Love and Relationships

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (I Cor13:4-7).

From the “Love Chapter,” this is a very familiar verse to most people who have attended a wedding. Unfortunately, it is usually rattled off with little attention to the meaning of each phrase. Each part is a gem of wisdom, and if we made a determined effort to apply even just one, our relationships would thrive.

One that I especially need to work on is it keeps no record of wrongs. Sometimes I find myself even years later holding ill-feelings toward someone who I felt treated me unfairly. When that happens, we have choices on how to react (after all, to love is a choice). We can attack back—definitely not a relationship builder. We can get even or retaliate on the same level—also not a loving alternative. Or we can rise above and react kindly and respectfully.

If that last choice seems insincere, then we can first try a little exercise in understanding. Maybe their attack had nothing to do with us—we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe that person was hurting or confused himself. Our attempt toward understanding can also help with the love is patient, kind and not easily angered phrases too.

I guess second to only Satan, I’m my own worst enemy thinking it’s all about ME. Reflecting on God’s word sure aids in clearing our vision and helps us to take our eyes off ourselves and onto God and others.

Wasted Time

Then I will restore (make-up) to you the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

I love interpreting this verse metaphorically in order to apply it to my own life.

We have all had periods in our lives where we have wasted days, even years on being angry, or timid, or sulky, or fearful, or whiney, or even mentally checking-out. Later we regret those times especially if there is a person involved who is no longer with us.

In many instances a do-over is not possible, but God is able and can somehow compensate. He is so gracious to those who put their faith in Him, and with Him nothing is impossible. After all, it is not God that invades our peace, but it is He who can lead us to still waters and can more than satisfy the ache in our soul.

Amazing Love

And now the prize awaits me-the crown of righteousness…for all who look forward to His appearing (2 Tim 4:8).

The place that Jesus is preparing for believers (John 4:2) includes many rewards. Although we are not told what they are, I can’t begin to imagine if the most spectacular things on earth pale next to what is to come.

I am more than glad that salvation is a free gift; that we do not need to earn it. Not one of us could live a sinless life—not the most pious saint, and certainly not me, but we can achieve rewards. The bible calls them “crowns” which I have seen interpreted as rewards, awards and prizes. Anyway, if it’s a reward from God, it’s got to be more than amazing.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Paul explained the crown of rejoicing with these questions—Who is our crown of rejoicing? Is it not you? Can you think of a better reason for rejoicing, a better reward, than by seeing people who are in Heaven with us because we had some part in their being there?!

Studying God’s word, and discovering even parts of His plans for us, gives us just tiny glimpses of His great and incredible love.

The Word

Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut 8:3).

 Did you notice that this verse is from the Old Testament? You probably recognize it from when Jesus quoted it to rebuke Satan’s temptations. There are so many lessons to be learned from the context of this quote in the Old Testament, but I’d like to focus of Jesus (yes, I would). He had the power of the Creator of the Universe at His fingertips, but He, the Son of God, fought the enemy with scripture.

Have you ever seen those bookmarkers that have a scripture for every need (when you’re lonely, depressed, scared…)? Don’t take it lightly; that is our arsenal. His words are powerful.

When I think of the power of my own words to produce joy, anger, hurt, love, I can on a small, small scale begin to grasp the immeasurable power of proclaiming the words of God.

God is God

I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).

A devotional by Oswald Chambers had this phrase, “As sure as God is God and you are you…” It got me thinking about the vast chasm between God and my human nature—His pure heart, my selfish heart; His foresight, my myopic vision; His unconditional love, my fickle emotions.

Quite often, the way He answers prayer is different than the way I would (we can all be glad about that). The more I pray for someone who needs to change, even if it’s legitimate, the more the Holy Spirit spotlights areas in my life that need to change.

Anyway, I’m glad that God is God and that He is still working on me.

All You Need is Faith

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov3:5).

For a short time, as an adult, I took piano lessons from an old German man, Dr. Wagner (pronounced Vagner). I loved him, but I sometimes I would get frustrated because something was missing. Then one day he remarked, “Mrs. St Clair, you play with your head, not with your heart.”

That was many, many years ago and I have applied that to my life many, many times. Sometimes I act on what I think instead of what is in my heart. But the heart is not always reliable either. What’s worse is when I act from my head instead of in faith.

Over the years, God’s faithfulness has been evident so many times. What may seem logical to me may not fit His perfect plan for my life. I’m glad He acts from the heart when dealing with me, His work in progress.

More

All glory to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20).

I have two thoughts on this verse. When God has answered, “Yes” to my prayers, He has amazed me by doing it in such a way that my limited mind had never imagined. I am reminded of jobs that I prayed for and how He answered with positions I would have never even pursued.

My second thought is that if He had not said, “No” to some of my requests, my life would be a hot mess at this point.

Through His power He is able to do ___*____ more than we ask or imagine. (*infinitely, exceedingly abundantly, above and beyond). And His love is equal to or surpassing that!

Mathew Henry’s commentary on this verse notes that “it is proper always to end prayers with praises. Let us expect more, and ask for more, encouraged by what Christ has already done for our souls.”