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Living From Love

Title: Living From Love
Materials: Hand-lettering
Description:

Everything Flows from Love

First of all, I’m totally 100% passionate about this truth — living loved. I’m convinced that everything we do is originally designed to flow out of this place of being loved by our Father in heaven. We see this even in the life of Jesus. Just moments after John baptizes Jesus in the water, the clouds parted “…and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). If Jesus needed to hear that from His Father, how much more do we as His children need to be reminded of this truth before we “do” anything.

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I TOTALLY understand what it means to live life for the approval of people. I mean, who doesn’t like to have people like them, right? This quickly became my identity, to please other and to do everything out of a place of LACK.

I began to live for love and not from love. This cycle is dangerous because soon enough, God is taken out of the equation. It’s no longer about living satisfied in His love, its now looking for other places to fill a need that only Jesus can fulfill.

How do we live from this place of LOVE practically?

Intimacy with Him: At the end of the day, if we aren’t setting aside moments for His voice of love to speak into our lives, we can simply forget. It’s amazing how quickly this can happen. We can know we are loved by God, and simultaneously believe a small lie that He doesn’t love every single part of us. What I mean by this is that it’s common for christians to come under the influence of a lie if we aren’t being disciplined on a regular basis to spend time with Jesus and be renewed by the sound of His Loving and Kind voice. Just as the word says “The Truth Shall set you free”.

It’s true that what we believe affects the way we live. So can you imagine… what would happen if every believer BELIEVED FULL HEARTEDLY that they were 100% LOVED, without question? Well, I believe we’d become the most “dangerous” christians on the planet. Why? Well, Loved people take risk, they do things not for the approval of man, but in obedience to the Lord!

In John chapter 15 Jesus says “If you Love me you will obey me.”. I believe we can only love to the extent that we allow Him to Love us. We can only give what we have!

This is why living from a place of love is foundational. It’s the glue that holds us together. It’s what wooed us in the beginning to Him, it was His love that changed us! It was for love that He went to the cross. Everything is about His love and letting Him love us exactly where we are at.

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Artist Feature | Jenessa Wait

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I’m a 22-year-old Canadian who is now living in California. I grew up as a PK (pastor’s kid), and church life was always pretty normal. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old that I fully surrendered my life to Jesus. Through a series of events, I realized I was living a double life, not fully believing the truth of the gospel. I hit rock bottom, and God, in His grace and mercy, picked me up and gave me hope and purpose again.

I do hand-lettering because I believe I have a voice that is meant to speak the truth of who God and who people are, and to point people to Jesus! I love anything to do with beauty. Creating is a passion of mine, and I’m a believer in doing things you’re passionate about!

The key message I always want to convey through my art is that Jesus is the answer to all things. He is the one that gives us love, hope, peace – whatever it is that we need, He has it for us. I want people to be encouraged and to know that God is for them and with them through every situation of life! I’ve learned time and time again that we won’t have it all figured out right away, and that it’s a really good thing to not be perfect. Only then can we learn patience and to trust Him in all things.

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Love One Another

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“Above all, love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8)

We all have those people in our life that are “difficult to love”. For some reason or another, the “feeling” of love doesn’t come easily. It may be character issues, temperament, or things the other person has done to us. If we’re honest, we’ve all been on both sides of this situation. I know for a fact there have been times in our marriage that it was difficult for Laura to love me. Thankfully though, her love for me is rooted in something much deeper than feeling.

According to Peter, loving each other is essential to our walk with God. Above everything else, we are called to “maintain an intense love for each other”. This emphasis on love echoes many other verses in the Bible, including the well-known 1 Corinthians 13. In fact, the bible goes so far to say that love must be the basis of all our acts of service. For without it, it will profit no one.

The word “love” in these verses is translated in the greek as “agape”. When the Bible says that “God is love”, this is the definition being used. This is not a love that comes naturally to us (like family, friendship, or romantic loves). Agape love has divine origin. It is unmerited, unconditional and redemptive. It seeks nothing in return.

This is the same love we received from God himself (John 3:16). As we receive this love from God, we are filled to show the same love to others. Peter goes on to say that this type of love “covers over a multitude of sins”. It is love that has the ability to redeem and restore. It’s not easy (we always prefer to love when it “feels natural”)—but this type of love is what matters most.

So as we ponder what it means to love each other, may we consider first God’s incredible agape love for us. May His love motivate us to love others without seeking anything in return. May this type of love strengthen our marriages, families and friendships. And may we pursue this love more than anything else. For we know that in the end, ‘the only thing that matters.. is faith expressing itself through (agape) love.” (Galatians 5:6)

Contributed by Jason Van Dyke, God’s Fingerprints

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‘AGAPE’ love

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“Why are we fighting these people?”

These were the words overheard by a translator in Mosul last month. It was a conversation between two injured militants. They had been wounded in the battle for Mosul, and were being treated at a field hospital by a team of Christian doctors and nurses.

