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the Manna | February 2011

Love


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the Manna | February 2011

Columns

15 | Easier Said Than Done

05 | Signals 07 | On the Air

16 | What About Love?

Features

Stay in Touch

The title says it all.

Just what is our greatest need?

18 | Eyes Wide Open

What love sees as time passes.

08 | More Than Words Do we really mean what we say?

10 | God in Loving Pursuit He is after us.

Extras 26 | Unfiltered

12 | Lovey Dovey Do we season everything we do with love?

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | February 2011

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the Manna | A Publication of Maranatha, Inc. Editor-In-Chief: Debbie Byrd Contributing Editor: Randy Walter Creative Director: Joe Willey Contributing Writers: Josh Millwood, Brittney Switala, Brent Timmons, Karen Tull Media Client Liaisons: Janet Beckett, Mary Kinnikin

Frequently Asked Questions Who We Are The Manna is published by Maranatha, Inc., a Christcentered ministry called to proclaim the Good News of faith and life in Jesus Christ through various forms of media, as God directs, until He returns. “Maranatha” (mer-a-nath´-a) is an Aramaic word found in I Corinthians 16:22. It is translated, “Our Lord, come!” Joy! 102.5 WOLC is also part of Maranatha, Inc. Its call letters stand for “Watch, Our Lord Cometh.” Maranatha!

Disclaimer Non-ministry advertisers are not required to subscribe to the “Statement of Faith” printed at right; nor are their businesses and products necessarily endorsed by the Manna, Joy! 102.5 WOLC, or Maranatha, Inc., whose viewpoints are not necessarily represented by the opinions or statements of persons interviewed in this magazine; nor are the viewpoints of its advertisers.

Statement of Faith We Believe… that the Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible and authoritative source of Christian doctrine and precept; that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that the only hope for man is to believe in Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, who died to take upon Himself the punishment for the sin of mankind, and who rose from the dead so that by receiving Him as Savior and Lord, man is redeemed by His blood; that Jesus Christ in person will return to Earth in power and glory; that the Holy Spirit indwells those who have received Christ, for the purpose of enabling them to live righteous and godly lives; and that the Church is the Body of Christ and is comprised of all those who, through belief in Christ, have been spiritually regenerated by the indwelling Holy Spirit. The twin mission of the Church is worldwide evangelization, and nurture and discipline of Christians.

Manna and Joy! 102.5 WOLC P. O. Box 130, Princess Anne, MD 21853 Voice: 410-543-9652 Fax: 410-651-9652 Manna e-mail: manna@wolc.org Joy! 102.5 e-mail: wolc@wolc.org ©2011 Maranatha, Inc. May not be reproduced without written consent of Maranatha, Inc. Photos: iStockphoto and Big Stock Photo

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Signals Lookin’ for Love Have you ever tried to love someone who isn’t really available? Not “on the market” in the dating sense, just unavailable. They don’t open up. They are distant. They don’t share thoughts, hopes, plans. Maybe communication is awkward. But you want to love them. Maybe it’s a parent, or a sister or a brother? A spouse!? Maybe a co-worker? Maybe a neighbor? Maybe an old friend? Every time you try to plan time together it depends on their schedule. You suggest a restaurant and it depends on whether they are in the mood for fish or a salad or a burger. Or not. Maybe you phone and the call is constantly interrupted on the other end with distractions. Maybe as much as you want relationship with that person they only find little subtle ways to put you down, to minimize your views, to find flaws in you. Maybe you get together and they only know how to talk about their problems, their feelings. It’s all one-sided and there is no room for you. We’ve probably all known at least one person like that…someone we’d love to love but hate to be around? So we keep trying and we keep searching for someone, that elusive friend, to fill a void. But when it comes right down to it, there is only One who can fill that role. He is the One who is always available. Whether through His Word or that still, small voice that speaks to your heart, He is always open for conversation. Always open with His expectations and hopes and dreams. He’s never choosey about where

to meet Him. He’s never snide about what you picked to wear that day. He’s never distracted by other things going on around Him. He never puts you down. He only lifts you up. He’s not hiding. He’s not hard to find. Scripture tells us to simply knock at His door and it will be opened. His name is Jesus. There is no trick to finding His door. It’s the door to your own heart. Just speak out to Him and let Him know you’re looking for Him. He has promised that He will never walk away, He will always be there for you. When you are in relationship with Him, everything else falls into place. You know exactly where you stand. And then it becomes easier to be patient with those other people in your life. And it’s easier to love them when they are simply being who they are. Whether difficult or remote, overclingy or emotionally needy, He gives us the strength to love them right where they are. Maybe then they see Him in us and the relationship becomes what a relationship is supposed to be – mutual respect, reliable, two-way – and grounded in the love of Christ. Debbie Byrd is General Manager of Maranatha, Inc., a ministry that includes Joy! 102.5 and the Manna.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | February 2011

