Love is NOT Proud

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This is taken from a blog my wife and I share together.

“…It is not proud…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Man, this was a tough one to read. Much like love being not a “boastful”, God reminds us through Paul that Love is not proud. Proud is defined as “feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated.”

While I looked at boastful as outward displays and actions, I thought we would look at proud as more internal. It is similar to boastful in that it often is directed towards an audience, and is reflective of what one has in their hearts. But it also be the cause or the effect. It is a cause in that self pride can cause one to boast, and the effect because boasting can create pride.

Pride can also be dangerous, in that it can halt growth. Pride can cause one to be neglectful. Pride can cause one to be comfortable. When we admire our relationships to the point of pride, we can find ourselves believing that it if flame retardant or at least stain resistant.friendring

In pride, our marriages can also lead to idolatry! Yes, your marriage can be an idol. You can worship, cherish, and value your relationship with your spouse to such a way, that it stands before your relationship with God. We can experience distance from God, and find ourselves consumed and challenged in intimacy with God.

In 21 years of marriage, 25 years of friendship, we have found that the strength of our bond, and the pleasure and satisfaction found within it requires full time attention. And shamefully, we can also attest that there are periods where it has received part time attention and at other times is neglected all together.  We have also had to fight to maintain a balance between honoring our covenant, and worshiping our love for each other. We fight to maintain this balance, because its our love and commitment to God that allows us to experience 25 years of friendship and 21 years of marriage. Without God first, the stage for a broken relationship would be set.

 

But God, in His power, through His Word, and by
His Grace has sustained and directed us such that
we have been able to maintain purpose and perspective,
understanding that its not our love for one another
that seals our bond, but the love received from
Christ that allows us to look past faults,
and appreciate the full measure of who we both are.

 

It is His sacrifice and example that we seek to mirror, and in our flesh, our individual foolish actions that should destroy what God has joined together, yet we remain. We remain because God’s sacrifice is the model by which we are guided, and His interaction and treatment of us as His individual children that allow us to find comfort in that which is an earthly representation of His spiritual provision.

Knowing this makes us much like Paul; boasting in our weakness, and knowing that we about in grace. Because of this, we have very little room to boast. We cannot boast because with God most of marriages would have end years ago. It is through our faith that we have learned forgiveness and grace and practice it in our marriages.

#TQAYMYM #PastorJDO3 #DrQDO

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Love does not Brag

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“…Love does not Brag…” 1 Corinthians 13:4 continues its description of Love by this statement.

For some this is easy, and for others this becomes a challenge (warning, a short social media rant). Under normal circumstances, it would seem acceptable for each to appreciate their own mate, and revel in the love they have found; but these are not normal circumstances. friendring

As God’s gives us days, our social media timelines continue. The number of those listed as single, greatly outnumber those that are married, and their number is only rivaled by the number of people whose relationship are complicated. When a couple spends time and creates moments with each other for a viewing public, they are unhealthy and in danger of a breach.

The number of those getting married seems to be dwindling, and those with strong unions are fading. Even the number of available people for marriage are less, making marriage seem more like an exclusive circle than an assumed birth right. Its logical that a sense of pride would emerge under these circumstances.

We live in a culture that promotes, self promotion, and encourages others hold before the viewing public what is coveted. Thus not to brag seems antithetical and anticlimactic. Love is not to be boastful! It’s purpose is to be a blessing to the two those in covenant, not to create envy with those who have yet to enter into agreement.

It has been found that most found bragging are either redirecting the eyes of others from insecurities or covering unsightly warts. Bragging, in general, includes inflated numbers and descriptions of what exist, and often ends in competitions hedged on lies and exaggerations. Other times, people brag to draw attention and acclaim from those watching to boost their ego and bring about a sense of accomplishment.

