Posts tagged: love

LIVING HOPE- Hoping against Hope: 09/26/17

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By , September 26, 2017 5:03 pm
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We began our second lesson in the series LIVING HOPE with praise and worship singing  I Have a Hope by Tommy Walker, Solid Rock by Austin Stone and King of My Heart by Bethel.

Kathy continued the study with an examination of Abraham, our biblical example of faith and Living Hope.

THINK AGAIN-Cultivating the Mind of Christ; Love and Liberty: 03/14/17

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By , March 14, 2017 4:45 pm
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We began class today with a special time of praise by listening to a video “Inheritance (Live)” by  Jonathan David Helser and Song of Solomon by Martin Smith.

Kathy continued our study on cultivating the Mind of Christ by exploring the freedom that is found in knowing God’s love for us and the authority we have to resist the lies of the enemy through Christ.

HOW RELATIONSHIPS WORK: More Building Blocks – 02/10/15

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By , February 10, 2015 3:46 pm
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Our songs today were “My Jesus I Love Thee” by Amy Grant and “Christ Be All Around Me” by Michael W. Smith.

Kathy opened with a review of  unity, intimacy and vulnerability in relationships. Then she added the next building block of what love looks like and what love doesn’t look like.  There is a war on love. The enemy uses our anger and our desire to use others to hinder healthy relating.

Trumpet Call, 11/11/14

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By , November 12, 2014 4:52 pm
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Yesterday was Trumpet Call, a time when we dig a little deeper into what we’ve been learning and receive some one-on-one (or 2 on 1) prayer time around an issue God is targeting in our lives. We sang “More and More of You” by Selah, “Always Good” by Kathryn Scott, and “All My Fountains” by Chris Tomlin.

Dana walked us through the worksheet, leading us to seek the Lord regarding how we may have shut off the flow of the fruits of the Holy Spirit into and through our lives. She shared personal examples of what it has looked like in her own life. She also showed some parallels between growing wine grapes and growing spiritual fruit as sometimes the gardener trains, prunes, and positions so that the fruit is more abundant and sweeter.

Honored

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By , October 27, 2014 6:07 pm
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God is great at relationships! Our focus in the series “How Relationships Grow” has been to get to know Him intimately and study how He relates to us. As we learn how to receive God’s love in greater measure, He enables us to go and love with the same love with which we’ve been loved. It’s not too late to join us in this journey at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. on Tuesdays or by listening online.

 
 
 

HONORED

 

“You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.”

Isaiah 43:4 NLT

 
 
In speaking these astounding words of affirmation, God sets a wonderful example in what love looks like. He wants to make sure we know that we are precious individuals that He loves and favors. Our magnificent and holy God, the Creator of the universe, chooses to bestow honor on us! He takes pleasure and pride in each one of His people and He doesn’t mind saying so. Wow! If God makes the effort to honor us, I want to go and do likewise to the people I love.
 
Birthdays present a wonderful opportunity to do just that. I’ve always been a big fan of birthday parties. Planning a favorite meal, cake, and candles is a great way to celebrate the people that are special to us.
 
My family recently gathered to mark the milestone of my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. The children and grandchildren took time to write down things they love about her. They honored her with their words and then proceeded to put away mass quantities of Mexican food—her favorite!
 
The meal turned out so well that I wanted to share the recipes with you. I hope you will use these to jump-start your own fiesta. Enjoy!
 
FIESTA GRILLED SKIRT STEAK
 
2 heads garlic, broken into individual cloves
½ cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 pounds skirt steak, best quality
 
In a small skillet over medium heat, roast the unpeeled garlic, turning occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place the garlic in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes.) Cool, then peel and place in food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients. Process until the mixture becomes a smooth puree. Place the steak in a non-aluminum baking dish. Pour the marinade over the steak, coating both sides of the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
 
Heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Brush or spritz oil over both sides of the steak. Place it on the hottest part of the grill. Grill, turning once, until grill marks form and it becomes richly browned. Move the steak to a cooler part of the grill for cooking until done to your preference. (The thickness of the meat and your grill will vary, but this step took 15 to 20 minutes for medium temperature. I like to use a meat thermometer to gauge this.) Move the meat to a dish, cover, and let rest for at least 15 minutes. This step is important in keeping the meat juicy.
 
Cut the meat into 3- to 4-inch strips, cutting across the grain. Taste for saltiness and adjust to your liking. Serve with small corn or flour tortillas, lime wedges, and the toppings of your choice including fresh cilantro, shredded jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and sautéed vegetables (recipe follows). Each pound of steak yields 5 or 6 tacos when served on a 6-inch tortilla.
 
