Monthly Archives: January 2012

First, Wilderness, Invincible: Which love is yours?

Latir Peak Wilderness

During the course of this study, the authors define three stages of love, listed above. The First love, that emotional high, twitterpated, sweaty palm, pulse-pounding, catch your breath kind of love, is where Hollywood stops the story.  It’s that initial, getting to know you, everything is wonderful and when even the most annoying trait of your prospective partner is adorable. He or she can do no wrong.

 The second, Wilderness love, is what usually derails relationships. Marriages crumble, buried in the rubble of broken promises, financial challenges, infidelities, illness, conflicting desires, and a myriad of other issues, both great and small. Break-ups, separations, divorce. This is what is displayed in the headlines, it disrupts political campaigns, distorts celebrities, derails careers, disparages sports figures, it destroys, communities, families, and individuals.

 The final stage is Invincible love. This is the goal, the end game, the one true desire – it’s the refined, been through the wringer and come out on the other side stronger, deeper, will not fail, and is not dependent on circumstances. This is the kind of lasting love that results in years and years of marriage. .  . it’s indescribable. It moves beyond hormones, survives the dry barrenness of trouble, hardship, and disinterest, and develops into a living, breathing, organic thing that grows as it’s nurtured. 

 I equate this last form of love as Unconditional. The blueprint can be found in 1 Corinthians 13 . It’s what we as believers strive to model and offer to others. Unfortunately, because of our own limitations this side of Heaven (and the perfection that’s promised), we fall far short, both in giving and receiving this kind of love. In fact, it’s only God that truly can and successfully does, offer unconditional love to us.

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Love Through God’s Lens

KJV BibleLOVE – such a loaded word. As our previous posts reveal, it can mean a variety of things depending on the lens you select to look through. One thing I find interesting though, is even in the few perspectives we’ve looked at, proximity is a continuing theme. Closeness, spending time with someone, observing their behaviour, asking questions, finding out why they do what they do . . . that’s an important part of falling in love. If, to truly know God and not just know about Him, we need to spend time with Him. . . how does one do that with God? It’s an important question, and one we cannot answer 100% to everyone’s satisfaction, but we will try to address at least several options in this post, and provide opportunities during the course of the study.

And, since it’s a Bible study . . . . we’ll need to look at love – and ask that you at least be willing to consider looking at love, through God’s lens.  The word Love is in the NIV version of the Bible  551 times in 505 verses . That’s a lot. There are over 100 verses that have God and love together, and there are over 50 that specifically reference God’s love. The shortest definition, but by no means the most clear is “God is love”. This is found in 1 John 4:16 – just a portion of that verse.  

So, trying to break this up into small pieces, I considered this question – How does someone handle a long-distance relationship? These are tough for sure. You and your loved one, separated. .  maybe you’ve met and spent time together but now you are apart. . .perhaps you haven’t met in person. (I hear the internet is a growing source for dating relationships) How do you get to know one another, how do you keep the interest  . . especially with someone you can’t see or feel or touch?

Technology being what it is, we can do so many things – we can communicate by email or writing, we can Skype if we have a webcam and hi-speed internet access, we can get to know their friends and family, we can speak by phone, and we can take trips or plan to meet halfway. Now, apply these methods to God. 

While we cannot Skype with Heaven we have many letters and writings that God has provided. (Yes, I mean the Bible). We can attend a church service, and hang out with God’s friends and family – with those who are called by His name and profess to be His children. We can read additional writings, books about Him, written by respected leaders in His community. We can pray, which is like speaking on the phone . . . so long as we allow for long pauses where God gets to speak to us. . . . hard when those pauses can sometimes feel so awkward.

We can make room for God in our lives by scheduling time to spend with Him – this can be a few stolen moments early in the morning before those in the house start to stir or later in the evening as everyone settles in for the night. It can be time in the car during all those commutes or while providing taxi service (come on Mom’s, you know what I mean). We can attend retreats, silent or focused, to set aside an evening or a weekend, to help us be still and know Him.

