Love-Ometer

1cor13Back in December I encouraged us to take a closer look at 1 Cor. 13 – the Love Chapter  and ask the Holy Spirit to show us where we fall on the “LOVE-OMETER”.   The results weren’t Olympic Gold Medal status, but nonetheless I took some notes, did some digging and then set it aside.  Here we are now at Valentine’s Week  – so I thought it would be a good time to revisit and unpack some of those thoughts.  I look forward to hearing what stood out to you as you read 1 Cor. 13.


loveispatient

Love is patient:

Nothing like starting off with the hashtag #fail.  I so wish I were more patient.   That my waiting periods would be faith-filled with patience and my words, thoughts and actions would be seasoned with patient grace (Col. 4:6)You know what happens when you pray for patience – but yes, Lord, I’m praying for it.   It’s a fruit of the Spirit – so that tells me it’s possible.  Help me to love like You, Lord, with long-suffering patience.

youiskind

Love is kind:

When you hear the word kind, who comes to mind?  We all have that someone that is so kind, so gracious, so sweet.  That’s what love is.  It’s kind.  Ask the Lord to work His kindness in and through you.

 

Love does not envy:lovedoesnotenvy

Well, here’s a tricky one.  You think you’re doing ok until that person that gets the promotion and you don’t. Or someone is prospering financially but living like the world?  What about when you see others interacting socially and you’re not included?  What about the teenager having her 3rd child and you’re still trying?  What about the chick that constantly bashes her husband and you’re single, longing for a relationship?  What about the happy family picture posted online and you’re estranged from yours?  Someone has that college degree you never completed.  Envy.  It creeps in, little sneaker, at the most inopportune times and we may be completely unaware that that’s what it is – envy.  Lord, fill our souls with longing for You.  Turn our envy into rejoicing with those who rejoice.  Move our eyes off of ourselves (which creates envy) – but to Your wondrous works in us, provision for us and blessings to us ~ because love does not envy.

Love is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly.lovedoesnotboast

Two words – Sports. Fans.  Is it possible to love well while cheering on and being  “die-hard” fan of your team?  Can you be excited yet not boastful or act improperly?  Yes, by the grace of God. Help us, Jesus J.  And it’s not just sports, there are so many other ways we can be boastful, conceited and act improperly.  Fill in the blank.  One way to avoid being boastful is to turn the attention OFF of you and ON to the Lord.  So the one who boasts, boasts in the Lord (2 Cor. 10:17).

loveisnotselfishLove is not selfish:

Can I repeat the hashtag #fail?  The epitome of love is being selfLESS.  Like I said a few weeks ago, I fall short.  Too short.  The YMCA Storer Camps motto: “God First.  Other Second. I’m Third.” Lord, help us be third!

Love is not provoked, does not keep a record of wrongs:
lovekeepsnorecordofwrongs

As a litmus test to see how you’re doing with this, have an argument with your spouse. J  Or stew about something someone said five years ago.  Or refuse forgiveness.  Oh, love.  We have wandered so far.  May we love well through forgiveness and forgetfulness.

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness:

Not even a little bit.  “Be holy, because I am holy1 Peter 1:16 is a verse we’ve been discussing in our home this week.  There’s a HOLY God, and then there’s us. In the NLT, this is worded, “It does not rejoice in injustice.”  Help us, Lord, to LOVE well walking as children of light (Eph5:8).

loverejoicesintruth

Love rejoices in the truth:

I am the way, the TRUTH and the life…” Jesus said that.  Rejoice in Him.  John 17:17 says, “Your word is TRUTH.”  Rejoice in the Word!   Love well in the truth of Jesus.

Love bears all things:

Endures. Doesn’t jet when the going gets rough.  Hangs in there through unmet lovebearsallthingsexpectations, conflict, disappointment and disaster.  Prov. 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” Lord, help bear in love as a friend, like Jesus is to us. (John 15:15).

Love believes all things:

The benefit of the doubt is a beautiful thing.

Love hopes all things:

Remaining hopeful is a beautiful picture of LOVING well.

