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“I Love You”

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Powerful Words

Few phrases have as much power to destroy or lift up as those three words have. I love you. There is real power there. Power to unite. God’s power. The power to create something meaningful and lasting.

What Is Love?

1 Corinthians 13 tells us a little bit about God’s standard for love. Of note are verses 4-8.

4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

The most important part of that is verse 8. Love never fails. While all other things (prophecies, tongues, knowledge) fail, cease, or pass away, love is there. Always and forever. This is a high standard for love. It isn’t to be considered lightly, it isn’t to be spoken of off-hand, and it is not to be abused.

Who To Love

We are to love our enemies, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, ourselves, and most importantly God. In this world, this sort of true love is hard to come by. Generally it is given out with great reserve. I’m not surprised, really. The world is a hurtful, hateful, sinful place.

It’s hard to love those that hate you. It’s hard to love those that you don’t know. It’s hard to love those we do know! It’s hard to let yourself fall back in love, or even express that fully, when you’ve been hurt (recently or a lot). It’s hard to let yourself love because of fear. Fear or rejection, fear of not being good enough. Fear of one more attempt at commitment not lasting. Fear of being wrong. I speak to you from personal experience here. Fear. Thoughts of giving up this fear and stepping out in faith on this issue alone is the cause of much shortness of breath and uncertainty.

God gives us extremely high expectations in this area. Freakishly high expectations. But they are not insurmountable and are very attainable. Just take His hand after you ask for help. He’s waiting.

Rejoice In Infirmity

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Great Suffering

In life we encounter suffering and trials and tribulations. As a believer we weren’t guaranteed the easy life. We are even told that we will be persecuted. We will have hard times. We will be spoken against. It is our response to that which God looks at it. Do we act like Job and wallow in it? Or do we act like Paul and rejoice in it? (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Neither Job nor Paul first knew why they were being put in such great pain for, but while Paul quickly turns to the Lord for guidance, Job turns to despair on the second day when Satan lifts his hand against him. That isn’t to say Job had great faith. If anything, Job is an example of how most people are when faced with such great suffering. We go silent. (Job 2:13) We stop talking to God and start trying to reason out for ourselves what is going on. That’s what Job does throughout all of his book over a period of about 9-10 days (1st two days spent in horror of learning about his family and himself becoming afflicted, 7 days and nights of silence, and apparently 1 day in very long and deep conversation with his friends). We can learn from Job, though. The whole time he was turned away from God (from the time he became afflicted with boils until the end when he turned back to God), he was allowed to remain in his sad state of affairs. Several times he came close to blaspheming or cursing God. Instead of seeking Godly wisdom, he sought wisdom from his friends who came to visit. The moment he turned to God, though, God became that perfect strength in Job’s weakness and restored him to even greater than he was before.

While the reasons for putting the thorn in Paul’s flesh was different then for allowing Job to suffer like that, both are tests of faith and are perfect of examples of what we should do (that is, turn to God). Are you suffering from physical, emotional, or spiritual pain? Don’t turn away from God, that only prolongs our healing. Rejoice in your infirmity knowing that His grace is sufficient, that His strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9a)

Dear God,
Thank you for being there for me. Without You there is no healing, there is no hope, there is no strength. Continue to be with me today as I go through my day and be strong for me.
Amen

Keeping Busy

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What Have I Been Up To

I’ve been busy, is what I’ve been up to. I’m currently transitioning into a new position in the church (Youth Leader) while the current YL transitions out to lighten their own load (and believe me, this is a blessing for her). I’m not doing it just for that, though. I’ve always loved kids. They are our future. They are important to our society in every way that is imaginable. And now I feel God calling me into a more active role in my church. I believe this is where He wants me, so this is where I’m going. This isn’t the only thing that’s been keeping me busy though.

You Mean There Is More?

There is always more, from taking more responsibility in my shared home (7 people, don’t ask) to doing more with the church (as stated above, transitioning into YL and am already in charge of site updates) to looking for a day job, and I am looking for a day job (pray with me brothers and sisters that I get it, as I believe I will). I’ve also been busy networking. I’ve made some contacts with regards to web design. I’ve also got some responsibilities to a volunteer project I took on (more on that another day) and will complete, God willing. That’s a pretty busy schedule already but I also spend time on Facebook, either sharing the word or working politically (mostly the same as sharing the Word, I share news and videos about what’s going on, giving my opinion sometimes but most of the time I let it stand on its own).

