Because Jesus Came Down, Love Will Never Fail

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Don’t you just love the Christmas movies where love prevails? When a cold heart is melted? When a person’s life is changed for the better?

Sometimes all a person needs is one person in the world who cares. In The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, one little girl wormed her way into The Grinch’s heart. He hated Christmas and all the Whos down in Whoville who celebrated it. Christmas triggered a bad memory from his childhood when he was bullied and not accepted for who he was. But little Cindy Lou didn’t want him to be left out, and no matter how mean The Grinch was to her, she kept showing him she cared until finally the walls around his heart came tumbling down and his heart grew three sizes bigger. And peace was restored in Whoville.

Then there’s Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. He tried to take the warmth of love out of Christmas. He wanted it to be about him and his honor, not about love and giving. And again a little child leads, because along comes little Lucy Miller whose heart brims over with love. She hugs Jack Frost, and his cold heart melts and he becomes a better person. And peace was restored at the North Pole.

Even though some Christmas movies are make-believe and don’t speak of how love began with Jesus, there can still be an important message of love in them for our real world. Love changes things. One loving person can make an impact on others.

Sometimes we can get discouraged by all the hate, greed, and violence in this world, but love changes hearts, people, and circumstances. Because love came down at Christmas, peace is possible however impossible it seems.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, tragedy both in the nation and in his family shook him to the core of his being. A raging Civil War, a son crippled from war wounds, and his dear wife’s tragic death sunk him into a deep depression. The joyous ringing of Christmas bells seemed to mock his sadness. Hate is so strong. Where is the peace?

And in despair I bowed my head ;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said ;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Don’t we sometimes feel the same way when troubles and losses abound and when we look at everything that is happening in the world around us?

But God poured His love in, and hope revived in the heart of Longfellow. In the final stanza, he penned:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead ; nor doth He sleep !
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men !”

Even though it may not seem so, love will prevail. Hope is still alive, because love came down at Christmas. Because Jesus came, love is possible in a world of hate, greed, and violence. Love can melt hardened hearts, change lives, and pour healing and peace into broken hearts and a broken world. Love that Jesus brought, love that can never be taken away, love that will be victorious forever.

Love Came Down
by Kim Walker-Smith

Love came down
Hope was found
A star lit the sky
The angels cried glory
Light broke through
The darkest night
Hope is alive
Hope is alive
Cause love came down
Love came down

May God pour into our hearts
His love, hope, and peace,
and may we pour it
out to others!

You Make a Difference, More Than You Know

“Watch what God does, and then you do it,
like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.
Mostly what God does is love you.
Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.
Observe how Christ loved us.
His love was not cautious but extravagant.
He didn’t love in order to get something from us
but to give everything of Himself to us.
Love like that.

Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message

The “butterfly effect” suggests that the whir of air released by a butterfly’s wings can magnify over time to release a power that can affect weather patterns thousands of miles away.  An unnoticed, seemingly insignificant action can intensify to a storm of consequence. Yes, it may take a long time, but it still ripples into the big story God has planned.

Every act of kindness we make causes a reaction which causes even further reactions. Sometimes these acts will be noticed and appreciated, and other times they aren’t. But God still uses them, regardless of the lack of acclaim.

Sometimes it feels like we don’t make a difference in the world, but we do. One act of kindness at a time. Years ago in a Bible Study using The Purpose Driven Life, I met a single mom who day after day washed bedding in the dark basement of a hospital. She was certain she did not have a purpose that glorifies God.  She wondered – What difference do I make in this world?

She woke me up to how much I don’t appreciate the work behind blessings I take for granted.  Those same clean, crisp, white sheets I have laid on in a hospital bed were washed by a woman who thought she wasn’t making a difference in the lives of anyone.  In reality, her quiet, unnoticed flap of wings has made a greater difference than she will ever realize.

When Heaven Is for Real first came out, a friend bought two copies to share with others. I received one copy and shared it with some neighbors whose lives were touched by it.  One neighbor bought a copy and also passed it around, and that person was so impacted that she bought her own copy to share with others. God works wonders from a simple act of kindness and caring.  A flap of the wings and the power releases.

It has been years since I watched the movie Pay It Forward, but the impact of it still resounds in my heart. Trevor came up with an idea for a seventh-grade assignment.  He would pass on an act of kindness to three people, and each of them in turn would pass on a good deed to three more.  His seemingly insignificant act stirred up a whirlwind of kindness in his school, his community, and even spread to other communities. The ending shocked me, but it portrays reality. Not all people accept or pass on kindness. Still, that doesn’t stop the difference our kindness continues to make on others.

