Jan 16 2010

Love Dare - Day 11

Love Cherishes

 

Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. – Ephesians 5:28

 

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

 

Consider these two scenarios.

 

A man’s older car begins having serious trouble, so he takes it to a mechanic.  After an assessment is made, he is told it will need a complete overhaul, which would tax his limited budget.  Because of the expensive repairs, he determines to get rid of the car and spend his funds on a new vehicle.  Seems reasonable, right?

 

Another man, an engineer, accidentally crushes his hand in a piece of equipment.  He rushes to the hospital and has it x-rayed, finding that numerous bones are broken. Although frustrated and in pain, he willingly uses his savings to have it doctored and placed in a cast, then gingerly nurses it back to health over the following months.  This too, probably seems reasonable to you.

 

The problem within our culture is that marriage is more often treated like the first scenario.  When your relationship experiences difficulty, you are urged to dump your spouse for a “newer model.”  But those who have this view do not understand the significant bond between a husband and wife.  The truth is, marriage is more like the second scenario.  You are a part of one another.  You would never cut off your hand if it was injured but would pay whatever you could afford for the best medical treatment possible.  That’s because your hand is priceless to you.  It is part of who you are.

 

And so is your mate.  Marriage is a beautiful mystery created by God, joining two lives together as one.  This is not only happens physically but spiritually and emotionally.  You start off sharing the same house, the same bed, the same last name.  Your identity as individuals has been joined into one.  When your spouse goes through a tragedy, both of you feel it.  When you find success at your job, both of your rejoice.  But somewhere along the way, you experience disappointment, and the sobering reality that you married and imperfect person sets in.

 

This, however, does not change the fact that your spouse is still a part of you.  Ephesians 5:28-29 says, “Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.”

 

This verse speaks to husbands, but notice how each member is viewed.  They are both considered to be the same flesh.  You must treat them with the same nurture and care that you treat yourself.  When you show love to your spouse, you are showing love to yourself as well.

 

But there is a flip side to this coin.  When you mistreat your mate, you are mistreating yourself.  Think about it.  Your lives are now interwoven together.  Your spouse cannot experience joy or pain, blessing or cursing, without it also affecting you.  So when you attack your mate, it is like attacking your own body.

 

It’s time to let love change your thinking.  It’s time for you to realize that your spouse is as much a part of you as your hand, your eye, or your heart.  She, too, needs to be loved and cherished.  And if she has issues causing pain or frustration, then you should care for these with the same love and tenderness as you would a bodily injury.  If he is wounded in some way, you should think of yourself as an instrument that helps bring healing to his life.

 

In light of this, think about how you treat your spouse’s physical body.  Do you cherish it as your own?  Do you treat it with respect and tenderness?  Do you take pleasure in who they are?  Or do you make them feel foolish or embarrassed?  Just as you treasure your eyes, hands, and feet, you should treasure your spouse as a priceless gift.

 

Don’t let the culture around you determine the worth of your marriage.  To compare it with something that can be discarded or replaced is to dishonor God’s purpose for it.  That would be like amputating a limb.  Instead, it should be a picture of love between two imperfect people who choose to love each other regardless.

 

Whenever a husband looks into the eyes of his wife, he should remember that “he who loves his wife loves himself.”  And a wife should remember that when she loves him, she is also giving love and honor to herself.

 

When you look at your mate, you’re looking at a part of you.  So treat her well.  Speak highly of him.  Nourish and cherish the love of your life.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

What need does your spouse have that could meet today?  Can you run an errand?  Give a back rub or foot massage?  Is there housework you could help with?  Choose a gesture that says, “I cherish you” and do it with a smile.

 

 

Answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  (Mark 10:51)

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Jan 15 2010

Love Dare - Day 10

Love is Unconditional

 

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ dies for us.  – Romans 5:8

 

If someone were to ask you, “Why do you love your wife?” or “Why do you love your husband?” – what would you say?

 

Most men would mention their wife’s beauty, her sense of humor, her kindness, her inner strength.  They might talk about her cooking, her knack for decorating, or what a good mother she is.

 

Women would probably say something about their husband’s good looks or his personality.  They’d commend him for his steadiness and consistent character.  They’d say they love him because he’s always there for them.  He’s generous.  He’s helpful.

 

But what if over the course of years, your wife or husband stopped being every one of those things.  Would you still love them?  Based on your answers above, the only logical response would be “no.”  If your reasons for loving your spouse all have something to do with his or her qualities – and then those same qualities suddenly or gradually disappear – your basis for love is over.

 

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional.  The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.

 

The Bible refers to this kind of love by using the Greek word agape (pronounced uh-GOP-ay).

 

It differs from the other types of love, which are – phileo (friendship) and eros (sexual love).  Both friendship and sex have an important place in marriage, of course, and are definitely part of the house you build together as husband and wife.  But if your marriage totally depends on having common interests or enjoying a healthy sex life, then the foundation of your relationship is unstable.

 

Phileo and eros are more responsive in nature and can fluctuate based upon feelings.  Agape love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional.   So unless this kind of love forms the foundation of your marriage, the wear and tear of time will destroy it.  Agape love is in “sickness and health” love, “for richer or poorer” love, “for better or worse” love.  It is the only kind of love that is true love.

 

That’s because this is God’s kind of love.  He doesn’t love use because we are lovable but because He is so loving.  The Bible says, “In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).  If He insisted that we prove ourselves worthy of His love, we would fail miserably.  But God’s love is a choice He makes completely on His own.  It’s something we receive from Him and then share with others.  “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

 

If a man says to his wife, “I have fallen out of love with you,” he is actually saying, “I never loved you unconditionally to begin with.”  His love was based on feelings or circumstances rather than commitment.  That’s the result of building a marriage on phileo or eros love.  There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction.  Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstance.

