We love…because He first loved us.

This marriage is going to be glorious. Beyond all measure. It is going to be used to glorify God, over ourselves. God brought us together and He is going to keep us together; sustaining and keeping us in His love and covenant of grace. Love brought us together, and it will suffuse the marriage. But, it won’t be our love. The marriage will sustain our love, rather than our love sustaining our marriage. We love because He first loved us.

That amazing concept brings tears to my eyes. God is so unbelievably good to us. His love is beyond measure. As far as the east is from the west, are His mercies for us. His love is unconditional. And our love is modeled after that. (Or should be, at least. We are human and will never measure up to His love. We just can’t do it.)

Of course we will have our issues, for it would be naive of me to think otherwise. But, living Christ-centered lives, we will overcome them.

With this covenant we have entered into, a truth has been brought to me – there is so much to be said about God’s love that I don’t even know where to begin. His love is unbounded. It’s magnificent in its grandeur and peace and joy. Just thinking about how He loves us, I am rendered speechless. The song, “How He loves us”, says it all.

“He is jealous for me…
He loves like a hurricane…
and I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy…
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory…
when heaven meets earth like a sloppy-wet kiss, my heart turns violently inside of my chest…
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about…the way that He loves us!
if His love was an ocean, we’d all be sinking…
Whoa…how He loves us…”(from memory, so I would suggest listening to the song)

Just think about that for a minute…

How He loves us…

Whooah…how He loves…

My heart does turn violently. Brings tears of joy, literally. It’s…just…unfathomable.

Our marriage will be sustained by His love.
The covenant of marriage that we have entered will sustain our love.
Why?
How?
We love…because He first loved us.

I am in awe at this concept.

We love because He first loved us.

Unbelievable.

(I wrote this on the plane to Miami, as Sarah slept. We are going on our honeymoon now. So! I won’t respond to any comments for some time. We are turning off all our connections to the world as soon as we step foot on the boat. Love you all and hope your week goes well!)

How should a Christian respond to persecution?

How should a Christian respond to persecution?.

I think that this is a good article to read for anyone who is experiencing persecution in their lives. Just so we all understand persecution, let’s define it.

Persecution – act of persecuting.

Persecute – to subject to cruel treatment, esp. because of religion or race.

What is cruel treatment? Could be anything. I take it to mean any antagonism against our faith. It is a part of being a Christian in this dark world. It is going to happen if we lead the lives we are called to. I love how the author of James says this about persecution, or trials –

2Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

He does not say “if” we run into trials, but “whenever”, which tells me that it is pretty much a given that we will run into trials, tribulations, persecutions.

I have most definitely run across trials in my life, and it can be difficult at times to not react out of anger. Especially with things like this “the more religious you are, the less intelligent you are likely to be”; “you have mentally regressed”; “you are irrational and arrogant in believing the Bible”. Utter ridiculousness. But! We should take it in stride. I do my best with it. I sincerely do. The problem is that I should be relying on God’s help when these trials come, and not myself. Forgiveness is key.

Update 4/27/12: another way to respond to persecution is to bless the persecutor with the love of Christ, God. Works every time.