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Posts from the ‘Love’ Category

For the Love of Brothers and Sisters

Living in a house with people is all kinds of good preparation for all kinds of whatever life is going to bring. That’s what I’ve been trying to communicate to my children this summer, anyway. As it has been impressed upon my heart to learn what it means to love my brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ve thought, maybe I can use teaching my children to love one another well and transfer that into loving their brothers and sisters in Christ well as they grow. 

So, the conversations have gone a little like this:

“You know the ‘one anothers’ we talk about in scripture like ‘love one another,’ ‘serve one another,’ ‘forgive one another?'”

[Insert blank stares from everyone]

“If you learn to do those with your siblings, it is great preparation for learning to do those with your brothers and sisters in Christ.” And if you learn not to slap each other in the face and play tug-of-war with the bag of Boom Chicka Pop and scream ‘I hate you’ at the top of your lungs, this will be great preparation for learning to love your brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, as I was reading 1 John this morning, I got a good reminder:

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” (5:2)

What?

John has strong words about loving our brother, Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness (2:9). Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (3:10). If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar…” (4:20)

But, how does loving God and obeying his commandments show [by this] that we love our brother/sister?

I think the answer is in verses 8 and 16 of Chapter 4. God is Love. He is the exact definition, representation, manifestation, initiation, fulfillment. His law and his love are not exclusive of each another. When we love God first, we love his people.

Sound impossible?

It is. In and of ourselves.

What’s so incredible is that God never leaves us to carry out his commands on our own. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God (4:7). By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit (4:13). Whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (4:16b). We love because he first loved us (4:19).

I will keep training my children to love one another well, of course. I will continue to model loving The Body well, hopefully. But, knowing these flow from the love of God that flows through us is key.

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Love One Another Even When You’re Hitched

You know how our parents’ generation will say the closest they came to divorce was by hanging wallpaper together?

Well, it’s not divorce-ready by any stretch of the imagination, but if Chris Acuff and I are trouble-shooting on the computer together, IT IS GOING DOWN IN OUR HOUSE!

We recently had an “incident” right before bed that led to this “good-night.”

Me: I’m sorry you made me mad.

Chris: I’m sorry you made me mad.

Me: I’m sorry you yelled at me.

Chris: I’m sorry you yelled at me.

Hand-in-hand, we fell fast asleep.

Chris and I love each other.  We really do.  We have great affection and cozy feelings for one another.  But, separate of the emotion, the highs and lows as evidenced, we are also called to action.  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) “Husbands should love their wives.” (Ephesians 5:28)  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34)

Love is a command.

It is a mistake to think that you must feel love to give it… Our culture says that feelings of love are the basis for actions of love.  And of course that can be true.  But it is truer to say that actions of love can lead consistently to feelings of love.  Love between two people must not, in the end, be identified simply with emotion or merely with dutiful action.  Married love is a symbiotic, complex mixture of both. Having said this, it is important to observe that of the two — emotion and action — it is the latter that we have the most control over.  It is the action of love that we can promise to maintain every day. –Tim Keller

We have more control over our actions than our emotions.

In moments of knock-down-drag-outs, little scuffles or even regular ol’ life, we may not always feel love in our marriages.  It’s in those times that we must remember our marriage covenant, binding promise, oath. Tim Keller also says, “Why do we say that marriage is the most deeply covenantal relationship?  It is because marriage has both strong horizontal and vertical aspects to it… What they are really doing is making a vow to God before they turn and make vows to one another.”

Emotions can catch up with behavior.

This may be the most difficult pill to swallow.  How can I possibly show love when I don’t feel love?  Only by the grace of God are any of us capable of displaying the fruit that our flesh so strongly fights.  He provides strength.  In showing, acting, doing love, we begin to feel love. Our emotions will catch up with our behavior.  Tim Keller speaks of his feelings changing toward a couple in his church by saying, “I had been loving them even when I didn’t like them, and the result was that, slowly but surely, my emotions were catching up with my behavior.  If you do not give up , but proceed to love the unlovely in a sustained way, they will eventually become lovely to you.”

The verses commanding certain treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ apply to the brother or sister in Christ sleeping next to us.  Let’s see to it that we treat them accordingly.

What event causes things to “go down” in your house?

How are you doing in regards to your remembering your marriage covenant?

On The 12th Year Of Marriage… We’ve Learned A Few Things

We celebrated 12 years of marriage yesterday and jotted down a few things we’ve learned along the way. We hope they are beneficial to you, and maybe you’ll even learn from some of our mistakes.

1999/2000

We learned quickly that what we loved most about each other was also what irritated us most about each other.

And that fights over laundry result in learning how to patch sheet rock!

2001

We learned that marriage wasn’t what we thought it was going to be — I thought it was going to be tougher — Chris thought it was going to be easier.

We also learned in having our first child that, unlike baby dolls, real babies will roll off the bed if left unattended.

