Friday, December 6, 2013

"Counting Joy & Unwrapping Love in the Hardest Seasons" by Jennifer O. White

Psalm 136:1-3 (MSG)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.

We face the end of a year.  As we finish 2013, we will have enjoyed 365 fresh new days of being completely loved by the same God that sustains the universe.

Have I received His love as He poured it into my life minute after minute? Have you?

I believe the hardships of 2013 helped me to experience His love more than ever.  In desperation for strength and wisdom to endure the emotional roller coaster and pressures of my father’s terminal illness, I was asking God for help as much as I was breathing.

Counting it all Joy
There have been days when rage and anger trumped any hope of joy.  Those were the days that my pride was duking it out with my desire to imitate Jesus.  Early in 2013, God answered my prayer for help with this statement:  “Ask me to slay your pride.”  I said "yes" and asked Him for His help in dying to myself.

One of the ways He addressed my pride was showing me how much I compared myself to others.  Then He pointed out that Jesus offered grace to law violators and wild love to people He knew to be enemies.

With loving kindness and extensive mercy, He has been reducing me to love – His definition of love.  I count every moment of this year filled with trial upon trial to be a life-saving gift from God to me.

Are you struggling to know you are loved?  Do you sense that your version of love is lacking?  

Let these words, recently penned by my brother, carve away the delusions about love and embrace God’s Truth - His perfect love.

The mind cannot help you love.
Analytical thinking is the enemy of love.
Pride is an enemy of love.
Ambition is an enemy of love.
Loving the things of the world is an enemy of love.
Fear is an enemy of love.
Hiding and lies are enemies of love.
Knowledge without love is an enemy of love.
Greed and cowardice are enemies of love.
Jealousy and covetousness are enemies of love.
Ungratefulness and carelessness are enemies of love.
Self is an enemy of love.

Love without truth is foolishness, and Truth without love is cruel and hopeless.  Love is neither foolish nor cruel.

Truth and Love are inseparable.  Neither one is capable of truly existing without the other.

Love cannot be acquired.
Love cannot be achieved.
Love cannot be bought.
Love cannot be coerced.
Love cannot be faked.
Love cannot be changed.
Love cannot evolve.
Love cannot be rushed.

Love is simply love, and it lives in the light of day.  It lights like a dove upon a heart that has given up on there being anything else redeeming or true or worthwhile in itself or in the entire universe that can be attained for oneself.

Love is the pearl of great price, which can only become visible when everything else in your hands falls to the ground to decay, and a human being realizes that any selfish pursuit will end in dismay and isolation.  When a man lays himself down to die once and for all to himself so that he may see the redeeming beauty in other people and God's nature, only then can love come to live with you and in you, when it is prized and sought out above all else.

Oh, to be as the earth:  The lowest of all, content to be overlooked by most and despised by some, yet supporting life and growth to all that choose to find refuge in it, a quiet and faithful servant of all, even the weeds.

That, my friend, is love.  That is God, and He is the pearl of greatest price.

May love be found in me...and in you.

Jennifer O. White l Prayerfully Speaking
Author, Speaker & Encourager 
Prayerfully Speaking @jenniferowhite

Jennifer White pursues God in prayer with the Bible as her guide.  She leads others to do the same at Prayerfully Speaking.  Wife to David is her highest calling.  She recently completed her first book "Prayers for new Brides: Putting on the Armor After the Wedding Dress". #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK with her that God is and does "more than we can ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20). #GodAnswers

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