From the desk of Steve Shultz:
What a great word and teaching by Cindy Trimm on the weekend many are celebrating LOVE. This word by Cindy will inspire you to truly love those around you. This article just oozes love! Enough said...you have to read it for yourself.
Let's camp on 1 Corinthians 13 this day, and my prayer is that God speaks to each of us individually on how we can be better at the greatest that remain—LOVE.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.—1 Corinthians 13:13
What's Love Got to Do With It?
1 Corinthians 13:1-13, If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!... (read the rest of 1 Corinthians 13).
From this chapter, we discover that love is an action word which requires initiation, integrity and an interest in someone else other than ourselves. Love is not self-absorbed, selfish nor self-centered. Love gives from the heart and requires intelligent intentionality and not emotionalism. Love is pure positive regard for others. Someone once said that faith makes all things possible but love makes them easy. Where there is love you will not only find good, you will also find God. God is love.
In my most reflective moments I have come to the conclusion that each of us wants to do something great; to accomplish something so extraordinary that we positively change the course of destiny, make a difference in this world and make it a better place for future generations. Occasionally, newspapers record the heroic feat or breakthrough discovery that a person of superior talent has accomplished. Extravagance describes the annual award shows that are put together to recognize the year's best actor, singer, musician, beauty queen or athlete. These individuals are considered great.
But these media headliners pale in comparison to unsung, self-less heroes, who, on a daily basis, quietly go about caring for the indigent, feeding the hungry, visiting those that are sick or shut-in; building, empowering, distributing, helping, and loving. They love and care as Christ loved—unconditionally, selflessly and without consideration of reward, accolades or commendations. They act from their hearts. These kinds of deeds, often going unnoticed, are none-the-less just as deserving of honors and recognition. They prove that authentic love is an action word which clothes itself in service—service to humanity. Jesus said, in Matthew 20:26, ...whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. We must demonstrate kindness to those who may never be able to return the favor.
Charity in Your Heart
My moral compass, the Bible, states that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. This is one of the most repeated Biblical commands. Loving your neighbor is the opposite of self-centeredness. Acting in divine love demonstrates that unselfishness is possible for all human beings. It demonstrates that living in a peaceful, loving world is possible. Love is charity wearing diamonds—showing kindness, warmth, compassion and a positive regard for all of God's creation, and cannot be ignored, denied or destroyed.
Love is philanthropic; a word which is derived from two Greek words—Philos (loving) and anthropos (man), thus translated "a loving man." Every human being has the capability of becoming a philanthropist. Even though Jesus spoke this command over two-thousand years ago, it is still valid and necessary today. In an age where the family foundations are being shaken, when crime, war, disease and disaster are daily occurrences, love must be shown to our neighbors in a practical way.
Charity is more than just giving money or things to the poor and indigent. It is the giving of ourselves—our heart, time, talents, experience and skill. Bob Hope said, "If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble." I think that all of our earthly struggles are conditions of the heart. The world is suffering from a massive heart attack. Therefore, love is the defibrillator of hope, healing and abundant living. It restores the heartbeat of a just, safe and dynamically vibrant world. Love is powerful, enduring and everlasting. Love never fails. Love conquers all. It is incontestably the greatest of all human virtues. Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Etienne deGrellet said, I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Helen Hayes said, We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody, too.
Who Is a Neighbor?
Luke 10:25-37 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Who is a neighbor? When Jesus was asked by someone who His neighbor was, Jesus responded by telling the story of the Good Samaritan who helped a stranger in need by the roadside. Then, in verse 37, Jesus told the man to go and do like the Good Samaritan; to help those who cannot help themselves—those who were in crises. A neighbor is someone who is near-by wherever you are. Loving our neighbor is part of God's plan to heal the world one person and one community at a time. Our love demonstrates what God and His Kingdom are like.
Matthew 5:16 states, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. Light is not just the absence of darkness, it is the absence of evil, ignorance, and anything that suffocates our God-likeness.
The Bible further instructs that those who have the means, wealth and resources to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone and to remind the rich to be generous and share what they have (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19). It further states that our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action (see 1 John 3:17-19). This love comes from God, who demonstrated His care and concern for a hurting world by giving that which was most precious and valuable to Him—His Son, Jesus Christ.
