Monthly Archives: February 2016

Love Is??

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Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Okay folks, let’s be serious, did you actually think that I would not address the most famous love quote in the Bible before the end of the month.  This is a quote said at weddings a lot, but this quote of love is not just for a husband and wife but how we are to be with everyone.  Jesus loved us no matter how sinful we are, with patience and tolerance; however, we do not afford the same courtesy to others.  We set limits and conditions on our love, hold grudges over real and imagined slights, and just all around generally behave in a loveless manner to our fellow humans.  Now before you get yourself all worked up, I DO THE SAME THING.  That’s right, I hold myself just as accountable as any other.  I have been trying to be better, and I have been being more loving towards those that I may not agree with or upset me; but sometimes I falter.  When I do, I brush myself off, get back on the path and continue.  This is not a condemnation of our attitude, but rather a chance for you to look deep into yourself and ask the questions I pose –

Have you shown love to the driver that cut you off?

Have you shown love to the family member that said something hurtful?

Have you shown love to the cashier that took too long to ring you up?

Have you??

Have you loved all as Jesus did?

 

Please comment and let me know, I enjoy hearing from you.

Michele Edgel

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Love Like God

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I came across this scripture in a book I am currently reading, Nourishing the Seed by Bob Mumford.  It is taken from The Message, which is a paraphrase of the Bible, and it fits so well with our theme this month.

Watch what God does and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loves us.  His love was not cautious, but extravagant.  He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that”  Ephesians 5:1-2″

What are some of your favorite Bible verses about love?  Please comment and share.

 

Blessings

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This post has some good practical ideas about how to love those who need us the most.

goodnewsforabadworld

As my wife and I sat looking out at the heavy snow this past weekend I thought what great blessings God had made in my life. At that moment the blessings I counted very dear were those of shelter and the necessities of life–food, water, clothing, etc.  But then the Lord brought me another thought–what are the blessings He was giving to the least and the last in our society? How was He blessing those who were living in tents or taking a day or two in the cold weather shelter?  If I’m so blessed, what are their blessings?

And then the answer came to me (no doubt from Him).  We are their blessings.  God is blessing those who are the weakest in our society with people who can care for them in the midst of their poverty, illness and trials.  God has blessed the poor with people who…

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Only Love Lasts

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If you’re a Lutheran, you know we’re in the midst of Lent. That means an extra weekly church service.  In keeping with the penitential mood of the season, our Pastor (who is also my husband) selected the book of Ecclesiastes for the sermon series.  It’s a rather gloomy book; the “preacher” or “teacher” (reputed to be King Solomon), lists the many accomplishments of his life.  He’s rich, wise, famous, successful, and has enjoyed all the pleasures available to man.  Yet none of these things have truly satisfied him.  He calls them all, “vanity” (or in some translations “meaningless”), no more than “chasing after the wind.”

Last week’s sermon got me thinking about a talk I once heard by James Dobson. He said when his father died, he did not remember how much money he made, or what he had achieved professionally.  He didn’t think about the many “things” and comforts his father had provided for the family.  He remembered the times he and his dad spent together, doing simple activities like going fishing. Those times taught him that his father cared for him and wanted to be with him. They were the kind of memories he wanted to pass down to his own children.  Love is the best legacy to leave, the only one that really lasts.

In the thirteen chapter of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul attests to this when he says, “Love never ends: as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease, as for knowledge, it will pass away.” Even our spiritual accomplishments are “nothing” if we don’t do them out of love.

So, like Paul, “Make love your aim.”(1 Corinthians 14:1).

How do you plan to do that  this week?  Send us your ideas and comments.

The Greatest Love

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You can’t really have a discussion about Love without mentioning John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

This statement is one that I think is so overused that it becomes mundane in our Christian life.  Think about this. God loves the whole world. That’s not just us, the Christian, but everyone in the whole world. That’s a lot of people. And giving up His son, Jesus. I don’t know if any of us would sacrifice our children for another person, much less the whole world.

Jesus came into the world knowing that He would be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. There would be no more lambs or sheep sacrificed. Jesus was sacrificed as the perfect Lamb. In his human form He asked his Father if He didn’t have to do this, but in the next breath said “Not my will, but Yours”.  If a person in this world lost their life to save yours, it would cause a huge disruption in your emotional being. You would do anything to try to repay the loss to the family of that person. Your mind would always be on that person, thinking about them.

In our busy lives it is difficult to keep our Lord’s Wonderful Love and Amazing Grace in the forefront of our minds always. I think we should all attempt this, but I know that I fall way short of this goal. As I grow in my walk with the Lord, I hope to make this my goal: Never lose the awe that the Lord loves me and, because of that love, died for me.

All You Need is Love

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Love has been on my mind lately. No, not because of Valentine’s Day or my wedding anniversary, it’s just been coming up again and again in the weekly epistle readings. That really isn’t surprising since love is at the heart of the Christian life. The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and Jesus Himself teaches that the greatest commandments are “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind …And … love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).  Church tradition says that when the apostle John was very old he would be carried into church where his entire sermon consisted of the statement:  “Beloved, let us love one another.” (1 John 4:7)  Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit poured out into us (Galations 5:22) and the identifying mark of all Christians (John 3:35).  The New Testament commands us to love more than fifty times!

