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Video: “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person”

by Alain de Botton

This is such a phenomenal human teaching.

Phrases I had to pause the video for (i.e., my notes):

  • Love is a skill, not an instinct. It needs time be learned. We’re taught to follow our feelings, which usually lead us astray.
    • Vulnerability is key.
  • We don’t know how to love.
    • To love someone is to apply charity of interpretation.
    • We start off with idealization and end up with denigration.
    • Love is not just admiration for strength, it’s tolerance for weakness and recognition of ambivalence.
  • We’re seeking partners that feel familiar.
    • We are not on a quest to be happy; we are on a quest to suffer in ways that feel familiar.
  • If you do not explain, you will never be understood.
  • Good enough.
    • None of us are perfect, but we demand perfection. The demand for perfection will lead us to loneliness.
    • You cannot have perfection and company. To spend time in company with another person is to be negotiating imperfections every day.
  • We are all incompatible, but it is the work of love to make us graciously accommodating to each other and our own incompatibilities. Therefore, compatibility is an achievement of love.
  • We aren’t able to change our type, but we can change how we respond to our type.
  • Compromise is noble.

Either/or, Part I free download: Either – Or (volume One) : Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Either/or, Part II free download: Either/or : Kiekegaard Soren : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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Video MR 2.1: Divorce, Truth & Love

Video part 2.1 of the Marriage & Relationship series is the first part of the first recorded discussion. Though we don’t get into discussing the focus couples during this portion, a question about divorce leads to a mini sermon on love after truth is alleged to be the greater relationship building block. Take a listen. Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Poem: Sister, Sister II

My sister is forty-one; three years my junior. She’s about six months clean. I don’t know exactly when she began doing drugs, but around the age of twenty-four, she essentially stopped living her life. She lost, or gave up, her job, her apartment and her car and allowed her “boyfriend” to pimp her out. For the last seventeen years or so she has experienced horrors I can’t listen to without cringing, crying or asking her to share with less detail when she needs to talk.

Our brother died in July 2007. His funeral was the last time my sister and I saw each other until July 2018. She avoided me for eleven years. Whatever her reasons, no rejection has ever hurt more. Most of those absent years she called me on my birthday to let me know she was still alive. Quite honestly, her voice was the best present every time. I would also get calls when she was in hospital or jail and forced to get clean for a while. Answered prayers. One year she moved out of state with a john and was clean for almost a year. She called almost monthly then. Until he grew tired and bought her a ticket to return her to the hell he pulled her out of. I tried frantically to reroute her ticket to me, but she didn’t want me. She wanted the comfort of the hell that was the only love she was willing to accept.

A couple more years passed.

In July 2018, I returned home for a visit after many years away. I reached out to my sister through the grapevine – her network of friends and contacts who knew where and when to look for her. She agreed to see me. She stayed with me for about a day, sleeping through most of the visit. She slept in the car, on our cousins sofa during a condolence visit, in the car again and through the night. We didn’t have much time to talk between the visits and the sleep, but I made sure to remind her that wherever I am she is welcome. I told her what I wanted most for her was for her to love herself as much as she loved the man holding her in bondage, because then she would no longer accept the things she’s been accepting for her life. I told her she could return home with me that weekend. She had only to say the word. Instead she said she wanted to go back home to the drug house she was living in, to the man who had lured her into that life.

Earlier this year she entered rehab. She has a new boyfriend who encouraged her to do for herself. She wants to please him so she committed to rehab. However, she says she completed rehab for herself. The new guy also encouraged her to visit me. She stalled and bounced around for a few weeks after rehab, ending up back in the hell she now wanted to stay out of but didn’t know how to live without that man and all the familiar demons within sight. Then I got ill. Gravely ill. I called to tell her I was taking myself to the hospital and didn’t know how long I would be there. In my head, I was articulate, but apparently I was barely speaking. She began sobbing uncontrollably, saying “Shawnda, what’s wrong? I can’t understand you!” I was trying to give her instructions on what to do if I didn’t make it – sell the house, keep the profit, etc. I may have even said, “I’m letting go.” Or maybe she heard the distance in my voice. She started calling out repeatedly, “Shawnda, I’m coming! I’m coming!”

