After a day of loving our community with Hope Church on Saturday, I am left asking myself and God a lot of questions the last few days. We had a lot of great conversations while we worked and processed afterwards. I love, love, love to ask the question “Why?”. Sometimes it can be quite a frustrating question to ask. When I know the WHY behind something, then (and sometimes ONLY THEN) I can grasp it. Sometimes we know the why in the moment. Sometimes we have to wait a while to learn why. Sometimes we have to wait until heaven to learn the answer to a question that we long to know. But, there’s nothing like knowing the WHY behind a situation right in the moment. If God truly cares about the details of my life, then these are questions I need to ask Him and myself regularly…
Why do I live where I live?
Why am I planted where I am planted?
Why do I work where I work?
Why am I married to the person I am married to?
For some it might be, Why do I go to the school that I go to? the tennis club, the whatever?
Regardless of the way we really want to answer those questions, if we are followers of Jesus, the honest answer SHOULD be – to glorify God. In the simplest of forms…keeping the ‘Main Thing’ the ‘Main Thing’, we live to Love God. Love others. And make disciples who make disciples. So, we don’t have to add anything extra to our calendars to fulfill this mission…God’s mission. It’s a matter of living on God’s mission in our everyday, walk-around lives….with intentionally. So, the questions, the prayers then become…
How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) others where I live?
How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) others where I go to school?
How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) others where I work?
How do I love (and serve) God and love (and serve) my spouse?
How do I love (and serve) those who look, act, and think different than I do?
How do I love (and serve) God and others in my everyday, walk around life?
Your life…my life… has purpose and meaning. So much more than going through the rote motions of getting up, eating breakfast and packing lunches, going to work or class, fixing dinner, playing tennis, taking your kids to a swim meet, walking the dog, fixing the brakes on the car, having a drink or ice cream with a friend, attending the PTA or civic association meeting, etc.
- we were doing all these things not to simply check the box …going through the motions, but to intentionally pour ourselves out – loving our neighbors, spouses, colleagues, teachers, employees, grocery clerks, friends, frenemies and enemies as ourselves.
- we went to bed at night with the attitude of ‘last man standing’ out-serving one another – not in a competitive way, but in a genuinely loving way only because that is what God called us to do. Jesus was sent to serve, not be served. Then, he sent us to do the same.
- we, as those who profess to be followers of Jesus, actually believed and acted like King Jesus was really on the throne…was really in control… and that all things really do work together for my good.
That’s my wish…my desire… to live my life with intentionality, out-serving one another, believing and acting like Jesus is King of my life and He has my best interest in mind….and that all things (good, bad and otherwise) work together for my good. I may not understand the why…. but I will trust him.
How can I love (serve) you today?
As we think about Valentine’s Day, many are planning dinner, roses, chocolate, balloons, and other special things with their loved ones. Today, I spent time looking at what the Bible had to say about LOVE! There are soooo many verses on the topic. Here are a few I thought I would share with you.
This was one I was really surprised to find. I think it’s our new household verse! We share so many meals with people around our table. And, I find myself (sometimes) thinking too much about what we will serve. Trying new things. But, in the big scheme of things…it doesn’t matter what you are serving when you are surrounded with those you love.
A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.
Here’s another favorite. So grateful for my biological family…and my family of friends!
A friend loves at all times, and a brother (or sister!!) is born for adversity.
Kinda funny gathering of things for the writer not to understand. I can think of so many more than 4.
There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.
This is another one that I fell in love (pun intended) with today.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Here are several that I grouped together. The real love story. The one that we are challenged to model our marriages after. How Christ loved the church. He loved us enough to lay down his life for us. the best love story ever.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers
And a few more really, really good ones.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
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 …
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 John 4:16
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
As you can see in my tag line, Miss Marti’s House…loving God and others in Southern Barton Heights…. I have been thinking about that lately…what does that REALLY mean? Jesus tells us in the New Testament…to love God with all your heart, soul, strength. He also then tells us…to love your neighbor as yourself. So, what does that really look like? To love like that?
So…I read 1st Corinthians 13 and was struck by verse 3.
3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.
So…I could be doing all this work…sacrificing my time and money, my hopes and dreams…but, if I am not doing it in love…why do it? So, how often do I respond to those ads on TV or causes on FB because I feel guilty? How often do I do something for a friend or family because I am shamed into it? Or…when I strike a check to the local non-profit why does that make me feel better. But…if we are doing this out of guilt, shame or obligation…we may feel a little better in the short run….but, God sees straight through to our heart…our motives. If I do this without LOVE….it’s nothing. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not challenging us to stop giving!!!! I’m challenging us to GIVE MORE!!!! because we respond with LOVE while giving. Let’s take a look at the rest of the scripture….
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails…..
Not long ago, Louis and I were challenged by reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Francis challenges the reader to replace your name where the word LOVE appears in this part of the scripture. So, I would say…
“Marti is patient….” OUCH!!!! Anyone who knows me…knows that patience is a challenge for me!!! Louis agrees with me here! Because he has the patience of Job….He is a positively fabulous role model for me!
“Marti is kind…” Well, I’m basically a kind person. But, there are times that I am NOT AT ALL kind! More than likely, my thoughts are NOT exactly kind at all. You might not see it…but, God knows my thoughts! OUCH!!!!
Then…keep reading it….Marti does not….envy (ow!), never… boastful (pain!), proud (burn!), rude (yee-OW!), self-seeking (not me!), not easily angered (ache!), keeps no records of wrongs (who me?), etc. etc.
I’m gonna challenge you like Francis Chan challenged us….Read this scripture, replacing your name….see what hits you!
So…should I change my tag line to TRYING to love God and others? Nah…I don’t think so. I’m doing the best I can right now. I am loving God and others…and I am learning how to love more….every day.
I’m a work in progress…moving TOWARD Christ…the ultimate lover.