On love.

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Monday morning a few weeks back I opened my e-mail and discovered a message from our bible study leader asking if I would be willing to speak on Tuesday.  Of course she had written this days before and if you have ever written me, you would know that timely e-mail correspondence isn’t my forte.

Now call me crazy, but before I commit to speaking in front of a group of almost one hundred people I like to feel prepared or at least have some sort of topic in mind.  I admitted this to Kathy, telling her that I was willing to help but wasn’t sure I could pull anything together in one day.

Except I did have this one piece, something I’d started working on last fall but never published.  Would this work? I asked.

Her response to me was this:  I am not in a lurch, I have learned on this journey that the Lord always makes provision in a measure that is beyond what we need.  I love what you have written, getting to the truth of what Biblical love looks like. I moved forward and put together a listening exercise on receiving God’s love. If you would be willing to read this piece (as is) before the listening exercise, I think it would be a great look at what real love looks like. What do you think?

I’m sharing this forward not to draw attention to my writing or willingness to speak but rather to draw attention to our Lord.  He was able to take something that I wrote months ago and use it for His good, to show us how to receive and show his love to others.  Isn’t He amazing?

Ready for some *as-is* reading?

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I have plenty of areas where I have fallen short of the challenges that this life has presented to me.  And if you think there aren’t challenges presented to each and every one of us as Christians then you might be reading the wrong book.  Yet this much I know; my faith remains authentic in spite of my shortcomings.

Ironically, the greatest challenge presented to us initially doesn’t sound much like a challenge at all.

We are called to love one another unconditionally.  To love others like Christ loves us.  That sounds simple.  Yet our world has watered down the meaning and power of the word *love.*  We *love* our smart phones, we *love* our coffee, we *love* chocolate chip cookies.

Now I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the sort of *love* Jesus was talking about.  I have a fondness for chocolate chip cookies and coffee, but there is no way that I would give up my life for them.

Last fall I was given the gift of a weekend away with just my mom.  One of the unexpected highlights of the weekend was the church service we attended.  The setting was beautiful and simply called for worship.  Even better, the sermon was a practical teaching, overflowing with knowledge pulled straight from the bible {Romans 12:9-21} and presented in a practical, take this message out into the world and live it sort of way.

As an avid note-taker, I was thrilled.  God does speak occasionally in check-lists!  Wo-hoo!

As Christians we are called to express our love in these ways:

1. With discernment; genuinely and authentically without faking it.

2.  In such a way that we become family to one another.

3.  By honoring one another.  The message translation puts it best: practice playing second fiddle.

4.  Expressing a spiritual passion and enthusiasm that boils over in service.

5.  Through hope and patience.  Perseverance in the midst of the struggle when we cry out for Him.

6.  Through prayer that preservers.

7.  Expressed in a life of generosity; a lack of self concern.

8.  Hospitality.

Umm…so far so good.  I’m starting to get a better idea of what His voice might sound like in comparison to that whiny self-talk voice I hear so often…but what about when I actually have to go out and interact with others?

I dug a bit deeper and Alleluia, I discovered yet another check-list!

This list includes:  How we are called to interact with others in relationship, out in the real world:

1.  We are called not to be overcome with evil.

2.  We are called to act in goodwill.  We are called to pour out on our enemies what is essential to life.

3.  Empathy.  We are called to walk alongside one another in this life.  To laugh and cry together.

4.  As peacemakers.  Are lives are to be marked with attempts at peace with all people.

5.  In humility, through acts of compassionate service to the least and the lowest of these.  As followers of Jesus we are not above anyone.

6.  Meekness.  We are to submit to the strength that rests in God.

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One thought on “On love.

  1. This is great! Thanks for ministering to another list-maker! I’m working hard to simplify, and have been praying about what that should include, what it should look like. Thank you for sharing your heart, Libby!

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