Tag Archive for 'love'

Page 2 of 3

my wife.

I have been married to my wife for two years.

I don’t know why she decided to marry me, but I’m glad she did. And all of this gladness is not just from her presence, who she is, or her beauty. This joy and gladness that I have received from my wife is from the direction she has steered my life. If you mentioned it to her, she wouldn’t even take the credit for directing my life… because she did it indirectly through the third strand in our cord.

faith, hope, and lovenot in or for me…

My wife had faith in Jesus. Faith that, while I was wandering in confusion down a wide and paved road, He would guide me to a narrow gate and lead me down a narrow path.

My wife had hope in Jesus. Hope that, while I was struggling in sin and contentment with no end in sight, He was big enough to stop it.

My wife had love for Jesus. A love that, while I was unlovable and an empty cup, He would fill her cup to overflow into mine.

My joy in my marriage to my wife is rooted in the joy of salvation and redemption given by our merciful Redeemer.

My wife loves me. To be loved by my wife is to see the love of Christ. You want a good love story? Love like Christ… and you’ll find a love that’s so much greater than the stories of this world.

We are a body, part 1

We have to start challenging each other more as believers and the body of Christ.

Every day there is a story about someone who is suing for millions of dollars because they were offended in some way. “Gay white guy wins $1.2 million in race lawsuit,” “Former Medina police chief wins $2 million discrimination lawsuit,” “Man too terrified of frogs to leave his house wins $1.6M lawsuit.” These are legitimate headlines from a quick Google News search for “wins lawsuit for millions.” We have been inundated with these stories and “political correctness” to the point that we live with a fear of offending someone. But I would also be bold enough to propose that we live our lives seeking to be offended. Whether we have done it knowingly or not, we have decided that we are more valuable than our neighbor. Don’t believe me? We are daily up in arms about someone who cut us off in traffic, didn’t show up on time, broke in line, or spoke to us with a mean tone. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? No… That question is not directed at the person that just offended you… It’s directed at YOU and ME. How do you find yourself to be of such great value that you can justify looking down on someone else?

We as the church MUST humble ourselves before our neighbors… and our brothers and sisters in Christ! Paul says, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters” (1 Cor 6:7-8). I see Paul as saying, “Look at yourselves! Quit it! What are you thinking?” We must wash ourselves of the worldly mindset we have taken on!

If I walked up to you and pointed out your sin, would you thank me? Or would you ask me who I was to judge you like that? Brothers and sisters! We must open our eyes to the depravity and severity of sin! We have offended a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS GOD who does not look upon our sin lightly! We have come to the point where we have trapped ourselves as believers. “I don’t want to point out his sin, because he might be offended.” Why do you think he would be offended? Is it because WE would be offended? Brothers and sisters! Whether it is you rebuking or you being rebuked, consider the severity of our sin! In that light, we must reconsider our position on both sides of rebuke. Someone has a word of rebuke for you? Accept it with open arms! Hopefully it will cut like a sword into your soul, but what a minimum price to pay to be made aware of your sin! Would you rather walk along blindly, unaware of your sin? Or would you rather be made aware of it so you can repent and turn to the LORD for redemption from that sin? If you have ever been rebuked, you know the beauty of the entire process. Hopefully, you are able to look back on rebuke with thanksgiving that someone would care enough about you to point out your sin! Welcome rebuke and exhortation!

On the other hand, brothers and sisters, how dare we not point out another believer’s sin? If we walk alongside another believer, continually blinding ourselves to their sin, then we stand in full acceptance of their sin. We have minimized sin’s severity and thus minimized God’s holiness. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Of course we have to properly rebuke our fellow believer in love, but we must still rebuke! We cannot sit idly by as our brother or sister walks along with a poisonous snake crawling up their leg! JESUS said, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you” (Matt 18:15). Would you not want someone to point out YOUR sin (As I discussed above, this is more than likely the root of our problem.)? There is too much at stake for us to continue to minimize sin in our lives and our brothers’ and sisters’ lives!!!

be satisfied, husbands, part 2

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:25-30

Marriage is a covenant bond between a man, a woman, and God… a covenant bond between one selfish sinner, another selfish sinner, and a holy, righteous God.