Not always a satisfactory answer. It’s not as real to us, when we can’t feel His arms around us, or carry on a conversation. . . and yet, there have been times in my relationship with God, when He has seemed that real. When it’s almost as if I can feel his breath on my cheek. 

That’s the kind of intimacy that I long for. To feel that closeness, to know with absolute certainty that He is with me. Intellectually I know this. I can quote verse after verse that promises this. I can say with confidence that I believe it. I can say with that same confidence. . . that I don’t always feel this way. And I want to. And I believe that this is what it means to fall in Love with Jesus.

As we approach the beginning of our study . . . Consider the God who is love. The God who sent His son out of love. The Son of God, who’s described as the Bridegroom of the Bride – His church. Consider your place in it. . . .and contemplate the end of Isiah 62:5 – “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”

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Bio’s on our Authors

Dee Brestin’s best-selling books and Bible studies are packed with wise and fascinating insights about friendship, loneliness and the need for community, sisterhood, and female camaraderie in today’s transitory society. She’s been praised by Carol Kent, who says “God’s anointing is definitely upon her,” and Dr. James Dobson, who comments “I like the way Dee thinks.” But most of Dee’s wisdom hasn’t been gleaned from library research or sociology classes—it has been earned by years of personal, sometimes painful, life experience.

In addition to being a bestselling author, Dee is a frequent speaker at seminars and women’s retreats, as well as a contributor to such magazines as Focus on the Family, Guideposts, and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband live in Nebraska, with her two youngest daughters. They belong to an Evangelical Free Church.

Kathy Troccoli has performed before the Pope and a National Football Championship crowd. She has amassed numerous national television appearances including “The Tonight Show” and “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee,” and landed singles on the top of Adult Contemporary, Top 40 and Christian radio charts. She has shared the stage with Jay Leno, Michael Bolton, BoyzIIMen and dueted with Andy Williams and The Beach Boys.

An 18-year Christian music veteran and award-winning, Grammy nominated singer and songwriter, author, speaker, and television series host, Kathy’s an artist known as much for her generosity and humanitarian efforts as for her powerful vocals. Her undeniable talent has brought her the awards and accolades of the industry: three Dove awards, 24 career Dove nominations, two Grammy nominations, and two Billboard awards. But it is her compassion and strong convictions that define Kathy as a person and an artist, and her desire to share Jesus and minister hope that compels her. “The most important thing to me is that people are able to embrace the lyrics and feel what I sing,” says Kathy, “If I can’t impart love … mercy … compassion … hope…  then it’s not worth it to me.”

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How this works

This Study will meet in person, on Wednesday evenings, every other week, starting February 1st. We invite all to come share a light meal at 6:30, followed by the study at 7:00. At that time, we’ll view the DVD lesson, discuss the content, review the daily devotionals (optional), and look ahead to the next meeting’s focus, and pray together.  The meeting should end by 8:15. Each lesson has 5 daily personal studies to enhance and reinforce the teaching in the DVD lessons. We will do these studies over the course of the days between in – person meetings. This will help us keep up with school, work, families, and our daily Bible readings, part of our Radical Experiment. [For more information on the Radical Experiment, click on the About Scio page above.]

By the end of the first 10 week study (by default, 20 weeks), Falling in Love with Jesus, we’ll have collectively identified the key points that were most meaningful in communicating Truth, and compile this info into a workshop format so that we can “catch” people up once a quarter. More information on the Workshop will be forthcoming as we develop the material.

Check out our Facebook Page, Falling, Living, Forever and send a message to get the address emailed to you.

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Falling in Love: Lyrical Style

What does it mean to fall in love? When words are not enough, music uses melody to infuse thoughts with meaning.

Music tells us that love hurts, love stinks, love bites, only fools fall in love, love is a battlefield, we wonder what love has to do with it (whatever it is), it’s a sweet old fashioned notion, a second hand emotion, love is obsessive, destructive, we can be all out of love, we long to know what it is. Love makes no promises, it has its own shack, too much love will kill you, we can be victims of love, and we’re lost without love.

