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Love Spoken Out Loud

May 26th, 2015

“God will not forget the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people.” Hebrews 6:10 NKJV.

Love is best seen in everyday kindnesses more than grand gestures.

My thoughts and comments today are about “love spoken out loud.”

There is much in our world that poses as love. Everything that claims to be love or looks like love isn’t necessarily love. Sometimes, it is just a temporary emotion, as evidenced by the accelerating frequency of infidelity or divorce. Emotions neither prove love, nor produce love; instead, emotions are merely a by-product of love.

Love is both a choice and a learned response. You choose to love others because you have been selflessly loved. That could explain why a loving family begins with the sure and sincere love of parents for each other. Children learn to be loving by experiencing secure love surrounding them. As beloved children and later as adults, we learn to be loving husbands or wives, loving parents, and loving friends.

Love can be hard to define but easy to recognize. More than once, God is described in the simplest of terms, “God is love.” Read 1 John 4:7-12/15 NIV. That being true, where else but the Bible could you find the accurate description of love? “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.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV. Love never fails; people fail to love.

For me, a few simple words define love. “Love, to be authentic, must be practical and observable.” Our friend, Betty, is a remarkable, loving lady who has a unique ministry. She gives cakes for people’s special occasions. She probably could make any kind but her specialties are German Chocolate or Coconut cakes, and she bakes those exquisitely. Recently, when she found it was my stepfather’s 94th birthday, she baked a Coconut cake, his favorite. My wife eloquently described Betty’s kindness as, “Love spoken out loud.” Maybe love looks like baking a cake, even when he is not your grandpa.

Love is best seen in everyday kindnesses more than grand gestures. Maybe love is doing more than could be expected or required, or offering help without needing to be asked, or sacrificing for someone without need for notice or regard for reward. This rings true. “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I have been considering a simple question; what does love for God really look like? The answer was simpler than I assumed. “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10 NIV. Your unforgettable “work and the love you have shown Him,” is witnessed in a lifestyle of helping others in ways, small and large; that is, “love spoken out loud.”

Today, I pray for you that your life will accurately express your love for God.

EDL pix love expressed

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Bless This Mess

June 27th, 2014

Blessed is the man . . [who is] like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Psalm 1:3 NKJV.

Blessing doesn’t mean having more; blessing means enjoying more what you have.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “bless this mess.”

I don’t even remember how long I have known my friend, Betty; it seems forever. In all those years, her response to my sincere inquiry, “How are you, Betty,” has always been – every single time – “Pastor, I am blessed.” I know for a fact that her life has been far from easy – but rain or shine, tears or smiles – her answer has never varied, “Pastor, I am blessed.” She has discovered a truth that most people rarely find, “The Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth. All our work adds nothing to it.” Proverbs 10:22 TLB.

Everyone wants to be blessed. People are just confused as to what being blessed looks like. People wrongly presume blessing is evidenced by having stuff – more stuff or better stuff. Blessing does not mean having more of what you enjoy; blessing means enjoying more what you have. As properly used, the word involves an understanding of gracious and generous benevolence that comes to you from vastly more than the fruit of your own efforts. The reality is that everyone experiences blessings far more than what has been earned or deserved. To me, the concept of blessing embraces what is added to your life by both the favor of God and the kindness of others. Why would you be willing to live without either of those?

I saw one of those household plaques that simply read, “Bless this mess!” I smiled because I could envision kitchens and houses – and some marriages, families, and lives – for which those wistful words could be appropriate. The problem is this: God doesn’t bless a mess; He will redeem your mess, if you bring it to Him in sincerity and humility. Blessing is experienced where grace is received. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NKJV.

David understood the mercy and grace of God but also learned the requirements. Read Psalm 32:1-5/51:7-13 NKJV. David also learned where blessedness awaits: “Blessed is the man . . [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-4 NKJV. See Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV.

Moses spoke God’s promise of blessing for Israel with these words, “All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock . . Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” Read Deuteronomy 28:2-13 NIV.

God’s promises certainly are not less under grace than they were under the Law. Paul could hardly contain his joy and wonder at the thought, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV.

Today, my prayer for you is to know the blessedness of those who serve God with their whole heart.

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