When Loving Gets Difficult

roses in the trash

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. (1st Corinthians 13:4-8/Amplified Bible classic edition)

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening] (1st Corinthians 13:4-8/ Amplified bible).

It should be effortless to love our spouses this way, after all, we are to love them as we love our selves. If we have entered the covenant of marriage with them, then we should already be convinced that they always, or at least the majority of the time, have our best interest at heart. Yet there are wars and fighting’s among the married in Christ. What is the problem…Division! Everything about marriage is toward unity and oneness, yet division is permeating in marriage. What does it mean to be divided? Here is the definition from Merriam Webster: “Separated into parts or pieces,”

also “directed or moved toward conflicting interests, states, or objects.”

The word “Divorce” mean to sever or separate. When couples get legally divorced, it is simply the manifestation of their disunity.

One of the definitions above states that divided means, “directed or moved toward conflicting interest, states, or objects.” The key word in the definition above is “conflicting.”  Conflicting means opposed to one another or resisting one another. So, becoming divided happens when a force, either from without or within, moves or directs a couple to interest that are opposed to one another, or this force is causing a couple to be moved into opposing states of mind or being, or the things or objects that they each desire are opposed to one another.

The conditioning of the world causes people to celebrate quantity over quality. People talk about themselves or other couples being married for 30, 40, or 50 years, and it is assumed that these are great unions, or good marriages. Not necessarily so. We seldom know the inner workings of other people’s relationships. We are not always privy to how much compromise or pain was endured. Furthermore, just because a couple never gets a legal divorce doesn’t mean that they have remained married in the true sense of biblical marriage. Christ taught in Matthew 5:27-28, that if a man looks at another woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery in his heart. Many people who are legally married have actually divorced in their hearts, because they are no longer submitted to one another in unity. They live lives of opposition, in disunity, but still live together and have occasional sex. Some married couples are in such disunity that they no longer have sex, or they may even sleep in separate beds. All this while legally still married. Some couples are divided, but they stay in marriage for the children, or due to financial dependency. These are all very sad and unfortunate circumstances, and do not come close to our Father’s vision for marriage or becoming ONE.

Many people get married having no idea what it really means, or what it will require. Marriage is just one of many things that people get involved in without research, or fully reading the manual (BIBLE- Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). Existence is the result of biological circumstance, but to live is to answer a call to a vision given by GOD. Being married is just a legal matter, but becoming ONE is a supernatural act only realized through the power of GOD. Unity comes to fruition as a couple submits to His vision for their lives, while living moment to moment by faith. It is impossible to fulfill the requirements of life’s callings without GOD. That which we accomplish in our own strength award us the praise and approval of men, but it is what we accomplish by faith  that please GOD.

There are no 10 steps to a happy marriage, or 20 steps to a successful life; only seeking life through faith in GOD, moment by moment, and day by day. Anything else is manmade and falls short of GOD’s glory. This is what Romans 3:23 is referring too; the sum of our lives when lived in our own strength. On the contrary, the life we live through faith in GOD’s ability is glorious. In the second year of my marriage, I realized it was beyond me. This was even before having children. I fell on my face and cried out for GOD’s anointing to fulfill His vision for me as a husband, and a father.

The “Love” spoken of in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 is impossible to embody without abiding in GOD, because He is “Love.” We will never be the husband, wife, father, mother, or person we were called to be until we surrender to the governance of GOD’s love, by faith.  Husband, do you think it is impossible to love your wife in sacrificial love the way Christ loves the church…It is unless you surrender to the Word and the Spirit, and allow GOD to do it through you. Wife, do you believe it is impossible to love your husband with sacrificial love as the church loves Christ…It is unless you surrender to the Word and the Spirit, and allow GOD to do it through you. The cost is the same for all…It will cost you everything you have and then some…but you were made for this and the reward is beautiful beyond description.