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On the Air One Chance 33 Miles is composed of Jason Barton and Chris Lockwood. The band has received multiple GMA Dove Award nominations, including one for “New Artist of the Year” for their self-titled debut. The concept behind their name is this: Jesus was on the earth for only 33 short years, and a person’s time in this world is very short. Each individual has one shot, one chance to make a difference. The group hopes that through their music they can make a huge impact during their lifetime for God’s glory. And they continue to do that with several recent hits, including “One Life To Love,” “Jesus Calling,” “There is a God,” and “Where I Wanna Go.” On the air this month, listen for their latest release called “Arms That Hold The Universe” from their CD Today. We recently had the opportunity to ask Jason Barton about his thoughts on the song: “I actually didn’t write it,” he says, “so I can honestly say it’s a fantastic song with such a powerful message and the melody is awesome! It’s simply about our huge God who

created the universe. Our God is so big, and I can’t help but think about Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. As you’re going through the first chapter, he tells you about a video on his website where you actually get to see how big God is and how He created the universe. It then zooms out from Earth into our galaxy and then beyond millions of light years and then even beyond that. As you watch, you realize the little galaxy we live in is like a speck of sand when you understand how big the universe is. The God who created all of that is so huge and yet He loves us individually and knows us personally. Just to realize that we rest in His hands is such a relief, and that’s what this song celebrates.” I’m excited about this latest release from 33 Miles and encourage you to listen for the song here on Joy! 102.5. Plus, to make it even better, we’re giving away copies of the CD all month long on air and online through our Facebook page. (Be sure to “like” us on Facebook so you can watch for opportunities to win!) Rodney Baylous is Program Director of Joy! 102.5. Visit www.wolc.org.

Listen Now! Check out our Program Guide at wolc.org

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | February 2011

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More Than Words By Karen Tull


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hen I was in middle school, having your yearbook signed by your classmates was essential. When high school rolled around, the tradition had evidently become “uncool,” but for 12-year-old girls, there was no other purpose in buying a yearbook than the fun you had in busting out the colored gel pens and passing around those glossy pages. Ultimately, the goal was to have your yearbook circulate through so many people that every last inch was covered with messages, and with a little luck, maybe even one from your crush, revealing in some secretive way that he liked you, too. While I don’t recall that happening, I was pleased enough when my yearbook somehow made its way into the hands of the popular girls and they scribbled me a line or two. After school let out for the summer, I would flip to the back of my yearbook and take time to read all the personal notes. Invariably, many of them would end with the acronym “LYLAS,” which stood for “Love you like a sister,” often

written by people who had never spoken ten words to me. I would raise my eyebrows and think, “Huh?” In reality, it was written mindlessly as a cute way to sign off, but to my pre-teen self, it felt fake and empty because their actions didn’t back up the sentiment. The word “love” is heard often in our culture. We can say, “I love you, Mom,” in one sentence, and then a few moments later, exclaim, “I love those shoes!” Love love love…it just flows so naturally out of the mouth, but is it possible that we’re uttering it too flippantly? Have we heard and used the word so much that we’ve forgotten what it truly means to love and how it feels to receive love? Something spread too liberally can eventually lose its potency. Love is the deepest of all human expressions. The Bible explains that God is love and that He has given us love, and we can truly know what love looks like by the example of Christ. Scripture says, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16 NLT). Showing genuine love requires a sacrifice. It doesn’t have to mean physical death, of course, but it will most always demand that we give up our time and invest it in another. By doing this, love is no longer reduced to a vapid remark. When you say, “I love you,” the one hearing it will know that it is authentic, based on your service. And the greatest reward can be in knowing that showing someone love is showing someone Christ.

