Love is a choice

Timeless Truth: Love is a choice. (Hosea 3)

This was something that I first began to think about when we read 1 Corinthians and the topic of love destroyed me.  To look at the difference of the way that the bible defines love and the way that the world defines love is insane.  It’s not even close.  The world defines love much like a feeling and defines it in the way that it can fade.  It also talks about loving a cup of coffee or loving the shirt that you are wearing.  Yes you can like a shirt you are wearing or you can like a cup of coffee but you don’t necessarily love it.  The Bible defines love in a completely different way.  1 Corinthians 13:4 says that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing.  Love never ends.”  This verse has so much in it and yet so many people just read it like a feel good kind of thing.  It is one of those verses that so many people know but don’t fully understand.  If people fully understood love the way that God intended it to be this world would be completely different.

This wrecked me when I read chapter three and it all started making sense.  I have always known that love is a choice but putting the relationship that Hosea had with his wife, the relationship that God has with his people and us and then looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4 it all makes more sense.  Looking at the definition of love in 1 Corinthians and then matching it with the way that God loved and still loves us makes perfect sense.  Hosea had to go through so much.  He was rejected and he was torn apart into pieces and he was wrecked and betrayed so many times and yet he chose to love his wife.  He was patient with her and he was kind to her.  He didn’t really have anything to boast about.  He knew the truth of the Lord and he knew that he was called to love her.  He believed in it and endured everything that came at him in his marriage.  His love for her never ended and he stuck with her to the end and then redeemed her.

Throughout the entire Old Testament Israel rejects God and they reject the one that had given them so much and God just sits there and takes it all and still chooses to love them.  They turned to every God but him and he still chose to redeem them.  They were so lost and living in sin and yet he sent his son to die for the people that had rejected him.  He is love and chose to love his people through everything.

My entire life I have been told about the love of God.  I feel like it was shoved down my throat when I was little and it started to mean nothing.  “Yeah but Jesus loves you”, is what people would say and I didn’t even care anymore.  I had never felt the love of God before and it didn’t make sense.  I have rejected him my whole life.  I was like Gomer and I turned to everything that wasn’t from the Lord and he still was there the whole time just waiting for me to turn around.  God’s love in indescribable and I hope it never stops blowing me away.

Chelsea Brosh (Canada)

Samuels Application

1 & 2 Samuels Final Application

I have never been so appreciative of any book in the bible than this one for we as men see how to walk as a faithful man of God and what it looks like rather than how we think we should act and live. God himself looks down to the people, wanting to communicate His ways of living out in world but also to the people around us. For he knows the intensions of our hearts and how we would end up if we wanted to live the way we chose to live bringing only pain, toil, war, scandal, destruction, adultery, etc. God himself shows us first-hand what a people group becomes through trying to mimic the ways of the world rather than the ways of God.Through Him leading us brings peace, love, kindness , prosperity, happiness, joy, etc. and a light in showing others that there is a One and only God YHWH. A God centered life not only promises a meaningful life but serves as a example in how God intended it to look like; intimacy with Him and God’s heart for man. A man can define himself successfully by power, wealth, and women but sheds a way the true beauty of life. There is absolutely nothing more glorious than the way God delights in His children in promising an inheritance with Him through his Son being a place filled with joy and worshipping to Him all the days of our life. Our character should reside to reflect God in all ways throughout all nations to give people hope in life and fullfillment otherwise wickedness creeps in and a nation or nations and are led to a Chaos order that only brings to it’s own destruction. A man of God doesn’t look to the powers of the darkness in the world but lives only for the purpose of being a light for God to manifest His glory, love, and presence to those lost in sin. To fullfill such a important task in life to winning souls for the sake of the kingdom of God is portray Christ in living as a copy of him and seeking the quiet place in admiring and consulting God for all vision, character, humilty, power, and presenting myself worthy of him everyday to intercede on behalf of people becoming radically saved by the power of the Spirit of God and to know him more personally all the days of my life.

-Hunter Smith-

The Meaning of Life

Timeless Truth: The Bible consists of truth & wisdom concerning all aspects of life.

