Friday, November 25, 2011

What Happens at Home, Stays at Home

God bless you this day after Thanksgiving!

This week, my husband Bert is presenting the male’s perspective on the verses we’ve been working through during the month.

Bert’s Perspective on 1 Corinthians 13:7 

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes …(NIV 1984)

This is what comes to mind as I attempt to apply 1 Corinthians 13:7 to my life:

Love protects
• Love shelters the one you love from outside wrong doing by being sensitive to potential threats from others. Love may also include using discretion to protect another’s reputation. In other words, “What happens at home, stays at home.” 

• Of course, we could apply the word “protect” further, to include physical safety for our wives. As a husband, I even protect my wife each time I make sure her car is up to safety standards: checking her oil, and tires, etc. I protect her by keeping up with life insurance policies; and simple things like, when Sheryl and I take walks, I walk on the side closer to the street, thus protecting her from the “wild horses.”

Love trusts
• Love takes God at His word. We can trust that He’s responsible for the changes others need to make in their own lives. The buck stops with Him. We are not responsible to change anyone – except ourselves. So, in the meanwhile, we try to give each other the benefit of the doubt. (Just like we want them to do for us).

• Again, let’s extend the discussion. How can I, as the head of my home, exhibit my trust in God? How do I behave under stress, or when treated unfairly? Do I display trust that God is in control of my life? Is my wife able to rest easier because of my example?

Love hopes
• No man is hopeless. In spite of how we feel, these words, based on Scripture that expresses God’s love for man, demonstrates how we are to practice loving one another.

• Jesus, the Son of Man, loved perfectly throughout His life on earth. We can inherit His optimistic view of love and apply that grace when at home and at work. When we’re tested and tried, due to others lack of love towards us, we can “man up” by not reacting in kind. Think of the Golden Rule.

We’ve all heard this powerful principle: Think about how Jesus would respond before you open your mouth.

I’ve learned when I:
Stop
     Listen
         Think
            And (most of the time) keep my mouth shut, I avoid hurting the ones I love. By the next day, I often don’t even remember why I was so angry.

Protect. Trust. Hope. This is love in its fullest meaning.

Men, am I alone on this?

Keep up the good work, Sheryl. See you at home.

Bert

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When Kathy Took Me In

Part 12 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:7c (NASB)
(love)… hopes all things,

1 Corinthians 13:7c (AMP)
(Love’s) …. hopes are fadeless under all circumstances,

“We are at the point, Sheryl, that we’re going to have to place you in a long-term facility,” the doctor said.

“No, I’ll wither up and die for sure in a one of those places.”

“I’m sorry, but I have no choice.”

The doctor gave me the news while I was a patient at a short-term behavior health unit (an inpatient mental health facility). After years in and out of mental hospitals, and following another failed suicide attempt, the psychiatrist was now considering committing me to the state hospital.

But then, Kathy called.

“Hi, Sheryl. Mike and I want you to live with us until you get on your feet.”

Tears of gratitude streamed down my face. My youngest sister’s gesture gave me the courage to hope again. Thankfully my doctor allowed me to go to my sister’s house in lieu of the state institution.

After moving in with Kathy and Mike, I met Joan at Calvary Chapel Church. She quickly became my best friend. Joan kept me laughing and never allowed the stress of my instability keep her from including me in her life.

During the dark years prior to that time, my (not much older) sister, Teri and her husband took me in for weeks at a time offering tons of support and love.

I’m dedicating this week’s post to these ladies, my Aunt Joan (who never stopped praying for me), and to many others, whose hopes were fadeless under all circumstances throughout my slow journey while coming out of depression and a serious eating disorder.

I would not be enjoying healthy relationships, including my marriage to Bert (five and half years and counting!), enjoying selling radio advertising again, writing this blog, etc. if it wasn’t for those who refused to give up hope that one day I would be all right.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to all those who never lost hope in an all powerful God for Whom nothing is too difficult. Thank you, Father, for continuing the work You have begun in me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who support and participate in the Memorizing Scripture Blog. I love and appreciate every one of you, and pray for you almost every day.

And to my wonderful husband, Bert: You are very precious to me. I’m grateful that I get to serve the God of all hope with you.

What do you think?