2002

In marriage, we can’t fill each others voids; only God can do that.

2003

Our eyes were opened to the truth of who we are as sinners and children of God — in the hands of a God who is full of grace and mercy.

We also learned in having our second child that it is never a good idea to keep Desitin in the same drawer as toothpaste.

2004

We learned that we didn’t know each other near as well as we thought we did.

2005

We learned communication is not just trading information but sharing the depths of your heart including insecurities, past hurts, struggles and facades.

Used to, when Chris put Ranch Dressing on my salad,I would say, “I don’t want Ranch on my salad,” but, he would hear, “You’re an IDIOT!” Now, when I say, “I don’t want Ranch on my salad,” he hears, “I don’t want Ranch on my salad.” See how that works?

2006

God knows our needs. In the midst of losing a job with a contract on a house, having a new baby and losing a church due to a split, we learned much of God’s faithfulness and provision and timeliness.

We also learned that it might be possible for Suzanne to love a man more than Chris when Cooper was born (ok, maybe not more, just different).

2007

Looking back over the first several years of marriage, we realized we had been trying to ignore intimacy by buying homes, cars, dogs, having children, etc. We learned our identity is in Christ, changing our outlook on one another and our possessions.

We bought 3 houses, 3 cars, 3 dogs and had 3 kids before we were able to see what we were doing. We’re not sorry about the kids, by the way.

2008

Trust isn’t fully developed the day you get married; it develops more and more over time as you witness your partner growing in godliness.

Something we’ve learned is that maybe we didn’t love some things as much as we said we did (baseball? shopping?). Maybe we just said those things to persuade a marriage commitment. Oh, surely not!

2009

God is faithful to bring to fruition what he places in our hearts collaboratively in marriage. i.e. ministry.

2010

Marriage and family are more important than money, and sometimes we have to take risks for priorities.

2011

God’s grace is all-encompassing, and nothing can snatch us from his hand.

In so many ways, we have learned that God calls the broken to heal the broken, and nothing in our lives is wasted. He will use the good and bad of our marriage for something better – Himself.

These are just some of our highlights.

What are some things you have you learned?

You Can’t Have One Without The Other

For the first 25 years of my life, I was given “Moses.” I’ve never really liked to be told what to do. The rules made me angry. I couldn’t live up to them or follow them. I rebelled, fought, couldn’t submit and was enraged by the law.

In my mid 20s, I was given Jesus, and the difference was freedom.

Those years were not useless. If it weren’t for the law, I wouldn’t have known my need to be set free. If I didn’t know my inability to follow the law, I wouldn’t have been looking for the one who fulfilled it.

In thinking about my freedom this morning, I keep thinking about these verses… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

He did it for us. We can’t be good enough.

John Stott says, “Some try to go to Jesus without first meeting Moses. They want to skip the Old Testament, to inherit the promise of justification in Christ without the prior pain of condemnation by the law. We need the law to lift off the lid of our respectability and disclose what we are really like underneath — sinful, rebellious, guilty, under the judgement of God and helpless to save ourselves. Not until the law has humbled us even to hell will we turn to the gospel to raise us to heaven.

There are some, however, who go to Moses and the law to be condemned and stay in this unhappy bondage. They are still living in the Old Testament. Their religion is a grievous yoke, hard to be borne. They have never gone to Christ to be set free.”

Stott describes two responses to God’s law and follows up with the question:

Which one tends to describe your life?

When God Said “Love People,” Did He Mean Family?

The commands seem simple. Love God. Love people.

Perhaps the second command slips our mind most often this time of year because we don’t understand that

family

falls under

the

category of

people.

Love God.

Love your husband, love your wife, love your child, love your mother, love your father, love your brother, love your sister, love your brother-in-law, love your sister-in-law, love your grandchild, love your grandmother, love your grandfather, love your aunt, love your uncle, love your niece, love your nephew, love your cousin, love your mother-in-law, love your father-in-law.

How?

By following the first command.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Gospel Of LOVE

God is LOVE.

He defines LOVE. He provides LOVE. He produces LOVE. He sustains LOVE. He epitomizes LOVE.

His LOVE is unfailing, unconditional, great, relentless and eternal.

God so LOVED the fallen, broken, sinful world he created that he sent LOVE to earth to be our atoning sacrifice.

He demonstrated his LOVE this way – while we were still sinners – Christ died for us.

There has been and there will be no greater LOVE than this. That a man would lay down his life for his friends.

How great is the LOVE the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

God has poured his LOVE into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

And, nothing can separate us from the LOVE of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In LOVE he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.

We LOVE because he LOVED us first.

LOVE the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

LOVE your neighbor.

LOVE your enemies.

This is LOVE for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.

LOVE as fruit, compels and abounds, lets them know who we are, is a breastplate, is patient, kind…

Perfect LOVE drives out fear.

LOVE will return for us.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who LOVE him.”

God is LOVE.