February 20, 2013

Love...and stuff.

It was nice to love on my man this year, now that we're finally in the same place and getting to "celebrate" every day of being together since we've gotten married (ok not every day, but pretty close to it!). We're stayed home and ate delicious barbecue from our favorite local BBQ joint. Mmm, ribs.

But you know, love (and being in love) isn't about loving your main squeeze on one 'super special day' one day of the year. At least, that's not enough for me. This is probably something you've heard already but I think it's worth saying again -- we should try to love people every day. I try to do that...secret: I usually fail at loving people every day, but at least I start every day determined to try!

I read in a commentary somewhere that when Paul wrote about love in 1st Corinthians 13, he described love as it being an action, not an emotion; "love is seen, experienced, and demonstrated". When the oh-so-familiar verses start listing what love is ("Love is patient, love is kind...") there is a sense that 'love' is used in terms of "action, attitude and behavior" (Keith Krell). So, then, it should be assumed that love reveals itself in many beautiful, defying and God-glorifying forms.

On valentines day, love reveals itself as a husband picking up dinner and flowers for his wife.

There are currently 27 million living in slavery right.now. Find out more here and here.

On a random Sunday, love reveals itself as a bunch of young people sacrificing time and money for their brothers and sisters around the world. A couple of weeks ago, our 8th graders participated in a Love Walk over the weekend and raised close to $1500 for a local community center...then some returned to church the next day and participated in our "Shine A Light on Slavery" event as our entire youth ministry learned about human trafficking and raised $1,013 (in change - pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters) for the End It Movement to see an end to human trafficking in their lifetime.

Every day, in ordinary (but really not so ordinary) people's lives, love reveals itself as a tireless commitment to someone - through thick and thin - because they know and cling to the fact that they are loved by One who loves them. Ian & Larissa's story tore my heart apart, and challenged me with the question: would I be willing to love my husband this way too? And if I had to care for my husband like Bill cares for his wife Glad, would I have the strength and the joy to do so?

Love is about thinking others more highly than we think of ourselves - through our acts of service. Love is not to be confined between you and the man-candy (or woman-candy) you have in your fleeting life. I am thankful for that reminder this post 'valentines day season', because sometimes the candy hearts and the sweet tarts make love an emotion too easy to get caught up in.

If I speak in the tongues of men or 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 poora nd give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, NIV)

Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13, NLT)


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