If Love is Not a feeling…..then what is it? by Amber O’Brien

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Love is Long-suffering….Love bears all things, believes all things,  hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

I Corinthians 13 

Dear Sweet Sister:

Do you know what true love looks like? A fellow sweet sister and her husband who deals with chronic back pain sat down for a meal this past weekend with my husband and I.

But Her husband couldn’t even sit long enough to finish his lunch as standing is just a little. less. painful. than sitting. He stood at the outdoor restaurant, not to see the view but to find some relief from his chronic back pain. The same pain that has progressed  over two decades as they continually seek medical care and God’s intervention. This was their first outing in months together as the pain has recently intensified.  His face (too young for a cane) grimaced in pain as he slowly walked using a cane to steady himself. My heart hurt just watching him suffer and I could only imagine the long-suffering heart of his wife who cares for him each and every day.

She patiently “waits”  on God as she also lovingly “waits” on her husband. For months she would bring food upstairs to the bed as it was too painful to help him move downstairs.  She  has chosen commitment over fleeing, so most days she is housebound too.  However, her example of faithfulness reaches to her children and to me and to so many others like the ripple effect of a stone tossed in a pond.

She spoke these words across the table as gently as her life demonstrates them.

Love is not a feeling……..Love is a commitment.

She faithfully  holds on to her marriage vows of “Better or for Worse” with one hand while her other hand clutches onto God’s promises to be faithful to her and her family.

Her greatest concern is her children’s “Character” and oh what a real life lesson they see day in and out as both their parents remain steadfast in hope and trust in God despite failed procedures and chronic pain.

She has an eternal perspective and talks about this earth being just a “blip” compared to eternity.

She is committed to God and to her husband. She desires for her children to someday have spouses and most of all “to be” spouses who know what true love means.

She. Is. More. Beautiful to me than any runway model.

She models true unselfish, everlasting, committed Love.

What should you do sweet sister when the feelings fade? When life disappoints?  When you want to flee? To give up?

Look to God’s love in flesh on the cross. Did Jesus feel like carrying his cross? Did He feel like staying on the cross? Remember Him in the garden begging that this bitter cup would be taken away? He was all human and all God.   Jesus could have come down at anytime.

But He stayed. He stayed because He loves you and wants to spend eternity with you.

Love Stayed.

Love provided a way.

Love. Always. Wins.     Because…………

Love is not a feeling…..Love is a commitment.

 

 

 

Wolves in Sheep Clothing Part 1 by Amber O’Brien

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Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.  By their fruits you will know them. ...Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.                             Matthew : 7 15-20

Dear Sweet Sister, We were reminded again with the latest priest scandal that evil is in our midst.  Shepherds in the church preying on the most innocent. Disgusting, unthinkable, horrible…there are no words to describe this evil.  I have spent the last two weeks plus grieving over the innocence lost of these victims and for their parents. Grieving for other abused victims whose scabs of healing are ripped off each time they watch the news. I have raged with righteous anger against all the leaders and authorities that failed these innocent children. These are God’s precious lambs. Magnify your own sorrowing feelings by a trillion and imagine how much this breaks our daddy-God’s heart. Imagine your anger and magnify that by a trillion and that is how Angry our Lord God is that His shepherds abused the lambs that were put in their care. (I picked trillion for the trinity…the point is to think of a humanly  incomprehensible number) In fact Jesus talked about what will happen to those who cause “little ones” to lose their faith. (or stumble)

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin (a weakening or loss of faith), it would be better for a great millstone to be wrapped around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world for the things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come! If you hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Matthew 18: 6-8

As the above verse warns, if a member of the body hurts “a little one”  then those in leadership are to remove that member. This is what did not happen in the Catholic church in many parts of the world. Instead of a pruning and a trusting in God to bring in replacements, priests were transferred and given an opportunity to prey on another flock of lambs.   Ultimately, a spirit of fear and a lack of trust in God and His desire for the protection of the most vulnerable resulted in decades of cover-up.

Trust.

It appears this happened because of a lack of Trust in God by leadership to provide for the church,  when dealing with gangrene priests.  Evil is an infection that spreads and only when let out into the open and revealed in the light does healing occur.

However, those that desire to please God do not need to fear. We can trust God and below are some of the reasons Why and most importantly How we can help with the healing process.

God is not Dead, Asleep or Stupid

Jesus was very aware that Judas was in his midst. God is aware of all injustices and pr0mises his children to deal justly on the judgement day. Jesus states that ultimate justice will be on the judgement day when he separates the weeds from the wheat. The enemy has sown weeds (children of the evil one) within the field (world) and Jesus promises that action will happen:

His slaves said to him “Do you want us to pull them up?”He replied, No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest: then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, 
“First collect the weeds and time them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”                    Mathew 13:29-30 

Did you know that a lot of good seed can help prevent weeds from spreading?  What are  we called to do so that we are considered “good Seeds”? While God does not act on our timetable and sometimes seem slow, can you trust His Word? His word says that He will separate and sort out and punish evil doers.

It is so hard to wait for Justice. It is easy to get stuck in the why’s.  I have wrestled with these questions myself…… “Why is it  taking so long for justice to occur?” While justice does happen on earth at times through our legal system, some of these offenders died or aged out of the local statues of limitations.

But let me ask you two important questions sister? 1. Would you be ready if Jesus came back today? 2. Would all of your family members be ready if Jesus came back today ?

I certainly have many family members who have not accepted the gift of salvation and are living in the dark. I pray every morning that God would keep them alive until they are right with Him. May Jesus hold off His coming until the scales on their eyes have fallen and they fall to their knees in humble realization of their need for the sacrifice of Jesus.

So could God’s slowness of Justice really be His mercy as He waits for our loved ones to repent and enter into the kingdom of God?

Saint Peter explains it like this:

The present heavens and earth have been reserved by the same word of fire, kept for the day of judgement and of destruction of the godless. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”but He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3: 7-9

So sweet sister, may the evil we see in this word be a warning sign that judgement is coming and we need to start with ourselves first.   I recently walked on the beach and asked God for help with my own hardened heart. I asked that He would forgive me for my anger toward the Catholic church, toward (Himself) God whose timing I do not understand, and toward some people in my life (who are made in God’s image).  I do not want a hardened heart.

I want to have God’s heart.  A soft heart. A heart that can help reflect His love and Healing.

The verse above states  “God does not wish that Any should perish but that All should come to repentance”. So we have a lot of work to do, don’t we sister?

Starting with asking God to forgive us and soften our own hardened hearts. A hardened heart struggles to hear God’s voice.  A hardened heart struggles to pray for others.

Next, let us persevere in praying for our loved ones and advocate that God would soften their hearts and open their eyes to His love and mercy.

Justice delayed, means mercy is still available today.

 

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this series and address how we can keep authorities accountable and help educate children so they do not become the next victims.