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This Week–LOVE



THIS WEEK –LOVE

Love – A state of feeling with regard to a person which manifests itself in concern for the person’s welfare, pleasure in his or her presents and often also a desire for his or her approval.

(Oxford Dictionary)



Four Types of Love

Today, love is overused and undervalued at the same time. We love everything from various foods to cars, from movies to retailers, from people to God himself. We may not consciously distinguish one use of love from another in part because our speech is becoming more and more informal, but it is important to be intentional about the differences. As we know, Scripture tells us that love is the highest attribute. So, let’s look at the four types of love found in the Bible that Lewis helps to draw out in The Four Loves, published in 1960.

I Corinthians 13:1-3 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Affection (storge)

This type of love covers a lot of different circumstances of love. All mothers, human and otherwise, possess a natural affection toward their offspring. Affection intermingles in many of our relationships. We are kindly affectioned toward our spouses and our coworkers. Affection walks in step with the other loves and often is an outgrowth of another. It is not possible to maintain a romantic or friendship love with someone and never feel some level of affection towards them. Affection for the people around us on a daily basis is very natural.

Friendship(philia)

Friendship love is often dismissed by our culture. “To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves,” says Lewis, “the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.” Why is that so? Perhaps it is because true friendship is time consuming and rarely celebrated. Romance leads to conception and families, Affection makes us feel accepted and cared for, and charity (God love) leads to redemption. We develop this love when we spend quality time with people who mean a great deal to us.

Romantic (Eros)

Lewis says that romantic lovers are absorbed with each other. One thinks that the absence of the other means the end of their lives. The romantic bond of two people is the most fulfilling love that you can experience. Lewis says, “The event of falling in love is of such a nature that we are right to reject as intolerable the idea that it should be transitory.” This type makes us whole. The bond between two people in marriage has been celebrated from Genesis onward and is a picture of God’s love towards us. This love is far greater than the drivel that is promoted by our culture.

Charity (agape) -God’s Love

This is the chief aim of our lives – to be loved by God, to love him and to share that love with the world. The other three loves, according to Lewis, are training ground for the love of God to grow. We are created to love and desire to be loved. We must lay ourselves out, just as Jesus did, and take the chance that we will be rejected. It is in that rejection that we come to understand the love of God. His love is ultimately shown by His death on the cross.

There is no safe investment. All love is costly, perilous, and risky. To love is to be vulnerable and exposed. Love anything and your heart will be taxed and possibly broken. If you want to be safe you must give yourself to no one, not even an animal. You can wrap yourself safely in the things you do, the fun you experience and work you pursue. Doing this is almost like placing yourself in a coffin of selfishness. You will never be broken hearted, because you have developed a heart of stone. If we protect ourselves by never loving, do we know and experience the love of God?

When we give ourselves and our children to be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and promise to make disciples of all nations, we are committing to love in every way.

Let us ask God to awaken such an abandoned and reckless love to come alive in us.



Musings 47-4

Quotes BannerWhen one loves, one does not calculate.

~~~Thérèse of Lisieux

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.

~~~Sophocles

The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved.

~~~Victor Hugo

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

~~~Elie Wiesel

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

~~~Martin Luther King Jr.

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

~~~William Shakespeare

Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.

~~~Alfred Lord Tennyson

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.

~~~Mahatma Gandhi

We love the things we love for what they are.

~~~Robert Frost

The spiritual meaning of love is measured by what it can do. Love is meant to heal. Love is meant to renew. Love is meant to bring us closer to God.

~~~Marcus Aurelius

To see the universal and all pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.

~~~Mahatma Gandhi

Your giving and searching for ways to give is love in action. This is the evidence of Spirit at work.

~~~Marshall Vian Summers

You can never love another person unless you are equally involved in the beautiful but difficult spiritual work of learning to love yourself.

~~~John O’Donohue

Scripture BannerLove is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.

~~~1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,

   for in you I put my trust.

