; until we, like Paul, even though going to our death, go with triumphant mien, with assured faith, and with serene and shining face.

 

O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending

Through churchyard paths of cypress and of yew,

Leave for today the low graves you are tending,

And lift your eyes to God’s eternal blue!

 

It is no time for bitterness or sadness;

Twine Easter lilies, not pale asphodels;

Let your souls thrill to the caress of gladness,

And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.

 

If Christ were still within the grave’s low prison,

A captive of the enemy we dread;

If from that moldering cell He had not risen,

Who then could chide the gloomy tears you shed?

 

If Christ were dead there would be need to sorrow,

But He has risen and vanquished death for aye;

Hush, then your sighs, if only till the morrow,

At Easter give your grief a holiday.

—May Riley Smith

 

A well-known minister was in his study writing an Easter sermon when the thought gripped him that his Lord was living. He jumped up excitedly and paced the floor repeating to himself, “Why Christ is alive, His ashes are warm, He is not the great ’I was,’ He is the great ’I am.’” He is not only a fact, but a living fact. Glorious truth of Easter Day!

 

We believe that out of every grave there blooms an Easter lily, and in every tomb there sits an angel. We believe in a risen Lord. Turn not your faces to the past that we may worship only at His grave, but above and within that we may worship the Christ that lives. And because He lives, we shall live also.
—Abbott

Bull’s-eye

From: GetMoreStrength.org

“…Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Colossians 2:3

Here’s some bad news: left to ourselves, we’re not very good shots when it comes to living. We are, at the core, sinful, which explains why we lead such “ready-fire-aim” kind of lives. We are a lot like the village idiot who prided himself on being a great shot. After he shot his arrow at the side of the barn, he would then paint a bull’s-eye target around the arrow, painting the arrow into the center of the bull’s-eye.

But the bull’s-eye of life is not an I-want-my-life-to-be-like-this-thank-you barn-side painting. The bull’s-eye for life as it’s meant to be is already painted by the good and righteous ways of God. And since we are not inherently righteous, but rather fallen and frail, missing the target is a regular event.

In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, the character named Cassius gets it right when he explains:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Most of us excuse our miscues, or mistakes, by assigning them to fate and random bumps from the circumstances of life: “It’s not our fault. We’re victims. It’s in our stars.” But God’s take on our lives is that the fault does lie in us! Not that we are underlings as Cassius points out, but that we are born sinful, fallen, frail, and broken. By our very nature we’re wrong-headed. I have come to realize that my first instincts in a given situation are probably wrong. Granted, they don’t seem wrong. It seems right to get even; to stash away as much money as I can; to make sure that I am recognized and affirmed; to seek pleasure for myself; to live life to the full on my own terms; to do everything to dodge suffering and then resent it when suffering does invade my life; to try to be as strong as I can, because only the strong survive; and to yell at people who yell at me. But here is the warning: God says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12)! And we are reminded in Isaiah that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

So let’s fess up! We need help. Because we are bent in the wrong direction, we are in desperate need of God’s wisdom to live right-headedly. And, where is that wisdom found?

In Jesus!

Paul makes this clear when he writes that he desires that our hearts be encouraged so that we “may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that [we] may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

Jesus knows the way. He has the wisdom to see life the way it should be lived. But beware! His wisdom will not seem right to you. He says to turn the other cheek, to die so that you can live, to give that you might gain, to forgive the same offense 490 times, to love your enemy, and to find meaning and productivity in suffering. Sound upside down to you? Sure it does. But it sounds that way, not because Jesus is upside down, but because we are.

The bull’s-eye of life is Jesus! Seek His wisdom and turn your “ready-fire-aim” life into blue- ribbon target shooting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *