[Reflection] Laced with Love.

Love. That’s my goal for 2014. Not the mushy, chick flick, lasts-a-couple-weeks kind of love, but the selfless, entering-into-pain, unconditional, messy kind of love. I want to love God, love Jesus and love others more recklessly abandoned than ever before.

Why?

Because Jesus tells us love is the most important thing we can do, and there’s not enough love flowing in the world. There’s a lot of like disguised as love, but when the going gets tough, like walks out the door. Love stays. Think about it. Jesus had the power to remove himself from the cross, but he stayed. He stayed for me. He stayed for you. What are you going to do about that kind of love? I’m going to lace 2014 with it. Will you join me?

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“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:36-40

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” -1 John 3:16-18

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” -1 Corinthians 13

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myTunes Monday

I think this one speaks for itself. Enjoy “You Love Me Anyway” by the Sidewalk Prophets and have a blessed week!

The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn’t mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind
Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future’s so far
My heart is so frail
I think I’d rather stay inside
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
How You love me
It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
But You love me anyway
Oh, God… how you love me
You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
You love me, You love me
You love me, You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

The Least

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Matthew 25:34-40

Compelled

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” -Ephesians 5:1-2

Christ-like love is hard to accept because it goes against what we know. It’s unconditional, unending, and undeserved. As Christ followers we’re suppose to love like Jesus. It’s not an option. If we want to be obedient to our Heavenly Father, the sacrificial love of Christ has to be mirrored in our lives.

This simple truth has been on my heart lately and God has shown me practical ways to put Christ’s love into action. Here are a few examples:

  • Cook dinner for friends
  • Buy someone’s cup of coffee
  • Give $5 to the homeless
  • Hold the door for someone
  • Say “Thank You”
  • Wish someone a good morning/afternoon/night
  • FORGIVE
  • If you see something that reminds you of someone, buy it for them!

I know some of these examples seem like common courtesies, but many have been lost in the hustle and bustle of chaotic schedules and selfish desires. I have fallen victim to overcommitment, but God, in all of His goodness, has shown me how to intentionally love His people. It’s incredible to see how your view of people drastically changes when you realize each and every person you pass is designed uniquely in God’s image for relationship with Him and will spend eternity in one of two places. God could have chosen to share His love however He wanted, but He chose me, and He chose YOU to be His hands and feet!

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” -2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Step out of your comfort zone and love like Jesus! Yes, you may get some funny looks, but that just proves you’re doing something right! In the world’s eyes it wasn’t logical for Christ to die on a cross 2,000 years ago for people who constantly turn away from Him. If we’re to mirror the Love shown at the cross why should our lives and our actions look logical? Be radical. Love unconditionally, expecting nothing in return!

Praying Christ’s love compels you to love!

Meredith

P.S. This was a wish I made towards the end of 2012. Let’s make it a reality!

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One Thing Remains

Some days don’t end the way you want them to. You try not to lose your patience, but rather than being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, you tune people out, interrupt, and yell back. Everyday we fall short of God’s glory, but His grace is never-ending. One thing will ALWAYS remain – His love. It never fails, it never gives up, and it never runs out me, you, or anyone else! God constantly amazes me with how He decides to speak. Today He reminded me His love is constant, just when I needed to hear it. Praise God!

Higher than the mountains that I faceStronger than the power of the grave

Constant through the trial and the change

One thing remainsOne thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me

On and one and on and on it goes

It overwhelms and satisfies my soul

And I never ever have to be afraid

One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love

My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

The Man of My Dreams!

I bet y’all thought I was going to be blogging about falling madly in love with a Frenchman. Unless Jesus was from Angers rather than Galilee, I fooled ya! 🙂

Sometimes it is nice to be reminded how dearly loved you are. I am so thankful for Jesus and the cross!

 

A Notebook Kind of Love

“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” -1 John 4:9-10

For those of you who’ve stuck with me since the beginning of Dearly Loved, in my first post I made it pretty clear I’m a hopeless romantic. Six months later that still hasn’t changed! I’m studying abroad in Angers, France for the next six weeks and every time I go to the farmers market I can’t take my eyes of the beautiful assortment of flowers. They are absolutely breathtaking! God completely amazes me with the spectacular creations he has made for our enjoyment that we by no means deserve. Lord willing I will one day be married to someone who most importantly leads me closer to the cross and occasionally brings me a bouquet of flowers – hint, hint 😉

 Loving chick-flicks is obviously a character trait of a hopeless romantic, and I am no exception. In my book, one of the ultimate chick-flicks is The Notebook based on a book by Nicolas Sparks…you bet I’ve read every one of his books and seen the movies! I was the girl during high school English class crying a river while finishing another one of his tear jerking novels. No judging please 🙂

As I was relaxing in my apartment at the end of another merciful day in Angers a few days ago, I popped The Notebook into my laptop to watch it for what seemed to be the millionth time.  A few months ago I played it in the background while I was getting dressed to go two-stepping with some of my buddies and some of the famous quotes took a new form. Rather than coming from the mouth of Noah, one of the main characters, they came from our Heavenly Father.  At the time I noticed it, but in the hustle and bustle of life I let the words pass without much regard.  The other night that changed as I actually slowed down – a rare occurrence – to watch the movie.  Below I have taken the quotes verbatim from the movie and adapted them to the words God spoke to me.

The Notebook: “I wrote you 365 letters. I wrote you everyday for a year.”

God: “I wrote you 66 letters proclaiming my love for you. I wrote you everyday for thousands of years.”

The Notebook: “You wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t something missing.”

God: “I’ve shaped your heart with a hole I fit perfectly. You wouldn’t be at My feet if there wasn’t Something missing, if there wasn’t Something you were searching for.”

The Notebook: So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.

God: Following me isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be hard. Look at those who have followed me before you. Just as they were persecuted, you will be too. You’re going to have to work on our relationship everyday. I’m willing to patiently wait for you because I love you to the point of sending my Son to die in your place. I want you, My beloved, all of you forever. You and Me… everyday.”

The Notebook: “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give you forever.”

God: “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.  And that’s what I’ve given you. I’ve given you the cross to set ablaze a burning passion to share my love and given you peace in knowing that I hold your life in my hands. These truths are what I hope you find joy in forever. The choice to accept my love is yours.”

God is love perfected. He offers the notebook kind of love so many of us desire and He wants us to find fulness of joy in it. He desires us to be content in Him alone and has given us 66 letters to court us into falling in love with Him. The Bible is proof that you are His bride. He wants you, all of you… forever.

Rest in the warm embrace of a groom more perfect than you could ever imagine.

-Meredith

“Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate Lord.” -Isaiah 54:10

 

Beautiful Things – Gungor

These lyrics couldn’t possibly be any more fitting for what was experienced today in Memphis:

“All this pain

I wonder if I’ll ever find my way

I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth

Could all that is lost ever be found

Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

All around

Hope is springing up from this old ground

Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new

You make me new, You are making me new

You are making me new

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new

You make me new, You are making me new”

Beautiful Things, Gungor