Even a smile, a kind word, a door held open, or some other small gesture can sprinkle hope into someone’s heart, whether it’s a family member, friend, or a stranger. And whether or not they’re noticed or appreciated, acts of kindness not only affect those around us today, but by God’s grace they ripple on and shape the lives of others even years from now.

Now consider… If one pair of wings can gradually intensify into a storm, imagine what we can do together.

"What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.
 The needs are great, and none of us,
 including me, ever do great things.
 But we can all do small things, with great love,
 and together we can do something wonderful."
 ~ Mother Teresa

“Try a Little Kindness”
by Glen Campbell

“May God give us grace
to show the same kindness to others
as He shows to us!”

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

whatsnewcutecolorsplantline1
“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.
So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God
than a whole flock of sparrows.”
Matthew 10:30-31

“More Than Many Sparrows”
by Andy Severyn

More than many sparrows
More than brightest gold
You’re worth more than people tell you
So much more than people know
Someone put a price on you
He said, “You’re worth dying for”
Yes, you’re precious in the eyes of the Lord…

 

cutecolorsbutterflyline

ccjesusloves

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added another “X” Word:

❤︎  eXemplary Love ❤︎
“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

bearreadingbook

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂 Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

The book I’m highlighting this month is a fiction book from an online friend:

No Tomorrow by June Caedmon

There are some books I can’t get into at first, but this is definitely not one of them. The main characters, and even all the characters, immediately got my full attention. I just HAD to find out more about their lives.

This is an amazing story of God’s love and plan in Petra and Tony’s lives. There are no Christian platitudes here. The author shows the characters’ deep, authentic emotions as they deal with real-life struggles. I love the growth in Petra and Tony as they learn to let go and let God. To trust God and to desire His will in their lives. It is not a fairy tale ending as in some books. They will continue to struggle with uncertainties in their futures, but God is on their side.

An added bonus are the vividly painted scenes of Hawaii the author describes. Scenery I longed to drink in as Petra loved to do.

I highly recommend this riveting story of the hope and strength God gives in the midst of real-life struggles.

cutecolorsj7

Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞  Kintsugi: Beauty In the Broken Places by Lesley – “God takes our broken pieces and puts them back together in a way that displays his glory, because it is in the cracks and in the scars that we see evidence of healing and God’s power to restore.”

💞  Cloud Townsend Resources – Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have been bringing hope and healing to millions for well over two decades, helping people discover solutions to life’s most difficult personal and relational challenges. These are free short videos that offer solid advice in the areas of relationships, dating, marriage, parenting, emotional struggles, spiritual life, goals and success, and leadership.

💞  When It Seems Impossible to Forgive by Dr. Julie Slattery – “When you have been deeply hurt or betrayed by someone—perhaps by a husband who is repeatedly unfaithful or a relative who is abusive—restoring that relationship can be complicated. While the Bible is clear that we are always to forgive people who harm us, forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that we go back to relating as if nothing ever happened. A severe offense or a pattern of abusive behavior breaks trust, and a relationship cannot be close unless trust is rebuilt.”

Nature Retreat

“In God’s eyes, all creatures have value
whether we find them cuddly,
affectionate, beautiful or otherwise.”

~ Andrew Linzey

This month’s photos are all ones my brother in Arizona has shared with me.
They certainly make the long, cold winters in the Midwest more cozy.
Thank you, John.
🙂

hawk-and-small-bird-john

bird-acorn-woodpecker-john
Acorn Woodpecker
bird-red-back-dark-eyed-junco-john
Red-back Dark-eyed Junco
mexican-jay
Mexican Jay

lizard-john

lizard-john
Aren’t the lizards cute? 🙂
monarch-butterfly-1-john
Monarch Butterfly

🐾  Burrowing Owl Video – This video of burrowing owls from Cornell Lab is just so cute! I love it! Great message tied to it, too. We can learn so much from God’s creatures.

🐾  Macaulay Library of Birds – This is an extensive library of over 2 million photos of birds! You can search by location, date, or contributor.

🐾  Michael Libbe Photography – You’ll first see a slide show of breath-taking views of nature. If you scroll down, you can look at the photos by category.

cutecolorsplant1c

Quotes

❤︎ God is God. He sees and hears all our troubles, all our tears. Soul, forget not, in your pains, God over all forever reigns.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

❤︎ We are not called to be perfectly awesome. We are called to be imperfectly faithful, because we have been perfectly loved, liberated, and highly esteemed by the Most High.” ~ Scott Sauls

❤︎ “A brook would lose its song if it had no rocks.” ~ Amish Proverb

cutecolorsbutterflyline

signature3cutecolorsplantline1