So why do we find it hard to love certain people? I think the answer lies in the way we define love.  For most of us, love means certain feelings:  tenderness, affection and attachment which we expect (or at least hope) to have reciprocated.  Unfortunately, there are plenty of people, even in our own churches and families, for whom we cannot muster up those feelings.  We struggle to “love” people who have qualities that annoy us, who have hurt us or treated us badly, who disagree with us.  How can we love people we don’t even like? How can we love people who don’t like us?

A careful reading has convinced me that Biblical love is not about feelings, but actions. We can’t control our emotions, but we can control what we do in response to them. We are to love others in the way we behave toward them. The apostle John, in his first epistle tells us to love “not in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  The love verses in the Bible are filled with action words:  “serve one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2); “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15); “spur one another on to love” (Hebrews 10:24); “pursue love” (1 Timothy 2:22) and if fact “do everything in love” ( 1 Corinthians 16: 14).  In some verses, the instructions are even more specific: “… outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10); “if you enemy is hungry, feed him (Romans 12:20); bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14); “ …pray for those who abuse you(Luke 6:28).

Next time (and it will be soon) I am confronted with a person I find difficult to love, I plan to ask the Holy Spirit to help me behave in accordance with the love qualities described in Colossians 3:12-17: “ …compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other.”  The apostle Paul calls this “walking by the spirit” (Galatians 5:16) Loving actions lead to freedom and peace; and as Paul adds, “against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:23).

This article was previously published in The Ambassador Facebook Page, an AFLC (Association of Free Lutheran Churches) magazine

Loving Prayer Partners

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This month our theme is love, and I would like to blog about some loving Lutheran ladies who have recently inspired me.  A year and a half ago at the district women’s meeting of our denomination, we decided to start a prayer partners program.  The idea was to match up women from a different congregations in the district, thereby deepening relationships between both individuals and churches.

The lady who volunteered to organize the program has become a wonderful Christian sister. Her name is Karen.  Karen calls herself “everybody’s prayer partner” and she has lived out that role by sending each of us a package once a quarter.  In this “prayer package” she includes Bible verses and fun activities.  This year her goal is to call every one of the prayer partners so she can get to know them personally and see how they are interacting with one another.  Now that’s love!

Karen could not be at this year’s conference and so another woman from her congregation spoke to us about the program.  Her name is Audrey.  Audrey shared that her prayer partner was in a nursing home, and she had not heard from her all year;  however she thought of her often, prayed for her and sent her cards.  I spoke with Audrey afterwards, and told her how impressed I was that she continued in prayer without getting any response back .  Her answer?  “I just wanted to do something for someone else.”  I was truly humbled by Audrey’s loving attitude.

As it turns out, Audrey’s prayer partner is a member of my congregation.  When Bea’s 84th birthday came around this month, Audrey sent me a check to buy her some flowers.  Karen called Bea on the phone and sang “Happy Birthday” to her.   What an inspiration these two ladies have been to me — reaching our selflessly to women they do not know to share Christ’s love.

I cannot end without mentioning my personal prayer partner, Gay Lynn.  She has a  support to me this year.  We email all our concerns and hold each other in prayer.  I wish that everyone could experience the comfort of a faithful, praying friend.  We got to meet each other and get a big hug at the conference.

I would like to hear what experience other ladies have had with prayer partners. Has your experience been valuable?  What have you learned from this kind of connection with other Christian women?  Do you have questions about finding a prayer partner? Send us your comments and thoughts!

Loving Your Neighbor

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By Michele Edgel

The New Year has come and people make all kinds of resolutions, most of which will be forgotten by March.  My thought has always been that making these resolutions was silly and impractical.  When this New Year rolled around I spent some time actually thinking about what needed to happen in the New Year.   Not necessarily making a resolution but being honest with myself and the things that could be done better (There were a lot I assure you).  After careful consideration, the realization came that I needed to do a better job of following these two commandments given by Jesus:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 ESV.

This seems like a pretty easy thing to do right?  Love your Lord God above all things – I do that already, or do I?  I thought, I got the first one not a problem, wrong – I realized that I do put other things before God.  Not always taking the time to honor him by reading his word, thank him for all he does or just sit and listen for him to speak to me.  When this realization came to me, I thought I can do better, and have been but there is always room for improvement.

The second one – “Love thy neighbor” this one is a little bit trickier.  Most people define a neighbor as one who lives close to you, but Jesus meant everyone.  This is getting a little harder.  Love everyone, surely he didn’t mean a terrorist, rapist, etc.  Well he didn’t say “Love your neighbor as yourself, unless” so I guess he did mean everyone.  It is easy to love our family (sometimes) whether it is our blood or church family but it gets a little harder when we go outside the comfort zone.

So here we go starting the New Year out trying to follow this and the first stumbling block is hit.  I told someone that I loved everyone and they said “Well, yeah but not people like pedophiles and terrorists” and I said yeah them to.  They were dumbfounded.   I then proceeded to explain that those are the people in most need of love.  The terrorist that has only grown up knowing hate and revulsion, the pedophile that was taught that love is shown in perverse ways.  I am not sure if they understood but I actually feel better about myself knowing that Jesus is guiding me in this.  What I thought was going to be hard has turned out to be pretty easy, but the year has just started so I may change my mind at a later date, I will keep you informed.  I want to end this by clarifying a point or two.  Just because I state that I love someone does not mean that I share their political, religious or moral views or even like their views.  I am just trying to be a better person by being a better Christian.  As Jesus told us:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35 ESV. 

Go forth and Love Thy Neighbor.  God Loves You And So Do I.