{ Who Said Love Is Pretty?}

Who said Love is pretty?
Love is not a fragile flower
Or a delicate blossom
Love is a stubborn weed that refuses to be uprooted.

Love is not a silky, elegant fabric
It’s a stained and sturdy tarp
A rough and lowly burlap

Love is a rusty anchor
A moss-covered boulder
A weatherbeaten barn.

Love has been through
Waves
Trials and
Storms
And love will be there forever.

Love gets
Wrinkled
Burned and
Scarred

But love is too busy
Doing
Working and
Praying
To look into the mirror

~~~
© Lisa M. Luciano 2020
Image by Bernhard Stärck from Pixabay

{ God’s Valentine }

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Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name,

You  Are  Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
  And through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

When you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Isaiah 43: 1-3 ESV

~~~

Although this love message was written to God’s chosen people, Israel, it can speak comfort to all believers. In the New Testament, God’s never-changing love is affirmed in verses like Romans 8:38-39:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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~~~

Photos:

Hush Naidoo

Chandan Chaurasia

 Ryan Stone

{ Better Than }

God’s steadfast love is better than life. ~ Psalm 63:3

A good name is better than great riches. ~ Proverbs 22:1

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9

The end of a thing is better than its beginning. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:8

The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ~  Ecclesiastes 7:8

To obey is better than sacrifice. ~ I Samuel 15:22

But God treats us much better than we deserve… ~ Romans 3:24

Consider others better than yourself. ~ Philippians 2:3

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Photos:

 Annie Spratt

 Michal Janek

 Tim Marshall

{ God’s Valentine }

renee-fisher-494610But now thus says the Lord,
He who created you, O Jacob,
    He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine!

james-mertz-376832
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

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Isaiah 43:1-3

photo credits:

rapids:James Mertz

fire:Matt Howard

hearts:Renee Fisher

{ 3 Things About 3 Things }

shumilov-ludmila-59388One.

I am writing weekly, short spotlights on amazing missionaries, composers and church leaders. Here’s what I *taught myself* as I wrote this week:

  1. Be brave and fearless like Mary Slessor. Care more about loving people than what people think of you.
  2. Have faith like John G. Paton. Press on in your work, even though people around you doubt that God can answer prayer and do miracles. Faith, combined with sweat, dirt and hard work, will be worth it.
  3. What you have been doesn’t mean that’s what you will be.  With God’s touch, people can move from being purposeless jokers to daring, adventurous life-changers, like Brother Andrew. 

Two.

If I had to choose a keyword for 2017, it would be “Listen.” Reading a few books about better listening skills has improved me and ruined me at the same time.  I now have goals when I sit down at a gathering to talk to someone.  The talker doesn’t even have to be interesting.  They will become interesting when I give them the gift of my time and attention; when I immerse myself in what they are saying and see the soul behind it.

But, reading these listening books has opened my eyes. It bothers me now when I make the “listening mistakes”, or…when I feel people aren’t listening to me.

I’ve learned that most people don’t really listen. They often just wait as they get ready to talk at you. It takes self-control and self-denial to listen to someone.

Here are three things I want to remember about being a good listener:

  1. Don’t disengage while someone is talking to you.  Don’t ask someone a question, then drift off or look around. That hurts.
  2. Ask thoughtful questions. It lets people know you are listening, keeps you engaged, and actually makes their spiel more interesting.
  3. When you listen, you learn — about everything. “Everyone is an expert on something.” And, when you actively listen to people, you learn something you never knew before.

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Three.

This is the most difficult. After years of calling myself a Christian, I realized I don’t have enough of the one thing that is supposed to mark a Jesus-follower. Yes, I have the quiet time, the doctrine and the lingo. But I want to love people like Jesus showed me from the Bible. Hating sin is the easy part (when it’s someone else’s sin.) And Christians are good at hating the sin, but sometimes not-so-good at loving the sinner…

  1. Look at people (all made in God’s image) with a Godlike, eternal, loving perspective.
  2. Love God and love people. Show I love God by loving people. Show people I love God by loving them.
  3. Expect God to show up every day in my life.

So…thanks for listening.

Lisa 🙂

Three books that have prompted me to write parts of this post:

  1. The Lost Art of Listening 
  2. We Need to Talk
  3. Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore: How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic.

Photo credits:

Pears — Shumilov Ludmila

Hearts —Jessica Ruscello