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 Do you have Love?

Let me go back a bit. I've always believed in the 5 languages of love by Gary Chapman: quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, and acts of service. And truthfully, I did try to live by it thinking that if I did all of this, I had love.

Not until recently, I was reminded to read 1 Corinthians 13 where it says: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Right from the get go, I noticed that Paul is talking about the characters of love, while Gary Chapman is talking about the expressions of love.

All this time I had been working on how to express love and not spent my time working on the characters of love. But you can't express something that you don't have.

This was a beautiful revelation to me because it then dawned on me that no word can ever fully describe the fullness of the love that God has for humanity; and that all we have to do is receive it. Once we receive this love that is freely given, our hearts will be transformed; and the expressions of that love will no longer be of human efforts, rather it just flows naturally out of us. more..

 
 
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

We have heard this verse so many times, even from friends quoting it to mess with us as a joke. However, how often do we actually love and pray for our enemies? Did we just accept that that will always just be a verse instead of something that we live by?

Jesus took it up a notch when he said,

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! "

Even sinners love those who love them. Don't we all?

I understand that loving your enemies seems so far-fetched from what is real right now.

What's real right now is your "best friend" talked behind your back, that friend that you went to counsel with, told everyone else what you went through - that your parents don't always understand what you're going through and sometimes they express their frustration on you.

These are difficult places to be in, and yes, it sucks. Why should we pray for them or even love them? They didn't even consider our hurt, right? more..

 
 
 
 AN “EVEN IF” FAITH

"But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:18

At first, when I had just decided to live my life for Christ, I thought that my life would be smooth sailing because God is with me and for me always, right?
Then, why is it not? I learned that the more I commit myself to this journey, the bumpier the road gets, the more rocks thrown, and more fiery darts shot at me.
The more you are in love with God, the less happy the Devil is because now you are a threat. He will do everything in his power to stop you. He will cause people to under appreciate your efforts, he will put you under a lot of pressure, and he will put you under fire. But do not bow.

The faith that is displayed here by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego has always been something that I always admired. When everyone else bowed down, they stood up for their God. Even when the consequence, death itself, seemed obvious and inevitable. They said even if God doesn't save them, they will not bow to any other Gods. more..
 
 
WILLING

"For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have." 1 Corinthians 8:12

Many times, us Christians, feel like we are underqualified for the purpose that God has promised us. Much like Moses when he told God, "O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” We disqualify ourselves with what we believe we do not have. But Paul is telling us that if there is willingness, God accepts what we have, and He does not care about what we do not have. He does not care that Moses isn't the most charming and charismatic leader. He will provide ways because He is the waymaker; and he did with Aaron.

If God is for me, who can be against me? Don't disqualify yourself. God reassured Moses when he said "I will be with your mouth and with his (Aaron) mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do". He will not tell you to do something and leave you alone with it. He picked you because He knows that you are perfect for the job. But only if you are willing. He’s not looking for qualified people. more..

 
 
 
 KEEP CALM & BE HUMBLE

“Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6 -7

PRIDE is the source of the ANXIETY you faced. As humans, sometimes we are too focused on ourselves - our problems, pains, and failures that we think we can do it our own way.
We think we can do better at planning our own lives and suffer from anxiety at the end of the day.

The Bible teaches us to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God - the hand that is more than powerful to restore, strengthen, and establish you. For the Lord said that when you humble yourselves upon Him, He will cast your anxiety away from you.

So why don’t we start following God’s plan and lived this life according to His will? Trust that He is in control and He is the Lord your God that will fight for you! You shall not fear the devil that is roaring like a lion, because guess what - the lion is on a leash and our God is indeed greater and stronger!
 
 
HE CAN STILL PART THE SEA

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” The verse above is taken from the very well known story that every sunday school teacher taught their students, Moses splitting the Red Sea.

