Category Archives: Love

A Loving Relationship Is Foundational

“For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth” (Psalm 26:3).

There is a direct relationship between how God deals with His children and how we should parent our own children. This is illustrated by two great works that God has set out to accomplish in a person’s life.

First, God takes the life that is alienated from Him by sin, and by His grace and mercy, He establishes a relationship with that individual. He cares for that person, and provides a secure relationship with “round-the-clock” access into His presence. He demonstrates unconditional love; and He is so deeply interested and concerned about the well-being of that one individual that if he had been the only person who had ever sinned, God would still have sent His Son to die on the cross. Theologians call this great work “justification.”

The second great work in which God is involved is the process of changing our behavior from the ways of our old sin-nature to that of the new standards taught and demonstrated by Christ; the process by which God transforms a person into the image of His Son. Theologians call this process “sanctification.”

But the point that I want to emphasize is that before God begins to change our behavior, He first establishes a relationship with us. He does not begin the process of sanctification until He has first completed the work of justification. This, I believe, is of vital significance!

Many parents are quick to emphasize the importance of changing the child’s behavior and completely miss the essential prerequisite of first establishing and building a loving, unconditional relationship with the child. In God’s framework of redemption this must come first – justification, then sanctification. First, He establishes a relationship with that individual, then He begins His great work of lovingly changing that person’s behavior until it conforms to His own will and standards.

We completely miss this essential element in the parenting process today. Behavior modification is important but it cannot be successful unless a meaningful relationship is first established with the child. Quality of relationship is more significant than the quantity of time we invest.

One Christian leader has observed that the reason why our young people are turning their backs on the church is because they have been raised with programs and events, not with a process-driven ministry where the Word of God was internalized into their lives. They have a lack of relationship with Mom and Dad, with leaders in the church, and with other significant adults in their lives.

Truth without relationship leads to rejection. Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

The Opposite of Love Is Selfishness

“Therefore hear now this, thou…that sayest in thine heart, I am, and there is none else beside me…” (Isaiah 47:8).

Isaiah describes the root of every problem that you will experience in your marriage: Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” That’s the root of all sin. That’s the cause of every crisis and conflict you will ever experience. Sin comes in many different forms but the underlying motive behind every sin is “I am and there is none else beside me.” I just do what I want to do.

Let me illustrate this for you in the area of marriage. The experts tell us that there are four things that rip marriages apart: money, sex, children, and work. Let’s look at “money.” He says “I want a new boat.” She says “I want a new coat.” You say “Oh, it’s a matter of money. If they just had more money then they would be able to resolve their problems.” It’s not a matter of money. The problem is: “I am and there is none else beside me.”

Your issue may be financial, it may be marital, it may come under one of a hundred different labels, but its root cause is always the same. Behind every broken relationship lies this root of sin. Marriages are ripped apart because one or both partners say, “I am and there is none else beside me.”

But the opposite is also true. Strong relationships are forged when we are willing to die to self and put the needs and wishes of others ahead of our own. Marriage provides us with those daily opportunities to die to our own rights and to learn the character of Christ. The conflicts that the enemy intends to use to bring about our destruction can actually serve as motivations for us to grow to new depths in our Christian life.

When Christ was on earth, His continual attitude was “Not my will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). If we have the attitude that says, “I will do this no matter what anyone else says or thinks,” then we are not following the example of Christ but of Satan. Satan says, “I will….” (Isaiah 14:12-14). The Lord Jesus says, “Father, not My will, but Thine be done.”

Look for ways today to die to self rather than fighting for your own rights. Welcome those challenges as opportunities to grow in Christ-like character and to demonstrate to others the love of Christ.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries

The Royal Law – A Family Exercise

“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).

One mother I know had a little notice posted on her dining room wall. It read, “All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen.” That’s a simple request; but if we want others to treat us like royalty, then we must first be prepared to treat them in the very same way.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” The order here is significant. We sometimes paraphrase this verse by saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, this misses an important but overlooked ingredient. The order of Matthew 7:12 indicates that we must first decide all the various ways we would want others to treat us, and then resolve to do those same things for them.

This would be a useful exercise to do with your family. Have each one compile a list of how he or she would like to be treated by others. We must be careful, however, not to make this a list of personal expectations because no one can ever live up to such a list. Expectations destroy relationships. Even with the best intentions, we will still disappoint, offend, and hurt each other – especially those we live with and love the most.

The purpose of this list is to ascertain how we can and should treat others even if we are never treated in these same ways. Let’s higher the expectations we have of ourselves and lower our expectations of others. Let’s purpose to do good, not for what we can get from others in return, but for how we can demonstrate Christ’s love to them.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

He Gave Away His Life in Handfuls

Although growing up in Northern Ireland, I had the privilege of attending Columbia Bible College in the United States. In March of 1990, Robertson McQuilkin, the former president of Columbia Bible College, announced his resignation with the following letter.

“My dear wife, Muriel, has been in failing mental health for about 8 years. So far I have been able to carry both her ever-growing needs and my leadership responsibilities at Columbia Bible College. But recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just “discontentment.” She is filled with fear – even terror – that she has lost me and always goes in search for me when I leave home. Then she may be full of anger when she cannot get to me. So it is clear to me that she needs me now, full time.

