Leb Blog

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#love A Dead Plant and a $5 Movie

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35)

When I was a little girl my dad made holidays special for my sisters & I. The house was dominated by 3 girls and my mom. In those days Hallmarks was the benchmark. I could always count on my dad to bring something home that would make us feel special. We were not wealthy just rich in love!

So, on a day like Valentine’s Day he would remind us that we were loved, bring home a card that expressed that he was glad he was our dad and of course the famous chocolates. My mom’s heart was always distinctive. She was the Queen and we were the Princesses. Simple things saying, “I love you”.

I’m now in my fifties, married and thankful to God for all the expressions of love in my life. God is Good. During a day like Valentines we often hear, “so did you get chocolates”? If you are in a dating relationship it is almost expected lest you question the authenticity of love. That sounds ridiculous but we have been lured by our commercialized world to believe love can only be expressed by expensive trinkets.  Don’t get me wrong, I like expressions of love, but I don’t want to pay for it for the next 3 months with an 18% interest rate.

So today was my date night with my husband. I was home sick and feeling tired. When he came home he had purchased some items at the store and put them on the counter. About two hours later I went into the kitchen and on the counter was a succulent cactus plant. It made me smile. I quickly went into the room thanked him for it. He remembered that I like cactus and purchased it for me. He began to tell me that when he went to pay for it the cashier said, “make sure you water it, it looks pretty bad”. Wow, a dead plant? Well, we laughed.

About now you are probably envisioning some scrawny, dried up cactus. But, it really was beautiful. I did water it and she is doing well. It’s the little things.

So, off to the movies we go. Today is bargain night so admission is only five dollars! As we are watching the previews I leaned over and said, “so what are we doing for Valentine’s Day”? He answered, “we are doing it right now”. To which I answered, “a dead plant and a $5 movie”. We laughed so hard I thought we were going to get shushed. Good thing the lights were out.

See it really is not about the cost. It’s about the simple things. Expressions of love can be expressed with a candy bar and a note that reads, “I love you”. Love speaks many languages. Love can be picking up the kids from school so mom (or dad) can take a nap. Love is a walk in the park, a pizza with a friend, or a vanilla shake with your daughter. Love is walking your neighbors dog or removing the snow from their driveway.  The ordinary things become extraordinary when they are shared with the ones we love.

Love is always trying to express emotions, intentions and convictions. 

Mornings usually bring peaks of sunshine that slip through the window blinds in my kitchen. The sunlight hits the floor tiles. As I walk toward the coffee maker I can feel the warmth on the bottom of my feet. It’s just a small reminder from my Heavenly Father that he is thinking about me. Open the blinds and a new day begins. He’s made the sun to shine and it brings life all around me. Even my scrawny plant benefits from His expression of Love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

So, do it today. Share expressions of love with those that God has put in your path. It might be as simple as sending a text that reads, “Just wanted to let you know, I love you”. (or can also pick up a cactus) #Love #ShareItToday

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, February 9, 2018

Prison: On Calvary's Hill

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

(Romans 6:23)

What do we do with the sins of yesterday? Sometimes we ignore them and just put them in a trash container. We don’t have to look at them again or pay the consequences for it. Nobody knows, and we somehow think that God has overlooked them as well.

When we pile garbage in a bag normally things go well, and we can bring the trash to the curb for pickup. Have you ever overstuffed the “hefty, hefty cinch bag” just to find out that you put one item too many and the results is trash all over the floor? If you live in the country, wildlife loves to get into the trash as well. Mornings can be stressful if we must begin the day by picking up yesterday’s dinner from the lawn. Huh!

The sins of yesterday try to inflict pain on today.

If yesterday’s sins are stuffed away we create an avalanche of pain for tomorrow. The Scriptures tell us to confess our sins for he is faithful and just to purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

A little lie can turn into agony later. Stealing shouts and calls us a thief. Adultery leads to mistrust and pain. Coveting returns as idol worship. Misusing the Name of the Lord finds us guilty before the Creator of the world. We have become slaves to sin. (Romans 6)

Guilty. We are found in the wrong before God. The handcuffs are brought out and we hear the “click” of no return. A prisoner of sin, we are now handcuffed and will pay for the sin committed. Truly our garbage will be exposed for all to see.

Our wrists in chains, attached to the Police who personally guarantees our destination.

But, what if there is a way of escape? What if the Lord himself provides a way out?

Jesus knows our weakness. He knows our fallen condition, and he is willing and has paid for the sins of men!

He has broken every chain and freed the prisoner. Go and sin no more!

“What God orders, he pays for”. (unknown)

Sin shouted take them to prison. Mercy stepped in picked up the garbage that was on display, removed the chains and paid the cost. The Authority of the Law, the Police himself shouts from Calvary's mountain “take me instead” and surrendered His hands to be crucified on our behalf.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)

He provides a way of escape. 

Jesus was willing to die for you and me.  No need to carry the weight of sin.  He has taken it and calls out, "Go and sin no more".

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God bless you!~Liz