John 3:16 (NLT) For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
Today is Monday November 25th, with the holidays fast approaching, many of us are thinking about gifts for our spouses, our children, extended friends and family and even for charities. Something about Thanksgiving in November that helps us think about what we are thankful for here in the USA. December has more worldwide festivities where people celebrate Hanukah and Christmas. People seem more friendly and willing to put past hurts behind them and come together in unity.
What amazes me more and more each day is the fact that God loved us when we were unlovable! Though we as His human creation chose our own desires above His – He still loved us. He loved us so much that He gave His Son, Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for all of our sin.
Talk about an Ultimate Gift! The Love of God towards each one of us. For every liar & cheater, every jealous heart, all with hatred, bitterness & murder in their minds and hearts, every adulterer & fornicator, every hurt, habit or hang-up that we can imagine. God loved us in our sin and made a plan to free us from it!
We hear the words “I love you” so much here in our American culture that I fear it has lost the meaning that God intended. So it is on my heart to share about this love, love so great that God would give to those unworthy (every one of us) to receive such a precious gift.
John 13:34-35 (NLT) 34 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
What does Jesus really mean when He says to “love one another”? Many of you have heard about the “Love Chapter” in the Bible being I Corinthians 13. Let’s take a look at part of the chapter and then inspect it more closely.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love is Patient & Kind
As a Warrior Bride – this definition of love at times is a great challenge for me. Patience and Kindness? I want to run at full speed, charge forward with my sword in hand and take on any foe or perceived threat that comes my way. However God’s Word is clear in stating that if I am willing to love the way God describes, I need to be patient and kind.
My main struggle is applying this when it comes time to visit my husband:
First the drive is long (about 3 hours each way) and I usually have to travel alone.
Second, when I arrive there is the car inspection – opening the hood, all the doors and waiting while the officer checks everything.
Third there is the body inspection, making sure I have on “prison approved attire”, taking of my shoes, standing still spread eagle while someone touches me all over that I am NOT married to
Finally, the wait for my husband to arrive in the visitation room so our date can begin!
Remembering that I am not my own, but God’s – it is very important for me to exhibit patience and kindness to all of the correctional facility workers that I encounter. I pray while on my drive for God to help me show His Love, to freely give patience and kindness to everyone I meet. For this is what I believe our Father God desires when showing His love to others.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude
Jealousy – I never believed that I could become a victim to this one, but it too has been a challenge. When I hear of other inmates that are getting out early or approved for parole – I have to pray and ask for God to help me show love. Yes, I need God’s help here to congratulate and celebrate with those who are having a change of status while my beloved and I wait patiently for our time.
Boastful or Proud – God reminds me daily that we have been blessed to be able to minister to others behind the walls, not because of our great deeds but because of the mercy, forgiveness and love that we have received from Jesus Christ. So when people say “Oh how wonderful that y’all have a prison ministry!” I make sure and give all glory to God for He alone should be praised.
Rude – This one can be difficult at times when people say, “So your husband is in prison?…” I must be mindful that our marriage is not a “typical one” and that even though there are hundreds of thousands of women in my marital situation I may be the only one that they have met. Remembering to show the love of God and not be rude even though it may be person 307 that has asked this month is something the Lord and I are working on. I tell myself “No Sarcasm, God’s Love and humility”.
Love does NOT demand its own way
This one hits closer to home because as a woman, I tend to want to behave this way with my husband. Thoughts arise – “Well, he can’t really do anything about it anyway now can he?” or “It is my way or the highway buster”…
It is God’s love for us, God’s love for me and God’s love for my husband that helps with this pitfall. If I love my husband as God loves him, then I will NOT force, push, shove my way or lay out the direction in any situation. The counter to this feeling, I try go back to the Patience and Kindness that God so desires and communicate with my husband to come up with a solution that we both agree upon. If all else fails – PRAY!
Love is NOT irritable
Wow – now this can be a tough one! There are times when my beloved calls when I have had a hard day and I am tired and ready to turn in for the night. To speak love, show love, exhibit love and not be cranky and irritable on days like this can be a challenge. There have been times that I have failed badly. I thank God that my husband realizes that we have not “arrived” and that his wife is still very human and sometimes has a bad day or two. However those days are becoming less (I hope) and less as I spend more time with our Father God and put on His armor.
Love keeps NO RECORD of being wronged
There are no checklists, no little black books, no saved bookmarks allowed. I should never say, “I remember when you said/did such n such…” to throw into my husband’s face, my families face, etc. God’s Love does not keep track of when it is wronged because –it is the Ultimate Free Gift!
If God was to keep track of when we wronged Him, then there would have been no need for Calvary, no need for God to send His Son to save us from sin, death, hell and the grave. For we are born in sin and it comes as naturally as water in a river!
Love does not rejoice about injustice
When we hear about a unjust event in the lives of our enemies, we are NOT to rejoice. As a matter of fact Jesus told us just the opposite – that we are to love and pray for our enemies! This can be challenging as we all have those who have decided to become our enemies for one reason or another – remember to be God’s Love to even your enemies.
Matthew 5:43-46 New Living Translation (NLT) 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.”
Love rejoices when the truth wins out
Now this one I believe we can all do with ease – Rejoicing is something we enjoy when good happens. We personally celebrate with every truth that wins, no matter how small!
Love Never gives up
Press on in God’s Love! Pray with and for your loved one behind the walls! Stand with them even though times can get hard and challenging.
Love Never loses faith
Have faith that God has great plans for you and your loved one. Plans to prosper you and plans for a great future with God at the center of your lives making your path straight!
Love is Always hopeful
God’s Love shines a ray of hope into the hearts of men! With God as the lover of your souls – there will be a better day than today!
Love Endures through every circumstance
· If parole gets set off
· If your loved one catches another case inside
· If you lose your job
· If your car breaks down
· If there is no more money for commissary or phones
Remember – GOD’s LOVE NEVER FAILES! So when you feel weak and that you can’t make it another step – draw from God’s Love. He never intended for us to do it all on our own – we can only overcome through God’s Love it gives us Strength!
God tells us in His Word that there are three things that will last forever:
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT) Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Want to learn a little known fact?
The reason that God’s Love never fails is because God is love.
Let’s read our scripture reference.
1 John 4:8 (NLT) But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
The reason that Love is the Ultimate Gift – if you have Love, you have God and if you have God then you have Love! I pray that this writing has encouraged and inspired each of you today to receive the Free Gift that God has for you and if you have already received salvation, then I hope and pray that you share the Good News with someone else!
Sincerely Warrior Bride of Christ,
Mrs. Donnie W. Ojemann,
All I am, All For HIM!