Jan 13 2010

Love Dare - Day 8

Love is Not Jealous

 

Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.   It burns like blazing fire. – Song of Solomon 8:6 NIV

 

Jealousy is one of the strongest drives known to man.  It comes from the root word for zeal and means “to burn with an intense fire.”  Scripture pointedly says, “Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4).

 

There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy.  Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else.  If a wife has an affair and gives herself to another person, her husband may have justified, jealous anger because of his love for her.  He is longing to have back what is rightfully his.

 

The Bible describes God as having this kind of righteous jealousy for His people.  It’s not that He is envious of us, wishing He had what we have (since He already owns everything).  It’s that He deeply longs for us, desiring for us to keep Him as our first love.  He doesn’t want us to let anything take precedence over Him in our hearts.  The Bible warns us not to worship anything but Him because “the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24).

 

With this established, we will shift our focus to the illegitimate kind of jealousy that is in opposition to love – the one that is rooted in selfishness.  This is to be jealous of someone, to be “moved with envy.”

 

Do you struggle with being jealous of others?  Your friend is more popular, so feel hatred towards her.  Your coworker gets the promotion, so you can’t sleep that night.  He may have nothing wrong, but you became bitter because of his success.  It has been said that people are fine with our succeeding, just as long as it is not more than theirs.

 

Jealousy is a common struggle.  It is sparked when someone else upstages you and gets something you want.  This can be very painful depending upon how selfish you are.  Instead of congratulating them, you fume in anger and think ill of them.  If you’re not careful, jealousy slithers like a viper into your heart and strikes your motivations and relationships.  It can poison you from living the life of love God intended.

 

If you don’t diffuse your anger by learning to love others, you may eventually begin plotting against them.  The Bible says that envy leads to fighting, quarreling, and every evil thing (James 3:16, 4:1-2).

 

There is a string of violent jealousy seen throughout Scripture.  It caused the first murder when Cain despised God’s acceptance of his brother’s offering.  Sarah sent away her handmaiden because Hagar could bear children while Sarah could not.  Joseph’s brothers saw he was their father’s favorite, so they threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave.  Jesus was more loving, powerful, and popular than the chief priests, so they envied Him and plotted His betrayal and crucifixion.

 

You don’t usually get jealous of disconnected strangers.  The ones you’re tempted to jealous of are primarily in the same arena with you.  They work in your office, play in your league, run in your circles … or live in your house.  Yes, if you aren’t careful, jealousy can also infect your marriage.

 

When you were married, you were given the role of becoming your spouse’s biggest cheerleader and the captain of his or her fan club.  Both of you become one and were to share in the enjoyment of the other.  But if selfishness rules, any good thing happening to only one of you can be a catalyst for envy rather than congratulations.

 

He may enjoy golf on the weekend while she stays home cleaning the house.  He boasts to her about shooting a great score and she feels like shooting him.

 

Or perhaps she is constantly invited to go out with friends while he is left home with the dog.  If he’s not careful, he can resent her popularity.

 

Because love is not selfish and puts other first, it refuses to let jealousy in.  It leads you to celebrate the successes of your spouse rather than resenting them.  A loving husband doesn’t mind his wife being better at something, having more fun, or getting more applause.  He sees her as completing him, not competing with him.

 

When he receives praise, he publicly thanks her for her support in aiding his own success.  He refuses to brag in such a way that may cause her to resent him.  A loving wife will be the first to cheer for her man when he wins.  She does not compare her weaknesses to his strengths.  She throws a celebration, not a pity party.

 

It is time to let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart.  It’s time to let your mate’s successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

Determine to become your spouse’s biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy.  To help set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it.  Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

 

 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  (Romans 12:15)

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. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.

Jan 12 2010

Biggest Loser - Danny Cahill

Danny Cahill, winner of the Biggest Loser, joins Lisa & Eric on the K-LOVE Morning Show today. Danny lost more weight than anyone else in the history of the show - an amazing 239 pounds! He gives glory to God and wants to use his new platform to help others. Danny is also a singer and has recorded a song called "Second Chance"

Jan 12 2010

Love Dare - Day 7

Love Believes the Best

 

[Love] believes all things, hopes all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

 

In the deep and private corridors of your heart, there is a room.  It’s called the Appreciation Room.  It’s where your thoughts go when you encounter positive and encouraging things about your spouse.  And every so often, you enjoy visiting this special place.

