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Activated February 2013

Love - February 2013

Life's ultimate reward is found in its ultimate challenge-loving others as God does. The articles in this issue offer thoughts and insights to help bring the prize within reach.
 

01-02-2013
Love God, Love Those He Loves
Love God, Love Those He Loves

The expression “Love me, love my dog” came to life when my wife and I got a puppy—a first for me. We adore Sophie and she adores us. Actually, she adores everyone. She is not only one of those hyperactive toy breeds, but also one that is famously sociable. She starts wagging her tail as soon as a new person enters her world, and within a second or two her tail is wagging the rest of her so hard that she nearly comes unglued. If the new person so much as acknowledges Sophie’s existence, she gets even more excited and...

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01-02-2013
Being Social
Being Social

“Who are you here to see?” the petite dark-haired nurse asked as I sipped tea in the waiting area and scrawled in my journal.

“My nephew,” I answered with a smile. “He’s asleep, though, so I’ll wait.”

“Oh, he really needs visitors. He’s still a child,” she said in her motherly way. Although my nearly full-grown teenage nephew now towers over me when he’s not wasting away in a hospital bed, I still remember his chubby cheeks and legs when I first held him at three months old.

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01-02-2013
My Princess
My Princess

For my daughter Audrey's first birthday, my wife and I planned to have a small celebration with a few friends and family members at home; instead we ended up with a cupcake-themed extravaganza at the restaurant her grandparents manage. Admittedly, it was probably more for everyone else’s benefit. Audrey spent much of the time observing the proceedings warily from the safety of someone’s arms and flatly refused to pose for photos by her lone candle, despite (or because of) much encouragement to do so.

People talk about how fast time flies, and I feel it really does. Maybe that’s...

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01-02-2013
Lovingkindness
Lovingkindness

When I first began reading the Bible, a word that captured my attention was “lovingkindness.” I felt very warm inside when I read passages like “I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy,”1 or “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you,”2 or “[God] redeems your life from destruction [and] crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,”3 or “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me.”4

In some modern English translations, expressions such as “steadfast love,” “mercy,”...

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01-02-2013
36 Seconds
36 Seconds

My husband Daniel and I live with our four children on the 13th floor of an apartment building in Taichung City, Taiwan. Needless to say, the elevator is a part of our daily lives.

It had been just another normal, busy day, with most of my time and energy spent keeping the kids happy, fed, and out of one another’s hair. We had all been out together, doing what I don’t even remember, and were coming home. We stepped into the empty elevator, and one of the kids pressed the button. The number 13 lit up on the panel, and the...

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01-02-2013
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

When I think about Valentine's Day, a day when people give special love gifts to one another, I think most of all about God's great gift to us in the form of His son, Jesus. Then I think of how all the love that we feel for others on Valentine’s Day and every day of the year is possible because of His love. There’s no time for Him that isn’t a time to give. I want to follow His example as much as I can.

I found a poem that was very meaningful to me and expresses some of the gifts...

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01-02-2013
In Sickness and In Health
In Sickness and In Health

I recently watched the movie Love and Other Drugs, a romantic comedy based on Jamie Reidy's memoir, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.

While I thought the film was a mixed bag, it did have a down-to-earth kind of love story that wasn’t your typical movie romance or a common Hollywood storyline: young and beautiful Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway) has an incurable degenerative illness—Parkinson’s disease. That sort of made up for the parts that I didn’t enjoy, because in real life, in the real world, in real relationships, things like that happen.

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01-02-2013
Love—The All-Encompassing Fruit
Love—The All-Encompassing Fruit

"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."1

How important is love? When Jesus was asked which commandment was the most important, He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”2 In other words, if you can do those two things—love God and love your neighbor—everything...

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01-02-2013
The Renewal Exam
The Renewal Exam

A series of traumatic losses had left me angry at God. Alone, without any means of support, and with no hope in sight, I had tried to end my life. I regained consciousness in a hospital, where I spent the next few days recovering.

It was Valentine’s Day, the first without my husband, and as I sat alone in a hospital lounge, I cried the only tears left in me.

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01-02-2013
Third Time’s the Charm
Third Time’s the Charm

I'm on my third marriage--a fact that I don't normally mention in the presence of newly married couples. I'm grateful for my first two marriages because they resulted in several beautiful children, my most precious treasures, but for me the third time has been charmed.

When my second marriage ended, I thought that was it, that I was now a single mother and would have to just do the best I could from then on. I was soured on the marriage experience and didn’t expect there to ever be another man in my life, but I was wrong.

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01-02-2013
Let Me Count the Ways
Let Me Count the Ways

In one of her most famous poems, Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned a beautiful declaration of love that started like this:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach.

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01-02-2013
No Strings
No Strings

I don't love you for what you are or what you aren't. I don't love you for who you are. I don't love you for how much you do or how well you do it. I don't love you for how little you sin and mess up, or for how much you do the right thing. I simply love you—no strings attached. That truth may be hard to grasp, but once you do, everything in your life will take on new meaning and new depth, a new reality. You are complete because you are loved. You are free because you...

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01-02-2013
Four Loves
Four Loves

In modern English, the word “love” conveys a range of emotions, but the classical Greeks were more precise. They had four words that all find themselves translated “love” in English: storgē, philíos, éros,and agápe.

Storgē is still used in modern Greek, and it roughly fits our English word “affection,” especially the type of affection within families. It can also be used in a “put up with” type of way—and as most of us know, that is in fact the type of love many of us...

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