The True Love of the World

Last night, after a delicious meal at our favorite restaurant in Fairhope; I was overwhelmed at the true love I felt during our date night out. While wrapping up our dessert I received the sweetest text from my brother-in-law, Dave. He was thanking me for his mom for my prayers 6 years ago on his behalf. I wasn’t thinking about those prayers. In fact, JB and I had just been reminiscing about special times we shared with each other and our children over the last 43 Valentine’s we’ve shared together. It was the sweetest time together.

Valentine's Tablescape

It was in the midst of these great memories that I received the text from Dave thanking me for my prayers 6 years ago. He even had a copy of the prayers I lifted on his behalf. There were literally 100’s if not 1,000’s praying for his physical healing back then, because he is truly loved by many. I believe wholeheartedly that GOD heard the masses praying for him along with my little prayers from Fairhope because there is power in prayer. But, to receive this text on this particular day is nothing short of a miracle from heaven above. Why you ask?

The True Love of the World

Yesterday I published the post about Heirloom China and received the nicest replies from my friend Karen, her daughter, husband and her father. It made my day. I had scheduled to publish this post on Valentine’s Day because that was the first tablescape idea we styled with the china she inherited from her aunt. Late yesterday afternoon she shared with me how members of her family had tears in their eyes as they read my post. It moved them to see her in photos with her grandfather who passed away on February 14th years ago. Her husband never got to meet him. I had no idea her grandfather died on Valentine’s Day. I believe God used me and that post to bless her family in a way that I never expected. I felt the love of my friend and felt once again the reassurance that my blog has a purpose. I confess that there are times I picture myself writing/speaking to an empty conference room. It can be disheartening.

Empty room

Then, as I read through the message from Dave’s mom the quote from the Statue of Liberty popped into mind. I didn’t know why at the time.

Statue of Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I immediately thought of the true love of our lives.  The true lamp of the world is Jesus Christ. He is the Light of the World. The DOOR to Heaven is Jesus Christ. He calls to this world that He gave His life for to come to Him to breathe free. He suffered and died so that the masses of tired, masses of poor, those who feel wretched like a piece of refuse, the tempest-tossed, and all the homeless can come to Him and enter into covenant with HIM. It is out of HIS great kindness that HE offers us repentance.

Everlasting Covenant with the God of the Universe

HE is a word-keeping GOD. When we come to HIM acknowledging that we need HIM and that we are not righteous as HE is, the GOD of the universe enters into covenant with us just as HE did with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and through the Messiah.

rainbow a sign of promise
Natural rainbow. a sign of covenant

This is the true love of the world. There is no greater love than that of a man who will lay down his life for another. Christ is our example. As I contemplate the day of love fashioned by the world, I couldn’t let this day go by without inviting whoever might read this to come to the Light. Knock and the DOOR shall be opened.

All of this contemplation started with a thank you from my brother-in-law. God heard our prayers and healed him to a purpose. HE used him in ways where we see HIS purpose in Dave’s life then and now. He and my sister, Kristie are now allowing God to use them to teach us the meaning of being in covenant with the God of the universe. It is a life changer. A heart surgery by the greatest surgeon of all time.

I can’t begin to explain in this little blog post the great love I’ve felt today. I’ve marveled at the love God has and had for Dave 6 years ago. The love HE had for us to hear our prayers is overwhelming. The love He has shown me through my husband, friends and my extended family today is priceless.  The love HE has for Karen and her family, as HE comforts her on Valentine’s Day through a post about heirloom china. The thing I’ve learned today is that when I pay attention there is love all around me. And sometimes it even shows up from years previous.

the true love of this world

It surprised me at first that the quote from the Statue of Liberty is what came to mind when I received his text message.  Why didn’t the Lord remind me of scripture instead? I even replied to my sister and brother-in-law that I felt I was reacting quite dramatically to his gratitude by quoting from the statue. But, then I was reminded of HIS covenant. It was offered to Noah as an everlasting promise, to Abraham and all his descendants – FOREVER!! His covenant is for all who believe and obey HIS GOSPEL. If that is not for the masses, I don’t know what is!  When I think of the love that has transpired through the ages for each generation from the beginning of time to now, I am awed. I am humbled at HIS greatness through the ages. The love HE shows me by reminding me years later that HE listens and hears me when I pray is powerful.

true love of the world

The freedom offered through Jesus Christ is everlasting. And I am reminded that even an audience of one who might be comforted by this message makes it purposeful. I hope you felt loved yesterday. I most hope you felt loved by Jesus, the true love of this world.

