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

First Pride, Then the Crash

Most likely you’ve met a person that brags on himself. He’s working to change your perception of him, to see him in a better light or persuade a self-promoter. It can be exciting to say, “Hey, look at me! See what I can do.” But sooner or later others get tired of it. We are all special to God, and we all have value, worth and a part in His plan.

Love does not parade itself; it is not puffed up.[1]

When we’re little we expect to be center stage; but once we hit elementary school, some of the things everyone thought were so funny aren’t so cute anymore. We’ve grown up. As we grow, we find that it is much more appealing to others to compliment and sing your praises because they noticed the gift you are—not a present you need to open and parade in front of them.

Proverbs 16:18 says, First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.[2] Satan fell. In Isaiah 14:12-15 you can read how Satan went from the highest point (Heaven) to the lowest point (Hell).[3] Notice the question, “How are you fallen from heaven?” And the question is answered:

“You have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’”

Satan became so puffed up he thought he could do a better job than God—the One who created him.

The opposite motivation of love is to draw attention to self and expect others to serve you.

Love is not prideful. Love serves. A good friend of mine has set an example of service in my life. She goes the extra mile at all times. When she sees a need, she’s on it. If your tea glass is half full—she’s filling it. She has an open heart and home. She is willing to bless wherever and whenever she can.

A heart of service doesn’t mean you can’t have self-respect, and that you should lie down and let people walk all over you. I don’t believe you should allow others to take advantage of or abuse you, but serve and give yourself away because you love others.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle. linae cover

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV

[2] MSG

[3] NKJV

Only through Love

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

1 Corinthians 13 says, Love suffers long and is kind. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story about Joseph, a highly favored, younger sonwho truly suffered long and respondedin the endwith kindness.

One of the things I love about God is He can take anything that anyone means for harm and destruction and use it for His goodness and glory.

Joseph’s older brothers were so jealous of him, they sold him into slavery and told his father he’d been killed by a wild animal. They even took the coat their father had made for him, soaked it in the blood of an animal and presented it to their father to support their story. You can read the full account in Genesis 37.

Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.[1] Through the actions of his jealous brothers, God was able to save Joseph’s family during the years of famine that ravaged his nation years later. Joseph’s ability to love and forgive his brothers in spite of all he’d been through at their hand, gave life to his family and all of Israel.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com. linae cover

[1] Genesis 37:5

Waiting for Patience

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

The words, love never fails, stopped me in my tracks when I read them in 1 Corinthians 13:8. Those words were very difficult to accept. From my viewpoint love had failed me many times, and yet the Bible is God’s Word and pure truth! So, in my heart and mind, something had to give. It was MY IMAGE OF LOVE that had failed me. I needed new picture of love— the real, God kind of love. Since God’s Word is true—love can never fail—I wanted to know and understand that unfailing love, and make it a permanent part of my life.

Love waits with patience…I often back up and reread 1 Corinthians 13:4: love suffers long…that is patience. Then I think, uh, oh! Here we go again. As I mentioned earlier, from my perspective, patience equals suffering! As difficult as it was for me to admit, the key element that must be recognized is love never fails because love is patient.

Waiting has always been difficult for me. I want it now—whatever it is! When someone says, “I’ll tell you later,” my immediate reaction is to say, “No, tell me now.” Now always seemed better than later.

At Christmas time, I’m right there with the kids. “Can we open the presents now? Let’s open one or two.” If I have my way, we’ve got most of them out from under the tree and open before Christmas morning ever arrives. And truth be told, a tree without gifts under it on Christmas morning is a sad sight. Even if we’ve already opened and played with all the gifts, the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning was lost because of my own lack of patience.

Over the years I’ve gotten better. I remember spending a long season (more than two years) contemplating the meaning of Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.[1] It seemed during that specific time in my life—no matter where I looked, or what I walked through—God was speaking to my heart to wait, and I knew He meant wait with patience.

