The Ultimate Love Letter

Photo by Aaron Burden

Photo by Aaron Burden

Does this well-worn Bible remind you of yours or one of your parents or grandparents’ Bible?

Bear with me for a few minutes. Think back to your “sweetheart” days. Remember love letters? How many times did you read a love letter from your sweetheart? I read them until they were totally worn out!

I’m not talking about elementary school love letters, but you can certainly think of those. As children, we read and re-read those cute little letters. But what about those from your sweetheart when one of you were away?

I’m reminded of my parents when I think of love letters. My parents met when my father was in for a brief few days from the Navy during WWII. They courted via letters. All of which were read by military personnel before getting to my mother. Every single letter had some things marked out just in case that phrase could alert the enemy about a particular mission. Anyway, I digress. After a lot of letters and maybe a visit or two, my Mom graduated from high school early in the afternoon, married my Dad that evening and caught a midnight train to start their life together. How romantic!

Hearing that brief story sounds very romantic. But my parents would tell you it was HARD. Worth it, but hard. Just after they got sent up in their new little home, Dad shipped out. My sixteen year old mother was alone. My dad was at war. I can only imagine how important the love letters they share were to them!

I remember my own love letters when I was in high school. I went on a school trip for a week or two. My sweetheart sent me some love letters. By the time I returned home I had nearly memorized them all because I read them so much. (FYI - same sweetheart I married!)

Knowing how much those letters meant, how much more should the “Ultimate Love Letter” mean to us? God wrote an entire book expressing His love for us. We should read it so much we practically have it memorized!

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24 NIV

As I consider what great things the Lord has done for me, I’m in awe of His love, mercy and grace! He loves us unconditionally! His love letter tells us that He loves us just like we are! After all, He made us. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more AND there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. He. Loves. You.

This week, begin again reading the Ultimate Love Letter. Read it and read it some more. Read it until you practically have it memorized! Tell me in the comments below one or ten things that you love most about “The Ultimate Love Letter”.

Content in a World of Discontentment

Photo by Hannah Olinger

Photo by Hannah Olinger

Do you ever find that once you have something you’ve been longing for the contentment that you expected eludes you? Maybe you’ve worked hard to achieve some status or paycheck that you just knew would satisfy you only to gain it and not feel satisfied or content. We all do!

For so long all I could think about was being able to work from home. Three and a half years ago that dream of mine came true. And I am SO GRATEFUL! But I find myself, from time to time, being discontent with it. Now sometimes I think, “If only I were retired”! What! Hold on just a minute! I work from H O M E. Shouldn’t that be enough? Yes, it should. And most of the time, it is. But you get my point, right?

As humans, we all struggle with discontentment at some point. Our goal should be like that of the Apostle Paul who said,

…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Phil 4:11 ESV

Easier said than done! But with Christ we can be content whatever our circumstances. The only way we are going to live in a state of contentment is to trust in Christ. We have to rest in Him.

Yes, there are times, I believe, Jesus causes us to feel an unrest when He is leading us to do something that is out of our comfort zone. But I’m talking about being content with who we are in Christ and with what we have in this world. If you’ve ever watched even one commercial, you know that the world system does not want you to be content.

You may ask, “Why is it important to be content?” My first response to that is an answer I heard often from my Mother. “Because God (Mom would say ‘I’) said so.” And my second response is this, we know that God loves us and wants His best for us. Knowing that and knowing His word teaches us that we should be content, we should want to be content. When we’re content, we can listen for His voice and His will. But when we are discontent, we are so busy trying to get more, be more or do more that we miss His voice and His will and we stay in a state of chaos. As believers, we are to be peacemakers. How can we be peacemakers when our lives are full of chaos from discontentment?

So if we are to live in contentment in a world of discontent, what are we to do?

  • Know you are His

  • Know that He loves you

  • Trust Jesus with today and tomorrow

  • Be obedient to His word and His call

  • Rest in the fact that there is NOTHING you can do to make Jesus love you less or more. You are enough because Jesus saved you.

So from today forward show the world that you CAN and WILL be content in a world of discontentment!

Love on Valentine's Day

Photo by Jesse Goll

Photo by Jesse Goll

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
— John 3:16

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard how Valentine’s Day started, but one on the things I read was that Valentine’s Day is a memorial of someone who was martyred for their love for another. That’s the really short version.

Well, that being said, Jesus laid down His life for those He loves. I can’t help but think of my Savior when I think of Valentine’s Day. Maybe you spent the day or part of the day with your sweetheart. Maybe you had other thoughts and feelings running rampant yesterday.

The Bible teaches us that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

If you want to know love, you must know Jesus. He is love. He proved His love for us!

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 5:8

Oh I know some people just think of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark occasion, but is that really what love is? Love is an action; it’s a commitment. It’s unconditional. Do we really love like that? God does! He proved it by sending Jesus, His Son, to die for you and me when we could’ve cared less about Him.

Today, the day after Valentine’s Day, take a minute and think of the ONE who loves you more than you can fathom and revel in the fact that Jesus Loves You! He is ever faithful. He will never leave you. He loves you more than anyone!

Whether you received roses or chocolate (or a new set of dishes), celebrate the ONE who pledged His love for you with arms wide open.

May today and everyday be a day of celebration of LOVE… the love we receive from our Savior, Jesus, and the love we give to Him.

True Love Part 3

True Love (3).jpg
The Birth of Jesus Christ
2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]

The Shepherds and the Angels
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
— -Luke 2:1-21 ESV

I just LOVE the Christmas story! Every year we see Christmas plays and nativity scenes; albeit less than in days gone by. The focus is always on Baby Jesus, as it should be.

This week as we prepare for the Christmas celebration, let’s think about the first Christmas account found in Luke chapter 2.

A young virgin girl, Mary, found favor from God. She was chosen to raise and care for His Son on this earth. I think of this through “rose-colored glasses”. It must have been so awesome to know that you’re son is THE Son of God, THE long awaited Messiah. How special and blessed Mary must have felt, right?

But with that blessing came great hardship. Mary wasn’t married, yet. In that day and time, you could be stoned to death for that. Her reputation was severely tarnished to say the least. And so was the reputation of her husband-to-be since he kept her. (We know God’s angel came to him, like Mary, and explained what was going on.) But their families didn’t know what we know, nor did their friends or onlookers.

People are the same-just the times are different. If folks will talk about you and look down on you now, they would then, too. So we can surmise the pain Mary and Joseph must have went through as vessels that God chose to do such a miracle through.

Don’t you know that Mary must have dreamed of being a mother and what her home would be like and the nursery she would have when the first little one came? But that’s not how it happened. During her first pregnancy she was scorned by society and then gave birth in a barn. Jesus cradle was not hand crafted by Joseph, but was a strangers feed trough.

But God, (my favorite phrase in the Bible) delivered another miracle in the barn. Angels went to shepherds (strangers) who then came to celebrate Jesus! Mary and Joseph must have been shocked at the men coming to their baby’s birth. But what a confirmation of obedience! Scripture says “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

I’ll just bet she did! What LOVE the Father has for us to send His Son to be our Saviour! And what love the Father had for Mary and Joseph to demonstrate such a confirmation of His word at one of the hardest times of their lives (up to that point).

Where can you see the love of God in your life? If you think you can’t, look deeper! God loves you and gave His only begotten Son so YOU could have eternal life. He is pursuing you right now. Why don’t you say “Yes” to that free gift of salvation, today.