Explained in Exodus 14, the story tells of Moses splitting the Red Sea as him and the Israelites were being marched after by Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Just when the Israelites thought they were free from slavery, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he decided to come back after for the Israelites to enslave them. Again.

Sounds familiar does it? Just when things started getting better in life, and everything’s going our way, some problems just kept on coming, and here we are back to square one, trying to solve them. Again. more..

 
 
 
 CHRIST LOVES YOU EVEN AT YOUR WORST

The highest form of love is the kind that is capable of loving something that is so unworthy and undeserving of that love.

I find it mind-boggling that we never have to try to impress God with our own works, goodness, or discipline. He cannot love you more than He already does; nor can He love you any less. His love is constant through eternity. "Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:28-39

Literally nothing in creation is able to separate you from His love.

Now you may ask: what about sin?
His love is unfathomable. He loves you with all your imperfections. He loves you even when you reject Him. He loves you despite all the hurt and pain that you have caused Him.
He loves you even at your worst.
 
 
PROVERBS 27:6

Friendship is a beautiful gift. A true friend will speak the truth in love even if it may potentially cause a wound to other person.

Did you know that it takes courage for someone to step up and tell you that you're better than you think you are? Did you know that some even ponder for days trying to gather courage just to tell you that your life is meant be lived in a higher altitude than just for yourself?

It is not easy to overcome these fears, friends. But ultimately, it is overcome by love, because they love you.
So, don't push them away. See deeper to why they do what they do, and say what they say. That they're doing this to build you up, not tear you down.
In the end, who is there to catch you when you fall? Is it not your brothers and sisters?

Ask yourself:

1. Who is pushing you towards your purpose? These are your friends.
2. Am I pushing my friends toward their purpose?
 
 
 
 SEEK GUIDANCE FROM HIM

The first person that you should turn to when things seem to be going downhill and problems start to arise is Jesus. He is the one that will help you climb up and overcome that hill. When you don’t know which path to choose, seek your guidance from Him. There will always be contradictions if you seek your guidance from others, whereas God’s words are always consistent and precise. He is the Shepherd - the one who will lead us to the green pastures and give us rest.

• Isa 40:10 Look! The Lord GOD comes with strength, and his arm rules for him. Look! His reward is with him, and his payment accompanies him.
• Isa 40:11 Like a shepherd, he tends his flock. He gathers the lambs in his arms, carries them close to his heart, and gently leads the mother sheep."
 
 
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Some of us, Christians, think we’ve done it all - praying, meditating, reading the bible, and going to Church. Maybe some of us have done more than just going to Church such as serving in it and being active members of the community.

But let’s rethink. Why are we praying? Why do we read the bible? Why go to Church? What’s the benefit of it?

Some people pray thinking, “I WANT to be closer to God”. Some read the bible thinking, “I WANT to know more about Him”. Some go to church thinking, “I WANT to listen to His words”. Of course, all of these things are excellent: wanting to be closer to Him, to know more about Him, and to listen to His words are all worthy in God’s eyes.

But let’s try and think about those who DON’T WANT to. What about those people? Does a lot of people care about those who don’t? Do they step up for these people? Do they long to bring these people to want the same thing they do? Do they sacrifice their “I WANT” for those who don’t?

Some of us value our spiritual self-improvement but not others’. “The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:31
So many times this commandment is mentioned, but so many times it is also overlooked. more..

 
 
 
 GREAT BOLDNESS

We witness great boldness in Peter and John in front of the council in Acts 4. Right after they healed a crippled beggar, they were jailed and had to face the captain of the Temple guard, the priests, and Sadducees.
Boldy, and filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter exclaimed "There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved" in verse 12.
Then in verse 13, it is written that the members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John.

The whole world will stand up against you when you're standing up for Christ. They will make you question your beliefs and relationship with Him.
This is the very reason why we need to let our Holy Spirit lead us. The Holy Spirit is the source of our boldness. It whispers courage and drives out fear.
Peter then prayed, "And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Verse 29-31 more..

 
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