Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Love

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV ~ emphasis Iris')

Love for Others

The Greek word for love used in the passage above is the noun agapē. It means:

1) affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
2) love feasts

I think about whether I display the characteristics of this kind of love and see where I often fall short. I'm so thankful that God does not fall short. He is working in me each day to develop this kind of love. A while back I prayed that He would open my eyes to the inner person of the people around me, letting me see them as He sees them, worthy of affection, good will, love, compassion, and friendship. Praying this prayer has changed the way I see others.

Love can be hard. In fact, I had a moment today. I was angry because someone stole something off my credenza at work while I was away from my desk for about 30 minutes. Rather than realizing they probably needed what they stole more than I did, I became angry. Oh, that old sin nature! It didn't help that I had just fallen off a table, spilling tea everywhere and knocking papers and a huge paper cutter to the floor. It didn't help that I had bumped my hand who knows how and had a knot on it, or that I was just weary to begin with. It was the icing on the cake.

"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves." ~ Romans 15:1 (ESV)

I have since forgiven whoever did it but will be locking my door every time I leave my office, even when I just have to go to the restroom. I didn't report the theft because it was minor, and like I said, someone needed it more than I did. I did warn everyone to be on guard, just as an alert, not in a gossippy way. We have inmates for housekeepers and I'm sure that temptation can present itself in many forms while they are there. What the person took from my office is absolutely nothing one of my co-workers would have taken, and the housekeepers were on the floor while I was away from my desk. I'm trying to show love by not reporting it and getting them in trouble for something so minor. Although I won't lodge a formal complaint, I will speak with their supervisor about it and let them know, though, that this is the second time something has come up missing and the timing just speaks for itself. However she chooses to deal with it will be up to her.

I'm so thankful this week for the love I have begun to develop for others. For the last several months this has really been at work in me. It's a good feeling to try to give people the benefit of the doubt and to show compassion other traits of love. While I didn't show love when I became angry, I tried to show it in not resenting them and hoping that they were blessed by what they took from me. God taught me today that I need to work harder at letting the traits mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 be my first response rather than wrong actions. It's not wrong to be angry, but I was truly resentful at first and not immediately forgiving or giving the benefit of the doubt.

Love is a Decision

We have to decide every day, sometimes several times a day, to walk in love. It's a commandment given by Jesus.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." ~ Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)

Look with me at the Greek word for love in Mark 12:31. This word, agapaō, means:

1) of persons
a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2) of things
a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

We can love others by being welcoming to them, showing hospitality and offering our servant hearts to them, speaking to and about them affectionately and just plain old loving them. We can love things, the blessings God has given us, by being content and at peace with them.

Relationships require love on some level. From loving our spouses, children, family and friends to even the people we interact with on a limited basis, love must be shown. I'm so thankful for the love of my family and friends.

The Greatest Example of Love

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." ~ Romans 5:8 (ESV)

This is the greatest expression of love there is - Christ died for us, incurring the wrath of God in our stead, paying the penalty for our sins. He didn't have to do this. By His grace, a gift of unmerited favor, He willingly chose to die for us so that we could have eternal life.

"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 (ESV)

What should our response be to this? First of all, to accept Him as our Savior. If we have done this, we need to share Him with others. Whether you do it via email, in person, a handwritten letter, a phone call, etc., tell others of His love!

I praise Him for dying for me. I pray that I extend an open invitation to others to come to know and love Him as I do.

Walking in Love

"May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV)

The Greek word for direct is kateuthynō. It means:

1) to make straight, guide, direct
a) of the removal of the hindrances to coming to one

We need to seek God's help in directing us and removing in any hindrances on our path to love and steadfastness in Christ.

The Greek word for steadfastness is hypomonē. It means:

1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance
a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings
b) patiently, and steadfastly
2) a patient, steadfast waiting for
3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

May God make our love steadfast, enduring, patient and watchful.


