Love is the greatest

loveI love love! I love romantic love in Hallmark movies. I love mama love. I love hearts and flowers and all things associated with love, so naturally 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite chapters to read.

I have read this passage so many times. I have heard preachers dissect 1-12 many times. They have explained it as a way to strive to live, a way to act in marriage, and even a way to act toward others.

Recently, I went to a bible journaling class. It was my niece’s birthday, so I took her and her friend. We settled in with all of our supplies which included new colored pencils AND a mechanical pencil. I was happy girl and so was Lilly and her friend! We colored and laughed. We drew hearts and squiggles to get the feel for the artwork. Before we left, we were instructed to go home, meditate on I Corinthians 13:13, and then draw or paint or whatever. I thought, “easy peasy.” I knew the verse. I knew love.

I took Lilly off to her next leg of the birthday celebration day, returned her friend safely home, and then I went home. I pulled out all of my art supplies, extra paper,  and pens. I sat at the table and read I Corinthians 13:13 over and over again. I began to draw and then write. I wondered why these three things. Why faith, hope, and love? What made love the greatest? What insight could I gain into this chapter that I had never heard before today? I prayed. I continued to write and then it hit me.

Faith and hope are what we need in this world, but love is what will carry us to the next. My mind was blown. There is was as plain as day. Love was the only one that was necessary, is necessary, and will be necessary. Love is the only one that we must keep and give away. We must have it and share it. Love is of God. Love is God. Faith and hope are important for us now. We need faith in God and hope in God, but without the love of God we are stuck here. Love is Jesus on the cross. Love is God sending Jesus. Love is resurrection. Love IS the greatest.

I have always considered my love(feelings) for others in this passage. I have considered God’s love(feelings) for us in this passage. I have considered God’s love(feelings) for others in this passage. I have never considered love=God in this passage. It was there all along. Combined with many other New Testament passages it is plain as day. I’m sure this is not a revelation for theologians or maybe even you, but for me it was real today. It was a reminder that there are no simple easy verses in the bible. No matter how many times you have read a passage, there is still more to learn. Never stop reading, friends. Never stop studying. Never underestimate the power of scripture.

Much LOVE, Peeps!

p.s.- This is my artwork in response to his word. What do ya think?

What is the cost of a gold tooth?

lillyMy brother and his little girl lived with us for a brief period of time. His little girl, Lilly, is my mini-me. She has lots of sass, a tiny filter, and her face can say more than her mouth which is a whole lot!

One afternoon, she and I were sitting on the couch coloring. I am not sure what we were coloring, but I am sure it was Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty or the like. Out of the clear blue, she looks at me and declares, “I have always wondered what it was like to have a gold tooth.”

I immediately begin to snicker, but as I have learned over the years there is no time for snickering when Lilly is sharing. I was busting at the seams trying to control my laughter as she continued to explain herself.

“If I had a gold tooth, I’d have to have an eye patch and a big hat with a giant feather AND a puffy shirt with a sword. I don’t really want to be a pirate, so I guess I will never know what it is like to have a gold tooth.”

And just like that, her wonder was over. She had calculated the cost and she wasn’t willing to become a pirate, so she didn’t get a gold tooth. I chuckle as I type, because this conversation still tickles me.

As I recall this seemingly innocent comment, I think about the wisdom in this silly story which was not silly at all to her. I think about her counting the cost of the gold tooth at merely four years old. She learned that there is a cost associated with the things that we want.

I also thought about her perception of a gold tooth and how she counted costs that weren’t really associated with having a gold tooth. As adults, we understand there is a monetary cost for gold, but there is no expectation of becoming a pirate associated with a gold tooth. I , however, very much understand counting costs that aren’t necessarily 100% real.

Have you ever been counting the cost and it got out of hand? Like, were you thinking, “I’d like to go on that short term mission trip to Africa this year.” Then you began to think,  ” I am not sure if I should go on a short term mission trip or not.” Shortly after watching a few YouTube videos about Africa, you decide that there are deadly critters that could bite you or even eat you and no one would ever know what happened to you. Your parents and children would spend all of their time and money looking for you with hopes of finding you in some remote cave still clinging to life. They would all be broke and homeless and still empty from not knowing the specifics of your demise.  THEN … you quickly decide that Africa is just not for you. After all, you wouldn’t want your entire family to become homeless, right?

How quickly our minds can get out of hand if they are left to their own devices. The Bible talks about counting the cost in Luke 14, but I don’t think this is what He had in mind. Counting costs of our actions is normal. Evaluating the pros and cons of any decision is just good stewardship. Its when we let our minds wonder through the endless “what ifs” we become paralyzed by fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 is one of my favorite verses. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” KJV 

If the fear is not from God, then neither are the “what ifs” that led us into the fear place. Fill your mind, heart, and spirit with truth and love from the Word. Step away from the “what ifs” of Satan (death, destruction, mayhem) and into the “what ifs” of God (salvation, heaven, peace).

And for that pressing question from the beginning …

What is the cost of a gold tooth? About $500. No pirate crew needed.

Much Love Peeps!