Update 4:30 p.m…..I wanted to share with you Paula’s story about how God healed her marriage.
I’ve moved my update from my last post to here, for those who have not seen it:
My cousin, Ross, is on his way home. He has left the sandbox! He was stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. I knew he was leaving today, on Valentine’s Day, but I just got an email saying he’s out. Now we just have to pray him home safely. He will make a couple of stops (courtesy of the Army) before he gets to his home in Montgomery County, TX. He is currently still in the Middle East, but out of the way of small arms fire and shoulder mounted grenade launchers.
So far, this morning stinks. Actually, I know it could be worse, but today I could have slept late to catch up on the sleep I have not been getting. But today, I couldn’t sleep. Again. Steve left for work around 4:30 and I did not go back to sleep after he left, like I normally do. So I laid there for 2 hours trying to will my mind to shut itself off. That’s never an easy thing for me. It doesn’t mean there’s a lot in my mind, it just means the stuff that is in there has ADHD. It won’t slow down. I will have to take a nap a little later. Probably right after Bethany goes to work.
Beth’s Explorer (dubbed the “trucklette” by a former church member) has an alarm system that is malfunctioning. It has a kill switch that works when it is not supposed to work. It kills the engine while an authorized person is actually driving. The kill switch is broken. So is the one in my mind.
So I got up, put on a pot of coffee, and got out the crockpot. I started making 5 quarts of homemade vegetable soup. Sometime during the night/early morning, Trouble once again earned his name. I’ve been letting him stay inside while it’s cold. Last night I left a box of chicken broth sitting on the counter. Either Trouble or one of our many cats got the box off the counter. Trouble ate it. Yes, the box….along with all the chicken broth inside. That’s how I know Trouble was in on it….the box was in tiny pieces on the living room floor. The broth was supposed to go in the soup.
Valentine’s Day is over, but I still want to talk about love. What is love really? Beth posted about it last week. If you didn’t read it, go here . She gave some excellent examples of people loving each other.
Is love what Hollywood depicts it to be? A couple spots each other, hormones go into overdrive, they fall into bed together, and then either live happily ever after NOT married, or get married and fight till the divorce.
No….if that is your idea of love, then your future happiness and contentment is doomed.
John 15:13……13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. NIV
We’ve probably all heard stories about someone in Iraq who fell on a grenade to keep the rest of his buddies from being blown to pieces. That can be a great example of love. (Ok…don’t anybody go out there to find a grenade to fall on. You don’t have to show love that way.) But it could also NOT be love, depending on the motive of the person doing the falling.
If a person does something, no matter how loving or heroic it may appear to be, solely because they get something out of it (i.e. money, fame, glory, sex, or any number of other rewards) then it is not love. It is selfishness.
Luke 6:35…..But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, NKJV
We automatically take that first scripture to mean that if you physically die for a friend, that’s love. And it can be. But you don’t have to physically die. You can die to yourself….you can give up your life (all your own selfish desires) to give to others. That’s love if you do it with the right attitude. It’s not love if you do it because you enjoy martyrdom. I’m pretty sure God will not bless that like He would bless unselfish giving.
Matt 6:16-17……”Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may apear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. NKJV
The men spoken of here, were fasting just for show, not for any spiritual reason. And Jesus said the only reward they will get for that is the praise of people right here on earth. There’s no Heavenly reward for doing something for the wrong reason.
When I was growing up, I learned to be a giver. I learned by example. My mother spent many hours doing things to help two elderly aunts. She did their grocery shopping. She took them to the doctor. She took us (her 4 daughters) with her. We saw it as a pain back then, when we were little, but now I know that was her way of showing love.
She took care of her mother, when she was diagnosed with cancer. I cannot count the number of hours we spent at the Methodist Hospital in the Houston, Texas Medical Center. And she took us with her.