It sounded nice, but I didn’t believe her.

I’m grateful God doesn’t limit our blessings to our ability to believe.

My sister arrived the day after I was released from the hospital in July 2020. She hasn’t been in a home of mine in over fifteen years. It feels slightly surreal but mostly it feels like a lesson on hope, waiting and not letting go.

Kim is here. Answered prayer. New challenges. Renewed hope.

 

Sister, Sister II

I have loved you more

Consistently and unconditionally

Than any other living being,

Except for mom.

I have left myself open

Remained available

Laid myself bare

For your convenience

And possible comfort

Should you ever choose

To love yourself more

Than the abuse of men

And begin to value your

Life beyond your next high

I’ve been waiting

Months years decades

A lifetime now

For my sister to come home.

6/24/20

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Terry Ann: Woman. Seed. Fertile Ground. Inspiration.

In the summer of 2018, I began working on a portrait and prose book project about womanhood. That summer I returned to my hometowns Gary and Milwaukee and asked friends, family and old connections to pose and share some words about their womanhood experiences.

When I began sketching out the project my mom was not top of mind. As the project morphed into various incarnations, the hope was to pull others in along the way. But the more women I talked to and the closer I got to women who had been close to her, the more Mom began to dominate my thoughts.

I can’t ask my mother what her womanhood meant to her. She died just as I was coming of age. Oddly enough, I hadn’t considered my own womanhood in the context of the project until I visited my mom’s gravesite in Milwaukee. It was there that I realized I hadn’t really known her as a multi-dimensional person. My perspective was only as a daughter looking up. As a result I began questioning and exploring the layers of my own personhood. Perhaps my Mom became my proxy. I chose to focus my questions on how she was before becoming a mother.

During the visit, I asked relatives: What do you remember about my mom?

I wasn’t prepared for the responses. Such a simple question seeking to learn about personality and character, unleashed stories of actual and imagined trauma and violation. Things she would have shared with me during her lifetime if they were true. It’s interesting how I was able to reject the lies for what they were after holding their words up to the relationship I had with my mom. She was an honest and straight-forward woman. She didn’t wallow in past trauma, hide from it or keep it from me. Her story was her story and she told me what she wanted me know. More importantly, she answered my questions truthfully.

The more I analyzed my urge to ask others about who Terry Ann was before she became my mother, the more I realized I have only to look within. Everything I thought I didn’t know about my mother is actually in me because she remains a part of me. She’s the seed and fertile ground I sprung from and her life is forever my inspiration.

My sister had the only words worth sharing. She said, “I remember everything, but I can’t put words to my memories.”

Truly profound.

Perhaps that was my true dilemma as well. I know what I know, but somehow I can’t speak it all.

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Proving Ground

Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.

Psalm 26:2-3 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%2026:2-3&version=NRSV

prov·ing ground: an environment that serves to demonstrate whether something, such as a theory or product, really works.

What do you believe about your belief?

  • Do you believe you have power over your decisions?
  • Do you believe you are enough for your life?
  • Do you believe you are capable of doing what needs to be done today?

I have a friend who is going through a tumultuous season with her teenage son. She’s a believer who has struggled, like all of us, with understanding how to apply the Word to her life. And how to be the Word in her life. Her focus is selective with an attempt at literal application. Over the years, she has repeatedly missed the same mark. A mark that appears to me to be an easy goal. Simple to achieve. No hardship at all. Her test has been love. Love is her proving ground. Truthfully speaking, love is the proving ground for all of us.

What do you know or understand about love?

  • I know that if I allow love to have it’s way in my life, I am de facto relinquishing control over where love leads me.
  • I know that love has nothing to do with romance, lust or physical desires, yet everything to do with one’s heart and spirit.
  • I know that love has nothing to do with me in and of myself while at the same time I am both fully a product and a conduit of love.

I know that God is Love. I know that He created a human version of Himself to live among the rest of His creation here on Earth in order to minister to us in our sin, our sorrow, our disappointments, our madness, our bondage, our sickness, and even in our death. Love is so much more powerful than obedience, preferences, plans, lifestyle, ideals, gender, sexuality and doctrine.