 

On the walls are written kind words and phrases describing the good attributes of your mate.  These may include characteristics like “honest” and “intelligent,” or phrases like “diligent worker,” “wonderful cook,” or “beautiful eyes.”  They are things you’ve discovered about your husband or wife that have embedded themselves in your memory.  When you think about these things, your appreciation for your spouse begins to increase.  In fact, the more time you spend meditating on these positive attributes, the more grateful you are for your mate.

 

Most things in the Appreciation Room were likely written in the initial stages of your relationship.  You could summarize them as things you liked and respected about your loved one.  They were true, honorable, and good.  And you spent a great deal of time dwelling on them in this room … before you were married.  But you may have found that you don’t visit this special room as often as you once did.  That’s because there is another competing room nearby.

 

Down another dark corridor of your heart lies the Depreciation Room, and unfortunately you visit there as well.

 

On its walls are written the things that bother and irritate you about your spouse.  These things were placed there out of frustration, hurt feelings, and the disappointment of unmet expectations.

 

This room is lined with the weaknesses and failures of your husband and wife.  Their bad habits, hurtful words, and poor decisions are written in large letters that cover the walls from one end to the other.  If you stay in this room long enough, you get depressed and start expressing things like, “My wife is so selfish,” or “My husband can be such a jerk.”  Or maybe, “I think I married the wrong person.”

 

Some people write very hateful things in this room where tell-off statements are rehearsed for the next argument.  Emotional injuries fester here, adding more scathing remarks to the walls.  It’s where ammunition is kept for the next big fight and bitterness is allowed to spread like a disease.  People fall out of love here.

 

But know this.  Spending time in the Depreciation Room kills marriages.   Divorces are plotted in this room and violent plans are schemed.  The more time you spend in this place, the more your heart devalues your spouse.  It begins the moment you walk in the door, and your care for them lessens with every second that ticks by.

 

You may say, “But these things are true!”  Yes, but so are the things in the Appreciation Room.  Everyone fails and has areas that need growth.  Everyone has unresolved issues, hurts, and personal baggage.  This is a sad aspect of being human.  We all have sinned.  But we have this unfortunate tendency to downplay our own negative attributes while putting our partner’s failures under a magnifying glass.

 

Let’s get down to the real issue here.  Love knows about the Depreciation Room and does not live in denial that it exists. 

 

But love chooses not live there.

 

You must decided to stop running to this room and lingering there after every frustrating event in your relationship.  It does you no good and drains the joy out of your marriage.

 

Love chooses to believe the best about people.  It gives them the benefit of the doubt.  It refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative assumptions.  And when our worst hopes are proven to be true, love makes every effort to deal with them and move forward.  As much as possible, love focuses on the positive.

 

It’s time to start thinking differently.  It’s time to let love lead your thoughts and your focus.  The only reason you should glance in the door of the Depreciation Room is to know how to pray for your spouse.  And the only reason you should ever go in this room is to write “COVERED IN LOVE” in huge letters across the walls.

 

It’s time to move into the Appreciation Room, to settle down and make it your home.  As you choose to meditate on the positives, you will learn that many more wonderful character qualities could be written across these walls.  Your spouse is a living, breathing, endless book to be read.  Dreams and hopes have yet to be realized. Talents and abilities may be discovered like hidden treasure.  But the choice to explore them starts with a decision by you.

 

You must develop the habit of reining in your negative thoughts and focusing on the positive attributes of your mate.  This is a crucial step as you learn to lead your heart to truly love your spouse.  It is a decision that you make, whether they deserve it or not.

 

 

Today’s Dare

 

For today’s dare, get two sheets of paper.  On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse.  Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day.  There is a different purpose and plan for each.  At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

 

If there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NKJV)

 

 

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 11 2010

Love Dare - Day 6

 "Love is not irritable"

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.  -Proverbs 16:32

 

Love is hard to offend and quick to forgive.  How easily do you get irritated and offended?  Some people have the motto, “Never pass up an opportunity to get upset with your spouse.”  When something goes wrong, they quickly take full advantage of it by expressing how hurt or frustrated they are.  But this is the opposite reaction to love.

