Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Do you know what Love is? 

Love has always been a powerful word, and  most people in our culture today use it not really understanding what love really means!  I believe it is  human nature to believe that if you have strong feelings or a strong attachment or fixation to someone then you must love them, and especially as it pertains to being in a relationship with the opposite sex.  Also as it pertains to friendships and family relationships we often believe based on our over joyous and favorable feelings for a person that we must love them.  But what happens when our love is put on trial? How do we respond when the person or the people we say we love, are no longer behaving in a way that favors us? Do you still love that person, or do you become resentful and hateful  towards them? 

We can say we love but if our actions don't match that, then its not true.  It is very important and especially as Christians to understand what real love is and to ask God to perfect our love every day. As I was studying 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 today, I realized that Love has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the people around us. (I must admit, I had to repent to God after reading over that list because I know I am not up to par!)  Most of us can love as long as love is being returned to us, but when things start to look a little one sided our "love" is put to the test.  Do we really love others, or are we more in love with ourselves? 

Sometimes,  I think we have pride issues, we can walk around with a sense of entitlement and we feel that we deserve more than what comes our way. But when it comes to Love it is an outward affection and has nothing to do with pleasing yourself, but is all about the other people in your life that you say you love. 

So! Let's take another look at this love list shall we!   

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love Suffers Long
Love is Kind
Love does not Envy
Love does not Boast
Love is not Proud
Love does not behave unseemly
Love does not seek her own, and is not easily provoked
Love thinks no evil
Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but in truth
Love bears All things, believes All things, hope All things, endures All things.  
Love NEVER Fails..

Wow...So how does your love measure up? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Suffering has benefits...

1 Pet 5:10

                      After you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you…

Wow, this scripture sort of puts a positive spin on the idea of having to endure long afflictions. We can often become discouraged, beaten and bruised up as we dig our roots in deeper to keep from falling under the weight of suffering and trials.  I know personally when I am going through tough trials, one in particular that seem to have taken up a good portion of my adult life so far, I first began to wonder okay why is this happening to me. What did I do to cause this?  Whether this is a positive attitude to have or not, it is the truth! And I believe in being as truthful as I can...these are my thoughts. I don’t think oh here’s another round of suffering to make me stronger, to make me perfect, or more settled in God. Perhaps one day I will get there. But I will say that as the suffering progress I do strive to become perfected, strengthened, established and settled.  And truth be told it is sort of an innate characteristic or nature that makes me not want to give up. So a person, who does not want to give up, naturally will try to hang on!  So I do what I need to do, I strengthen myself through prayer, and study of God’s word. I try to remind myself of what his word says, I try to encourage myself.  Yes I will be real, I cry.. Fuss or complain, I get very frustrated especially if it’s pain that is troubling my body because it is the only way I can get some kind of release from pain.  I agree I need to become more perfected in that area, but it is very hard when you are dealing with excruciating pain, not to cry out in some form of agony.  I often look for the days when the pain will no longer attack me…   When I read after you have suffered a while”  I wonder.. What is a while for me? What is a while with God?   It can drive you crazy trying to figure out what the expiration date is on your suffering. How much longer Jesus? It is not as though we can search  for such a date, or inquire with expectation of it coming to an end. We have no clue.  So as a result you become more strengthen if you continue to hold on. 

People who have endured a lot of blows can typically take a lot of blows, you sort of build a thick skin….there’s a popular saying flying around now and I’m not sure who started it but it’s very true, "What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger".  A person who has not suffered or has experienced little hardship will fold a lot easier than a person who has experienced a harder life.  So what is your settling, what is my settling?  Do we accept that fact that we many never stop suffering from some things? I don’t believe that.  I do believe that we become more settled in the fact that God is still God and he is still working for us in a positive way in the midst of our suffering.  We become settled in that God is still a Good God, even when things don’t look or feel Good.  I believe we become more settled in our faith.  

Many people can have faith as long as their faith is bringing them good news on a regular basis. The finances are good, their health is favorable, and the family life is good...everything they touch pretty much turns to Gold…most people believe when you have it like this... You are blessed! And indeed I would say that it is a blessing. But what about when you are suffering…5,10,15,20 plus years, and not always in different areas necessarily but the same area!  You know one of those Job’s or Joseph dilemmas.. 

Are you settled enough in your faith to say that God is still good, and that you are still blessed?   Needless to say man doesn’t see it that way.  People don’t associate suffering with blessings.. But God’s word says that if we suffer with Christ that we will also rule with him 2Tim 2:12 We’ve got to acknowledge the Word concerning this... It also said if Christ suffered in the flesh, than we should arm ourselves likewise!  But most people don’t want the suffering part of Jesus even though he suffered exclusively for us!  We tend to look over that Jesus endured a lot of suffering when he walked the earth, yes he blessed.  He is a king; he is the son of God but was not accepted or viewed as such. Christ suffered.    But when we have to suffer on earth for any length of time, we tend to think our faith in God isn’t working.   I believe when we start to have feelings like this there is more settling that needs to take place.   So as long as we are living on this side of glory there will be suffering, and there will be victories that run parallel... But one day we will reign forever with Christ in his eternal glory!  And this victory does bring a settling to my heart, and my spirit.