Love covers a multitude of sins because love is not diminished by sin. But perhaps love is proved by sin.

Do you love me?

No.

Why not?

Because you hurt me.

Then you never loved me at all.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

~ Proverbs 10:12 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Proverbs%2010:12&version=NRSV

People who sin against you, violate your trust, hurt your heart, betray your relationship – whatever the trespass may be – are still precious to the Lord. God has not stopped loving the person you turned your back on because they do not live the way you want them to live. He is actually proving to that person that you had no understanding of love at all. You who were to be this person’s light and source of love took action to drive them further into darkness instead.

How do you respond when your interpretation of the Bible is challenged by a situation within your own family or friend circles?

Do you respond in love, with your heart and spirit projecting the love God gave the world when He laid Himself down for His creation?

Or do you respond in ego, in self, with pride.

ego: a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

self: a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality; a person’s nature, character; personal interest.

pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.; the state or feeling of being proud; a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

If we believe God IS who He says He Is, then we know His Word is performative. He didn’t just just tell us about love being gentle, long-suffering, kind, selfless and faithful. He gave us His Spirit of Love from the beginning when He breathed His Life into our lungs. And again in the middle when He sacrificed His form, His Son, Jesus, to show both obedience to the responsibility of love and the extreme performance of love. No one on Earth is worthy to be the Lamb. Not one person. There has never been an alternative to Jesus. No person created has been a potential stand-in cross-bearer for His assignment. Yet Jesus chose to die for us all. Not because we deserve His death, His blood, His concern, or His sacrifice. We didn’t then and we still don’t. And certainly not because He wanted to die for a dying, sinning populace. But Jesus too is a product and conduit of love. He is the Word Love personified. And even He said that those who come after Him will perform greater deeds than He did. Those who believe in Him, will perform Love better than Jesus. Imagine that.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

~ John 14:11-12 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2014:11-12&version=NRSV

As you consider Love, evaluate your relationships, especially the strained, difficult ones. In your interactions with the people dear to you, do you represent Love? Are you taking the responsibility of gentleness, kindness, patience, care, sacrifice and faithfulness seriously? Or are you focused only on self – your beliefs, your concerns, your perspective? The bumps and boulders in the road are your tests. Your relationships and daily interactions are your proving ground. As long as you are alive, it’s not too late to take on the responsibility of love and prove yourself the perfect conduit within your circles.

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Stork Delivery, Part 3: A Tree & Its Fruit

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.   ~ Matthew 7:18-20

I ruminated on Youngin’s words and actions for perhaps a month after her departure. I thought about the two sit-down conversations I had initiated to clarify expectations and understandings for both of us during her four weeks in my home. After our second sit-down, I couldn’t stop thinking how much she is like her grandmother, who is the hateful aunt from my youth. Fortunately for me, I remember my lessons well. I learned how to deal with my aunt by marriage as a child. I remember how she claimed to be such a good friend of my mother’s (their husbands were brothers). I remember how my mother saw her as a friend and sister. Yet when I saw that “aunt” for the first time in a decade months after my mother died, all she did was desecrate my mother’s memory, her beauty and her marriage. Before I completely lost my cool, I reminded her that my mother loved her like a sister and had never spoke an ill word against her – even when she spoke ill to me. As I got up to leave, I said, “I’m not going to sit here and listen to you disrespect my mother whom I just buried.” I may have made reference to her own abusive marriage and how she was projecting her flaws onto my mother. In fact, I’m sure I did. She called me out my name and it was pretty much about to go down from there. Lucky for her, her sister stepped in and kicked me out.

My grief over losing my mother  had weakened and overwhelmed me to the point that I had foolishly accepted an invitation from Big Cuz to move to Arizona to be close to her family for emotional support. Big Cuz had come to Milwaukee, where I lived at the time, in an effort to provide moral support. She couldn’t handle the cold and couldn’t manage life without her super large extended family in close proximity. Her effort for me made me want to make an effort for her. So I packed up and moved across the country ill-prepared. With the intention of depending on people who had only ever been destructive towards me.

