Monday, April 30, 2012

Love is...

What is the first scripture that comes to mind for the word "love?" Most people automatically think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  Though, sometimes it is so overused that we tune out. 

The world has many different definitions of love. Yet, only one book holds love's true meaning.

Today I would like to break down this meaningful scripture.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
New International Version (NIV)

4 Love is:

patient, love is kind.- Patience. I know I will need to lean on God for patience as I enter into married life. It will be an adjustment to live with someone else who does things differently than I do. Yet, I will need to rely on God to remind me that different is not bad. It is just...different.

It does not envy, it does not boast-This scripture is a great equalizer. My love must not weigh one person's pit falls as greater than another, at the same time my love must not brag that one person's successes are greater than another.

 it is not proud.- We can achieve nothing on our own, so we must not fervently pat each other on the back for our successes. Instead it should be a moment to come to our knees and thank God for His provision and blessings.

5 It does not dishonor others,- It is easy to fall into the trap of making ourselves (and our loved ones) look better by pointing the finger at someone else. It is very difficult to love not only those who love us, but those who hurl insults at us. We love them by not returning the degradation, but turning the other cheek in silence.

 it is not self-seeking,- This reminds me of integration. When school's began to mix ethnicities, the parents of the affluent children increased support and funding for the schools because they wanted their child to have the best, not because they suddenly felt compassion to the other students. It is very difficult to have a love so large that it extends beyond our own blood and friends.

it is not easily angered,- Anger alters our ability to think clearly. It is important to practice remaining calm so that we can earnestly listen to one another.

it keeps no record of wrongs.- Ay yi yi. We say we forgive, but do we really forget? True love forgives and forgets. It does not bring old wounds into existing battles as weapons. Psalm 103:12 says that the Lord has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. We need to call on his strength to follow that example of forgiveness.

 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.- Love does not wish harm on someone that "deserves it." Love prays that they may be saved by the Truth.

7 It always protects,- Love is like a caring big brother. Love stands up for what is right despite persecution and humility.

 always trusts,- Love believes in the good of people. It is not wary and skeptical.

 always hopes,- Love always believes that a person will find The Way, despite how many wrong turns that they have made.

 always perseveres.- Love lasts....forever.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Go Loud, or Go Home!

I have been part of a praise and worship team called "Soul Food" for the past year and a half. None of us consider ourselves expert musicians, yet we have a passion to worship our Lord. One of our pastors, Bob, joined the group as a novice guitarist. He played  very quietly so that we couldn't hear his mistakes. Yet, it is impossible to learn if no one can hear you and help you. Therefore, I jokingly said to PB (as we affectionately call him) "You've gotta either go loud or go home!"

We all laughed about this, and it became our motto. He even put the phrase on our Soul Food shirts. 

Yesterday, Soul Food presented a few of PB's favorite songs as a departing gift. PB will be moving to a church that is closer to his college. I hope that as he moves to his new church he won't be timid and afraid to make mistakes. If God is urging us to do something big and risky, we need to trust that He will guide us. We can't hold back for fear of failure, raised eyebrows, or mockery. As Christians, we must bodly proclaim the Word of Christ. 

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20)