Love endures all things:

See “Love bears all things.”

Love never ends, never fails.

Worded differently in different translations. Both essential.  Both applicable.  Love won’t let you down… and it won’t let others down.  And Jesus’ love – well – it never ends and it  never fails.  Amen.

loveneverfails

 

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LOVE

You’ve heard it read at weddings.  You gloss over it when reading in the New Testament because of its blaring familiarity.  The LOOOOOVVVEEEE chapter.  In fact, you may stop reading now, because you know it.   1 Cor. 13.love

All that aside, let’s take a fresh look at these verses.  Forget about romantic love.  Forget (for the time being) about marital love.  Forget about parental love or amicable love.   Read these verses, look deep inside yourself and examine your own heart, and I will mine.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you fall on the “love-ometer.”  I fall short.  Too short.  So I pray as I study these verses that they will touch me anew.  And help me LOVE well.  And I’m praying for you as you read this. I’d love to hear what sticks out to you as you read this with expectancy.

If I speak human or angelic languages

but do not have love,

I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy

and understand all mysteries

and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith

so that I can move mountains

but do not have love, I am nothing.

And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,

and if I give my body in order to boast

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends..

Now these three remain:

faith, hope, and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

1 Cor. 13:1-8a, 13

Feel free to share your thoughts as you read this in the comments section.  What sticks out to you?   ❤ K

 

The Voice

I LOVE The Voice.  It’s a great show.  I’ve enjoyed AI in the past, but this year’s Voice has some seriously amazing talent.  Loving it!

However, that is not what I am writing about… See, there’s a couple of voices out there vying for our attention. One voice is the one we all know.  The one who whispers fear. Doubt.  Worry. Stirs up conflict. Anxiety. Tells LIES – because he is the AUTHOR of lies.  He’s a promise stealer – a joy squelcher – a grace killer.  

One thing I LOVE about studying the book of Revelation is reading about HOW IT ALL ENDS! All the enemy’s lies and destruction will END…

The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come… because the accuser of our brothers HAS. BEEN. THROWN. OUT! Rev.12:10

Don’t ya just wanna yell, “SUCKAHHHHHHHHH!!!”?

No more lies.  No more darts of insecurity, worthlessness, spite, fear, hatred. No MORE.

When we closed LP, the devil would’ve liked nothing more than to wipe us off the face of ministry.  Immobilize us. DEFEAT us. Discourage us. Have us turn our back on our faith even. But, the first week after we closed the church, God spoke over and over and over again, “I AM NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET!” In fact, we wanted to take a break from ministry, like a looooooooonnnnggg break. And those first few weeks, ministry was the last thing on our mind.

But, God. The Voice. God, our sweet loving Father.  He speaks TRUTH into us from His word and from His people.  He brings counsel. Hope. Restoration. GRACE. Promise. Joy. LOVE. He is GRACIOUS (another post coming).  He even spoke to Kevin through a movie he watched (raise your hand if you’d like Kevin to blog about that!! *hand raised!!).  He whispers life, forgiveness, hope, purpose.  And throughout this ministry break, He is drawing us to Himself – not further away like the dingbat devil would like.

When the enemy is accusing, remind him his time is short – and turn to the Word.  Find TRUTH to replace the lies.  Find HOPE to wash away hopelessness.  Find GRACE to suffocate guilt. And here’s the deal… God’s Word, The Voice, always trumps the lame duck voice of the enemy.  Now, and FOR ETERNITY.