In hindsight, I see the aunt’s attack as a targeted attack. I was already doing well in life… for my roots. I was twenty-one with no children, was working on my bachelor’s degree and supporting myself as an assistant restaurant manager. That wasn’t supposed to be my life. I was the no-good, too-black, too-ugly, too-skinny, too-stupid, can’t-talk-right niece that would never amount to anything. Nothing like her perfect, light skinned, beautiful, well-formed, super smart daughter, Big Cuz, who had dropped out of high school and had two kids by this time, no steady employment and was only focused on men, drinking and the next party.

Without any spiritual understanding at the time, this aunt provided my first spiritual lesson on the power of our words. As a teen I would reference her as a person who only spoke evil into me, yet every word she spoke against me manifested in her daughter’s life. That’s probably the main reason I have compassion for my cousin. Big Cuz has lived her mother’s words, self-hatred, and repression all her life and perhaps remain unaware of how profoundly she’s been impacted by her mother’s bitterness. This is also why I do my best not to speak ill of anyone. I have no desire for my words to ricochet off of them and enter the generations that birth from me. The one thing I have been the most purposeful about has been breaking the chains of bondage, or generational curses, attached to my bloodline and life. There are things that occur in families that people assume are natural or just the way things are. I’ve looked at thought patterns, actions and behaviors within my family networks and sourced them to symptoms, root causes and conditioning.

Everything begins with the way we think. Yet it is not practical to attack other people’s thoughts. However, we can confront and attack our own way of thinking. In that way we can prune our own lives at the root. Our thinking projects our reality and from that we perceive what is possible for us in our lives. We can cultivate fantastic lives just by cultivating our thoughts.

We can hold our thoughts up to a greater truth. For me today, that Truth is the Word of God. In my youth, that truth was what I thought of myself – or who I knew myself to be.

The way I began changing my life was by holding the painful destructive things up to who I know I am and who I saw myself becoming. If someone’s words about me did not align with what I knew to be true about me, I rejected it. When I began to study the Bible in my thirties, I dove deeper and began pulling up things festering under the surface of self. The things I pulled up where held up to the light and sat next to the things the Word of God said about me. Everything I pulled from the darkness inside me burned up in the light. There was no substance to it. No truth. The footholds began to fall away from my life.

On the surface, the interactions I had with Youngin’ may appear to be small and inconsequential, however, the test is always in the spirit.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  ~ Ephesians 6:12-13

What I know to be true of myself and where I was in the moment Youngin’ arrived on my doorstep, was a downward spiral of deepening apathy. I was over everything. Nothing held any interest for me. I was tired of living alone and tired of being alone. Completely exhausted and discouraged with my solitary existence. Yet I was channeling all my remaining energy into changing my whole life so I could be better positioned to receive a partner and a family. Life transformation is a slow moving wheel. My accumulated disappointments fermented into depression. I had stopped nurturing my job. I no longer enjoyed my home in New York City. Traveling, the longest most constant love of my life, had become a boring chore. How did that happen? Everything that had been a source of passion and excitement in my life had dried up. My thinking began to change. I can’t pinpoint any particular thought moment, but going to church was no longer a priority. Listening to sermons I missed no longer interested me. I stopped checking on the people who stopped checking on me. I stopped caring about things I had no control over or was not impacted by. I didn’t want to want anything. Life had become a big blah and I felt like a wisp floating on the wind waiting to land in my final resting spot. Can’t I be done now, Father? I’m so over all of this.

Then a 22 year old relative catapulted into my life and sparked all the dormant instincts and urges I had come to believe would disappear from the earth with no one benefiting from them. The most prominent was my need to love. Instantly, even as I protested the no-warning drop-in, I thanked God for finally sending me someone to love. I had been telling Him for years that I would welcome whomever He sent to my door. The table He provided for me would be their table. That prayer began in 2013 when I bought my apartment and purchased the largest dining table I could fit in the space with very comfortable seating. At the time, my prayer was for a husband and Bible study group to share the space with. A few years later, a disrespectful young relative showed up. I was ready to embrace her flaws and all. I was willing to wrestle with her and nurture her into the light.

Until I noticed how she was actually inching me further away from the bit of light I was clinging to. Oddly, one of her regular complaints about me was that I kept challenging her. An interesting word choice since she was the adversary in my home opposing my life. Perhaps what she really wanted to know was, “Why was I resisting her?”

During our first sit-down conversation to discuss expectations and understanding, I decided I had to be vocal about the love I have for myself, my God and the work He has performed in my life. I had to actively protect my blessings and declare them off limits for encroachment. From the seat of my truth, I could see how Youngin’ was running from wisdom and the Word when she avoided me and attacked my character. It was clear she was not interested in building or having a relationship with me. She vehemently and viciously took advantage of, then rejected, me, my love, my hospitality and my lifestyle.

This realization did not hurt. The act of dealing with Youngin’ shocked me into revival. But when confronted with her departure, my shoulders gently shrugged upwards and eased down again. I let go – mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Trying to hold on to her while she was holding on to everything I’ve already let go of, would’ve kept all that baggage in my life. I’ve come too far to turn back now. I will not risk my true life for someone who doesn’t know enough to recognize love when she’s sitting in the midst of it.

Youngin’, like her grandmother, was one of the best and most effective haters in my life. The lessons they provided on the nature of people and the spirit in the world are not things that can be fully appreciated via Bible text. They are best received as on-the-job-training. For being such excellent trainers throughout my spiritual journey, I remain grateful to them both.

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A week of prayer, fasting and protest

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”   

~ John 13:34-35

Fast

The third week of January 2017 will long be remembered. From the beginning of the month, I had planned to join the Women’s March on Washington. At the beginning of the week of the March, I thought it best that I also join my congregation in three days of fasting and prayer for healing for our nation. I’ve never been good at church-led fasts. In the past I fell off quick and felt loads of guilt for low will-power and focus. So, this is probably the first fast I joined a congregation in in nearly a decade. Three days, liquids only. During the work week. Within the first 24 hours, at the end of the first work day, I ate a bread roll my manager put on my desk. She shares her lunch with me every day and I usually pass on what I don’t eat. I put the roll in my cabinet but could not stop thinking about it for the next few hours. I eventually gave in to temptation and ate it. The next day when my cube mate shoved her lunch in my face to show me the delicious options in the cafeteria – one of my favs, Indian fare with red lentils, samosas and mango chutney – I blurted out, “I’m fasting! Since when do you shove food in my face?” She apologized profusely since she had no idea. I had no plans to share. But  I quickly realized the open sharing environment with my office chums dictated that I declare my goals for the week. I survived the remaining fast with no further incidents.

Prayer

I attended each of the three nights of prayer service as well. Honestly, I thought I might fall off of that too. Attending service in person has not been one of my preferred activities over the last couple of years. I’ve streamed or played back far more services than I’ve shown up for. The general shallowness of interaction with congregation members has left me disenchanted and uninterested in showing up for “fellowship” that doesn’t last beyond a greeting and a song.

Inauguration week was different. I felt compelled to join my prayers to those of my congregation and lift my voice in praise and supplication. I didn’t want to go protest without first girding myself in worship. The third night of prayer service was the first night of inaugural protests and I was euphoric. I left work early to head to a rally in Columbus Circle that was essentially a call to action. The theme was 100 Days of Resistance. The goal is to get people to reach out to their representatives every day to voice their concerns and express their hopes for the direction this country moves in. I didn’t want to leave the rally but I didn’t want to miss prayer service either. After an hour and a half I high-tailed it down the street to my church. It was the perfect ending to a great day and a great send-off to the Women’s March on Washington.

Protest

The Women’s March was phenomenal. Overall the energy was amazing. Except for one instance. There was a Christian group posted up on Pennsylvania Ave down the street from the Capitol. In a space where crowds representing every imaginable issue in America today stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction, this was the only spot of contention, anger, disrespect and hatred that I encountered. I stood there observing for a bit, spellbound, trying to hear the words that were being shouted and chanted. Looking around in a daze to read the signs people were holding up. I walked around the circle of people to get a better vantage point and perspective on what was being said by whom. My heart ached. I wanted to grab the bull horn from the man in the middle and simply say to the angry crowd: God loves you! Ask me how much!

Jesus didn’t come to us to tell us how horrible we are. He didn’t walk through the streets pointing out people and calling out their sins. Where in the Bible does it say Jesus told people they were going straight to hell? Jesus has never been about condemnation. He is, and always has been, about hospitality, welcome and acceptance. He is a teacher. His lessons enlighten us as to our true nature and purpose in Him.

So, I stood there listening to protesters shout at the evangelists, “God Loves Me! God is about love!” To which the evangelist responded with a verse about love. Then there were those protesters who were mocking and cursing the evangelists for which they received further judgement for the evilness of their hearts.

I debated just walking up to the speaker and just pulling him aside. In the end I walked around to one of the men encircling the speaker and holding a banner. My conversation. With him can be heard on this video.

“Condemnation vs. Love”

Condemnation vs. Love from LaShawnda Jones (NS) on Vimeo.

I approached him with the words, “As a Christian Woman, this is hurting my heart. We are to proclaim God’s love to people. There has to be a softer way for you to deliver this message.” He brushed me off with, “We are each called differently. This is how we serve.” Yet when the speaker got tired of getting shouted down, he walked over to the man I was speaking to and essentially said, “I’ve had enough, your turn!” To which the man who was adamant about his service, declined with a sharp shake of his head and refuse to enter the center of the lion’s den. I called him out for that to. He wasn’t interested in anything I had to say.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.  

~ 1 John 4:16-21

From Behind. Womens March Jan 21 2017.jpg

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Devotional: Love as He Loves

Love as He Loves:  John 15:1-17

 

Read

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:9-17)

Reflect

When things are going well, we feel elated. When hardships come, we sink into depression. But true joy transcends the rolling waves of circumstance. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the vine, and God is the gardener who cares for the branches to make them fruitful (John 15:1-2). The branches are all those who claim to be followers of Christ. The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with Christ produce much fruit. When our lives are intertwined with his, he will help us walk through adversity without sinking into debilitating lows and manage prosperity without moving into deceptive highs. The joy of living with Jesus Christ daily will keep us levelheaded, no matter how high or low our circumstances. Because Jesus Christ is Lord and master, he could call us servants; instead, he calls us friends. How comforting and reassuring to be chosen as a friend of Jesus. Because he is Lord and master, we owe him our unqualified obedience. Yet Jesus asks us to obey him because we love him.

Respond

We are to love each other as Jesus loved us. You may never have to die for someone, but there are other ways you can practice sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, giving. Prayerfully consider someone who needs this kind of love today. Give all the love you can, and then try to give a little more.

Source: Life Application Devotional, October 24, 2016

2016 © Tyndale House Publishers 351 Executive Drive • Carol Stream, Illinois 60188, US

TYNDALE and Tyndale’s quill logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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Song & Verse: Good Good Father by Housefires II

Good Good Father by Housefires II

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

Chorus
You’re a good, good Father,
It’s who You are,
it’s who You are,
It’s who You are

And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am,
it’s who I am
It’s who I am

Oh and I’ve seen many searching for
Answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

Bridge
Because You are perfect
In all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
To us

Oh this Love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As You call me, deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

Chorus
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:12-13

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Song & Verse: Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann

Take Me To The King by Tamela Mann

Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart is torn in pieces
It’s my offering
Take me to the King

Truth is I’m tired
Options are few
I’m trying to pray
But where are you?
I’m all churched out
Hurt and abused
I can’t fake
What’s left to do?

Truth is I’m weak
No strength to fight
No tears to cry
Even if I tried
But still my soul
Refuses to die
One touch will change my life

Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn in pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And sing to You this song
Please take me to the King

Truth is it’s time
To stop playing these games
We need a word
For the people’s pain

So Lord speak right now
Let it pour like rain
Oh, yeah, we’re desperate
We’re chasing after you

No rules, no religion
I’ve made my decision
To run to You,
The healer that I need

Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn to pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And to sing to You this song

Take me to the…

Lord we’re in the way
We keep making mistakes
The glory’s not for us
It’s all for You

Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn to pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And sing to You this song

Take me to the King