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Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Very Best Way to Love!

Americans spend quite a bit of money on Valentine’s Day to show love. According to CNN, “Valentine’s Day love” amounted to nearly $2 billion on flowers, and $2 billion on candy!

Yet, when the candy’s gone and flowers fade, the very best way to love remains. God’s love, described in 1 Corinthians 13, never fails and it exceeds a price tag. 

Feel the warmth of His love:

“Love is patient”
“Love is kind”
“Love does not envy”
“Love does not boast”
“Love is not proud”
“Love is not rude”
“Love is not self-seeking”
“Love is not easily angered”
“Love keeps no records of wrongs”
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”
“Love bears all things”
“Love believes all things”
“Love hopes all things and endures all things”

God is the essence of love. Experiencing His love, first, is the key to loving like He does. “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8 Good News Translation)
                                       
“Patient” is listed as the first attribute of God’s love for you and for me. Perhaps it’s because we require so much of God’s patience? Maybe because it’s the most difficult yet necessary aspect of love to express?

“Patient”…Webster’s definition: able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Will You Have What You Want?

I faced that question 39 years ago when my husband and I accepted God’s invitation into full-time ministry. It aroused a fear. Perhaps one that had always been there, but now, exposed. If I relinquish total control of my life to God, “will I have what I want?”

We sold our comfortable, suburban home in Wisconsin to become apartment dwellers in St. Paul, Minnesota so John could complete his studies at Northwestern Bible College.  We traded in our fancy car for the least expensive car manufactured. This new lifestyle launched 6 years of college and graduate school, followed by multiple moves around the U.S. and Canada. We helped plant new churches and served struggling ones. Raising a growing family of 4 children posed continuous financial challenges.

As Charles Dickens put it, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” It was the age of frequently wondering ‘will we have enough’; it was an epoch of learning about God’s promises and testing His trustworthiness. My favorite, go-to promise was “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). When I wasn't trusting, I caught myself worrying, coveting, lacking generosity and just feeling over-all unsettled.

Friday, February 7, 2014

9 Ways to Put “Spring” in A Sagging Spirit

I’m ready for Spring! How about you?
Let's give our sagging spirits a sunny lift!

1.     Do something nice for yourself… without feeling selfish. Relax in a bubble bath, don your kitchen table with fresh flowers, enjoy lunch with a friend. Anyone like chocolate?  Check out dark chocolate’s sweet benefits: http://www.everydayhealth.com/info/v1t01/benefits-of-dark-chocolate?Msid=|sCV7czmSX|&gclid=COD_hf3gsLwCFWIV7AodggwA5Q&xid=g_dlp-

                  If you love yourself well, you’ll love others, well. (Mark 12:31)

2.      Exercise. Regardless of age or fitness level, studies show that exercise provides serious mental benefits. For one, it releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria.  My husband and I squeeze water aerobics, (H2Obics) into our busy schedule. Our productivity and energy level has increased!  Read “13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/mental-health-benefits-exercise_n_2956099.html

3.     Encouragement For me, giving gifts wakes me up inside, like watching heart-warming Frank Capra movies. A text message, an email, or a card can be a gift…every single word. If you weren’t born with the gift of encouragement, the great Encourager says He will give you His words to sustain those around you. (Isaiah 50:4)

Even rich and famous people experience pleasure, giving encouragement. Super bowl quarterback, Russell Wilson, frequents hospitals, encouraging patients. He tells the hospital staff, “Give me the person in the worst condition.”

First thing in the morning, ask Jesus, “Who may need encouragement?”