Get Connected

getconnectedA couple weeks after we closed LifePoint, I decided to deactivate my Facebook.  In fact, it may still be deactivated if it hadn’t been for my uncle’s accident… after which I reactivated my Facebook to get more frequent and more thorough updates about the explosion.  Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE social media. I think it has MANY benefits and positive aspects – but as part of this Oxygen Mask time, I needed to pull back.  I needed my circle – close friends and family who loved us through that hard time (still loving us through).  I can tell you that because of that a gap that was filled that had been a gaping hole for a while – and I didn’t even realize it.  Sure, interaction on social media is great – it’s a SUPER way to get 100s of friends to pray about something urgent, celebrate something wonderful or just to be a part of people’s lives 1000s of miles away.  But, there’s nothing like a girls’ night out for supper to laugh, cry and chow together – an hour at a coffeehouse with a friend just to chat – a live phone call where you can cry for several minutes together and be laughing hysterically before you hang up.  And even an encouraging text message – which is so much more personal than FB/Twittter/IG interaction.  Because I couldn’t even receive messages when my Facebook was deactivated, I received phone calls, texts and even visits that I wouldn’t have if someone could’ve just shot me a message. It filled that gap I was previously unaware had formed.

See – here’s the thing.  God didn’t create us to go it alone.  In fact He created us to depend on HIM and to depend on OTHERS.  We. Need. Each Other.  Last summer in Bible Study, we were studying Galatians 6, and came up with the term “God’s Math”: When you have a load of crap (spiritual word for stuff you’re dealing with) and your friend has a load of crap (see definition above) and you bear each other’s loads of crap – instead of having twice as much crap, you walk away with a half a load of crap or less. And that, friends, is what we learned in Galatians 6.

That being said – there’s a few things I learned during my somewhat sabbatical from Facebook:

Make it Personal – Live phone call.  Hand written note.  An invitation to spend time together (coffee, a walk, lunch).  Nothing says, “I care” more than personal connections.

Be Intentional – SCHEDULE something. Yes, we’re all busy – but we are dying a slow relational death when we do not connect with others.  This Summer I did a Bible Study eaaaarrrrrrllllllyyyy on Tuesday mornings, but what I looked forward to as much as the study, was the time with that group of girls.  Fellowship.  Schedule it.

Leave Margin  – What is margin?  Margin is not packing your calendar so full of stuff you don’t have any room for scheduling connect times or better yet, doing something spontaneous.  This is VERY challenging at my stage of life (three busy, active kiddos, full-time job and previously (and maybe someday again) ministry) – but it is a MUST.  If you’re chained to a calendar – schedule margin.  Do whatcha gotta do!!

Let me close with this…  if you’re a Christian, please get connected in/with a church.  We  (the Grubbies) could’ve been so tempted to NOT go to church indefinitely after closing LP.   As Beth Moore pointed out in her teaching on Revelation – God not only loves the church – all those that profess Christ as Savior – but He loves and is passionate about “churches.”  He has a purpose and a plan for uniting bodies of believers together as a church.   Again, we need God and we need each other. Heb. 10:24-25 – check it out.

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Much love,

K

When I Hated Amy Grant

Ok, maybe hated is too strong of a word.  But, several years back, when listening to one of her albums, a Christian friend/mentor let me know that I shouldn’t listen to her music anymore. Hadn’t I heard?!?  She was divorced!  She didn’t even know if she ever was even a Christian!  (Yes, you heard that right, said in a tight-lipped – hoity toity voice.) No, no I hadn’t heard.  And oh, you’re right!  If she’s turned her back on God and even got divorced, I not only will not listen to her music anymore… I will throw the CDs AWAY!  And just like that I wrote off Amy Grant.

I must’ve forgotten that it was HER TAPE that first drew me to God and planted beastly-sized seeds that one day were watered and I surrendered my life to Him.  That tape I received in error because I wrote the wrong number code on the tape-club order form. Remember those? That divine error played a HUGE role in opening my eyes that there was more to God and Jesus than Sunday mornings. That music enveloped my soul, spoke TRUTH and LIFE into my world, that as a teenager, was less than ideal.

But she was now a sinner!!   It didn’t even occur to me in my self-righteous stupor that I should/could pray for her.  It didn’t occur to me that I knew no details of her personal life of why her marriage ended up falling apart. It didn’t occur to me that God’s grace is big enough for her and that He never stopped loving her. That even though the Christian community was shunning her, we should’ve been loving her like Jesus did/does.

