[E] Love

Several months ago, I printed out 1 Corinthians 13Β  and put it on the window over the sink, with the intent of committing it to memory. I’m at the sink (nearly) every day, sometimes for hours–with “nothing” to do (um, besides washing dishes)… so, I figured, this should work splendidly.

Well, I still haven’t memorized it. However, I did discover something: when one stares at the same chapter of the Bible, even if it’s one you’ve heard approximately 15,237 times, you will learn new things from it, and things that used to confuse you will start unraveling themselves in your brain and begin to transform into something that makes beautiful sense.

Thus was the case with myself and the said chapter in Corinthians. The part about “Love is” and “Love is not” seemed to make sense, for the most part. But then there’s the part where it starts talking about prophecies and stuff, and about face to face… and… huh? I thought we were talking about… love?

It has always confused me.

But in the hours I spent at the sink (and at other times, I’m sure) it started making sense.

Love never fails. . . .

See, God is love. (Rebeka tells me I don’t have to say “obviously” because everyone already knows I state the obvious… anyways, in this case, we needed to start with that bit of obviousness.) And God is eternal–so, since God IS love, love is eternal. To put that another way, love is of God… hence “love never fails.” It isn’t that our human love will never fail: just that love itself will never fail, since God won’t. (and can’t.)

. . .But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; . . .

Prophecies aren’t always right (unless of course they were real prophecies from God)… sometimes they fail. Or sometimes they are misunderstood. They are just a prediction… they aren’t anything in and of themselves. And there will come a time when there is no need for prophecies. Hence… “they will fail.”

. . .whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”. . .

Our human knowledge is imperfect… we don’t really know. We can learn… and we can think we know things about God… but we really don’t know.

. . .For we know in part and we prophesy in part. . . .

At this point, here on earth, it’s all in part.

10 But [again, “but” is such an awesome word sometimes] when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. . . .

Someday… oh, someday! We will KNOW! And all this partial knowledge here… will be gone. It will be of no worth to anyone… it will be completely eclipsed by “that which is perfect.”

. . . For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. . . .

Face to face! *shakes head* I can’t really fathom that… It’s too wonderful.

Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. . . .

Wow… Think about that. We’ll get to know Him like He knows us!

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The first two are human virtues, in a way. God doesn’t have faith: He already knows what’s going to happen. He doesn’t have to “wait and see” or “trust” for anything. And it’s very similar with “hope” as well.

But love… love starts with and is God.

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Idea: Part Two

Here we go with part two!

The third one you thank Him for as many things as you can think of, remembering Who all these blessings are from.

The fourth one you remember that you need to pray and read your Bible to learn more about Him… I also usually pray for a few “key” people– the ones that He’s especially laid on my heart. πŸ™‚

Β And the fifth one… you remember to cast your cares on Him–don’t think you are strong enough to carry them on your own. Acknowledge that you can’t… that you need Him to carry them for you.

There! All five posted. πŸ™‚ I hope this is helpful to you… feel free to print out and use my papers if you want, or make your own! I have found it very helpful for starting my day out thinking about God… and it really helps get things (and yourself :P) in perspective.

We’re All Going to Die!!

Wait. If you are a Christian, you didn’t read that right. Go back and read it again. You’re not supposed to read it like Chicken Little freaking out… you’re supposed to read it like it’s the best news ever. πŸ˜€

I’ve been thinking about this rather a lot lately, and, oddly enough, it’s a very encouraging thought. (Though my sisters keep telling me I really should say “we’re going to go to heaven” instead of saying “we’re going to DIE”. Apparently “die” is too… melodramatic or something.) Anyways.

The point is: this world isn’t our home. We’re just passing through. All the joys and heartaches that go along with this world will soon be gone–the fleeting, transient joys of this earth being replaced with the real, everlasting joys of heaven: and the pain and trials of this sin-cursed world will be entirely eclipsed by the “far greater weight of glory”… He will wipe away our tears… and bid us enter into His joys.

16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Somehow, when you look at it like this… you can bear so much more on earth. You can see how He is working it out for eternity. You can see of how little value earthly pleasures are… and you will be more willing to give them up.

44Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Matthew 13:44

I don’t know about you… but I can’t wait to see my Savior’s face. To think–we shall see Him!! That… is incomprehensibly amazing.

But, oh, to see our Savior’s face!

From sin and sorrow to be freed!

To dwell in His divine embrace–

This will be sweeter far indeed!

The fairest form of earthly bliss

Is less than naught, compared with this.

I don’t want to barely scrape into heaven–I want to be welcomed heartily by many who would not be there if it wasn’t for me. I want to hear that “well done, good and faithful servant”.

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

I want to have treasure in heaven… treasure that lasts. I used to wonder if it was wrong to want that treasure, wrong to seek after it… until our pastor preached on it and said that the whole reason we are told there is treasure to be gained in heaven is so that we will strive for it. It’s a reward— we’re supposed to want it.

