Learning to Love

This month, I’m participating in a study on love, based on 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve had different ideas on the topic over the years—back when I was 5 or 6 and couldn’t write much, the most common phrase in my letters was “God is love”.

Back then, those words were security to me. That is who God is. But my idea of love—God’s love—never went far beyond that. That is who God is, but I never applied it to my life as “God is love, so therefore I should be . . . .”

Learning to Love

Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:2-3)

The study so far has been challenging and enlightening. Seeing how without love we are practically useless has made me wonder how love is shown in my life.

  • Am I showing love to my coworker when she offers to do the last little bit of cleaning, that can only be done by one person, and I let her do it? Especially when I know she’s tired and would rather go home to rest?
  • Am I showing love to my brother when he has an exciting experiment and I’m feeling tired and grumpy, so I tell him I’m not interested?
  • Am I showing love to my friend when I tell her of my troubles, but never care to ask her about hers?
  • Am I showing love to my neighbor when she stops by, and since I don’t really like her I take the option to duck out to my room and let Mom talk rather than carry on a conversation?

Truthfully, I have to answer no to all those questions. I’m pretty terrible at showing love. So this next week, I’m challenging myself to do at least one thing each day to show love to someone—whether it’s speak a word of encouragement, do something for someone, or simply listen to my brother’s idea and practice some patience.

This week, I want to be proactive about learning to love those around me. I do love and appreciate a lot of people, but usually that isn’t shown.

Will you join me? Can we have a positive influence on the world and the people around us this next week?

And if this aspect of love is a little easier for you than for some of us, do you have any practical tips for how to actively show our love to others?

The Rock Stands Forever

When I got home from work today, I found out that a friend of the family who had been planning to come spend the day with us tomorrow came today instead, and brought a friend along with him. It was great to meet her, and nice to catch up with him a little.

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The muddy color in the ocean to the top right is where a river (obviously very silty right now!) is joining the ocean.

After talking for a while this afternoon, most of the family went out to the local beach. We’ve had quite a bit of hot weather lately, so it was nice to relax and wade a little in the beautiful cool Pacific!

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We were on the beach for 15 minutes or so, and then headed up the steep, winding hill to the lookout over the bay. This is a favorite spot for us; we’ve taken quite a few different visitors up there. It never seems to get old, though.

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While we stood at the railing, enjoying the breeze, the sunshine, and the beauty around us, our new friend commented that these rocks have been there for a long, long time—even longer than she or I have been alive. Pondering that fact, looking at the intricately carved cliff face, reminded me of God.

“His Word lasts forever, too,” I commented as I studied the deep greens of the native bush in front of us.

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We might come past and look at it, maybe even dig a little into it to figure out why it looks the way it does. Generations come and go, and yet His Word is always there. Unchanged, unmoved, solid as rock.

“Lots of little faces have come and stared at this rock, just like we are now,” my new friend mused. “Then they go away, but the rock stays there. And more little faces will come and look at it again.”

Through everything—storm, wind, hail, earthquake, beating sun—the rock stands.

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Soon it was time to move on. My cousin, who was also with us, wanted to explore a track he had found there—that we had no idea was in the area, even though we’ve explored that particular beach many different times. It was a fun walk; we did a good portion of it in an hour and a half.

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A container ship we spotted from the lookout on the track.

On the way down, the boys all went at their own speeds, most getting to the beach and changed before we got back.

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I stopped to “smell the roses” for a bit. Except I think I forgot to actually smell them in my attempt to get a good picture.

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All in all, it’s been a gorgeous day! God’s creation is so beautiful . . . hearing the twitters and tweets of birds singing in the native bush, the crash and roll of the waves hitting the beach, the sucking knocking sound of rocks rolling in the receding wave, the indescribable blue blue of the ocean, the beautiful piney scent as we drove under pine trees, and so many other sights and sounds and flavors that I can’t even describe. God is good. God is so, so good.

And the really amazing part? Despite all this beautiful creation, that He can enjoy every single day of every single year, He chooses to love us—who scorn His very Gift all too often.

Challenge: What is one thing you can see from where you are right now that shows His beautiful loving care? That shouts that He is in control?

Weekend Musings: God’s Righteousness and Goodness

Written last evening.

It’s been one of those beautiful blessed days. We went to the domain today (like a park, but out in the country and it isn’t as trimmed and polished as one in town), and I basked in the beautiful green, green scenery and the blue, blue sky. It was indescribably gorgeous. I love spring days!

Through different Bible studies lately—what others have pointed out to me, and more personal studies, I’ve had some fascinating thoughts come up. Since I have the chance tonight, I thought I’d jot them down and share.

There are two things I have in mind especially—God’s righteousness and overwhelming goodness.

Just recently, while reading through a study on “justice” in a great book named The Power for True Success published by IBLP, there was a fascinating thought mentioned. This book is VERY in-depth, and I rarely comprehend everything they’re trying to teach. However, one point stuck out to me. I know I’ve heard the teaching before, but I never fully understood all that it implies.

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It was so pretty! Love the spring colors. Also had to get a picture of my handsome oldest brother.

Once we are Christians, in God’s eyes, we are completely covered in Christ’s righteousness. This means that all those sins we’ve done, all those bad thoughts and cruelty…everything is covered by the blood and we are counted righteous.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. — 2 Corinthians 5:21

We know Jesus was of perfect character and perfect righteousness (He “knew no sin”!). And yet He was willing to take upon Himself the sins of the world, and substitute His sinless life in our place, so that we could have His righteousness.

Completely covered is, in my mind, like one of the burqas you see sometimes. No trace left of who is actually underneath—that’s how much Jesus loves us!

Wow.

Then there’s this whole thing on God’s overwhelming goodness. You know those verses in John 10 about the good shepherd? As my friend Rachel recently pointed out, there are some golden promises in verses 28–29. Jesus says here that He has given us—all those who hear His voice and follow Him (notice, “follow” is an action word)—eternal life. Furthermore, “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” No one.

So we’ve got a double-whammy here. When we accept Jesus at the cross, and continue to follow Him, God immediately imputes Jesus’ righteousness onto us. Like a burqa, except instead of being a hindrance and cumbersome weight it’s pure, beautiful freedom. Freedom from the ugly desires and lusts of the world, and the immense gift of someone who truly cares for us and will help us when we turn to Him (and often before we even think to ask, or know we need to ask!).

What an amazing God we serve!