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God in Loving Pursuit By Margaret Manning


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ou must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?” C.S. Lewis, the most reluctant and dejected convert in all England, penned this now famous and oft-quoted account of his conversion. Unlike some who decided to follow Jesus with urgency and willingness of heart, Lewis came into the Kingdom of God kicking and screaming! While some of us resonate with Lewis’s dread of conversion, most of us, like the Prodigal Son, gladly pursued the path home. Lewis’s reluctant conversion fascinates me, but I am even more moved by the glimpse into God’s character his story affords. For Lewis reminds us of the love of God that relentlessly pursues even the reluctant prodigal who would turn and run in the opposite direction in order to avoid God’s gracious embrace. The God revealed in Lewis’s account is a God who pursues sinners. Indeed, even the reluctant convert is wooed, courted, and embraced by God’s love. The apostle Paul often talked about the love of God for sinners. In what is perhaps the apex of his letter to the Romans, Paul writes: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous person; though perhaps for the good someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates God’s own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of the Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by

his life” (Romans 5:1-11). Paul’s progressive description of our condition before God reveals the depths of God’s love. First, Paul notes that God’s love pursued us “while we were still helpless.” Then, Paul states that God loved us “while we were yet sinners,” and finally, God loved us and reconciled us even “while we were enemies.” Indeed, Paul insists on God’s great love towards even the vilest offender through the life and death of Jesus. He doesn’t make this claim as one who stands removed from the vilest offender. Indeed, he identifies himself as one who found mercy as the foremost sinner of all: “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” But Paul’s recognition of God’s grace didn’t end with himself. As Paul grasped the depths of God’s reconciling love in his own life, it led him to proclaim that same reconciliation for others. To the Corinthian church he wrote, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). In reflecting on the reconciling work of God in Christ, scholar Miroslav Volf draws a pointed application: “God does not abandon the godless to their evil but gives the divine self for them in order to receive them into divine communion through atonement, so also should we-whoever our enemies and whoever we may be.” As we reflect on our own standing before God, our own inclusion into God’s gracious love, may we not be reluctant converts blind to the depths of our own reconciliation. Rather, may our common heritage as sinners move us to pursue others as God has pursued us Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Seattle, Washington.   God in Loving Pursuit by Margaret Manning, A Slice of Infinity, No. 2128, orignally printed February 2, 2010 (www.rzim.org). Used by permission of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | February 2011

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Lovey Dovey by Josh Millwood

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t some point you have probably heard a pastor talk about the different types of love in the Bible. Eros, Philia and Agape were the Greek words in the New Testament that were all translated as “love.” Eros = erotic or romantic love. Philia = brotherly or compatriot love. Agape = selfless, Godly love. (Always associated with Jesus). There are other types of specified love – and cultural designations – and the deep-seated love that most of us have for chocolate (which should have its own Greek word if it doesn’t). You probably have been in love. You might love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Glee or the Baltimore Ravens (lets face it, no one really loves the Redskins right now). You might love a favorite pair of jeans or your iPhone. There’s a lot of love out there, and yet, surprisingly, we don’t live in a world that is generally considered loving. Humanity has always longed to consider itself inherently good. Loving, moral, rising to the occasion! “All we need is love!” cried The Beatles. And truthfully, Love is all we need. But it is not our default setting. This world is plagued by a lack of love. Jesus so simply summed up what God expects of humanity when He said in Matthew 22:37-39, to love God with everything in you and love people as if they were yourself. Every single commandment in the Bible is met by completing that simple (yet epic) assignment. But instead of love, we have horror. To list the atrocities from the news just in a single week would leave us all grief stricken and guilty. We find ways to hide from the ugly truths of the world. We grow numb and weary from hearing about AIDS, apartheid, oppres-

sion and war. Divorce rates skyrocket anew every generation (as a result of the failures of the previous generation.) Kids are ignored and raised by the system instead of parents. A third of the world is literally starving even though there are resources enough to provide for everyone. The world will stay broken until Christ returns. The Bible says the earth is groaning as if in labor. Remember, that was written before epidural anesthesia was invented. That means screaming in pain! We can’t fix it all. It is simply impossible. But we can make a dent. Jesus called us the “salt of the earth” but warned that we are beyond useless if we lose our saltiness. So how do we stay salty? Love. Show some eros to your spouse. Be philia-ing to your family and friends. Receive overwhelming agape from Jesus! If current population studies are correct, there will be over 7 billion people on planet Earth by the end of 2011. The Church has the delightful, dangerous and flat out enormous responsibility to show love to all of those people. According to Jesus, it is not optional to love people. In fact, it is the second most important thing you can do in your life. So who are you going to love? How can you show love, be love, do love for your neighbors, family, friends and enemies? We must challenge ourselves to view absolutely every part of life through love. Politics, economics, consumerism, Bible studies, going to Church, going to school, grocery shopping, etc., etc… Yeah, it’s not going to be easy. Love changes everything. It changes our response to tragedy, how we spend our money and how many second chances we offer. Church, prepare for the hardest task God could have given – go forth and love.

