Category Archives: February Theme: Love

The Gift of Gab

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The Gift of Gab

I have been known to have people say to me that I have the gift of gab. So much so that I was cleaning out things in my attic last week (the clutter we have accumulated has been driving me nuts) and I ran across a box that has been stored for 6 years and never gone through. I opened it and came across my baby book. My mother passed away from cancer when I was 16 and now that our daughter is expecting her first child (our first grandchild) in September, I took it out to reminiscence.

My eyes immediately started to swell with tears as I saw my mother’s handwriting. As I thumbed through the pages for each year it became obvious to me that I have always been and always will be a talker with mad social skills! Page after page, toddler to preschooler, kindergarten to third grader, I was a social butterfly. My mom wrote on each of those years her observations about my gift of gab and she even wrote my teachers comments. Some good, some not so good.

Ever since I can remember my mouth has gotten me into trouble. God has taught me to live in the fruits of my spirit. When it involves talking, I still struggle to always speak in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and to  have self-control while doing it. I have come a long way and there are very rare occasions when I truly struggle with it. Usually it happens when I am witness to someone being mean and hateful to someone else. This is usually when it got me in trouble as a kid too. I always want to jump in, defend, point out the behavior, and right the wrong. In my heart, I have good intentions but God has taught me there is a better way to do it.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, the Apostle Paul tells the church that “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not only the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear to us,”

Paul was a preachy person, before he was converted he yelled screamed, lashed out in anger, spoke down to people, even committed murder. But when God took hold of his life he was changed. His mindset was different. From this passage we know that God changed Paul’s heart and he not only preached the good news but he lived it out. He knew for him to be effective for reaching the lost and growing believers in their faith he had to follow Jesus’ example and model true piety in his own life. Did he still get mad and frustrated? Yes! Just read any of the Epistle texts and you can find evidence. But the difference was he shared himself with the people, he shared his very soul, and he did so walking in the fruits of his spirit.

On our Via de Cristo weekends we have a saying that I model my evangelism by, “make a friend, be a friend, and bring your friend to Christ”. It is the way I feel that Jesus did it, Paul did it, and I do it. I love people. God has given me that gift. I love to talk. God has given me that gift as well. And God reminds me all the time to always speak the truth whether others will like what I have to say, but to always do it in love. Reading Paul’s letters has taught me its OK to get mad and frustrated, it is OK for me to have feelings of anger, after all I am human. But the lessons God has taught me remind me to put that passion to work for the glory of Him and Him alone.

God Loves You And So Do I

Leslie

 

 

 

 

 

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“Hey Girl!”

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Greetings to my fellow lady friends, to my sweet and sometimes sassy women that share commonalities with me:

It’s February (of course) the month in which women get a larger-than-normal dose of attention from our male counter parts. The time of year when love, is emphasized and romance encouraged. Yet while many of us will say love is physical, or that love is a thing shown (in part) via monetary value wrapped with bright shiny paper; I maintain that it has many forms. MOST of which, have no physical bearing at all. But is shown best through actions of help, encouragement, sympathy, empathy, and a shared joy for one another’s mile stones and achievements.

For instance, at a time when I had a large amount of stress due to my oldest child ending up in the hospital, my spirits were hugely lifted through some friends and family of mine. I felt an enormous amount of love and joy when everyone I knew offered me assistance in various ways and assured me that time spent in the hospital would not be held against me and that I could make up any work missed. Exceptions were made, and it was a wonderful thing. My son rested and through many prayers and the good hospital staff, he got better. (I did not, mind you, taken advantage of this kindness, which indeed, often makes a difference in circumstances.)

Therefore, I say friendship can be one of the best and most overlooked form of love out there. My friends are a much needed refreshment in a world that gives nothing but dry arid desserts for cities of sanctuary. The politics and ‘first-come-first-serve’ attitude of cold corporate society is draining on a soul. Which is why God in His infinite wisdom, gave His followers a special kind of support. A fellowship of heart and soul. A family bonded by like-hearted spirits, colorful lights in sometimes cruel, dark place. We become beacons of safety, harboring each other in life’s stormy moment. And often, a quiet ear is a necessary soft place to land and express the frustrations of the days (or weeks) events.

So ladies, while our husbands are an integral part of our lives, please make time, and don’t forget. You have sisters in Christ. Wise women who can help you in truth and loving kindness’s. They offer new perspectives and common experiences that bond. We are simultaneously fuel for our inner fire and nearly empty tanks. Built to both encourage and be encouraged.

Thank God then . . . for ladies night.

 

The First Fruit

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“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him (Jesus) to the test, saying ‘Teacher what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law?  How do you read it?’  And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’  And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly;  do this, and you will live.”  Luke 10:25-28

I know we already had a whole month on the topic of love (February), but I still felt that love should be the first virtue I chose to discuss as one of the fruits of the spirit.  Why?  Well, it does come first in the list in Galatians;  and in the verses above Jesus affirms that  love is the overriding principle in the Law.  In the 13th Chapter of  1 Corinthians, the apostle, Paul, tells us that love is the greatest spiritual gift, and without it all our good deeds are meaningless.  And in the third chapter of Colossians we find another listing of Christian virtues after which Paul tells us:

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Colossians 3:14

So it seems pretty obvious.  If we truly love, the other qualities will fall naturally into place.  When we genuinely love someone we are joyful and we can live peacefully with them.  Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness characterize loving relationships.  Love leads us to control the impulses that cause  hurt and misunderstanding.

So if you want to cultivate the fruit of the spirit love first.  Err on the side of love.  Let love inform your actions.

And remember God loves you and so do I!

 

 

The Real Love Story

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Maybe if you’re my age you remember a film called Love Story.  It popularized the phrase, love means you never have to say you’re sorry.  It sounds good, I guess.  Romantic somehow.  I think it’s meant to convey the idea that if we love someone enough, if we understand them completely, we won’t need an apology to feel their remorse.  Unfortunately it’s not true.  Most of us know from personal experience that failure to apologize for hurting someone leads to further hurt and maybe even a relationship that is completely broken.

The greatest love story of all time is the story of God’s love for His people as recorded in the Bible.  All human love is a reflection of that first love.  Listen to what God says to us about saying you’re sorry:

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

Some may take this legalistically, turning it into a rule that says we must search and search our life, notice and remember every sin we’ve ever committed and list them out and confess them, in order to appease God’s wrath.  But this isn’t true. He knows we can’t confess every wrong doing because there are so many we commit without even realizing it. Sin is our default setting. God doesn’t tell us to confess to punish us, or make us feel bad.  He wants us to realize we are sinners and confess, so that we can experience His forgiveness and feel better.  Listen to what David says in Psalm 51 after his confession of adultery with Bathsheba:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

Not confessing our sins leads to separation from God and others.  Confessing heals and restores.  It’s good for the soul.

 

 

 

 

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

Martin Luther on Love

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On Love

“Therefore we conclude that all law, divine and human, treating of outward conduct, should not bind any further than love goes. Love is to be the interpreter of law.”

Read more here.

What does this quote mean to you?  Send us your comments.

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.