Thursday, October 15, 2015

JOY Jesus Others You


How does one love best?  

Where does love come from?  Where does it begin and does it have an end?

In today's world, a popular way to think of love is a feeling one can get in an out of.  One can be "in love" and "fall out of love".  It is feeling like you're on top of the world one day and feeling "what was I thinking" the next.  But is this really what love is?

To love best, one must find the true meaning of love.  Is it to find someone we are attracted to because they have a bright smile or long lashes or run fast or cook well?  What then when they lose their teeth, when their lashes fall out, when they slow down or get too lazy to cook?  Is love really as fragile as a butterfly that is here and then gone the next day?

Maybe it would be better to look at love that is constant no matter what happens.  The love that is there through thick and thin.  This is the kind of love we hear at weddings, "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health".

"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." 1 Corinthians 13:4

So if we all agree that this is really what love is, then we must acknowledge that God's Word is truly the authority on love.  It says that God Himself is love, so this is actually the basis we have in loving others.

If we do not start with loving God, we cannot love others.

Love comes from God alone.  He is love and He is the author of it.  He taught us to love by loving us first.  Therefore, only by loving God can we love like He does and not the kind of butterfly love the world teaches about.

When we love God, we will want to do what He tells us - and in so doing, we take on His mind more and more.  

Once we love God with our all, it is a natural progression to love others for we will love who God loves. We will learn to see people with God's eyes rather than the eyes that look towards selfish gain.

When we have learned to love others, and express that love freely, then we will love ourselves. 

We can only love the self that gives and cares about others.  We can only run away from the self that is isolated and self-serving, the self we can't bear to look at in the morning.  

When we love God, He transforms us to love others and ourselves in a much deeper way.

We can only love ourselves if we first love others and we can only love others if we love God with our all.

If we start the other way around, gratify our selves first then others and God last, we won't get past just looking out for ourselves.  We will get stuck there, and in the end, won't be very happy just caring for ourselves.  We were made for communion with God and with others.

So if we want to love others and ourselves better, love God first of all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sweetness in the Seed



My dad asked me an interesting question today.  My dad, who is way smarter than me, had this to pick my brain, "why does the mango start out as bitter and then afterwards turn so sweet?"  (He asked while happily sampling a ripened mango.)

Why do fruits in general turn out sour anyway?  Well here's the thing.  Im not thinking botany and chemistry which explains that when a fruit's seeds aren't ready yet, the fruit is full of acidity, making it sour - which is a natural deterrent for birds and other critters to eat it before it's time.
I know that God has some lesson for us among the seeds and the sweetness.  
In the Good Book, sweetness is associated with God's Word.  
"How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth." - psalm 119:103

In the same way, we who don't "wait upon the Lord," will not taste the sweetness. When we aren't patient in meditating on the Word of God, we don't find the bible's words appealing.  

If we wait too long, it can scar us for life!

My dad, in his youth, but into a rotten tomato and now avoids it like a plague.  It is too unpleasant to ever try again.  When we wait too long to respond to God's Word in our lives, it jolts us and we can hardly take it In anymore.  We become like the seed that fell into thorny ground - too busy to attend to our spiritual life and so His Word is distasteful.  

God's words are "sharper than a two edged sword".  If we are not living in the light, and have been in the darkness too long, we get blinded when someone opens a window.  God's Word can cut to the heart.  Ouch! 

But as we grow closer and closer to God, we learn that His laws aren't meant to strangle us but to bless and protect us.  They become a delight to us.

"When wisdom enters your heart and knowledge is sweet into your soul." - proverbs 2:10

I think God also want to teach us about timing.  Ecclesiastes impresses upon us that "there is a time for everything under the sun." So, if we are waiting for something, maybe our prayers to be answered, we need to know that God is still making the outcome sweeter as we wait and hope and dream.  

"My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off." - proverbs 24:13-14

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