Love 5

Matthew 18:20

Whenever I travel, and especially in these winter months with bad weather, I am grateful for the cell phones our family now owns. No matter where we are or what we are going through we can connect with one another in an instant. During moments of loneliness or anxiety we can keep in touch, the voice over the phone offering security and assurance. Although the loved one is not actually physically present, knowing that we are in touch gives strength and hope in times of fear and worry and solitude.

Just as Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 talks about that third strand in a cord, as we enter into a love relationship we must be aware of the need to invite God into the connection. In Matthew what does Jesus say about his presence?

This passage is specifically used for times of worship, times of Christian fellowship, Bible study, or any time believers gather. If two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, for the purpose of holy fellowship, then Christ will be present also. Jesus will bless that time together and be a part of the connection.

But I believe this passage can apply even to a love relationship. If we enter into a bond with another person, if we share a relationship of love and caring for another, and we put Christ into that relationship as well, then the Spirit of the Lord will indeed be present. If we invite Jesus to be part of our love relationship he will come and be that third strand, that strengthening presence, which will help keep the love relationship powerful and secure.

Too often we enter into a commitment with other people and we trust in the emotion and our own faithfulness, failing to recognize that our relationships are at risk if we do not strengthen them with the presence of God. If we will love another person, even when we commit to binding that emotion of love to our being and that commitment of faithfulness to our hearts, we can sustain our love if we involve the Lord.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Have you invited Jesus to be with you in your love relationships?

Love 4

Proverbs 3:3

I imagine that every one of us could name a relationship that has fallen apart, whether two people who were married and are now divorced, or two or more people who were committed to one another but in time that relationship ended. And we see failed love. We see a strong emotion that has faded or been broken, and we may be part of one of those relationships ourselves.

It can sadden us to see these bonds being broken. It can even frighten us to see relationships fall apart. And we may wonder if anyone can have a good love relationship, or is it reserved only for a lucky few.

But Proverbs offers some guidance in love. How are we to approach love and faithfulness? What are we to do with them?

Successful love relationships are not a matter of luck. Strong love bonds involve a daily commitment of those who are in love, holding fast to the emotion of love and the commitment of faithfulness.

Obviously love and faithfulness are emotions and behaviors, attitudes and not objects. So it may be difficult to comprehend how we are to bind these ideas around our necks. But the writer is speaking symbolically, giving advice on attitudes rather than specific actions.

If we will truly love another person we must be the ones who cling to this emotion. If we will see our relationships succeed then it is up to us to hold tight to love and faithfulness. We are the ones who should not allow these to leave us.

And how do we do this? We do it by symbolically binding love and faithfulness to ourselves. Our love and devotion should always be with us, tied to our very being and who we are. Love should be written on your heart, a part of what you do and how you behave in your relationship.

As a person might write in ink on a tablet of paper, the images and words becoming a permanent, everlasting message, so love and faithfulness must be in your heart. Love is not a fleeting emotion, a temporary feeling. It is an everlasting commitment of caring and dedication to the one who is loved.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be certain that love and faithfulness are written in your heart?

Love 3

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

There are times when the noise and confusion of life get to be too much, or the demands of being a husband and father put stress on me. Then I want to be alone, to have some time to myself. And there are times when I am left alone, but I have found that times alone are really not all that great. The biggest benefit is total control of the TV remote, but then there isn’t anything worth watching.

Even though we all need our time alone now and then, being with one you love is so much better in my opinion. The writer of Ecclesiastes seems to agree.

What are the many benefits of two people together? What is the final comment in verse 12? Why have we suddenly switched from two to three?

Ecclesiastes supports the concept of a love relationship, and this passage is another of those which is frequently read at weddings. Although I value my own time, I truly appreciate the time that I spend with those I love. Even with the noise and pressure of relationships, the benefits of being with a loved one far outweighs the solitude of “alone time.”

The benefits are many. Two people can accomplish more than one. There is safety in numbers; if one falls, the other can help.

Two people can help to keep each other warm in cold weather. And two people are more capable of defending themselves.

All of these examples support the idea of two people being together. Then suddenly the writer mentions a cord of three strands. All along the writer was talking about two, and now a third has been added.

I believe the concept is to bring God into this relationship. A relationship of two people, two people in love with one another, two people who care about one another, is a good thing. There are many benefits. And these benefits are multiplied when you bring God into the picture.

God should be that third strand in your love relationships. God’s presence adds strength and quality to an already good relationship of two people.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you be certain to have a third strand in your relationship?

Love 2

1 Corinthians 13:6-7

It can feel good to be right in life. So often in a relationship disagreements can arise and it is very tempting to desire that your opinion or approach is right and will be proven right. You may find yourself hoping that the other person will have their plans or approach fail so that your way will be proven right.

But if we truly love another, then that love will override that desire and instead we will look for harmony and hope for those things that are beneficial to both partners in the relationship.

The most notable comment and description of love comes from Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. The thirteenth chapter is called the “Love Chapter.” What does he say about love? What does love always do?

Any relationship is going to have its ups and downs, its times of complete happiness as well as those times of disagreement and dispute. Yet, in those low times, when two people may be at odds with one another, if there is love the bad times are easier to endure.

Even in times of disagreement and dispute, if there is love, then both people will not delight in the misfortunes of the other. Rather, those who love want what is best for the other and will join in the sorrow of their companion when evil exists or bad things happen. The delight of love is in the truth, in what is right. And in the truth we may find happiness.

Love also does many things. It always protects. Those who love another will want to keep the other from experiencing hurt and harm. They will want good things for the one loved.

Love always trusts. Those in love exist in the confidence that the one loved wants what is best for both of them and is as committed to the relationship as the other person.

Love always hopes and perseveres. Love is that driving force that keeps us optimistic, that works toward a happy outcome, and that compels us forward in anticipation of ultimate goodness, security and happiness. Love is that controlling emotion that secures a relationship of mutual goodness and care, seeking what is best and beneficial for those who are in love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to live out what is described by Paul?

Love 1

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Before I perform any wedding I must meet with the couple and discuss certain issues, usually talking about what to expect in the marriage, and so on. One of the first questions I ask of the couple is, “Why are you getting married?”

I ask the question because I need to know that there is love between the two people. Love is essential in a relationship, especially one that will last. And love is an all-or-nothing thing. There is no half way to love.

Ascribed to King Solomon, the son of King David, the book in the Bible called “Song of Songs” or “Song of Solomon” is a passionate accounting of love. What does the person in love desire? How is love described? What is the comparison between love and wealth?

These words are often used in wedding ceremonies. They embody the power and passion of love. They describe how strong the emotion of love can be. For those who are truly in love it is easy to identify with these descriptions.

Love is as unmovable as the inevitability of death. Love can cause our hearts and minds to burn with passion, blazing like a bright fire that cannot be quenched by water; and no amount of money can sway us from our passion.

But this passage begins by calling for a seal, a marking that shows that the one in love belongs to another. Love should be a seal placed on the one who is loved. In our society we have the exchanging of rings – gold or silver bands – that let others know that this person is sealed in a relationship of love. But in reality the love that two people have for one another can be that seal, that emblem that shows others that this person is committed to another.

When we love another person then our actions and behaviors will act as that seal. When we love another person then our attitude and the way we treat that other person will act as that seal that signifies a deep relationship exists. Although we have seals that are used to mark our love relationships, those who are truly in love need no tangible item for others to know that they belong to another.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What do you do to show others that you are in love?