The Color of Love

love color

There are many blog posts circulating about Valentine’s Day and the release of a new movie which has captivated millions.  I won’t even try to argue on here whether or not a Christian should support it- because many godly, eloquent-writing and speaking people have done that already.  I am simply going to write about what love is.  We need to know what God intended for love or else we will always be confused and searching.  Just as you can’t tell counterfeit bills until you have studied the original, so you can’t tell the differences in love until you have seen true love.

The issue isn’t just about a book series or a movie release, it’s about the pornography, homosexuality, domestic abuse, sex trafficking, pre-marital sex,  and other “love” issues that are bombarding our society.  I’m not even going to write my own personal thoughts because I’m not a wife, a therapist, or a counselor who is certified or experienced in these subjects.  This blog post is simply sharing parts of the Letter which God has written to us.  There are a lot more verses than what I shared that talk about God’s love, God’s design for love between man and woman, and the answers about love for which we have been searching, so I encourage you to do your own reading of God’s love letter.  You will be excited with what you find because God intended true love to be beautiful and lovely.  May we each discover and live in the brilliant hues of love that God designed, instead of searching for fulfillment and romance in the shadows.

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.   And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”- Genesis 2:18-24 (KJV).

“So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.”- Genesis 29:20 (NLT)

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?”- Job 31:1 (ESV)

“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”- Proverbs 6:32-33 (ESV)

“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”- Song of Solomon 8:7 (NIV)

“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”- Malachi 2:16 (ESV)

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”- Matthew 5:28 (ESV)

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” – Romans 1:26-27 (NIV)

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”- Romans 12:10

“Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”- Romans 13:13 (ESV)

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV).

“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”- 1 Corinthians 6:13 (ESV)

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.   Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.   Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.   The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.   Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.  But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.  For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.   And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.   But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.   And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.   But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.   For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?“- 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 (KJV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”- 2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”- Ephesians 4:31-32

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.“- Ephesians 5:1-33 (KJV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”- Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV) 

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”- Colossians 3:5 (ESV)

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.   Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”- Colossians 3:18-19 (NIV)

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (ESV)

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”- Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”- 1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”- 1 John 4:18a (NIV)

May you have a beautiful Valentine’s weekend living in the color of love as God intended!

Blooming in January

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I was delighted to wake up this morning and see my pomegranate plant embellished with a gorgeous flower.  What a cheery morning greeting; I couldn’t help but feel happy, despite the cold morning of January 31st.

It’s anyone’s guess why it is blooming in January.  Pomegranates usually only bloom in spring and summer; but since my green thumb is partially black, I probably did some forbidden gardening rule which confused my poor little plant.

This little bloom started me thinking about myself and the way I handle life.  When wintertime comes to me through questions, trials, unfulfilled dreams, health concerns, and whatever else the blizzard blows my way, I often shrivel up and shrink into the deep dark shadow of myself.  I start to look and feel like most of my plants who go dormant for winter.  There is no color, there are no blooms, there are no leaves, there is absolutely NOTHING.  People around me even wonder if I am alive anymore.  Oh yes, I can bloom well and be fully alive when the spring of life flows over me with its scent of cherry blossoms, hues of lavender, and touch of sunbeams; but so can all the other plants.  That is when they all burst out of their shell and blossom.

But to do what my little pomegranate plant is doing feels impossible.  If I was sitting in its flowerpot, I would say that the window’s draft is too cold, much to cold to think about blooming.  I would complain that there isn’t enough sunlight during the winter months to gain enough strength for blooming.  I would make the excuse that there will be plenty of time to bloom when my roots are planted deeply into the earth’s soil at transplant time.

And so I would sit there on the shelf, oblivious to the joy and beauty that comes from blooming during winter.  A blessing comes to us, when no matter how cold our Januaries are, we BLOOM!  It’s easy to let the blizzards of life push us into a dead hibernation which separates us from God and everyone else.  I have been there plenty of times.  I feel as if I have nothing left to give, no energy to keep up relationships, and no heart to talk to God.

That is exactly what the blizzard wants us to do; it wants us to be missing out on the joy of blooming- because there is joy in blooming.  Yes, it is tiring and hard; but it is worth it.  Blooming takes effort and time, but it brings color and beauty into one’s own life and the lives of others.

God wants us to come to Him when the trials blow our way.  He wants us to show the world that the light in our hearts and the joy in our spirits isn’t based on what happens to us, but on Who lives within us.  He wants us to find the joy that comes from serving and reaching into the lives of those around us.  When we reach out, we start to forget about ourselves.  Our lives may be facing dark, grey winters, but our hearts are alive with SPRING.