Love Believes

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

Have you ever been told that you are to believe the best of every person? My Mom told me that repeatedly. Girls gossip, and I’d come home and tell my mom what had been said. She would say, “You shouldn’t believe that. You should believe the best of that girl.” Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.[1]

“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.” ~Robert Browning

First and foremost we have to recognize that love believes the Bible, God’s Word. Love is fully persuaded that what God says He will do, He will do. Love believes for God’s best.

Love focuses on: Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, [Love] think(s) on these things.[2]

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV

[2] Philippians 4:8 NIV

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Your Soul is Where Your Spirit Breathes

(excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

When paramedics arrive on the scene, aside from checking for a pulse, they look to see if the injured person is breathing—a sign of life. It could be said that our soul is where our spirit breathes.

Strong’s lexicon comments that the human soul “by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness.” The soul is regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life; and as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body).”[1] This is where our eternal spirit resides.

It is the place where our spirit man can touch the presence of God.

When we are in love physically, the presence of the person we love can be intoxicating. Have you ever experienced such an attraction that you feel your heart almost stops, or you discover you’re holding your breath— waiting for his or her next communication with you. What will he say? What does he think about this or that? That’s somewhat close to the deep, desire from your heart and soul to touch God, that Jesus is talking about.

So far we understand that we are to love God with all of our heart—or make Him the very heartbeat of our existence. On top of that we are to love Him with our soul—that is our mind, our will and our emotions.

The mind is a faculty of understanding, feeling, or way of thinking. God desires to be a part of our intellect. He wants us to love Him with our thoughts. He wants us to include Him in our intellectual studies. The Bible is key in that. When we read His Word we are in touch with Him.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.[2]

I think to love God with all our strength means to hold fast to Him without compromise. Our strength includes being closely joined to a person or a thing. This reminds me of the covenant exchanges I’ve read about in the Bible.

David is one my favorite people to read about in the Bible. I’ve learned so much through his life because I can apply so much of his life to my own. 1 Samuel 18:1 says The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. When people made a covenant to one another like David and Jonathan did, the two parties agreed to join themselves together until death. They joined their strengths to overcome all of life’s battles.

If you read the exchange between David and Jonathan, you’ll find they swore to give to the other all that they were. What once was David’s now belonged to Jonathan and likewise; what once belonged to Jonathan was now David’s possession.

God’s covenant with us goes much deeper. He exchanges all He is for the little that we are. He holds fast to us; while we hold fast to Him. We love God with all our strength knowing He will never fail us; therefore we should strive with all that we are not to fail Him.

linae coverYou can read Love is Not an Emotion – available in paperback and on Kindle.

[1] Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon entry for Psuche”. “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon” http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/psuche.html

[2] Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

Pour Out the Promise of Laughter

Have you ever been so tired that everything seemed funny? My husband, my mother and I traveled 16 hours by car across several states to visit family and attend a wedding. We like to drive through the night when there is less traffic on the road. This particular trip I didn’t sleep at all and as dawn broke, I contracted what my family calls “the sleepy sillies.”

pcb sunsetA thought, a memory of my step-dad crossed my mind, and I burst into uncontrollable laughter. My traveling companions tried to get me to share the reason I was laughing, and I tried. I really tried to share my memory, but I couldn’t contain the laughter long enough to spill the story.

Even though they didn’t know why I was laughing, they found the whole scene humorous. It took several minutes for me to tell enough of the story between laughs that they knew which story I remembered. Then, we laughed so hard our stomach muscles hurt, and tears of laughter escaped our eyes.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting (Job 8:21 ESV).

There are storms in our lives that bring stress and heartache. Times of laughter may seem far away during those rough seasons in our lives. Laughter can break the pain much like the sun breaks through the night.

An outburst of laugher—no matter the reason—can give you much needed relief. God promised to pour out laughter on us. Take some time in His presence today and ask Him for a dose of laughter, then expect Him to fill you with it today.

“Like a welcome summer rain,

humor may suddenly cleanse

and cool the earth, the air and you.”

~Langston Hughes

Resting in God—Your Storm Cellar

April showers bring May flowers, and if you live in the Oklahoma plains like my grandparents did, you often found yourself in the cellar during a tornado warning. IMG_0226 I remember one particular spring weekend my grandfather taking all of us grand kids to the cellar as a storm blew in at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. I remember peering into the living room to see Grandma looking out the front windows of the living room as she prayed about the storm. Grandpa was calling to me and my cousin, “C’mon. Get down here.”

God desires for you not only to survive the storms life brings, but also to thrive once you come through them.

I remember the smell of the earth as we sit in the middle of the cellar. A few of Grandma’s canned fruits and vegetables leftover from winter lined the walls. Grandpa had his little radio tuned to hear some type of weather reports. But Grandma stayed in the living room, watching the storm and trusting God for the tornado to pass over her property untouched.

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat, (Isaiah 25:4 NIV).

Rather than being anxious about the storm, I wanted it to hurry and pass so we could get outside and play in the puddles I knew would remain in the driveway.  Less than an hour later, we received the all clear and my cousins and I scurried outside to enjoy what water was left standing after the heavy rain.

Storms are an inevitable part of life. God desires for you not only to survive the storms life brings, but also to thrive once you come through them. If you’re going through a storm today, settle yourself in the peace of God’s presence as the storm passes, and look forward to the joy He will bring to you once the storm is passed.

“A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it.”

~R.C. Ferguson

Defeat Fear with God’s Love

(Excerpt from Love Is Not an Emotion

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My children learned at a very young age that God has not given us a spirit of fear. Although both my children approached life fearlessly, my oldest son battled nightmares for a season when he was very small. Through his own faith and our prayerful agreement with him each night before he went to bed, he overcame them.

From the time my youngest son was born, we played scripture set to music in their bedrooms at night. One scripture in particular is from 2 Timothy 1:7: God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. My husband, Blaine would crawl on his hands and knees into their bedroom, in the dark. The boys didn’t know he was there—listening. My youngest son had memorized the entire CD. He would say the scripture before the words came through the speakers. He learned those words at a very young age and is still quick to quote them today.

One Wednesday night at church the teacher for the two-year-old class caught me in the hall. My youngest son was nearly 3 years old. She told me what had happened earlier that evening in her class.

The class was about to go outside and it was dark out. One of the little girls in my son’s class began to cry saying she didn’t want to go outside because it was dark and she was afraid. My son put his little face directly in front of hers and told her, “We don’t have to be afraid outside. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”

“God says we don’t have to be afraid.”

The teacher supported his statement and hand in hand, the two of them went outside to their activity.

Sometimes we need the faith of a child. He told her what God’s Word said, she accepted it, and fear left. Fear, when face to face with faith and love, is instantly defeated.