This is what social reconstruction and community development is all about—people helping people. Without a doubt, we are facing some of the greatest challenges recorded in history. But the wisdom and history of our past tells me that when humanity works together to solve problems, we not only transcend them, but we reshape the global destiny of humanity. We must focus on efforts to continue to raise the level of consciousness of how just one individual can make a world of difference by contributing to the cause of making this world a better and safer place to live. With the concerted effort of individuals who make a commitment to do one kind act for someone who could never repay no matter how small or insignificant the act may seem, we can potentially move communities from:
• Discord to harmony
• Conflict to cooperation
• War to peace
Just from one Biblical principle—love your neighbor as yourself—we can create positive global change. Together we can!
Time, Talent and Treasure
Three of the most valuable things a person can give to another are his time, talent and treasures. Even if a person does not have the disposable income to help, giving of one's time and talent, skill or experience, council or compassion can make a difference. Visiting the elderly, reading a story to a hospitalized child, organizing a community clean-up, giving unused clothing to a woman who is re-entering the work force after incarceration, recycling, or fund-raising efforts to raise money to help a school in crises—love without actions is a mere figment of the imagination.
Everyone is trying to make sense out of their lives. They are searching for answers, emotional support and relief. Sometimes their quest takes them into relationships and situations that do not have all the elements that will bring about relief and give solutions. The tragedy is that they turn to people to give them that which only God has the capacity to give. These people end up discouraged, despondent, depressed and feeling betrayed, with their expectations frustrated and efforts futile. There are so many people who, in spite of the state of this world, are reaching outside their safe and intimate circles to help others. They are forming non-profit organizations, neighborhood watch groups, and grass-roots organizations that address the current plight and problems we are faced with globally.
We must help people who legitimately need help and be careful not to become an enabler.
Matthew 25:37, 40, ...'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
There are some practical things YOU can do. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love gives another person:
• A sense of worth
• A sense of belonging
• A sense of meaning
• A sense of dignity
• A sense of hope
• A sense of confidence
Reaching out to someone else does this for them. It is like touching the soul with a little Heaven.
Secondly, pray for them and pray to God and ask Him to give us inspiration, empowerment, courage and opportunities to make this world a better place.
If you really love your neighbor, the first thing you will do is pray for them. As a human, you are limited in how you can help your neighbor, but God is unlimited in how He can help. The greatest thing you can do for your neighbor is seriously pray for them.
God can do more for your neighbor in one minute than you could in a lifetime. Through our requests in prayer, God is given further authority to work in your neighbors' lives.
Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace,
That where there is hatred I may bring love;
That where there is wrong I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
That where there is doubt I may bring faith;
That where there is despair I may bring hope;
And where there are shadows I may bring Thy light;
That where there is sadness I may bring joy;
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than be comforted,
To understand than be understood,
To love than be loved;
For it is by giving that one receives,
It is by self-forgetting that one finds,
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
—St. Francis of Assisi
Thirdly, make doing a kind deed your daily habit. Every day do one kind deed, and when someone does something kind for you, pay it forward. Commit to finding another person, and instead of paying the original person back with another act of kindness, find someone new and different and pay it forward. True love gives unreservedly without asking or demanding anything in return. Just because you know someone does not guarantee that you will always love them. Equally, just because you do not know someone does not mean you cannot love them sincerely. I have heard of love at first sight.
Anyone can potentially love a complete stranger. So open your heart to strangers in need more often. You never know how one brush with unconditional love could instantly change the destiny of a passerby. Who knows, perhaps just a single smile could be all it takes to prevent someone from giving up on life. It only takes one spark to get a fire going. That spark might be one act of kindness, an outstretched hand or a letter of encouragement.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, No man is so poor as to have nothing worth giving. Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think.
Mother Teresa said, We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.
Fourthly, as an individual, choose to make a difference. One person can make a difference. There is a poem I love to quote:
One song can tell a story
One act can wake a dream
One seed can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One friend can soothe a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One ship can bring you home
One voice can speak with courage
One heart can know what's true
One life can make a difference
One life belongs to you!
One hand begins a chain of love
The chain of love can change one nation
One candle lights a room
The love from One can bring a spark of hope
One hope can conquer gloom
One step begins a journey
One word begins a prayer
One prayer can heal a spirit
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with courage
One heart can know what's true
One life can make a difference
One life belongs to you!
When you do good, good will come back to you. The Bible states, ... whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord... We all know that God's hands are far bigger than ours. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Share love this week! "What's Love Got to Do with It?" Besides being a command of God and the great gift—love has everything to do with it.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...—John 3:16
Dr. Cindy Trimm
Cindy Trimm International