Day 14: It’s all About the Marriage – Not the Wedding

31 Days of Starting OverBridezilla’s, Say Yes to the Dress, David Tutera: Unveiled..  What has happened to the American wedding scene?  Are weddings still something to look forward to? Do they still hold the same purpose of joining two hearts together as one? Are they still fun?

The most fun wedding I’ve ever attended…  was the wedding of my cousin, Jacob Morgan to his beautiful bride, Anna.  I had met Anna a few times before this celebration, but I must say, “she had me at hello” on her wedding day.  If all brides took cues from this beautiful (inside and out) young lady, weddings would ring in a whole new era of successful marriages and perhaps divorce would be cast off like a throw-away bouquet. The Most Beautiful Bride I've Ever Witness

The Most Beautiful Bride I’ve Ever Witnessed

You see, to Anna, it was all about the marriage and not about the wedding.  It was her attitude about marrying the “man of her dreams” that made her wedding the most beautiful I have ever attended.

One Happy Bride
One Happy Bride

As soon as they pronounced them husband and wife, her reaction was to cheer in celebration of being Mrs. Jacob Morgan.

Her tears as he washes her feet.  Reminds me of the woman with the alabaster box.
Her tears as he washes her feet.

And right after this, one of the very first acts as husband to this beautiful lady, my cousin, Jacob, washed her feet.  There was not a dry eye in the church. No wonder she was so happy.

After our tears during the foot washing, the attendees were then laughing as the couple led the way out the doors. There was not a “proper” recessional, but this couple left the chapel to the song “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night.”

THE Celebration.
THE Celebration.

Now, I know that all brides are suppose to be beautiful and they ARE! But, knowing this brides’ heart is truly what made her the most beautiful one this writer has ever seen.  This wedding was just a means to an end.  I am sure she had dreamed of her wedding day, just like every other young girl.  But, I think her dreams were different than most.  I guess that I would not be far off if I imagined that all her daydreams looked past the dress, veil, bridesmaids, maid of honor, and flower girl. I think she must have focused on the walk down the aisle with the scene zoomed in to where the groom would be standing. I think Anna must have dreamed about what he would be like, instead of what “her” day would entail.  In fact, this day didn’t seem to be about her at all.  The whole day seemed to be about them. Every opportunity to “show off” her husband was seized.

She seems to be saying "look at my husband."
She seems to be saying “look at my husband.”

The following was copied and pasted from “Covenant: The Oneness of Covenant”, a study called “The Covenant of Marriage”, by Precept Ministries.

There is no better illustration of the sharing of a common life than the marriage covenant where “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave (debaq) which is related to a word in modern Hebrew meaning “glue“. Dabaq includes the idea of active, dynamic contact & positive aspects such as loyalty & fidelity which calls husbands to cleave, cling, stick to, stick with, follow closely, catch, keep close to our wives.) to his wife” (Ge 2:24). What the husband owns now belongs to the wife and vice versa.   

I believe that this wedding in particular was just that, an illustration of the future sharing of a common life.  We will all be one in Christ someday, just as these two and many others have become one in marriage. What a beautiful wedding!  What a beautiful bride!  What a beautiful groom! What a perfect union truly “commended and deemed honorable among all men.” And I am still thinking about it over 3 years later.

My wish for all brides in the future is not that you say yes to the dress. I pray you are saying yes to a man and to a life. Anna, changed into her travel clothes to head off on her honeymoon and her dress was found “wadded up” in a bag after their departure.

I don’t wish for an expensive ceremony that tops all other ceremonies. I wish that your feet would be washed by your groom.

I don’t wish for photography that shows your lovely veil and up-do. I hope that the love for your husband and his for you is the star of the show.

And my wish for all brides is that your reception would be the beginning of one long party with the man of your dreams.  Anna’s Facebook page titles her wedding album “The Best Day of My Life” and I believe her.

The party begins...
The party begins…