Tag Archives: love

Thanks For The Goodie Box!

You’re at college. After several tough nights of studying, you need some snacks. And guess what? A care package from home arrives. You open it with the joy of knowing that people are thinking about you, that you are loved, and that…you left some trash on the floor!?!?

Well, that was the surprise that Connor Cox got last week. Excited and expecting goodies in his box, Connor Cox was surprised to find trash instead. When he called his mom to ask if she had sent the wrong box, she said, “No, that’s the trash you were supposed to take out!”

Score one for moms everywhere.

You see, Connor had just gone back to college after a trip home. And his mother had told him to clean his room before he left. But Connor left without picking up cans, tissues, and other items off his floor. So his mother decided this was a “teachable moment” for her young scholar.

Of course, the box of trash was so much more than a good lesson; it was actually a message of love.

I see a frustrated mom who loves her son. She knows he needs to learn to clean up after himself. So, in an effort of love, she sent him…a box of trash. Thankfully, Connor apologized; we hope the lesson sticks.

Unfortunately, some people don’t appreciate a sermon on love when they hear one!

God loves His people so much that He is willing to send tough love sometimes. Consider Amos 4: “I gave you empty stomachs;” “I withheld the rain from you;” “I smote you with scorching wind;” “I sent a plague among you.” Now, if that isn’t love!

Confused? Think that isn’t love? But God had given them every blessing, every privilege, and they still refused to hear Him. They disobeyed. They refused to take out their spiritual trash.

So God sent the Israelites a “box of trash” to jolt them into remembering they should do better. Sadly, it doesn’t always work. But a good heart will apologize, as Connor did, learn the lesson, and try to do better.

Of course, not one of us has a clean spiritual room. We each have a trash box full of words, thoughts, and deeds. And even though we deserve far worse than a box of trash sent to our doorstep, in His grace and mercy, God forgave us and sent us the best gift ever – salvation.

So try to keep your room clean, call your mom to apologize for the messes you made, and thank your Father in Heaven for His gracious love!

A Cold-Hearted Old Long Syne? Heaven Forbid, My Heart Is His!

In 1788 Robert Burns wrote the Scottish poem, Auld Lang Syne. The most direct translation is “old long since,” but the idiom has a better meaning in “long, long ago,” or “days gone by,” or simply, “old times.”

Auld Lang Syne was certainly not a phrase that was original to Burns though. In fact, James Watson had printed a poem in 1711 called Old Long Syne. Both had based their ideas on what Burns called, “an old song, of the olden times” which he had “taken down from an old man.”

Watson’s poem opens:

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished, and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect, on old long syne.

CHORUS:
On old long syne my Jo [“Jo” means “dear”], on old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect, on old long syne.

While Burns’ Auld Lang Syne concentrates on better memories, Watson’s poem bemoans a love whose heart has grown so cold and love so extinguished that she can’t reflect on the long ago.

For God’s children, there would be nothing worse. God forbid that our hearts could grow so cold that we can’t, or won’t, remember! We gather every Sunday to sing the old story. We gather to remember Jesus’ sacrifice at the Lord’s Supper. We give our hearts completely. Why? Because our old, long since is alive and well, and our hearts are warm and loving.

As we begin our theme, at Clover, for 2017, “Pursuing the heart of God in all things,” we will consider what we love about our salvation. It is time for a check-up. How is your heart? Jesus is our spiritual cardiologist, and the prescription is God’s Word.

A New Year is a great time to start again. Begin a daily Bible reading; make a commitment to come to church; pursue God’s heart in all things. 

Remember the “old, long since,” is alive today!

Is Your Relationship A Publicity Stunt?

swift-hiddHas Taylor Swift finally found love? Is Tom Hiddleston off the market? The inquiring minds of the Internet want to know…and they aren’t happy! Why? Internet fans think the whole relationship is just a publicity stunt!

Now, I can’t imagine that Taylor Swift or Tom Hiddleston need more press. But, I suppose that even famous people can be dissatisfied when fan numbers aren’t peaking. So, is it possible that the love interest between these mega-stars is staged? Possibly. But Hiddleston’s producer and Swift’s friends have taken to social media to reject that idea. They say it is for real.

To be frank, this is a problem most of us will never face. Most people will never be asked, “Are you just going out with that person to increase your brand or marketing efforts?” Yet, I suppose, that in smaller ways, many people do go out with each other as an outward show rather than as an inward feeling.

The same is true of our relationship with God. In fact, dating God as a publicity stunt is probably one of the oldest versions of the Swift-Hiddleston conundrum. Is your union with God real? Or is it just for show?

In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?” Many people fail the relationship test. They just want to “be seen” with God. They think it is good for their business or friendships. They think that pretending to be with God is a great publicity stunt.

On the contrary, feigning affection for God isn’t appropriate, in any form. There is no faking it with God. Otherwise, our faith is just a publicity stunt for earthly fans.

God knows our hearts. He wants us to be a spiritual bride, giving ourselves completely and for the right reasons (Rev 19:7, Ephesians 5:22-33). When we are His, we are His completely, for real…and for the right reason – as an expression of our true love.

How Much Does Love Weigh?

love locks removedWhen does love weigh too much? Strange question, right? Can you really weigh love? I’ve heard of the cost of love, the meaning of love, and the depth of love. But how can one possibly weigh love?

The question was answered, as you might expect, in Paris, France. After all, Paris is the self-declared city of love and romance! So how much love is too much? 45 tons! And the French are saying, “au revoir” to the hefty love.

For about 10 years now, couples have been professing their love for one another by locking padlocks to the fencing of the famous Pont des Arts Bridge, in Paris. They scratch initials into the locks, lock them to the bridge, and then throw the key into the Seine below. There are an estimated 700,000 keys in the river!

But the weight of all that “love” has taken its toll on the 19th century bridge. So officials are taking action. And as “unromantic” as it seems, the fencing is being replaced with Plexiglas so the bridge and the boats below will be safe.

So…to be honest, it isn’t actually the love that weighed too much. Rather it was the “love locks.” Thankfully, true love doesn’t weigh a thing!

Unfortunately, though, some people experience love like a bridge with an extra 45 tons of baggage! In the name of love, people experience guilt, selfishness, ego, reminders of past mistakes, etc. These “locks” masquerade as love, but they are really barnacles weighing down your bridge.

Have your burdens been made light by the blood of Christ? Or does your religion (or lack of religion) bring you nothing but shame and guilt? When you come to know Jesus, it ought to feel like you just lost 45 tons of locks!

Consider Jesus’ words and ask yourself, “Do I feel more like the bridge or more like what Jesus described?”

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Lock yourself to God and throw away the key. He can handle the weight! He takes all our burdens, sins, and past mistakes. Why? Because His love doesn’t weigh anything…it lifts all burdens for those who live in Christ!