 

That’s not to say, though, that love which began for the wrong reasons cannot be restored and redeemed.  In fact, when you rebuild your marriage with agape as its foundation, then the friendship and romantic aspects of your love become more endearing than ever before.  When your enjoyment of each other as best friends and lovers is based on unwavering commitment, you will experience an intimacy that cannot be achieved any other way.

 

But you will struggle and fail to attain this kind of marriage unless you allow God to begin growing His love within you.  Love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7) does not come from within.  It can only come from God.

 

The Scriptures say that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).  This is God’s kind of love.  And thankfully – by your choice – it can become your kind of love.  But first you must receive it and share it.

 

And don’t be surprised, when your spouse begins living confidently under its shade, if he or she doesn’t become even more lovable to you than you remember.  You will no longer say, “I love you because …” You will now say, “I love you, period.”

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

Do something out of the ordinary today for your spouse --- something that proves (to you and to them) that your love is based on your choice and nothing else.  Wash her car.  Clean the kitchen.  Buy his favorite dessert.  Fold the laundry.  Demonstrate love to them for the sheer joy of being their partner in marriage.

 

 

He who trusts in the Lord, loving kindness shall surround him.  (Psalm 32:10)

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. 

Jan 14 2010

Love Dare - Day 9

Love Makes Good Impressions

 

Greet one another with a kiss of love.  – 1 Peter 5:14

 

You’ve covered some serous ground so far in this journey.  Learning to demonstrate aspects of love patience, kindness, and encouragement are not always easy but are certainly crucial to a healthy relationship.  So dealing with the way you greet your spouse each day may seem inconsequential, but this small issue carries surprising significance.

 

You can tell a lot about the state of a couple’s relationship from the way they greet one another.  You can see it in their expression and countenance, as well as how they speak to each other.  It is even more obvious by their physical contact.  But how much importance should you give a greeting?

 

The Bible has more to say about greetings than you might expect.  The apostle Paul took time to encourage his readers to greet one another warmly when they met.  In fact, near the end of his letter to the Romans, he asked fellow believers to greet twenty-seven of his friends and loved ones for him.  He even took time to list each one by name.

 

It’s not just about your friends, however.  Jesus noted in His Sermon on the Mount that even pagans speak kindly to people they like.  That’s easy for anyone to do.  But He took it a step further and said that being godly included being humble and gracious enough to address even your enemies with kindness.

 

This raises an interesting question.  How do you greet your friends, coworkers, and neighbors?  How about acquaintances and those you meet in public?

 

You may even encounter someone you don’t necessarily like yet still acknowledge them out of courtesy.  So if you’re this nice and polite to other people, doesn’t your spouse deserve the same?  Times ten?

 

It’s probably something you don’t think about very often – the first thing you say to him or to her when you wake up in the morning, the look on your face when you get in the car, the energy in your voice when you speak on the telephone.  But here’s something else you probably don’t stop to consider – the difference it would make in your spouse’s day if everything about you expressed the fact that you were really, really glad to see them.

 

When someone communicates that they are glad to see you, your personal sense of self-worth increases.  You feel more important and valued.  That’s because a good greeting sets the stage for positive and healthy interaction.  Like love, it puts wind in your sails.

 

Think back to the story Jesus told of the prodigal son.  This young, rebellious man demanded his inheritance money and then wasted it on foolish lifestyle.  But soon his bad choices caught up with him, and he found himself eating scrapes in a pigpen.  Humbled and ashamed, he practiced his apologies and tried to think of the best way to go home and face his father.  But the greeting he was expecting was not the one he received.  “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed” (Luke 15:20).

 

Of all the scenarios this young man had played out in his mind, this was likely the last one he expected.  But how do you think it made him feel to receive his father’s embrace and hear his thankful tone?  He no doubt felt loved and treasured once again.  What do you think it did in their relationship?

 

What kind of greetings would make your mate feel like that?  How could you excite his or her various senses with a simple word, a touch, a tone of voice?  A loving greeting can bless  your spouse through what they see, hear, and feel.

 

Think of the opportunities you have to greet each other on a regular basis.  When coming through the door.  When meeting for lunch.  When saying good-night.  When talking on the phone.

 

It doesn’t have to be bold and dramatic every time.  But adding warmth and enthusiasm gives you the chance to touch your mate’s heart in subtle, unspoken ways.

 

Think about your greeting.  Do you use it well?  Does your spouse feel valued and appreciated?  Do they feel loved?  Even when you’re not getting along too well, you can lessen the tension and give them value by the way you greet them.

 

Remember, love is a choice.  So choose to change your greeting.  Choose love.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

Think of a specific way you’d like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm.  Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

 

 

For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love.  (Philemon 7)

 

 

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group. Used by permission. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

 

Click here to buy a copy of The Love Dare book.  

Click here for a free online journal for the full 40 day challenge.

 

Jan 14 2010

Meredith Andrews - Haiti

We thank our friend Meredith Andrews, a singer and worship leader in Chicago, for joining us this morning on K-LOVE.  Meredith just got back from Haiti a few days ago, so the tragedy with the recent earthquake has really hit home with her.  We love Meredith's heart and her love for the people of Haiti is apparent.  She has a new album coming out March 2nd that has a song she specifically wrote for the child she sponsors in Haiti.  Be sure to check out Meredith's website to find out more about her and her ministry.