 

To be irritable means “to be near the point of a knife.”  Not far from being poked.  People are irritated are locked, loaded, and ready to overact.

 

When under pressure, love doesn’t turn sour.  Minor problems don’t yield major reactions.  The truth is, love does not get angry or hurt unless there is a legitimate and just reason in the sight of God.  A loving husband will remain calm and patient, showing mercy and restraining his temper.  Rage and violence are out of the question.  A loving wife is not overly sensitive or cranky but exercise emotional self-control.  She chooses to be a flower among the thorns and respond pleasantly during prickly situations.

 

If you are walking under the influence of love, you will be a joy, not a jerk.  Ask yourself, “Am I a calming breeze, or a storm waiting to happen?”

 

Why do people become irritable?  There are at least two key reasons that contribute to it:

 

Stress.  Stress weighs you down, drains your energy, weakens your health, and invites you to be cranky.  It can be brought on by the relational causes: arguing, division, and the bitterness.  There are excessive causes: overworking, overplaying, and overspending.  And there are deficiencies: not get enough rest, nutrition, or exercise.  Oftentimes we inflict these daggers on ourselves, and this sets us up to be irritable.

 

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  This means you must balance, prioritize, and pace yourself.  Too often we throw caution to the wind and run full steam ahead, doing what feels right at the moment.  Soon we are gasping for air, wound up in knots, and ready to snap.  The increasing pressure can wear away at our patience and our relationship.

 

The Bible can help you avoid unhealthy stress.  It teaches you to let love guide your relationships to so you aren’t caught up in unnecessary arguments (Colossians 3:12-14).  To pray through your anxieties instead of tackling them on your own (Philippians 4:6-7).  To delegate when you are overworked (Exodus 18:17-23).  To avoid overindulgence (Proverbs 23:16)

 

It also exhorts you to take a “Sabbath” vacation day every week for worship and rest.  This strategically allows you time to recharge, refocus, and add breathing room or margin to your weekly schedule.  Establishing these kinds of extra spaces will place cushions between you and the pressures around you, reducing stress that keeps you on edge around your mate.  But there is a deeper reason why you can become irritable –

 

Selfishness.  When you’re irritable, the heart of the problem is primarily a problem of the heart.  Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NKJV).  Some people are like lemons: when life squeezes them, they pour out a sour response.  Some are more like peaches: when the pressure is on, the result is still sweet.

 

Being easily angered is an indicator that a hidden area of selfishness or insecurity is present where love is supposed to rule.  But selfishness also wears many other masks:

 

Lust, for example, is the result of being ungrateful for what you have and choosing to covet or burn with passion for something that is forbidden.  When your heart is lustful, it will become easily frustrated and angered (James 4:1-3).  Bitterness takes root when he is provoked (Ephesians 4:31).  Greed for more money and possessions will frustrate you with unfulfilled desires (1 Timothy 6:9-10).  These strong cravings coupled with dissatisfaction lead you to lash out at anyone who stands in your way.  Pride leads you to act harshly in order to protect your ego and reputation.

 

These motivations can never be satisfied.  But when love enters your heart, it calms you down and inspires you to quit focusing on yourself.  It loosens your grasp and helps you let go of unnecessary things.

 

Love will lead you to forgive instead of holding a grudge.  To be grateful instead of greedy.  To be content rather than rushing into more debt.  Love encourages you to be happy when someone else succeeds rather than lying wake at night in envy.  Love says “share the inheritance” rather than “fight with your relatives.”  It reminds you to prioritize your family rather than sacrifice them for a promotion at work.  In each decision, love ultimately lowers your stress and helps you release the venom that can build up inside.  It then sets up your heart to respond to your spouse with patience and encouragement rather than anger and exasperation.

TODAY'S DARE

Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation.  Begin by making a list of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule.  Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life.

 

 Things to ponder: 

Where do you need to add margin to your life?  When have you recently overreacted?  What was your real motivation behind it?

 

I always do my best to have a clear conscience towards God and men.  -Acts 24:16

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. Unauthorized reproduction in any format is strictly prohibited by law.