 
Adapted from “Fiesta at Rick’s” by Rick Bayless
 
 
SAUTEED FAJITA VEGETABLES
 
1 poblano pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and thinly sliced
1 yellow or white onion, cut into thin rounds
8 oz. small Portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt, pepper, and ground cumin to taste
 
 
Heat a large skillet and a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add a dash of oil to the large skillet, then the onion, peppers and mushrooms. Cook until softened and slightly caramelized, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Season generously with salt, pepper, cumin and lime juice. Fill warm tortillas with the vegetables and add toppings of your choice for vegetarian fajitas. Makes an excellent accompaniment or topping for steak or chicken fajitas.
 
Adapted from a recipe on the website “Minimalist Baker”
 
 
SPANISH RICE
2 T. canola oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 c. white rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 c. tomato sauce
4-6 T. chopped fresh cilantro, optional
2 t. salt
 
In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh onion. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add dry rice and cook with the onions for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Add in the garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.
 
Add in broth and tomato sauce (add slowly into the rice, not directly onto hot pan!) And then add in the cilantro if you’re using it. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.

How Relationships Work: Love/Hate Relationships – 10/14/14

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By , October 14, 2014 10:07 pm
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This morning we sang “Man of Sorrows” by Hillsong Live and “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. Kathy reminded us that choosing the fruits of the Spirit is NOT about performance. We are choosing to STOP and CONNECT with the Lord, asking Him what He wants to produce in us in that moment. Remember – CONNECTION, CONNECTION, CONNECTION. All of these lessons are in the context of RELATIONSHIP.

We continued to learn how relationships work by examining FORGIVING LOVE and how sometimes we need to “forgive” God…not that God ever needs to be forgiven; He is perfect. Sometimes we FEEL offended, we FEEL disappointed, we FEEL hurt and we need to reconcile those feelings by extending forgiveness and reconnecting with the lover of our souls.

Over the Top

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By , March 24, 2013 9:57 pm
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But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:8 NLT

 
How did I drift so far from the central message of Easter? God goes over the top to express His love, by allowing His Son to be nailed to a cross and die in order to rescue me from death. His mind-boggling love makes me want to love like that.

 

However, my deep desire to express love to my family can sometimes turn into something bordering on ugly, a grotesque distortion. This is especially true when a holiday or birthday comes along. For example, I somehow came to believe that I love them best at Easter by putting on a celebration in which very elaborate Easter baskets take center stage. Though I’m not sure exactly how I got there, I found myself producing the most outlandish super-sized baskets full of consumer goods you’ve ever seen!

easterleft easterright

 

My quiet, but wise husband told me early on, “Once you start this, Kathy, you’re going to be expected to keep it up.” No truer words have ever been spoken. So, last year about this time, I set out to meet and exceed my own lofty standards for the Easter holiday. After gathering and assembling mass quantities of themed items (fitness for my son, kitchen for my mom, spring duds for my daughter), I wrapped them in cellophane, put a bow on top, and hefted them onto the dining table.

 

My creations were met with the usual oohs and aahs. My mother declared, “You’ve done it again!” I’m not sure she realized the depth of the truth of her statement. My insides sensed it, though. Accepting her compliment, I felt as hollow as the chocolate bunny in her basket.

 

My sinking feeling was confirmed later that afternoon as my son headed for the door. All he had in his hand was a large jar of jumbo cashews and a tee shirt. “Don’t you want to take your Easter basket things with you, Buddy?” In the sweetest way possible he said, “No thanks, Mom. I don’t need all that stuff.” He hugged me and was gone.

 

Although his words rang true at the time, it wasn’t until the following Saturday that the Lord helped me get in touch with the tension I’d been feeling over those baskets. He led me to this Scripture:

 

Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised. (Song 8:7)

 

I hadn’t specifically been seeking wisdom about the way I’d approached holidays at my house. But as I sought to understand the meaning of this passage, those Easter baskets sprang immediately to mind. I now saw the problem clearly. I had slipped into doing the very thing this passage described. I had offered up swag in place of the imperishable gift of love.

 

It sickened my heart to realize my mistake. “Lord, forgive me for losing sight of love, the only thing that never fails. Thank You for showing me that my little offerings are so much less than the real thing, the thing we all long to find and would trade all else to have. Purge away every pitiful excuse for love and remind me next time I begin to go overboard. And please, if it is Your will, give me a chance to tell Jackson what I’ve learned.”

