Tag Archive | love

Love is greater than moral conscience

This post may seem out of character for me.  There are items in the news which I see differently from some of my conservative and Christian counterparts.  Usually I abstain from sharing my feelings on social or public media because, honestly, doing so rarely changes anything.  And that might be the case now, too, but I cannot keep silent this time.

In increasing numbers, Christian behaviour is at the forefront in the media, and to put it mildly, it is not perceived as loving. I am deeply grieved by how the “moral conscience” of some are driving people away from Christ, rather than drawing them near.

Christians—your actions are speaking louder than Jesus’ words.  How can those outside of Christ know his love if we refuse to serve them, stubbornly judge, or by our deeds, reject them?

Jesus called us to LOVE, His message was LOVE, and His ministry was and ever is LOVE.  I’m not going all new-age on you here. It’s just what Jesus said:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:45-47

Christians are called to live above the law, not be excused by it Jesus said the answer to the law is fulfilled in this:

“Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body, and your neighbor as yourself.” 

The apostle Paul called love, “the more excellent way.”

101_3611-2

He went on to say,

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  1 Cor. 13:1-2

In a similar vein, the apostle James said we can talk about our faith until we’re blue in the face (well, not in those words), but if we don’t display loving actions, our faith will be empty, and our message, void:

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 3:15-17

Dear Christians, our faith is not expressed through anchoring our behaviours onto our “moral conscience”; rather, it is to be set into motion through loving deeds, untiring grace, relentless mercy, kindness, compassion, and, above all, humility!  Remember:

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This leaves no room for pride, arrogance, or judgement. We need to humbly learn from our Lord who said that true greatness in God’s kingdom, is being a servant to all.

In the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, two pious men walked past a man beat up by robbers.  A third man stopped and helped him in his need, a helper from a rejected culture, and someone that, under normal conditions, would never be regarded as a friend.  How does the story go??

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Through love and mercy, we reflect God’s character, the very light and life of Christ:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

That’s something legalism, rejection, and judgement can never do.

Believers, humbly live above the law, by going out of your way to show EVERYONE the same mercy, grace, and love that you have received.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  I John 4:9-11

Check out these two articles with similar sentiments, only better expressed:

Don’t Be Defined by What You’re Against

Bake for them Two

To the Breathing: Choose Life!

Sudden Deaths.  Three people I knew have died suddenly this year.  Two were 51 years old, one was only 28.  One day they were alive and well, the next day, gone.  As just 1 person in a big world, my experience is reflected a 1000 times over around the globe.  People meeting death and their Creator in the blink of an eye.

None of us can make sense of death, except that it’s something we all, ultimately, must face.  But we usually think we’ll have some preparation for it, time to contemplate our beliefs, settle our affairs, say some last meaningful words to our loved ones…  Yet, that’s not really what plays out for everyone.

So, in the face of our frail brevity, I encourage the breathing, my dear friends and family, to take Today seriously.  Today is all we have.

Love one another.  Be kind, compassionate, forgive, show mercy, share your blessings with the poor.

And most importantly, please don’t neglect what Christ has done for you.  Believe and receive His gift of Grace.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3”16

Reflect and turn to “God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”  I Timothy 2:4-6

If I had but one day, this is the most important thing I could pass on. This life is brief, and, eternity is, well…forever 🙂

So, today, choose your eternity, by choosing Christ.

Today, choose life.

Because I love all of you…

100_5936-1

Creation Speaks

Creation Speaks

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

Happy Hummer

Dear young man, who admires me with wonder
Who loves the streams and hills,
I, creation, know our sculptor
Who lifts me from this sodden earth
and carries me from flower to fleur.

My handiwork is fully His
Made for your delight;
to admire, photograph,
or stand in awe,
to pause and merely sigh.

Fearfully and wonderfully made

Yet, I creation, pale to you,
birthed, eternal soul
You, with searching heart and mind
Gentle spirit, good and kind
You, for whom He died.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

I, creation, certainly wonder
Why man rages ‘til day is done
But more, I grieve and groan and long
To speak through my unspoken song
Of our Creator’s love..

…the engraved signature of the artist’s Son.

Engraved Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poem, Linda Owen

Photos:  Hummingbird, Elaine Corneau

                Hands, Google Images

                All others, John Owen

Your Presence, Like Rain

Oh my…the rain is refreshing after the intense heat lately.  The grass seems greener, bird’s songs are sweeter, and the air carries a cool comfort that I forgot I even missed.

Refreshed

But sweeter than the rain to my soul, is the very Presence of the Lord.  Through Him, my dry heart is softened, my mind cleared, and my voice can carry songs and encouragement not present within myself to utter.

