Roses may be red and violets blue but Love is… NOT poetry
My Dad’s wedding gift to us was a simple assignment. Read 1 Corinthians 13. Of course we were both already familiar with this passage, and studied it together during our courtship.
I remember us attempting this whlist in the first days of our newlywed high – with the best intentions, it seemed like the easiest task. Piece. Of. Cake.
But, I can safely say three years later – actually being married takes the words of 1 Cor 13 from “nice ” to NECESSARY!
When I heard this scripture at weddings it sounded “nice”, I would day dream about having this love one day. But now within a marriage I’m learning…
Love is not poetry, though it can be inspiring, beautiful and poetic
Love isn’t a fuzzy feeling
Love usually isn’t getting ‘your way’ by any means
Love doesn’t do the bear minimum
Love goes above and beyond
Love isn’t fleeting and thrill seeking
Love isn’t always social media friendly or retweetable, or likeable
Love has no filter and no hiding place
Love doesn’t play games
Love doesn’t have a plan B
You can’t “fall out of love” because you didn’t “fall” in to it
Love is a choice
Love is usually not the popular choice, but the best choice.
God is Love
God is Love, and if you truly believe this as a Christian it will transform your approach to loving your spouse, a sibling, colleague or stranger.
As I encourage you to (re)visit 1 Corinthians 13 today, I ask – can YOU love like this?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
I Corinthians 13:1-8 NKJV
It isn’t my relationship that redeemed me.
Some of us have been to terrible, dark places in our lives – paths we blame ourselves for journeying; so that if any man or woman should choose to love us, deep within us we believe there lies our redemption.
“She can be loved”
His proposal tells the world “she can be loved”, and having her by his side makes him ”desirable”. Is it partly because, although we say Christ has redeemed us, we continue to hold ourselves guilty of our past? This is certain, you will never be able to pay for the life you lived, and there is nothing you can do to change your past. But His blood is more powerful, more than capable of helping you to recover from those mistakes and healing your traumas. His blood calls you a new creation. Even if you were the worst of sinners, there is no darkness, no failure, no history that the blood of Jesus cannot overcome and wash away.
“…bought at a much greater price”
Do you long desperately for ”Mister right’‘? Well contrary to the world’s fairytale there is no knight in shining armour who can save you, because the truth is – we all need saving. Maybe you’re already in a relationship? Do you love it when people talk about your relationship? Does it give you a confidence in your self-worth, which you dare not carry alone? The truth is, no relationship status, no ring can redeem you, because you were bought at a much greater price. Are you able to love and appreciate your worth, the unique value placed in you by God? Or are you still angry and still ashamed? I find I feel more confident since getting engaged, it’s like you carry a stamp on your left hand that says “you’re worth it” (like the L’Orèal ads). But the novelty will soon wear off and then what? Will you seek for the next thing to make you feel redeemed and cleared of your past?
Christ is before you asking you, “Woman where are thine accusers?” Think about the woman accused of adultery, even after the accusations ceased why did she remain there, stood before Jesus? Perhaps her greatest condemnation – the one that kept her where her accusers left her, was her own. What have you done wrong? How have you messed up? Whatever it is, I have news for you, you have been redeemed. You don’t have to justify God’s love towards you or His blessings in your life. There is no need to feel ashamed anymore, when the spotlight is on you. They don’t see who you used to be, they don’t see your past sins and struggles, they see God’s glory. They see YOU, redeemed and refined by Christ – because you are. Jesus took your shame to the cross, you have been redeemed and there is no catch, but believe that your redemption is in Christ.
Your redemption is not pegged on your relationship status. When it comes to the matters of your inner-self, your relationship status is irrelevant. Start addressing those memories that try to convince you that you haven’t changed. Read about Paul, he could have carried the shame and guilt of a notorious past, persecuting the church. He would have been justified to seek the approval of the people he was sent to share the Gospel with, but instead he allowed his identity and call in Christ to be the driving force of his life. You can too.
It isn’t my relationship that redeemed me. I was a wreck, and Christ saw me, broken, desperate and tired, and He carried me. Long before my Fiancé noticed me or even knew who I was, long before there was any proposal in sight, Christ began a work of redemption in me. So I encourage you today, to forgive yourself and forgive your past, and begin to learn about your redemption that is everlasting in Christ. As my Pastor often says – “your past is past”, and no man can, no man has redeemed you and no man will, but the living God.
May God help us to believe His unconditional love towards us, may He teach us step out of the shadows of our past and hand over every negative memory and guilt to Him, and may God teach us to truly love ourselves, in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love
Even as a Christian, don’t make the mistake of believing that your acknowledgment of God is the end of the journey.
The journey has only just begun.
You are no longer the same, in fact you will spend the rest of your life being changed forever.