32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12:32-34

Sell that you have… I think it means we need to be ready to give up anything here when God asks… we need to remember that earthly treasure isn’t the real thing–and use it to gain heavenly treasure.

1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

2Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 1 Colossians 3:1-4

Nevermind, we’re not going to die… we’re already dead. πŸ˜€ And since we are “dead” and our lives are hidden with Christ… our focus is now on things above.

Just a ramble about some of the verses and thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind…

P.S. Don’t worry, I’m not in a hurry to die… πŸ˜€ Since I’m still here, I know God still has more for me to do… and I wouldn’t want to miss it!!

P.P.S. This post was written from a Christian perspective, with sweet assurance that death is not something to be feared–for the simple reason that our God has conquered death and taken away the sting. I know I am going to heaven–not because I have done anything worthy of going, but because Jesus Christ has paid my penalty and covered me with His righteousness. And with this knowledge and trust, I can eagerly look forward to going home to finally meet my Savior face to face. If, however, you do not have this confidence, and you have not come to know His love and His forgiveness and salvation, please pray that God will show you Himself– and ask me or someone you know to help you.

Idea: Part One

Towards the end of last year, I read a book called “Humility:True Greatness”. (And yes, I recommend it.) In that book, it suggested five things to think about upon rising. Well, knowing me, I knew I’d never remember all of them at the same time, much less remember to think of them every morning, much less actually do it. So! I came up with a plan. I found an image and either a Bible or hymn verse that went along with each thing, and then printed them out and put them on the wall near my bed.

Here is the first one: on this one, you remind yourself of what Christ did on the cross and… the fact that it was YOUR sin that held Him there. You contrast His goodness and sacrifice with yourself and just… bask in the wonder of it.

One the second one, you remind yourself how much you need Him for everything. Every single breath.You remind yourself that there is NOTHING you can do without Him. (If that doesn’t humble you, I don’t know what will…) (And yes, the girl is a bit odd looking… Cheryl likes to tell me that.)

Well, there’s part one… the next three will be coming soon. I hope.

{RD} Love

Several months ago, I stuck 1 Corinthians 13 (um, printed on a piece of paper) on the window over the sink, with the intent of committing it to memory. I’m at the sink (nearly) every day, sometimes for hours–with “nothing” to do with my mind… so, I figured, this should work splendidly.

Well, I still haven’t memorized it. However, I did discover something: when one stares at the same chapter of the Bible, even if it’s one you’ve heard approximately 15,237 times, you will learn new things from it, and things that used to confuse you will start unraveling themselves in your brain and begin to transform into something that makes beautiful sense.

Thus was the case with myself and the said chapter in Corinthians. It has always confused me. The part about “Love is” and “Love is not” seemed to make sense, for the most part. But then there’s the part where it starts talking about prophecies and stuff, and about face to face… and… huh? I thought we were talking about… love?

And in the hours I spent at the sink (and at other times, I’m sure) it started making sense. (I love it when things make sense!)

Β  Love never fails.Β  . . .

See, God is love. (Rebeka tells me I don’t have to say “obviously” because everyone already knows I state the obvious… anyways, in this case, we needed to start with that bit of obviousness.) And God is eternal–hencely, since God IS love, love is eternal. To put that another way, love is of God… hence “love never fails.” It isn’t that our human love will never fail: just that love itself will never fail, since God won’t. (and can’t.)

. . .But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; . . .

Prophecies aren’t always right (unless of course they were real prophecies from God)… sometimes they fail. Or sometimes they are misunderstood. They are just a prediction… they aren’t anything in and of themselves. And there will come a time when there is no need for prophecies. Hence…Β  “they will fail.”

. . .whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”. . .

Our human knowledge is imperfect… we don’t really know. We can learn… and we can think we know things about God… but we really don’t know.

Β . . .For we know in part and we prophesy in part. . . .

At this point, here on earth, it’s all in part.

10 But [again, “but” is such an awesome word sometimes] when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. . . .

Someday… oh, someday! We will KNOW! And all this partial knowledge here… will be gone. It will be of no worth to anyone… it will be completely eclipsed by “that which is perfect.”

Β . . . For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. . . .

Face to face! *shakes head* I can’t really fathom that… It’s too wonderful.

Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. . . .

Wow…

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The first two are human virtues, in a way. God doesn’t have faith: He already knows what’s going to happen. He doesn’t have to “wait and see” or “trust” for anything. And it’s very similar with “hope” as well. But love… love starts with and is God. So, naturally, it is the greatest.

[E]We’re All Going to Die!!

Wait. If you are a Christian, you didn’t read that right. Go back and read it again. You’re not supposed to read it like Chicken Little freaking out… you’re supposed to read it like it’s the best news ever. πŸ˜€

I’ve been thinking about this rather a lot lately, and, oddly enough, it’s a very encouraging thought. (Though my sisters keep telling me I really should say “we’re going to go to heaven” instead of saying “we’re going to DIE”. Apparently “die” is too… melodramatic or something.) Anyways.

