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Nothing, Ever

Romans 8:35,37

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?  Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Real love

1 John 4:10 (NLT)

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Love, Love, Love

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All Inclusive

Corinthians 13:6-8 (NIV)
does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always
hopes, always perseveres.  Love never
I waited until after Valentine’s Day
to complete our love scripture because V-Day is a single day while God’s love
is to be celebrated and shared every day of the year. 
In today’s Scripture I see inclusion
– always, always, always, always, and (for emphasis) never.  These words encompass every person and
situation imaginable without exception.  God’s
love is constant, unconditional, dependable and persistent.  We receive this love through His grace and therefore
we do our best to share it with all His children.
Love is always the answer.

BONUS SCRIPTURE:  Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT) – Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.  He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

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Fresh Words of Love

It’s sometimes good to hear a fresh spin on a familiar passage.  These are the words of Eugene Peterson from The Message.

Corinthians 13:1-10 (MSG) – The Way of Love

If I speak with human eloquence and
angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 
If I speak God’s Word with power,
revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have
faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m
If I give everything I own to the
poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve
gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m
bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech
will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach
its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is
always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be

Flashing Neon Signs

Corinthians 13:4-5 (NLT)
is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous
or boastful or proud or rude.  It does
not demand its own way.  It is not
irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
Remember while reading further into this
familiar scripture that Paul is not describing romantic love, rather love for
all of God’s children.  Yup.  Everyone.  Remember also, that we are imperfect humans
who are prone to fall short of this ideal. 
We can only recognize our errors, humbly ask for forgiveness and start
fresh with God’s help.  Notice how many
of these love descriptors match the Fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit enables us
to fully love.
With all this in mind, read the
scripture again, slowly.  Which ‘Love is…’
flashes neon red?
My flashing neon sign would take up
the entire side of a building.  Love does
not demand its own way.  It is flexible
and open to others’ ideas.  At the same
time, love keeps no record of being wronged. 
No record – like it never happened. 
There you have it, my confession.
How do we love better?  With God’s help.  Ask God to fill you with His presence and give
you a heart to love every one of His children.
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Questioning Our Motives

Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)
I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a
resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If
I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and
if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am
nothing.  If I give all I possess to the
poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love,
I gain nothing.
It’s the week of love.  Some of you have attended so many weddings
you could probably recite this verse.  (See! 
You can memorize scripture!)  Ironically, this isn’t about romantic love.  Paul is describing brotherly love, Christian love,
day-to-day love – love for the stranger and enemy.  With that in mind, take a second look.
It’s a pretty powerful list – eloquent
speaking, understanding and explaining God’s mysteries, accomplishing the
seemingly impossible, self-sacrificial giving. 
People with these gifts and faith are doing God’s work, right?  Aren’t they our role models?  Not necessarily.  They (and we!) miss the point unless they’re motivated
by love.
We feed the homeless and greet the
stranger.  We sponsor children and respond
to natural disasters.  We try to resolve
our differences peacefully and avoid gossip. 
Why?   That’s the question today.  What is your motivation?
What motivates you?  Let’s share!  To comment, click the title
at the top of this email then comment at the bottom of the blog.  If you’d
like to comment privately, you can email me at [email protected]

Lazy Nibblers

3:1-2 (NIV)
your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of
God.  Set your minds on things above, not
on earthly thing.
Today I pass along excerpts of a
devotion from Jen at Good Morning Girls. 
We hear it over and over:  Focus
on Christ not on earthly things.  But
HOW?  Jen will take it from here:
There is nothing new under the sun.
If we want to have a mind that is focused on Jesus then we need to
submerge ourselves in His Word.
It really is that simple and yet we
struggle with it.
“We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much
because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and
boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a
lack of passion.  Our problem is that we are lazy.”
– R.C. Sproul
This is a painful truth. It comes
down to the fact that we don’t want to put in the time and effort it takes to
read God’s Word, think about it, memorize it, or maybe even do some research on
it. We don’t want to get up early or stay up a little late. We don’t want to
look up verses we don’t understand or read books or sermons that will help us
apply the Word of God.
Another thing we need to do in
order to grow in heaven mindedness is to learn to meditate. Not the new age
kind of meditation that tells us to empty our mind, but instead we fill our
mind with scripture and think about it throughout the day. Let it mull over in
your mind asking God to help you remember and apply the things you are thinking
A.W. Tozer said that many are
guilty of just nibbling at the word. Let’s not just nibble and then walk away
unsatisfied. Let’s feast richly on God’s Word that will never run out and will
never become irrelevant.
Everything always comes back to
knowing the Word of God.
Do we want to grow spiritually? 
Then we need to be in the Word. Do we want to learn about God’s character? Know
the Word. Do we want to get better at praying, learn patience and
kindness?  Then we must be focused on the Word.
“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and
deepens with our years.”
– C. H. Spurgeon

Hard But True

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.  But I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you!  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Matthew 5:43-45 (NLT)
It’s hard to follow Jesus!  It’s not instinctive or logical and often just the opposite.  Jesus demands that we turn our thinking and behavior upside down.
Hard, but True.  True with a capital T.
Have you ever (with all the power you could muster through the Holy Spirit) responded to a hurtful situation with grace?  What happened?  How did you feel?  Didn’t it turn out better? Yes, His way is the better way.
‘Take the high road’ isn’t about superiority or pride.  It’s the High road, the narrow gate, the path less traveled, the eye of the needle.
And it is hard.
What has your experience been?
Would you share a story?

Take Action!

21:21 (MSG)
Whoever goes hunting for what is
right and kind finds life itself – glorious
months I have wanted to invite the new neighbors for dinner.  I say ‘new’, but they moved in last
summer!  We’ve chatted a few times and I
really like them.  I look forward to
knowing them better.  I delay because my
house is perpetually untidy and my dining room is my office.  Having guests requires a temporary relocation
which is a bit of work.  I’ve been lazy for
a long time.
it’s my guilty conscience, but in every translation of today’s scripture I see
a distinctly proactive attitude.  You can’t
avoid the action in ‘goes hunting for, chases, runs after, and pursues’
kindness.  Solomon, the wisdom writer,
says don’t just be kind when a situation
presents itself;  find ways to do what’s right.
Sigh.  I have failed.  But with God every day is new, so I just called
with an invitation.  If I wait for my
house to be put together, I’ll never have guests.  That’s not the point, right?  We’ll eat in the kitchen and our time
together will be rich and glorious.  Of
course I will make apologies, but my authentic self is not the greatest
can you take action to be more kind?
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Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts.  If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.
Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts. If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.

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