For me, a ninety mile an hour person, patience takes faith. I know that only by God’s power am I able to wait. I’m still learning that God’s love is like a battery that powers up my ability to wait. With love in place, I have a supernatural ability to do what I had no power to do before.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com. linae cover

[1] NIV

Learn to Lead by Following Love’s Example

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

People want you to accept them for who they are, and show them you care about them. In my professional career there were several instances in which I was thrust into leadership, responsible for staff that needed a boost. I challenged myself with determination to love them—no matter what challenges we faced, obstacles we had to overcome, and deadlines we had to meet. Together we pressed into the heart of the matter.

Teams want to be celebrated and appreciated.

They want an opportunity to develop their gifts and talents in an environment of trust. I learned to lead by following love. I had to develop a habit of asking myself, “What would love do?” Honestly, I didn’t want to do what I knew love would do, and I had to ask the Lord to help me.

In an expression of faith, I grew determined to look at others through what I perceived to be God’s eyes. What would Jesus say? I decided he would say:

  • I love you.
  • I trust you.
  • Let’s do this together.
  • Grow up, develop your gifts, and express your talents.

Together we discovered we were free to become who God says we are, and within the boundaries of what we have agreed to accomplish based on our job descriptions. I encouraged them to do it, and they did. Through simple acts of kindness—words of encouragement, cheer, applause, compassion, and loving correction, I watched my team and myself bloom, grow and touch each other with God’s kindness.

We need each other.

One of the team members once brought me a book called, The Crayon Box That Talked. The book tells a story of a box of crayons. One color didn’t like the other, yet as they saw each other work his gift of color, they discovered they could create beauty together that they could never attain without each other.

That little book gave us a vivid picture of ourselves. I trusted them to be there for each other—to motivate and inspire one another—and pick each other up when they failed. My team picked me up a number of times when I’d had the wind knocked out of me. Love does that.

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle.

God’s Decision to Love No Matter What

(Excerpt from Love is Not an Emotion)

I have come to understand over the years—God is a good Father. He never changes. He is full of love and always dependable. In Romans 5:8, God reveals His faith in action: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Love is not an emotion, but a decision. Perhaps the very first decision God made about us was to love us unconditionally.

It’s all because of love. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.[1] God’s love produces goodness. Everything good originates from love. Everything bad is a distorted, twisted form of love.

He had faith that His creation (you and me) would return to fellowship with Him. Because of love and by faith, He gave Jesus.

When we make a decision to accept Jesus, we choose by faith to accept Him, and what He’s done for us. Why should love be any different? We love God by our very act of faith—believing that He exists and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We love God by accepting that He is a good God and wants the very best for us. This takes faith. And loving others takes a daily practice to choose to love no matter what.

God’s desire for relationship is what caused Him to create man, and that same desire continues to draw us to Him by His love working in us. I am so thankful He pursued me and never gave up. First John 4:8 says, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. It’s who and what He is. It’s His makeup—His essence— His character. So we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.[2] Thank God He is conforming us into His image and likeness.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, their relationship with God was severed. God created them in His likeness— for their spirit to rule their mind, will, and emotions and to direct their body in what is right. Their desire for more led to the death of their spirits and to their reliance upon a physical knowledge, which meant their physical senses told them what to feel and think. The physical and natural became dominant over the spirit.

Before we accept Christ, our spirits are in that fallen-from-grace darkness.

Our spiritual senses sit in darkness allowing our physical senses to interpret our lives for us.

When we accept the sacrifice Jesus made to bring us back to God, His life and light immediately illuminate our spirits. Our revived spirits are ready to go to work; however, our physical senses have told us how to respond to everything around us for so long that we are conflicted by old habits and new abilities. That’s why Paul reminds us that we are new creatures. The old person—ruled by the physical world—dies, and we become alive in Christ to forever be led by our spirit man.[3]

Although there are good people in the earth, the world we live in today has become extremely hostile and full of hate. The world exhibits the very nature of the god of this world, Satan. He opposes God, and wants to destroy the object of his hate—or we could say he opposes God’s love.

God’s design is to bring every man, woman and child back into fellowship with Him. As the ultimate Father, He doesn’t want to be separated from us. He loves us—no matter what!

Love is Not an Emotion is available in paperback and on Kindle.

[1] John 3:16

[2] 1 John 4:16

[3] 2 Corinthians 5:17