These are unhealthy things for a relationship. Both parties must appreciate what exist and seek to please those under covenant, not those watching from the sidelines. God wants our love for each other to inspire others, not make others jealous or covet what we have. Our love should serve as an example of what is possible with sacrifice, and should mirror the example shown to us from God.

#PastorJDO3 #DrQDO

Love is not Jealous

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“Love…is not jealous…” 1 Corinthians 13:4 announces.

Both parties must find security in covenant, and strength in their bond. When reading this, it can seem a little unreasonable. As we discussed jealousy being a response, we whittled down jealousy to insecurity.

When in a relationship, both parties have a covenant relationship and community relationships. And while these worlds can be supportive of each other, they can also serve as a wedge or a source of contention inside of a covenant relationship. Even without a breach in covenant, one can find themselves bothered or threatened by the interaction or actions of their mate.victory-clipart-1.jpg

The old adage, “Jealousy rears its ugly head!” becomes accurate to many relationships during time of marital lows (broken or weakened fellowship), or through personal lows (insecurities and failures). It is during these moments, Jealousy creates smoke, which then leads to a fire (This smoke is not from an actual fire, but the smoke gives the illusion of a fire, and the response to the illusion leads to fires in marriage which can be challenging to control and to put out).

Harmless interactions between to innocent parties can be deemed as harmful the covenant member struggling personally or that remains injured from a prior breach in covenant. This insecurity can cause one to over analyses actions and responses, causing them to become bothered, and harmful in their response to what the perceive to be true.

Jealous can also be envious. What we have found most today (as we speak with other couples) that its challenging to have true appreciation for your own unique love when The Jones’s are on every Social Media Outlets!!!! (Yes, here comes a short social media rant!) Their pictures always seem perfect. Their outfits are coordinated. Their vacations are the best! They wine and dine at the finest places. They stay in resorts and hotels with the latest amenities and accommodations. And because they know you are looking, the take the time to document each item, giving full descriptions to make sure you are bitter and envious. The present to the world their love, and then file for divorce!

Couple after couple have been ruined by jealousy via social media. Scrolling through the timeline of another couple, and even of those that are single, and becoming more envious with each swipe. Jealousy can make us covet. Covenant members wishing they could switch places with another persons mate. Foolishly believing that life would be so much better if they had chosen or were paired differently. Covetousness can be the accelerate to a smoldering fire that burns down the entire estate.

God says, “Love….is not jealous..” Mind you, this comes from a God who defines Himself as Jealous!  His love for us is pure, and is balanced by other qualities, and not solely defined or controlled by His desire to be love by us exclusively. We too have the same right within our covenant to expect and demand that our love be exclusive, but must fight the tendency to allow our expectations to cause us to be sinful in our response and actions.

#PastorJDO3 #DrQDO

Love is Kind

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This is from a blog my wife and I write together:

“…Love is Kind…” 1 Corinthians 13 says in the 4th verse.

This descriptive word actually seemed pointless to a dialogue about love, but in the course of time, one can find that it is key to survival, and doesn’t always exist in the covenant relationships.

Though love itself is kind, relationships themselves experience trials of many kinds. Kindness is easy when it’s roots are firmly planted in the ground, and drinking from a generous water source, but might prove challenging when denied sunlight and facing a drying water source.

When streams have dried and resources are scarce conditions emerge, relationships face desperate times and often enter survival mode. Absence of resources force the plant to extend its roots and redirect its stem in search of water and sunlight. Stems slowly slump, and blooms close and wither away.jnq2018

Love, once fueled by sacrifice and selflessness is slowly spoon fed by offense and fear. Offense and fear begins to dictate our actions and responses; and too often, these interactions move from kindness to “kindless”.   Kindless is the diminishing administering of Kindness towards each other.

Amidst our pain, it is easy to forget the love and sacrifices one has made and to focus on the pain caused by the offense.  Offense is like an irritating sibling, untying your shoe laces, and tying them together while you sleep, offense has caused many to trip, stumble and fall.