More recently, she spent many hours and much money taking care of another elderly aunt, until she died in April of last year. She certainly didn’t do it for herself. She has worstened her own health and finances by doing it. But she did it anyway. Now she is taking care of all the paperwork involved with getting her aunt’s estate settled. It is a mess. She won’t be rewarded by anything from that estate. There is nothing in the estate to reward with. My uncle made sure it was all squandered before he died. But God will reward.
Steve gives long hours at work so that I can stay home. It use to be so I could stay home to raise our kids, so that nobody else would have to raise them. (We raised them with our values and not those of a sitter.) That’s pretty much done now. But now my health would not permit me to go back to work. And he has the skills to make enough money to support us. So he does. And it leaves me free to do a lot of things that women will full-time jobs cannot do. While Rachael’s car is not working, I can take her to work when needed. When my dad had surgery, I could go to the hospital. I can go to support other friends at the hospital during a time of need. That’s his contribution, and that’s love.
Love can be giving up a Saturday when you could sleep late, to go and replace the rotten wall of a house for a church member. Love can be sitting in the hospital waiting room for 12-1/2 hours while your pastor’s wife has surgery for cancer, just to be there to support her family (and bring them food so they don’t have to leave to find some). Love can be waiting about 8 hours for your friend to come out of heart surgery, and then spending another 4 hours or so standing in cardiac recover, holding her hand because she is scared. And letting her “write” words in the palm of your hand, because she has a tube in her throat and can’t talk.
Love can be going out of your way to make someone feel welcome and appreciated.
Bethany is a giver, too. She spends many hours making things for people, just because she knows it will make them smile. She makes gifts for people, just because. She has made by hand, personal journals to give to some of the young girls who look up to her.
When Ethan left here going to Italy in 2003, she went outside early in the morning hours, while everybody else was asleep, to take a picture of his car (dubbed the “red rocket”) to put in his memory albums. She had an idea it would make him smile to see that picture. And it did, when he was here in 2004.
She has spent countless hours shopping for just the right items to put in boxes and send to our troops in the desert. Along with many hours packing and mailing the items. She has gotten wonderful thank you letters from people who received them, but that’s not why she did it. She did it because she knew it would make their lives better. And she did it for God. That’s love.
Matt 25:40…..’I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ NIV
Matt 10:42…..And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.” NLT
How do you define love? Is it by getting butterflies when you see a hot girl or guy? Or is it by what that person is willing to do for you? Neither of those is love. Those kinds of people will always “fall out of love” (or my favorite term – “fall out of lust”) and be dissatisfied with every person they become close to. Because they are in it for what someone else can do for them. For how someone else can satisfy them.
Those people are not givers, even if they appear to be on the outside. No….they are takers.
I am constantly amazed at people who are looking for that special someone, but have narrow guidelines as to what that person must look like. They have to be a certain height, or a certain weight, or have a 6 pack (abs, not beer) or have a Barbie bustline. But when that person is “shot down” for their physical traits, they get their little feelings hurt. They don’t understand.
Matt 7:12…..So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, NIV
Luke 6:38……For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
They would never even give a thought to someone with a physical disability or abnormality of some kind. Why? Because they see people in purely a worldly way….for only what is on the outside.
And they will constantly be disappointed.
God values us for what is on the inside.
1 Peter 3:3-5…..3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on jewelry, or beautiful clothes, or hair arrangement. 4 Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God. TLB
Heb 4:12-13…..12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. NIV
But what cannot be seen from the outside is what is in it for us if we do it God’s way, for the right reason. Then He will give us an incredible satisfaction and happiness. He will give us the desires of our hearts. It’s the buried treasure….you don’t know it’s there until you do it like God says do it. Then you will be given unbelieveable rewards and treasures!
Ps 37:4…..Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. NIV
Yes, even that desire!
Selfishness says, “What’s in it for me?” Love says, “I am willing to give up everything for someone else.”
And in return, God will give you his very best blessings. God invented it all. There is nothing better than what God gives.
TRIPLES with EMMA