LOVE DOES, PART ONE

Posted by Tori on Jun 4, 2013 in a good word., Sisterhood Summer Study

Hi girls! I’m so happy you’re here for our first post in the Love Does series. I hope that you enjoyed the first four chapters of Bob’s book. He is such a great storyteller. I’ve caught myself chuckling out loud, and really feeling like I’m in a conversation with a friend. If this is your first time checking out the study, please feel welcomed & jump right on in with us!

Over the weekend, we read through Chapters 1-4 together. I loved so much about these chapters. Let’s talk about Randy. What a guy. I was really struck by the faithfulness of his friendship with Bob. Not only did he stick with him (literally), but he refrained from giving advice, or criticizing Bob’s decisions. He largely remained silent in speech, but spoke volumes by his presence and the demonstration of his love. Then, to top it all off, we learn at the end of the chapter that he had just married and sacrificed some of the first days with his bride for Bob.

I spent several of my college years serving in youth ministry. I got engaged and married during these years too, and this story made me ask myself if I would have done the same thing Randy did for Bob. And, I’m sad to say, I don’t think I would have. And, even if I had felt prompted by the Spirit to go along with a gal to get her started on her journey, I doubt highly that I would have been able to refrain from giving advice or criticism. I’m not very good at keeping my mouth shut, but I’m learning more and more God’s wisdom in being slow to speak (James 1:19). (Granted, there are times when we should offer advice or admonish someone in love. We have to lean in close to the Spirit and use discernment to know when to speak and what to say.)

Some of the awesome kids from our youth group who came to our wedding. Looking at these faces brings back so much. I still love each one of them and pray God’s best for them.

I’m probably going to say this a lot over the next few weeks because it’s so true, and it’s something I’ve been challenged by from this book: I am way too uptight. Why wouldn’t I do that? Why don’t I love like that? What would actually happen if I did? And what am I so worried about? Isn’t my God enough? He is. He most certainly is. And I want to live and love in a way that shouts that louder than anything else.

Ok, what about Ryan? Isn’t he hilarious?! After reading this story, I again had to ask myself what I would do if someone approached me like Ryan approached Bob. I think that I ultimately would have given him all I could and jumped in to make his night as special as it could be, but I would have probably been a lot more skeptical or standoffish at first. It would have taken a while for me to warm up to the whole idea, I imagine. But, I love this story. I love everything about Ryan’s approach that nothing is off-limits or out-of-reach when it comes to declaring his love for his gal. I love the parallels Bob draws between God’s uncontainable love for us and Ryan’s wild schemes. He says, “I don’t know if God was a little bit like Ryan when He created everything, or if Ryan was a little bit like God. But what I do know is that Ryan’s audacious love is some of the best evidence I’ve found of the kind of love Jesus talked about, a love that never grows tired or is completely finished finding ways to fully express itself” (emphasis my own).

I do think Ryan’s actions reflected God’s love for us. God is the embodiment of love. For Him, it’s not a quality He possesses; it is who He is. Our God is love. We know NOTHING of love to any degree apart from Him. It’s Him that loves through us. That’s the beauty of what it means to be redeemed; to be His child.

Some people find it easy to receive God’s love for them through a beautiful sunrise, or a warm breeze, or a bluebird bathing in the garden. But, for me, I have always admired and been left completely speechless at the beauty and intricacy of God’s creation, but have somehow found it difficult to view those breathtaking glimpses as an expression of His love for me. An expression of His majesty and glory? Without hesitation, yes. But to accept the idea that He might have put that bluebird in the garden simply for my enjoyment has been difficult. I have always thought that way too selfish. But, lately, I have begun to shift my thinking. Could it be that for Him to put on such an outrageous show for us in the form of His creation — a display that, mind you, is only the fringes of His ways (Job 26) — simply because He knows it will make us smile, demonstrates an even greater aspect of His glory than just the power He has to create it? I believe so. He loves us. Oh, how He loves us! He is great, but greater still because He condescends to redeem us, and even beyond that, to be our friend & declare us His own children, joint heirs with His Son, Jesus. Mind blown.

Reflect, along with me right now, on His lavish love for us. For you. You. He pulls out all the stops for you. Not because you’re worthy. Or because you’ve done anything to deserve it. In fact, we’ve done everything to deserve just the opposite. Yet, His love is perfect and complete. I was in a group of ladies the other week, and one of them mused, “He knows exactly how to deal with me.” And I was struck, in that moment, with the fact that He loves each one of us so intimately and knows exactly how to deal with us. He is intentional in His timing, in His shouts, in His whispers, in His silence, in His every dealing with us.

Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I don’t know where you are today, or what this season of life brings for you. But, I know this. He will finish what He has started. He is working. And it is glorious, even if what we see looks very much like an unfinished mess. And, that He loves you. He really, really loves you. And He is telling you over and over and over, even through the bluebird outside your window. He is for you. Because He is good.

So, what’s my main take-away from our section of reading? Well, I think it is that we have to first learn to receive and live in the lavish love of God toward us (like the picture we see in Ryan’s love) before we can ever be free to love selflessly like Randy. It is He who loves through us, and we love because He first loved us.

Matthew 22:35-40, “35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36″Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the great and foremost commandment. 39The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.‘ 40On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

1 John 4:7-21, “7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

Here are some questions for our discussion over the next few days. Please don’t feel like you have to answer all of them. They are just here as a springboard. I’m sad we didn’t have the chance to cover something from each chapter — I have some pretty good notes from chapter 4…  (The Reach) 😉

  • What stood out to you from Chapters 1-4?
  • What were you encouraged or challenged by?
  • How do you experience/receive His love for you in the daily moments?
  • What is He saying to you about the relationship between receiving His love for you and the way you love other people?

If you are interested in being a part of the Google Hangout on Friday, 6/7, please respond in the comments or send me an email at recountingthewonders@easoms.com. The Hangout will be at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern). Also, please read Chapters 5-10 in preparation for our discussion on Monday, 6/10.

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2 Comments

Lilia B. Donovan
Jun 11, 2013 at 7:02 am

One thing is clear: Knowledge that is loveless is not true knowledge. It’s imaginary knowledge, no matter how factual it is: “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” Knowing as we ought to know is a knowing for the sake of loving. Loving God and loving people.


 
Edmund A. Chavez
Aug 25, 2013 at 6:27 am

The music video features JJ and Dave’s daughter Lucy, and is also a profound picture of how God feels about us as His children. Children also love us unconditionally and God wants us to be a picture of His love back to them. Remember that God loves you and there is nothing that we can do to make Him love us more.


 

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