Two of our friends were part of that team. They shared this story with us shortly after they got back. The hospital they served in was set up by a Christian organization. It was the only working hospital in Mosul during their time there, and they treated the wounded regardless of affiliation.

Can you imagine what those militants must be experiencing? Here are their enemies, the ones they have been taught to hate, treating them with love and compassion. This type of love is disarming. It causes people to question their hate. Not even militants are immune to this love. For it is the love of God working itself out in the lives of men.

And in this Valentine’s season, let us seek to celebrate this love. Not the sappy love we hear about in music or movies. But a love that transforms. The Greeks called it ‘AGAPE’ love, which is unconditional, unmerited and absolutely amazing. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. An overflowing love. A love that flourishes and beautifies everything around it.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from my friend who was serving in Mosul last month with his wife.

“I have witnessed true light that has shone in all this darkness. I have seen the real hope that Christ can bring, especially when his people come together to love and serve one another, despite the risks and the cost. I have seen physically scarred faces smile with a peace that surpasses understanding. I have seen bodies that have been broken, get up and rise. I have seen lives saved. And I have seen the miracles that can happen when we choose to love.. even our enemy.”

Contributed by Jason Van Dyke, God’s Fingerprints

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The Day My Boyfriend and I Fought

Written By Edna Ho, Malaysia

I was so mad at my boyfriend―let’s call him “T”.

You see, my parents had come to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for my graduation ceremony. It was a weekend. I was excited because T had never met my parents before. I thought this would be a great opportunity for him to meet them too.

Coincidentally, T had to prepare for a good friend’s wedding at the same time. This was a friend he had met while studying in Australia, which meant that many of his long-time-no-see friends would be coming to Malaysia for the wedding. T was really excited about it.

My parents were here for two nights. On the first night, T told me he wanted to spend some time with his Australian friends. I happily agreed since I thought we would have another night to spend with my parents.

The next day was a Sunday. After church, I had one worship practice after another. By the time I finished, it was already 6pm. I received a message from my parents asking if we were going to have dinner together. I turned to ask T, and to my surprise, he shook his head and said, “I feel a little sick. I don’t think I can have dinner with your parents.”

I was very disappointed, but I tried to place myself in his shoes. I immediately texted my mum and said that we would not be having dinner with them. My mum replied, “I’m very upset.”

T drove a few of us home. At a traffic junction, he turned and asked me, “Are you still going to have dinner with your parents?” I shook my head, as my parents were staying at a hotel quite far away and I did not have a car. T proceeded to ask, “Then do you want to join me for dinner with my Australian friends instead?”

My eyes widened in disbelief. He had the audacity to reject dinner with my parents (possibly his future in-laws) saying he was sick, then go ahead and have dinner with his Australian friends?

We quarreled in the car when we reached my home, and T cried in frustration and anger when I told him that my mum was upset about the whole thing. Trying to mend it, he said, “Okay, then let’s go meet them now.”

“But I thought you said you’re tired?”

“Yeah, but I don’t want to disappoint them.”

“It’s too late now.”

I was so mad at him that I could not talk anymore and left the car. Thoughts ran wildly in my head. I asked myself, Where did all the romance and the warm, fuzzy feelings go? Had I made the wrong decision in being with him? Why was he behaving like this? I thought he could be better!

The next day, we bombarded each other’s phone with messages. After laying it all out, I realized that I had been too quick to judge T. He had chickened out on meeting my parents because he felt that he was not in tip-top condition and therefore couldn’t “impress” them. He had opted to meet his Australian friends instead as he was comfortable with them and did not feel any pressure to “perform”. Besides, we had already booked tickets to visit my hometown later.

The following day, T came to my home and we reconciled. God then impressed on me 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. The passage was familiar to me, but that night, the words became personal.

If T were to read this, this is what I would tell him:

Love is patient – I have learned to be patient when you are not yet the man I want to see, but in God’s timing, you are being transformed from glory to glory, day by day (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Love is kind – May I be kind to you in my words and actions.

It does not envy – I will not be jealous when I see you have a good time with your friends.

It does not boast – I will not compare us to see who the stronger or weaker party is.

It is not proud – I will not compare us and ask if one of us is too good for the other.

It is not rude – Forgive me when my words are harsh.

It is not self-seeking – May I not be demanding.

It is not easily angered – May I not be so easily offended or sensitive.

It keeps no record of wrongs – May I not hold on to past mistakes.

Love always protects – I want to protect you: your dignity, heart, mind, and soul.

Love always trusts – I will trust your words.

Love always hopes – May we always believe in the best together.

Love always perseveres – May we not give up when trouble comes.

Love never fails – GOD never fails. When we are weak, He is strong and able to sustain us with His love (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

The romance we see in television dramas and movies is not real love. Real love is sacrificing yourself―your time, interests, and energy―for the person you love. Real love is choosing to stay with the person you have committed your life to no matter what happens.

May I love T like how Jesus loves me and him.