Thursday, March 22, 2012

Love is...

Everywhere you look right now, God is showing His creativity and His love for His creation.  I see the blooms on the flowers and trees and translate these miracles as a love letter from God.  He is reminding me that He is everywhere and in everything!
The transformations of spring also remind me of the opportunity I have to change.  Just a few weeks ago, the ground was brown, and now it's bursting with color.  There are seasons of my life (small pun intended) where I feel dry and ordinary.  The renewal of trees and flowers in spring inspire me to allow my unique gifts from God to burst forth! 
When I think about God's reminders of love, and His grace which allows me to change, the Scripture passage of 1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8a says, "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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.  Love never fails".
A wise lady at the Bible study I attend on Wednesday night pointed out a wonderful way to read this passage.  She said to insert the name of God in where the word love is used.  Then, the passage reflects on many of the amazing attributes of Him.  God is patient, God is kind.  God is not envious, He does not boast, He is not proud.  God is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs.  God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  God always protects, He always trusts, He always hopes, He always perseveres.  God never fails.  We know that God is love; therefore, He is all these other amazing things.
Another wise lady in a different Bible study offered this passage as a challenge.  She directed the class to insert our names where the term love is used.  The challenge is to see how we measure up to God and love.  This exercise is not meant to discourage, but to encourage each of us to rise to the standard to be more like our Lord.  Reading this passage with my name inserted is very convicting.  I have strengths in some areas, but I have so many weaknesses.
  • Amber is patient--I have selective moments of patience.
  • Amber is kind--I think so.
  • Amber does not envy--thankfully, envy has never been a vice of mine.
  • Amber does not boast--I do brag on my children, but not in my abilities.  My gifts are from the Lord...who am I to boast?
  • Amber is not proud--I am not proud in my self, but I am proud of accomplishments of my children.
  • Amber is not rude--I interpret this as being sarcastic...something I have constantly been trying to tame.
  • Amber is not self-seeking--God wired me to be a support person.  I have the gift of encouragement and that helps keep me from being self-seeking.
  • Amber is not easily angered--ouch!  Somehow there are certain people that instantly anger me.  I must remember GRACE, GRACE, GRACE!
  • Amber keeps no record of wrongs--um, that's a struggle for me.  I say I forgive, but my heart has a hard time letting go of hurt.  This is definitely an area I have to work on.
  • Amber does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth--I flee from evil and celebrate in God's truths.
  • Amber always protects--I do!
  • Amber always trusts--conviction alert...I struggle to trust many people, and often times I lack trust in God.
  • Amber always hopes--sometimes my cynical nature outweighs my ability to hope.  Absolutely something to be aware of and to work on.
  • Amber always perseveres--I do my best to stay the course.  I can get waylaid, but I definitely try to never give up.
  • Amber never fails--oh, I do.  I fail constantly throughout the day!
My challenge to you, dear reader, and myself is to participate in these exercises.  Remember all the wonderful things God is.  Let this time of spring revive your soul and renew your walk with Him!

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