Oct 2, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Matthew 2

Good morning, sweet SHINE girls! How's your reading going? Stay on track, girls. The Word is our Armor, remember?

The Word guides us, protects us, and empowers us!

When Lisa sent me this post, it could not have come at a more perfect time. I hope the Lord speaks to you intimately today as you read today's devotion.

Be blessed, my friends.

Breaking down love
by: Lisa Inlow

Hey ladies,  I'm going to chat today about love.  Now I know this has been the subject of some recent posts, but when Jill ask me to get an entry together I had already been thinking about this subject.  When I remembered this had been discussed recently, I tried to put it off, but then the Lord told me to talk about it again!  Hmm, could some of His SHINE girls be hard-headed?!  Ooops!  ;-)

So here goes.  I Corinthians 13, yep, 1 Corinthians 13...again.

I really love how it reads in The Message.  I guess because it is so in my face, I can't help but be convicted each and every time I read it.  And today, I'm going to ask those of us who are married to put our married sunglasses on and while reading, think of you and your man in daily life.  Not in some out-there-perfect world, nope, let's bring it down to day-in-day-out, life.

And for those who are not married.  Picture those you interact with most closely.  Family members, loved ones, co-workers, etc.

In verses 1-7, Paul describes those of us who don't love, to be "as a creaking of a rusty gate", which when thought about in the N GA mountains on a long weekend getaway seems idyllic.  However, living with a wife whose voice sounds like the "creaking of a rusty gate", well that would not be fun, at all.  Or being an employee, sister, daughter or friend who's presence is like that of a creaking anything...who wants that?

He also says that if we have power in speaking about God's Word, and are able to tell mountains "JUMP" and they do!  But we don't love?  "We are nothing".  Ouch.

He then goes on (I think he's trying to drive home a point) to say that if we give everything to the poor and then "go to the stake as a martyr"...I know we all know what a martyr is, but let me tell you what dictionary.com says, "a person who willingly suffers death, rather than renounce his/her religion".  Now that is serious, read that again.  Okay, so Paul says that if I am a martyr, but do not love, "I've gotten nowhere".

What's love?  Do y'all have the faces of those you share life with in your head?  Let's be honest, those can be the most difficult to love.

(I want to remind here that these "notes' that I put after each love statement is my opinion and how it hits my brain.  I am no scholar.  But am a real woman in a real marriage with a real man.)

Love never gives upWhen things are tough and we want to throw in the towel.
Love cares more for others than for self.  I need to put, and keep, myself way down on the list.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.  Contentment.  Plain and simple.Love doesn’t strutOh, nasty pride.Doesn’t have a swelled headOops, there's that pride thing again, with a little looking-down-my-nose at others thrown in.
Doesn’t force itself on othersOn the flip side of pride?  Humility.
Isn’t always “me first,” Humility again along with the reminder to keep myself way down on that list of importance.
Doesn’t fly off the handleIn the kitchen when my significant other really frustrates me.  I fly off the handle more than I want to admit.
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, I don't like folks keeping score on me, right?  Get rid of that checklist in my head.
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,  Don't feel a thrill when others are broken down.
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,  Rejoices when Truth is found, accepted...wins!!
Puts up with anything, I see this as patient and kind.  A patient and kind wife.  A patient and kind friend.  Am I those things?
Trusts God always Wow, simply stated, but wouldn't I be at peace all the time if I trusted Him always, making me easier to live with?
Always looks for the best Do I do this in my day-in-day-out life with my husband?  Do I look for the best in him?
Never looks back I see this as that whole score keeping thing wrapped up in a pretty bow of "always looks for the best".
But keeps going to the end. I see this as the "trusting God always" Energizer bunny who just goes and goes and goes.

When I read this, it seems out of my reach, daunting and unattainable.  But here's what I do know, that when I sit on my couch, read this passage out-loud then say to my Savior, "without you Lord, there is no way I can be this woman.  But I'm asking You to help me today, to love as You have told me to love." Right then I know He grabs my hand and we start the day, together.  And I strive to love, today, respond to the Spirit, today.  Love, today.

Then tomorrow, I ask Him again to walk beside me as I strive to be successful with loving...no matter what.

Dear Father you tell us to love.  It is not a simple thing as we are flawed humans living and interacting all day long, with other flawed humans.  But we know You don't give us commands, where outside of You, we will fail.  You are not that way.  No, you always look for the best in us.  You never look back.  You don't keeps score.  You forgive and you think the best of us.  Thank you for loving us.  We love you.

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