Sunday, March 15, 2015

"The Love Chapter"

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, 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. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

I'm sure we have all heard these lines of scripture at a wedding or read them before.  I just hear them yesterday at my cousin's wedding.  They are great and Paul writes about some awesome attributes of love.  There is a reason why they are chosen for weddings because the officiant is reminding the couple of all the attributes we should take on as spouses and share the love between us.  

However, I think the point that is often overlooked is that the love we have comes from God.  God gives us love and He loves us but most importantly God is love because He is all of those attributes: patient, kind, not envious, boastful, proud, not dishonoring, selfless, slow to anger, wipes away our sins, truth, protective, trusting, hopeful and perseverance.  I think we believe that since there is love between a man and woman, these attributes will come naturally.  I am not married but I can say for sure that even though I love my family, I am certainly not always patient or kind.  I need God's love in my life and His source of patience and kindness to be able to show those to others.  

Another comment is that we distinguish this as the "Love Chapter" in the Bible.  I want to scream and shout at the top of my lungs on the highest tower that love is woven throughout the entire Bible.  God is in each and every word written, which means His love is there always.  I see His love as He creates in Genesis, as He disciplines in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, as He comes to Earth in Matthew, and as He prepares us for His coming again in Revelation.  From beginning to end is Love.  

So I would argue that we can't call this the "Love Chapter" because the entire Bible is a Love Letter from God to us.  He wants to show us the entirety of His love which ultimately culminates in Jesus' death and resurrection to rescue us from the destruction and penalty of sin.  Although this is where Paul describes Love and those attributes, we can extend them to our every day lives and not just the sacraments of marriage.  I know that I need to display all those characteristics to each person in my life.  So will you join me in changing our perspective on how we view the "Love Chapter" and categorizing love to only a few verses in a much larger book all about love? 

What are your thoughts on the use of 1 Corinthians 13?  Do you love it, cherish it, rebuke it?  Did you read it at your wedding?  Let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts! 

In His Love,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Isn't it enough?

I know that it's been awhile since I have written, but I'm not going to focus on that.  In the Summer, I wrote a post about me not being enough for God to use.  Since then the theme of enough has been on my mind a lot.  I am enough in who God has created me to be. Jesus is enough for me that I don't need to be looking for love in other places.  But lately God has revealed some other aspects of enough to me.  Isn't what He was given to me enough in the terms of service?  My last post was about me personally being enough, but lately as I have been studying Moses at BSF, that question of enough service took root in my heart.

Let's start in the book of Numbers.  Apparently, it is one of the least read books of the Bible.  I have never really read or studied it until this year but it is soooo rich with Truth, just like every other book of the Bible :) .  In Number 16, a man named Korah started to complain against Moses and Aaron.  He said:

"You have gone too far!  The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them.  Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD's assembly?"
Numbers 16:3

If you aren't familiar with Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, I'll give you a brief overview.  God called Moses to lead the Israelites (Hebrew nation) out of Egypt.  Aaron was Moses' brother and God chose him to be the high priest of the nation.  God also gave Aaron the tribe of the Levite ancestors to help him with all the work of the Tabernacle and offering sacrifices to the Lord (Numbers 3-4).  Korah was part of the Levites and he had the special task of caring of the most holy things of the Tabernacle (Numbers 4:4).  

However, Korah is not satisfied with the work the Lord has set him apart to perform.  Out of 12 tribes, only the Tribe of Levi was chosen for this work, so it was special and very important (Exodus 32:26-29, Numbers 3-4).   Korah wanted the priesthood.  He even convinces 250 others that Moses and Aaron are setting themselves higher than all the others.  The Lord had set apart Israel to be His Holy Nation so in theory anyone could be a priest but He specifically chose the linage of Aaron.  Only Aaron's sons and decedents could serve the role of priests and high priests.  So Moses calls Korah and his followers out on their ungratefulness:

"Isn't it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD's tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them?"
Numbers 16:9
Can you substitute your name and circumstance into this question from Moses? I surely can:

Isn't enough, Amanda, that the God of Israel has separated you to do the work of serving your mother and to stand before your family and minister to them?  Isn't enough that you serve me at BSF and your church?  Isn't enough that I have given you my son Jesus Christ?  Isn't all of this enough????

Do you feel convicted yet, because I do?  Where are you being ungrateful for your placement from the Lord?  Are you always wanting to do more like I am?  Where can you just slow down and appreciate what God has given you to do?  I have realized that God has given me just enough that I need to serve Him.  I may not have children but I have children that I am teaching and that is enough for now.  I may not be growing in a relationship heading towards marriage but I am growing in my relationship with Jesus so that I can spend eternity with Him.  These are all enough right now, right where I am. 

The root of the issue of not enough service or activities is that I'm not satisfied.  I don't feel the satisfaction of a full schedule.  Who deemed that satisfaction comes from a full and busy schedule?  I've never read that in the Bible, so certainly not God.  Therefore, I need to be satisfied with the work that God has given me to do because Jesus said in His parable about loaned money:

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master's happiness!'"
Matthew 25:23

Oh how I long to hear those words from the mouth of God!  But there is a deeper truth in this statement.  We need to prove that we can be faithful with a few things in order for God to give us many more tasks to complete.  This is how we raise children.  They are given a few responsibilities such as taking out the trash and cleaning rooms before greater responsibilities like driving a car and attending college.  So why wouldn't God do the same with us?  He wouldn't give us so many tasks that we couldn't complete them all well.  He wants to see how faithful we are with just a few.  That's the real truth that I am learning.  When I complete these tasks, the Lord will provide me with more, I just only need to be patient. 

God has called you to your particular service for a reason.  Prayfully consider adding anything onto the most important roles in your life right now.  God will answer you.  Just the other day, I was praying and asking God want I should do with the extra time He has given me, immediately I receiving the whisper in my heart telling me that I should spend that time with Him.  What an amazing God we serve!

Drop a comment below of where you struggle with the satisfaction of God's provision! 

In His Love,