God the Father sacrificed His Son for our redemption.  Christ cares for His church and selflessly gave His life for us.  We are members of Christ’s body.  Our wives are members of our body.  No one ever hated their own body.  In the way Christ cares for His body, we are commanded to care for ours.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  We must nourish our body, our wives, ourselves.  We are to love our wives, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.  The Word.  We are called to live the Word, breathe the Word, speak the Word, wash our wives with the Word.  Like the flood of mercy and grace in which our Father sweeps us away, we should cover our wives in a flood of mercy and grace… the Word (John 1:1).  We must center ourselves in the Word to be able to know the Word.  The Word is Christ and Christ is the Word.  Our source of endless love, mercy, and grace for our wives can only come from the endless spring that is Christ (Psalm 23:5).  We will fail to love our wives when we try to provide mercy and grace from our own reserves.  We will empty ourselves.  As husbands, we cannot stand ankle deep in God’s mercy and grace.  We must walk toward the crashing waves.  We cannot touch the bottom.  We cannot turn back.  No final breath, no gasps for air.  Drown.  He is our breath and He will fill us.  Center yourself in the Word, in Christ, and then wash your wife in the Word.  Drown her in the Lord’s mercy and grace.

Sacrifice your wants, your needs, your desires, your dreams, your aspirations, your self… for your wife… but not for your wife’s sake.  The point is not to sacrifice yourself so you can focus on her wants, needs, desires, aspirations.  Sacrifice yourself so that you may be filled with Christ.  If you want to be the man your wife longs for, be Christ.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  The only place two sinners can be satisfied with each other is in Christ.  Selfishness leads to broken marriages (James 3:16).  Self must not exist in marriage.  When we drown ourselves in Christ, we become patient, we become kind.  We won’t envy, boast, or be full of pride.  We will honor our wives.  We won’t be quick to anger.  We won’t hold a record of wrongs.  Husbands, rejoice in the truth and turn away now from all that is evil.

We are not called to spend our lives building sand castles, splashing on the beach.  Step into the deep.  Lose your footing and be swept away by Christ.

be satisfied, part 1

This is my first post in a series of three that will briefly address a few thoughts I have gathered in my <2 years of marriage. I was given the following prose, typed in Courier, and it summarizes my thoughts that will come in the next two parts.

“Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone — to have a deep soul relationship with another — to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But God to a Christian says, “No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone — with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me — to having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone, discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you. You will never be united with another until you are united with me, exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any other desires or longings. I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing — one that you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow me to bring it to you. You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things — keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. Keep listening and learning the things I tell you. You just wait. That’s all.

Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t look around at the things that others have gotten or that I’ve given them. Don’t look at the things you think you want. You just keep looking off and away up at Me, or you’ll miss what I want to show you.

And then when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you would dream of. You see, until you are ready and until the one I have for you is ready (I am working even this moment to have both of you ready at the same time), until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I prepared for you, you won’t be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with Me, and is thus the perfect love.

And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with Myself. Know that I love you utterly.”

1 Corinthians 1:10

traveler

Ron
Ron is originally from the Adirondacks. He was born on a dairy farm, taken from his family and sent to a foster home, made it through high school, worked for a union, built high rises in San Diego and LA, hurt his back, gets workman’s comp, met a woman in Tijuana, she became pregnant, he smuggled her across the border when she was three months pregnant, married her, had another child, four years later she finally got her green card, he cheated on her, she left him in South Carolina. He’s been all over Mexico, every state, the Philippines, and several other countries. His brother committed suicide, both of his parents are dead, he misses his mother, loves his son, loves his dogs. He moved with his cousin Mike to El Paso to be with a woman he loved, she took all his money, all his things, and kicked him out.

Mike – “Cowboy”
Mike is Ron’s cousin. Mike is quiet, he loves country music, he IS country music. Real country music. He worked in Branson, MO where he met Stevie Ray, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams Jr.