Though the disappointment is real, and offense is inevitable, “…Love is Kind…”, and must so.  Kind is a benevolent or generous disposition.  It is a way of being.  It is to be unwavering, and consistent in nature despite circumstances.  Being Kind does not mean that all situations are to the liking of the one experiencing them, but that the person responding to them is consistent in choosing to respond generously. 

This generosity is not always drawn from excess, but is sometimes drawn from sacrifice.In all relationships, sacrifice will be needed to promote and restore relationship.  Being Kind is not to be subjective, but is reflective of the Love we receive from God.  Its His love that allows us to look past what one deserves, and administer to them what we have received ourselves.

 

#TQAYMYM  #PastorJDO3  #DrQDO

Love is Patient

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This blog is taken from a blog I write on with my wife.  We thought to write a bit on Love to inspire, instruct and encourage all who are married and thinking about entering the marriage bond.

“Love is patient…” we find in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians.

This chapter is often looked at in premarital counseling for couples. What we have found in 20 plus years of marriage and 25 years of friendship, is that “patient” can only be defined as it is lived out.

While we all know the frustration of being in a long line at the local grocery store with one cashier (or in self check out with one working station [these days]), we have the option of shopping at a different time, different location, and different date. However, in marriage, there is one line, one cashier and as God would have it, it often seems like its their first day on the job.worship-fast

Yes, 21 years into marriage, and both of us still have to be patient. One would think that failing and shortcoming would cease because of growth, and often times they do, however, new challenges emerge.

Patient is what we must live out as we wait for change and or growth. This up close view is like watching a flower grow. Change happens in such small increments, that it can bring more discouragement than it provides joy. And yes, the flower is beautiful once its fully grown, but watching it evolve from the seed, grow roots, break the ground, bud and bloom in a marriage can take years or even decades.

Having said this, one of the most challenging people in a relationship to be patient with is yourself.

Often, its the frustration of not being who you desire to be and who you know or believe the other person needs that can be the most frustrating part. There are times when you can see growth across the table, and sigh because you can’t see it in the mirror. And in these cases, Love yourself! Love yourself, knowing that you too are growing, and in becoming, you must give yourself room to fail and falter.

But for those waiting on our mate to break the ground, we must be patient, knowing that God will complete the work He started in them; and be at peace, knowing that they are watching the same process completed in you. Nope; you aren’t the only one being patient!

In conclusion, God say, “Love is patient”. In other words, its characteristic are one in the same. Our love for one another leads us to be patient while the other grows. Our love for one another, nurtures each other as we emerge, and protect each other from the weeds that would try to choke us out. Our love for each other is extended whether we are slumped over, or reaching towards the heavens. It is willing to wait, and though it might not understand, it is understanding while change occurs.

TQAYMYM

#PastorJDO3   #DRQDO

Are You a Friend of God?

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You are My friends, if you do what I command you. 14
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave
does not know what this master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
for all things that I have heard from My Father,
I have made known to you. 15   John 15: 14-15

 

While preparing for Sundays message, I was drawn to a portion of Jesus’ Words, in the midst of a discourse with His disciples.  While speaking to them about His love for them, and his requirement/commandment to love one another, He says to them, “You are My friends…”  This pronouncement of Friend was powerful, seeing as though He was their Rabbi and Teacher, not to mention the Messiah of the world.    He was God in flesh, and describes His creation as “My friends”.friend_hugsncaring_mtl_01

What a powerful moment it was.  Here they are, following their teacher, listening and learning, admiring and practicing, and the one that had all wisdom and all power, knowing both their past and their future, their weaknesses, strengths and thoughts, calls them a friend.    This is also before the betrayal of Judas at the Last Supper, the denials of Peter, and the Doubting of Thomas, all of which Jesus knew would come, and He opened His mouth and called them “Friend“.