Love is a verb, all we need is love, love makes the world go around, love is a many splendored thing, there is power in it, you can feel the love [tonight], we celebrate our love, we can love tender, it is endless, love will keep us together, we would do anything for love[but not that]. Love can build a bridge, love is alive and love will keep us alive, it moves in mysterious ways, it’s the answer, it’s all that matters, it will lead you back, and love don’t lie.

We stop in the name of love, we’re better because we were loved, we wonder if we’ve told each other lately that we love, we can’t buy it, there’s glory in it, sometimes we give love a bad name, love don’t cost a thing, it can runaway, it’s in the air, it can be bad, careless, there’s a Sunday kind of love, love is the bottom line and everybody needs somebody to love so you’d better love the one you’re with.

 Whew . . . what a whirlwind. Are you exhausted yet?

 So what’s your favorite love song? Is there a song that resonates with you? Speaks your mind? Reveals your heart?

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Falling in Love: Literary Style

What does it mean to fall in love?  Inquiring minds want to know.

It would be a challenge to hold all the books written about love in any one place. Libraries would run out of shelves. In the Fiction aisles, you would find all the books based on movies from our Hollywood Style post . . . A complete floor or more would be needed to hold all the smoldering tales. There would be a complete department of romance books, all professing undying devotion and true love.

Within the genre, there are historical perspectives, regaling readers of times long past; thrillers that emphasize manly men and distressed damsels, steamy varieties long on the physical aspects and short on plot . . . angst driven teenage drama, classics that are more about societal commentary than the love story itself, stories about mistaken identities, ready made families, rebellious maidens, and rugged men folk.

Tales are not limited to this world. They delve into the supernatural, mystical, fairy tale, and fantasy. They involve werewolves, vampires, people with extra sensory abilities, super powers, alternate realities, aliens, in fact. . . the more extraordinary the story the more popular or beloved the character.

Crossing the aisle to the non-fiction section, you have the how-to versions, providing the top ten sure fire methods to identify the real thing, tell you what women want, how men are wired, which planet you’re from, how to live together, how to be who you were meant to be, interpret and speak in love languages, break out of unhealthy patterns, start new traditions . . . there’s no end to advice. Contradictory statements, buildup one position, tear down another. In fact, you can probably find a book to support your opinion of love, whatever that opinion might be.

With that many voices, it’s difficult to decipher the essence, the meaning . . .  but it’s clear that it’s significant. 

What do you think is vital or important to understanding love; to experiencing it? Would you recognize it when you see it? Can it be seen? What does it look like?

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Falling in Love: Old World Style

What does it mean to fall in love? There are so many nuances to this topic.

If we believe what we’re told, then love is a choice. It’s something we do, just because it’s the thing to do. It’s not necessarily a choice we make for ourselves. It’s a decision to be made. It can be arranged. It’s not always done by sight or directly. It can involve en exchange of a promise or a binding contract. It sometimes involves money or cows . . . it’s a bartering system.

It is full of tradition. It is not easily dissolved, at least not without someone losing face and damaging reputations. It is a decision that must be acted on and followed through with, especially if children are involved. In fact, sometimes children are a requirement.

It can be for the sake of family, land, convenience, title, stature, power, obligation, citizenship, or appearance. It crosses boundaries, cultures, continents, and can even be handled through technology or an intermediary.

Partners are sought out for their abilities as much as or in place of their beauty or attractiveness. There’s a sense of obligation that keeps people together. It rarely involves emotions or attraction, at least initially, though both can develop over time.

With proximity and familiarity, the relationship that is forged ban be as strong as or stronger than relationships based on other circumstances. The bonds created are often based on character qualities rather than physical ones, and since it is a decision that is agreed upon in advance, there are fewer surprises to derail the relationship.

What do you think of the Old World style? Do you know anyone who met and or married someone this way? What was their experience?

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