In 1894, Scottish evangelist Henry Drummond shared a message — The Greatest Thing in the World — based on 1 Corinthians 13. His little talk on the Bible passage was soon published, and it’s never been out of print. My copy is from the 1950’s, and written inside is “Janet, My love, Aunt Ruth.”
I remember when I first read the passage in the Bible and saw that the words describing true Love are all action words, not emotions. That was a lightbulb moment for me. Take time to read 1 Corinthians 13. Maybe what it says will give you a new idea about love, like it did for me.
I love these words from C. S. Lewis on how heartbreak can be something God uses to bring you nearer to Him. That sure was true for me.
“We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.
As we look at the relationships in our own lives we might ask the following questions. Am I holding back my love toward God and others out of the fear of being wounded in the fray? If so, am I willing to begin to trust God with my life and open up the gateways to my heart so that I can both give and receive love as God intended me to do?” (from “The Risk of Love,” The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19 (ESV)
The Holy Life: A Book for Christians Seeking the Rest of Faith was written in 1875 by the Rev. Evan H. Hopkins. My copy is embossed with a stamp that reads “Sea Pines School for Girls, Massachusetts, Incorporated 1911.”
Though my mother loved Christmas decorations and the legend of Santa Claus, she was clear with her children about the true meaning of Christmas. The holiday would not pass without the telling of the holy story.
That brings me to my favorite childhood Christmas memory of all.
One of the words I use to describe my mother is resourceful. She used what she had to run our household, and she made sure that we children did the same. Money was scarce, and we didn’t ask for much. Perhaps that is what made Christmas so special for us. After a full year of not asking, we received something.
Reading Mr. Jones, Meet the Master, a book of sermons and prayers, triggered a significant change to my life. A friend encouraged me to buy a paperback we saw at a yard sale, I read it, and, through Peter Marshall’s words, I met a Jesus that no one had been telling me about. In these sermons, Jesus seemed so personal — someone I could really know — and I wondered why he was not being presented to me in that way.
God also used Marshall’s sermons to show my lack of Bible doctrine, even though I had been attending a church regularly for almost two years. I questioned and eventually left that church, and God led me to one that did not stray from the Gospel and the Bible’s truths.
Years later, during one of our church library giveaways, I found this 1953 hardcover edition to add to my collection of treasures.
As I was sorting through storage boxes last weekend, I was surprised to find the pages of the remarks I made at my mother’s memorial service. She died 22 years ago today (November 5), and the service was held a week later. Mom had requested that each of her children prepare something to read at the service. Though we had been far from her heart and life for decades, our mother still expected her children to honor her at her death. Some of us did. Of her six children, my brother Norman, sister Sandra, and I attended her memorial service and shared our words.
A friend and fellow church member, artist Susan Savage depicts her Christian faith through paintings. Earlier this month, Susan presented this stunning oil-on-canvas painting, titled Delivered, to our church, where it now graces a wall in the prayer room.
Excerpts from her statement about the painting:
A shiny silver vessel sits triumphantly atop a nest of sharply pointed thorns. A red ribbon weaves its way through the torturous thicket and pours itself out behind a draped white cloth. The material substance of the silver vessel, delivered from its own refining fire of tribulation, stands as a testament to what Jesus Christ endured on the cross, and serves as a reminder of His loving and redemptive sacrifice for humankind.
This painting exemplifies the foundational core of the Christian faith. It is a reminder that Christ died in our place to rescue us from our sins. He died that we may live. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, His shed blood, and His resurrection from the grave, those who believe in Him are given victory over physical death.
"But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing: It is the gift of God ..." (Ephesians 2:4,5,8)
I find myself drawn to the “pen” when I experience emotional pain. Writing a fictional story helps me to turn the pain into something that I hope will help others who may be experiencing the same. This is one of those stories.
For Inez, clearing her mind of the ugly words was the hardest part. Prayer, verses, sweet worship with friends. Nothing seemed able to displace what Yola had said. The words hung there, accompanied by a heaviness inside that weighed down her soul.
The cool evenings of fall always bring out my desire for lingering in the kitchen, after a summer of quickly-prepped meals to avoid the heat. Recently, I decided to have spaghetti, and as I cooked up a batch for dinner, memories of my mother and her creative cooking came to mind.
Creative, not in how she cooked, but how she stretched what she cooked.
I sensed that I wasn’t the only one with my gaze directed toward her. She was not easy to ignore.
A young woman — beautiful face, clothes casual and colorful, long hair swinging as she made her way to the corner. She carried a loaded backpack, but its weight didn’t affect her happy gait. A man passed by her with a lingering look that might have caused discomfort for others.