 

About 30 minutes later, the back door swung open announcing the unexpected arrival of my son. He was taking a break from the tiny apartment where he studies, here to get his laundry done and eat some home cooking. As he ate, I was able to share with him what the Lord had just revealed. “So, Jackson, I get it now. Thank you for being a part of my breakthrough.” I couldn’t help but notice a hint of a smile as he replied, “It only took you ten years!”

 

We went on to talk about all the excuses and excesses that people use to connect with other people. We give cheap substitutes, thinking we are giving our best. It was a good conversation and, at one point I said, “I just love you guys so much, I’m always trying to find a way to let you know that.” What I heard next refreshed my heart, springing up pure and sweet and lasting: “Mom, I don’t think that was ever in doubt.”

 

Even much water cannot put out the flame of love; floods cannot drown love.

Song of Solomon 8:7a NCV

Iron Sharpens Iron

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By , October 29, 2012 6:40 pm
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As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

Recently, I got lured into a home demonstration for Cutco knives. I agreed partly because I wanted to help a young man I’d known for many years. But mostly, I just wanted my drawer full of Cutco knives sharpened, free of charge.

Their product is stellar, and their standards are strict. Any knife that bears their name — no matter the age or amount of use — must cut cleanly through a thick piece of rope. Any evidence of gnawing or frayed edges sends that knife to the whetstone for sharpening.

At the same time my knives were being tested and honed, my love was undergoing God’s sharpening process. My personal rope test came during Parent’s Weekend at Ole Miss. Our daughter Merrill Lee is a senior, scheduled to graduate in May. We took her out to dinner; and conversation inevitably turned to her plans for next year. On the way back to the hotel, a disagreement arose between my husband and me.

Eager to debrief, I began to rehearse all the options we had discussed. It took me a few minutes to notice that Bob wasn’t participating. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I felt shut out”, was his reply. I was startled by his comment. “Why do you say that?” I wanted to know. “Every time I expressed my opinion, you just changed the subject back to what you want her to do.” Ouch. I could see why he felt that way. We both held some strong convictions about our child’s future. I was so focused on fulfillment of her dreams and passions that I had dismissed Bob’s concerns about her financial security.

I said I was sorry, but it was obvious that Bob was finished with the conversation for now. As we drove along in silence, I hated the disconnection I had created between us. I began to ask the Lord to search my heart. Without condemnation, He gently revealed that I had judged my view as superior to my husband’s. This prideful attitude had dulled my heart to God’s call to love. Without the love of God as my primary goal, I lost my ability to see Bob’s wisdom and precious father heart. “Oh Jesus, I’ve done it again!” I thought. “I’ve failed to honor You and my husband by my lack of love. Please forgive me and love Bob through me.”

It was tempting to be discouraged about my “love life.” But, instead I chose to take hold of the only solution that could cleanly cut through this relational barrier. As I prayed for God to love my husband, I had Romans 5:5 in mind. It tells me that the Holy Spirit has poured God’s love into my heart. The overwhelming, overcoming, sacrificial love of my Redeemer lives in me!

That perfect love can flow to others when I yield to God’s refining process. Iron sharpening iron involves friction. It isn’t a quick fix. But as I allow Him to remove everything that hinders, I become an instrument in the hand of God wielding the love of God that never fails.

The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

Romans 5:5

Beholding Jesus: He Cleanses the Temple of My Heart – 10/16/12

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By , October 17, 2012 1:54 pm
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PRAISE: 1) Fall Afresh by Bethel Music and Jeremy Riddle 2) My Jesus I Love Thee/Tis So Sweet by Bart Millard 3) Mighty To Save by Laura Story (3DCD “What Hope Looks Like” 2008) 4) Completely Satisfy by Chris Moerman (3DCD “Listening Prayer” 2012).

Martha taught from Jn. 2:13-17 and Jn. 21:15-17 as we began discussing the idols we erect in our lives to meet our legitimate needs.

Beholding Jesus: He Calls Me To Come & Follow – 10/09/12

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By , October 10, 2012 6:02 pm
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PRAISE: 1) The Same Love by Paul Baloche (3DCD “Beholding Jesus” 2012) 2) When the Night is Falling by Dennis Jernigan & Friends (3DCD “Extraordinary Life” 2006) 3) Speak O Lord by Andy Bromley (3DCD “Here Am I” 2007) 4) I Can Hear Your Voice by Michael W. Smith

Discussion of John 1:35-42, how Jesus interacted with His disciples and what we can expect as a result.

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