You are created with such intricacy, such specific detail – nothing in this world can ever fill the void – this world alone is insufficient for you.
There are things hidden within you that only God knows about.
There are joys and rays of peace you strive for, and God has kept them in a secret and lovely place.
There is no one person without a destiny in Christ; as wretched as you may think you are, or think the next person is. God carefully designed this unique vessel, this God-inspired creation, for His own joy of loving us and the incomparable, indescribable joy of being loved by the Father.
So I encourage you today, to return to that secret place, the place that God called Jacob back to, so many times. The place where God first met with you.
Don’t ever be too busy for God, He is your sustenance – without Him, you will run out of steam. Sunday isn’t enough, everyday you must desire to rekindle that special love between you and the Father – spending time with Him in your own special way.
And if you don’t know Him, He has been waiting to know you all of your life.
Wanting to know God, is enough to begin the journey.
Pray this prayer with me: Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner. And I ask for your forgiveness. I believe your son, Jesus, died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins. I repent of my sins. I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and Saviour. In Jesus’ name, amen.
One thing I think a lot of Christians struggle with is waiting…
For some people working in faith, serving in faith, sowing in faith, even being persecuted and still having faith, is not as much of a challenge for them as waiting in faith.
We become uncomfortable, we pray and we don’t hear anything, we fast, we seek counsel, and that feeling of waiting grates on us. We read over the scriptures that are supposed to encourage us, but we use them to fuel our anxiety. If God said I should ask, and I have asked, and He promised I will receive – why am I not receiving?
But a persevering faith is precious and it will only reap reward from Heaven.
When I feel like doubting God, trying to find a compromise to what I am waiting on God for, I hear the Holy Spirit cheering me on, encouraging me. Telling me to keep on waiting, not to relent in waiting, to be hopeful in the character of the Almighty God and confident in His love for me. Don’t stop looking unto God for this, He will do it.
If we are able to persevere in trusting God, even when everything and everyone else is counting the seconds, minutes, hours, days, years. We show God that our faith in Him goes beyond us getting things from Him. Instead we put our faith in God because we believe He is the only Way worth pursuing, the only Truth worth knowing, and the only Life worth living.
God’s grace is sufficient for us.
Have a wonderful day.
Peace & Love
BEING SINGLE IS BEING RICH
Personal Growth – Wisdom
Richard met Grace one frosty winter morning. Grace was also frosty. The cold weather had clearly worn at her patience, and the wait for the bus to the train station made her all the more intolerant. But a small warmth gathered in the bottom of Richard’s stomach – in this bitter cold, he was beginning to break into a sweat. He felt he had to speak to the girl at the bus stop. Richard wasn’t the type to approach strangers, especially when there was no clear purpose or desired consequence for his endeavour. He was normally a very grounded and sensible person.
Everything about this was unlike Richard, and yet he had to speak to her. It was a most painful experience for Richard, when he made the effort to start a conversation with Grace that cold morning. There were definitely no fire works, not even a single spark in the 20 to 30 seconds the conversation survived, before the bus arrived and severed Richard’s effort. Yet still, the possibility of a friendship had been sown, a small seed impressioned in fertile soil. In the Spring of that year, as colour returned to the trees and the air outside became rich with hope and fertility – Grace made the effort to speak to the boy at the bus stop. Their story continues.
One day, Grace is sitting in the cafe opposite her work place, when she receives a phone call from Richard. He is fuming. When Grace asks what the issue is, Richard isn’t very clear, and becomes agitated by his own inability to explain himself. He raises his voice in frustration, and eventually manages to offend the one person he had hoped would encourage him.
What should Grace do?
Richard and Grace have been courting now for 11 months and Grace didn’t take offence lightly. In a moment of anger she remembered how she had dismissed Richard when he first tried to approach her. Part of her felt insulted, that this same person, was now at liberty to speak to her in such a manner. But before she could press the send button to a highly heated rebuke, she had composed at the height of her offence, within herself she heard a voice, telling her to reconsider.
Calm down. Will this text message make things better for you? Will it make things better for Richard? Beyond your anger, you want the best for both of you, don’t you? Yes your pride is hurt, but can you sacrifice your pride for his peace – and yours?
In the bible Wisdom is referred to as a most precious jewel.
15 Skillful and Godly Wisdom is more precious than rubies; and nothing you can wish for is to be compared to her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand are riches and honour.
17 Her ways are highways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her; and happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast.