Meaning of Life

I’ve always loved Ecclesiastes because of the deep, philosophical questions it raises, but I never realized that the main question that Solomon deals with is the very question that mankind has wrested with from the beginning of time, “What is the meaning of life?” I really wrestled with this before knowing God. All people wrestle with this exactly because; “God has put eternity into man’s heart.” What I’ve learned throughout the years of my Christian walk and through this book is that seeking after the meaning of life is rather selfish; what we should ask ourselves is, “What is my purpose in life?” How can I partner with God and the meaningful things that He is doing “under the sun?” The reality of our situation is that sin created a big mess, therefore we have to deal with a painful world, but the joy and satisfaction we have is that we can do something about it. We can give life much more meaning by helping others to find God, so that they also can partake in the Eternal Glory that awaits us; the Eternal Glory that will make all “the toil under the sun” worth it!

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”  -Pablo Picasso

Although Pablo Picasso was not a Christian, we can interpret this quote spiritually. God has given us all different gift and abilities so that we can partner with Him in ways that we will enjoy. We ought to know our identity and the gifts that we’ve been given in order to pursue a righteous calling that will serve to advance the Kingdom of God. Our purpose is to give. To serve as Jesus served, so that people will be drawn to Him and come to know Him. As a response to the message of Ecclesiastes I want to become more aware of whom God created me to be and how I can grow in the gifts that he has given me. I also want to make more of an effort to help people understand that everything here on earth is vain and fleeting – that God is the only one who can satisfy our deepest desires.

Stay true to your calling

Stay true to your calling regardless of the circumstance.

(Inspired by Luke 14:27 – “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”)

The book of Luke paints a beautiful picture of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. I am amazed by the power of God at work through the miracles he performs, the compassion that he has for the lost and brokenhearted, and by his authoritative teaching that transforms and renews our minds. God sent his one and only son to die as a living sacrifice, so that we may have eternal life.

We deserve no such thing. Jesus was innocent.
He is so full of love.

Jesus was holy and blameless, the only human being free of sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Yet because God did not want us to perish, he sacrificed his very own son, that we might become righteous before God and dwell with him forever. This is the epicenter of our faith; the ultimate gift in which we cannot be grateful enough, neither can we fully comprehend it.

What profoundly stood out to me in this account of Jesus’ life though, was the walk to Jerusalem. The fact that he was perfectly aware of the outcome of that walk, and that he still chose to walk it, and that he had the courage and strength to finish it.

He knew that one of his very own disciples would betray him, (and loose his soul by doing so.) And that another disciple, a close friend of his, would turn his back on him; disowning him three times. He knew that he would be delivered over to the Gentiles. That he would be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. He knew that he would be flogged and killed. He knew.

But he kept walking.

How?

That is my question.

For a people so underserving of such a gift. For a people enslaved to sin and slow to repent. For a people so greedy, so arrogant and so careless. If it were for his family, his friends or for someone else he cared about we could possibly grasp it. But for a people who rejected him, mocked him and mistreated him? It would take extraordinary strength and courage to take those steps towards Jerusalem.

What really moved me to tears and convicted my very core is Jesus’ character throughout the book of Luke. Try to imagine for just a second; willingly stepping into betrayal, hatred, public humiliation, and excruciating pain to the point of death.

Have you ever been cheated or betrayed, humiliated for standing up for something you know to be true, tortured both physically and emotionally, not accepted by someone you love dearly? We have all been pained in ways we thought we would never recover from because it hurt so much. Jesus went through all of the above at the very same time.

He carried it all at once.

But his character remained the same. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” His love towards the people did not alter. He did not shrink back in fear and despair. He chose to keep healing, to teach and to love. He did not let the frightening task at hand keep him from serving his Father in Heaven wholeheartedly. He remained faithful, compassionate, patient and loving although he knew no one that could relate to his pain. He had no one to encourage or to console him, yet he kept walking in truth and in love.

Too often I allow my circumstances define my willingness to serve God. I justify my slothfulness by feeling weary and burdened, although Christ has offered to take that yoke upon himself. I neglect my responsibilities as a follower of Christ when things aren’t working out perfectly for me. When I feel distressed or tired or wronged in some way or another. Bearing one’s cross and following Jesus in the good times is easy, but we cannot call ourselves true disciples if we do not bear our cross through the tough times. It is when a challenge arises or when pain is inflicted that our true character should shine forth in a Christ-like manner. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other.” I do not want to allow my circumstances or my emotions define my willingness to serve God any longer. I want to make conscious efforts to act in the opposite spirit when my fleshly desires are against the desires of God. I no longer want my emotions to steer my walk with the Lord. I want the fruits of the spirit to shine through me in times when I feel like acting in them the least.

Claudia J. Maniscalco (SBS Student 2012-2013)