Stop trying to figure it all out and start focusing on just being in GOD. The rest will work itself out. Through being born again in Christ, we have 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 within us. We just need to work it out, moment by moment, through the awareness given by the Holy Spirit. The motivation to do the work comes from the joy of the vision that GOD sets before us. If the work seems to difficult, then the vision needs to be restored. To have the vision restored, it is necessary to spend some time with GOD in solitude, so you can hear Him. The just shall live by faith, and faith comes from “hearing” the Word of GOD. You will not see clearly, until you hear clearly. In marriage, the husband and wife must have intimate time with GOD, not just with one another, if they are to succeed in fulfilling the vision of GOD for their union. This is the part that is most neglected. A couple can date each other, and have all the intimacy with each other that they can handle, but the love of 1st Corinthians 3 will only come from intimacy with GOD. The Love that never fails is the Love that is sourced from faith in GOD.

holding hands

 

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Sweet Somethings

bubble

Sweet nothings are like heart-shaped bubbles that float from your heart through the air and pops on your lover’s nose, releasing a fragrant aroma,

They are ebbs that cascade over the cup of your heart from love yearning to be expressed,

They can be shared verbal kisses and caresses which sustain lovers that hunger for one another,

Sweet nothings are like little star stickers that lovers exchange that say, “I think you are fantastic”,

Sweet nothings can really make you feel special,

You know….Sweet nothings really are something!

I believe as love matures, instead of becoming more practical and toned down, it should increase in brilliance, impact, and expression. This doesn’t necessarily mean a huge display, but just the right thing at the right time or something totally unexpected but that hits the heart right were it was needed. I feel in my life at times, the Lord has often blessed me with sweet somethings right when I needed it, in a way that I knew it was only from Him and personal. I could give some examples, but it’s kind of private..you know…between lovers. Yeshua is the greatest Lover of all times. I believe that is what scriptures speak to when it says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. ”Psalm34:8. When scriptures profess, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”. Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV).

I know I started this post talking about lovers sharing sweet nothings, and I ended up talking about the goodness of GOD. It is because nothing or no one frees the heart to love like knowing that you are loved by GOD. The weights and cares of this life tend to smother the flame of love that is meant to warm one another’s heart, but the Love of GOD has a way of lifting those cares so that the flame can get air and burn fervently.

Just like the many sunsets, sunrises, butterflies, and song birds that can go unnoticed by burdened and busy hearts, so can the sweet somethings from your loved ones if you have not given all your cares to GOD. The scriptures say, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV),

Love, Pure From the Source

cloud heart

My first Love and most intimate friend is Yeshua, the Savior and Redeemer. No one that I know or has ever known can compete with the  love he has shown me. He never ever tires of me. Every time I reach out to Him, He is eager to engage me. Every detail of my life is significant to Him, no matter how small. He never entertains accusations brought against me, not even for a second. He is my greatest advocate. His responses to me are always based on what is best for me, no matter what the cost is to Him.

Just from the characteristics of His love I have mentioned so far, no one I know can approach the fervency of His love. This is not to diminish the love from my wife or my family or friends, but it is to show the strength, depth, and excellency of my Savior’s love for me, and there is still more. His love is not stifled by the ugliest of my flaws. In full view of who I am, His love has had the same intensity for me, for every moment of my existence. He pursues me relentlessly. He prepares a heavenly banquet of blessings for me every day of my life, regardless of how much I leave on the table due to my evolving earthly palate. He is Love and He is faithful and true to himself regardless of me.

If you are looking to anyone else or anything else to fill the boundless cup of your soul, you will never be truly satisfied. I am a grateful benefactor of Yeshua’s boundless grace and mercy and I just want to give the greatest lover of my soul a shout out during this Valentine’s weekend. After the roses have wilted, the candy has been eaten, and the candles are all burnt out, there is one still willing to celebrate the most intimate love with you every day, GOD. The best lovers are those that learn from the best, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).  Never settle for less.

Only God Is Good

Crown in the sky

The truth that only God is good does not disqualify the goodness we could have inside as some purport. The truth that God is good defines the source of all goodness. We don’t have to be bread in order to share bread with someone who is hungry, we just need to have bread. We don’t have to be water to share water with someone who thirst, we just need to have water. We don’t have to be God to share goodness with another soul, we just need to have God in us.

There are many situation we encounter in life that calls for the goodness of God, however what is often applied in those situations is a counterfeit of good. This counterfeit is what we have been oriented through our senses to believe is good. There is a humanitarian spirit in the world that has an intent to do good but instead of looking to God it draws from an imagination  based in human feeling. In application, humanitarian efforts feel good but afterwards we find the power of the spirit unto life was not imparted. You can give someone bread and water so that there stomach is full but there soul can still be famished in what it needs  because life is of the spirit. Our flesh does need bread and water to be nourished but our souls needs the goodness that comes from the spirit of God to be nourished.

