Choking on Chocolate and Finding True Love: Part 2

So it’s been a while, but you know, I had Valentine’s Day to celebrate! Unfortunately with lingering cold that started this past week.

Now that we know Perfect Love is God, how can we receive this love? We are certainly not worthy of it. We can’t earn it. God simply desires to love us and there is nothing you can do about it! But in the real world, sometimes it feels like God is far away. It feels like there is no evidence to show that He is loving us.

Have you ever taken the Love Language test? Chances are you have. Most of us have been pretty interested at one point or another how it is we receive affection- is it gift giving, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, or quality time?

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

After defining what love is, the question becomes how do you receive love?

So this brings us to a light bulb moment- God is able to give you love in whatever way you receive it.

God is perfectly able to perfectly express love to us. He already did. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” This expression is the greatest way God has proved His love for us, but it does not end at the cross and the empty grave. He is present today, still yearning to pour out His great love for us.

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He doesn’t need to explain it to us. It is Him. It’s His nature to love us.

For example, have you ever noticed how sometimes people receive financial gifts or had prophetic words spoken over them? I submit to you that God showed those people love according to their love language. Because He is love, He can perfectly speak the language in whatever way you understand it. He can speak it because He wrote it. He is  true love.

Do you understand love through quality time? Spend some time in prayer, just reveling in God’s presence. Do you understand love through words of affirmation? Remember times when God has sent someone to give you encouragement. Acts of service? Think of all the blessings God has given you.

God can speak your love language. He wrote it. All you need to do is let God love you.

Finish February strong my friends,

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Annamarie

Choking on Chocolate and Finding True Love: Part 1

As we approach the horrible sappiness and excessive expression of emotion and gag-me-with-a-spoon romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to take a few moments of your time to explore what true love is.

In general, I find Valentine’s Day overpriced, over-advertised, and over-done. I eat to much chocolate and get all cynical. And its possible to almost choke! But that story’s for another time because the original story of how the first Valentine’s came to be is a truly sweet story of pure love.

(SPOILER ALERT: True love DOES NOT EQUAL Romantic love)

A long time ago, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage and engagements because he believed that his soldiers would be unwilling to fight for fear of attachment and loved ones left at home. Valentine, a priest, defied this command and kept performing marriages. While he was in prison, waiting for the sentence of execution, he became friends with the jailor’s blind daughter, Julia. Friends– as in a mentor/father-like figure.

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Over the course of their friendship, Julia became a Christian and was healed of her blindness. On the day he was to die, Valentine left a good-bye note encouraging Julia and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

Valentine showed what true love was to Julia; he was her friend and cared about her well being despite his circumstances. How did Valentine know what love was?

Love is a decidedly curious and strange emotion. We can feel it for food or clothes, which is pretty shallow in the big scheme of things, or we can feel it for people. The range of nouns we can feel love for is so vast and different that finding the real definition of love is almost impossible. Almost.

1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Right there, we find that God is love.

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Because He is love, now I look at 1 Corinthians 13, the universally known love chapter. How about a little of Socrates’ deductive reasoning?

God is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says what love is. Therefore, it is speaking of the characteristics of God.

“God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.”

I guess the real question is not “what is love?” but “who is love?”

God.

He is patient and kind when we run around like willful children, intent on getting our way. He chooses to forget how much we hurt Him with our actions and words of anger towards Him. He always protects us, always believes the best of us, and will always accept us whether or not we choose to run back to Him.

God is love.

His love is unconditional. His love is never-ending. His love is pure. Nothing you have ever done or ever will do will make God love you less!

So as we approach this Valentine’s Day, as roses’ thorns prick and balloons pop and candy-grams invade, stop a moment to just realize what perfect love is.

It is not a carriage ride into the sunset with a prince. It is definitely not 50 Shades of Grey. It’s not how much discount chocolate my friends buy me on February 15th.

Perfect Love is God.

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Happy Valentine’s Day people.

Annamarie

Dream of Flying

When I was a child, my grandmother had a live actor Peter Pan movie that we got to watch when we spent the night. The best part of that movie? They got to fly! They literally left the floor and were zooming around the T.V. screen!

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Of course, I didn’t know about the wires they were hooked up to. All I saw was faith, trust, a bit of pixie dust, and magical flight. I would dream of leaping off the stairs in our house and floating along, defying gravity. My dreams were so real, I’m still a bit surprised I never actually tried it.

How wonderful would it be- to leap off the edge of a cliff and know that you would catch air and soar above canyons and waterfalls, seeing the world from the sky?

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I dream of flying.

Better still, I simply dream.

Too often, our dreams are left behind in the dust as our reality sets in. I may dream of flying, but I also dream of graduating summa cum laude, of traveling the world, of being a physical therapist, of helping to heal the broken. My reality is that I barely passed chemistry, I have less than $200 in my checking account, and graduating PT school is three long years away. How do I hold onto making my dreams a reality?

I can’t stop dreaming. But I also can’t stop living.

I must be practical and plan ahead. I must realize that I don’t have enough money to pay for a round trip plane ticket anywhere. I must batten down the hatches and prepare for three years of intense studying and dedication.

But I’ll still dream of flying.

I’ll still keep looking out my window on rainy days, and hear Peter Pan’s voice in my head, “I can fly! I can fly! I can fly!”

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One day, without meaning too, I will have taken flight. I will wake up in some foreign country, doing a job I love and realize that in that strange dimension where dreams and reality combine, I am living my dreams. They may not be the Never Land I saw through the rose-colored glasses of youth and naivety, but it will be my flight. My reality. My dreams.

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So keep dreaming. Keep planning. Keep living. Don’t get discouraged while you are finding your wings and learning how to become who you want to be.

The days of your life will pass you by, a steady march through the time you have been given. Paint your reality with the stuff of dreams. Challenge yourself to a higher standard, to a grander vision of what you want to accomplish. You need to dream.

Don’t dream of falling though. Dream that you can fly.

Annamarie