This calling of friend defined an in-depth relationship between He and the twelve.   He denotes this with declaring “My” which identifies them as more than just a friendly face or person, but one that He personally cared for, not just for the duplication of Disciples, but as those whose well being and destiny He cared about.

Though this is great alone, its accompanied by the following words, “…if you do what I command you“.  Thus after reading this, I was bothered.  This didn’t seem like much of a friendship at all.  It seems as though God was hinging friendship solely on obedience to the commandments He had given them.  This is understandable and justifiable for God, but for us, would constantly place us and the disciples in a relationship that was on and off.  God is literally be saying I am a friend to you when you are obedient, and then when you break covenant, we are no longer friends; and then at least friendly towards each other.  This of course would be of great concern to us, but if key to us in understanding what God expects of us. Obedience is a must!!!!

shutterstock_89697898Friendship is a level of intimacy, built upon an authentic relationship and understanding of both parties.  Much like Adam and Enoch, the disciples were able to walk to God, talk with God, learn from God, build a relationship with God, not through tablets or third party teaching.  They heard directly from the mouth of God, and were able to ask questions and learn not the surface truths, but deeper truths, that revealed the character of God, His purpose and His intent.  They knew God, because they literally walked and talked with Him.

Jesus continues His dialogue by making a powerful statement.  He says, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing….”  This was earth shattering as a statement.  Imagine being one of the disciples.  You have walked with Him, leaving family, friends and career to learn from the mouth of the Master Teacher.  You are considered a slave, in that you are to follow His instructions as one who is in training to become an Apostle (authoritative/representative of a Teacher/Rabbi), and then He calls you friend.  He reveals that His thoughts about them have changed, because their relationship has changed.

Friend in this usage also explains his requirement to continue being obedient.  This elevation is not only in relationship to their friendship, but to their calling.  He makes this more clear with the statements that follow.  He is not only calling them friends, but is calling them associates.  They are not only ones that have learned from Him, but ones who have been trained, and are being given the ability to teach what they have learned, and walk in the power and authority that come along with it. 

Jesus continues, “…for the slave does not know what his master is doing…”  In this, He reveals to them that His choosing of them was not solely to keep them as slaves unto Himself.  He chose them with desire to pour into them the wisdom that He had.  He chose them to reveal the full truth to them.  He chose them to empower them in their journey, not just with Him, but beyond His physical presence.  They were not there to be groupies or a fan club.  They were there to carry on beyond Him, and He believed that post His death, that they would be honored and trusted to do even greater things once He left them.

Their journey with Him was not a test, but it proved to Him who they were in relationship with Him.  They have followed Him closely, obeying His instructions and following His teachings, and this dedication has proven to Him that they are more than those who gather to eat food, and be impressed by His teachings.  They are not following Him simply for healing, and though they have inquired, are not solely interested in positions and power.  They have walked with Him through trials and tribulations, and have trusted Him during the challenging times, and accompanied Him through hurt, harm, and danger.  These 12 were truly His disciples!

Jesus paints the picture of a process with His Words.  He continues saying, “...for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you…”  Jesus says, the difference between their start and their beginning is what was revealed to them between.  In their time together, Jesus did not withhold from them the Word from the Father.  Everything God wanted to reveal to them, Jesus was obedient in teaching and preaching to them.

I find it interesting that we claim to be a friend of God in
some of our songs and in many of our messages,
but our lives don’t mirror that of those
who have been called Friends of God. 

friendringWhen looking at this passage, and how God described those whom He called friend, I think that we should all examine ourselves.  Those that are friends have walked with God, not just for a day, and not just for years, but have walked with Him in a way that is worthy to be called sons and daughters.  They not only listen, but live out His teachings, and make disciples of others.  They love God with such fervor and passion, that they show it by keeping His commandments.

As should we.  Being a Friend of God is not a title given to those who see God as a Genie.  It is given to those who love God so intently, that they are replications of Him, dedicated to carrying His message, and determined to replicate His image on the earth through discipleship.

#PastorJDO3