In Closing

I'm so thankful for the love of God and for how His Word guides us in the way that we should love others. My heart rejoices at the love shown me when I so clearly don't deserve it. I feel loved well. I pray you, do, too.

L - Look for ways to love others. "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." ~ Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

O - Obey Christ by loving Him and others. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." ~ Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)

V - Veryify that you are walking in the love of the Lord. "And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." ~ 2 John 1:6 (NIV)

E - Earnestly pray for those you love. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." ~ James 5:16 (NIV)

Father, help me be a walking example of Your love. Thank You for loving me in the many ways you do. Help me to show it to others, bringing all glory and honor to You. In Jesus' Name...Amen.

Iris has chosen a great theme this week, as usual. I'm so glad she hosts Thankful Thursday each week. Be sure to visit her by clicking on the button below and link up, leaving a Thankful Thursday post of your own.



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23 comments:

Grammy said...

You wrote a great lovable post. Have a blessed week.

LAURIE said...

Sorry for your loss today. But I love your attitude of "they must have needed it more than me". Maybe while they were in your office they noticed a scripture or something that will haunt them with remorse. Happy TT!

Melanie said...

Love your attitude and the way you decided in the end to handle the situation! Oh, it is so hard not to let all our "human feelings" get in the way!

Jennifer said...

Wow...I do hate it when someone steals from me. I would give anything to anyone...if they just ask for it. I love how you said that they needed it more than you did...that's a precious heart.

Happy TT!

Denise said...

Such a loving post my friend, be blessed.

Beth in NC said...

I'm sorry someone invaded your space like that. I pray God will use this for His glory!

Happy TT!

He And Me + 3 said...

I LOVE all the verses you used in this post. The very same ones that came to my mind when I saw the Love theme.
Great post.
I like the acrostic too.

Tess said...

wow! I learned a lot of this post. beautiful! thank you so much for sharing!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

You have a great outlook! Happy TT!

Carla said...

Do you know what the theme is ahead of time, or do you just come up with these at the last minute? GREAT POST!
I'm sorry you had a bad time, I'm thankful you stopped, and recognized it, THEN made your decisions. God bless you!!

Mrs. Cuddles said...

Beautiful post and a beautiful grateful heart to go along with it.

Thank you for the visit,
~Mrs.Cuddles

bp said...

Hello,

I liked the acrostic you made and the points, especially the reminder to pray for those you love.

Have a blessed day!

Alex said...

Love your attitude - we have had several things stolen and always try to look at the same way you did. Love is easy when it comes to those we know and those who do not show us any wrong but the rubber meets the road when we have to love someone who is not "worthy" of love in our eyes. The Lord is a perfect role model...thanking Him for his loving example...

lupusurvivor said...

as always you have a wonderful post.

thanks for dropping by my TT

LauraLee Shaw said...

Straight from His heart to your pen, Laurie Ann. Wowzer, I don't hear very many people with this kind of attitude, and I respect it so much. You are a blessing.

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

You are such a blessing! I love you!

Marsha said...

The Lord has truly given you a gift to be able to come up with these wonderful acronymns all the time! I think I'm gonna have to start a notebook just for writing down your wonderful acronymns you bless us with.

Have a love filled weekend.

forgetfulone said...

What a very informative and interesting post you've written! Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours. I needed to read this. And I agree... love is a decision.

Serendipity said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post! I really admire the way you dealt with the missing item. You are right, love is a decision. Remain blessed!

God Chaser said...

Wonderfully done-thanks so much. God bless you with peace, joy and love.

Ms. Theophilus said...

great acronym!

Peggy said...

Blessings Laurie Ann, What an excellent LOVE post! So complete!
Agape LOVE fills me, yet we should choose to LOVE as Christ commands us to and just DO it! Thank you Laurie Ann for the time you invest in doing these and how wonderful &
heartfelt your love is that you share! May God fill you up with His unfailing love so you may continue to flow this love to others! I love you and appreciate your outpouring and extreme effort in every post!

Amydeanne said...

awww LOVE... you always come up with the amazing words! thanks for being so inspirational!