Perhaps it would help you to understand if I shared with you what I shared at the time of the announcement of my resignation in chapel. The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel “in sickness and in health . . . till death do us part.” So, as I told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her the next 40 years I would not be out of debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But, there is more; I love Muriel. She is a delight to me – her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of wit I used to relish so, her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. I do not have to care for her, I get to! It is a high honor to care for such a person.”

Two words go together in Scripture to demonstrate the love of Christ: the words “loved” and “gave.” Paul talks in Galatians 2:20 about “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Ephesians 5:2 exhorts us to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us…” That is the love that the Christian husband is to have for his wife.

Paul uses the Greek word agape. It’s the highest form of love. The world’s love is always object oriented. The person is loved because she’s pretty or because he’s got lots of money; but the moment a person looses that quality, the love based on that quality disappears. But agape love isn’t like that. It gives and it gives sacrificially.

Of Oliver Goldsmith it was said, “He gave away his life in handfuls.” That’s the Christian husband.

Morris Hull
Home Life Ministries
 
Robertson McQuilken’s Resignation Speech

[KGVID width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.characterjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/Robertson-McQuilken.mp4[/KGVID]

Choose Your Words Carefully

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).

I recently came across an article written by a 76 year-old man. He wrote:

“Late at night, my father waited alone for the train that took him to a factory where he worked the night shift. On this particular night, I waited with him in the dark to say good-bye. His face was grim; his youngest son had been drafted. I would be sworn in at six the next morning while he was at the factory. My father didn’t want them to take his child, only 19 years old, to fight a war in Europe. He placed his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘You be careful, and if you need anything, write to me and I’ll see that you get it.’ Suddenly he heard the roar of the approaching train. He held me tightly in his arms and gently kissed me on the cheek. With tear-filled eyes, he murmured, ‘I love you, my son.’ Then the train arrived, the doors closed him inside, and he disappeared into the night…and I left for boot camp. One month later, at age 46, my father died. I am 76 as I sit and write this. I once heard someone say that memories are man’s greatest inheritance, and I have to agree. I’ve lived through four invasions in World War II. I’ve had a life full of all kinds of experiences. But the only memory that lingers is the night my dad said, ‘I love you, my son.’”

Isn’t that incredible? You’re never too old to tell your children that you love them. And you need to!

How we need to bless and encourage and praise those around us. If all our children are hearing from us is negative and criticism then we are sowing the seeds of bitterness and rebellion in the lives of our sons and daughters. James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” Someone has suggested that it takes ten praises or affirmations just to counteract the damage caused by one negative, critical remark.
Words are so powerful. We have the opportunity to encourage, to bless and to affirm. Choose your words carefully. Make each one count. Purpose to speak words of life and encouragement to those that the Lord brings across your path today!

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

What Do You Love The Most?

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Genesis 22:2).

Our lives are built around the people and things that we enjoy: a spouse, children, special friends, a job, and possessions. These are the things we tend to put our security in – and if one of them is removed, we feel as though our whole world has suddenly come apart. There are times when God simply says to us, “Let go!” If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know the pressure a test like that can exert on your faith.

There was a day in the life of Abraham when God told him to let go of something which he dearly loved. Abraham did not choose the sacrifice. God did! Beware of self-chosen sacrifice for God! God always starts with the things that we love the most, because unless these things are dedicated to Him they will become the objects of our worship. Unless we are willing to place the things we love the most on that altar and dedicate them to the Lord, God will never be able to use us to our fullest potential and we will never experience God’s richest blessings.

Have you ever dedicated the things that you love the most to the Lord? We do that by building an altar in our heart and saying, “Lord, from this moment on these things belong to You. I give them to You. I have no more rights to them or claim on them. If you choose to take them, I will thank You for that. If You allow me to continue enjoying them, I will thank You for that also.”

Like the young boy who gave the Lord his meagre lunch, God is able to multiply whatever we give Him to be a blessing to others.

Prove Your Love

“Wherefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf” (2 Corinthians 8:24).

It’s very easy to say the words “I love, you” – but it’s quite possible that the ones which we love the most may struggle with the knowledge of whether or not they’re really loved. The ones we live with and are closest to may not fully recognize the sincerity and depth of our love.

I have no doubt that in extreme situations most parents would lay down their lives for their children; most husbands would sacrifice their own lives for the sake of their wives. But those extreme situations are rare and most of us are never called upon to make that ultimate sacrifice.

Instead we are called to live in everyday, ordinary situations where we have the tendency to take each other for granted. Meaningful and necessary words and deeds that would otherwise express and prove our love go unsaid and undone; and the depth and sincerity of our love is never fully known.

Paul encourages us to show the proof of our love. Put that love into words and actions. Invest a treasure of time, energy or money into the lives of the ones you love the most.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries

Love Your Enemies

It’s one thing to be kind and loving to people who are kind and loving to us. It’s quite another thing to be kind and loving to those who wrong us or hurt us. Yet that is exactly what Jesus commands us to do when He says, “Love your enemies.”

