Faithful Love

At 2:00am everything becomes a prayer of deliverance, a challenge, and an excuse to get angry at God.

The dog won’t stop barking. You could stop it but you won’t.

The baby is crying again and you could give her peace so we can both get rest, but you won’t. 

I’m coming down with a cold you could heal me of but you won’t.

 I can’t sleep. I can’t stop worrying or crying. 

I find myself stuck somewhere between depressed and furious. You could make everything better, but you won’t. 

God is never more powerful than when we accuse him of being unwilling. Luckily Jesus doesn’t let us bully him into giving us our way. We beg God for a break, for rest, for sleep, for peace, for love, for money, for healing. We rage at him about our pain, all the while holding onto it desperately. We rationalize that we are only asking for what we have earned. We refuse to let our earthly demands go and lean on Him for all our needs.  If we actually accepted that God was there during a difficult time, we couldn’t blame Him. So, we start marking up a score card of our own creation, asking God, "Where were you here? Where were you there? Where were you when this happened?" whining about how we did our part, upheld our side of the bargain--a bargain that God didn’t ask for or agree to. We say, “I went to church, I helped, I tithed, I served, I listened, I, I, I. God, you promised but you didn’t come through.”

Our favorite time to go to God is when we think we are owed something, when we can’t see him working in our lives because we haven’t sat down and shut up long enough to notice. But like the most loving and patient parent, Jesus is waiting for our tantrum to end and for our complaining and bargaining to be over so the he can show us that our prayers have been answered.

We didn’t get exactly what we wanted but we got exactly what we needed.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Huni McGee
Author

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Enough Said

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.

So no matter what I say, what I believe or what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Enough said.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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I Brake for Fruit

Many years ago when my husband and I bought our grandson a new bicycle the poor kid struggled to learn to ride it – especially when it came to using the brakes. Our little guy mastered staying upright on the bike but struggled with the concept of the foot brake, opting instead to simply take his feet off the pedals and drag them until the bike came to a stop.

In theory that was great when he was barely moving on flat ground but a method that could cause serious injury if he ever got going too fast down an incline. As he matured, he eventually grasped the notion of proper braking and in time became an expert rider.

Having brakes and not using them is not too smart and a waste of good brakes.

The same argument could be made for the fruit of the Spirit which Galatians 5:22 lists as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If we call Jesus our Lord and have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us – each of us already have these fruits inside of us just waiting for us to use them. Knowing we have the fruits of the Spirit inside of us and not using them is kind of like having brakes on your bicycle and not using them when coasting downhill.

The gift I struggle with the most is self-control. I know that I have self-control because the Bible tells me so. As a recovering Bulimic I find when I’m faced with a stack of cupcakes at a potluck I’m as helpless as someone racing down a steep hill with no brakes. I’m powerless when it comes to cupcakes.

To help with my underused fruit of self-control, I’ve adopted a habit of regularly thanking God for the gifts of the Spirit. Thanking God each day for these fruits reinforces to me that the gift of self-control is already inside of me. The more I remind myself that I have self-control, the stronger I become when I’m faced with a difficult temptation.

Maturing in Christ doesn’t have to be complicated. Read the Word, believe what it says and when trials occur you can enjoy your fully developed fruit that is ripe for the picking.

Blessings in Christ,
Kathy Kurlin
Author
www.kathleenkurlin.com

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