Love

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxThis is an amazing word that contains so much warmth and honesty. It is over used, abused, misused and sometime simply trivial. It often carries with it such depth and far-reaching consequences that it really is hard to wrap my head completely around the depth of its meaning. In our English language, we use that word to say we love people, we love hotdogs, we love having fun and we love God. I can tell you for sure that I love some people more than others. I love my wife and children beyond anyone else in the world. I love my dearest friends but not more than my family.  I think it’s a good practice to evaluate my priorities in who I love. Check this out…

21 Through him (JESUS) you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“All people are like grass,

    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;

the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:21-25 NIV)

 

I’m convinced that since I’m loved deeply by God and in fact saved by His love, I’m to love others. I don’t believe that love is optional for Christ followers. I believe that as the reading of His Word has shaped my heart, I keep learning more deeply about love.  I was reminded of this recently at the Georgia REALTORS Legislative Conference by keynote speaker Jon Gordon, who said: “Love is the greatest gift that we give ourselves. Loving others is a gift we give ourselves.”

Today I want love deeply and am loved deeply. The Lord has loved me first and now I love Him and I so want to honor Him with my commitment to Him, His will for me and His way for me.  I’m trying to love people who are hard to love. There are people who are mean spirited and who want to harm me, but I still want to show them the love of The Lord. I’m working at loving people who have hurt me deeply.  Love is an action word and if I love it should show in my activity.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

I Want To Be Rich

bullions and piggy bank in a security safeI’m not gonna lie – I’d love to win the lottery! I’d love to take my shot at sharing all that wealth with my family. I also realize that I have to play the lottery to win. I think I’ve played once or twice in an office pool. I would honestly like to have more money than I have currently. I don’t know that I can say I NEED more money – I just WANT more money. I do think that learning contentment is probably one of the toughest challenges to my walk with the Lord. I like stuff and I want more stuff. Those who know me well, know that I’m a “techie” – I love new and improved tech toys like the computer I’m typing on, or the phone I talk on, or the blue-tooth headset – I could go on and on!

I’ve started reflecting on this a lot more, the older I get. How much money is enough? How much do I want to have saved for retirement? How much more service can I get out of my vehicles in order to save more. I’ve learned to live with less during the recent recession because I had less income. There were a lot of people like me who learned the difference between wants and needs during that tough economic downturn.  The principle of contentment remains whether my bank account is fat or skinny. Paul speaks out on this subject to Timothy, his “son” in the faith. Check this out…

 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:10-12; 17-19 NIV)

 

I want to be eternally rich. I want to provide for my family here on earth, but I really want them to desire eternal riches more than earthly riches every day of the week. I want to be rich in good deeds. I want to be rich in generosity. I want to be rich in honor. I want to invest in my eternal retirement plan that stores up treasure in Heaven. I want to have the life that is Truly Life!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

I Am Loved

A Crown Of ThornsI know that since I’ve been alive, I’ve been loved. My parents have loved me since before I was born. In fact they were the first people on this earth to love me. There have been others, thankfully, who love me as well. I believe love is one of the most indescribable emotions and feelings that I have ever experienced. On the opposite of love is rejection and hatred. Unfortunately I know what it’s like to be rejected and even hated. I wish I could make everyone love me, but I’ve since learned that I can’t possibly control what others think of me.

The deeper I look into love, the more I can understand it. It is something very, very deep. I also know after investigating love that it comes from God. He is the Author and Creator of love. I do believe that our culture has totally made it into something quite different than the Lord intended.

As Paul instructs a young preacher named Timothy, he reminds him that the gospel is founded on love. Check this out….

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:5-7; 15-17 NIV)

 

I am so grateful to be loved by God. He loved me before I loved Him. He introduced me to love. He teaches me to love others. I know how to love because He first showed me love. I love Paul’s candid humility as he describes how God loves him. When I first came to grips with the love God has for me I was broken before Him. His love for me wasn’t logical but it was complete. His love for me isn’t describable. It goes beyond the language. His love is it’s own language and I’m spending my life trying to comprehend this amazing, unconditional love. I can’t possibly begin to teach about God without first understanding that Love is the foundation of the gospel. He loved first, then taught.

I feel loved by God.

I feel loved by my wife.