I have found in my own life when I have faced the depravity of man, there are times when my mind conjures a solution that would feel good to all but in the end would only serve as a sedative and not address the underlying need for the spirit of life that comes from God through His goodness. There are times when people need to feel the pain of a bad decision so that they will learn to change their thinking however when they are simply bailed out by the humanitarian spirit the learning is aborted. Often times the goodness of God does not appeal to the senses therefore it is not attractive and that is where faith is needed. We have to trust in the goodness of God even when we can’t sense the good. We have to learn to walk in the spirit by abasing the carnal and worldly instincts.

The mandates of Love for human behavior exceeds the rudimentary acts of being humane.  Loving involves complying with universal spiritual laws which is a lot different from just doing what you feel or just fulfilling basic human needs. It has somehow been forgotten that we are sojourners here in these bodies of flesh and that we are spiritual in origin. God is the source of all life, so if we are going to have life in order to minister life to others then God has to be our source. As good can be the enemy of the best, so is the good imagined by man often opposed to the goodness of God. The good ordained of God through His Word is best.

In Book of Matthew Chapter 19, there is an account of a man running up to Jesus calling him “Good Master” and inquiring what good he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good, for there is none good but one, that is God.”  Jesus instructed the man to keep the commandments to inherit eternal life. The man stated that he had kept the commandments from his youth and wanted to know if there was more he should do. Jesus replied, if you will be perfect (spiritually mature) go and sell all that you have and give the money to the poor and then come follow me. The scriptures tell us the man went away grieved because he had many possessions.  The man failed to see the “good” in what the “Good master” had advised. It is evident that the man had some preconceived notions about “good” that got checked.  We need to humble ourselves in order to source our solutions from the spirit of God which is one with His word. You can always check your “good” by how it lines up with Holy scripture inspired by the spirit of God.  

Here is 2 Timothy 3:16-18,

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

God is love, so everything He does is an expression of love but God’s love is not always received or acknowledged by man. Man is often like a rebellious child despising the standards, guidance, and correction handed down by their parents. If we truly want to be good and virtuous to benefit those we have affection and concern for then we have to lay our intent in the hands of God and except His love and guidance.

Open to Promotion

Are you currently or have you ever been in a relationship that seemed to sputter out or that reached a point of complacency, still well but obviously lacking a zest that was once present? This is often due to the lack of promotion. Promotion is the process of transitioning closer to God’s ideal’s for us. Promotion comes from testing, which happens through adversity, which is the born out of conflict, and conflict is necessary for change because the “new” has to confront the “old”. The carnal nature is more in favor of complacency because change can often come with the cost of work and pain, heated with a degree of uncertainty. Is promotion worth the trouble? Can we even arrive at God’s best for us? We must firmly believe that whatever God has planned for us is worth the effort it takes to realize it and we must firmly believe that God has made His promises obtainable. We have to keep hold on God’s vision for our lives.

 

As uncomfortable as it can be at times, we must bring all things pertaining to our lives into the light of Truth and look at them soberly after the spirit with a willingness to strive for whatever changes are needed to bring us closer to God’s will.

 

God is merciful in that He gives us liberty to work out our change based on His guidelines.  The Lord compels us through scripture to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. Salvation is the process by which we are changed from our current state to a place where we are in the likeness of God. We should be employing all that we know of God to methodically bring every aspect of our lives in to submission to God so that He can transform it. I am not saying we should be focused on what is wrong but that we should be pursuing what we know to be right whole heartedly, without reservation. In relationships, this means asking the tough questions when we have reason to ask them, also revealing the things that have been hid in darkness. It means exposure. The tendency to want to hide can be traced all the way back to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, but by the grace of God we have to overcome the shame and fear and be bathed in light. Relationships sputter because the truth that ignites change is seldom sparked in conversation. The tendency to avoid conflict keeps us from the tough talks that create the adversity which leads to testing and promotion.  We have to live and love courageously. It is written that we should love one another “fervently” with a “pure heart”. Love on fire and in truth!

There is a thirst in the soul that will only be satisfied by waters purified through the fire of Holy adversity. Jesus didn’t sugar coat it. We enter the kingdom through much tribulation. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy. God wants to bring our entire lives into His Kingdom. If we will have righteousness, peace, and joy in our relationships then we must subject them to tribulation; tribulation born from suffering the old to be transformed into the new. The “new” is the things God has resurrected in our lives from those things we have sacrificed to Him by faith. Let us move forward in full acceptance of the fact that we will have suffering in this life but let us make sure it is the suffering that Jesus is referring to which comes from bringing forth new life and not the suffering that comes from the afflictions of fear or the stagnancy of complacency. Let’s take the promise land in full confidence knowing that an enemy will not arise that we can’t conquer with the Lord that fight’s for us.