Teach me the way I should go,

   for to you I lift up my soul.

~~~Psalm 143:8

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

~~~Colossians 3:14

So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

~~~1John 4:16

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

~~~John 15:12

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

~~~1 John 4:12

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

~~~John 15:13

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness

   will find life and honor.

~~~Proverbs 21:21

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

~~~Romans 8:38-39

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

~~~Psalm 103:8

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

~~~Romans 13:10

When I thought, ‘My foot is slipping’,

   your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.

~~~ Psalm 94:18

Prayer BannerLord, Help me to be able to love in all the ways that you have revealed to me. Give me the courage and understanding to learn to love and be loved in risky and outlandish ways. Give me the opportunity to share God’s love with others today, not simply a love that saves but a love that sustains and guides every day. Our world is crying for love that only you can give.

Amen

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Tuesday with John Wesley

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On this Tuesday of Holy Week, I call your attention John Wesley. He was a great preacher and founder of the Methodist movement. John Wesley had but one goal, and it was to bring the message of the grace of God to all people. He was an Oxford Don and an Anglican priest who gave his long and productive life to that cause. I will share some quotes from Mr. Wesley that communicate his calling.



Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,Wesley Preaching.jpg

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

 

Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.

Give me one hundred preachers (Christians)who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.

Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.

I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.

When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.

Our main doctrines, which include all the rest, are three: That of repentance, of faith, and of holiness. The first of these we account, as it were, the porch of religion; the next, the door; the third, religion itself.

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A PRAYER FROM JOHN WESLEY

O merciful Father, do not consider what we have done against you;

but what our blessed Savior has done for us.

Don’t consider what we have made of ourselves,

but what He is making of us for you our God.

O that Christ may be “wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption”

to every one of our souls.

May His precious blood cleanse us from all our sins,

and your Holy Spirit renew and sanctify our souls.

May He crucify our flesh with its passion and lusts,

and cleanse all our brothers and sisters in Christ across the earth.

Amen.

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Life in the Storm

 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded.

~~~Mark 6:45-51

Sometimes it seems that our lives are a series of storms. We try to live with stormy marriages, stormy relationships with our children, stormy connections with extended family, stormy job situations, and stormy financial conditions. On and on, the storms rage in our lives. We find ourselves tossed about, overrun, confused and frightened. We desperately try to hold back the waves and still the vicious winds in our lives. Finally, with a sense of helplessness, we realize that we can’t control the storm.

One night, Jesus’ disciples found themselves at the mercy of the violent winds and churning waves of the Sea of Galilee. Just as they were about to abandon hope of controlling their small boat, they say Jesus walking on the sea toward them! Talk about confused and frightened! They thought they must be seeing a ghost! But Jesus spoke to the disciples over the roar of the storm and said, “Cheer up! I’m here, don’t be afraid.” He gave them hope, and then he stilled the storm for them!

Jesus walks on the stormy seas of our lives even today. Just as it seems we are about to be overcome by the hurt, the stress, the fear of our own personal storm, we can see Jesus as He calls out to us, “Cheer up! I’m here, don’t be afraid.” Just as He calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee for Peter and the other disciples, He will still your storm as well. Jesus is the answer to your problems – whatever they are. He still speaks to His people, cheers them, and gives them hope. He will still walk on the troubled sea of your life and rescue you from the storm.

Monica BoudreauxPrayer Banner

Father – Help me depend on you when I face one of life’s storms. Thank you for your great faithfulness to me.

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This Week – FAIR

Fair- Of character, reputation, conduct: free from moral stain, unsullied, spotless. Of a person, action argument, etc.: just, unbiased, equitable, impartial; legitimate, in accordance with the rules or standards.

(Oxford Dictionary)



Early in my life I was taught that I must be fair with all people. I have yet to meet someone who does not want life to be fair. We want things to be fair for us first and then, of course, everyone else. I can still hear the school yard echo, “No fair!” looming over the playground. Fair defined as equal treatment is what I want to muse about today. Let us look at some ways that we can learn what it is to be fair and how to react to unfairness.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word fair is equitable. We all feel that we deserve equitable treatment at work, in our relationships and in our business dealings. Everyone wants to feel that they are of equal value to the next person. Discomfort arises in us when we feel we are being ignored or in some way neglected. We want to be valued by others, and we feel that is the way to be fair.

There is a Crown Royal distillery billboard that reads, “Live generously and life will treat you royally.” That is what can happen if we are overtly fair to all that we encounter. We learn the art of generosity, because we are always intentionally and freely doing the absolute best for others. Such fair generosity brings a reward of liberty from always speculating what is fair.

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist, Bill Gates, reminds us that, “Life is not fair; get used to it.” That is particularly important point coming from a man who gives away billions of dollars a year. Life is not always fair, but it is our responsibility to make it so. Our behavior is a key to creating fairness around and within ourselves. I have always believed that life is about as fair as you make it. I do, however, wish that the unfair were sometimes in my favor.

As followers of Christ, we are called to be scrupulously fair to all persons we meet. That is our role as the salt and light of the earth. There are times when we are tempted to level that playing field. We are the authors of fairness, and we bring it to the rest of the world because we are the recipients of the generosity of Jesus when he redeemed us.

