I’ve never considered myself an expert in any of these subjects, and yet my life is full of them. Blessings abound in the gifts I’ve been given (worship), the family I will always call home and the friends that I can be myself with (love), the ability to take it as well as I dish it out and see humor in daily life (laughter) and deeply rooted confidence and trust in something I can’t see (faith).
I firmly believe that God uses daily experiences to teach us more on each and we choose to come out stronger or weaker because of it. Lou Holtz once said, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how your respond to it.”
Think about it.
It seems that when just when we think we’ve got it all figured out, He usually comes back with a “Ahem, I don’t think so!” in the form of the proverbial two-by-four smacking you in the forehead…or sometimes by allowing you to walk into that tree or fall into hole in the ground, all the while thinking, “I so did not see that one coming!”
Strange how life works, isn’t it? I’d like to share a few thoughts on each – it may be long. Here goes:
It’s amazing and inspiring to think about how much the worship industry has boomed in the last couple of decades. Partially because of bands like Petra and the Newsboys and partially because of a newer generation, Christian music isn’t like what it used to be. I recently listened to a pastor at a local church talk about these changes, and honestly – it’s a good…no great… thing!
I once read that music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul. It can come in any form – from the birds singing outside your bedroom window, greeting the dawn on some early spring or summer morning to that hard metal rock stuff, where you can’t understand a word that the artist is singing/saying (it’s almost maddening!) – and it can be used to reach a wider audience. Music, in and of itself, is not evil. The words, if any,
are what can classify a song as unfit for worship.
Be thankful to live in a country where we can freely play an instrument within the confines of our homes, on some random
street corner or on a stage somewhere and not live in fear of losing life over it. Yet, I find myself wishing that were not the case.
Imagine how much more we’d appreciate being able to worship. Would we take it for granted as we do now?
Worship shouldn’t just be reserved for Sunday mornings. As God wishes to have a personal relationship with Him, why not start
each day by saying good morning to Him first. Read from His Word before skipping off to work. Learn to love and live the way Christ did. Each action, each word, each movement was done in adoration of His Father.
God calls us to a live of love.
Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. Hard to do, but not impossible.
The Bible also states that the world will know we are His by our love for one another. In every quote and definition I’ve come across, nothing defines love more than 1 Corinthians 13. Sure, it’s used at weddings, but it should be used and followed in every aspect of life; in every relationship.
~ Love is patient. Do you run at the first sign of a bad temper? Are you easily annoyed by inept clerks at the local grocery store, distracted or reckless drivers, or grammatically incorrect co-workers? Have you ever thought of being capable of calmly bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance as patient? We’re not perfect. We weren’t created to be. Learning to love in spite of one’s faults is truly a life-long lesson.
~ Love is kind. Kindness is more than being nice to someone. It’s our response to being patient with those around it. Ephesians 4:2 reads, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
~ Love does not envy. Envy is destructive, on so many levels. It is selfishness that tears at the very foundation of any relationship. When jealousy is exhibited, we are telling that person that we don’t believe them and that we really don’t care for them. Jealousy shows our own insecurities. It brings no good or joy to your life or those around you. James 3:6 states that “whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things.”
~ Love does not boast; it is not proud. We’ve all experienced them – those people who can’t resist telling others how WONDERFUL their lives are; how ______… (you fill in the blank). I once read that it is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without you help (author unknown). Boasting has a tendency to raise the one boasting up while putting those around them down. Pride, on the other hand, should not be confused with what you feel for doing a job well done or what you feel for your family. The type of pride God is referring to here is the type that comes from being too self-absorbed (having an inflated ego). It’s being stubborn; refusing to talk things through or be reasonable. There isn’t room for love or for God in that.
~ Love does not dishonor others. It does the opposite. Gossip is one form of dishonoring another believer or person that
comes to my mind.
~ Love is not self-seeking. Love does not insist on doing things its own way. It is instead prepared to give up for the sake of others, even if it means giving what it is entitled to. Jesus called us to deny ourselves, to take up the cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Love cautions us against making our self-seeking the ultimate goal of our lives. We should be seeking to serve others in the most effective way.
~ Love is not easily angered. Self-control communicates love. Love requires that we not accuse or blame others for the way we feel. It requires that we keep ourselves from saying something hurtful and unnecessary. Remember, moments of irritation come with life on this earth, but love does not need to cease when they come.
~ Love keeps no record of wrongs. Simply put…but harder to accomplish without the help of One greater than all we see. Love doesn’t hold grudges. Holding a grudge divides relationships and has the power to destroy them. Love lets the past die. It sees to wipe the slate clean and to start over again. Easier said than done. True love is the power to forgive, to tear of the score card, and leaves the final accounting to the judgment and mercy of God.
~ Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. Love looks past the fault and sees the need. And it takes that extra step. Love finds that spark and uses it to ignite something so much more glorious than any of us could imagine. Love always protects. Love throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person. We have a tendency to protect ourselves when it comes to our own disappointments and failures. But what about those we see in others? Love is supportive of others when they are weak. Rather than delight in their weakness or failure, love brings forgiveness,
hope and healing.
~ Love always trusts. Love isn’t gullible or easily tricked. It never loses faith. Take Jesus for example. He lived out His live with positive faith, not fear. He had enough faith to die for us so that God’s good purpose could begin to come about in us.
~ Love always hopes; always perseveres. Love can endure all things. It refuses to see failure as final and it lasts. Love never fails. Isn’t it comforting to know that God’s love never fails? If it had, you and I wouldn’t have the freedom to have that relationship with Him.
In looking at what love is, I’ve come to “see” a few things about this place I call home. We live sheltered lives in America and, according to some; one would have to go overseas to a third world country to
make a difference when that is not the case. It starts here. It starts now. It starts today — in your own backyard.
Do you know the neighbor who lives across the street? The single mother trying to make ends meet just so her kids would have a roof over their heads? How about the guy in the cubicle next to yours at work? Does he go home to nothing? Or the family down the street? Mr. Smith lost his job just before Christmas and they may be losing their home.
I’ve been told that I laugh way too much. Why; when there is humor to be found in many things? God has a massive sense of humor. Why shouldn’t I? I sometimes find myself pondering the thought that He was laughing the day I was born. A self-proclaimed klutz and titled Walking Lawsuit – so lovingly coined by my college roommate – I’ve discovered that life is far too to take it too seriously. Why not laugh when biffing it in the parking lot or face-planting into the door…as long as I’m okay, right? Why get all worked up over being dyslexic when it comes to speaking at times? Or reading for that matter? I’ve also found that laughter, outside of mathematics, is one thing that all nations have in common. Laughter brings joy to all who exercise it.
Believing in something that cannot be seen may seem radical to some. I once heard that faith is like the wind. You can’t see it but, oh boy, you can feel it. It’s a deep sense that He’s there. God blessed me with an amazing upbringing that I, mostly, wouldn’t trade anything for. Both of my parents believe and instilled that faith in me, starting the day I was born. I used to read stories
from a children’s picture Bible (still my favorite book to this day) and I attended a Christian grade school up until 8th grade. Memorizing scripture really does wonders on the heart and I find myself recalling a lot of those words when I desperately need them even as an adult. What do you put your trust in?
is short. Live a life of worship, from sun-up to sun-down. Love with
everything you have and as if you’ve never been hurt. Laugh at the little things (and often). Finally, believe with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.