Monthly Reflection – January 2014
Happy New Year!
This month our reflection is coming to you a little earlier than normal as today is my last day in the office for the rest of this month. As most of you will be aware the family Evans is expecting a new arrival due on the 25th of January so I am heading off to look after Mrs Evs, Small and yet to be born-Smaller. I will be back at work in the second week of February; until then Andy Robinson our Branch Deputy will be in the chair and if you have any need for CPA contact then please give him a call/drop him a line. So I hope this reflection finds you all well; I will of course let Andy know when Baby arrives so he can share the news with you all- I would appreciate your prayers for all of the family as we enter into an exciting and tiring time!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour 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, and always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
Whilst sitting at home this week I was in the process of preparing for a Men’s Ministry evening at my church and was looking to search for some information around a particular subject. I decided to use a popular search engine and typed in the information line ‘What is’ intending to ask a fairly specific question but had to put down the computer before I could finish typing.
When I returned to my computer some moments later I found it very interesting to see that with only ‘ What is’ Google had given me a number of options- the top three were:
1. ‘What is Ebola?’
2. ‘What is ALS?’
3. ‘What is Love?’
When we look at this list we can probably in a way understand the first two – the on-going battle against Ebola in Africa and the cases popping up around the world is a concern to many people and ALS came to notice this year with the numerous ‘Ice Bucket Challenges’ in support of those with this crippling disease.
It was the third option that really worried me- the searches are ordered internationally by popularity and it says to me that so many people are devoid of the true meaning of Love in their lives that they have turned to Google for the answer…….
The real truth of the situation is that whilst Google and other search engines are great and having information at our fingertips is such an advantage – those people are all simply overlooking or ignoring the one place where the answer to ‘What is Love’ is so clear- The Bible! In the passage from 1 Corinthians above Love is described so clearly that this passage is used in so many wedding ceremonies to describe what marriage means to the happy couple. But the true meaning of Love is shown to us much more than the few words in that wonderful piece of scripture!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:1-18 (NIV)
Love is truly not about just words- Love must be manifest on our actions day by day towards the people around us- not just our family and friends but everyone around us! The worry is that there are people all around us who are desperately searching to be loved and to love but they just don’t know what Love looks or feels like! These are the people who as Christians in the home and work place we should be displaying the Love that Christ displayed for us all on the Cross- Selfless giving to bring people in to a place where they can be healed, forgiven and reconciled with our father in heaven. I feel extremely blessed to come from a family background where even though we were never rich in terms of money or possessions we were millionaires when it came to feeling loved- at times my mum and dad say to my brothers and I that it was ‘tough love’ but it was truly love! I was speaking with some regular visitors to the New Hope Day centre recently in Watford who help those struggling with homelessness and addiction- one of the group of men was chatting with me about his life on the street, his struggles with fear, addiction and crime. We were talking about the effect that the staff from the centre had had on him and his life and the change in him- he said to me ‘Keith, in all of my life I never felt truly loved until I came here and the staff helped me- they didn’t judge me or make me feel unworthy- they just loved me’. That man is now born again, out of addiction to drugs, away from his life of crime and is no longer homeless- a true demonstration of Love in action and in many cases tough Love!
God’s Love and Ours
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and him in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
1 John 4 7-21. (NIV)
In the three pieces of scripture that I have included in this month’s reflection we see love and the meaning of love described (There are so many more!)- The truth is that even though I do not deserve it God loves me- He displayed that love by taking my place, your place our place on the cross of crucifixion to pay for us- that is truly love in action! As Christians we are the ones who can and must shine the light of God’s love into the lives of others and demonstrate that we know the meaning of love! So this month let’s encourage those around us to stop ‘Googling ‘Love and to start reading and hearing about love from the right place!
Help me to Love; not just my family, friends but to display Love to everyone I meet. Help me to shine the light of your Love and sacrifice into people’s lives and I ask you to bring them to a place where they can know the true meaning of Love that comes from our father in Heaven.