I feel loved by my children.

I feel loved by my parents.

I feel loved by my friends.

I feel loved by my co-workers.

I feel loved by people who barely know me.

I’m thankful that the ones who know me the best love me the deepest. Love can’t possibly be described properly in a simple blog post. Love can be summed up in a person – Jesus. Everything related or connected to love flows from Him.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Love Is….

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI can finish that sentence is so many ways. The word love is probably the smallest 4-letter word that carries such deep, incredible and multi-faceted meaning. I can’t begin to adequately define or describe this word and what it means to me and so many other people.

I read a book one time called, “Love Is A Verb”, meaning that Love calls for action. I have also heard messages on the subject of love. The dictionary had 6 different definitions under love as a noun. It featured two definitions with love as a verb.  I read the “love chapter” this morning and this word is very common, but oh so deep and meaningful to me, and so many others. Check this out….

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; 13 NIV)

 

When I think about the love of God, I can’t begin to comprehend it’s depth and wide reach. I am the recipient of this amazing love and I’m called to be a dispenser of the same love. The lofty ideals about love that Paul writes to the church in Corinth are absolutely astounding and very deep. He does an incredible job describing a word/concept that is nearly indescribable.

I’ve grown more and more in my understanding of love. My love for God has grown over the years that I’ve walked with Him. My love for my family deepens daily as they grow and mature. My love for others expressed in kindness ends up blessing me more than I could have ever known.

Love is forever. Our faith will be realized when we see the Lord one day. Our hope fulfilled as we stand in His Presence. Our love will continue as we live in Heaven forever with the One Who saved our souls.  I love God and I want to live for Him all the rest of my days here on earth. I’m not too good at explaining it – but I do love Him and I want to honor Him with my life and my love for Him & others.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Debt of Love

White Box with the Word Love on the Sides Isolated on a White Background.I am not a fan of debt. I have been there, done that and have the T-shirt and scars from debt. I believe that debt is deceptive. There are so many things we think we need NOW and debt provides a way to get them. It if often entered into lightly and even on a whim, but it will bring a sober reckoning at some point. Debt can cause “income” to be way short of “out-go” and there is a really big problem. I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey, “Financial Peace” and the road to freedom from debt. I am so close to getting there. There is one debt that I will always owe and that is the debt of loving others. So many people have loved me over the years and God calls me to love others with depth, understanding and respect.  Check this out….

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10 NIV)

This debt of love toward others can never be fully paid off. Love is a powerful concept. It’s not just an emotion it can be a way of life. Love is a decision to show honor and respect to people I disagree with or I’m at odds with.  When I decide to love like the Lord calls me to love, HATE is dispelled from my heart and my life. I don’t believe the Love of God and Hatred can co-exist in me except to agree with God and Hate sin. The Lord hates sin, but loves the sinner. I must hate the behavior and love the person. That’s easier to say than do. Love is a debt that I can never get paid up or paid off. It is to be part of who I am as a Christ-follower.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7;13 NIV)
Pressing On!
Dwayne

Love God – Love Others

God is LoveI’m enjoying reading a book called “Deep & Wide” by Andy Stanley. I was reminded of the amazing concept of Grace. It is kind of crazy and unconventional for the Lord to give me grace when I deserve punishment. His love is amazing, because the love of God is what issues grace. His grace doesn’t have a quota or any sort of limit. Andy also reminds me of the value of truth. Truth is concrete and non-negotiable. It should not be swayed by popular opinion. Truth is founded upon the Creator of all. He is the Author of Truth. He is the Keeper of Truth. I would be wise to possess and share with everyone and anyone both grace and truth.

I came across a situation in Matthew where Jesus was asked to state which parts of the law were most important. Jesus clearly saw the trap being set. It didn’t seem to bother Him as he made clear that the greatest commandment is an easy answer. Check this out….

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:34-40 NIV)

Jesus answers the question in such a way that there is no debate or push back. Love God and Love others is the whole duty of man. When I grasp the amazing love God has for me, this is not hard. It’s also not rocket science. It’s a really simple teaching and involves me being obedient to the teaching.  All the teaching of the Old Testament and the New Testament is wrapped in His words: Love God; Love Others; Repeat. I’m going for it!

Pressing On!
Dwayne