Wisdom can mean the difference between a passing disagreement and ongoing strife. Wisdom can appease the brunt of a hurtful remark. And if there is to be any hope for two individuals pursuing a lifetime together, then wisdom must be ever exercised and learned by these individuals. Mother and child, husband and wife, friends and even work colleagues. Wisdom can rarely be crafted by man, because man’s wisdom only buries offence, hides the truth, manipulates. Man’s wisdom is for his own gain – he is at the centre of his own wisdom. But Godly-wisdom bares the fruits of peace and fellowship, healing, progress, understanding, humility, submission, forgiveness and love. Godly wisdom is selfless.
Whilst we are single, we are in the prime season to learn selflessness. If you don’t make the effort to learn selflessness whilst you’re single, then you might take selfishness with you into marriage and other relationships. Having to learn selflessness, whilst confronting the joys and challenges presented in marriage, only makes it twice as hard. Let’s strive to apply wisdom at work – in our relationship with our friends. There are a few great teachers in life, one is our family. Who grate on us and yet still we love them. Who offended us the night before, and yet the following day we greet with a “good morning”. Let’s seek to practice Godly wisdom, when we see the signs of an argument brewing between siblings, or we want to offer correction, or receive correction.
It won’t happen overnight, but actively seeking God’s wisdom can help in preventing a lot of hurt feelings and bitterness, and avert disunity.
Because marriage is a constant journey of coming together –
two becoming one, not growing apart.
An hour or so later, after cooling off, Richard will call Grace back and apologise, and explain what happened. Grace will forgive him and encourage him. Later that evening, Grace may decide to tell Richard how the way he spoke to her made her feel, and Richard might take this correction on board. So that if ever again, Richard feels like he did on this particular occasion, he’ll be mindful of his behaviour towards the girl he loves. And their story will continue.
I pray God will continue to teach us how to journey in Him, and walk in His wisdom, that it might be well with us and our loved ones continually in Jesus name amen.
Stay tuned for the next post on being Single and Rich!
Peace & Love
On my way to work this morning, I took a moment to observe the sky, I allowed my eyes to take in every object before me, I enjoyed the peace within me, that quietness that comes with salvation, I acknowledged it. I admired the beauty of creation, surrounded by tall buildings and a construction site in my background, I was and am grateful to be alive.
I walked through the office door of my workplace and I took my time to really notice those who were already at work. I didn’t greet them all, but I wished them all a blessed day, as I desire for myself and within me I smiled. My reflection on God’s goodness this morning, did not permit me to murmur under my breath against people, to spend my time living in a bubble of fear and pride. I found, the more grateful I was, the more I could appreciate all that God had placed around me, the more I could see His fingers working everyday miracles in my life.
I bless the name of my heavenly Father, and I boast of His faithfulness, His goodness, even within me – my confidence is rooted in His sovereignty.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.
To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
And I won’t be afraid that this feeling might be short-lived, and what if tomorrow I don’t feel this way, or my morning isn’t so smooth? I put my trust in my Father, that He will remind me once again of the beauty of the life, He alone has granted me to enjoy.
With all sincerity, I say to you, have a blessed day
Peace & Love
Rightly so, as children of God we desire to look like our heavenly Father. All too often I understand the frustration when we fall short.
As one of three children, I remember how jealous I became when a family friend visited and said my sister resembled my Mum more than I did. She was clearly mistaken. The competition was never-ending between my Sister and I, to resemble our parents.
“You have your Dad’s eyes”, they would say. “You are a carbon-copy of your Mum!”
They were so passionate and sure of their observations. They enjoyed making the comparison and I enjoyed being reminded of my roots, where I came from.
Identity is a complex thing.
Whilst reading daily devotionals about what it means to be Set Apart – to be Holy, I recognised my strong desire to be like my heavenly Father and God’s even stronger desire, expressed in His word, for us to be like Him.
As the devotional revealed to me:
The more time I spend with my Father, the more I seek Him – to learn Christ, to know Christ – the more I will look like Christ. The fruit of the Spirit of God can be borne in my behaviour, my character, my lifestyle and the condition of my heart. My journey in Christ isn’t hopeless.
It amuses us when we see the resemblance developing between a married couple. They may have the same mannerisms or finish each other’s sentences. The similarities that become apparent between two good friends – two peas in a pod – so that one might be mistaken for the other. Likewise, a growing relationship with God is the avenue to looking more like Him.
Being Set Apart may not be easy, and yes it is a daily exercise and a continued goal, passing days, passing months, years and decades.
But how delightful it is to look like my Father,
A display of His splendor,
To be refined by His manifested love for me,
Created in His image, formed in His likeness.
The more we spend time with God, the more we are conformed to the image of Christ, the more we can be Holy and Set Apart like Christ.
For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
My prayer is that Lord, Your love for us will not allow us to weary of seeking You and spending time with You. Teach us to delight in You Lord, so that we will look more and more like our Lord and personal Saviour Christ Jesus. So that we will be conformed to the image of Christ, just like You intended in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love