wolc.org | readthemanna.org | February 2011

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Easier Said Than Done By Randy Walter

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or millennia it’s been the theme of poets and philosophers. Songs have been written about it. Religions extol its virtues. What is love? Is it fascination? Romance? Dependency? Devotion? Is there one meaning which is superior to all the others? Love is easier said than done. In the Broadway musical My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle sings it this way: “Don’t talk of love, show me.” Showing love takes us beyond attraction and affection to surrender and commitment. Still the question remains: What is love? “What does love look like?” wrote St. Augustine. “It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” A lot of what’s called “love” in our culture is actually something else. We use the word loosely. Visitors from other countries ask how we can “love” a possession or an experience. Do they see something in the word “love” that we don’t? The Bible says God is love. In turn, God wants our love. The greatest commandment in Scripture is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind. Jesus said a lot about love. He told His followers to love one another, love their neighbors and love their enemies. Jesus showed how to love in this manner, even when it goes against our instincts and costs us personally. Easier said than done? Absolutely. We sometimes hear about “unconditional love” – the idea that by not requiring anything in return, love is pure and unsullied. But the Bible presents a different view. God’s love includes boundaries, not to unfairly restrict us but to protect us. Without boundaries, love will be forsaken. Without love, boundaries will be violated. Jesus said, “Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.” When God prescribes boundaries, His promises become covenants – sacred agreements between God and men in which each one has responsibilities. Even in the Bible’s most quoted

passage, God’s promise comes with a requirement: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God has done His part; ours is to believe. Is believing in God’s love easier said than done? It’s not as hard as atheists, agnostics and humanists would have people think. That’s because faith is not something we must concoct; it is a gift given by God. Paul wrote, “God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.” If every man has a measure of faith, why don’t all men believe? For some, faith has been a reality from their youth. And for others, faith is like a seed that needs water and warmth in order to sprout – the watering of God’s Word and the warmth of His Spirit. For some, God’s love comes in a revelation; for others, it is a process. “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me makes them want to come,” Jesus said. God, the lover of our souls who is not willing that any of us should die spiritually, draws us to Himself. God goes after the wayward, rebellious and backslidden to reconcile them to His will. Time and again He gave ancient Israel another chance. Whenever He gave them over to the consequences of their disobedience and inflicted punishment, He always preserved a remnant rather than allow them all to be wiped out. God disciplines those He loves. And He wants His love in us to produce generosity, kindness and compassion. Whatever prevents that from happening, He forbids. Those are His boundaries. Jesus demonstrated ultimate love, which He characterized this way: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” That’s exactly what Jesus did. Fast forward nearly two millennia. In Billy Graham’s 70 years of ministry, the evangelist has taught the same message in thousands of sermons: “God proved His love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” Dying for the sin of the world was easier said than done. That’s why Jesus achieved the greatest victory ever when He proclaimed from the cross, “It is finished!” wolc.org | readthemanna.org | February 2011

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What About Love? By Brittney Switala