I encountered Ron and Mike on their journey from El Paso back to SC. Their Jeep Cherokee Laredo broke down in my town. They parked at a shopping center and begged for money. A couple of police officers confronted them and directed them to a church 4 miles down the road. My church. The church informed them that they only help locals and don’t usually help those passing through. But they did pay for an estimate for Ron at the local Jeep dealer.
I met Ron when I didn’t have time for Ron. My wife and I were headed downtown to take Fabian a pair of shoes and socks (see below for that story) then to dinner. She wanted to stop by a store for the last day of a sale, but we were quickly losing daylight. I decided to stop anyway. We parked the car and there was Ron. The trunk was open, Mike was in the passenger’s seat, and Ron was walking toward me. I knew what Ron needed, but didn’t know if I was going to believe his story. He told me they broke down, didn’t have the money to fix the car, and showed me a quote from the local dealer with the bill to my church. I pulled out my wallet, pulled out all my cash, and gave it to him.
When we were done shopping, we came back out to Ron still standing outside of his car. He was extremely thankful and gave me a hug. He said he knew God said, “ask and you shall receive,” but nobody was helping him. He said only once before had someone been as generous as I had been. No one had ever opened their wallet to him and said, “here is all I’ve got.” I didn’t know how much I gave him, but he told me. And it wasn’t even the amount that he was most thankful for, but that I gave it all. He told me they were going to the truck stop to try to wash their clothes and take a shower, then they would head to the church to spend the night in their car.
We got back in the car, saw how others responded to him, and watched the manager kick them out of the parking lot.
We started to head downtown to Fabian, when I realized that I cannot live with myself continually passing up these opportunities. Too many times do I overlook a need, only to regret not making the impact I could have made.
I turned the car around and decided to try to meet their need. I called my friend (who is conveniently a mechanic) and told him I’d pay for the parts if he could help me install them. He was more than willing. My only problem was I lost my new friends… again (see Fabian). They weren’t too hard to track down. They relocated across the street with the trunk popped, asking for more money. My friend met me out there and we found that the repair wasn’t as simple as I thought it might be. We tried all we could to source the parts. We decided we really wouldn’t be able to fix it ourselves. I told Ron that I’d like for him and Mike to come by the church service in the morning. He was slightly hesitant, but agreed. I gave him my number and that was it for the night.
I struggled with having a house and being approached by someone sleeping in their car. Why don’t I open my doors, my shower, my bed to them? Why not?
I called Ron about 10:40 to see if he was there to go to the 11:00 service with me. He didn’t answer. About five minutes into the service, he called. He said he talked to someone in the church office that said they would pay for their repairs. The church also took them to their care center and gave them some water and canned food. He told me someone was meeting him to get the food, but he wanted to get to the service because he knows those Southern preachers can really get fired up. He said he knows God can speak directly through a preacher to someone. He said he was in tears when the church said they would help.
I caught them leaving the service and invited them as my guests to lunch with my friends. They followed us to lunch and I was able to sit and have a conversation with these two men. Ron told me everything… more than I was expecting to be told. Ron told me that he had a good heart, hadn’t always done what God says, but had a good heart. He praised me for my good heart, even said he wishes his son had my heart. I told him my heart isn’t good, that helping him wasn’t what my heart would normally choose, but that it was Christ in me. Ron appreciated having someone to talk to and Mike enjoyed the food. I left Ron and Mike feeling like I had done nothing, but just hoping that I had been a light in some way.

Why can’t I give everything for someone else? I do see Christ working in me. I could have left Ron and Mike with my cash, but I just hope that I left them with a seed. A seed that is the example of Christ. But how unworthy I am to be that example. How little I did when I could have done more.
Christ is moulding me into something so much greater than I can imagine. Is softening my heart to those who are kicked to the curb and shunned. Christ went to the woman at the well. Christ went to Zacchaeus. These are his people. These are my people.
LORD, help Your people to see the needs of others and sacrifice themselves to meet those needs.

Why should someone like Ron believe “ask and you shall receive” (whether he took it out of context or not). As the children of God, when someone asks, they should receive. If we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, we need to start meeting needs and being Christ to others. He met our needs and then some. We should open our eyes to others’ needs and meet those needs with an abounding, self-sacrificial love.




%d bloggers like this: