Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

Loving the differences in other people

Stop what you’re doing right now. Think about someone you know who you don’t understand. Not someone you get who does strange things. I mean someone who you genuinely don’t grasp the way his or her mind works.

We all have these people in our lives, and they come in all shapes and sizes. They’re in every kind of relationship. Close. Not-so-close. Distant. And they’re just puzzling. You scratch your head at them because no matter how you try, you just can’t figure them out.

But just because you don’t understand them doesn’t make them wrong. Have you ever thought about it that way? Sure it’s tempting to just write them off, but that’s not fair–to them or to you. Because if you write off someone with a different life perspective just because you don’t understand them, you’re missing the opportunity to see the world in a different way. And you never know. Maybe his or her different view of God can help you resolve the questions you didn’t even know you had.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

Combine harvesting across the street from Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Todays verses are 1 Corinthians 12:14-18.

Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.

We are all different. All of us. Every one. Not a single person is the same. Find two people who think the same, talk the same, finish each other’s sentences (or sandwiches, if you’ve seen Frozen), and you can still put their brains side by side and their thought processes will be entirely different.

That’s the beauty and the brilliance and the sheer uniqueness of God’s creation.  We are all designed to fulfill different roles. We are meant to do different things, and if we start envying the roles of other people, we lose sight of what makes us unique.

Me with my amazing, beautiful sisters--Jessica Hoover, Kristina Buller, and Katie Morford

Me with my amazing, beautiful sisters–Jessica Hoover, Kristina Buller, and Katie Morford

I thought I’d add this photo in for a laugh. These are my sisters. Not by blood but by choice. The four of us are really odd, and for being so completely different from each other, we have a lot in common. We embrace what makes us different from each other. Where one of us is weak, someone else is strong.

That’s the key. Embracing what makes us different. So you’re good at speaking? Awesome. I’m not, and I’m fine with not being good at speaking. But I’m great at putting words together on a page so you can read them to a room full of people. We can help each other. We can work together to accomplish something awesome for God. Instead of focusing on how our differences separate us, maybe we should focus on how we can use our different talents to bring glory to the One who created us.

But it’s not easy. If you’ve ever tried to understand someone  else who is wired completely differently than you are, you know it’s not easy. And that’s why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the chapter in the Bible about embracing our differences is followed directly by the chapter about how to love each other.

1 Corinthians 13 is called the Love Chapter. Sounds like a cheesy romance book, I know, but bear with me. 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, and it’s all about the kind of love that only comes from God. It’s the kind of love Christians are to have for each other.

We won’t make it without this kind of love. Without this kind of love, the differences between people will drive them apart. Without this kind of love, a person can’t live. Not really.

So what does this mean for us today? Well, consider that friend of yours, the one you can’t understand. Instead of getting frustrated that they can’t see things from your perspective, try to see things from their perspective. Be kind. Be patient. Love like it says to love in 1 Corinthians 13, and not only will you learn something about that friend, you’ll probably learn something about yourself.

White rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Living a world-changing love

How many kinds of love are there? Well, there’s more than one, but I can’t tell you exactly how many there are. What’s interesting to me, as a word nerd, is that the English language only has one word for love, but some other languages have more than one word for it. I find this ironic because American English is a crazy melting pot of words that continues to grow larger and lazier every year, but the fact that we still have one word for love fascinates me.

I don’t know how many words for love Greek has, but there are quite a few. And each one means something different–different words for different kinds of love. There’s family love. There’s romantic love. And then there’s a peculiar kind of love that sounds impossible and that’s the word for love that’s used in Galatians 5:22-23 where the Bible lists the Fruit of the Spirit: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

If you’ve been around the church you may have heard the term agape. Now, I don’t speak Greek, so I may have spelled it wrong (according to Google Translate, it looks like this: ἀγάπη). But agape love is the kind of love that only can be produced by having God’s Spirit in our lives, and the best definition of that kind of love is found into today’s verses.

White rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

White rose in the Rose Garden at Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

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.

If you want to read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, you should. It’s not long, and it’s revolutionary. But I think verses 4 through 7 really encapsulate what this kind of love is about. Love like this is impossible without God, whether you’re married or single, whether you’re friends or enemies. This kind of love isn’t something that just happens. It’s something you have to choose, and it’s something you have to ask God to help you with.

This kind of love doesn’t come naturally to anyone. Don’t get me wrong. I love people, but I like getting my own way. I don’t like waiting. I want things other people have. I like getting my way, and far too often I hold grudges. And there is a part of me that has a party when someone who’s hurt me gets hurt in return. All of that is natural, but none of that comes from God. None of that demonstrates that I’m living by the Spirit.

So when someone is bothering me, when someone is nagging me, this kind of love is patient and kind to them. When someone else gets something that I want, this kind of love rejoices with them. And when I achieve something, this kind of love is humble about it and doesn’t rub it in people’s faces. This kind of love backs off and lets others set the pace, and it doesn’t keep track of bad history.

But more than anything, this kind of love never gives up and never goes away.

How’s your checklist? Mine’s not doing so well. Granted, in the instances where it’s people I already love, I’m doing okay. But what about people you don’t love? What about people you don’t like? That’s where I start cringing because don’t show them this kind of love, not the way a Christ-follower should. And that’s where I need God’s help.

No matter where you are today, everyone needs this. Nobody has this figured out. None of us can achieve this kind of love, not on our own, but it’s not impossible. If we have the Spirit, we have God in our lives, and nothing is impossible for God.

Why is living this kind of love important? Well, it changes you, for one. Loving like this makes you into the kind of person you need to be. And secondly, it’s a bright, shining beacon to a world without hope that there is something more to life. Christ-followers are called to be different, and living this kind of love is the best way.

So make a choice today. Choose to love those people who you don’t like. Choose to be still and listen to what God is saying about love, about how to love those people, about how to show His love to others. It doesn’t have to be a huge display. More often than not, love is in the small things. A smile. Holding open a door. Bringing someone a flower. Giving someone a hug. A kind word. A listening ear. None of those are world shattering, but they just might be world changing.

What do Steven Curtis Chapmen, dc Talk and Fireflight all have in common?

Another chilly morning but not too cold. It’s up to 41 in my office at the moment and I have my heater on; my fingers are still pretty numb though. I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I did some business-related things which will hopefully be debuting soon. I get to come home again tonight, which I’m very much looking forward to. Dad and a friend from his work are also coming out this afternoon to look at my poor dryer in hopes that they can fix whatever this random electrical issue is. I can make do without a dryer but it’s kind of a hassle . . . . and since we’ve already paid to have it fixed? It would be nice for it to work.

I got a funny look from a coworker yesterday when I told him I didn’t have a smart phone. Lol. I’m probably the only person in Marketing that doesn’t have one. Everybody else has Droids but I just don’t know if I’m sold on the idea. I don’t know if I would actually use all the apps, so why spend the extra money to get one? I don’t know. I can get a new phone in February. I guess I’ll see what happens . . . .

Oh, and also I finally got around to looking at my best buddy Katie Morford’s web page yesterday. It’s pretty cool. She has her own domain name and everything! (http://www.katiemorford.com)

And I also figured out how to link this silly blog to my Facebook. I have no idea what that means. As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to go look at my Facebook and see what happened.

The daily verse is one of my favorites: Micah 6:8

8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God.

 It always makes me think of that old Steven Curtis Chapman song, “The Walk.” I remember when that was called rock music. Lol.

To me this verse communicates action. God has told us what to do–so we should go out and do it. I love verbs and this verse is full of them.

Do is a big one, in spite of the fact that it’s only two letters. Doing something–doing anything–is a lot harder to put in practice than it is to talk about it. (Why else do people say, “Easier said than done”?) It’s easy to talk about doing something but when it comes down to actually doing it, people usually have to sacrifice or step out of their comfort zone; and that’s never easy.

Love is a verb (even though, in that sentence, it’s acting as a noun). What is it with songs this morning? Because that’s a dc Talk song. Oh, well. It’s true. Love is action. It can’t be passive or it’s not love. Read 1 Corinthians 13 and try to tell me that Love can sit idly by and just be. And in this case we’re to love mercy–to love being kind to other people, especially those who don’t deserve it. Talk about easier said than done . . .

Walk is also a verb; but we’re not just to walk, we’re to walk humbly. I’m not sure which is more difficult–loving mercy or walking humbly. Walking humbly means that while we walk, we give credit to God for everything in our lives (including our ability to walk). I mean, do we honestly believe that we would have anything good in our lives if God hadn’t given it to us? In that same vein, we should realize that anything bad that comes into our lives is there because God has allowed it for some reason. Seriously, God gave us life in all its ups and downs and we need to give Him credit for everything.

Living the “Christian Life” isn’t about following a rule book. It’s a conscious choice that is reflected in our actions. I think it’s James that says to be doers of the Word and not just hearers. Yet another song comes to mind, one by Fireflight called “Action.” There’s a lot happening in this broken world of ours, and while we’re not the ones who can fix it, we work for the One who can.