I’m so sorry, Amy. So sorry to you and the 100s, no 1000s, of others that we, the “Christian community”  just discard when they stumble. I’m sorry that we forget our own sinful nature, that we overlook our ‘acceptable’ imperfections, that we forget to extend the tender grace that we so unworthily received from Jesus at salvation and along the way when we stumble.

Heard this new song by Amy on the radio last week. Thanks, Amy for still speaking LIFE and TRUTH into my world. So needed to hear this.

God gives you grace

You can’t earn it

Stop thinking you’re not worth it

Because you are

He gave you His love and He’s not leaving

Gave you His Son so you’d believe it

You’re lovely even with your scars

Don’t try so hard

Forgive us, Lord, for judging when we should be praying – for hating when we should be loving.   Help us, Lord, to not just be grace getters – but to be grace givers.

I Do

Kevin and I are by no means a perfect example of a perfect marriage – but as we’re in our 19th year of marriage and we have counseled dozens of couples along the way, there are a few things that “I do” (we do) that have helped us over the years.

Spend time together – Yes, I know you’re busy. We are too. Thankfully we have some flexibility in our schedule that we can meet for lunch dates from time to time (lunch dates are also cheaper than dinner dates). With work, ministry, kids’ activities etc – sometimes you have to find “pockets of time” together – but DO IT.  You NEED it!

Communicate – If I’m not happy about something, I tell Kevin.  It may sound something like, “Kevin,  that really pissed me off when you ________…”  Sorry if you were looking for some uber-spiritual Christianese phrase that I gently say when my peace has been disrupted… but let’s get real here, that is what I say.  Granted, I may not (mostly) say it in a LOUD voice, but I don’t dance around my point.  After 18 years, we’ve realized there’s no point in expecting the other to read between the lines. Communicate. Clearly and often.  (As kindly as possible :)). Other examples are, “Kevin, I feel like you haven’t been affectionate to me in a few days.”  or “Honey, we haven’t spent much time together lately – let’s do something.” I’m sure Kevin could add a few things that he communicates to me (honey, feel free to pipe in here).

Praise – Publicly and privately praise your spouse. Do both.  Just praising publicly can be glorified BS if not also done privately… but words are so important – so use them to encourage your spouse.  Affection falls under this as well. Show affection publicly (within reason people… don’t make someone tell you to “get a room”, he he) and privately.  So, so important.

Look out for number ONE – If you’re married, you are “one”, so look out for your spouse.  When you notice that he/she is stressed, say something to encourage him/her.  If the other is super busy, do something that will lighten the load.  Kevin is WAY better at this than I am.  Consider his/her feelings.  Look out for his/her interests.  Know each other’s “love languages” and love on him/her in that way.

Love/Respect – Ephesians 5 challenges husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. (Some versions use submit, but some people flip out when they hear the word submit.  So, for today’s purposes, the word respect works just fine.) That doesn’t mean wives aren’t supposed to love their husbands or husbands aren’t suppose to show respect to their wives.  We are both to do both… but God knows our needs.  Women need to feel loved.  Men need to feel respected.  Since, He’s pretty much the expert, I say we take His advice :).

Pray – Pray for your spouse.  Obvious? Cliche? Maybe… but do it.  Here’s another one… Pray for God to help you love your spouse. I shared a couple of years ago about a season(s) that I didn’t love Kevin.  Raw, but true.  Click on that and read it for the full story, but if you’re “not feeling it” anymore – ask God for it.  That is TOTALLY praying within His will and I PROMISE you, He will answer.

Commit – Commit to the commitment. Marriage is not just a piece of paper – it’s a commitment – a covenant – before God and is worth working for.  Be intentional to make it work.  IT WILL NOT HAPPEN ON ITS OWN.

Confide – Have someone that you can confide in when things are rocky.  Enlist some prayer warriors.  I guarantee Kevin and I are where we are today because of a) the GRACE of God and b) the prayers from people we have confided in.

What are some of your “secrets” to making Marriage marvelous?  Please share 🙂

PS – A resource for marriage that is uh-maaazing is RefineUs… Check it out.  Also, if you would like prayer for your marriage, message me privately and it would be our honor to pray for you.