This week be fair, go the second mile, share from the heart, and help bring true fairness to the world.





Quotes Banner

We don’t need to be good. But let’s try to be fair.

~~~Holly Black, The Cruel Prince

Being good is easy, what is difficult is being just.

~~~Victor Hugo

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.

~~~Rick Riordan

In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fair-mindedness, and gentleness with what is strange.

~~~Friedrich Nietzsche

You cannot be fair to others without first being fair to yourself.

~~~Vera Nazarian

God hates violence. He has ordained that all men fairly possess their property, not seize it.

 ~~~Euripides

As for doing good that is one of the professions which is full. Moreover, I have tried it fairly and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.

~~~Henry David Thoreau

Life is not fair; get used to it.

~~~Bill Gates

Fairness is not an attitude. It’s a professional skill that must be developed and exercised.

~~~Brit Hume

It is always wise, as it is also fair, to test a man by the standards of his own day, and not by those of another.

~~~Odell Shepard

It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.

~~~Eleanor Roosevelt

Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

~~~Oscar Wilde

I know the world isn’t fair, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?

~~~Bill Watterson

Scripture BannerHe judges the world with righteousness;

   he judges the peoples with equity.

~~~ Psalm 9:8

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all.

~~~Ecclesiastes 9:11

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,

   but an accurate weight is his delight.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace;

   but wisdom is with the humble.

The integrity of the upright guides them,

   but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

~~~ Proverbs 11:1-3

You shall not render an unjust judgement; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.

~~~ Leviticus 19:15

Speak out, judge righteously,

   defend the rights of the poor and needy.

~~~ Proverbs 31:9

Happy are those who observe justice,

   who do righteousness at all times.

~~~Psalm 106:3

Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

~~~Colossians 4:1

If a king judges the poor with equity,

   his throne will be established for ever.

~~~Proverbs 29:14

But let justice roll down like waters,

   and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

~~~Amos 5:24

Honest balances and scales are the Lord’s;

   all the weights in the bag are his work.

~~~ Proverbs 16:11Prayer Banner

LORD, Our great longing in life is to be treated with fairness. Teach us that the road to fairness is to treat all as we want to be treated. Keep us honest and truthful in all our ways so that we might be fair to all we meet. We pray that you would give us the wisdom to be fair in all our dealings.

Amen

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Wise Become Foolish

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The 40 Days of Lent

Day Seventeen



Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,

‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’,

and again,

‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,

   that they are futile.’

~~~1 Corinthians 3:18-20Prayer Banner

Lord, Many of us spend a great deal of time trying to fool ourselves about our behavior. We submit ourselves to you and ask that you show us the way we must go. Grant us the grace to move forward and live a life that is wise and true and brings glory to you.

Amen

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Holy Ground

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The 40 Days of Lent

Day Fifteen



‘Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight; and as he approached to look, there came the voice of the Lord: “I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, “Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.

~~~Acts 7:30-33

Prayer BannerLord, You are the light of the world. You have promised to bring light into our darkened world, and we claim that promise this day. Let your light shine brightly in all the places of our lives so that me may rejoice in your glory.

Amen

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What is Faith?

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The 40 Days of Lent

Day Twelve



Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

~~~Hebrews 11:1-3

Prayer BannerLord, Faith is an elusive idea. It is the reason we believe and hope in things we have not seen. It is what gives us the strength to continue when all that we know tells us to stop. Our faith is the center of our journey with you. Please strengthen us this day through your spirit that dwells within us.

Amen

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See the Light

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The 40 Days of Lent

Day Thirteen



‘While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

~~~John 12:36

Prayer BannerLord, You are the light of the world. You have promised to bring light into our darkened world, and we claim that promise this day. Let your light shine brightly in all the places of our lives so that me may rejoice in your glory.

Amen

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You Are the CHRIST

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The 40 Days of Lent

Day Ten



Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’

~~~Mark 8:27-29

Prayer BannerLord, The most powerful words that anyone can say are You are the Christ, the savior, the messiah. We know that you have come to give us a life that we cannot picture or imagine. Let your Lordship take root in our live so that we may enjoy the victory that you offer. YOU ARE THE CHRIST.

Amen

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Justified by Grace

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The 40 Days of Lent

Day Nine



What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due.

~~~Romans 4:1-4

Prayer BannerLord, I know that my works can never save me, but why do I work so hard. Teach me to have faith and trust in your grace. Give me the freedom to be able to trust you more than I trust myself. That trust is what I seek this day.

Amen

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