Two farmers lived side by side on land that was divided by a shallow river. One day the cows belonging to one crossed the river and ruined half an acre of the other farmer’s corn. The man who owned the field was so angry, he locked the cows in his barn, made the first farmer pay for all the damage, and held the animals hostage until a high ransom was paid for them. Later that year, some hogs belonging to the second farmer crossed the stream and caused a lot of damage on the property of the man who owned the cows. Although the man was disturbed, he rounded up the hogs and took them back to their own pen. When the owner saw them coming, he expected trouble. But he soon discovered that his neighbor had no intention of harming him or his animals. He asked, “How can you be so kind to me after the way I treated you?” The man replied, “Because I’m a Christian!” That evening the unsaved farmer and his wife paid a visit to the home of their neighbor. And before they left, they had both accepted Christ.

This farmer was willing to follow the teaching of Jesus and voluntarily invested in the life of his enemy. This is a step that is often overlooked by many people, but it is absolutely essential if we are to turn our bitterness into forgiveness and genuine love.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Mat 5:44).

Three Types of People

As we rejoice in the Lord and seek not to quench the Spirit we will be enthusiastic. What exactly does it mean to be enthusiastic? There are three types of people in the world, energy-givers, energy-wasters, and energy-takers. God not only loves cheerful "givers" of our finances but also our energy.

Energy-Giver

  • Helps others
  • Says kind words
  • Smiles
  • Shares with others
  • Stands for what is right
  • Tells the truth, even when difficult

Energy-Waster

  • Helps if convenient
  • Says nothing
  • Does not smile
  • Keeps things for self
  • Stands for nothing
  • Tells the truth most of the time

Energy-Taker

  • Helps self
  • Says unkind words
  • Frowns
  • Takes from others
  • Stands for wrong
  • Lies when it is convenient

Enthusiasm is being an "Energy-Giver" in every area of life.

The Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Be Sensitive to The Touchpoints of Love for Each Family Member

People express and receive love in different ways. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies these as the five languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

If you express love in a way another family member doesn’t understand, he or she won’t realize you’ve expressed your love at all. The problem is that you’re speaking two different languages.

Perhaps your husband needs to hear encouraging words, but you feel cooking a nice dinner will cheer him up. When he still feels down, you’re puzzled. Or, maybe your wife craves time with you; and the flowers you gave her just don’t communicate that you care.

Do you know each family member’s love language? Here is an exercise that your whole family can try. Within each group, rate the sentence 1 to 5 according to what would make you feel most appreciated and loved. The number 5 represents what you most appreciate; number 1, in contrast, is what you least appreciate in each group. (No individual grouping can have a number repeated twice.)

 

Group One

A___ Mom or Dad says, “You really did a great job on that. I appreciate it.”

B___ Mom or Dad unexpectedly does something in or around the house or your room that you appreciate.

C___ Mom or Dad brings you home a surprise treat from the store.

D___ Mom or Dad invites you to go on a walk just for fun and to talk.

E___ Mom or Dad makes a point to give you a big hug and kiss you before you leave the house.

 

Group Two

A___ Mom or Dad tells you how much he or she appreciates you.

B___ Mom or Dad volunteers to type your homework for you so you won’t have to.

C___ Mom or Dad brings you home a special food treat from the local bakery.

D___ Mom or Dad invites you to sit down and talk about your day.

E___ Mom or Dad gives you a hug even when you are just passing by room to room.

 

Group Three

A___ Mom or Dad during a party shares about the great grades you got in school.

B___ Mom or Dad helps pick up your room.

C___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a present you didn’t know you were getting.

D___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a special afternoon trip.

E___ Mom or Dad holds your hand as you walk through the mall or stands by your side with an arm around your shoulder at a public event.

 

Group Four

A___ Mom or Dad praises you about one of your special abilities.

B___ Mom or Dad brings you breakfast in bed.

C___ Mom or Dad surprises you with a book you always wanted.

D___ Mom or Dad plans a special night out for the two of you.

E___ Mom or Dad will personally drive you to an event instead of you having to go on the old, crowded bus with the team.

 

Group Five

A___ Mom or Dad tells you how much his or her friends appreciate you.

B___ Mom or Dad takes the time to fill out the long forms for school that you thought you were going to have to fill out yourself.

C___ Mom or Dad sends you something special through the mail.

D___ Mom or Dad kidnaps you for lunch and takes you to your favorite restaurant.

E___ Mom or Dad gives you a back rub.

 

(Transfer your scores from your test questions to the scoring profile below.)

Encouraging

Words

Acts of

Service

Gift-Giving

Quality Time

Touch

Group 1

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 2

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 3

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 4

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Group 5

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

Totals

A___

B___

C___

D___

E___

 

Compare your score with your spouse/child/parent. Write down from the primary to the least of the love languages of each family member.

1.______________________

2.______________________

3.______________________

4.______________________

5.______________________

Designed by Gary and Joy Hanson – Copyright © 1999 by Growing Families International. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.