I’ve posted a song today, that might bring a little refreshement, like rain, to your thirsty soul.  It has to mine.  Holy Spirit is a deeply worshipful song, by Bryan and Katie Torwalt.  I can’t promise rain wherever you live, but I can promise, that if you quiet your heart, shut your eyes for just five mintues, and listen to this song, the Lord will minister comfort to you…with His Presence.

~~~~~~

Holy Spirit

by Bryan & Katie Torwalt

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You’re our Living Hope

Your Presence

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

Your presence Lord

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
You are our Living Hope
Your presence Lord
I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart is set free
And my shame is undone

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Lord

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

~~~~~

This song is available for download at Amazon Music, Itunes, and Jesus Culture. 

Too Busy Being Me

Amidst this sad consciousness of imperfection, here is comfort for you–you are “perfect in Christ Jesus.”  ~ Spurgeon

I am so imperfect.  And quite the imperfect blogger.  I’ve been terribly sporadic this year!  So, thought it time to lay out all my excuses and explain why I’ve been less-than-regular with writing and encouragement.

My husband has often says of himself, “It’s a full-time job just being me.”

And so with Linda….I’ve been too busy being me.

Being me, as any beloved child, is about partaking in God’s daily discipline and grace.  Discipline, because I need it so much, and truly deserve it.  Grace, well, because I need it so much, and don’t deserve it.

And being me has felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins, who said he felt “thin, sort of stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread.”

Stretched, but content…

.

~~Living in Ottawa, but preparing to leave for our “other” home, building on relationships while facing goodbyes, being served by the very people I seek to serve, tutoring and plugging along with my degree, surprisingly chosen for the “novel” task of ghostwriting,  and most recently, selected to be a contributing author for Regent University’s new blog.

~~A grateful wife of 36 years to a lovely, deep man, with an oft broken, contrite, yet humorous spirit!

~~Always a mom, though my daughters are grown and don’t live anywhere nearby.   But I’m a mom, and thankfully, ever will be!

~~A grandma to two precious little ones, with another on the way!  When I’m with them, I can’t imagine being away.  And when I’m away→→I skype!!

.

~~An only, beloved child to my sweet mom, and this year, planning her 80th birthday celebration and reunion! How priceless is that?!

Being me may keep me from blogging regularly, but may it never keep me from daily seeking the Lord, leaning on and learning of His unfailing love and surpassing mercy.

I just pray that me being me won’t get in the way of

Him being Him,

in me,

for

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

~~~

Maybe you could share how you maintain blogging and other responsibilities, while still being you?

On gratefulness…

“Happiness is not getting what we want, but being grateful for what we have.” 

This quote from a random British TV show we were watching one evening really stuck with me.  We always seem to want more, without being grateful for what we already have.  Millions have been spent in research to find out what the “perfect” monthly wage is that would make everyone happy.  The answer across the board:

More.

So, happiness is elusive.  But gratitude is not.

In fact, gratitude is God’s will!  Are you fasting, praying, desperately searching to know God’s will for you life?  How about this:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   I Thess. 5:16-18

Giving Thanks Together

The following poem from The Valley of Vision expresses a heart full of gratitude and one after God’s will:
~~~

O My Lord

You, fairest, greatest, first of all object,

My heart admires, adores, loves you,

For my little vessel is as full as it can be,

And I would pour out all that fullness before you in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with you

Ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,

Ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,

Ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart.

Crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless You for the soul you have created,

for adorning it, sanctifying it,

though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body you have given me,

for preserving its strength and vigour,

for providing senses to enjoy delights,

for the ease and freedom of my limbs,

for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for your royal bounty providing my daily support,

for a full table and overflowing cup

for appetite, taste, sweetness

for social joys of relatives and friends,

for ability to serve others,

for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,

for a mind to care for my fellow-men

for opportunities of spreading happiness around

for loved ones in the joys of heaven,

for my own expectation of seeing you clearly.

I love you above the powers of language to express, for what you are to your creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

The Table or the Host?

“Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house.”  ~ Spurgeon

 

Jesus asked him the third time,

“Do you love me?”

He said,

“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you!”  (John 17:21)

 

Where are our affections?  On the things the Lord provides?

Or Him?

~~~

Do we love the table?

Breakfast Table with Tulips

Children's Table for Thanksgiving

.

Or the Host?

Giver of All Good

Where grace and judgement meetEternal Redeemer

.

Do  we love the cupboard…

Cupboard on Long Island

.

…or the Master of the house?

Who Loved us First

.

Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life….

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”  from John 6:26-35

.