The point is: this world isn’t our home. We’re just passing through. All the joys and heartaches that go along with this world will soon be gone–the fleeting, transient joys of this earth being replaced with the real, everlasting joys of heaven: and the pain and trials of this sin-cursed world will be entirely eclipsed by the “far greater weight of glory”… He will wipe away our tears… and bid us enter into His joys.

16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Somehow, when you look at it like this… you can bear so much more on earth. You can see how He is working it out for eternity. You can see of how little value earthly pleasures are… and you will be more willing to give them up.

44Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Matthew 13:44

I don’t know about you… but I can’t wait to see my Savior’s face. To think–we shall see Him!! That… is incomprehensibly amazing.

But, oh, to see our Savior’s face!

From sin and sorrow to be freed!

To dwell in His divine embrace–

This will be sweeter far indeed!

The fairest form of earthly bliss

Is less than naught, compared with this.

I don’t want to barely scrape into heaven–I want to be welcomed heartily by many who would not be there if it wasn’t for me. I want to hear that “well done, good and faithful servant”. I want to have treasure in heaven… treasure that lasts. I used to wonder if it was wrong to want that treasure, wrong to seek after it… until our pastor preached on it and said that the whole reason we are told there is treasure to be gained in heaven is so that we will strive for it. It’s a reward— we’re supposed to want it.

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

2Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 1 Colossians 3:1-4

32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

33Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12:32-34

Sell that you have… I think it means we need to be ready to give up anything here when God asks… we need to remember that earthly treasure isn’t the real thing–and use it to gain heavenly treasure.

Just a ramble about some of the verses and thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind.. . I know it’s not terribly orderly, but I do hope it gets you thinking. πŸ™‚

P.S. Don’t worry, I’m not in a hurry to die… πŸ˜€ Since I’m still here, I know God still has more for me to do… and I wouldn’t want to miss it!!

P.P.S. This post was written from a Christian perspective, with sweet assurance that death is not something to be feared–for the simple reason that our God has conquered death and taken away the sting. I know I am going to heaven–not because I have done anything worthy of going, but because Jesus Christ has paid my penalty and covered me with His righteousness. And with this knowledge and trust, I can eagerly look forward to going home to finally meet my Savior face to face. If, however, you do not have this confidence, and you have not come to know His love and His forgiveness and salvation, please pray that God will show you Himself– and ask me or someone you know to help you.

[E] Cute Christianity

Now after that post about how I won’t be around much, I find myself with time to write a little blog post. Or, rather, a rant.

The above is a representation of some of the stickers you can find out there… others say things like “Smile! Jesus loves you!” and “Jesus loves you, but I’m His favorite” and some other, more disturbing things.

What have I got against stickers? Nothing. I love them. What do I have against Jesus loving us? Nothing at all, it’s what keeps me going.

Then what is this post about??

Good question. See… the more I’ve learned about who God is… the more I’ve come to realize (and the more I realize the more I learn how much more there is to realize) how very awesome He is, and how absolutely crazy it is that HE loves us… the more repugnant this sort of “Cute” Christianity has become.

God is not cute. He is awesome, holy, terrible, just–and yes, loving. His love for us is not cute: it’s insane. Why He would chose to love us–at such a terrible cost to Himself (He died. God. He died. Yes… God died.) is beyond my–perhaps even beyond human–comprehension. Why doesn’t it doesn’t shock us more?? Why doesn’t it bring us to our knees in tears of wonder and repentance and humility? For one thing, I suppose, we are sinful humans. That accounts for a lot.

The other problem is we’ve allowed it to be come common place, expected, cute.

Of course God loves me! All the stickers say it! All the cute Sunday school songs say it! That’s what some smiling Sunday school teacher lady said when I was five!

And we think it’s nice. Yep, up in heaven somewheres, there’s a God, and He loves me. Isn’t that sweet? Fuzzy feelings every where… here’s a sticker for you, too!

This sort of “oh, God loves me, everything will be just dandy” thinking is rather like… spraying perfume on gangrene to try and make it smell better. It’s cute, and it may help (superficially) for a few seconds… but your foot is still rotting and threatening to kill you.

God loves you. alright.

But not the gushy, sweet-talking, here-is-a-chocolate-to-make-you-feel-better kind of love.

We’re talking the kind of love that would cut off that rotting foot in order to save your life. The kind of love that screams in your face that you’re going the wrong way and death is imminent. The kind of love.. that allows pain and heartache into your life to bring about a greater good: knowing Him more.

The kind of love that dies for you.

So yes, Jesus loves you. But please, please don’t take it for granted. Don’t just put it on a cute little sticker.

Let it sink in deep. Ponder how incredible it is that our awesome Creator God died for you–out of love. Let it move you and change you. No more of this chirping “God loves you!” in a syrupy, fake-happy voice.

No… whisper it in your heart.

He… loves… me.