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renda and Vern have been members of the same church for over 30 years. Now in their 60s, she’s the church librarian while he has served in church leadership – until recently. Apparently, their intrinsic involvement in the church isn’t as necessary as it used to be when they were younger…the pastor has made that clear. They’ve decided to visit other churches hoping to find a home where they feel loved and appreciated. So far, the exhausting search has made Sunday morning TV sermons from the couch more appealing. James’ story is much different, but with a similar outcome. A 30-something with a Bible degree, he became heavily involved with his large suburban church only to discover that his leadership and involvement in the church had hit a glass ceiling. Through a little digging he began to discover that those in positions of influence were those who had “deep pockets” and had given large gifts to the church building fund. He remains a big fan of Jesus, but not of His followers. Each person has their own story, so think back to your first church experience – a church you selected with eager expectation. You were probably met by a nice greeter who helped you find your way into the sanctuary and perhaps gave you a steaming cup of coffee. You looked over the bulletin at all the wonderful programs, thinking how your gifts might match their ministry opportunities. You shook hands with smiling people in freshly-pressed clothes who sang with gusto. The pastor shared about “God’s love” and said if we would simply ask Christ into our hearts, all of our wildest dreams will come true (or something along those lines!). And really, back then, it seemed believable. Eventually you learned the “nice” game face was for Sunday morning. Someone said something hurtful to you, you felt unappreciated, you were overlooked, you were overworked, you were shamed…and you were left wondering, “Where is that love that I’ve heard the pastor talk so much about?” It’s safe to say at some point we have all been disillusioned by the lack of true love in the Church. Some don’t even need to step into a church to see there is a problem. In the book Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons asked young people ages 16-29 what most characterized Christians. The three most common responses were: Christians are “antihomosexual” (91%) Christians are “judgmental” (87%) Christians are “hypocritical” (85%)

Obviously, Christians get a lot of bad external press, but the truth is, we are hurting each other, our brothers and sisters, with our lack of love. In John 13:35, Jesus tells his disciples, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” Loving one another is essential to being an ambassador for Christ to the world, but also for living in community with believers. Love gives a “kudos” to the church janitor and the “Twos and Threes” Sunday School teacher who is pulling her hair out. Love stacks up chairs so the kids have a place to play during the Sunday night Awana program. Love comforts the woman whose husband left her for another – and love also confronts the wayward husband. Love asks, “How are you doing, really?” Love allows for true confessions and brings restoration. Love hugs the man in the suit and the man who needs a shower. In a word, love is “messy.” Christian artist/songwriter JJ Heller has penned such poignant lyrics, crying out for unconditional love in her song, “What Love Really Means.” “Who will love me for me? Not for what I have done or what I will become Who will love me for me? ‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means” Personally, that is the cry of my heart. I desire to be loved by my fellow Christians even when my energy is spent and I don’t have anything left to give. I don’t want to be loved for my potential, but right here with my bumps and flaws. I want to develop deep relationships that are with me before I sin, help me through my sin, and restore me after my sin. That is the love of Christ. We are not Christ, but as Christians we are “little Christs.” Take it or leave it, that’s what the name “Christian” means. Our love defines us. Ultimately, our job is to love as Christ first loved us. It’s a high calling. “Nice” can be faked, but loving one another as Christ loved the Church can only be supernatural. “We love because He first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:19-20).

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t’s not an emotion. It’s not a feeling. It’s not something that you fall into or out of. Love is a matter of the will. Once upon a time, my wife thought I was the greatest thing in the world. I was a Greek god of sorts, a regular Adonis. Maybe it was my rugged good looks. Maybe it

was the long-flowing hair. Maybe it was my amazing charm and wit or my penchant for sarcasm and humor (see above). In her eyes, I could do no wrong. But something has happened since we were married nearly 10 years ago: a cruel thing called reality has set in. Ten years later and the hair is gone, my gut has


expanded a bit, and at times it appears to me that I can do no right. (Rest in peace, Adonis, the party is over) Yet the strange part is that it’s not gotten worse between us over the years, it’s actually gotten better. Much better. Like most couples, when we first began to date, it was exciting, it was fresh, it was fun. Maybe that was love or maybe it wasn’t. I’m no Dr. Ruth. At its best, it was an immature love, a blind kind of love which is all-toooften portrayed in our society as the real thing. The problem is that blind love is incapable or unwilling to see another person’s faults or shortcomings. It is blinded by the emotion, the attraction, and the passion of the relationship. But it’s when the initial excitement fades that the strength of relationships is truly tested. Some couples quit, some drift apart, some have affairs to try and recapture the magic. Yet, reality keeps knocking until two very imperfect, very flawed people choose to open the door. It’s that reality that has caused me to know that I am truly loved by my wife. Beyond my deteriorating physical qualities, my wife knows my biggest areas of weakness. She knows the areas where I struggle. She has experienced some of the ugliness of my character flaws far more often than I’d care to admit. Her eyes are wide open now. She knows what she has (and sadly what she doesn’t have) and yet, somehow, for some reason, she loves me still. For her, love has advanced beyond the immature stages of attraction and emotion. She chooses to love me now and this is the divine model by which love should be defined. God never “fell into” love with any of us. None of us ever swept God off His feet with how wonderful we are. In spite of our condition, He chooses to love us. For Him, it’s a matter of the will. One of the great biblical illustrations of

A Higher Level of Care A Higher Level of Care HealthSouth this truth is found in the life of Jacob in the H e a lThough t h S oone u tofhtheRgreat e h a b i l i t a t i oRehabilitation n Hospital book of Genesis.