Did You Say “Politics”

I sure did, and no Christian should shy away from politics, seeing as how all governments are set up by God in the first place (Romans 13:1-7). If all government is God approved and set up and God is the one who raises up the leaders, why shouldn’t Christians, who feel the tug of leadership in this area, take up this vocation? Personally I’d vote for a non-hypocritical Christian (sometimes called a “True Believer”) over a non-Christian with similar values and voting record any day. I am involved in politics in a limited way any way. I lean toward advocacy of positions and people and away from more direct involvement (such as running for office).

Pretty Busy Plate

While many people who know me say I spend too much time on Facebook (I really don’t, it only seems that way from the way I have my computer set up) or even online, I’m actually quite busy a good deal of the time. Couple that with trying to actually put time aside just for God and another piece of time for studying the Word and my day is pretty much taken up. Though I’m never too busy to put time aside for lunch or dinner with friends. After all, God did create us for community and if there is something that didn’t get done today, if I have a tomorrow it will get done then.

Personal Conviction

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God Told You What?

In my walk with God, I’ve been told many things. It’s time to take the lead. She’s the one. Do this. Don’t do that. Wait for a little while until I say you’re ready. Study this. Study that. Don’t study this yet but take some time off. Study with this person. Study with that person. It really doesn’t matter about the details because it is between God and myself. Not God, you and myself. Not God, the entire eastern seaboard, 2/3rds of my family and some people who I know but are otherwise unrelated and myself. It is, after all, my walk with God. Not yours or theirs.

I Was Told To Lay It Aside

There are a lot of things that God has told me to lay aside so I can put my focus on Him. Secular music, role playing games, collectible card trading games. Those were all my idols. I gave them more time than they were worth. I was giving them more time than I was giving God. When God told me to put them aside permanently, I was already most of the way there.

I was already tired of the music. Loud, sometimes incoherent, and always about “Me me me me me” in some way or another. There were still some hold outs (I bought AC/DC’s latest album when it came out and haven’t listened to it since two weeks after), but I know the desire for them will fade as He continues to work in me on this.

I was told to give up drinking. Not because it was a problem in my life but because I needed to be an example for others. This has been hard for me because I like the taste of some beers and most harder alcohols (wine and champagne included). I also enjoyed cooking with them. I was still struggling with that one up until about two weeks ago. The situation that came up is not one I’m going to talk about, there is no reason to, but it is one that really showed me just why I need to be that example He wants me to be.

Gaming was a hard one. I’m heavily invested (probably close to $2k over the two games) in both of them. It was also something I enjoyed doing on a regular basis. But I had to give those up as well. Don’t take that as a condemnation against the game itself. This is just what God has told me to do so I can focus more on Him. It’s a personal thing.

If It’s So Personal, Why Share?

It’s come to my attention that choices I’ve made based on what God has told me to do has made others angry at me (seemingly). One acquaintance even told me that I was judging him, implying that I was doing so because of my choice and the reasons for them. Sorry? Come again? My choice has nothing to do with you, says nothing about you, and doesn’t involve you.

That’s part of why I’m sharing. This won’t stop all the issues people have with my choices, and I’m fine with that. I won’t even begin to list the possible reasons I think others would have such a problem. That would only serve to offend others and make them defensive. This isn’t what this post is for.

What I do hope to accomplish, though, is to get people to realize that when God tells you personally to do something you go do it. Others also need to realize that when an individual does follow God’s will, it’s not meant by that person to convict you, make you feel guilty, judge you, or otherwise make you feel bad. It’s a choice that person made to follow God’s will and not their own. I’m all about personal choice and responsibility. If my choice makes you feel any of the above, take a look at yourself and your relationship with God before you yell at me.

I love you guys, everyone of my friends, but I will eventually stop coming around or calling you even acquaintance if you can’t come to me with your issues. I’ll stop wanting to know about your day if you’re going to yell at me about my choices. You want to know something? I’m happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before. My life may not be perfect (and never will be) but I’ve got something I never had before and I don’t want to lose it. If that means giving up rock-n-roll, Rifts™, Magic: The Gathering™, and whatever else the good Lord says to give up, by golly that’s what’s going to happen.

May God bless you, every one.

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