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Smitten

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“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Smitten

One meaning of smitten is an intense love for someone that exceeds all boundaries. In the most positive sense, it exemplifies the true meaning of loving with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. It is absolutely unconditional, requiring nothing, but giving everything. As a hopeful romantic, I still believe it exists and should be the ultimate goal. But, it is not flesh and bones; it is spirit and commitment. For feelings alone will always fade, but true love endures.

Live in the Present

5F962604-2EC1-4410-BBA2-3D923BB4DC71“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Our church message today is that God is always with us each moment and we must live in the present.  The many distractions of this world tend to misdirect our focus on things that do not bring us closer to God.  Indeed we should be still, away from the “noise” and feel God’s presence.  Only then can we live to our true identity.  As the new week begins, I will strive to stay in the moment and live in this awareness and stop worrying about what lies ahead.  God is with us always and will be there forever and all we have to do is have Faith.

Friends

1A53C225-0385-4AB6-A484-D4646838458D“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Friends

Many people I know claim to have numerous friends. While I admire hundreds of people, I have come to realize that I have a small cadre of true friends. As the Proverb states, a real friend is closer than a brother. During some of the most difficult periods in my life, a handful of people actually gave me their unwavering support. Some of my “friends” distanced themselves and gossiped about my misfortunes. As the wise saying goes, “true friends walk in when others walk out”. Now I am not so vain as to think I have always been a true friend to others either. Being a true friend requires sacrifice and I have not always been able to fulfill that role. Perhaps my own standards have limited how many friends I have. Still I will press onward and try to love others as commanded.

Vanity

93A2229E-9573-44C7-A656-833658BE3E5F“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Vanity

One of my favorite movies is The Devil’s Advocate.  In it, Al Pacino, portraying the devil, states that vanity is his favorite sin.  Our culture has promoted “beauty” to the point that we often lose focus on what is most important. Social media has become our “reality”, which can be beautified to portray “perfect” lives. Apparently this perfect life facade has left many people feeling inadequate in their real lives, resulting in depression and suicide.  In addition, over the last few years, there have been hundreds of deaths from accidents relating to taking selfies.  In the past week, a young female model fell off a cliff in Australia trying to catch that perfect pic.  While looking one’s best is clearly beneficial, there must be a higher priority placed on one’s inner self.  That inner beauty is always more attractive ultimately.

Gratitude for Life

B46453F7-2851-4221-85AE-69E3CFC4296E“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There have been functional MRI studies that show that positive thinking can lead to “rewiring” in the brain that accounts for better moods.  It is truly amazing that we do have this control of ourselves.  I know that our society casts many unpleasant circumstances upon us, but the way we handle these challenges affects our well being; so, it is wise to count our blessings and express gratitude for them—it keeps us healthy!

Weddings

0AFB6CC4-47D2-4488-981B-E30F92C834BA“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.””
‭‭John‬ ‭2:1-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Weddings

As my daughter prepares for her wedding, I reflected upon weddings in general. These ceremonies have lots of common traditions around the world. Most have music, flowers, dancing, fancy dresses, food and drink. They have ignited an entire industry! (Google ‘weddings’) Obviously the most important thing is the union of two people who vow to love each other as long as they live. However, there is much cynicism about marriage among our society that has probably resulted from the high divorce rate and lack of commitment. Recently one young woman told me that many people her age don’t think marriage is necessary because humans are not meant to mate for life—they change and need to change companions to accommodate their needs and desires. Certainly we have become more self centered and feel more independent, despite our ultimate frailty and dependence on so many things. Perhaps weddings themselves have become the main reason for many to want to be married. Seemingly we have become a pleasure driven world.

 

 

My Heart

0CC74BA5-2F8E-4E0A-B1AB-3B9BC76C2F63“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today I am feeling thankful for a loving God that has saved me by Grace.  Everyday I realize how hard life can be and how my very nature is sinful.  It is The Spirit that guides me and comforts me and convicts me, revealing the Light and the Way.  Trying to  perfect myself without Him is impossible for me.  I am weak failing flesh, but He is life.  I fall, but He lifts me up.  I worry, but He whispers “fear not”.  For me at least, Faith is tough work, but I know that it has rewards beyond my imagination. With His presence, I will endure.