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Agape

I volunteer weekly at my local pregnancy center. It is one of the greatest joys and privileges I have to be able to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of expecting and new mamas around me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me, “Are you ever surprised by who comes in there? Like, are most of them beautiful girls or do you look at some and think, ‘How do you even have a boyfriend?'”

I was kind of taken aback by the question. She didn’t intend to be mean; she meant it honestly, even if it was thoughtless. I pondered for a minute in confusion before answering.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been surprised by who comes in. Maybe saddened and grieved by their stories but not surprised. When I go there, I have pre-determined to love whoever walks through that door and so every single girl that comes in is beautiful to me before I even know them. I already love them.”

I’ve thought a lot about that conversation since then and I still believe what I said is true. I did a study awhile back in 1, 2, and 3 John and the most valuable thing I got out of it was a definition of agape love:

Agape: an intelligent, purposeful attitude of esteem and devotion, a selfless, purposeful, outgoing attitude that desires to do good to the one loved.

Pretty convicting, huh? Even more so if you look up how many times THAT is the word that is translated to love in our Bibles. Agape love is one that denies myself and seeks the best for another person. It’s not based on emotions but it’s an act of the will, an intentional choice to love someone else sacrificially. Boy, that’s hard!

And yet isn’t that how Christ loves us? He doesn’t love us based on our beauty, our lovableness, good works, or desirableness. We are none of those things. It’s purely a pre-determination to SET his love on us. He CHOOSES to love us. And we are called to do the same, whether we feel like it or not.

What was more convicting for me was that I realized I do this easily at the pregnancy center but I drift off in other areas of my life. Have I made that pre-determination to agape every. single. person. I know? That’s harder and yet that’s what I am commanded to do.

1 John 3:16-18
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

(Really, you should just read all of 1 John 🙂 )

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2020 in encouragment

 

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Answering Charlie Brown

I hear people say all the time that they have stopped watching the news because it’s just all bad stuff happening anymore. It’s too depressing. Admittedly, I can be one of those people. In the past couple of months, it seems like every time I open my local newspage, there is a tragic story that indirectly affects me. And every time I’m reminded:

This world is broken.

As I sit and listen to young women tell me their life stories at our local pregnancy center, I hear things that should never happen. Stories of abuse, drugs, sexual immorality, distrust, hurt, and loneliness. My heart aches with pain and I’m reminded:

Our hearts are broken.

When I talk to people about their beliefs and hear the mixed up lies in their heads, things they have been taught by the world since their birth, I get overwhelmed. I hear the disconnect and confusion in their hearts that they refuse to even admit and I know they long for a Savior. I’m reminded:

Our souls are broken.

Sometimes it’s really overwhelming. Where do I even begin to unravel the mess in this world? When someone drops their whole life’s problems at your feet, where do you even start? How do I combat the lies, the evil, the utter brokenness that’s rampant everywhere I look?

And then I’m reminded:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:6-11

One of the best words in the whole Bible is BUT. The world is broken, our lives are a mess, and our souls are desperate BUT God has made a way to heal that which is broken. For his glory, God sent his Son to deliver us from our brokenness and despair, to reconcile our sinful hearts to himself, and to redeem our souls for eternity. The only hope I have to offer anyone in this world is that of Christ and fortunately that is all any of us need.

And THAT’S what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas, friends.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2019 in salvation

 

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