Sorry, tweeps, couldn’t resist the chance to get some free hits on my website. The blackout is over. While you’re here you may as well read some of my posts.
Today’s post is simply a quote from Katherine Walden who is the lady behind “I Lift My Eyes Ministry.” I receive a daily quote from “I Lift My Eyes” via RSS feed to my email. Check out the webpage. It’s a blessing just waiting to happen. http://psalm121.ca/index.html
“As I was falling asleep one night, I ‘heard’ the wail and weeping of hundreds of souls in deep travail. I asked God. “Who are these who weep so?” And God answered. “These are the cries of the persecuted church, who intercede for those Christians who live in freedom of faith and take it for granted.” My heart broke.” ~ Katherine Walden
I’ve just added a new link on my blog roll. It’s the blog of Carole Jeanne Bate. Others Press (the official publishing house of The Salvation Army) is publishing a book of Carold’s poetry. Her blog is an excellent introduction to her prose.
My and Carold’s paths have crossed several times since we were teenagers and there is one defining moment that leads me to recommend her site. Once, when teaching at a youth camp for The Salvation Army I would begin my daily teaching sessions by allowing the campers to ask me any “life” question they wished. One day a rather astute young lady asked me for my opinion regarding a wife submitting to her husband. At that moment Ms. Bate was walking by. I immediately gave up my place on the “hot seat” and invited her opinion as a “godly” wife. Without a moment’s thought Carole replied, “Show me a man who will lay down his life for his wife and that’s a man to submit to.” Game, set, match.
It was an amazing example of “…be ready in and out of season to give an account…” Boy, was she ready. Answers like that come from more than a quick intellect, but come from the abundance of the heart.
With that introduction I humbly add the blog of Carole Jeanne Bate to my blog roll. Visit her site often.
Today’s passage in my Bible reading plan (Life Journal Reading Plan from New Hope Church and available on youversion.com) includes I Corinthians 13, the “Love Chapter.” As I read it this morning, I thought it was fitting for me to post the “marriage encouragement” that I give in wedding ceremonies that I perform. It’s based on I Corinthians 13. The challenge addresses the bride and groom in particular, but speaks to all of us because life isn’t about “being right, it’s about being reconciled.”
“Love never gives up. Love cares for others more than self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on other, isn’t always “me first”, doesn’t fly off the handle. Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when other grovel, and takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. Love puts up with anything. Love trusts God always and always looks for the best. It never looks back, but keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over someday; understanding will reach its limits. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!
But for right now, we have three things to do to lead us to that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is to love extravagantly.” I Cor. 13:4-13 (The Message)
As you have prepared for this day we’ve discussed several times that any relationship, especially marriage, is a race to see who can love first. Who can say “I love you” first in the morning, who can ignore morning breath first, who can make breakfast first, who can pick up the towels first, who puts the dirty socks in the hamper first, who leaves a love note first, who cleans up the dishes first, who gives up the remote first, who kisses goodnight first?
Who forgives first, who asks for forgiveness first, who understands first? Who is humble first, who keeps their temper first, who tells the truth first, who trusts first?
If you go on in the scripture that I read a second ago, it says, “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it – because it does.”
Please allow me to be the first to present you with a wedding gift. It’s an antique teacup and saucer. I’m not sure of its history, but one thing I do know it was precious to somebody. Or maybe several somebodies. I know because you have to take care of something this precious for it to last this long.
Love in any relationship, but especially marriage, is the same way. It’s precious, so we need to treasure it. And we need to treasure each other, extravagantly. Especially now.
[To the groom], we’re both guys so I’m going to speak to you man to man. There are things out there that will tempt us to not treat our wives as the treasures that they are. I don’t need to be any more specific than that; we all know what I mean. Those things will try to get us to neglect our wives, ignore our wives, even hurt and leave our wives. Don’t even window shop. Do you hear me? They’ll offer acceptance and affirmation, but it’s not truth. Decide now that when you’re tempted you’ll run. And always run home.
God has given us helpmates and we’ve chosen them above all others. We need to treasure them, just as this cup and saucer have been treasured. They break easily.
[To the bride], I’m not a lady, duh. But I do know that there are temptations for women out there, too. They may not be the same, they may not look the same, in fact, they’re probably much more subtle. They’ll tempt you to ignore your husband and relationship with him. They’ll tempt you to find security and worth where you shouldn’t. Some of them you’re already familiar with, but others are hiding and waiting to ambush you. Guard your heart and run away from them. Run with all your might. And make sure you run home.
So, I want you to do something for each other. When you’ve finished settling into your home, find a prominent place for this cup. Someplace where you’ll see it often, several times a day. Don’t hide it in the closet, or in the back of the cupboard. On the mantle, in the entertainment center, someplace where you can’t ignore it. Display it so everyone can see how precious it is. Let it remind you of how precious you both are. Let it remind you of how precious Jesus’ love is for both of you and how precious your love is for each other.
And keep it at the center of your home. When you’re apart, the one at home will see it and pray for the one that’s away and the one that’s away will always remember to run home.
Finally, always keep it at home. Tell the kids about it. Show it off to them. Tell them about this day. Tell them the stories of how your love started and how it grew. Just like this cup is precious, the story of your love is precious. Your family needs to know the story; they need to know their heritage. They need to know how precious home is. And then they’ll always come home.
Home to where love is a race, where love is extravagant, where love is precious.