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erhaps more than other media, movies leave us with words which become axioms in the culture. Think about your favorite film and there is probably one line of dialogue which summarizes its meaning to you. That was the case when the tearjerker Love Story hit the big screens. It was about a young married couple, very much in love, who learn the wife suffers from a terminal illness. She delivers a statement which echoed for a generation: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” The film was a huge hit, winning an Academy Award and reaching number nine on the American Film Institute’s top 100 romantic movies. Its famous quotation permeated the culture, making it to number 13 on the AFI’s top 100 movie lines. A lot of these lines are funny or cute. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” “Here’s looking at you, kid.” “Go ahead, make my day.” “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Such expressions are easy to parrot without examining them. Does love really mean never having to say you’re sorry? It depends on what kind

of love. Whose is the best love? No one else’s but God’s. Love originated with Him. No other love could be purer, more altruistic or more desirable. The first mentions of the word “love” in the Bible, depending on which translation you consult, refer to Jacob’s love for his wife Rebekah and his son Isaac. Love within the family unit is fashioned after the love we receive from and return to God. This love is not based on performance. It exists because God is love. Is it hard to imagine that God loves you? Many people struggle with this. Recognizing their flaws and feeling condemned, they think of God’s love as something which must be earned like a prize or a good grade in school. No purchase price is equal in value to God’s love. Nothing we can do is sufficient in exchange for God’s love. If God’s love is so great and incomparable, how do we obtain it? By simply receiving it and the peace it brings. The apostle Paul was a product of God’s love, which transformed him from a legalistic, self-righteous Pharisee to being able


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Saying We’re Sorry By Randy Walter to say, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all Creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus possessed that same love. Once when He and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a violent storm arose and threatened to swamp their boat. Undeterred by the gale, Jesus slept in the stern until His disciples, believing they would drown, roused Him and asked why He wasn’t concerned. He retorted, “Where is your faith?” Then He stood and calmed the wind and water by saying, “Peace, be still!” Jesus brought peace to the situation. When they reached the shore, they encountered a man possessed by so many demons that when Jesus asked their name, they responded, “Legion, for we are many.” Jesus dispatched the evil spirits, leaving the former demoniac composed and in his right

mind. Once again, the pure love of God produced peace. God described Himself to Moses as “showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Peter characterized God as “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” When we love God, it produces repentance – saying we’re sorry for disregarding the commandments He instigated for our well-being. Sorry that we obeyed our own desires rather than His. Sorry that we gave Him less than our best. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,” Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, “but worldly sorrow brings death.” God loves each one of us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the punishment for our sin and afford us the opportunity to be with Him for eternity. Repentance is how we receive this great gift. The key to experiencing God’s love story is to say we’re sorry.

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The 5 Love Languages: Gary Chapman In his best-selling book, Dr. Chapman states that all human beings have an intrinsic need to be loved, but to actually receive the love we need, it must be given in our specific “love language.” Through his vast experience as a marriage counselor, Dr. Chapman has identified five such modes of expression: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Devoting a chapter to each, Dr. Chapman uses real-life examples from couples he has counseled to illustrate the importance of husbands and wives seeking to learn each other’s primary love language and then beginning to demonstrate it accordingly. If these needs go unmet (or the “love tank” runs dry, as he puts it), that’s when problems arise. This book is extremely beneficial for the married and unmarried alike. While the main focus is on restoring and building healthy marital relationships, the giving and receiving of love is applicable to everyone and will undoubtedly help you understand yourself better and possibly even your family and friends.

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When this singer-songwriter from Texas began preparing for his tenth studio album, he had just come through a difficult time of health struggles and, admittedly, only felt like writing “songs about nothing.” But through the process, the subject (or lack thereof) naturally evolved into something Escovedo says he’s always found mysterious—love. And so, throughout the record, Escovedo airs out his observations, questions, and confusion about love, and his addiction to the feeling. Introspective it may be, but soft and serene it is not. An alternative country artist with a punk rock past, Escovedo jams out with heavy guitar and driving bass lines as he shifts between whispering and shouting his lyrics. It’s a gritty ride until the final track, “Fort Worth Blue,” a beautiful guitar instrumental that seems to speak a kind of solace following a hard look at love and all it’s complexities. These reviews are provided by Maranatha, Inc. staff and contributing writers.


