Saturday, December 17, 2011

Love is Patient

When reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, the love chapter, the first thing we encounter about the nature of true love is that it is Patient. Funny if I were to write what love is, I would begin somewhere around: Love is good and nice, patient would not be my first thought. Since God chose to inspire Paul to write this portion of scripture and point out the true nature of love, let's consider what it means.

Patient as defined in the dictionary: “Capable of bearing affliction calmly; Understanding; tolerant; Persevering: constant; Capable of bearing delay; Capable of enduring inconveniences or hardships without complaint” (Webster's II New College Dictionary- Copyright©1995 Houghton-Mifflin Company USA). 

By nature, I am impatient. I want it and I want it now. Suffering; Enduring hardships; Persevering are not my idea of love, but punishment. Why is that such a hard concept to understand? Because of our sin nature and growing up in a fallen world, we haven't understood real love.

We think of love as that warm fuzzy, heart stopping phenomenon; giving pleasure and receiving pleasure from someone; and feeling good all the time. If those things don't happen, then we believe it's not love.

According our understanding of love, it falls under the category “Eros” passionate love and “Philia” friendly love, but God says the true nature of love is His kind; “Agape” selfless, sacrificial, unconditional, forever enduring through all circumstances. I think it's interesting that patience is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22).

From before eternity, Agape is the nature of God. We see it described in Genesis, through the Cross and to our changed lives. Living and growing in Jesus Christ how could we have missed it? We are still growing in God's love and only He can give us the understanding of Himself. I believe that God knows and sees the full extent of people's lives, from before they were born. He has a plan for each life and patiently waits for just the right time when they turn to Him. 

From the fall in the Garden to moment you accepted Jesus blood payment for your sins, God has waited patiently, enduring hardship, capable of bearing delay, enduring inconveniences, because He knows the plans he has for you. (Jeremiah 29:11) and waited for that day, when you came seeking him and found him, when you sought him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12-14).

When we endure hardships and set backs in our life, when we know that we are following, seeking and depending on the Lord. We sometimes forget about this aspect of love, being capable of enduring hardships and inconveniences without complaint. As we wait on the Lord, He will give new power to those who are tired and worn, He will renew our strength. (Isaiah 40:29-30). I can hear the Lord say, “Stand firm and do not doubt” can you?

“Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the Joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12: 2-3 NKJV)

God has expressed His love for us through His patience with us. Let us strive to develop His perfect patience.

Copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Letter

Welcome to our December blog chain post. The theme is "Gifts of the Heart"  More than any other time of year we stop to reflect on those who are important to us with gifts of food, notes or special objects that show our affection, but none is as important as the gift that God gave us--His own son. That one gift from the heart of God should resonate in our hearts everyday for the rest of our lives! I hope you enjoy my contribution to the  Blog Chain and hope you visit the others listed on the side bar. 

 Over the past decades the Christmas letter has become a tradition with many families scattered all over the country or in many parts of the world. These special communications draw loved ones closer by sharing events that have shaped their lives over the past year, including pictures of events or even videos further bridging the miles.

As I sat down to write this year's letter, I am reminded of the eternal Christmas letter-- the one that still shapes our lives today. This letter was penned from the heart of God as a lasting communication of His love for us. The Bible, Old and New Testaments are comprised of many events including our separation, our need for His council, His standards for living and of course His power. Within those pages we see His heart, His love for humanity and His plan to restore us to right standing.

Although the specific day we celebrate the savior's birth is not the actual day of Jesus birth, we celebrate in spirit and in truth. He came as announced long ago by the prophets. Everything about His arrival was predicted thousands of years before. The challenge for us in not only to read the letter, but to believe it. So how can we believe if we weren't there? How can we know if these things are true? What kind of evidence do we have to support this letter?The truth never changes, it stands the test of time, through all scrutiny and ideals-- it remains solid.

We have the benefit of hindsight, the whole story is told to us through the pages of scripture. We didn't live through each of those days as the authors did. We didn't face the challenges and dangers as they did, but we know in our hearts that those things happened as told. How do we know? Though the presence of the Holy Spirit, the legacy of Jesus coming to earth. So what happened that first Christmas? 

“That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don't be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The savior—yes the messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: you will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God; Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to all whom God favors” Luke 2: 8-14 NLT

The Holy Spirit confirms to us the truth that Jesus came just as the scriptures detail. He convicts those who have not believed that Jesus is who He said He was and that they need to accept the gift of Christmas. Just like a picture of events or a video, we can see the love of God through the ages of history, His faithful love endures forever.

As you write your Christmas letters this year to those you love, don't forget to read the letter sent to you!

May the love of God and the Peace of His presence fill your homes and hearts with love!!

copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-