Love me…Love me not

Have you ever picked petals from a flower and did the “love me-love me not” silly ritual. Though that is a silly game played as children it is a reflection of an actual question we carry in our hearts that requires serious attention. I am convinced that in many ways this question governs our life more than any other influence. Some may think that as long as you love yourself you are good but that is not true, at least not for humans. If you were an insect, born of a larvae from under a leaf somewhere the self-love argument might have some credence. As humans, we need love from others. We need tender love and care from the moment we are born and from then on.It is unfortunate that many of us have had beginnings not that much different from insects. Born with no one present to really care for our hearts properly. The difference is the insect just goes about its life span of 10 days or less without ever thinking about if it was ever loved, on the other hand humans have hearts that crave love daily for their entire life span of 25,000 plus days or more. If our human hearts have been deprived of love at any point, it has left a wound that needs healing. Becoming callous to the need to be loved only changes the appearance of things on the outside however there is no real peace or rest on the inside. The callous heart is consumed with seeking supplements to satisfy the deficiency created by the lack of real love. Some of the common supplements sought are sex, wealth, fame, status, and control. Each of those things or even a combination of them are insufficient because they are temporary and also empty if not accompanied by real love.

The love we need and the love we truly crave comes from the Heavenly Father and He truly loves us with an everlasting love. We just have to learn to recognize, receive, and appreciate the abundant love that flows from God as a mighty river of life. Sometimes it is just a matter of focus and perspective that keeps us from seeing the love that is around us. Those that have hated us and mistreated us did so because they were bankrupt of love themselves. Those who have loved us have done so out of the wealth of love deposited in their hearts from God. Instead of remembering the many that have mistreated us we need focus on those who have reached out to us to share their wealth of love. Sometimes we have missed it because our focus has been on the false supplements promoted in a world filled with people who have broken hearts.

If we could just stop for a moment and tell the little child in us that it is well and we did not deserve to have our hearts neglected by those who were responsible to love us. Sometimes we come from generations of the brokenhearted and the cycle is just sadly perpetuated, but it can end today. If we will release those indebted to us because they were poor in the first place and turn the focus of our heart toward God who is reaching out us constantly through all the things He has created for us to enjoy. There are often people who truly love us that we don’t appreciate and take for granted (I have at least two phone calls I need to return as I write this.) There are children we have been giving to love that have hearts asking the same questions as our own. These are in addition to the beauty that God has placed around us to remind us of His love like the sunrises and sunsets, the birds singing in the morning, the flowers and the lush trees that provide shade from the heat. You never have to question the Father’s love for you. Imagine yourself in a field of flowers, acres wide. Each petal on each flower is an affirmation that He loves you, He loves you, He loves you, He loves you, He loves you……

The Birds and the Bees

As we start our climb toward the climax of spring we see the reproduction process of nature intensify evidenced by the proliferation of pollen everywhere. As pollen gets all over your clothes, your car, even in our bodies triggering allergies for some, do you ever stop and think that during this time we are caught in the middle of a massive plant orgy. My mind is not merely in the gutter as some might think; it is actually the fact of the matter.

Back in the day when there were references of teaching one about sex they would say, “Haven’t your parents talked with you about the birds and the bees?” This reference was about the cross-pollination of plant life or in other words plant reproduction. This was a great segue into a conversation about human reproduction and sex because it used nature as a basis for understanding normal sexual behavior.

It is evident that parents have stopped teaching their children about sex as it relates to nature because the practices of sex in our society has strayed from what is natural to what is even against nature. This is nothing new amongst those who are unprincipled as indicated in scripture, take Romans 1:26-27;

“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”

Things that go against natural order are unsustainable and the end of it is in the practice of it. When the human race acts out against the designs of the Creator they doom themselves. It is really sad because people will fight you for their own doom and condemn anyone for speaking out against what is plainly perversion. Perverse in that it is against natural order and the principles of creation.

As I witness the beauty of blossoming flowers as they open up to spread their pollen it reminds me of the beauty of sex and reproduction the way the Creator intended. Nature shows us the benefit of following the Creators plans bringing us abundant life, rich green foliage on trees producing oxygen, delicious fruit feeding millions, also breath-taking beauty to uplift the soul. We can still learn a lot from the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.

Romans 1:20-21,

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”