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Do What You Love and Starve By B. A. Timmons

A

s we had been to the event many times before, we were looking for something completely different to do. The orchard store had offered tours of its processing plant in the past, so we headed in that direction. Looking at apples growing sounded only moderately interesting, but we knew the kids would enjoy the hayride. A gentleman packed us up with little conversation, and we headed down the road sitting on our hay bales. I wondered

what the tour would be like, and speculated it may simply be a quiet ride through the orchards. The driver bounced us down a stretch of dirt road and then stopped the tractor and turned off the engine. It was only then that he introduced himself. The man I thought was just a farm hand was, in fact, one of the brothers who own the orchard. He explained that his great-grandfather had started the business over a hundred years ago. He pointed out the modest


house he lived in and the old broken down chicken houses in which the family had at one time grown Delmarva’s favorite bird. He spoke of the pride his family took in making a living farming this land, especially for such a long period of time. He told us about irrigation methods they had been using for years which were ahead of their time, and how they had always been careful not to contaminate the small stream which made its way through the farm and eventually dumped into the Chesapeake Bay. The love this man had for the land and his farm was obvious. I recall hearing a commercial for this very orchard as a child. I had never been to the orchard growing up, as it was all the way on the other side of the county. The farmer and I discussed the commercial, and he mentioned that a few years ago he had tried to get a copy of it without success. I told him that when I was young, the only reason we ever came through this part of the county was if we were going over the Bay Bridge. He said I should have told him that the only reason we came was to buy their apples. I agreed. At our last stop in the orchard, we picked our own apples. I picked three, and ate two. One of our sons picked a dozen. With all the apples our family picked, it easily covered the small fee we had paid for our ride. The tour was a huge success for our family, one of those things that everybody enjoyed. The thing that most impressed me was the longevity of the family business and the pride and pleasure this man took in showing us his farm. He had succeeded in building a rapport with us in the brief time we were together. This farmer must be proof of some saying, but I couldn’t recall the precise wording of it. A few minutes on the Internet led to the quote – “Do what you love, and the rest will follow.” This sounded slightly better than another quote – “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” “Do what you love, and starve,” while funny, made a good point. All these quotes were in the context of making a good decision about how to spend your days, specifically in how to make a living. Then I found yet another one which caught my attention. The context was also someone trying to find just the right career. The commentator wrote, “Do not what you love: do what you are.” This twist on the other ideas was taking into account that

there are all kinds of things we love to do, but those things don’t always translate into income. The suggestion was essentially to do what you are geared to do. If you combined the best of these various thoughts, you could end up with “Do what you are, and the rest will follow.” Yeah, that sounded pretty good to me. Perhaps the farmer had stumbled into this pattern of living. He certainly seemed to be “doing what he was” and seemed very content in “the rest” that followed. It was a refreshing thing to see. While these quotes were aimed toward vocation, there is a more general acrossthe-board application in the life of the believer. “Do what you are,” if carried out in the correct context, is the life believers are called to live. It is the “what you are” part that causes all the grief. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, when we come to Christ, we become “new creatures.” That’s relatively easy to swallow. But 2 Corinthians 4:11 claims, “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” If we believe this and walk in it, then “doing what we are” should involve allowing Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh. But what if I am actually a dirty rotten scoundrel? We know we have no license to behave in such a way, no license to “be who we are” in that context. As the first part of the verse explains, the Lord will deal with those things of the flesh. As He does, and that flesh is put to death, it opens the door for Christ to be manifested more. We often live under the misunderstanding that “what we are” are broken-down old sinners who God desires to fix up over time. So we spend our lives focused on all those things which are in need of repair. And we live in a constant state of asking the Lord to change us, never satisfied with where He has brought us thus far. Certainly, He does intend to do a work in our hearts. But it is the Holy Spirit Who will be faithful to deal with that flesh. Perhaps I need to spend less time worrying about His work, and more time “doing what I am.” What I am is a vessel for the Life of Christ. The rest will follow. After all, we aren’t the broken-down old chicken houses of the orchard, we are the trees. And the fruit we bear is Christ.


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