• Will memorizing and meditating on this segment of 1 Corinthians 13 help you to persevere in hope for one another, even if it takes years before you see any changes?

• What section of Scripture would you like to memorize and obey (one small segment at a time) after we complete 1 Corinthians 13? (It could be a chapter, section of a chapter, a few verses, or even one verse).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Changing Our Opinion

Part 11 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:7b (NASB)
(love) …believes all things

1 Corinthians 13:7b (AMP)
(love) … is ever ready to believe the best of every person (AMP)

“Peter and I are getting a divorce. He found someone else.” Dottie told me as we began our daily walk. Her eyes were filling with tears.

“Dottie, I’m so sorry.” I knew Dottie well and observed for years how deeply she loved her husband. Stopping to put my hand on her shoulder, I said, “Let’s take our walk later. Looks like you could use a good cry.”

 “It hurts, Sheryl. And what makes it worse is dreading what everybody’s going to say. After all, this will be my fourth divorce.”

 “You just tell them to talk to me, and I’ll let them know what a great person you are.” I gave her hug.

That exchange is actually a combination of conversations I had with two ladies. Both experienced multiple divorces and deserve to have others believe the best of them.

How can we practice believing the best of every person? We can begin by not starting or listening to rumors. To dismantle a conversation going in the wrong direction, say something like: “Oh, I hope that’s not true. We need to pray for [her or him].” It’s even better than just remaining silent because sometimes our silence could say the wrong thing.

And what about believing the best in those we see every day? If our spouse makes a costly investment mistake, are we convinced he’s a failure, or do we still believe in his ability to succeed? If our friend is caught cheating on a test, do we discredit her Christianity, or do we remember her years of faithfully serving God?

It’s easy to form a wrong opinion. It takes more effort to refuse to give in to it.

This week as we continue through 1 Corinthians 13, one small segment at a time, let’s be quick to look for the best in everyone.

If I sound like I have a handle on this, I assure you, I don’t. Writing this will help me to be a little more accountable, especially to those of you who know me personally. Tell me when I begin to speak ill of others. Bert, Hon that includes you.

Which brings up another way to improve in this area: be accountable. Form alliances with others who will hold you to this higher standard of love.

What do you think?

• Who can you be accountable with to practice believing the best of every person every time?

• How will loving others in this way affect your relationships? How will it affect your Christian witness?

• What section of Scripture would you like to memorize and obey one small segment at a time after we complete 1 Corinthians 13? (It could be a chapter, section of a chapter, a few verses, or even one verse).

Friday, November 4, 2011

Love Bears All Things

Part 10 of a Segment-by-Challenging-Segment Series on 1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13:7a (NASB)
(love) bears all things

1 Corinthians 13:7a (AMP)
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes

“…You see, I was diagnosed with colon cancer that had metastasized to my liver and the doctor gave me only a 25% survival rate. I was floored. There Eddie and I sat listening to the words but not really comprehending what was being said. It was very surreal. We were completely shocked.” 

As Faye continued her testimony to the congregation, we learned that years after being cleared from that cancer, she was given another cancer diagnosis.

Can love bear up under two separate threats of terminal illness? It did and still does for Eddie and Faye. (Thankfully, Faye is now cancer free).

Faye said that during that time it felt as if life was out of control, and they had to choose how they were going to respond. They chose to bear it with God’s help, and with their love for each other.

As we begin with this week’s challenge: love bears all things, how will you choose to respond if you’re faced with devastating news, or when your child fails sixth grade, or your sister gets asked out by the guy you like?

The New International Version (1984) words the verse we are memorizing this way:

(Love) always protects.

That’s sums it up well, doesn’t it?

We will take four weeks memorizing and practicing obeying verse seven as we continue our segment-by-challenging-segment of 1 Corinthians 13. Here is the verse in its entirety:

1 Corinthians 13:7 (NASB)
(love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (NASB)

1 Corinthians 13:7 (AMP)
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

What do you think?

• How will you respond this week when you’re faced with a challenge that could put stress on your relationships?

• How can you improve in the area of allowing love (God’s love in you) to protect and defend those you love? 

• As we’re nearing the end of this series, what’s the next section of Scripture you would like to memorize one small segment at a time?
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